Would you rather

Thanks to HRG for the questions.

Would you rather run along a beach path or a mountain trail? That beach path in North Carolina was pretty special. 

If you could choose the flavor of gatorade at your next race’s aid stations, what would it be?  Whatever.  I'm only taking a sip or two.

If I gave you a $100 gift card to a running store, what would be the first thing that you would purchase with it?  I've had my eye on one of the Garmin Forerunners, but I'm a sucker for clothes and shoes.

Do you prefer to follow a training plan or wake up and decide then how far and how fast you want to run?  LOL.  A training plan with paces.  You make me smile.

Would you rather start your run with the uphill and end on the downhill or start your run with the downhill and end with the uphill?  Definitely end on the downhill.

When you can’t run, what type of cross-training do you choose to do?  I do not understand this question.

What is your preference: Out and back, point to point or loop runs?  Out and back or loop is usually my first choice.  I do point to point runs, but it usually involves packing a bus pass and some extra clothing to get home and it's just a bit more logistical work for training.

If you could recommend ANY running related item to a new runner, it would be a: Besides a good pair of shoes?  I think the Couch to 5K training program is really fantastic.  But only if the runner already has shoes.

Do you ever see any wild animals while out on your runs?  Yes.  Lots of deer, ducks, geese, herons, etc.  Wild Turkeys and mad geese are my least favorite. Blue Herons are hands down my favorite.

Ever gotten lost while out on a run? Yes. Isn't that part of the fun?

If you could have one meal waiting and ready for you each time you got home from a run for the next 30 days, what would that meal be?  Bacon and eggs with fresh bread from the bakery.  That's what I make for myself when I can.

Capris or shorts: what do you run in most often?  In the summer I wear shorts. 

At what mile (or how many minutes) into your run does your body start to feel like it is warming up and ready to go?  I usually warm up for at least five minutes to .5 miles.  On longer runs, my body starts feeling good around mile 3.

What do you do with your key when you run? It involves a carabiner.

If you could relive any race that you have done in the past, which one what it be?  My first marathon in Amsterdam was pretty special.  And the least awful I've felt in any of them.

What type of run is your least favorite type of run?  The ones where I have to go fast up hill. Seriously, I don't do a lot of running that I don't really like.  I run for fun, why torture myself?

What has been your biggest motivation lately to get out the door to get your run on?  This whole run streak business, but also my body has just been feeling good lately and seems to want to move.

When you go for a run, do you leave right from your front door or do you drive somewhere to start? In the morning before work I leave from home.  In the summer after work, I head to a trail near wherever my day is ending.  

When running in daylight are sunglasses a must or an annoyance? 
Must.  And honestly, I never thought I'd say that.  Between running in the heat and wearing sunglasses, I barely recognize the person I've become in the past year. 

When you get tired, what keeps you from quitting?  Have I run my mile?  That running streak will keep me going.  Also, seeing my heart rate stay lower and my body get a bit faster in the recent months has been really encouraging.


Trail Monday: Barefoot on the beach

Trail: I was on vacation, so my 'trail' was the beach at low tide. Most of the time, I was on Bird Island, with all of the other people.  One of my cousins wanted to get up and run, but he only made it a couple of miles because he had to pee and didn't want to use the ocean.  It was nice having company for a minute.  I wound up doing 6.7, and the blisters were kicking in for the last mile or 2.

Hills: LOL.

Ease of running: This was straight up packed sand and it was an absolute pleasure.  I ran barefoot.  I learned that running barefoot on the beach does in fact cause blisters.  I got some honkers mostly on my big toe and second toes.  Nothing popped and a band aid for a day or two set the problem right. 

Nature: There were dead jelly fish, live crabs, lots and lots of birds, dogs and other people.  I did not see any deer.

Will I come back: I really really hope so.


Trail Monday: Trail Sunday

This is a special edition of Trail Monday.  Due to a forecasted day of rain tomorrow, I wanted to get in the trail run today. 

Trail: I decided to ride my bike over to Ft Snelling State Park, and run around Pike Island.  It's by far the shortest of any of the trails I've run.  This is a step back week for me, so a short run fit nicely into the rest of my schedule.

Hills: Well, there's that one hill at Ft Snelling that I walked my bike up.  Pike Island itself is almost pancake flat.

Ease of Running: By far the most runnable trail I've been on.  There was no grass.  It was packed mud/dirt/sand and gloriously free of mud.  If I want a longer run in the future, I think I will try multiple laps of the island.

Nature: No ticks.  I have continued my streak of seeing at least one deer on every trail run.

Will I come back: The appeal is the most utterly runnable trail I've found so far.  The wild card here is transportation to the trail.  Parking at the trail head is more complex than you'd think, which I knew ahead of time. The bike ride kind of wore me out ahead of time.  Despite the ease of running, I didn't have the fastest time out there. I think as I get stronger on the bike, it will be an appealing option to head back this way.


Trail Monday: Elm Creek Park

This is an "after work" edition of Trail Monday, because I had an irregular edition of "working Mondays".  (Normally I work Tuesday - Friday.  I don't understand how people regularly function on 2-day weekends.)

Trail: I chose Elm Creek Park Reserve for geographical and logistical reasons. Last week I'd found myself unequal to navigating the walking trails at this park, but after careful study I decided if I parked at the Hayden Lake Road entrance, I should be able to pick up a horse trail and have a reasonably easy time following it.

Hills: The hills on the course are for real.  Both up and down.  Though, I found them somewhat fewer than Baker Park Reserve.

Ease of running: I found this path eminently more runnable than Baker as well.  I think even though there was a lot of grass, it was cut shorter or managed differently in some way.  The shorter grass was way more pleasant for running. I am still on the "Larisa Dannis Plan" and not worrying too much about running the ups, or even all of the flats.  But I felt like I ran a lot more of this one than Baker last week.

Nature Vermin: The ticks were crazy nuts here. I hate ticks. At one point I stopped running and pulled six or seven off me.  Only two had bitten, the rest were on my socks and shoes, and one of my belt.  I stopped a few more times and then was crazy careful at the end of my run to check and check and check again.  I learned from last week to pack a change of clothes and was glad I did.  I packed my running clothes up in a plastic bag.  When I got home, sure enough another tick was in there crawling around on my socks.  Gross.

Other animals: I almost stepped on a snake. Even though it was a wee tiny thing, it scared the crap out of me.  I also almost ran into a deer.  You think I jest.  Tons of dragon flies and surprisingly, toads.  I also saw a turtle at the end of the run.  Awesome.

Will I come back: We have really got to figure something out about those ticks.  I run in long socks but my knees were exposed.  I hate to come out here running in long pants in 85* but it may be necessary.  I'm considering it because the running was really good compared to Baker which seemed comparably tick free.


Trail Monday: Baker Park Reserve

I find myself accidentally registered for the William O'Brien 10 Mile Trail Run this September.  I originally registered for June 2014 which was flooded out and then I deferred my September 2014 entry because it was the week before Loony Challenge and I just couldn't make that work.

In support of surviving this race and not injuring myself, I decided that Mondays when I'm off work, I should head out to the trails and run on them instead of on the paved paths much closer to home.   Three Rivers has some great parks.  I've scouted out Crow Hassan Park though never really run there. French Park is one of my favorites, as the Medicine Lake Trail runs through it.  Though I've never gone off road in that park either.  Elm Creek is another absolute gem, but when I looked at the map I found myself unequal to deciphering a route I could take. I wound up at Baker Park Preserve because I knew where to park and following the grass trail looked fairly simple as the grass trail parallels the paved trail basically the entire way.

Thoughts on the run:
Nature: This run was straight up gorgeous.  There were lakes, deer, turtles, all kinds of birds.  Some places, all I could see around me was the park and it was wonderful.  Though Minneapolis has some world class parks, it doesn't have anything of this size really.  It was wonderful to spend time here. 

Hills:  There are some for real big hills, but lots and lots of little speed bumps as well.  I decided to follow what I'll call the Larisa Dannis plan.  I focused on running the downs.  I ran up whenever I felt like it but didn't focus on that so much.

Grass: It's kind of hard to run in long grass.  I'm not talking about prairie grass.  The path I was on is primarily groomed for horses in the summer, so the grass does get mowed from time to time, but it was about a foot tall in some places.  The footing was a bit uneven and the going was slow.  I found myself very glad I started practicing the trails now.

Woods: Running in the woods was an absolute pleasure because the footing was utterly stable and solid.  Later in the run, I found myself walking more on the grass, but any time I got packed dirt under my feet I really enjoyed it and moved pretty well.

Clothes: I ran in my trail shoes and ProCompression Socks.  I found some of the grass dewy as well as a couple legit mud spots.  My feet were soaked but blister free when I got back to my car.  I packed a pair of flip flops but almost wished for a complete change of clothes.  Glad I didn't take a dive in any of the mud!