From the Back of the Pack
I might always be in the back of the running pack, but I'm addicted to it! When I miss more than a day it affects my energy, attitude, and the rest of life in general! I have had a lot of "character" building runs in the deep snow, extreme nose hair freezing cold, ankle high rain, and gale force winds over the past twenty five years and find some of those days to be the most peaceful rewarding outings of all! I'm one of those runners who is slow and steady, but goes forever and ever without ever getting tired.
March 13, 2010: Tour Da Luth
I had a goal today, to do the Tour Da Luth no matter what the weather, snow conditions, or any other possible excuse I could have....and I did it...all of it except Snowflake because I am banned from there.
Even though this is a skiing post, it it does have a benefit for those of you who only run and miss out on this awesome winter cross training know what condition the trails around town are in for trail running.
Laambeaux and I began our day long skijoring tour of Duluth around 10:00 or so I think. We had shared a Burger King order of hashbrown tatortot thingies and a sausage, egg, and cheese Croissantwich...yes gross I know and it was all we ate the entire day! The weather grew foggier as heck as we skied. It was about 38' and the precipitation held off for the first half of this trail test. I could see about 8 feet out near the end of the ski ...to the end of Laambeaux's lead...the rest was just a fog. We began our adventure today at Magney Snively. Not knowing what to expect, I figured I'd end up hoofing it aways to the snow and skating a "K" or so then leaving. To my surprise, there was a TON of snow on the entire system, no ice, and depth of 6-8" too! Because I am directionally challenged, even with the detailed maps they have provided, I wound up taking a few wrong turns and ended up doing 8k! I did take a couple of falls, one really good one that twisted me up and filled my entire right ear with corn snow, that's gonna hurt tomorrow. I'm light so I stayed on top of the snow most of the time and when I did sink it caught me off guard and I went down a few times.
Towards the conclusion of our Magney journey, I looked over and could barely make out lone man in the fog just leaning against a tree. Ok, I'm in the middle of basically nowhere, and here's this man, just standing there doing nothing but looking at me. Unfortunately it was also at a junction where I had no idea of which way to go so I had to ask him. It reminded me of the Wizard of Oz and the Scarecrow...this guy even pointed like that with one arm too! I said hi, asked him what he was doing out in the middle of nowhere in this weather and he gave me a vague answer that I was not able to understand. At least he pointed me in the right direction to get back to my car! There were no footprints leading to where he was which makes me wonder if I really saw someone or if I just imagined it???? It will be awhile before Magney Snively is fun to run!
The next trail we visited was Spirit Mountain. Ron Weber had so graciously groomed it that very morning and I was the first to try it out! I skated the fresh courderoy of the 1k and campground loop a couple of times and was able to stay on top because of his great efforts! As we skijored, the fog and misting became heavier, my ski boots felt as though they had water sloshing around in them and I was pretty dang chilled from being wet all over!
It will be awhile before Spirit Mountain is fun to run.
Next stop Piedmont, for some classic skiing. This is a familiar trail to run, however, until today I was a virgin to skiing it. The first hundred yards or so were a bit icy, snowy, footprinty and dog poopy, however past that it was really awesome skiing! There was full snow coverage with no ice and minimal debris! We did have one stream to cross and managed to do it and stay dry somehow! It will be awhile before Piedmont is fun to run!
After Piedmont, we made the trek out to Lester and parked near the big boulders that indicate the start of the ski trails. We carefully walked along the trail a bit and decided that it was waaaaaay to treacherous to ski or run! The trails we could see were basically covered in patchy ice with minimal places to put feet down safely. This Lester will probably be ready to run soon and would be runable in Bug shoes now.
From Lester we headed to Hartley, at this point I was almost out of water for the day and wanted to just finish up the last three trails so I toughed it out. The trail from the parking lot was a combination of ice and bare ground. As soon as we turned the corner there was lots of snow and lots of footprints and lots of dog poop...do people realize it will still be there when the snow melts!!?? If ya don't have a bag, just flick it into the woods at least! We turned up the ski trail towards the pine trees and found lots of ice covered in tree debris and it stayed like this until we were out of the pine coverage. Once out of the pines, the loop was in great shape with full coverage, mostly snow, and hardly any footprints or poop! Parts of Hartley will be runable soon, the rest will be awhile.
Next stop, Bagley! We have run there a ton and this was our first skiing journey. We continued our classic skiing regime as this proved less "sinky" in certain conditions. Upon parking, I noticed Bruce Bauer getting ready to put his skiis in the car. He described conditions as "glideable"...yes, parts of it were glideable and he had nothing to really compare it to, it was slightly better than Lester. We did one loop carefully and found a lot of ice and some snow, tons of debris from trees, many footprints and some animal really likes to poop raisenette shapes all over the trail in mass quantity over and over and over! This was the first trail I had to actually take my skiis off on because of the conditions. Bagley should be runable in the near future!
Last stop Chester! Residing less than a mile from this trail and this being the first time ever using it to ski on...I was trying to determine just which trails were for skiing. We went through the deep slush of the soccer field and up the side trail of rocks to some more snow. There was a combination of snow, ice, and dog poop on the trail. We took the lower bypass after the bridge and decided that if we went up that hill alittle ways up, we had to eventually come down one somewhere and it looked dangerous. I figured falling in deep snow is one thing, falling on ice and rocks is gonna hurt a lot more! Portions of Chester should be ready for running soon!
Given the snowy conditions on all the trails, classic skiis or snowshoes would be the way to go for at least the next week or so unless we get that dumping of snow and the snow day we were robbed of this week due to temps forgetting to drop 10'!
Our day was concluded, our goal was reached, our bones are in tact, although my already injured wrist is quite a bit worse off, and we did it all in 40', misting rain, fueled by just a Burger King Croisanttwich and some of those round hash brown tatertot thingies. Laambeaux is napping and I'm off to the pot luck to see who else tried out the trails today! I know I'll be out skiing quite a bit more in the next week or two! Let me know if you want to join me!!
March 4, 2010: Shoes for kids!
As a teacher and coach, I enjoy helping anyone get into the wonderful lifetime sport of running. Jay Monson...teacher, runner and more has an excellent program and the kids need shoes! Below are the ways you can help out! I know I have a ton of old running shoes that are in great shape for a child to run 3 miles in...just not good enough for me to run 10 in!
If anyone in the Duluth area has some running shoes to donate to 10-12 year old feet we'd gladly take them off your hands. We're at: Nettleton Elementary School, 108 East 6th Street, Duluth, MN 55805. Better yet, if you have $7.50, send it our way care of "Nettleton Running Club". We start the club this Monday.
Many of the kids in our 5th grade classroom and beyond are involved in the third year of our running club. Our goal is to train and then run/walk the Fitger's 5K April 17, 2010 in Duluth. Kids journal throughout the club keeping track of their diets, screen time (TV, videogames, and computer use), sleep, training/activity and their resting heart rates. Some kids need proper running shoes and I am asking for donations to help buy that equipment. We will get the kids fitted for the shoes in the coming weeks and hopefully get them on their feet before our spring break, which is one week prior to the race. Special thanks go out to the "Duluth Running Company" for graciously providing us a deal on some top-notch shoes and for spending time helping us get things started (http://www.duluthrunning.com/).
Please do not feel obligated to donate anything! If you want to provide moral support or support during the race it is worth more than money. If you wish to make a monetary contribution the levels are below:
Half a Foot: $7.50...
One Foot: $15.00
Two Feet: $30
Checks can be made out to "Nettleton Elementary School" with "Running Club" in the memo. You can send donations directly to school in interschool mail or at our address: 108 East 6th Street, Duluth 55805. If we get more money than we need for shoes we will buy some good socks for the kids and other things that will help their run be enjoyable and safe. More info on the 5K race can be found at: http://www.grandmasmarathon.com/races/fitgers5k.php
Thanks so much for your support in any way. Feel free to pass this e-mail on to a runner or anyone else that would be interested in being part of our cause.
January 23, 2010: Birkie Tour
Yes I run...and am a much better skier..skiing is the reason I moved to Duluth too! Since this is the majority of what my winter is, I decided to add this blog for those who also share my passion for gliding on the white stuff.
Despite the winter weather advisory, nordicskiers showed up in mass to ski the first ever Birkie Tour. This event was a non competitive way to ski the Birkie trails without 6000 other people in the way. We skied part of the Kortie trail, the classic trail, and the Birkie Trail so it really was a nice "tour" of all the trails. The only running event I know of such as this is the Grand Tour which is also a great event put on by Midnight Sun.
Being a Birkie event it was of course organized absolutely perfectly even though it was the first year. After participating in the Birkie for 14 years or so, I have 100% trust in the decisions that the Birkie people make each year with changes due to weather. This year with the predicted weather challenges, they changed the course so that all of us skied the same one to "OO" and those doing the "longer" event just continued on to Mosquito Brook. They also sent an email suggesting an earlier start time due to possible weather. By doing this they were able to focus on grooming just one course to have it perfected for us, which it was!
The weather on the drive there and back cooperated as it only started precipitating once we hit Superior on the way home. When on the trail the weather was also perfect with temps hovering around 30' or so and nothing falling from the sky.
Packet pick up and bag labeling were quick and easy, parking, finding the start, and following the course were all very well organized. The volunteers at this event are always super friendly and helpful too! We got a super neat long sleeved tshirt that says founder on the front along with a neat Birkie guy and the words Birkie Tour. On the back it says " I enjoyed a snowy ski tour over the hills and through the woods on the world famous Birkie Ski Trail"...heck in most ski races we don't get anything but some warm gatorade! We also got a really neat looking pin that was our "race bib" and bus ticket back.
The course up to the 16k mark of the Birkie was faster than expected and a slight bit slushy, fast slush though, either that or my wax was good. When we hit the 16k mark there was a definite change in the course as it became faster with a slightly icy feel on the edges. Anyone who has skied this knows that it's like a highway in a lot of spots so the edges are not a problem!
There were a significant number of classic skiers and many skate skiers who appeared to be "newer" skiers based on their technique. The group was very friendly, helpful, we could stop and chat, help each other out, it was super fun with no pressure! They also had at least one snowmobile going back and forth on the trail with a person holder on the back asking if we were all doing ok and cheering us on the whole time. Normally I don't care to breath in snowmobile fumes while skiing and these were almost fumeless ones.
Despite messing around and visiting on the trail, I ended up doing this faster than I normally do the Kortie...must have been the absence of people in the way!
At the finish we were treated to amazing chili, hot dogs, cookies, hot chocolate and more in a nice warm building with places to sit while we waited for others we knew to finish. There was a bus that took us back to Telemark and we got right on!
I am hoping they add a 10k or so option for next year so those friends of mine who are still intimidated by the longer distances will have the chance to ski the beautiful trails there with support.
November 14, 2009: Nancy English Memorial 5k Run/Walk and 1/2 mile kids fun run
Huge thank you to all the volunteers who helped on make the Nancy English Memorial 5k a success today! Some of the local runners who helped out...Shane thanks for taking pictures...you got the talent for that..Tyler and Carrie thanks for working the door prize table...Kris hugeantic thanks for being the spindle expert and chute guy and more...Erik thanks for helping with the timing...Jeremy thanks a ton for being the one mile person...Brett...thanks for making the signs, putting them out and being a "grunt" in general...Amy thanks for helping out today with various things...Tim thanks for getting the chips, helping with registration, and more...I'm sure there are more people in the running community I'm forgetting who helped out...thank you too...and thanks to all the non runners who also helped make this possible!
We hope everyone had a great time, we apologize for the bridge, the weather, and all the other things that were beyond our control! Thank you for all your patience and participation! We hope you had a great time again this year.
Complete results and photos will be up on Northlandrunner and more will be on nancyenglishmemorial5k.com shortly. Here are the winners...if you know any of these people and they would like their award please let me know!
David Hyopponen 17:13 - new course record
Erik Crook 17:39
Kyle Rossow 17:41
Dan Freeman 17:43
Marlo McGaver 19:00 -technically new course record
Amanda Lepisto 20:19
Sara Hollingsworth 21:42
Tanya Thompson 22:04
Other place awards:
25% back women
Amy Mack, Mary Magnuson, Kendall Bergerson
50% back women
Katie Oberton, Nicole Tekippe, Lynn Stottler
75% back women
Jeanne Lindholm, Bobbi Trea, Pam Keller
last place woman
25% back men
Matt Stukel, Matt Royseth, Greg L. Jones
50% back men
Tom Diener, George Aposotolou, Aron Bradford
75% back men
Bill Simpson, Steve Skamser, Mark Knutson
Last Place man
October 21, 2009: Recent Pictures
Wild Duluth Pics:
Grand Traverse Pics: