May 26, 2010

Dubya Tee Eff?

2010 has been a very odd year thus far.

After basically taking the winter off and then tweaking my Achilles in March, I'd really planned on getting some decent miles in the last couple of months. April was unseasonably warm and things were healing nicely. May started out pretty much the same way.

On May 8 while many of my friends were at Ice Age, I headed out to Afton for the first time this year (saw John P for the first time in awhile). Running on flat trails was going well and it was time to test the Achilles on hills. You never really know for sure if an Achilles injury is fully healed until you get some vertical miles in. Ran the Africa Loop and the Back 40 in mid-30 temps with a rain/snow mix. WTF? We haven't had any snow all of March and April, and now it decides to snow? I'd hoped to also get in Nigel's Hill and Campground Hill, but wasn't dressed appropriately for the "spring" weather. Cut it short at about 7 miles.

On May 16, I went back out to Afton while most of my friends were running Superior (saw Tom sans Nancy). One of the best things about running at Afton is I always see someone I know. Anyhoo, the plan was for a few loops of Nigel's & Campground Hills to get the aforementioned vertical miles in. Holy crap, it was humid! I felt very overheated after just one loop and pulled the plug early - only got about 6ish miles. WTF? Last week it was snowing and now I feel like I'm at Badwater.

Last Sunday I ended up at Hyland for what I hoped would finally be some double digit miles. Nope! The heat and humidity had me melting to the point of feeling sick to my stomach - done after only 6 miles. WTF? Done after six at Hyland?

This isn't exactly primo ultra training folks. I'm not even sure I dare sign up for the 10 miler at Chester Woods in 2 weeks - they might need a calendar instead of a watch to get my time. I'm glad I only committed to the 25K at Afton, and I'm thinking that the 50 miler at North Country is going to be an epic suffering session unless I can get things turned around in a hurry.

I've got a 4 day weekend coming up - not sure where I'll be running yet.

May 1, 2010

Hyland Barefoot Run & Hangin' With Raptors

Finally decided to head out to Hyland Lake to attempt the 2010 Trail Mix course this morning, but realized that I had forgotten the map (thanks for posting it Jeremy) and hadn't uploaded the course to my Garmin. In fact, the ol' Garmin has been acting up lately - freezing on runs, shutting itself off, etc. I'm still trying to decide whether to plunk down $150 for another 305 or wait until the newer 310X drops significantly in price.

Anyhoo, as I was approaching the park I started to notice signs that said "Event." Uh oh. "Events" usually mean the park is crazy busy and you can't always find parking. As I was pulling in, the kid staffing the booth near the entrance said that there would be a raptor release later in the morning and afternoon. Sweet! I've been to several releases by the MN Raptor Center, and it's something I never get tired of watching. I had gotten there early enough that I parked at my usual spot near Jan's Place with the other few cars - the crowds hadn't arrived yet :)

Since I was wearing my VFF's and the raptor event was going to start in an hour, I decided to run the 3.5 mile south loop and see how the Achilles felt. As it turns out, the Achilles is 100% healed - now I am just ridiculously slow and out of shape. Sure enough, I haven't lost my touch for attracting buzzards.

The trails are in excellent condition - no mud what-so-ever. Trees are pretty much leafed out and the tom turkeys are on the prowl for mates. Got back to Jan's Place just as the park staff and Raptor Center crew were setting up and getting the education birds out of their crates. I almost had them all to myself for a little while!

Female and Male Kestrel

Great Horned Owl

Bald Eagles

Turkey Vulture


As it turned out, the release would not happen for another couple of hours and I was starving, so I bailed before they got around to that part. Perhaps I'll catch another one in the fall :)

Awesome day to be out on the trails!