Thursday, November 28, 2013

stalked by turkeys...

no lie, on t-giving eve, right before dusk, out trying round off a 10 mile day, hear the rustling of leaves behind me thru my podcast on the earphones. turn around.  two turkeys maybe 20 yards away.  whatever. 

*boo*  they freeze, this is the end, right?

down the hill to the little creek crossing.  rustle rustle, rustle.  what the @*&$.  no.  turn.  two turkeys maybe 10 feet away circling menacingly.  huh.  i have trekking poles.  wave them menacingly.  feel stupid, inferior.  the original settlers of these walnut woods didn't wake leki trekking poles at turkeys.  they extirpated wolves. real wolves.  cmon.

tense standoff.  done playing this game.  turn, climb opposite ridge.  look back. game over, turkeys road-runnering it over the other ridge.

then this morning on the earphones, advertisement for this week's TAL.  this:

really.  stalked by turkeys.

Monday, October 21, 2013


very good day.  drove down to jacksonville to watch ec football take on macmurray, our third biannual trip down. like the drive, like the campus, good to get the win (23-15!!).  drive home up 78 to havana and over.  great fall scenery, trees just starting to turn.  took the boys to dinner at the harvest cafe in delavan.  amazing restaurant, highly recommend it.  had pheasant for the first time in my life, springfield brewery wheat beer, and the best dessert, literally, that we've ever had (cherry crumble with sweet corn ice cream). no kidding, it was that good.  all local farmers and seasonal foods, go check this out.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Farmdale Trail Run 2013--30 Mile Version

i really wanted to try an ultra distance this year, since my first was almost 10 years at the quivering quads in missouri.  having not done an ultra since august of 2010, i wanted to mix up my training approach.  power hiking and some minimal gentle running at a steady pace has become the staple of daily training. pretty simple principles, not at all scientific:

-train every day. have only missed 5 days in '13.

-mostly power hike/walk, some running but always on trail.  no speed work. no road running. steady diet of slow pace, something i find both enjoyable and sustainable physically and mentally

-as much volume as is possible.  sometimes this means double or triple "workouts."  often this means 1-2 hour trail sojourns with a headlamp at 4:30 or 5:00 a.m.  i do not mind this.  in fact, love it.  fewer "long runs"--longest sustained trail effort was 3 hrs. 30 minutes.  quite different from the 4-6 hour runs, midweek tempos of several years ago. what i did do was go 4 hours that day and 3 combined on the next.  weekly volume also way up the last few months compared to the past, but with much less recovery time needed.

-no dietary or other considerations, really.  just being sensible and having fun.

race itself:

with farmdale closed, the race was moved to jubillee state park, four loops on 7.something miles.  great trail, not overly tough, but some nice climbs mixed in.  i had no idea on pace goals but things worked out better than expected.  started steady, actually power hiking as fast as some at the back were running.  had the pleasure of chatting with mike siltman for a bit, ultra and beer guru.  yellow jacket sting to the back of the head at 3 hours, fall and leg spasms at 5 hours, neither turned out to be a big deal.

pacing was steady, i really had no idea about time, figured maybe 8 hours.  i was faster than that.   broke down like this:

loop 1: 1:40
loop 2: 1:47
loop 3: 1:47
loop 4: 1:56

watch time 7:11, official time 7:08    placed 32/61

fueling, hydration, and mental energy was good, never really flagged despite the heat.  climbed well all day using "chunking" strategy of going from tree to tree, an old mental trick that pays dividends.

so, i didn't finish this thing "fast" by race standards, maybe i'm not really even a "real runner" (what does that mean??) anymore, but am really happy to have proven to myself that i still have the fortitude to do an ultra.  it was great getting back into the "scene" and seeing like-minded folks, spending a day in the woods.  family there at the end was cool, the finisher's rock is great, now, planning on working to find a way to make this sustainable and look at some events for next year.  some days life is pretty good.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Rock Island Trail Bike Ride

from pioneer park, peoria to princeville, il via rit

elapsed time:  2:40

mileage: 28.5

avg. speed: 10.6 mph

great ride, trail is in better condition than it was a month ago, still some heavier sandy areas, but rideable.  fresh oil on the parking lot outside of dunlap.  very annoying, but can walk around up high berm.  lunch at indian place on pioneer and knoxville.  quality.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Hennepin Canal Trail Bike Ride

ride details:

cannondale hybrid.  rode from annawan to buerau junction, il via the hennepin canal trail.

elapsed time:  3 hr 20 min

miles: 36.31

ave speed 10.8 mph

i've always wanted to ride this canal trail, having crossed it numerous times on the way to the family farm. got my chance last week.  if you don't know the history of the canal, it is worth reading:

The Hennepin Canal played an important role in the history of the United States, and to commerce and industry, and the entire canal is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Thoughts of constructing a canal connecting the Illinois and Mississippi rivers date to 1834, but financial problems in the state held back many public works projects. Pressure for a transportation shortcut that was cheaper than rail continued though, and Congress authorized preliminary surveys on the project in 1871. Construction got under way in 1892 and the first boat, the Marion, went through in 1907, reducing the distance from Chicago to Rock Island by 419 miles. As the canal was under construction, the Corps of Engineers was widening the locks on both the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. With lock chambers 20 and 40 feet narrower than the rivers it connected, the canal was obsolete before the Marion made her initial voyage.

By the 1930s, the canal was used primarily for recreational traffic. The Hennepin and its sister canal, the I & M, tied the Illinois, Des Plaines and Mississippi river systems into a transportation network connecting Lake Michigan to the Gulf of Mexico. The I & M was completed nearly 60 years earlier and helped make Chicago one of the nation's greatest cities. The Hennepin Canal, which at one time was known as the Illinois and Mississippi Canal, was open to boat traffic until 1951. There was no cost to use the canal. Ice made from the canal's frozen waters was sold during the winters to help pay the canal's maintenance costs.

The Hennepin was the first American canal built of concrete without stone cut facings. Although the Hennepin enjoyed limited success as a waterway, engineering innovations used in its construction were a bonus to the construction industry. Some of the innovations pioneered on the Hennepin Canal were probably used on the Panama Canal. Both used concrete lock chambers and both used a feeder canal from a man-made lake to water the canals because both needed water to flow ‘uphill.’

Of the 33 locks on the canal, 32 remain visible. The first one, on the Illinois River, has been under water since the 1930s. Fourteen of the locks had Marshall gates, which are unique to the Hennepin, and are raised and lowered on a horizontal axis, much like a rural mailbox. Five of the locks have been restored to working condition, although they are not used. The Hennepin originally had nine aqueducts -- concrete troughs which carried the canal and its traffic across larger rivers and streams. Today, six remain while the other three have been replaced by pipes that carry the canal flow under a creek or river. 

started off at 9:00 a.m., first stretch is semi-paved, but weedy, very ridable.  rolled into the visitor's center and stopped for water and trail info. there a bunch of really cool old locks and bridges to see along this path, and the surface varies between paved, semi-paved, crushed limestone, and close to bare dirt. saw several fisherman, stopped at a tiny grocery in tiskilwa, the kind you don't see anymore, and stopped for a bison burger on the way home.  a good morning, a good ride.

lily pads in canal near annawan

 bridge near sheffield, il

 examples of locks


Friday, July 12, 2013

colorado vacation--2013 edition

ahhh, yeah, headed out west again, finally.

thursday:  walk 4 miles, n. platte river trail, n. platte, ne.  rockies vs. dodgers game at night with incredible fireworks dispaly

friday:  hike/run 6 miles from doug and lisa's in highlands ranch, co. up into hr open space.  beer recovery is always good. this year's menu:  herman joseph's (try finding this), amstel light, colorado native

saturday:  hike 6 miles highlands, co open space, vail, co. light hiking along gore creek and hanging out in villages

sun:  hike 7 miles total b/w hr, co and roxborough state park rim trail

mon: hike 4 miles, hr, co open space

mon-thurs: mountain cabin off of rt 67 south out of divide, co.  wed. was class III whitewater rafting through brown's canyon on the arkansas river, buena vista, co. andrew, age 6, beasted it through the rapids.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A day

finally some 70 and sunny.  start the day with a trail hike and trail run, trail slog, whatever, 1.5 hours.

coffee.  paper.

more trail.  saw zane and doug kayaking, hopped in a kayak myself for half an hour.  yes!

got news that my aunt katy died last night.  born on the bessarabian steppes, lived on the banat in romania, relocated to poland, lost a husband to black lung from the mines, fled the war to near hamburg, to the states, lost husband to brutal decades long plus illness.  strong, strong lady.  84 years.  r.i.p., katy, we love you.

more trail tonight.  ran into old friend of my dad's.  great day, hippie sensibilities, talked about old stories, the woods, geography.  took kids to hit golf shots.  played h-o-r-s-e.

a day.  a very good day. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Snow, yes, Snow

it's spring, oh yes, really, it's spring.  4 inches of wet, fresh powder.  go out.  run, hike, slog, use the trekking poles.  the high temp is 32, it should be 52.  it's wonderful.  really, it's wonderful.  oh yes, and it's spring.  we mentioned that...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Coffee or Death

developed the coffee vice after not drinking any caffeine for 9 years or so.  how i love coffee.  whole bean in the grinder is best, something about releasing the freshness, flavor, so i'm told.  just darn good.  give me coffee or give me...

Robinson Park South

power hike at robinson park south with the new leki trekking poles.  the lekis, a post for another time, perhaps.  the meat: the trail goes moon hollow to strawberry hollow,  went under rt. 6 through the drain pipe, they have neato wooden stairs and a bridge built in, i assume for the walkway to be built possibly sometime before we die OVER rt. 6.  but not today.  mud and garbage in the drain pipe, oh well.  oh, and no trail yet.  semi-bushwhack along the embankment, across the dirt access road, another nifty bridge, then partially up into boyd's hollow, no trail, hiked part way up, turned around.

then it got good.  second to last ridge before mossville rd, heard a dogfight, brays, cries, coyote screams, something.  have heard before at night never during the day.  interesting.  down the hill across the bridge, heading up hill towards old mine (?).

 look up through the trees to the northeast, there he/she is--big, big...wolf, no, coyote, had to be.  biggest coyote i've ever seen.  never, ever seen one during the day, this one walking leisurely, not spooked by me, maybe 50 yards away.  not spooked. big.  most interesting.  hours and hours and hours alone on trails during daylight hours, have never seen a coyote.  have never seen a coyote like this one, period.  now i have. worth the sweat and soreness.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Robinson Park South

everyone wants spring, i say just nice to be out.  32 degrees. some ice on the north facing slopes, clear on south facing.  deer trail to main trail all the way to rt. 6.  the illinois river bluff trail, eventually will reach all the way to forest park. scrambled down and looked at the drainage tunnel, didn't go through.  next time.  speed hiking, very little running, like i said and say, just nice to be out.  take what the trail gives you.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Snow Day

early march usually signals a few 40 degree days, some 50s, some sun, you know, those first really comfortable t-shirt days after a usually harsh midwest winter.  don't get me wrong, i love being out in the cold, but why live here if one can't appreciate the differences and shades of the seasons.

today is snow.  soft, moisture-laden snow.  sticks to the oak branches, coats the pines, dies a soft death on the running Walnut, not cold enough for ice.  not this late in winter.

walk, walk 5 miles, maybe more, less maybe, who cares.  compelled to get out in it.  it's a snow day, after all.

Friday, January 04, 2013


2012 total miles run/walk/hike/move:  1547 miles

Since 2001:  12,822 miles

Not a lot relative to some, but on my way to a goal of 20,000.

Here's a to a healthy 2013