Wednesday, February 22, 2017

SnowTrail Run At Sunrise

Today started off as a day to get in a long road run as prep for next week's Colchester Half Marathon. As usual I started off through Whigville and headed up Rt 69 in Burlington. I had taken some advice from an ultra blog and carb loaded a bit on Friday as well as having a decent breakfast to ensure I had fuel in the tank. During the run I maintained a decent pace of under 11:00/mile. Good for a training run. Good for me. After turning back towards home I turned down Scoville road towards the back of Sessions Woods. At the Hull Road junction near the blue blazed trail I could see the sun peaking over the horizon. That triggered the urge to hop on the trails.
Just at sunrise. Near the Hull Road side of Sessions Woods.
The sunrise was beckoning me! So I hit the blue blazed trails on the west side of the park. The trail condition at this point wasn't great. Deep snow with no real trail or snow pack from previous runners or hikers. But I pushed on. After about a half mile the trails showed a higher volume of people from Friday and was runnable.   The main Beaver Pond Trail has been packed down by a tractor. Flat and very runnable. The blue and white blazed were a mix of packed trail and sometimes deep snow. The selfie shot below is where the state harvested the non-native red pine trees. That used to be heavily wooded. 
Open now-was thick pine forest before tree harvest

The run was 15 miles altogether....the trails were the best part. Winter runs on snowy trails are relaxing and beautiful. My favorite time of year as a runner.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Real Winter Has Arrived.

Snow has finally started to pile up. The winter was kind of blah up until this week. Storm Chris dumped 19" on Burlington. Nice fluffy stuff. Timing worked out for me to begin a run just as the storm started and ended with a few miles of steady stuff. My favorite. Light snow with no traffic. Non runners will never experience the tranquility of such a run. I realize how lucky I am to live in a rural area. Quiet and peaceful. It's always a toss up on whether to wear my Due North spikes or not. They are perfect for packed streets but useless in deep snow. Also must be sure not to run too long on asphalt because they wear down quickly.
Mid day and mid storm. 14" at noon.
Since that storm we received 6 additional inches and more next week. Now that is a winter I expect. With all this snow the road running becomes tight and trail running is a bit more strenuous. But that's OK. After reaching a trail my mind gets lost and the stress flows out of me. Turning back is always the sad point of these winter runs but reality calls.
My job has me heading off to the north country again and I'll be running in Maine. More snow, more cold, more fun.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Winter, Deserts, Challenges

January rolls on and so does the variety of experiences that running brings. Last week I attended a Samsung meeting in Arizona. It was the national meeting for the MID group of distributors. Of course I was provided a new landscape for running as we were east of Phoenix in the desert.
Sunrise on a desert in winter-stunning
Each morning I ventured out along a desolate road heading out of town. Flat with low brush this wide road seemed innocent enough. It was very quiet and peaceful with only an occasional car coming by. Wide road shoulders of small gravel made running easy. The first day in the dark at 5:00am I was about 3 miles out when I saw something move. I stopped. Then noticed a group of large black animals! My first thought was bears except for white faces....they were cattle. Nice, cute, safe, but one problem. There was no fence between them and me. Still not bad until I saw a huge long horn cattle staring at me. What to do? Do I run? Will they chase me? It was rapidly clear that they could care less and just stared. I continued on my run. Each morning I went out and explored different roads. On my last morning I went 2 miles up a highway to Fountain Hills.

A small town with great sidewalks and large homes. Perfect area to run in and there were many cacti for pictures in the moonlight. One is below.
Thoroughly enjoyed the running in the 40f weather with the moonlit skies. This l;ast picture is of the moonrise at a company outdoor function. Just beautiful. It almost looks like a summer sunset here in
New England.

All this was adding miles to my Winter Warrior Challenge totals. This week I have slowed a bit because of a nagging cold. I can't keep up with the big mileage people so I'm working to stay in the top 10.Good training for the Cape Cod Fat Ass 50k and the Colchester Half Marathon.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Week 1 of the Winter Warrior Challenge

This old body got moving early this morning to add more miles in the Winter Warrior Challenge. I covered everything with the run including roads, Nassahegon Forest and Sessions Woods park. My total for the day was 17 miles. Well...16.99 according to my devices. The Garmin died at 15.99 which required me to start my Strava App on my phone. That was over a mile but only registered 1 mile. Therefore I know I did 17 miles but sent in 16.99 to the challenge. I figured out why my Garmin runs out of power so quickly...Bluetooth was on and always searching to link up. It is now off.
The Winter Warrior Challenge requires that all miles are run outside in January. I try to be in the top five each year. A few runners are machines with seemly endless miles in their tank. One guy almost does a full marathon each day has 134 miles so far. After seven days I am at 90 miles which is very good for me but only gets me 5th place in the state.

Nassahegon and Sessions trails were my targets today. I hadn't been in Nassahegon since last fall. Great trails that are relatively easy.
 The bridge below was a wee bit wobbly. Those cut logs are not connected and sag with each step. The ice and snow on top mage it treacherous.
 Always love the falls on Negro Brook in Sessions Woods. If we had more rain this year the ice would have been more dramatic. I also took video and put it on Youtube.
It was a winter wonderland out there as the pictures show.

The aches and pains are real as the miles take their toll. I'm purposely running slower so as not to stress my body. I did notice that there was no pain when running and walking trails through. Guess that's where I'll be tomorrow.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

End of 2016...Start of 2017

Another year of running is in the books. My running streak was responsible for another high mileage year in 2016. As of December 31st I ran 3,181 miles. Hard for me to grasp how far that is or that I could achieve it at 63 years old. Ironically it was five miles short of the distance I logged in 2015. No effort was made to match or exceed last year's number...it just happened. Can I do a 3rd year of 3,000+ miles? Hmmmm...I might as well try.

The last day of the year was also my 690th consecutive day without a break from running. Forty more days and I'll be at the elusive two year mark. I must make it that far. Morning running has become such an important part of my wake up routine I doubt I could go a day without at least a mile.

A new accumulation of miles began with an early and local five mile run then joined the Shenipsit Striders Fat Ass New Years run in Vernon CT. The trails were mostly frozen over wet and compacted snow therefore I wore my Due-North spikes. Some trails had crunchy lose snow or sometimes just leaves.
Ice trails
The air temperature was wonderful ranging from the high 30's to the low 40's. Definitely shorts for running. One person noted that only trail runners would be wearing ice spikes and shorts on the same day.  So true.
I had never been to the Valley Falls Park in Vernon CT. Nice setup with a lake, good parking, and outdoor facilities. The run today was a 2.5 mile loop with valleys, streams, steep hills, and gentle declines. Easy course of just the right length. I completed 4 loops which is just under 10 miles. On the Garmin Map below there is a single extension off the main loop which was needed to get me over 10 miles.


So on a perfect winter day I began my 2017 running with a total of 16 miles of running. Nice course and good runner friends from CT Trailmixers, Run 169 Towns, and Shenipsit Striders.

It's all uphill from here.
Great winter scenery on the run today.