Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Another McNaughton Park Training Run

Made it out Sunday for 4 hours to McNaughton, shifting over to the race course, rather than the hillier Forest Park trails on the theory that I've already maxed out my leg strength, plus this is the best time of year to be out there.

Andy has marked the course thoroughly, seems to me there are a few more field areas near the beach trail, but I could be imagining. Pam and I did almost 2 loops, Heaven's Gate in its entirety, which I always get turned around on, but not with the yellow ribbons. There was some mud in the flat spots where the snow had melted. This week has seen a lot of rain, but the course dries out fairly well, who knows what the 15th will bring. I felt strong the whole way, hydration and food strategies seem to be working, although I may go with a bit more electrolytes than I did at Glacial to try and stave off those intermittent leg cramps.

I'm so stoked for this ultra, have missed out the last few years on McNaughton. '04 was coming off of a bout with PF after the Quivering Quads 50k and just did the 10 mile fun run. Last year was the tibial fracture, but I got to volunteer at the start/finish line for about 9 hours and meet cool people, including seeing Eric Clifton win the 100. But not in '06, baby. We're primed and ready. I see lots of locals on the registration list. Dave is running the 50, Troy the 30, and I see lots of familiar names. Kim and Keegan are even volunteering at an aid station for a bit.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Yet More Places to Experience

Who says the former prairie has no soul?
This structure appeared to be an abandoned church. I have no particulars, but she eminated a strange energy, to be sure. Somewhere in Tazewell County--worth the search.

This old bridge spans the Mackinaw River near Hopedale. I robbed this history off the net:

"The bridge, located about five miles south of Tremont on Locust Road, was built in 1910 by a local man to span the Mackinaw River in Tazewell County. It was named after John Waltmire, a farmer who lived nearby. It's also commonly known as the Locust Street bridge because of its close proximity to that road. The bridge links the townships of Hopedale and Dillon. For years, many rural commuters used the one-lane bridge to get to their jobs or shopping in Peoria and to get to Tremont. Over time, however, the bridge began to show its age. The steel used to build the bridge in the early 1900s is no longer used for that purpose. It is rusty, and its wooden planks are rotting with gaps in some places of between 3 and 5 inches. Eventually, the weight allowed on the bridge was reduced to a 3-ton limit."

Monday, March 13, 2006

McNaughton Park Trail Run Training

So i decided yesterday morning would be a good morning for a training run at McNaughton for three reason:

1. It might be good to actually train beyond eating alot, drinking a few beers and sprinkling long runs here and there.

2. It had stormed the night before and the trails were sure to be mucky. Who doesn't enjoy muck.

3. A midweek visit to the orthopedist fearing another stress fracture but hoping for a weenie soft tissue injury had me thinking, what better way to test a leg than with a five hour run??

At least the weather was nice, 50-55 degrees for the duration, an improvement from our -3 degree temps for a long run three weeks ago.

Took off from the teepee and headed right into the single track. Nobody's fool, i noticed a pattern immediately: mud, hills, mud. That stayed consistent for the whole morning. The muddiest stretch was probably the downhill from the totem pole to the creek crossing. First creek crossing was swollen pretty good, although the cold water was welcoming, came to about mid calf in the shallowest spot. I did pretty well disregarding the "no horses" spray paint, even though i fall solidly in the clydesdale stable, and stayed on the red trail.

After the rope hill and past the foundation, came upon andy and crew working on their new massive log bridge over the creek crossing. Would see them two more times. They work too hard. Ended up cheating and cutting off the heaven's gate loop and the very section, mostly to get to water more quickly. Climbed fairly well, skiing as adeptly as possible on the mud slicks and finished a nice five hours in three abbreviated loops.
Interesting things I saw in the woods:

1. Deer-lots of them as usual- 6 or 7 bounding across the field loop by the cemetery.

2. A dead tribble? Some fuzzy trail kill of unidentified origin. By the third loop I'd csi'd and determined either a tribble or chubacabra.

3. A flock of geese flying east, presumably back from a weekend in vegas.

4. Dog barking on the trail ahead. -look for owner- -spot owner- -owner is an old dude with a big white beard who, as my five year old son would say, was "popping a squat" next to a large oak tree. *note to self-next time don't look for owner*

5. Mud and hills.

All that and back in time to fill out my ncaa bball brackets (go Bradley!). Not a bad morning.

Soundtrack: Tsunami "Brilliant Mistake"

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Taoist Fighting Monk

From Deng Ming Dao:

"When the gatekeeper announced the entrance of a challenger, all the students expected a quick resolution. But this time when Wang Ziping looked up and saw a wiry man about 70 years old, he paused. Wang could size up a man at a glance. This one had skill.

The stranger was tall and quite thin. His white hair was cut into a severe crew cut, and he had a long beard, the symbol of an elder. He evidently spent alot of time outdoors, for his skin was as brown as teakwood. Saihung noticed that his hands were long and flexible. Wang Ziping was a heavyweight. The man was like a stick figure before him.

'I know your reputation' began the stranger politely. He held his clasped hands in front of him in the gesture of respect.

'I do not believe in isolating myself in a mountain retreat. I believe in testing my skill against skilled people. If I win, then I know that old age has not yet bested me. If I lose, then I know the weak points I have to correct.'

'I have heard of men like you,' responded Wang. 'You are interested only in the pinnacle of skill.'

'I would like to see if I have made progress in my practices. Would you oblige me?'

Wang could not refuse. His honor was at stake.

They began to circle each other warily. Neither made any flamboyant moves. There were no fancy postures, no talking, no tricks. Two dedicated martial artists who would, if nothing else, uphold the dignity of the challenge and themselves.

From the first clash, Saihung could see that his teacher was at a disadvantage. The stranger hit Wang repeatedly, hard enough to make booming sounds but not enough to injure him.

They fought in fifteen minute rounds. Wang was tiring. The older man was not even breathing hard. Wang Ziping tried every technique that he knew, he still could not best his challenger. In all they fought four rounds for a bout that lasted over an hour. It was the challenger who stopped the contest.

'Thank you for indulging me,' said the man politely at the end of the final round.

Totally anonymous and without students or career, the old man cared for only his art. Yet nothing about his persona hinted at this attainment."