Sunday, January 27, 2013

Back to Back

Ice Age training is still pretty spotty but I have still managed to get in a few quality runs. This week I did back to back 12 milers on the trails. Both runs really went well and even though I ran pretty much the same course both days, there was a big difference in the trail conditions. Saturday was dry and dusty, Sunday was rainy and muddy. Good clean fun!

I was a little tired towards the end of my run today but I still managed to finish fairly strong and only about 6 minutes slower than yesterday. With the muddy conditions I am very pleased with my finishing time.

The warmer temperatures make the trails still look like fall.
It's a tough march up that hill, especially when muddy,
but it's really fun bombing back down it!

I was amazed at how bright orange the leaves were today.
This is a really pretty area of the trail

Because it rained all night there was no shortage of standing water or muddy areas

This creek bed was dry most all of last year.
It's not flowing, but it's a start.

There really is sort of a trail here. They did some clearing this fall which
created a big open dirt area / mud pit.

This trail area provides a good combination of mostly flat areas where you can really get some speed going of you choose to do so, and several challenging hills that will leave you gasping for air on the way up and praying not to fall on the way down.

Below is an elevation comparison between my 12 mile run and the first 25 miles of the Ice Age 50K from last year.

12 mile trail run

25 miles of Ice Age 50K
I believe that they are fairly comparable other than not so many flat areas in the Ice Age. 

This weekend was a great test of endurance before I participate in the Psycho Wycho Run Toto Run 20 miler in a couple of weeks. It is one of the toughest courses that I have ever run. It is a 10 mile loop that you choose to run from 1 - 3 laps. I am going to run two laps (20 miles) because I don't think I am ready to run another 50K right now. Especially on this course!

All in all it was a very solid training weekend. I am trying to focus on good recovery habits such as stretching and rolling. We have also started to shorten up our core workouts a little and add in some yoga for the last 15 minutes.

At the end of the day, you can't hardly beat a nice long meditative run on through the rain and mud out on the trails.

Signs of a good time!

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Yep, I took a week of vacation in the middle of January. No, I didn't go to Mexico or some warm tropical island, I have stayed right here in the Midwest.

I have done a little running and a lot of lounging. I hit the trails for about 12 miles yesterday, it was a beautiful 45 degrees. In fact, most of the trail looks like fall right now.

January Trail - looks more like the fall

When I wasn't sleeping in or hitting the trails I experimented with a couple of healthy snacks that I thought I would share with you.

The Green Smoothie
Pre-smoothie ingredients
This smoothie is fairly simple to make and chock full of healthy stuff. You can put pretty much anything you like in here. This one contains half of a red delicious apple, fresh squeezed orange and lemon juice, one third of a banana, a few fresh spinach leaves, fresh kale, and half of a clementine. Blend well...and viola! 
It may not look so great, but it sure tastes great.
Tasty Treat!


Speaking of kale. According to the Mind Body Green website kale has some serious health benefits. My wife purchased a big bag of "Cut and Cleaned" Kale. We typically don't eat it all before it goes bad so with some extra time on my hands this week I thought I would try a recipe for kale chips. 
If you have ever tried a leaf of kale on its own, you might agree that it's not the tastiest green out there. Kale chips solves this problem

Kale Chips
 First, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Next, cut the large stems from the rinsed kale leaves and tear the leaves into manageable, bite sized pieces. I put the pieces in a bowl, drizzled on some olive oil, then tossed it to make sure the leaves were coated. Place the kale on a lined baking sheet then sprinkle with your favorite seasoning. You can use a seasoned salt, bbq seasoning, or what ever you may think you would like. Be conservative with the seasoning though because the kale will shrink in the oven and concentrate your seasoning. Your pre-baked kale should look something like this.
Oiled and seasoned kale before baking

Place the seasoned kale into the oven for 10 - 12 minutes. Keep a close eye on it, you want it to be crispy but not burnt. It is delicious fresh out of the oven while it is still warm and seems to keep well too.
The finished product should look something like this. It is really light and crispy. In my opinion, you really only taste the seasoning that you use but there is a hint of maybe a Brussels sprout flavor. 
baked and seasoned kale chips

I wouldn't go too crazy with the kale, there is some serious fiber in there. Also it is not recommended for people on blood thinners because it is high in Vitamin K.

Now it's time for me to get back to my reading.
After reading "No Easy Day", I became interested in checking out some similar books.

I am currently reading the Seal Team Six series by Chuck Dixon. I typically try to stick with non-fiction as much as possible but this series has been a great escape that I can't hardly put down.

Let me know if you try out either of these recipes, tell me what you think!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Neighborhood Run

I decided to take vacation this week. It's pretty much a stay-cation, but it will allow me to shed some stress, catch up on some things around home, and get some good training runs started.

Today, my first day of vacation, was an absolutely beautiful day for a run; so I thought would share it here.

No fancy trails, no wildlife seen, just a good road run with some nice rolling hills. This run really gives me a chance to tune out and just enjoy the experience.

Another great part of running out here is the elevation.

I am really hoping that running these hills will help with my 50 mile training. Most of the Ice Age Trail is fairly flat as I recall, but there are some rolling hills.