I've been doing too much travel and not enough training. To get back into it, I hit the weights and hill repeats this week. My muscles reminded me that I'm out of shape. The good news, I lost some of the weight from vacation in January. The bad news, not enough.
One place that I do hill repeats is on the first hill out of the parking lot. It's a fairly level trail, a gravel road really. A former coach told me that a 14% grade is about right for repeats. This hill is a little steeper in places so I really have to pace myself. I know the pain of repeats will it will pay off later when I run in the mountains.
Along the trail I noticed some of the wild flowers are blooming. A couple of flowers that I found are the Rue Anemone and the Blood Root.
Even though it was raining, the birds kept me company. The White-throated Sparrows are returning and they were at the top of the first hill. I could hear the Eastern Meadow Larks singing. And my favorite bird of the day was the one singing as I finished my 4th hill repeat. It had a varied song so I thought it was some kind of mockingbird. But I had to get to the top before I looked for it. After I turned around at the top, and on the way down I stopped to look. It was still singing. A bird, in a flash that reminded me of the reddish brown color of a female Cardinal, flew across the trail and up into a tree. I watched, and it obviously was not a Cardinal. It sang that wonderful song. I got out my phone with the bird recordings and played the Brown Thrasher song - it matched !! I enjoyed it for a little while but it was raining, my phone was going to get wet, I had a Twins game to get to... I just started running again when I saw movement in the bushes along the trail - another Brown Thrasher ! And this time so close I could admire the coloring, the long tail, the streaking on the chest, the decurved bill - just WOW.
So even though it rained the entire time, I stopped to enjoy the wildflowers and the birds. I finished my hill repeats and got to the Twin's new stadium just as the sun was coming out. Our seats were high so it gave us a great view of the ball park. Good game, they won, 8 - 0, good company (with my sweetheart), good day !