Saturday, October 30, 2021

Arboretum 10k Trail Run 10/09/21

Trail races are done out in the woods, usually on hiking trails. Sometimes they climb mountains and runners have to clamber over rocks and trees. I've never done one. I'm klutzy and old and I'm afraid I'll kill myself! But other runners talk about how much fun they are, and over the years I've gotten curious about what they're like. When the Minnesota Arboretum announced a 5 and 10k trail run I decided to give it a try.

it was harder than I thought it would be to run on a real woodsy trail. My running was very slow, very, very slow. I did the 10k and it wound through different areas of the Arboretum. First we went on the trail that goes through the prairie. We did two loops around that area. Then we went through the woods that led to the Dog Commons. You can buy a dog membership and take your dog walking in this area. We did two loops around this area. The grass on the paths was long, and the ground was very uneven, plus there were some massive hills. Finally we did one loop around the Wood Duck Pond. By the end I was really tired. 

I think I would have been better off doing run 30 seconds/walk 30 second intervals, which is what I do for my normal easy runs, instead of trying to run longer intervals like I would in a regular 10k race. I also at times wondered if I would have been faster if I just walked the whole thing! I really don’t know how to approach trail runs, if I want to attempt this again. 

I don’t have trail running shoes, but in this case it wasn’t an issue. It wasn’t particularly muddy, and it wasn’t technical, no scrambling over rocks, or anything like that. That would have completely done me in. 

I have to admit I’m intrigued by the process, so its probably not my last one. But its probably my last one for awhile!

The next day I was tired but not terribly sore, so I went for a run. My training plan said to run 8 easy miles and then do 8 strides, which are short sprints with recovery in-between. I did easy running for 80 minutes, around 6 miles, because I wanted to start some bagels that morning. I was ok until I started doing the strides. During the first one I could feel my left hamstring. It was hurting, and I should have stopped right then, but noooooo. I did a second one, and started to do a third, but I could feel something start to give way and I finally stopped. By now I was in real pain and had to hobble home and call it a day.

I babied it for the rest of the day and did some stretches later in the afternoon. I’m taking a little ibuprofen, not much. No exercising today (October 11). I did more stretching, and might take the dogs for a short walk in a little bit. I’m mad at myself. I know better than to not give myself time to recover after a hard workout, no matter what my training plan says. If I’m going to stick random races in here and there I need to respect that, and stick the necessary recovery in as well. Now I have to wait for it to heal and then start back slowly. Argh!

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Excelsior Fire Dept Open House

On thursday October 7th I drove to daycare around 4:30 to pick up Leo.  His mom had told him  that I was taking him to the Excelsior Firestation open house and he was super excited. “Bye!” he yelled to his friends as soon as he saw me! He was very chatty in the car, telling me all about his day and commenting on this and that. He told me it had been a “hard day” because he had had an accident. “But my shoes stayed dry!” Well that’s a good thing Leo!

We arrived at the fire station at 5:45 pm and there were already lots of people there, and a LOT going on. We had to park several blocks away, but we walked quickly and soon we were there. The first thing we saw was  a Fire hose demo. We immediately got in line for that. When it was his turn his shyness kicked in and he didn’t want to help hold the hose, but he was mesmerized as the fireman shot water at a little demo house and made the doors and windows spin. At the end he helped turn off the water and looked very pleased with himself.

Then we walked to the other end of the fire station and watched a kitchen fire demo. 

THEN we got in line to ride in a fire truck. “Let’s go!” Leo said impatiently.  “Well we have to wait our turn,” I replied. We passed a display of toys for a door prize drawing and I put his name in while we waited. They were using about 5 different fire trucks, and as each one pulled up he said, “oh I want to ride in that one!” When it was our turn we got right in. He wanted to sit by himself, so I belted him into one of the seats, but he didn’t want me too far away so I crouched down next to him. We drove to a nearby park, turned around in the parking lot and drove back, about 5 minutes total. They blew the horn but they didn’t set off the siren, since they can’t do that unless they are really going to a fire. Suddenly Leo turns to me with concern and asks, “where are we going?” I realize that he is worried we might actually be going to a fire and have to explain that they are just taking us for a ride.

Then we got in line for food. We had hotdogs and popcorn for dinner, and grabbed a cookie to eat on the way home. He ate it all, and so did I; we were both starving. Sparky the firedog was walking around. I asked Leo if he wanted to get his picture taken with Sparky. Nono, he shook his head no violently. But I motioned to Sparky to come over. He tried to get Leo to give him a high five or touch fingers but Leo kept shaking his head no, with a big smile on his face. Afterwards he said, “He looked at me!”

We walked into the back of the firehouse so that I could go potty and caught a glimpse of the living quarters. Then we got a helium balloon which he insisted on carrying back to the car himself.

He was totally delighted with the whole experience but when I asked him what his favorite part was he stated without hesitation, “the fire truck!”. Me too.

The following week I got a phone call. Leo was a winner in the door prize drawing! He won a giant, and I do mean giant, stuffed Olaf, the guy from Frozen. He’s huge and ridiculous and Sarah doesn’t want it anywhere near their house so its staying at meemaw and peepaw’s. We can stash it in the workout room when the kids aren’t here. 

We both had a great time. Next year I’ll make Lee come with me and we can bring both Leo and Kirby!

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Home Again Home Again...

Me and Shirin

Sept 12

Shelburne Falls was a very cute tiny town. Shirin lives out in the country about 5 miles away and she met us there. We were a little worried about parking the RV but found an empty side street with plenty of room. We ate lunch at a middle eastern food truck, sitting at a picnic table outside. It was pretty good, including the piece of baklava Shirin and I had for dessert!

We hadn’t seen each other since September of 2018, when I flew back to Boston to go to the memorial for her son Sam, that had died from a brain tumor in the spring. He was only two years older than Sarah, so very sad. She is doing very well, however. She’s always been good at finding the positive in almost any situation. I’m glad we took the time to stop and visit, even though it added an hour to our drive. We said goodbye and hugged each other hard. I hope its not so long until we see each other again.

We got to the RV park around 4, set up camp, and then headed over to Eugenie’s house. I had her address, from Christmas cards I guess, but we had never been to this house before, a little bungalow with a beautiful backyard. She had fixed some very nice snacks, and then a beautiful salad with chicken and orzo for dinner. We sat around, drinking wine and talking. The dogs were very good, although we didn’t take any chances and still made Cosmo wear his belly band.

After dinner we took the dogs and went for a walk around the neighborhood. There is a nearby music venue in an old house on a big hill overlooking the Hudson. It was dusk and there were bats flying about. Just beautiful.

The Hudson at Dusk

Pretty soon after that we headed back to the RV. I was exhausted, slept hard, and moved slowly this morning, before I went for a run around the campground. It’s an interesting place. It has Airstreams and glamping tents you can rent, as well as traditional RV campsites. When we got here I discovered that for an extra $25 a night we could have a site with a deck so I talked Lee into upgrading for one of those.

Sept 13

We headed back to Euge and Ken’s after lunch yesterday. They gave us a tour of their little town and we got a coffee on the Main Street, and then headed over to Olney house, a beautiful Art Deco mansion on a hill overlooking the Hudson with grounds full of flowers and rolling hills. We spent some time there admiring the house and walking around the gardens. There were some large silk hangings that were very interesting.

Me and Eugenie

Silk Hanging at Olney House


Butterfly Silk Hanging

After that we went to The Point and sat outside along the Hudson having some cocktails and enjoying the beautiful weather. Later we went back to the RV and they came over. Euge brought dinner, beef burgundy, burrata, bread and a cobbler for dessert. We provided wine and ice cream and a campfire.

It was a great visit. We always seem to pick up our friendship wherever we left off, no matter how long it has been. This morning we are on the road again, retracing our steps back home. 

Sept 14

A relatively short drive yesterday, 4 hours. We stayed in Byron, NY last night. Ate Beyond burgers at the picnic table, sat outside until it started to rain. It was a light rain, nbd.

We took it easy this morning, an easy drive again, and we don’t particularly like the campground where we are staying tonight so we’re in no hurry to get there. I did a fartlek run this morning. Warmup, then 6 x 2 minutes hard with a 1:30 recovery jog between each one. These types of runs are fun,  don’t ask me why.

Sept 15

We’ll be home in just a few days, I’m ready. Want to visit my flowers, see the grands, do laundry, haha. 

Harper has decided that the stove AND the fan AND the air conditioner in the RV all indicate grave danger.  Unlike the house there is no place to escape so she’s either underneath the table or in the farthest corner of the bed, panting and shivering. I swear she is going to give herself a heart attack. I think before our next trip I’m going to invest in a thunder shirt for her. We’d have to remember to put it on before we turn on one of her triggers but I don’t know what else to do. It’s that or Prozac, poor thing.

Nuclear Reactor

It was warm and humid last night. We ran the aircon for awhile and then opened the windows. I was hot and slept with only a sheet until early morning. No showers this am, we’ll take them tonight. We have a longer drive today, 5+ hours, plus we have to get up early tomorrow to make it to the ferry on time. We were on the road by 8:30, very good for us!

Sept 16

We made it to Vacation Station RV park in Ludington Michigan by 3:30 pm yesterday. I took the dogs on a good long walk around this very nice park and then set up a chair outside to enjoy the nice cooler weather and give poor Harper a break from her fears. We ate dinner outside as well, took our evening showers, and I was in bed by 8. I slept well, pretty tired from the previous night’s fitful sleep.

I set my alarm for 5:30 and it was a struggle to get up when it went off. We were ready to go by 7:45 and at the boat by 8. I took the dogs on one more walk before they were trapped in the car for close to 5 hours. Cosmo managed to get burrs in his paws and grit in his underbelly on a 5 minute walk. Talented.

We boarded the boat and watched them load the last of the cars, the vehicles with pets, a tour bus and a semi. We weren’t the last vehicle loaded this time, but pretty close. 

Ludington Lighthouse

Sept 19

We got home on the 17th, emptied the RV, ate carryout sushi and fell asleep in exhaustion. The next day I did laundry and ran, easy 4 along Smithtown Road. Its great to be home! Today I finished weeding the yard and ran a “lactic threshold” run, 3x1 mile @ HMP. At first my toe was okay but toward the end it wasn’t too happy. Its ok again this afternoon though. 

I’ve gotta say, I’m  pretty tired after that trip. I’m going to make sure we keep our driving days short on the way to Cally this winter, and figure in a few rest days on the way out and back too. At first I thought we'd just stay in the RV when we were out there, but its really impossible to find anywhere nice to stay that’s close to San Francisco, so instead we’re going to park at a State Park near Half Moon Bay and spend sometime with Dan and Kelsey, probably get a Kimpton for a couple days, maybe do something else too. Gotta figure out what works with 3 dogs!

We’ve talked a lot about how long we will be able to continue to do this. We think maybe 5 years. Next summer we’d like to go to Banff, the summer after that to Toronto and Vermont. We’ll see how Cally goes, if we think we can do it twice. We want to get away from Minnesota winter, but that’s a long long drive.



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