Sunday, January 31, 2010

Noquemanon 51km

My first Noquemanon is in the books. I got my a** kicked. I really underestimated this race, and in the end I paid dearly for it. The last 15 k were brutal. I was totally running on fumes and shear determination to get it over with. But it was fun, and I'll be back next year. As the saying goes: "Sometimes fun hurts really fu**ing bad". I'm going to do a proper write up tomorrow to put up on Wednesday. In part to entertain the very few that read my drivel, and also to remind myself of the many mistakes I made on Saturday in the hopes of not repeating them next year. For now, the raw data below will have to suffice.

Garmin Connect -
Activity Details for Noquemenon 51km

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Book Review

I recently read this book, and it turned out to be a lot better than I expected.

I was up at the library the other day, and I was having a heck of a time picking out a new book. My eyes happened upon this Jon Krakauer book, but the subject matter didn't do a whole lot for me. I'm not much into the whole war thing, and so I was afraid that this particular book would only upset me. However, I've really enjoyed all of the author's other books. Hmmmm. Since I was unable to locate anything else that struck my fancy, I decided to give it a whirl. Wow, was I happy to have taken the chance. Jon's writing, as per the usual, was wonderful. He does a great job with the whole non-fiction thing, weaving together a great story that is clearly well researched. For those not in the know, this story revolves around Pat Tillman, and the profound effect that the terrorist attacks of 9/11 had on him. An effect so profound in fact that he walked away from a multi-million dollar contract as an NFL defenseman in order to enlist in the army. Jon's main focus of the book, other than background on Tillman's life leading up to his enlistment, is on the armed forces. Specifically, he targets their blatant under-reporting of "friendly fire" incidents and the common breakdown of communications between those on the front lines and those calling the shots from headquarters. I didn't have a particularly high opinion of the military as it was, and I'm sad to say it's even worse now. Still, the great writing and facsinating story of Pat Tillman made it hard for me to put this one down. If you're in the market for a good read, check it out.

Monday, January 25, 2010

So I'm in the U.P.....

Saturday: I woke up early and got the truck packed and ready to go. The sun was shining, and it was a beautiful day for a drive. By the time I got to Munising, the sun was no longer out, and the temps. were in the low 30's. The grooming at Valley Spur was near perfect. There were probably close to 30 cars in the parking lot when I got there just after noon. I thought that would translate into some traffic out on the trails, but I was wrong. The whole time I was out I only saw two other people. I had a most excellent skiing experience. I drove into Munising to get a room for the night, and I was hoping the rain would hold off long enough in the morning to get a quick ski in before I hit the road.

Sunday: The rain did not hold off. I woke to a fairly steady downpour. I lounged around a bit thinking maybe it would clear up. By the time I finished breakfast and looked at the radar for the umpteenth time, it was clear that there would be no skiing for me. I packed up the truck and headed for home. The rain continued pretty much non-stop until I got back over the bridge. Fortunately, the long range forecast for here and Marquette (where the Noquemenon is this weekend) is good. Cooler temps. and more snow. We need some more of both.

Garmin Connect -
Activity Details for
Valley Spur Y loop + H and W

Friday, January 22, 2010


The races that were supposed to go down this weekend were officially cancelled yesterday afternoon. Apparently their current lack of snow and the warm weather forecast for the weekend were enough for them to pull the plug. Since I still have the weekend off, and since it is supposed to warm up quite a bit I've decided to head north. There is a cross country ski center outside of Munising called Valley Spur, and I hear it's pretty top notch. They've got 45 km of trails, and the grooming is supposed to be excellent. They also have close to three feet of snow at the moment compared to our three inches. The plan so far is to head up tomorrow morning and do a long classic ski. Then I'll probably get a room in the thriving metropolis of Munising so that I can get up Sunday morning for a shorter skate ski. It'll make for two weekends in a row heading up over the bridge, but that's okay since I like the U.P. Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Arms Hurt

I know, I know. HTFU. Seriously though, my arms seem to have taken the biggest hit with the little sickness hiatus. Three days skiing in a row counting today, and my arms are toast. I've just been doing an hour each day in order to ease back into it. Of course, I've been going pretty hard during those hours in order to "make up for lost time"... I know it's silly, and I know it's not technically what I should be doing. The coughing up of stuff as soon as I get done could be seen as another indicator that perhaps I was pushing a little too hard, but I like to think of it as just removing the sickness that put me out of commission for a few days. All in all, I still feel pretty good. It's too bad the same couldn't be said about the snow levels. We got maybe a half an inch last night and this morning. And that is about the sum total of new snow we've had over the last couple of weeks. Consequently, there have been rumblings on the interweb that the resort hosting the races this weekend may not have enough snow, especially since temps. are supposed to get up into the high 30's and low 40's by the end of the week. Fortunately for me, it's close enough to home that I can wait until the last minute to see whether they're a go. I'll be skiing somewhere tomorrow night. If for some odd reason anyone is interested, give me a shout at the store tomorrow and I'll let you know where.

Monday, January 18, 2010


I'm officially back in action after being sidelined for almost a week with a nice head cold/sore throat combo. I got out for a quick ski at Birchwood yesterday, and things went well. The legs feel good and breathing wasn't a problem. Less than two weeks to go before the first marathon of the winter, and I'm looking forward to it. Of course it helps that we've got a sweet house on Lake Superior for the weekend, and we get to hang out in Marquette for a few days. Providing I continue to feel good through the week, I'll be racing Sat. and Sun. this weekend as well at the Garland Resort outside of Grayling. Classic Sat. and skate on Sun. Think snow.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Love, Sarah

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sunday Surprise

After a long week with some nagging pain in my right knee, things finally started coming back together. Saturday I got out for a good hour at Birchwood. Knee pain was virtually gone, and my arms were feeling strong. Yesterday morning Hugh and I got out for a solid hour and forty-five minutes. I felt really good the whole time. I ate some lunch, waxed some skis, and did a quick yoga practice. Matt came over in the early evening for a sauna and a couple of beers. What a perfect ending to a near perfect weekend. Then.....I woke up in the middle of the night to a raging sore throat. Great, just when my legs are getting back to 100% I get sick. WTF? I'm hitting up the airborne and vitamin C, so hopefully this little bug won't linger for too long. WNS @ Chestnut (unless I'm still sick). Over and out.

Friday, January 08, 2010

WNS # 2

Attendance: Myself and Steve (Rudolph not Secret).

Weather: Dark and cold, but not windy.

Trail Conditions: Excellent.

The fact that Steve showed up to ski with me was purely coincidental. He just happened to be there at the same time. Still, we had a nice relaxing two laps on the upper loop skating. I'm going to give it one more week on the WNS thing. I'll still be skiing on Wednesday nights throughout the winter; but if nobody else is going to show up at Chestnut I'll probably change the venue up from week to week depending on how I feel, trail conditions, upcoming races, etc. Speaking of racing, my 2010 schedule is up on the top right. It will be my most ambitious season to date, but I think it'll be good for me in the long run. Over the last couple of years I've come to realize that racing is the number one factor that keeps me at least somewhat honest in my training. If I don't have a race on the horizon, I'm somewhat likely to just say "f**k it" when it comes time to get on the bike or skis. Solution: race more. I will. Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

I am helping "rising health care costs".....sorry.

From Sarah:

Due to not breathing well, the doctor has put me on an everyday inhaler. It is very effective, but very upsetting that I am contributing to make prescription drugs not affordable to all because of excess packaging.

This is all I needed.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Classic Sunday

I was pretty sore when I got out of bed yesterday morning, and for a brief moment I contemplated skipping the race. My right knee felt pretty banged up, and I assume that was from a late race crash on Saturday. My arms felt pretty stiff too, but after an hour or so of shuffling around the house and a few ibuprofen I was feeling okay. The race went well. 11 km. and I felt pretty good most of the time, or as good as you can expect to feel when you're operating at near maximum heart rate for just under an hour. Then it was home to snowblow the driveway and haul some wood. The sauna afterwards felt wonderful at 180 degrees. So I got my first two races in without breaking myself or any of my equipment. WNS is on this week. End of Valley Road past Chestnut Golf Course @ 6:30. Hope to see you there.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

First Race of 2010

I had my first race of the season this morning, and it was also my first race ever on the skate skis. Conditions could have been a little better. It was five below zero at the start. Having the race on one of my regular training loops was a definite plus though (even if it was the hilliest loop at the resort). When we got there, we found out that they'd pushed the 10:30 start back half an hour to "let it warm up a little". In my opinion, when you're looking at temps. that low a few degrees here or there really don't make that much of a difference. Anyway, the cold was all but a distant memory once the race started and my heart rate shot into the stratosphere. With the exception of the one long downhill on each lap, it remained there for the entire 51 minutes that it took me to ski the 10 kilometers. Crossing the line I had that all too familiar feeling of almost, but not quite puking. Then it was off to work for the late shift. I'll head home tonight and recover as best I can for the next race tomorrow morning. At least it's supposed to be a little warmer, and it's a classic race which is definitely my stronger discipline. WNS will resume this week, so I'll put up another reminder early in the week. Details from the race are below. Lap 1 was my warmup, and lap 2 was the actual race. Enjoy the rest of the weekend. Over and out.

Garmin Connect -
Activity Details for
10 km Freestyle @ Nub's Nob