Mudding Around The Cove Ranch


Today’s One Hour Active (techncialy 45 minutes, I’m working up to it!) was a mountain bike ride across the valley to a spot I’ve hiked/walked around, a private ranch called The Cove Ranch; but around it was forest jeep trails and notches to explore. There is still some snow and a fair bit of mud, so got some practice digging through the muck.

Five Easy Miles

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Yesterday was a break in the walking action- I signed up for a lesson to go surfing, and it totally thrashed my body! I thought the standing would be demanding (it was, bit more on my weak sense of balance), it was the paddling that wore me out. I was super stiff last night.

Today’s plan was back walking- the five mile, mostly flat Wai Koa Loop Trail, that wanders through an organic farm/tree plantation. It was a hidden gem, with very few other people out (mostly mountain bikers), among a varied landscape, with great mountain views.

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More than that, it just felt good.

So good that for dinner tonight, I walked another 3 miles total to pick up some tacos for dinner.

Na Pali Heights

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I’m here for a week’s vacation in Kauai– just me, myself, and my old body. I’ve got myself to entertain, and my plan is to enjoy some luxury of a trip paid for 2 years ago, to dispel some old un-needed memory baggage, and to get some hiking miles in.

On my first day, I explored the beach trail right outside the Westin Princeville- its a steep little drop o a hidden gem of a beach. And for the afternoon, it was out to the end of the highway. to the start of the long trail from Ke’e beach. I had done this hike in 1996, my first visit to hawaii. I dont seem to recall ti well, but am fairly sure I did thw full hike to the big Hanakapi’ai waterfall – today, I aimed just for the beach, 2 miles in, 2 out. Wow, did it ever feel like it was longer! It;s a fair bit of climb and drop, at least 800 feet or so of change, and some slippery spots on a trail gushing with water.

It was, though a glorious day, and the movement really felt good, something my body has not done in a while.

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Only 4 miles added to the click, but some good up and down in some moist heat.

Strawberry Ridge Hike

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The direct path from here to that ridge, was a huge loop to the left, and quite a bit of up and down to get there.

The view from my back deck looks across the valley to a high ridge, one that looks continuous from the peak of Strawberry Mountain on the left. I’ve been up on parts of the ridge a few times- there are no formal trails. If you are sharp, you find the game trails left by deer and elk. But they are nimble creatures and climb some steep grades. My previous excursions have involved a lot of literal bushwhacking (keep in mond that many bushes here have thorns) and usually some stupid slippery descent.

But I’ve scouted the topo maps and did some flybys in Google Earth. Today was the day to make a traverse.

And perhaps you know that saying about the map not being the territory? True. Terrain gets simplified in maps, details of ravines and rocky ridges get lost below resolution.

Here’s a track of my trip today, captured in the RunKeeprr app (O exported the KML file and loaded it in Google Earth)

strawberry ridge hike

I’ve not been doing nearly enough exercise, you can see how I pegged so many “achievements” in RunKeeper:

Farthest Distance 8.32 mi

Longest Duration 4:37:42

Most Calories Burned 1480 cal

Largest Elevation Climb 1513 ft

Farthest Distance in a Week 8.32 mi

Longest Duration in a Week 4:37:42

Most Calories Burned in a Week 1480 cal

Largest Elevation Climb in a Week 1513 ft

Farthest Distance in a Month 8.32 mi

Longest Duration in a Month 4:37:42

Most Calories Burned in a Month 1480 cal

Largest Elevation Climb in a Month 1513 ft

Gimme the damned badge.

Until the latter part, I left the phone map in the pocket, and relied on what I remembered of the terrain. The lay of the land of course changes in many ways compared to viewing from my deck to standing atop the mountain. What looks like a straight shoot turns out to be broken by more ravines and rubbly climbs than you see from far away.

But its fun to put your knowledge of land shapes, drainages, and direction to work, sans mobile device. The thing here is a straight map line traverse would be deadly, and I found at the top, I had to curve way back from the front ridge to work my way around the steep drops between the ridge parts. It often seemed like going in the wrong direction to get the right direction.

The best strategy I found was to keep as much to the high ground as possible, much of it was open and just rocky. I was thinking of my undergraduate Geology mentor, Doc Thompson, who was always talking durting our field work about the wise route to contour your way around rough terrain, meaning to try to avoid a lot of up and down. As a bunch of 20 somethings we laughed and dashed up and down, but Doc’s words felt right on today.

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I spent 4 hours exploring and moving around the mountain top, and did not see one sign of human activity beyond what had been cleared by the forest service years ago. No trash. No signs. No roads (well I did walk a bit on a jeep trail along a fenceline– and bumped into a cell phone tower.

This idea of smartly contouring ones way around rough terrain seemed metaphoric for something. And the practice of putting yourself at the mercy of your own ability, direction sensing, and way findinding is about one of the most rewarding experiences I can think of.

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Three a Week

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Got three rides in this week, Monday (12 miles), Thursday (15 miles), and today a (semi) solid 20. Here i am just about to go down a fairly serious drop from Rustic Ridge; I had headed out Deacon Road from Fredericksburg, one of the few places with a dedicated, but intermittent, bicycle lane, and then left/north on Brooke Road.

The rout was lovely, with lots of sections through dark forests. The road is very narrow, and the traffic, was pretty patient, waiting to pass when the view was clear. This was some more hill work than I have done in a while. I’m feeling it.

So my weekly total, is less than half of the one day distance I will need in late August.

As a young lady reminded my in Canada trying to teach me how to ice skate… Baby steps. Baby steps…

Back in the Saddle

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I’ve actually been getting back into riding for a couple of weeks, getting used to the riding conditions (el crappo) in the Fredericksburg, Virginia area. Well, there are lovely country roads, but apparently the idea of bike lanes or even using some extra tar for shoulders is akin to heresy.

But I am now on a commitment, having signed to ride the 142km GrandFond Banff ride on August 25, 2012. The scenery there is more than enough, but its also a chance to ride with my friend D’Arcy Norman, a biker nut if there ever was one.

We rode a portion of this route when I visited last August

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and celebrated the day properly

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So now I have to start a regular routine and build up.

I am riding,

Walking the ‘thon

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Another year, another medal. I feel good about finishing yesterday’s PF Changs Marathon, and not for anything related to time, but to just sticking to it.

I decided to walk the full marathon, in final proof of this blog’s title. I stuck to my walking, and finished in 6:49 at a 15:32 minute/mile pace- I had a few splits at a 14:44 pace. I was at the half-way point around 3;23. Kind of funny as people have to run a full marathon in 3:20 to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

But no, I am not obsessed about time. I was busy looking around

For this year’s totals, we have (weak drum roll…)

  • $1355 raised for the American Diabetes Association (YAY for my sponsors).
  • 182 miles training (including the last 26.2)
  • 44.1 hours spent training (44.1 hours not snapping or face planted in front of the computer).
  • 7 pounds lost (hopefully not coming back)

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My Main Street Takes You To A Canyon

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Today was Long Training Day. I was not feeling up to waking at 4:30am to join the Team D training, so I was only my own to pick a 20 mile route. One option was to repeat the loop I did two weeks ago around Strawberry Mountain, but double back to repeat the loop (done that one, not too inspired). Another plan was to start in Pine and follow Highway 87 almost all the way to Payson. Walking on a narrow shoulder on a well traveled highway was not sounding thrilling at all.

Plan C was to follow the main street in Strawberry, Fossil Creek Road, all the way out of town (I had down a 4 mile outward trip last month)- 10 miles would take me all the way down the steep switchbacks to the bottom of Fossil Creek Canyon. I was a bit wary of being far out of range should I need help, but thought it was not much different than taking the hiking trail down and back up, something I’ve done quite a few times.

It ended up being 19 miles in total, but I figure I traded that one last mile for doing an 1800 foot descent into the Canyon and the same ascent outward. Here’s the map from RunKeeper:

I’m glad I opted for the warmer top layer as it was pretty cold in the shadows going down, and the sun was reluctant to show until after mid-day.

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I only saw one car on the road all the way down; there were a few parked at the first parking area where you can access the river. I forgot how far down it looked when you started- coming around that forst curve at the top of the Canyon, you cannot even see the river at the bottom. I measured it as 4 miles from that first view, but really its about a 5 1/2 mile down hill from the top elevation past the last houses in town.

But I made it to the river, and took a short rest and snack.

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It’s very peaceful by the creek, and a better trip might be driving down and hiking the creek.

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But I had a mission and had to get myself home, so I put the legs in low gear and trekked upward. Actually the pace felt good climbing out, and maybe I got lost in thought or music, but the trip out seemed shorter.

I’m glad I clocked the long walk in- and oh are my legs tight now, but I feel pretty good.

With the longer time planned on route for the big walk and the trainings, I’ve made a few gear adjustments. To have my iPhone bater last, I am using it solely for tracking the route with the RunKeeper app. Before leaving, I turn off wireless, 3G data, notifications, and quit all apps in memory. I figure I get about 3 hours to a charge. But I have added an Splash O2 Lite battery case, which adds an extra full charge. It’s similar in function to the Mophie I had for my iPhone 3G- the Splash specs seem like a bit more juice. The downside is that it means I have to stretch the rubber case on my Tuneband carrier to get the thing on my arm strap. For music, I am using my IPod Nano 3G, which has batter life galore. So my arm band is geeked out.

I was somewhere 10% battery left when I got back after 5 1/2 hours, so I dont know what to do for the Marathon day. I will either charge of my Solio charger so I can charge the phone or consider getting s Second Splash unit.

I am carrying my pocket Canon for doing photos- I really want to use the iPhone only for running the GPS tracking.

It’s all downhill now in the training taper.

Running Down to Pine

Running From Strawberry
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Part of today’s training run was a 3 mile descent down AZ 87 from Strawberry to Pine.

What was that low distance whistle blowing this morning? Could that have been the excuse train? It id not ride close to my house, but its wail is distinct.

It was a great day to mix up the running routine, get out of town. The training schedule called for 8 miles today, two notches up from Sunday’s 10k run. I devised a plan/challenge. When I am in town, I meet friends for Breakfast in Pine at the Randall House at 10:15am. My idea was to incorporate in the run the long hill down from Strawberry to Pine– I measured it in my car the other day, and clocked 3 miles from the intersection fo Fossil Creek Road to the Randall House.

I prefixed the fill by doing a 1.8 mile loop around my neighborhood, just in case my energy waned, I would not by stuck down the hill. I felt okay, so I hit AZ 87 and climbed this side of the hill to the crest.

Going down felt great! There was not a whole lot of traffic, and I ran on the left side, facing oncoming traffic, so I could dodge to the thin to non shoulder if vehicles were approaching.

There’s very little good running surface once you hop off the road, a few short patches with some firm footing, and the one passing line, but the rest is slopping gravel.

I got down to Pine, passed the restaurant and continued south until I got to the Rimside Grill, and turned back, to stop at the Randall House (which, by the way, is the best place in town to eat!). I clocked 6.7 miles, which is okay.

And no, I did not run back up the hill, not this time (probably not ever); I got a ride home with a friend.

If only all runs could be downhill….

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Phoenix 10k

Phoenix 10k
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Thanks to snafu with the clock on my iPhone I almost did not make it to the start line (it made a daylight savings time adjustment although Arizona does not do that).

As is I did not have time to check in at ye TeamD booth, I forgot to adjust the basal rate of my insulin pump (I remembered a the 1 mile marker), and I never was able to untangle my iphone headphones.

But I just plodded along and did my 6.1 miles, at pretty much my usual turtle pace. It was weird at about the 2.5 mile marker when all of these really fast runners went by; then I realized it was the front of the pack lapping me (this route is a 5k loop down twice). They were like a heard of gazelle (and I was the hippo in the pond, standing agape).

The weather was warm and sunny, the course flat, and most importantly, I finished. I need to get back to the define training schedule and maybe I can feel more comfortable come January 17 going double this distance/