February 28, 2009

Snow Shoeing at RTA

What a perfect day to be outside!! My biggest dilemma this morning was to decide what to do and where to do it. I knew that Alicia and the Afton regulars were having a snow shoe fat ass and potluck at Afton State Park which was extremely tempting. Then Brad from the MN Dead Runners list posted an open invite to join him at RTA with a local Eden Prairie reporter doing a story on snow shoe running. A few others were planning on a 50K fat ass through the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul. And yet someone else wanted to go snow shoeing at some park I've never heard of.

After a few sleepless nights at the end of this past work week, I decided not to set my alarm and just let nature take it's course. Woke up about 7:30 to see that temps were 3 degrees. (Heavy sigh). After futzing around waiting for the temperature to rise and trying to decide what I was going to do, I ended up heading out to RTA for my first round of snow shoeing all winter. Can you believe it? It's March Eve and I'm finally getting around to snow shoeing :)

Got out to RTA at about 10:30 to find absolutely nobody there. Apparently, not too many people joined Brad this morning as I only saw 2 sets of snow shoe tracks. The snow was perfect. About 6-8 inches of fresh fluff, clear blue skies, sunshine, and no wind.

When I got to the top of the biggest hill overlooking Hwy 212, I had unmarked snow and got to make first tracks. The snow was a little thinner and kind of crunchy, but still plenty of cover for the Red Feathers.

I probably would have been better off trying to get a longish run in rather than snoe shoeing, especially since I'm waaaay behind on my mileage after picking up a stomach bug last week, but the trails had too much snow for shoes and I fear that the running paths were probably glare ice.

I'm glad I had a day to be outside enjoying the North Woods. Happy March!

February 8, 2009

This 'n That

Got in another build up run yesterday... 13+ miles around Lakes Calhoun (twice), Harriet, and Lake of the Isles. Great weather 2 weekends in a row! For such a low key run, my legs felt more tired than they should have :( Makes me a little nervous with Chippewa only 2 and a half months away. The heel is doing "OK" with the longer runs, but still doesn't like hills.

I've also been doing some short barefoot runs on an indoor track 1-2 times/week, which doesn't do much for increasing my running base (at least in terms of miles), but does help strengthen the intrinsic muscles in the feet and lower legs. Since I haven't been running on trails, this is a great benefit! And it feels great to run without the weight of shoes!

Even though I'm feeling a little panic about getting ready for Chippewa, I found myself poking around the internet this weekend looking at 50 mile races. Not for this year, but within the next 2, possibly next year depending on how things go this summer.

Things to consider:
*Time of year (I don't like winter running, so putting in high mileage during those months probably wouldn't go well).
*Location (closer to home is cheaper and easier than having to fly somewhere, but not a deal breaker).
*Cut off times (I'm slow. And have NO experience pacing myself at this distance. Generous cut-offs would be an advantage; however, courses with generous cut-offs usually have them for a reason: they are much more demanding).
*Altitude - we don't have any here ;)
*Total elevation (hillier courses are harder and take longer).
*Trail type (singletrack is my favorite by a large margin. Not interested in a road run - or dirt road run).
*Course type (I prefer point to point or out and back rather than loops).

Of the races I'm aware of, my impression is that Voyageur and Superior are pretty darn tough for a slow first timer. Ice Age, Glacial, and Mohican are probably in the moderate category. Lean Horse sounds like one of the easier runs, but also sounds like it's more on dirt roads rather than trails? Bighorn is intriguing - I'll have to get more info from runners who've done it since we can't really prepare for high altitude or extended downhills/uphills in these parts. Rocky Raccoon has very generous cut-offs for the 50 and looks to be non-technical singletrack, but would require more travel and winter running than I really want.

So, any suggestions for a first time 50?

I'm wondering how Carl did on his 100 miler at Rocky Raccoon this weekend?

I rediscovered some music that I've had for ages and forgot I had: Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. It's like getting new stuff without having to buy it :)

Hope you are having a great weekend!