Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last Run of 2011

Ended the year with a 10 mile run down the bike trail. Looking at my totals for the year I ran 897.76 miles and cycled 1172. My bike mileage is a bit pathetic compared to the past but I was hating road riding this year. Wish I had seen I was just short of 900 miles running, I could have gone longer this morning. 2012 mileage will only be zero until I get out tomorrow.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Snow Running

Fresh snow on the ground for my long run this week. At first I wasn't excited but it turned out to be a great run. Shoveling the driveway made it clear it was going to be slippery running especially where the snow was cleared. While getting ready I decided to try adding screws to my old Saucony Kinvavas, 6  #6 by 3/8" per shoe and I was ready. With no route in mind I ended up on the bike trail heading west towards Blue Mounds. I'm prone to telling myself I'll turn around up ahead, and up ahead just keeps getting pushed further and further out of town. Finally just before 5 miles out from home I soaked one shoe in hidden slush, I still pushed it out to the full 5 so as to not have to make it up back in town.

157 days until my second marathon Between now and then I plan to run a few shorter races. Up first a 5k in February . The March race will be the, unknown distance until Zack commits or bails on his 5k plan. He really wants the t-shirt and right now the plan is to run walk the course with him. The final pre-marathon race will be a 20k, this will be my third time around the lake. After the marathon it will be back to trail races, possibly the weekend after but no details are posted yet

No I haven't given up cycling, I'm debating trying to fit in a 165 mile trail ride the weekend before the Lake Monona race. Seems unlikely at this point

Friday, November 25, 2011

Kayak the Wisconsin River

We headed out this fall to kayak a portion of the Wisconsin River.  I had been hesitant to kayak this river since it is so wide, and portions have dangerous undertows.  Chad finally convinced me to take a chance, and I read about the many and varied sections of this river to try.  There are many sections that have rental canoe and kayak outfitters, and the river in those areas can get busy.  Most outfitters were closed for the season when we went on our kayak trip.  We tried to catch fall color, but missed it by going between two impressive color periods this year.

We left from a launch off of Highway 23 in Spring Green.  This was Zack's first trip in his own kayak, but it went better than I expected.  It helped that the tandem seat in Chad's kayak was filled with his folding bike used for shuttling the Jeep to the pull out location.  Zack's kayak was tethered the whole time, but he still did a great job paddling on his own for a large portion of the trip.

There were many sand bars along the trip, one of which we used for a picnic lunch. 

There were many river channels, and I was lucky that my phone had a signal along the route so we could check out the map before we headed down a channel that didn't go through.  Near the end of the route the boys attempted to go through a small channel and got caught up.  I won't begin to explain what happened, but Kevin got dumped in the water and his boat overturned.  The bilge pump was finally used for it's intended purpose.  I heard the stories about what happened, but will never know the truth.  I was already headed down the right channel on the way to the take out when Zack came running across the sand bar to tell me what happened.  Besides being wet, Kevin seemed just fine after the incident.

We pulled the kayaks out by Lone Rock, where Chad had previously placed the Jeep.  After loading the kayaks we headed towards home, stopping for some food.  We came across an old fashioned drive-in restaurant, Rumbleseats, in Spring Green.  The food was good, and it was nice to have warm enough weather to still eat outside.  We just had to be careful of the cow.  It looked like a killer.

Zack's First Trail Run

This fall we have had pretty good weather for Wisconsin.  So far we have had one snowstorm, but most was melted by the next day.  We have taken advantage of this nice weather by hiking, kayaking and trail running. 

Zack had his first official trail run.  I believe there was also one practice session beforehand as well.  His excitement for the event had highs and lows.  The one thing that got him up and out that day was the medal he would get for finishing.  The run was the Indian Lake Trail Run, and I was supposed to do the 6K run that day as well.  But I was in the first day of a tough cold, and there was no way I was going to make it around the course.  I was able to switch my entry to Chad, and he was happy to run the race.

It was a little chilly that morning, but the kid's race was up first.  Chad used it as a warm up, running with Zack around the course. 
Chad (in orange jacket) and Zack starting the race
The route was about 1K, and it didn't take them too long to make it around.  Zack did well and had fun, which is the most important thing. 
Zack crossing the finish line

Zack and I hung out in the Jeep waiting for Chad to come back towards the finish of his race. 
Chad (in green shirt) just after the start
Runners on course at the edge of Indian Lake
Chad was ahead of his expected pace and we almost missed him finishing.  We had just enough time to bolt from the Jeep and snap a couple pictures of him finishing. 
Around the parking and headed to the finish

Chad got a medal just like the one Zack received.  Chad was 12th overall and 4th in his age group.  They were both happy with their race. 

Friday, September 30, 2011

Potholes Trail at Devils Lake State Park

We went to Devil's Lake State Park to hike to gain more mileage towards our 10 mile goal for the year.  The park has a special hiking club this year due to their centennial celebration. 

The weather was cool, but it was still a beautiful day.  We started with a picnic lunch of cheese and sausage by the lake.
Chad wanted to walk the Potholes Trail which highlighted special rock formations that we learned about at the Nature Center on another trip this summer.  The potholes are formed by rocks spinning in water flow down the cliff and spinning smooth craters in the bedrock. In order to get to the Potholes Trail we went up the cliffs on the Balanced Rock Trail.  In essence these two trails are staircases.  Rock steps meandering up the entire way.  The entire hike was about 1.5 miles, so it was a lot of steps.  Zack had shaky legs by the end of the descent on the Potholes Trail.
The bluffs we climbed
Climbing up, up, up...on Balanced Rock Trail

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bike Camping Trip

One old Burley trailer and a newer bicycle camping area down the nearby bike trail lead to an overnight camping trip. Blue Mounds State Park was our destination, 7 miles by rail trail with gear in tow took close to an hour. We cheated and had dinner delivered by Jenny and Kevin, complete with s'mores. Zack and I burned the fire for awhile then played games on his iPod in the tent. The next morning we hiked to the lookout tower before breaking camp and heading home. Zack and I agreed we had a good time and would do another trip sometime.

Here are a few pictures.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fire Ride: Tribute 2011

I took a ride with my friend, Chris Rupp, who is biking across the country in remembrance of those firefighters who perished on 9/11/2001.  You can check out his website:  Fire Ride Tribute 2011.  He started his ride in July in San Francisco, California.  Keeping right on schedule, he arrived in Mount Horeb on August 23rd to a huge party with many local fire departments represented.  I am super proud of Chris for committing to this ride and biking his heart out.  He was not a "biker" before the ride; most of his training was indoor over the previous winter.  He plans to get to New York tonight a couple days ahead of schedule.

When he was in the area at the end of August he had a couple of rest days in Mount Horeb before he was headed to Milwaukee.  The route that day was going to be around 125 miles.  I biked along with Chris for about 50 miles from Mount Horeb to the Trek headquarters in Waterloo, Wisconsin.  Trek helped Chris out with a bike for his cross country ride.  There were about 15 of us riding with Chris that day, one of the largest groups biking with him on his trip.  Trek served all of us lunch in their cafeteria.  The Trek chef put together the feast for the lunch stop and it was quite good.  Chris was being kept to a tight schedule due to continuous fire truck escorts planned on the route, so there was little time to look around.  I did snap several pictures while at the headquarters, and have a few from others.

Only stop on the ride at Fitchburg Fire Station, playing photographer for others
Lunch provided by the Trek chef

Chris received some goodies from Trek that were much needed

Bikes in Trek lobby
More of Trek lobby
Trek employee bike storage for those who commute or take rides at lunch.  They have a mechanic that services the bikes

Hallway full of the same bike, team bikes maybe?

Getting ready to head out again post lunch
Chris headed out towards Milwaukee

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Vacation Trip to Chicago

Zack has been waiting to go to Chicago since school was still in session in the spring.  He heard rumor from 2nd grade that at the Museum of Science and Industry you can make your own top.  Months later we were finally able to go and fulfill his dream of his very own top.

We headed there first thing in the morning to hopefully beat the crowds at the Museum.  Kevin and I saw the movie Tornado Alley in the huge IMAX theater soon after we arrived.  While we were at the movie, Chad and Zack made the top in the Toymaker 2000.  Zack's is actually a gyroscope and he was able to choose his color and watch the top being put together and packaged.  It is engraved with the date we were there and his name.  The mission was accomplished.

We poked around the rest of the museum.  The Science Storms exhibits were new and pretty cool.  There were a lot of hands on experiments we could do.  We stayed until the kids were ready to go to the gift store and before they were too hungry.
A video projection where the butterflies land on your shadow.  Zack liked to shoo them away.

Dress of the future where you can change the color non-stop

Zack's nose catching lightning
The rest of the trip centered around food.  We went to Murphy's Red Hots for some Chicago dogs and Italian beef.  The food was all great.  The interior seating was quite small but there was a small crowd since it was later in the afternoon.

We stopped for dessert at ICream where you choose your flavor, color and mix-ins and the ice cream is created with liquid nitrogen.  I was hoping for flavored hot pudding that Chad had last time we went, but it must be a seasonal winter item.  I guess that just means a return trip will be necessary.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Wisconsin State Fair 2011

Catching up a bit on the last few weeks.  We have done a lot of stuff, and have been so busy that I haven't had time to post everything here.

We went to the Wisconsin State Fair to enjoy the animals, food, and sights.  We checked out the rabbit barn so the kids could see the kinds of animals I kept when I was their age.  Zack loved the rabbits, but we left them all there in the cages.

A young Dutch rabbit, just like I used to raise

After the rabbit barn we headed to draft horse wagon classes being judged.  There was a lot of bling on all of the wagons and horses.

Next up was pig races.  The pigs were all named after famous celebrities.  I'm sure the celebrities would be proud, especially if their pigs were winners.  There must have been a pretty good treat at the end because most of the pigs were running pretty fast.

My most enjoyable area at the fair is the Wisconsin Products Pavilion.  In here are all the local food growers and producers associations offering their products to try.  We had apple cider donuts, cherry crisp, ice cream, flavored milk, and loaded baked potatoes.  I could have spent all day, but there was much more fair to experience. 

We checked out the "as seen on TV" merchandise area, mostly because it was air conditioned.  We also walked through the projects building with all the photography, fancy cakes, and flowers. 

It was a hot day, but we saw a lot of things, and of course we brought home a 3 pack of the famous Cream Puffs.  This year Kevin experienced a cream puff and ate the whole thing.  We may have to upgrade to a 6 pack next year if Zack wants one.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Running in Sioux Falls

A change in my normal work schedule had me sleeping in Sioux Falls, SD. I packed running gear figuring I'd get a run in before I could drive home. The front desk said Falls Park was worth the trip so I set off to see. 7 mile round trip run and yes the park was great.