Sunday, May 30, 2010

Short Run

With the long run yesterday and I wanted to GPS the newly planted trees, we started out at the Afton land. It was already tough to find the trees in all of the trees and grasses. We found some, 3 had actually been dug out ? What would do that? Also found a turkey. She got up slowly and moved away - may be nesting? I didn't want to disturb her more so I didn't go look.

By the time we got to Afton SP, the heat was on. Nancy was in the parking lot, she had finished her run. Tom arrived a short time later. We did the "snowshoe loop".

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Running at Afton

We ran from Afton SP parking lot. Only one horse trailer in the lot so maybe we won't see too many horses out there?

The first hill was an easy down. The uphill however, had branches blocking the way. Like most people, I thought it was a mistake so went down to the next turn and found more branches. I went back to the first pile and carefully stepped around them. At the top we saw the sign that said "closed". Oh.

We did a combination of Afton 25K and whatever trails we felt like running. When we finished the back loop we stopped and talked to Alicia. She knew about the trail closing and the Afton Trail Run organizers were aware of it and working on a course change.

It was our lucky day, a little over 4 hours and no horses.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Twins vs. Yankees

Had the opportunity to go to the Twins game today. Loren chose game 3 in the series against the Yankees. As luck would have it, they lost the first two.
The weather was sunny and in the 70's. Sitting in the sun, it felt warmer. "The kids" (why do we call them that? they are obviously adults.), joined us. It was good to see them.

The sun went down and the Twins won. Perfect !

Planting trees

Had a great morning hiking in the wet grass and marsh areas around Waseca for my section of the BBA. I only got through part of it because I'm such a beginner that it takes me longer to identify the birds. Besides, it was such a great time to enjoy the birds.

Then went out and planted about 20 trees on the land by Afton State Park. My thought process to determine where to place the trees: where might they grow successfully? is there enough water? is there too much sun in the heat of the day? where to to give them room to grow and still preserve the prairie?

Saw a couple of wildflowers growing: bergamot, false indigo. Found orioles, wood ticks, and a pheasant.

By the time I had finished planting, it was too hot to run hills.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Nature Center

Have you tried those single serve ice cream from Kemps? They were on sale recently and I bought a couple flavors to try. Then I looked at the calories - 300 !  Today I saw Rainbow had some single serve frozen yogurt with fruit toppings, 10 for $10. The calories are list as 160 - much better. Not as good as fruit or carrots, but better than 300.

Ran with "the girls" at Hyland this morning. Warm, but all of us kept saying, "not as bad as yesterday".

A turkey greeted us at the end of the run near the Richardson Nature Center.

Stopped by Carpenter Nature Center on Monday. It is so beautiful out there. The peonies are gorgeous right now. And they smell wonderful.
Saw an Indigo Bunting by the pond. And there are these cute little tadpoles swimming in the lower pond. Double click on the photo to see a closer view.
Or here is zoomed in photo. If you look really close, you can see their tails.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Afton Running

Did a quick run on the snowshoe loop at Afton this morning. Perfect weather - sunny and almost 70. The wild geraniums are spectacular and the ferns are beautiful. I am amazed at the variety of ferns. 

Sorry, no photos, my camera wasn't working.

Didn't hear many woodpeckers but saw a vulture, turkeys, pheasants, towhees, thrashers, bluebirds, tree swallows, nuthatches and other little birds. Heard several others singing. Did not bring my binoculars on the run. Took them back out on the trail after running but it wasn't very helpful. Just ahead of me were two women, a toddler and a dog making a lot of noise. I gave up and went home to watch Kathy on TV (see Tuesday's note). Both Kathy and Claire were awesome.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Running Lake Calhoun

Great day running around Lake Calhoun. The sun was out, the skies were clear. Ran with some friends so we did one loop. It was really good to see people out enjoying the day.

Two surprises, orioles were singing from the trees AND the water was so clear I could see fish in several places. My best guess: sunfish, carp and trout - long and narrow with a rounded tail? Can I really be in the heart of a big city?

Gloria organized the "puppy shower" at lunch for Kathy and her new companion dog Claire. Claire is so good and very, very cute. Kathy gave a quick demonstration of Claires ability to help her. It seems to be love at first sight - for both of them.

Kathy also shared that she will be on TV on Thursday, some morning program (about 10:40) and then WCCO news at noon. They are promoting a 5K run to raise money for the helper dog organization that is this weekend. More info at Helping Paws

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Superior Trail 25K

It seems like we usually take the scenic route and this time wasn't any different. Yesterday we drove up to Lutsen, stopping at Hawks Ridge and not at Betty's Pies. After we arrived at the Caribou Lodge, I checked us in and Loren went to see if he could get our race packets. We found our room, unloaded the car and sorted through the race stuff. For something different, we bought TV dinners that we nuked in our room, watched a little tv.

This morning we went to cheer the 50K people that started at 7am. It was a great time to see people like Steve and Carolyn with Steve running his first race in 3 years, Jason a fast first timer on this course, Wendy an energizer bunny, Maria who does everything, Carl a running machine, the Donny / Bonnie dynamic course marking team, Helen an awesome runner who is having a really good racing year, and Paul who says he is concentrating on speed rather than distance.

After the 50K started, we had 2 hours before our race began. Some of us went to breakfast at the lodge restaurant. The staff were friendly and it looked like it had been totally remodeled since we were there in 2008. A table by the window was perfect for watching the snowshoe hare and the birds at the feeder.

It was an easy walk back to the room to finish preparing for the race. The usual questions: How much water are you going to carry? How much food? What are you going to wear? Are you going to bring a jacket? With those questions answered, we walked over to the start where we talked to Carolyn and Nancy. They looked fabulous, like they were well trained and ready. It was our turn to run.

It was a perfect day, temps in the 40's at the start, lots of sunshine. We knew we had a beautiful trail and the whole day ahead of us.

I like running in the woods on trails and it pretty much doesn't matter how rocky or rough they are. I don't wear trail shoes, just road shoes that have enough cushion to protect my feet from the rocks. Slipping usually isn't an issue and the stiff soles of trail shoes make my feet ache.

Talked to a few people during the race. Found out that there was a group of women doing this as their "ladies weekend". They graduated from high school together in 1995. A couple of them had experience with trail races but they ALL decided to do this. What a great idea.

Stopping to take photos of the wildflowers slowed me down a little, they were too pretty to just pass by. At the packet pickup, someone had put together an information board with photos of wildflowers and names of the flowers: Dutchman's breeches, wild violets, marsh marigolds, bluebells and more.

How can this event can be a ladies weekend? Maybe it has some spa like features? A potential spa adventure for me included some acrobatics followed by a dip in the mud. Could wearing mud on half my body for 10 miles be considered a spa treatment ?  How did I do this? I tried to navigate around some mud. As I jumped to a middle rock, my foot slipped and I fell sideways. Luckily, I missed all the other rocks as I landed in the muck.
Not only did we finish, so did all the people we talked to before the race. One exception - Carolyn the saint. She gave up her race to walk an injured runner back to civilization. Carolyn talked to the runner later and was told that they would be OK. Carolyn has plans to to be back to finish this race. Paul the speedster had an awesome race - 2nd male in the master's division. His speed training seems to be going well. So is Helen's, 2nd woman in the open division.

It was a well organized race THANKS to Gretchen and Mike, the race directors and ALL of the volunteers.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Good to be Home

It's good to be back.

We made a quick trip to Kansas last weekend, went down for visit with my father-in-law. All is well.

I enjoy his company and he just amazes me. I knew he had a sweet tooth, almost as much as I do. But, this weekend he exceeded my expectations. We went to his favorite place to eat, Coyote Cafe in Salina, an all you can eat buffet. After he had eaten a full meal, he ate three pieces of cake! Don't ask me how many desserts I ate, because I lost track of the "just a taste". He had a good excuse, he needed the energy for his doctor appointment and shopping. I just went along for the ride...

After we got home yesterday we went out to Afton SP to run hill repeats.  Storm clouds were forming as we drove out there. We finished before the rain arrived. It actually felt good after sitting in a car for the majority of the past 3 days.

At Afton, there was one possible warbler that was noisily hunting for food in the trees. It didn't have any yellow that I could see and I didn't have binoculars with me.

We pushed each other and got the hills done. Then home for dinner.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Busy Day at Afton and Barred Owl Again

We arrived at Afton about 9:30. A school bus was there filled with teenaged youth. They headed out for a run about the same time we started our run. We didn't see them again but the bus was still there when we finished.

Larry was in the parking lot and had already finished his run.
We headed out to do the snowshoe loop. Saw Jim and Bill running together, Karen was close behind. I think they planned to start at 7:00. Nancy and Tom were off in the distance. Talked to Jeffrey, he was finishing his 25K training run. Then crossed paths with Jan and Wendy -- surprised to see them because they usually don't run at Afton. They were doing a 25K loop. Last month they finished a race in Kansas so their training is going well.

We ran almost 4 hours, including talking time and birding time. I didn't bring the binoculars but did hear some of the new "regulars", the Eastern Towhee, a Brown Thrasher, Eastern Bluebirds, Tree Swallows, and Meadowlarks. There was a large flock of Goldfinches in one location and an occasional pheasant calling. I didn't see the Eastern Phoebe on the nest but did see a small flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers. Also a couple of raptors in the woods.

The big news, the bluebirds were hatching today ! They look like little leaves in the nest.

The Barred Owl is here in Maplewood - again. I assumed it was the same one but I looked at the photos. The feet are very different. The one on Wednesday had feather covered feet and one sore toe. Today's bird doesn't have as many feathers on the feet and doesn't have a sore toe. This one appears to be possibly molting. I don't know enough to make that determination. Pretty cute, huh?