Sunday, March 30, 2014

Trail Running-Yes TRAIL RUNNING March 29th

After two weeks of nursing the ankle I decided to hit the trails yesterday given the morning was perfect with moderately warm temps and plenty of sunshine.  I'd head to Martha Deering first and turn around immediately as the trails are still a sheer coating of ice.  Plan B was Brierly where the trails were wonderful which is funny considering both trails are in town so interesting to see how conditions differ and guessing it's because Brierly has less tree cover so more melting.  Much of the trails were as free of snow as the photo above.  Sure you'll all notice the cute little pink flamingos on my T shirt which is another addition to my bird collection and got it for $3.00 Win/Win!

Much of the water at Brierly is still frozen but did flush a couple of Hooded Mergansers near one body of water.

Bird song would be everywhere along the trail with many singing cardinals, juncos and of course chickadees.  Highlight around here would be hearing some singing Brown Creepers which is always welcome given the beauty of their song.

Snow and ice was still found in many spots including the one above.  Did make for a pretty pic though and the ice really made the green moss pop so of course I had to take a picture!

Some of the trails were really muddy with standing water.  Love this spot here and became very familiar with it as it was one of the best trails to snowshoe run on given the snowmobile rs kept it up.  Also a good place to flush a Ruffed Grouse which I did earlier in the year.

The melting snow made the rivers swell making music to the ears with that and the long song of an American Tree Sparrow nearby.  Hearing them sing is such a treat as we don't have them during breeding season so when I hear it I always stop and listen.

I'd be at 4 miles by the time I got here and realize I got myself good and lost (an annual tradition at Brierly for me).  The lack of snow makes following the trails a lot more difficult so decided to try the trails I remember from last spring which made it worse and wound up in one of those continuous loops I've been known to do.

So had to humble myself to find the local road and call my son to come pic me up!  While waiting there'd be birds everywhere including quite a few Eastern Bluebirds like the one above.

All in all I'd get in 5.5 miles of which most was running and have no ankle issues at all so thinking all the rest I gave to the ankle has paid off and can go back to running again which was indeed missed.

Besides that the rest of the week was rather uneventful which is why I didn't bother with a blog post as there's only so many posts you can do about the stair well.  Speaking of which I'm back to my 80 flights a day and have increased my speed considerably.  Have yet to time myself but have that planned within the next two weeks to see if my new techniques are paying off.

Sleep's been a challenge which stresses me out as I'm now neurotic about getting in at least 7 hours a night as it's one of the best things you can do for recovery.  You see my son brought home a dog who goes by the name of Barney.  He's still a pup and in the process of being crate trained which he hates.  He also hates it when Brandon isn't home and barks in protests.  My son just started working the overnight UPS shift which means occasional barking from Barney at 2 o'clock in the morning which gets me up of course.  The first night I put on meditative music to drown him out which seemed to have worked but the 2nd night it was much worse and stuffed toilet paper in my ears hoping that would work and all it did was make more muffled barking.

So plan C was carefully planned on my part as you all know how much I can complicate even the simplest of things.  I got myself some ear plugs, dug out my anti stress meditation mask as it only seemed appropriate with my meditative music!  Now back to 7 hours sleep a night even if the ear plus seems to fall out of my ears in the middle of the night.

Now for another boring work week.  Hoping all the rain we are having this weekend gets rid of the remaining ice on the trails so I can get back out there next weekend.  Spring is waking up the earth and I want to be out there as much as I can to welcome it back.

Take care all.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Not a Lot of This and Not a Lot of That Friday

Figured I'd post on my journal even though there's not much to post as I'm still nursing my bum ankle which doesn't hurt  as much as  last Sunday, but still get twinges here and there so still taking it easy.  Didn't do the stairs at all Monday which killed me but did do them Tue, Wed & Thu, and did allright but had to gently walk down them which took forever and didn't do nearly half as many as I'd liked to have but reminded myself I was in healing mode.

Healing mode hasn't been that bad actually as I've been forcing myself to get at least 8 hours sleep a night which my body agrees with.  My diet's been 100% spot on with an emphasis on more Omega threes from Salmon and Chia Seeds as well as a nightly portion of chicken broth.  Why chicken broth you ask?  Why I'll tell you.  Broth has collagen and anti inflammatory benefits which makes it worth its weight in gold to me.  I always have some on hand and keep them in individual freezer bags in the freezer and take them out whenever I feel a cold coming on or an injury.  Making it is super easy too as all I do is put the bones in the crock pot, cover with water, add a little apple cider vinegar and let it simmer on low for 24 hours.  Strain, refrigerate until solid and then voila, broth on demand and in nifty single servings.  I've also been increasing turmeric in my diet and according to Zach Bitter it does help with injuries and part of his protocol.  Will be interesting to see how Zach treats the Achilles flareup he got his weekend after Breaking yet another record in the ultra-running community.  Another staple I've been having is my nifty coconut hot chocolate (ingredients in the photo above).  So easy to make and super delicious.  1 cup coconut milk, 1 heaping teaspoon cocoa power, dash cinnamon, dash vanilla and a teaspoon of raw honey, warm it up and you have a great cup of cocoa that's not only delicious but healthy too.  Not sure if it will help my ankle but its helped my spirits and my throat which has been sore lately due to allergies.

During my down time, I've added a couple of new things to my running/working/other bird clothing collection including the nifty Easter Socks above (notice me elevating my ankle)  ;-)

And of course being a birder  I had to see if I could ID them so imagine my delight when I thought I had a Boat-tailed Grackle!  Having my doubts now as these birds were found at the dollar section of Target which probably means they're from China and these grackles are not native there so who knows but do know they're awful cute!

Another bird related item for running which are customized head bands and all the way from the UK!  Got them both for $14 total with shipping being under $5 so thought it was a bargain.  Love head bands for running as they help keep the hair in place and not fly in your face so was super excited to get these.

But the best package I was waiting for had yet to arrive until Thursday.  I was so excited I ran upstairs with it (ankle didn't hurt doing so either, woot!), opened it up and there before my eyes.

Were my Functional Fitness Bands!  These my friends are going to be my ticket to getting back to doing full unassisted pull-ups again which I was doing at CrossFit but have lost the strength since.  Pull-ups and gymnastics rings were my favorite thing to do at CrossFit and something I was really good at with my Gymnastics background so going to incorporate some of it into my workouts and not the CrossFit stuff that screwed up the back of my knee which took almost a year to heal so no more of that for me.

I got home all excited and decided to do a video demo for my large blogging audience plus YouTube as there are not that many unassisted pull-up videos on there so wanted to demo and promote them as I consider pull ups, push ups and dips to be the three most vital upper body exercises one can do and beats the gym any day.  It would be easier said than done of course as I took six takes of the video as I sounded really stuff due to my allergies.  I'd also realize I didn't have the camera up high enough so you couldn't see the top of the bar so on my 7th try I got it right and probably had a perfect video  but after I was done I realized I didn't have the camera turned on.  I'd be kind of frustrated at that point but determined to get some decent video despite my arms burning as I was well over 100 pull-ups but once I make up my mind to do something I do so it was onto take number 8.

Which would turn out worse than any of the 7 before hand.  Allow me to introduce to you the first ever blooper video on my blog (probably more to come for those who know my Lucille Ball ways).  I wasn't going to post this but after seeing it a few times I now find it funny and think it's nice to show a different side to one's persona every now and then so why not!  The end of the video fades out some as I had to censor something I said so don't worry there's nothing wrong with your audio, I just can't figure out how to do a better audio slicer in Microsoft Movie Maker yet.  Also notice the video is blurry.  Have no idea how that happened as all of my other videos have been crystal clear so I guess that just ads to how this video just wasn't meant to be.

I wound up shutting down the movie studio after this resigned in defeat and had some dinner but watch out next week as I'm going to do a proper demonstration even if it kills me!

And last but certainly not the least are the Mourning Doves in my yard when I got out of work tonight.  I've been throwing birdseed out the window and need to fill the feeders but with all the ice on the pathway I haven't in fear of the ankle.  Thinking by tomorrow morning it will all be gone so can do a huge fillup to last at least a few days until the storm we're supposed to get.  Grrrrrrrrr..

Chilling in typical Mourning Dove fashion.

And doing what they do best which is resting which is exactly what I plan on doing the rest of the evening.  Don't know what the weekend has in store for me with the ankle but if it feels better tomorrow I'm going to at least go for a hike with the warm temps and most of the snow gone....for the time being at least......

Take care all.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Purgatory Chasm Trial Run-Well Not Really

I woke up fairly early today pretty excited to get in a trail run without the Dion's and needed to be in the fresh air after being office bound all week so off I went to Purgatory Chasm in Sutton to check out conditions hoping for semi bare trails so I could finally run with just the trail running shoes.  I'd get there and even the parking lot would be a mess much to my dismay.

As it meant the dreaded microspikes.  Last time I was at Purgatory trail running with my buddy Tom the microspikes only stayed on 4 minutes before I whipped them off as they were forming those dreaded snowballs between the spikes making running impossible so already had a bad felling of what was yet to come.

Which was still lots of snow in some spots, lots of standing water in other spots and a whole lot of ice in most spots.  Do have to say some of the ice pools sure were pretty like the one above.

Despite the obstacles I decided to give it a go and the trail you see above was the best running I could find that was okay enough to get my heart rate up but only lasted .15 miles so after a mile of running, walking and swearing I decided to head back to the parking lot and try the Old Purgatory trail which is my favorite but a monotonous 3/4 mile loop.

And that would be in even worse shape than Charlie's Loop much to my dismay.  All was not lost though as there was a lot of melting on some of the large rocks Purgatory Chasm is known for which would be the perfect opportunity to fit in some training for a new hobby I've suddenly developed  an interest in (sound familiar, yup, I haven't changed much!).  I guess it's not really new as it was something I first heard about when I was at Crossfit as it has Crossfit style moves but not as crazy as CrossFit but with many of the same training principals like using your body to do a lot of hard work instead of going to a gym and having a machine do it with your assistance.  After much searching I was able to find the original video I saw a couple of years ago that made me want to think about incorporating some of their moves during my trail runs now that I'm away from CrossFit and the gym but still want to work my upper and lower body without weights in unconventional ways.

And here is the video above!!!!  Now don't let the scaling of the rocks by a shirtless,shoeless jacked up dude scare you as I don't intend on doing any river boulder jumping or crawl on my back through the trails of course as there's a lot of ticks but can incorporate some of their fitness tips into my workout and it beats weights at the awful gym any day and you have to admit it sure looks like fun!!  Facebook Page:  MovNat

So I'd have a little MovNat Mod (aka move of the day) at Purgatory and do 30 pushups on the rocks of Purgatory.  It was a blast and really worked the core as you had to balance yourself on the rocks and the snow while doing them.  Winner/Winner Chicken Dinner!!!!!

 After that it was time to head home and get out of my wet trail shoes, have another cup of coffee and my first meal of the day or rather snack which would be some of the nifty pistachio trail mix above.  This stuff is so good I grab a few pieces and then put it far back into the cabinet as I could scoff the entire bag in seconds with no problem.  Never thought of using pistachio's in trail mix before but now thinking I may make my own and add some shredded coconut and other nuts and drizzle it with raw honey to get my carb fix for mid long runs as it would be a lot cheaper than the $2.99 I paid for this measly bag.  So good though.

Soon enough it was time to hit the road (YUCK), and the only way I could bear it was to get my Vibram's out of storage and break them in for the first time this year as it was warm enough at that point to do so.  And with the warm weather there'd be people everywhere on the side walks I run.  The road that's on my favorite local running spot has a 40 MPH speed limit and lots of twists and turns so side walk run as much of it as I can as I find people in cars can be total idiots when it comes to runners and cyclists and don't trust any of them so figure it's better to be safe than sorry (another reason I hate road running).

Anyhow, the sidewalk congestion would be so bad I'd have to pass many and when I pass I normally get on the street and sprint past them continuing to do so until I'm well past and then slow down to get my heart rate back to normal and go back to my usual turtle pace.  Sure enough that would last about .10 of a mile and I'd have another obstacle and this time it would be a couple with a stroller and I believe the grandparents right behind taking their time.  Sprint time again as I'd get past them and ignore the pain in my ankle as well as my sore toes from my Vibram's feeling funny on my left foot.  I'd turn off the Garmin and re adjust my shoes at this point while seriously annoyed as I run to escape and no matter what I did I wasn't escaping anything and the one thing I wanted to escape were people and winter at that point!  So out came my Droid where I put on the one song that can remove me from the universe while running roads  put it on as a continuous loop as I started running again.

On the Run:  Pink Floyd:  The trance like stare the guy has in the video is the exact frame of mind I get to when I listen to it while running and my preferred song while road running as I hate it so much!  It makes me pick up the pace though so off I went and was grateful to get to the 1 mile mark and turn around as I was only doing two miles considering I'd already done one mile at Purgatory and always take it easy with the Vibram's the first time out as the worst thing you can do is over run with them until your foot and calve muscles get used to them.  I'd feel as if I were flying on the way back with more people enjoying the day that I had to pass (also had to stop one more time to adjust the shoe and roll my ankle some as it still hurt).  It didn't stop me though as it did feel good to run with just shoes and the song had me going so off ran thinking of nothing but post workout fuel at this point!

And be very pleased with my time.  Now many of you runners would be mortified to have this kind of time on a road run but to me it means progress as I was lucky to get a 10 minute mile a couple years back when I ran 4-5 times a week so was very pleased with this and now realize I run better when I only do it twice a week with lots of cross training in between.  I'd start lunch and take off the Vibram's and put on my slippers when I saw the veins in my ankle very swollen and visible which is the thing that screwed me up three months ago and kept me from working out for a few days as it hurts like hell and can make me limp it's so bad.  It would also be then I'd remember the last time I had the pain was when I did a Vibram run last December on a really warm day and I'd finally put two and two together and realize the Vibram's were one of the biggest factors of what did me in a couple of years ago when I got so banged up ankle and Achillies wise I gave up running all together thinking I was a disaster at it.  Out came the ice and on came the compression calf sleeves hoping I could nip it in the bud earlier than last time.

So off I went to get some epsom salt as well as coconut butter for my Bullet Proof Coffee which are the only calories I consume pre workout (as well as BCAA's) as I train after an over night fast if my workout is in the morning.  I will get into this more as my blog continues but if you want to learn more about how you can train your body to burn fat instead of glycogen while working out check out Ultra Running Record Breaker Zach Bitter's blog.  His method of nutrition is a lot like what I'm doing and he's going to be doing a blog post on intermittent fasting in the next week or so which will explain the benefits better than I can.

I'd get home and take a nice long epsom salt soak in the tub after popped some ibuprofen and immediately feel better but still have the ankle pain as well as lingering pain in my right knee from all the knee turning I've been taking on the icy trails so am really annoyed with winter at this point as I just want nice green, muddy trails for running as my body can't take running in it in winter anymore.

I'd drown my winter sorrows with a Founders Breakfast Stout hoping it would help with the ankle and now thinking of what plan B will be tomorrow.  Either hiking and looking for blackbirds or going to the gas station to put air in my mountain bike tires and taking that out on the bike trail as I can't see me running again until next weekend when hopefully all the awful snow is gone!

Take care all.

Friday, March 14, 2014

This and That Friday

Figured I'd do a post tonight of random stuff as it's been a pretty uneventful day with a few pretty eventful moments including seeing a Peregrine Falcon on top of City Hall today.  My co worker Jan called me to let me know and I bound from my desk with camera and bins on hand hoping I'd see my beloved male on the tip top of the steeple which is one of his favorite spots.  My heart sank some as I saw the falcon as I knew it wasn't him based on its portly looking size (male is leaner looking), but happy to see one just the same.

The Peregrine's this year have been pretty emotional for me.  When I found out one was injured I braved the cold the following Monday with my bins hoping I could see the two of them just as they've always been all the years I've been tracking them.  The construction workers saw me with my bins and asked if I was looking for the falcons and I told them yes and they then told me the entire story about the hawk attacking the falcon and how they tried to save it but couldn't.  Hearing the "tried to save it but couldn't" brought a wave of emotion to me as it was so final and started tearing up right then and there with lower lip trembling in front of two total strangers.  They felt awful of course and apologized to me saying they'd be on the lookout and blah, blah blah as I headed back to the office with tears running down my eyes going right to my office to close the door to compose myself as the last thing I needed were co workers seeing me an emotional mess based on a bird (which is how most folks would see it).  I did it again the next day and the same outcome.  The construction workers would nod their head a sad "no" as I looked just the same with the bitter wind assaulting me which I found rather fitting.  After a few days of doing this work got crazy and had to go to Boston a lot which I found a welcome relief as looking for them with no success was taking its toll on me.  I was ecstatic when Justin spotted two of them a couple weeks back and really hoped it was the original pair but have not seen a bird that looks like my beloved male.  Have to admit I haven't made much of an effort as I sometimes thing denial is therapeutic, but plan on going out there next week as I'm prepared for whatever outcome there is and just glad we have two falcons back in downtown Worcester.

Another highlight in my uneventful day revolved around the stairs.  It all started when I went upstairs to La Patisserie for a rare cup of coffee as I was in number crunching hell and needed something to make it less painful.  Eric was there and I found out he was trying to organize a stair climbing event in our building so was naturally curious considering I spend so much time on them I know each floor just by what it looks like.  Anyhow, it's still in its infancy and who knows if it will happen but crossing my fingers as it would be a fun event to bring to downtown Worcester which needs all the help it can get!  I'd also find out Eric (the owner) climbs the stairs daily but totally different than I do and on the North stairs vs. my South Stairs.  Funny how each person has their own way of doing things with his method being hard core in its own right.  He basically trudges up 24 flights with 25 lb dumbbells in each hand single step.  When he comes down he does dumbbell curls with each step making for a complete killer upper and lower body workout by the time he's done.  It was real fun talking to him as most people I know think I'm crazy when I start talking stairs so it put as much spring in my step as the coffee did as I headed back downstairs to my office dungeon.

And speaking of killer stair workouts, I had my own today.  After watching myself on video tape I realized why I can't get past the 3:50 mark time wise (for 24 flights), and it's because my leg turnover just won't do it until I either strengthen my upper calves enough to run them (working on that) and two rely more on my arms to do at least half of the work and drag me up the stairs faster than my legs want to do it at this time.  The best way to do this according to the pros is the incorporate the single rail technique

An example of the single rail technique can be found via the video above and at the four minute mark.  Also notice the crutch pivot they do which is a blast!  Anyhow, I single stepped two flights to warm up my legs and then tried the single rail technique myself.  Suddenly I was going up the stairs a lot quicker than my usual method and felt as if I were flying!  By flight 12 my shoulders were burning something fierce in protest as they were doing much of the work and I was in such a serious anaerobic state my lungs were burning and crying for more air (which is hard to get in a stair well!).  I stopped on the landing trying to get my breathing back to normal as I said out loud "Holy Shit, is this is hard between gasps".  I prayed no one was on the stair well to hear me because God knows what they'd think and was even more thankful Eric does the North side stairs as the last thing I wanted to see was him barreling up the stairs with his dumbbells after I just got done telling him how bad ass I was doing 80 flights a day and here I was out of breath while talking to myself on floor number 12!!!!  Quite humbling to say the least but it gives me something to work on.  The shoulders need work obviously as well as the lungs and then watch out as I may get to the three minute mark if I work real hard at it!

Another highlight in my uneventful day was getting a new tank top for my running clothes bird collection!  What's that you ask, well I'll tell you!!

You see it all started when I realized most of my trail running clothes are rather ratty looking.  I normally don't mind but since I had to spend some money on new shorts and skirts anyway, I wondered if they had any bird related running clothes.  After quite a lot of time on Google I finally hit gold and found out Peacock running clothes are very in at the moment.  Suddenly the most adorable running skirt I'd ever seen was staring at me.  I looked at the price and my mouth dropped but hell, it's pretty stylish.  Of course to the right of that is the old bait and hook tactic stores use which is the always clever "You may also be interested in"-and there before me were the most adorable Peacock Arm Sleeves I'd ever seen.  I'd also see some Peacock shorts and mentally added the final cost in my brain as I added all 3 to my cart forgoing my usual frugal nature.   You see it was during the very frequent cold spells we've been having and the thought of short season seduced me as I thought of myself running free along the trails this spring.  Sunshine would be on my shoulder and I'd run all free and fast in the woods I love so much that time of the year.  The peacock clothes would have all the colors of the warblers I love so much (except Blackburnian of course!) and I'd blend right in with them and we'd navigate the trails in fluid harmony.  I looked out the window at the cold, bleak day and the fantasy in my head was so strong, I checked out with Paypal and a smile on my face while I thumbed my nose at winter knowing its days would soon be numbered.

But I wouldn't stop there as I now had my own theme in the running community!!  I mean crap, they have the Dirt Diva on the West Coast, why not the Bird Diva on the East Coast.  Sure I can't run 100 miles + and have no tats but hey, I'll look pretty stylish with my own signature duds trudging up the trails here in Central Mass doing my normal 5 miles!  Cha Ching!!  Isn't the top the cutest thing you've ever seen.  Yes the peacock's neck looks a little phallic in this photo but have no worries as it doesn't look as bad on really it doesn't!  Look out warblers because here I come!

To my dismay the running clothes designers don't think of bird related clothes as top sellers so was very happy to pick up the Crow Tank as not only is it bird related but the proceeds also go to the Crow Athletics Running Club in Maine so glad to do my part!

And last but by no means the least check out the score I got at Marshall's today with most of it being on clearance!!  All of this is gluten free mind you which I guess is no longer in vogue as who wants to eat dark chocolate covered date bars (can't wait to try them), when you can have fru fru chocolate truffles from Belgium  the next aisle over.  I happily scoffed it up as I need them for my runs that take longer than 2 hours as I run fasted in the morning and at about an hour and a half my body screams for glycogen so now I'll be able to give provide it with just that and gluten free no less!

Just thought I'd post some of the events of my non eventful day which has made me realize it wasn't as uneventful as first thought.

Take care all.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Stair Climbing-Building my Foundation for Trail Running Season

I've always climbed the stairs.  It all started when I quit smoking five or so years back and needed something to do to step away from the office and let off steam as I used butts to do that and needed something new to occupy my energy and stress and the stairs did just that.  After about three months of it, I lost a lot of weight and never gained an ounce which is what is often said happens when one kicks that habit.

Here are just some of the benefits of Stair Climbing:  Source and Link-Stair Climbing Sport

  • Stair climbing burns about twice as many calories than any other sport or activity.
  • Because it is a grueling sport, stair climbing requires less time to do the same intensity of a workout. For example, if you run 30 minutes per day, the same workout intensity could be achieved with 15 minutes of stair climbing.
  • Stair climbing is a total body workout. It makes the arms stronger with the use of the arms pulling you up with the use of the rails (or banister) which is allowed and encouraged. Stair climbing especially builds muscle mass in the legs, including the quadriceps and calfs. It is an aerobic sport as it works the cardio-vascular lung package. Stair climbing becomes an anaerobic event after about 10 to 20 flights of stairs as it strains your aerobic capacity to hold an intense load on the cardio-vascular package to the top of a very tall building. Since the contest is vertical, even a 70 story race up is not a total sprint and requires endurance, sprint, and muscular strength to complete in a fast time.
  • Stair climbing is excellent for cross-training. Runners, swimmers, cyclists, rowers, soccer (or football), and others find stair climbing to be helpful with its total workout. Cyclists, skiers, and rowers are especially attracted to the muscle mass in the legs which can be developed with stair climbing. 
So with all of those benefits I put on my shoes anywhere between 3-5 times a week and do about 80-120 flights per day depending on my time and how my legs feel.  Generally I will break it out through out the day and do a series of 20 flights a few times a day but have been known to get up to 40-60 flights on occasion, like today when I got in 60 flights at once at lunch.

Trudging up the stairs.  I do most of them double step as I am using the stairs to get me conditioned for uphill and mountain trail running so really want to build the legs up as well as an aerobic base to go with it.  I double step up as many flights of stairs as fast as I can until I get anaerobic and stay like that for about 60 seconds and then single step to recuperate.  I do this to test my overall fitness level (as it's taking me longer  to get anaerobic and takes me only 1 or 2 flights to get my heart rate back to where I want it).

Stair Climbing can be very boring but I welcome that as another form of training and one I call mental as doing countless flights of stairs can be mind numbing after a while and I want to get used to mind numbing for loop running this year which I find even more boring than the stairs!  Yes I go past this thing around 20 times a week but love it just the same as it means I've reached the 23rd floor and can turn around and head down them and back to my office.

And speaking of going down the stairs, most people who stair climb for sport do NOT practice it and with good reason as it's killer on the knees.  I have no choice in the matter as the 23rd floor is locked so need to get down them the same way I got up them.  Plus I want my legs to get some of that stress to get them used to downhill running which as many trail runners know is most fun when you do it kamakazzee style!  With that said I have found a way to get down them without much stress to the knees and a bonus upper body workout to go with it which is very welcome now that I'm no longer lifting weights or doing CrossFit.  See video above.  I made this video for a couple of reasons with one showing how I get down the stairs for Ken aka Running With Ken, and also for me so I can see how my legs are positioned when going up the stairs and comparing them with some of the elite stair climbers and based on what I'm seeing I'm doing a lot of it wrong but what else is new.  Will use video next month after watching and learning more from the various web sites.  I'll be using a lot of video documentation on my blog for myself as I find it's going to show my strengths and weaknesses better than any picture could.  At some point I'll be doing video of my trail running in hopes I can figure out what it is in my stride that causes me so many issues (hopefully not this year though!).  PS:  People tell me I talk fast and didn't realize how fast until I downloaded this video so it was another thing videoing will coach me on as next time, I'll talk slower!  ;-)

Even when trail running season starts I will continue with the stairs but keep it at three times a week.  I seriously consider it my building block for trail running this season as it's built my legs and cardio base up and hoping that combined will allow me to run injury free and get past the dreaded 12 mile long run mark where I always wind up getting injured.

Take care all.

Snowshoe Running-It's been real, let's do it again next winter!

So some of you may be wondering what I've been doing all winter (anyone?) and the answer is running on week ends, but not just running but rather snowshoe running!  In all seriousness one of the most challenging hobbies I've taken on as it taxes the legs in ways running can never do, and with all the snow we've had it makes for a serious cardiovascular workout!

Despite how hard it is, it has been seriously fun and the only thing I really liked this winter, besides feeding the birds, trying new porters and stouts and citrus of course as this is the best time to eat it!

Pretty picture of the brook I fell into on accident but we won't get into that!

Except to say the Dion's and I managed to get out of the sticky mud with no problems!  Seriously if you love to snowshoe, even if it isn't running you have to check out Dion Snowshoes,  you can custom make them to what fits your needs and are of such good quality I promote them as much as I can.  No I don't get paid for it or anything like that, I just know Bob Dion is a decent guy with a small business going against the big box stores and his heart and soul is in snowshoe sports and it shows in his end product.  I got the snowshoes about 6 weeks ago and did a little over 25 miles in them in total.  Loved every mile on them (except this past Sunday) and my goal next year is to be fit enough to race in them which I'm nowhere near now.

Snowshoe racing is super intense and for some great photos of racers themselves check out Scott Mason Photography.  He has wonderful photos and shows what the sport is all about in all of his photos.

And to give you an idea of what snowshoe running is like check out this video I made.  Not only will it show you the nifty Dion's in action but it will also show you the HD video quality my new Cannon has.  So can't wait to try and video tape birds this year as my old camera couldn't focus but this focuses crystal clear!

American Robin taken at Brierly during a snowshoe run this past weekend

So this is what I've been up to all winter and while it's been fun, I'm about ready to hang up the Dion's for good as I'm totally sick of snow.  Not to mention I have some inner knee pain from this past Sunday's snowshoe run as there were tons of deep, frozen foot prints as well as horse sh*t all over Martha Deering which made me dodge and weave around the trails and even inner knee roll in some of the footprint divots and don't think my legs can take another bout of that and need them perfectly healthy for the trails this spring when there's green grass, magnificent trees and spring warblers of course!

Take care all.

One More Try!-Back to Blogging

Yes It's me again and for those of you who have followed my previous blog and wondered if I had fallen off the face of the earth, I'm happy to report I'm still kicking but have done a lot less birding so I kind of stopped posting between that and no camera.  I just got a new Cannon a little over a month ago which has given me the blog bug again as you all know my fondness for photos but find I need a blog in conjunction with them as I'm not talented enough to let a photo tell a story and need words to do that and a blog is the perfect opportunity to do so.

Anyhow, this blog will not neccesarily be about birds, but of course I'll discuss them given they're a big part of my life, but more of a journal where I am training wise with my trail running.  I actually got back into that this past December and am happy to report I'm injury free and have honestly never felt better so think I finally figured out to go slow and steady instead of mad woman style which is what I usually do and my body protests.

Picture from a recent snowshoe run as the trails have too much snow for running.

Running the trails or rather snowshoe running at this point with all the snow we've had.  Can't wait for it to all be gone so I can get out just with trail shoes again!

And I'll blog about beer of course which continues to be a very important part of my life!  Have actually branched out some and while I still love my IPA's, this winter I have discovered porters and stouts and love them.  The Founder's Stout above is one of my favorites and on my list for this week end as I'm giving up beer during the week to get ready for trail running season this spring and want to be in top form and not overload the system with too much gluten (I am now just about gluten free, except for beer and the occasional bowl of oatmeal or grains when I want to be vegan for a day)

Another one, just because!  So good, try it if you dare and are worthy!

And of course what would any blog of mine be without random weird photos which are one of my favorite things to photograph.  Doll collection by friend Karen has in her hall.  Freaks me out everytime I walk past them but have to admit they are starting to grow on me.

So there you have it, I'm back to blogging.  Will be nothing like before as I don't have the time but am glad to be back at it.

Take care all.