Sunday, August 29, 2010

Weekend Running

Ran with Loren for over 2 hours on Saturday at Afton. Also did an hour or so on Sunday.  It is an "or so" because I took the binoculars to watch birds and be bitten by mosquitoes.

Here is a photo of a flower blooming along the snowshoe trail. It's about shoulder height for me with little blue flowers surrounding the stem.
Blue Vervain

There was a bird (or 12) that I didn't immediately recognize, even with binoculars. They looked somewhat like big, yellowish sparrows with a dark line behind the eye and a yellow stripe on the very top of the head. When I got back to the car I looked them up, They were Bobolinks ! I had not seen one all summer. They were on their way to South America for the winter. According to National Geographic, they will spend the winter in and around Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. By the time they get back here next spring, it will be a round trip of over 12,000 miles!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Turtle Story

On my way home from Boot Camp class yesterday, I saw an upside down turtle in the middle of Warner Road. I did a U-turn and went back to check on it. S/he wasn't dead, but that heat, in the middle of a busy road, upside down, not a good place for a turtle.

Checked it quickly to see if there was any major damage - should I take it up to the Wildlife Rehab Center in Roseville?  S/he actually looked pretty good so I took it home with me to examine it more closely. There was a nick on the left side of the shell. The bottom had some scrapes. The back legs hung limp but when I placed it in the grass it took off quickly. I placed it in a shallow bucket of water for the evening to rehydrate and check on again this morning.

This morning s/he seemed really healthy, hissing at me and trying to get away. Maybe the best thing to do was to return it to the river -  away from roads ! Loren suggested Hidden Falls. I haven't been there in years.

The river was beautiful this morning, calm and fairly clear.   I could see minnows and weeds in the water, a perfect spot for a turtle. S/he quickly took off, swimming into the deeper part of the river.

On the other side of the river there were a couple of guys catching fish from their boat and another couple of people playing catch with their dogs. I was trying to find a nice scene to take a photo when a turtle showed up next to the shore where I released the one this morning. I don't know if it was the same one or not, but it was the same species and the same size. It just floated in the water for a few minutes with its head up, looking around. And then it was off. And so was I. It was kinda creepy down there, a few men hanging around, and me.

Hope the turtle stays away from the roads!

Cross Training

Haven't been doing much running but plenty of strength training. I did the usual this past week,
Sunday Running/hiking at Afton
Monday Aerobics class
Tuesday Yoga and a Boot Camp class
Wednesday Yoga class and Boot Camp class
Thursday Circuit Training class

Hope the body remembers how to run...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Grand Island Trail Marathon

We really like this marathon so we keep going back. This was #3 for us and it just keeps getting better every year.

Yesterday we carpooled to Munising with friends Jan and Joe, stopping for a picnic lunch. While at the park we talked a couple of guys. They each had their Old Milwaukee refreshment and they shared that they were on their way to Lambau Field to try out for the Packers ;-) We wished them luck and went on our way. We arrived at Munising around 5:30 or so.

Wanting to get to bed early, we checked in to our hotel, the AmericInn, then packet pick up at the Holiday Inn and a quick dinner at the Dogpatch No pasta on the menu but we ate there anyway.

Race day meant getting by 4:00 (Eastern Time) to get ready to catch the first shuttle at 5:00. The hotel had breakfast for us and other early people.
The shuttle bus got us to the dock where we loaded our stuff and ourselves on to the first ferry. The morning boat ride was beautiful, the water was smooth and it was still dark with just a hint of light in the east. On the island, the race organizers were expertly getting stuff together for the race. We checked in, got our timing chips, placed our drop bag under the tent, swatted a few mosquitoes and started running a few minutes after 6:00 (the 1 hour early start).

Most of the course was around the perimeter of the island so it provided us wonderful vistas of Lake Superior and the shoreline. The first 10 miles seemed effortless. Maybe it was because this course was flat compared to running in Colorado two weeks earlier? The weather was great: clear and calm with temps around 60 degrees at the start.  A thin layer of clouds came in around noon and the highs were only around 70.

I really respect the race director and his philosophy that the race should have a minimal impact on the island. What did that mean for us runners?
  • We carried our refillable water bottles so we didn't need paper cups at aid stations
  • We were expected to take any of our garbage back to the mainland
Neither requirement was a big burden for us.

Jan and Joe finished long before we did but they hung around and played in the lake until we finished. Here are the results

Then we all caught the last ferry back to the mainland. To celebrate, we indulged ourselves with pizza from Main Street Pizza. Mmmmm, that was good.

This year the race included a handmade, ceramic finisher's medals, mile markers at every mile, and perfect weather. I'm glad we ran this one.
Finisher's medal