Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Remembering Willy

I don’t often stray too far from running-related things on my blog, but our dogs and running go hand-in-hand in my mind. Probably because they are such joyful runners. On Sunday we said goodbye to our friend Willy. We’ll miss his big, goofy, friendly, cuddly and talkative self, and will smile when remembering his many lovable qualities. He was quite a character, who loved being around his ladies and his buddy Cody. Before having to retire early from Duane’s racing team due to a stubborn leg infection (which eventually healed after many years), he was able to enjoy being part of teams in some big, exciting races. Duane also took him to outings like school talks and interviews; he could always count on him to be the most laid back and charming. Later, we were lucky to have him as part of our recreational team. Nobody worked harder than Willy in wheel; sometimes it seemed like he pulled the sled all on his own.

Every dog has their own unique personality, and Willy’s was definitely quirky at times. We didn’t always think he was the sharpest beak in the birdcage, but then he’d go and do something spectacular like perform an intricate archaeological dig on our property, neatly laying out the treasures he found on top of his house. He never put a rock or stick up there, it had to be a worthy artifact. Yesterday I placed in Willy's tree a neat old iron fitting he had dug up from some long-buried farm equipment. An odd memorial, but it felt right.

Willy's was a good life. Fourteen is pretty old for a big guy like him, and right up until his last day he was his smiling, carefree self. We'll miss you, Wilfred.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Mid-Summer Update

It’s been a good spring and summer of training, the first time in a few years that I’m not working within the limits of any injuries. It feels good to be able to gradually build up my long runs and overall mileage to where I want. Having lots of fun with that, and running has never felt better.

Some other training notes:
- Just finished Scott Jurek’s book Eat & Run and highly recommend it. A very entertaining and inspiring story. One of the best running books I’ve read.

- In June I was involved in organizing a local initiative called Active Commute to Work Week, where we encouraged people to use active transportation to get to and from work. We piggybacked our local efforts onto the Commuter Challenge website to record our data and participate in the nationwide challenge. It was fun, and we built some good momentum to launch from next year. It also helped motivate me to do chunks of my own commute by bike, which I’ve wanted to do for a few years. I’m lucky to able to ride on rail trail for most of the way now that two new bridges have been installed on the K&P Trail. Without these bridges I would never do this ride, which shows me how important infrastructure is.

- Derrick and I had the opportunity to be part of an episode of Canadian Made (which runs on History Television Canada). The episode is called Snow Crossing and can be viewed online. (The snowshoe segment, where we appear, is up first.) Our footage was shot in late winter of 2011 at Batawa Ski Hill north of Trenton. They took a lot of footage over an entire day, so it’s funny to see how little they end up actually using (trust me, this isn't a complaint). They do a good job editing the stories together in a fun way (except the cow hide bit is really gross). As far as our ‘acting’, well, I think we’ll stick to running!

Vertical K. Yummy.
- My new favourite shoe is the Vertical K. Awesome on the trails, and I even did a track workout in them. (I brought road flats in case they didn't work out, but they were amazing.) They feel like a slipper and are light as air, but are durable and cushioned. The 4 mm heel-drop had me easing into them for longer stuff, but now I wear them a ton. They are great for sockless runs too; no seams, very comfy.

- Another huge new fav is my UltrAspire Surge pack. My trusty old UD Wink pack was on another planet from any other I'd previously used, but this one is in an entirely different universe. It makes wearing a hydration pack go from cumbersome necessity to non-issue.

- Enjoyed Don Kardong's Letter to US Olympic Marathoners. Throw no bottles.

- Getting excited to do a few races again soon. I never expected it to be this long, but all of my winter and spring plans fell through for various reasons. I couldn't be accused of over-racing lately, that is for sure. I don’t know if I’ll ever race as much as I did in the mid-2000’s but definitely want to do a lot more than the past few years. And of course the stuff from back then doesn't even count because I didn’t blog about it. ;)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Trail Running Camp: Adirondacks

Day One. Not much drainage into Marcy Dam Pond.

Rocky ascent on Lake Arnold Trail to get closer to the high peaks

Old ties on Lake Arnold Trail, with moss grown up to their tops.

Rugged beauty

Lake Tear of the Cloud with Marcy hovering over

View south from Mt. Skylight

Skylight garden

Mt Haystack from Skylight

Marcy's hulking mass from Skylight. She's a lot more impressive from this side.

Me and Marcy. Brisk wind.

Down Skylight....

...and up Marcy

Almost there

Enjoying a rest on Marcy. Happy to be done with the big climbs. The guy who took our photo was only the second person we had seen for several hours.

Going down the other side.

A long, rocky descent back to camp.

Day Two, heading up to Big Slide Mountain

Lots of cool scrambles up over the Three Brothers

Views were worth the tired legs

This old forest was almost creepy at times. In a good way.

Out to a big slide (!) below Big Slide summit. 

Following a rock creek bed down to Johns Brook Lodge. Nice to be leveling off after another steep, boulder-filled down.

Friends at camp welcomed us back. (So yeah, camp was just us and the chipmunks.)