Thursday, February 24, 2011

Some Kind of Business Trip

Business trips are usually inconvenient and not usually what you call fun. So I always try to find something that makes the trip a little more interesting. This trip was to Huntington Beach California. I stayed at the Hilton Waterfront hotel, which is located just across the street from the beach.

So at 5:30 in the morning I headed out for run along the beach. I also took my adventure cam along for some pictures. It was 43 degrees and overcast and still kind of dark outside.

As I ran along the beach I saw surfers pulling on wetsuits getting ready to hit the waves.

What I also found funny was that at 43 degrees, I had on knickers and a long sleeve tech shirt and felt overdressed and hot, but all the locals I saw running had on fleece jackets, long tights, hats and gloves. I just kept trying not to laugh, they would never make it in the Midwest winters.

I also saw a guy running in a Mizzou hoodie and a biker wearing a pair of Illini bike shorts, so there are some Midwesterners living out there.

AND then…. I flew into St Louis, to pouring down rain, high winds and cold temperatures. I guess business trips aren’t all that bad.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Day on the Trails

On Tuesday the weather was so nice, Mark and I headed out on the mountain bikes for a ride. The snow and ice was still pretty thick in the woods so we decided to ride the paved trails. There were places with no snow, but lots of places with slick ice and snow. Fortunately for me, I stayed on two wheels, but that wasn’t the case for Mark, he took a couple rolls in the snow. We made it back into SIU at dark and decided to take the road the last 5 miles in. This was just about the same time that my helmet light died. I rode behind Mark for the rest of the ride to try and pick up some of his light. We made it home in just under 2 hours. It was a great ride and we were both so happy to be outside, we didn’t care how long it took to finish. I can’t wait for spring.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Lost Valley Training Day

I’m training for the Double Chubb 50K in April, so now is the time that I need to get in all my long training runs so that I will be ready for the race. Every other weekend from now until the race, I will be running a long run. Lucky for me a bunch of my friends are also training for spring trail races. Today was a long run at Lost Valley. One loop of Lost Valley starting at the parking lot is 11 miles. Some of the bunch planned on one lap, while others planned on two. I had planned on two laps, but as always plans don’t always work out.

We met at the lot at the top of the Lost Valley hill at 8 am. We were waiting for Mike, but he thought we were starting at 8:30 so he wasn’t there. Emily gave him a quick call and he said to take off he would catch us on the trail. So we snapped a quick picture and were off.

We headed down the hill and toward the creek, we all made it across the creek without falling in. The snow was much deeper than I had expected. I didn’t have my gaiters on because I didn’t think the snow was so deep, that was a mistake. The group broke up a bit at this point, but at every intersection as I would come upon those in front of me I would be bombarded with snowballs.

We would also mark the direction with arrows made of sticks, this was so the group behind us would know which direction to go.

We were putting an arrow down about 2 miles from the start when Mike caught up with us, he was running like a gazelle.

As we passed the pond, Pat yelled take a picture of the pond, so I did.

We took off again, Bill and I were talking and the group sort of got away from us. We had to make some quick moves to catch up.

I started to fall off and finally lost the front group at about mile 8. My legs just wouldn’t go. My brain kept saying “Go you can do it” and my legs kept saying “no way, you can’t make me”. I was really starting to struggle. As I was running the last downhill before the finish, I saw someone coming up the hill and he had a snowball. It was my friend Mike, he was headed out for his first lap of the day. He didn’t hit me with the snowball. I talked to him for a minute and he said the group was just heading towards the parking lot, so they weren’t too far in front of me. I made it back to the parking lot and quickly ate a Honey Stinger Waffle and refilled my water bottle. We said our goodbyes to the people who only did the first lap and headed out for the second lap. Chuck, Patrick and me were going for a second lap and Kate met us to do a first lap.

When we made it to the intersection where you can take the short loop or long loop, I decided that I was having a really bad running day and was going to take the short loop, so I said my goodbyes and headed up the mile long climb. This was a real mistake, my legs just weren’t working and my quads were screaming trying to get through the snow. I was not having a good day. I stopped for a picture, thinking this would give me an excuse to stop.

So then it was back to running. I decided to try something new, a different running style, I needed to do something or I was going to be walking back to the finish. First though I stopped to puke and relieve myself. Then I started running like I had cross country skis on. Kind of shuffling my feet, this forces my body to use my butt muscles instead of my quad muscles. This should be easy for me since I have a LOT of junk in my trunk, it’s good strong junk, but still junk. This running style was working well for me, since I didn’t have to pick my feet up. My pace picked up and I started feeling better. After a few miles of this, I was felling guilty about taking the shorter loop, so since I was feeling better, I decided to head out on a third lap. I ran to the creek and jumped over it without getting my feet wet.

I ran up to the next trail intersection and then turned around and started back. I thought I might run into Mike, but never saw him. I headed back up the big hill and about half way up I decided to walk. My stomach started growling, I reached in my pocket for a HS Rocket Chocolate, and didn’t find one, I was sure I had put one in my pocket, but it wasn’t there. So I kept moving up the hill, thinking about food. When I got to the top of the hill and headed to the parking lot I heard someone behind me and it was Mike. We looked back and saw Chuck, then Patrick appeared at the top of the hill and soon after that Kate came in. So we all finished within 10 minutes of each other. I only ran 19 miles, not the 22 I had planned, but it felt like 25 miles. I’m glad it’s over. I sure hope the snow is gone for my next long run. Oh and when I got back to the car, my HS Rocket Chocolate bar was sitting on the seat of my van.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ice Storm 2011

The Midwest was hit with the ice storm of the century. The St Louis area ended the two day storm with about 4 inches of ice and an inch of snow on top of the ice. This kind of weather can make running almost impossible, but lucky for me impossible has never stopped me.

Tonight, I went out to the mountain bike trails at SIUE and took my spycam with me. The boys were coming a little later, but I needed to get my run in early so I took off. Since there was so much ice under the snow the ground was really hard and the snow gave it a little traction. It was actually pretty easy to run on and the only foot prints I saw belonged deer and rabbit. I was having a great run, stopping to take pictures of the ice in the trees.

The spycam has some good features, like a timer, so I sat the spycam on a branch and took a couple picture of myself on the icy trails. I also took some video, and you know what I hate, the spycam video always makes me look really fat, I mean it looks like I have a JLo booty, why is that. Well it could be that I do have a JLo booty, but I’m really hoping it’s the camera. I’m going to do some research on skinny cams and then I’m going to buy the best one I can find. Come back soon to see the upcoming skinny cam videos.