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Mean Beaver 5k Race Director Update

Monday, March 26, 2012

Part 1: Insane Beaver

When I decided to put on a 5K trail race I read everything I could about being a race director. I have assisted putting on the Long Scraggy race for three years. I talked to other race directors. The one thing that all these different sources told me was that there were going to be a lot of unexpected things happen. The only thing I was really sure of was that the race was going to be on September 15th and I had the course nailed-down.

Part 2: Uh Oh, Wait just a Minute

I looked on the Calendar of events for Conifer Community Park at Beaver Ranch and found that on September 15th there was a Bluegrass festival scheduled. There was no way a 5K and a Bluegrass festival could be held at the same time. I contacted the park director and found that they had a typo on the schedule. The Bluegrass festival is on September 23rd. I made an appointment with the park director and put down a deposit so I would own September 15th.

Part 3: Dirty Beaver?

For some reason the Mean Beaver 5K is listed on the event Calendar as the "Dirty Beaver 5K."

www.conifercommunitypark.org/event calendar.htm

The park director wanted to kill two birds with one stone. She is a sharp lady. She suggested an adventure race utilizing the Zip Line at the park. She also suggested flooding the lower meadow and setting up a fire barrier. She suggested calling it the Dirty Beaver 5K. The Elk Creek Fire Department would do the flooding and the fire barrier. The Fire Department wants to use the race course for training. I think this is a great idea for a future event. But I really want my race to be a trail race, which is adventure enough.

Trail racers are, well, serious runners. I really could not see a bunch of trail racers standing in line on a Zip Line platform while the clock was running. A mud run is a possibility for another time.

Part 3: Don't Bother The Frisbee Golfers

The Conifer Community Park at Beaver Ranch is not supported by tax dollars. The park is self-funded. Beaver Ranch makes it's money on events. At the Mean Beaver 5K there are going to be vendors that pay the park for setting up booths. The majority of vendors will be selling organically grown Colorado fruits and vegetables. My sponsors will also be there including the Boulder Running Company.

I had intended the Mean Beaver 5K would follow a USATF certified course. However, the USATF course goes through the Frisbee Golf Course. The park director had second thoughts about this. The Frisbee Golf Course brings in a lot of money. She also told me that the Frisbee Golfers would likely tear down any trail makers in the area. The only problem is that the Frisbee Golf Course sits smack in the middle of the park. Unless I make an out-and-back course, half the park can't be used for the Mean Beaver.

Part 4: You'll Need First Aid

The park director suggested incorporating Elk Ridge trail into the race course. The trails that I can use without bothering the Frisbee golfers are, well, really challenging. The park director mentioned that Elk Ridge trail is "pretty rocky" and I need to have first aid handy because "people will fall down". If any of you have read my other blogs, you may have noticed that I carry first aid with me. I fall down a lot! I plotted the new course and there is plenty of trails to get 5K worth of distance.

Part 5: The Mean Beaver is Really a Mean Rodent

Here is what the course looks like. The top of the course is near 9,000 feet so there is still some snow on the trail.

This is looking down the course from the starting line. This wide road climbs at a 15% to 20% grade for 1/4 mile. The beauty of starting on a steep road is that the runners will string-out before the course gets narrow.

The trail starts to get steeper and narrower at Tipi Loop. Tipi Loop is also a bit rougher. The Tipi loop sign is almost exactly 1/4 mile into the race.

Tipi Loop climb at 40% to 45% for another 3/4 of a mile. The Mean Beaver course has a steady climb for the first mile.

Here is the top of Tipi Loop. This is rocky at this spot. You are right at the mile mark here. The course starts to go down hill right past the orange snow fence.

The downhill section of Tipi Loop is smooth. This is where you can cut loose and fly. That is, of course, if your legs have anything left after running uphill for a mile.

After running the downhill segment of Tipi Loop you hit Loggers Loop. Loggers Loop is narrow with a few rocks and roots but is relatively flat. This is where you hit the gas. Watch your step though.

Loggers Loop is going to be really pretty on September 15th.

Loggers Loop has a few sections that are challenging. This rutted section is actually a little tougher than it looks.

Here you are climbing back out of Loggers Loop. This grade is only about 10%. Loggers Loop is a pretty fast part of the course.

After Loggers Loop you hit a nice smooth trail called Coyote Creek. This sign is at the two mile mark. Just a bit over 1 mile to go!

Here is the start of the Coyote Creek Trail. This rustic little bridge spans, you guessed it, Coyote Creek.

Here are some nice little steps to get you up the hill. This is pretty. You are now starting a big climb. You are looking at a 30% grade right here. I wonder why steep hills look flat in photographs.

Here is the sign for Elk Ridge. The fun is about to start.

The Elk Ridge Trail turns right and goes straight up the mountain. This trail is both steep and rough. This is what trail runners live for!

One of many fun obstacles on the way up Elk Ridge. I took this photo standing on the trail. This is tough running.

I took the photo standing on the trail. This might give you an idea of the steepness of Elk Ridge trail.

You are getting to the top of Elk Ridge Trail. The mountain in the background is called, not surprisingly, Saddle Mountain. Notice the mist on top of the ridge. You are well over 9,000 feet of elevation here. You have just run into a low hanging cloud.

Now you run along the ridge and start down. I put "T"s on the photo so you could see the where the trail goes. Slippery pine needles, rocks, roots and dead fall make this little section a wee bit difficult. You have about 1/2 mile to go.

You can jump over this dead fall or you can put a foot on the log and step off. You are coming down the hill quickly and you have to make up your mind in a hurry.

Just keep running and watch your step. It is mostly down hill from here.

Here is some fresh dead fall. I am going to have to cut these off the trail. These trees are high off the trail. Two trees in a row make it hard to navigate this obstacle.

You are almost to the finish. You have a short flat jaunt up Chapel Trail. You go over a small bridge and you are back on the road. I couldn't get a photo of Chapel Trail because it was covered in deep snow. Yes, I know it is late March. The Mean Beaver race course won't be clear until June.

This will be your view as you approach the finish line. You are flying downhill, that is, If you have anything left.

Part 6: Part of a Trail Series

A contracted with a company called Human Movement to provide the timing. Boulder Running Company has offered to provide the banners. I bought some shoes for Kettlebell training at Boulder Running company yesterday. I told the lady helping me about the Mean Beaver 5K. I told her it was pretty rough. She told me she only runs trail races. She said the best time she had was on a rough course when she fell and required 5 stitches in her hand. She told me not to worry that the Mean Beaver course was rough. She said, "I can take anything for 5K."

The guy at Human Movement asked me if I would want the Mean Beaver to be part of a sponsored trail series. He told me that companies are lining-up to sponsor trail races. I told him that trail racers are serious runners but are relaxed because they have nothing to prove. He said he knows. He also said those are exactly the people that buy stuff.

Now I need to get busy and build the Mean Beaver website. Does this course look a bit rough to you? Oxygen is a scarce commodity at high elevation. I am going to get a couple of elite mountain runners I know to give this course a test. I have one Sparker coming (KKINNEA). Any more of you Sparkers want to try this?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ELYMWX 3/28/2012 9:45PM

    I think I would run the Insane Beaver....

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BAILEYS7OF9 3/27/2012 3:12PM

    Looks great. Is it the dirty beaver or the mean beaver? Hope all the planning works out for you!

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PDQ1203 3/26/2012 10:14PM


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HEALTHY4JEANNE 3/26/2012 10:13PM

    good luck with this challenge!

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NWFL59 3/26/2012 8:42PM

    Wow, looks like quiet the challenge! emoticon emoticon

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SYNCHRODAD 3/26/2012 7:17PM

    I chug along at ninety feet. The Dirty, Mean, Evil Beaver is at 9000 feet? I cannot imagine how hard that can be. I need a Camel Back with an oxygen tank. But, it sounds like so much fun! Trail running is the best, I am not a hero, just like to finish. Thanks for the refreshing, encouraging, fun blog!

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KAYZAKCX 3/26/2012 3:16PM

    I have 3 thoughts: 1) that would kick my butt so freaking bad...2) wish I could do it...3) I have got to get into trail running. Looks like fun.

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TYKXBOY 3/26/2012 3:08PM

    Nothing to prove? I'd say anybody doing this run has something to prove! hehe.

This will definitely be quite the race. Definitely would be better as a trail run than a mud run.

I'm surprised that frisbee golf would generate more money on that one day than a trail run, but whatever.

Sounds like the race director has been doing a lot of work and it's all coming together!

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SEAJESS 3/26/2012 2:38PM

    Yipes! This is WAY beyond anything I have ever dreamed of doing! But what a challenging and interesting course... and I love the setup that will spread the runners out before the trail gets narrow.

This race could become a classic! Will there be subsidiary events like a Beaver Kitten run? Or something else for people and families who travel to the event? Or do you want to keep it local? I admit, found myself thinking "This could be a vacation destination!"

It's also great to get a perspective from a race director. I will be even more appreciative on my next race.

I hope the Dirty Beaver doesn't die. An inspired idea. How close are the nearest showers?

Keep up the good work and as for me: Maybe some day.....

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KKINNEA 3/26/2012 2:19PM

    Glad to know it won't be dirty - I only signed up for mean!

I appreciate a first view of the course - I think my Brooks Cascadia 6s and I will be your last place finisher since I'll be 3 weeks out from Twin Cities, but I already have it on the calendar and am looking forward to it!

I'm also planning to run Bolder Boulder while my aunt-in-law walks it so I'll get a little elevation training in early. I'll be on the lookout for more updates!

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LINDAKAY228 3/26/2012 2:19PM

    I would love to hike it but I'm not at a point where I can run it yet LOL! Reminds me of a lot of the area where I live although I'm a little lower. Our town is at 6,000 feet and I hike a lot of trails that go up to 7 or 8000 feet and the forest area and the general condition of the trails looks so much like my area. So beautiful. Wish you tons of succes ad congratulations on pushing through when obstacles tried to come up.

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LMB-ESQ 3/26/2012 2:09PM

    Wow, that looks like one heckuva trail... I think I'd have to hike that rather than run it. I wish I could come to Colorado just to see the place! Good luck getting it all put together!

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CBAILEYC 3/26/2012 1:59PM

Ok, I cracked up at the Dirty Beaver. That's just too funny! Neat idea about making it a mud run, but yea.. perhaps another time.
That trail looks diabolical! I love it! I can love it because I'm not running it! Whew! I would love to be capable of running something like that some day, but that day is not now.
You're making great progress with this Bruce. Well done indeed! I'm excited for you! One question.. most of the races I participate in, the proceeds go to XYZ cause/charity/benefit, etc. Will the Mean Beaver benefit any organizations?

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NATPLUMMER 3/26/2012 1:50PM

    YIKES!! That's going to be quite the race.

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IFDEEVARUNS2 3/26/2012 1:43PM

    Wow! emoticon emoticon

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Princess Half Marathon Results - No Tutus - Photos to Follow

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Part 1: Long History

Last August my wife, Annette, accepted an invitation from her cousin Anne to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Anne and her girl buddies had big plans to dress in pink tutus, poke along, and take many photos along the way. Annette was horrified, however, she decided she would be a good sport and stay with carefree, albeit, slow group. Annette decided not to use a qualifying time to move up to an earlier wave.

Part 2: Cousin Anne's Hurt Back

About a month ago, Annette's cousin Anne severely hurt her back. Once upon a time, Anne had been a professional dancer. I understand dancing places a tremendous amount of stress on the human body. Anne has a lot of aches and pains. Anne was not going to be able to run.

Part 3: Annette's Running Buddy Lindsay

Annette has a good friend named Lindsay that is also a runner. Lindsay met Anne during Thanksgiving at my house. Lindsay got along great with Anne. Lindsay registered for the Princess Marathon in September because she wanted to have a week in Florida with her friends. Lindsay and Annette left Denver for Orlando on Wednesday, February 22nd.

Part 4: I Know My Wife Very Well - No Tutus

I knew that when the race started, my wife, for all her good intentions, would run! And run she did! The girl buddy responsible for getting the tutus did not follow through. Annette wore a black capri, v-neck and white ball cap.

Part 5: Run Baby Run

Since she was in one of the last waves, her clock time was almost an hour longer than her chip time. She told me for the first 5K she ran on the far side of the course jumping over drainage pipes. She really regretted not getting in an earlier wave. She said she spent the entire race weaving in-and-out passing other runners trying to get where she could cut loose. She told me she felt like she was just jogging.

Here are Annette's finishing stats:

Division: F45-49
5K: 32:34
10K: 1:05:14
15K: 1:38:19

Chip Time: 2:20:29
Pace: 10:43 min/mile

Overall: 3,909/19,417 = Top 20%
Gender: 3,516/16,737 = Top 21%
Division: 251/1329 = Top 18%

Number of runners passed: 6,512

She was OK with her performance. Annette said she wasn't the least bit tired when she finished. Lindsay did OK, also.

Here are Lindsay's stats:

Division: F25-29
5K: 36:57
10K: 1:14:40
15K: 1:53:06

Chip Time: 2:38:52
Pace: 12:07 min/mile

Overall: 7,315/19,417 = Top 38%
Gender: 6,720/16,737 = Top 41%
Division: 1,379/2,999 = Top 45%

Number of Runners Passed: 5,286

I will post photos when I get some. Thanks for reading my blog. I think Annette and Lindsay did great but they were both disappointed.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WONDERWOMAN 3/1/2012 9:54PM

    I've been waiting to hear about the tutu - I was guessing there wouldn't be one. Great time in a race like that. Can't wait to see the pics.

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CHIFANG130 2/28/2012 2:59PM

    I hope Annette and Lindsay enjoyed their time in Orlando. Remind them that it only matters they had a good time. The finish time should not be the only focus of the whole trip. Orlando has so much to offer. I hope they play like little girls in Mickey Mouse's house.

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LMB-ESQ 2/27/2012 4:50PM

    Awwww.... after all that, no tutus!! Oh well, at least they got to run. Too bad they had to travel so far to run a race that disappointed them though. Hopefully the next one will feel more rewarding. I think they did great too, considering that I can't run a HM at all!!

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TRILLIUM22 2/27/2012 11:18AM

    I think Disney marathon and half marathons are set up more as experiences than "race" Hope they had a good time and don't think too much about those finish times. I know from what you've said about your wife that on a different course she'd have run a faster race.

I sure would have loved seeing tutu pictures.

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KKINNEA 2/27/2012 10:48AM

    I remember the jumping over people from the Las Vegas HM - it's a real pain. That's a great time given all the obstacles and she probably was able to let her back rest some too. I had wondered about the tutus - glad the getter forgot about them :)

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CAROLCRC 2/27/2012 9:20AM

    Thanks for posting the report! I was very curious how the princess adventure went.

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TOOTHFUL99 2/27/2012 8:07AM

    I bet they had a blast! Now they have some great memories for the rest of their lives. Congratulations to both of them!!

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SEABREEZE65 2/27/2012 6:50AM

    The Disney Princess in on 'my' list - maybe 2013.

You wife and friend did great. It always amazes me how fast so many people can run!

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STRIVER57 2/27/2012 3:00AM

    i'm glad she got some time with Anne, but it must have been disappointing to have made that sacrifice and then it didn't matter because Anne couldn't run. how do you get the number of people passed stat? so far, in my entire running career, i think i've passed one person. oh well, when you start at 59 ... and it was just last week, so maybe...

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TYKXBOY 2/27/2012 1:55AM

    Wow, they actually kept stats for how many runners they passed?! Dang! I L-O-V-E that stat!

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TAICHIDANCER 2/26/2012 11:31PM

    NO TUTTUS!!!! I am so disappointed.

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ELYMWX 2/26/2012 10:30PM

    Congrats to both! How much longer do you have the house to yourself?

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LKEITHO 2/26/2012 10:12PM

    Congrats to both of them!

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NWFL59 2/26/2012 9:48PM

    Sounds like they enjoyed themselves.

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HJFOGARTY 2/26/2012 9:40PM

    that is an amazing race and so much to see and do along the route! they did very well for being in that last heat - it is full and they are slower making for a slow start. We weren't able to go this year so I'm glad to hear it went so well. she is one tough cookie for running with her back pain.

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NATPLUMMER 2/26/2012 8:46PM

    I think they both did great!!

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FITCOFFEEMOM357 2/26/2012 8:03PM

    That is amazing!!! I was reading along and thought you were going to tell me she did not run.

I am sorry the tutus did not work out.

Just amazing!!!

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Random Facts: A-Z (Thank you NATPLUMMER)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A. Age: 54

B. Bed size: King

C. Chore that you hate: Scooping Dog Poop

D. Dogs: Beagle named Lucas

E. Essential start to your day: Very Strong Coffee

F. Favorite color: Red

G. Gold or Silver: Gold

H. Height: 6'1"

I. Instruments you play: Harmonica (Just one tune - "When the Saints Go Marching In")

J. Job title: IT Security Risk Analyst

K. Kids: Five - Four boys and one girl

L. Live: Bailey, CO

M. Mother's name: Ellen

N. Nicknames: Bruno, Boo Boo, Unkie, Unkola, Wrinkie, Hoss, Bro, Dad, Accident Waiting to Happen

O. Overnight hospital stays: 2 years old - skin grafts from severe burns; 3 years old - Dog Attack (72 stitches in face); 6 years old - Complications from Tonsillectomy; 16 years old - Broken bones and internal injuries from auto accident; 20 years old - Shattered ankle and internal injuries from mine accident; 22 years old - Internal bleeding, soft tissue damage, and perforated eardrum from mine explosion; 48 years old - Closed head injury, broken ribs, neck injury, and internal bleeding from skiing accident. (Total overnight hospital stays = 43)

P. Pet peeves: When somebody borrows your car and changes the radio presets!

Q. Quote from a movie: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Marion: "You're not the man I knew ten years ago."
Indiana Jones: " It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage."

R. Right- or left-handed: Right

S. Siblings: One older and one younger brother

T. Tattoos & Piercings: None - but I got losts of scars!

U. Underwear: Briefs

V. Vegetable(s) you hate: Kidney beans in chili - chili is why pinto beans were invented!

W. What makes you run late: I am easily distracted and lose track of time.

X. X-Rays you've had: Every square inch of my body! Many, many times!

Y. Yummy food that you make: Chili and Bread

Z. Zoo animal: I like squirrels - I noticed that the zoo doesn't keep them in cages

Totally random facts about me! Let me know if you fill this out, too!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLAPTHEFATCAT 2/27/2012 1:12PM

    Man, you get beat up a lot.

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STRIVER57 2/26/2012 11:48AM

    now that i've read O, i will stop suggesting that you be careful ... i think it's probably a lost cause. though enormous progress in your second quarter century ... 43 separate admissions lasting at least one night ? omg. hope Annette is enjoying (did enjoy) her family/friend/tutu run ... and that her cousin's doing better.

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SEABREEZE65 2/26/2012 7:27AM


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ELYMWX 2/25/2012 11:15PM

    Holy crow, Bruce! Your accident-prone status seems to go back a long ways!

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LKEITHO 2/25/2012 9:43PM

    Wow! That's a lot of hospital time! Hope you can stay healthy and injury free for a long time now. I'll have to try filling this out.

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KKINNEA 2/25/2012 7:28PM

    Love it! Looks like "accident waiting to happen" may be a long term thing for you :) Love the Indiana Jones quote too!

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LMB-ESQ 2/25/2012 1:19PM

    Really... how are you still in one piece??? That description makes the calf tear less surprising!

Nice to know more about you... thanks for sharing!

Oh yeah... and thanks for giving me one more excuse to not write my paper... since now I have to go and do one of these too! emoticon

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HKARLSSON 2/25/2012 12:30PM

    Dang!!!! How are you still in one piece? Like the list, esp. about the kidney beans in chili. Blargh!!!! Kidney beans in chili is a crime!

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TRULYVISIBLE 2/25/2012 12:10PM

  Wow, to go through so many injuries and be a runner today and healthy is so inspirational! You really shout out there are no excuses and I love that.

I really liked letter Z answer. I also have a problem seeing animals in cages. Thanks for sharing. I feel so inspired to see what people overcome and DON'T use as excuses.

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NATPLUMMER 2/25/2012 10:31AM

    I nearly went with Raiders: "For nearly 3000 years men have been searching for the Lost Ark. Itís not something to be taken lightly. No one knows its secrets. Itís like nothing youíve ever gone after before.Ē But I went with Superman the Movie instead ;-)
Yes, I much prefer pinto beans in my chili.

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CBAILEYC 2/25/2012 10:31AM

    Interesting nicknames! Nice to get to know you a bit more, Speedy!

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TOOTHFUL99 2/25/2012 8:54AM

    I think you rank right up there with Evil Kneivel for accidents! Wow!

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First Trail Races of 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mountain racing season is just around the corner! Just two months away! I already have two of my favorite races scheduled, which are the Long Scraggy and Lake George Flatlander. I have participated in both these races since they were first held.

Race 1: 4th Annual Long Scraggy

Saturday April 28th, 2012
Distance: 4.25 miles
Elevation: 7,900 feet
Maximum Grade: 25%
My Best Time: 42:56 @ 10:05 min/mile (2010)
My Best Finish: 5th

My friends, John and Lisa, are hosting the 4th Annual Long Scraggy Ranch Run. This course climbs 700 feet in first 1.2 miles. I want to get my pace into the solid 9 minutes per mile. The problem is that the first 1.2 miles takes a lot out of you.

Race 2: 3rd Annual Lake George Flatlander 5K (BTW, Not Flat)

Saturday May 5th, 2012
Distance: 5K
Elevation: 8,010 feet
Maximum Grade: 20%
My Best Time: 27:36 @ 8:52 min/mile (2010)
My Best Finish: 4th

Last year, I ran both the Long Scraggy and Lake George races with a sprained knee and was slower than 2010. If I can stay healthy, I think can be faster in 2012. With my level of clumsiness, staying healthy is a bigger challenge than racing!

Thanks for reading my blog.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAYZAKCX 2/24/2012 8:30PM

    Those races sound like a hoot.

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HAKAPES 2/24/2012 1:18AM

    That is motivating!

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LMB-ESQ 2/22/2012 10:32PM

    They look fun! Glad you're finally recovered enough to race!

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LKEITHO 2/22/2012 9:42PM

    Have a great time with them!

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PRETTYNPIT 2/22/2012 7:14PM

    I'm sure you'll have a ton of fun! Good luck and have a good time! emoticon

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KJDOESLIFE 2/22/2012 2:50PM

    Very cool! Sounds like fun. :)

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STRIVER57 2/22/2012 2:50PM

    good luck. and try to pay attention to where you step (speaking as a person still clumsier than you). enjoy!

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NATPLUMMER 2/22/2012 2:44PM

    Yikes!! Look at those grades...whew!

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LIVE4THETRAIL 2/22/2012 2:05PM

    Sounds like two cracking races.

Wishing you every success with them and i also hope you have a ball.


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KKINNEA 2/22/2012 12:06PM

    These sounds like good times - I think you'll rock them both!

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SLEEPYDEAN 2/22/2012 11:58AM

    Wow those definitely sound challenging. Here's to exceeding your expectations!

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COOPAH 2/22/2012 11:35AM

    Wow dude...so running wasn't challenging enough, you had to decide to run up mountains!!! lol you're a friggin beast, go team you.

emoticon emoticon

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CBAILEYC 2/22/2012 11:26AM

    Will you be hoopin' to work on your agility? Please do stay healthy and uninjured! I know you've been working hard to get back out there running again.

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PDQ1203 2/22/2012 10:25AM


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Kettlebells, Spinning and Fighting a Cold

Sunday, February 19, 2012

PART 1: I Don't Do Exercise Classes

I have never been much interested in taking any kind of exercise class. Many years ago, when I last belonged to a gym, the only exercise class that was available was called Aerobics. Ninety percent of participants were women dancing to music dressed like Jane Fonda. Even 30 years ago, I had two left feet. I decided to pass on aerobic classes and stick with doing the aerobic weight circuits and stair climbers.

Back in the 1980s Jane Fonda was selling a bazillion aerobic VHS tapes. She even released her workout on vinyl records.

Ok, I am showing my age. The Jane Fonda era soured my view of group exercise. But last week all that changed. For the first time in my life I participated in group fitness classes. Things sure have changed. These classes were fun.

PART 2: Kettlebells

Kettlebells originated in Russia over 300 years ago and were first used as counterweights on market scales. The Russians measured trade goods in poods. A pood is equivalent to 16.38 kg, or 36.11 pounds. Kettlebells are still manufactured in poods. No one really knows when the Russians started throwing around Kettlebells for exercise. Suffice it to say, Kettlebells have been around for a while.

I started a new job in January. I now work in an office instead of being a road warrior. A guy at work, named Steve, is a Kettlebell instructor at a nearby fitness center. He talked me into taking a class and gave me a coupon for five free visits. I have not been able to run lately because the weather has really sucked. I needed to do something. I figured, "what the heck". I'd give it shot.

The guy with the blond hair is Steve.

On Monday, February 13th, I took my first Kettlebell class. I got there a little late and noticed that everybody was dressed like me. Jane Fonda spandex was no where to be seen. I got to tell you, I loved it! The class lasted 40 minutes and was brutal! Sweat poured off me! I kept up with the instructor by sheer force of will. This Kettlebell routine worked muscles I didn't even know I had!

On Wednesday, February 15th, I took another class. This second routine was quite different from the routine on Monday. I did get sore. But not too sore. I think there may be an infinitely number of different ways to workout with Kettlebells. I am hooked!

I bought a 26 and 35 pound Kettlebell from the fitness center. They have a trade-up program. Kettlebells cost $1.50 per pound. I can trade-in the 26 pound Kettlebell for a 44 pound Kettlebell just by paying for the 18 pound difference, which works out to $27. The fitness center gave me 10 more free visits because I bought two Kettlebells.

I need to get some new shoes for doing Kettlebells. Trying to balance on one leg while pressing a Kettlebell is tough to do on my nice cushy Nike Pegasus.

PART 3: Spinning

The Kettlebell class is only twice a week. I figured I would try spinning. On Friday, February 17th, I took a spinning class during lunch. I found this class really strange. Quite a few guys were wearing full team racing outfits. I did not have my cycling shorts, nor my cleated shoes with me. I will bring these items in the future. I was there early and asked the instructor how to set up the spinning machine.

This is a photo I got from the fitness center website.

Other than falling off my bike with startling frequency, I am a pretty decent mountain biker. I was determined to keep up with the spinning instructor. I can't remember much about the class. The instructor was a very fit and very young . His choice of music was horrible. I did everything he said. Things like "accelerate", "out of the saddle", "add resistance", back in the saddle", "80% effort", "full effort". This went on for an hour. Some participants took breaks.

I know that spinning is good for me. The intensity level is great. I plan to do spinning once a week. I really like the Kettlebells. I am hoping that this cross-training will make me a better runner.

PART 4: Fighting a Bad Cold

Friday night my throat started getting sore. By Saturday morning I had a full-fledged chest cold. This darn cold is going to put my new fitness activities on hold for a while. My wife was in a class all day Saturday. I was on my own. I rolled out my two secret weapons to fight a cold: Nuwati Herbals Healer Tea and chicken soup.

I have a great recipe for chicken soup that I got from a doctor. The soup really works.

Chicken soup recipe from Dr. Stephen Rennard, Chief of Pulmonary Medicine, University of Nebraska Medical Center:

1 5 lb chicken
3 large onions
1 large sweet potato
3 parsnips
2 turnips
12 large carrots
6 celery stalks
1 bunch parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Clean chicken, put in a large pot of cold water. Bring to a boil.
Add onions, sweet potato, parsnips, turnips and carrots.
Boil for 1.5 hours. Skim fat off as develops.
Add parsley, celery and cook an additional 45 minutes.
Remove the chicken, put vegetables in a food processor, chop until very fine and add back into broth. Serve.

The soup tastes great and my entire family likes this soup very much. Unfortunately, I didn't have a lot of the key ingredients. As my wife was leaving for her class, I told I was going to go get ingredients. She said, "You need to stay home and keep your germs to yourself!" She was right, of course. So I did the best I could with what we had. Here is what I came up with:

2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
Red Potato
Yellow Potato
Chopped Spinach
Salt and Pepper

I didn't measure anything. I just threw stuff in the pot until it looked right.

This is the pot boiling on the stove. I simmered this soup for about an hour.

I also drank a lot of Healer Tea. This stuff is pretty harsh but clears up a stuffy head. The ingredients are Green Tea, Rosehips, Cayenne, Elderberries, Juniper Berries, Marshmallow Root, Coltsfoot, Feverfew, Horehound, Licorice Root, Slippery Elm Bark, Spearmint, While Willow Bark and Wild Cherry Bark.

I don't know why the tea works. It just does!

So I ate soup and drank tea. I also drank tons of water. My father-in-law had this same cold and it took him over a week to fight it off. I hope my "treatments" will help me get over this cold faster.

Tea and soup ready to go. I put honey in the tea. The soup is really good.

Thanks for reading my blog.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HAKAPES 2/21/2012 6:41PM

    I would certenly enjoy an aerobics class with 90% woman... :-)

Respect for all the effort and variety you put into your exercises. Kettlebell, exercise, spinning - WAY TO GO!

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TRILLIUM22 2/20/2012 8:02PM

    Ha,ha, when I was in college 79-83 we had an audio tape of one of Jane Fonda's workouts and a group from our floor did them. I think it is the record you have pictured. You know we started with the record and then made tapes. And yes I owned a pair of leg warmers. When I took my two semesters of Ballet for Non-majors and one semester of modern dance for Non-majors those leg warmers were an important part of my outfit.

Glad you enjoyed kettleball and think that spinning might be useful.

Comment edited on: 2/20/2012 8:03:50 PM

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NWFL59 2/20/2012 3:28PM

    Glad to see you are seeking out alternative exercise techniques that will allow you to continue to heal, bear the adverse weather and too that cold. I'm interested in taking a kettle bell class but so far haven't found one locally (only checked a couple of places so my search hasn't been that in depth). Spinning classes don't interest me as I hate exercising to music that someone else chooses plus at my fitness level it would probably be an exercise in frustration. Walking, Tai Chi and yoga suit me just fine for now. Love the chicken soup recipe but I'm wary of the tea blend. Sounds a bit yucky to me. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

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CBAILEYC 2/20/2012 12:24PM

    I love kettlebells, at least from my limited home experience with them - Jillian's 30 day shred it routine and Pavlov's RKC intro DVD. I'd love to be able to take a class but I haven't made the effort to find one here in Portland. I think I'd be intimidated at first stepping into such a physical class. Good for you for really getting into it! (once the cold permits of course)

Spinning, yea. My step-daughter goes to spin class and loves it. I had to suppress a giggle over your "startling frequency" of falling off. Again, kudos for finding something that suits you and you enjoy doing. That's half the battle, isn't it?

Lots of feel-better juju coming your way. I'm intrigued by the tea! Let us know how you're fairing.

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NATPLUMMER 2/20/2012 10:43AM

    I'll show my age, too. I had the Jane Fonda Workout on record ;-)
Yay for kettlebells!! emoticon I do think some cross training shoes are in order.
Yay for spinning!!
Boo for a cold!! Hope you feel better soon.
Your soup looks really good!!

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SEABREEZE65 2/20/2012 6:54AM

    You sure work hard during work outs.
Good for you!

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