Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Dear Santa,

I don't know if you're in the habit of reading blogs, but if so, I'd sure like to have this for Christmas!

Love, C

PS- I promise to leave you carrot sticks & non-fat ranch dip instead of cookies & milk :)

Thanksgiving Plans

For the past few years, we've gone hunting on Thanksgiving Day, and then done a big potluck Thanksgiving dinner with friends in Seeley Lake. This year, however, most of our friends have other plans, so there's no potlucking to do. It seems that everyone either has family coming in or is going elsewhere-- there aren't any young family-less folks floating around looking for a good meal.

So, I figured we had two options: either stay home and make a turkey dinner for ourselves, or say screw it and forego the pig-out tradition. We opted for the latter.

So tomorrow morning we'll get up and feed the cows, then head for the mountains, rifles in tow. (I shot a young deer the other day, but other than that, we still have several tags-- for bull elk or for either sex whitetail deer or buck mule deer. It's the last weekend of hunting season, and so it's time for us to stop being so picky. Instead of only going after elk, at this point in the season anything legal will most likely come home with us.)

Anyhow, rather than sitting around all day and pigging out, I figured it'd be much more fun and healthy to spend the day hiking around in the woods. I mean, Thanksgiving is really all about giving thanks for the blessings that you have, right? I count among my best blessings:
  • the opportunity to live in a land where I'm free to choose how to spend my holidays,
  • to ability wander through vast amounts of publicly-owned forested mountains
  • to provide food for myself because wildlife are abundant and we still have the right to hunt and fish, like our ancestors did to provide their food for the first Thanksgiving (I mean, if they'd had an elk, I'm sure they would've chosen to eat that over a stingly ol' wild turkey!!!)

So for me, a burger and a beer when we get done for the day will be all the feast that I need to help me have a great day of giving thanks.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Why My Legs Were Sore Earlier This Week

Not all hunters sit in the back of their pickups drinking beer, listening to Nascar, and waiting for the deer to walk by...

Jim and I spent the weekend hunting with his dad out on the MT/ID border. We put on some good hikes, traveling at least 6 miles each day over steep, rough country... mostly off-road/off-trail. We didn't fire our rifles at all, but still got some good shooting done (pictures, that is):

Me hiking the last little stretch up to the top of Taft Mountain. Jim and I started hiking at 6:30am-- about an hour before sunrise-- and bush-whacked our way up, up, up the ridge so that we were on top of the country early in the morning (trying to catch some elk crossing over the ridge).

I don't take this hunting thing TOO seriously!

Jim smiling because we're almost to the top!!! (early morning hikes make for good lighting!)

Back down into the woods for a while... "Heeeere, elky elky elky... come out from behind the tree-eee...."

Ahh, soaking in sun after our post-lunch nap :)

We saw lots of sign, including elk tracks, scat, and rubs... but no elk. (Here I'm demonstrating how a bull in the rut scraped his antlers against this small tree to mark his territory).

At the top of the ridge I laid my tracks on top of wolf tracks on top coyote tracks on top of elk tracks... I see where I stack up on the predator ranks-- need to get up earlier, I suppose!

All in all a great weekend. Saw lots of cool places, got good and tired so that I slept great and woke up slightly sore. And came home to a nice warm house on a ranch full of cows that we can eat if we don't end up shooting an elk next weekend :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Last Race of the Year

On December 6, I'll be running the Freezer Burn 5k in Frenchtown.

I haven't been doing much speed work lately, so I definitely don't have my sights on a fast time. But, since I'm revving back up the running in preparation for the Snow Joke, I'll use this as a fun "long run" for the week:
I can jog the mile-and-a-half to the start line, run the race, then jog home, for a total of 6 miles.

It'll be a good way to get in a long run with a harder-than-usual push in the middle, and to support a race in my "backyard."

Anyone want to join me? (There's also a 1/2 marathon if you're really motivated).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New Shoes

Did you know that shoes wear out on the inside much faster than on the outside? I never knew this until I really started running some longer miles. The interior cushioning takes a big hit every time my foot hits the ground, and can only handle ~250-300 miles worth of supporting my ~140 lbs before it starts to wear out.

Last fall (while training for my first 1/2 marathon) was the first time I'd put enough mileage into a pair of shoes to wear them out. They still looked fine on the outside. But I was starting to feel the difference-- my shins would burn a bit, my hips felt weird, my toes would ache after a run. Who'da thunk that running shoes could make such a difference?

Well, I went to my local running store, and the folks there helped me out. They looked at the wear patterns on my old shoes, watched me walk, analyzed how my feet were shaped and how they moved while I ran, and suggested several shoes for me. The pair I really liked was the Asics GT-2130. I bought a pair and loved them... so much that when it was time to buy a new pair of shoes this past spring, I went in and bought the exact same pair.

For the last month or so now, I've been starting to feel things again-- shins hurting, hips feeling stressed... signs that my shoes were on their way out. Again. (I try to only use my running shoes for running, and wear older pairs for doing other activities like walking or biking.) As I always seem to do, I first thought that it was me. Maybe I just haven't been running enough. Maybe I'm not stretching enough. I must be out of shape... But then it dawned on me-- it'd been about 6 months since I'd gotten new shoes. (Dang, could it have been that long?!)

Since we're headed into the winter months when conditions can be kind iffy-- slushy or slick roads and trails-- and because I've been enjoying trail running a bit more, I thought that maybe I'd branch out and try a trail shoe. I was a little nervous, though, about giving up on my 2130's, though, because they're such a great fit.

So imagine my delight when I went to the running store this weekend and told the guy what I've been wearing and that I'd like to try a trail shoe, and he said, great, Asics just came out with a trail version of the 2130! It's built to the same dimensions and everything as the shoe I've been wearing, but has a more aggressive sole (good for gripping) that's a little stiffer (good for running over rocks and branches), and has a water-resistant material on the upper (good for slush and mud).

I tried them on, and they felt perfect. "Do you want to try a few other kinds of trail shoes?" the salesguy asked? "Nope," I said, "these will work."

I tried them out on the treadmill yesterday, just to make sure they fit well (they do, and nothing hurt in my legs for the first time in several weeks!). And now this afternoon I have plans to take my new shoes for a spin on a 5-mile loop on trails in the Rattlesnake. Whooppee!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Let's run on Public Lands!

How often do you run on trails that are on public lands? For me, the answer is QUITE OFTEN. Here in the Missoula area we are blessed with numerous trail systems that let us run for miles through scenic grasslands and forests, uninterrupted by No Trespassing Signs-- the Rattlesnake, Blue Mountain, Pattee Canyon, the Frenchtown Bike Trail....

It's truly a gift to be able to run or hike or play on publicly owned lands and trails, but one that we often take for granted. These public lands, though, come at a cost. Everyone must share in the cost of purchasing and maintaining public lands or lands that allow, through conservation easements or other frameworks, public access.

In 2006, voters in Missoula County approved a $10 million bond to assist in the purchase or protection of Open Spaces that allow for resource protection and public access. The Montana Legacy Project will soon purchase 320,000 of private timber company lands in western Montana (for a mere $520 million) with the goals of protecting natural resources, maintaining public access, and sustaining a timber economy (as opposed to a trophy-home economy). And this week Lewis & Clark County (Helena area) also passed an Open Space bond.

Indeed, all across the nation folks decided this week that, even in the face of poor economic times, that having open space or public lands to play on, look at, and enjoy were worth a lot.

See the re-cap below from the Trust for Public Lands:

On Tuesday, November 4, voters across America backed 62 of 87
conservation finance measures, generating a single-day record of
$7.3 billion in new conservation funding. The results capped a
record-breaking year in which voters approved 88 measures,
totaling nearly $8.4 billion in new public funding for land
conservation. TPL, and its lobbying affiliate, the Conservation
Campaign (TCC), played integral roles in the success of many of
these ballot measures.

Among the other significant measures yesterday:
* East Bay Regional Park District, CA: a $500 million bond
measure received 71% support
* Hillsborough County, FL: a $200 million bond measure received
78% support
* Hunterdon County, NJ: An extension of the county's 3-cent
property tax for 20 years will generate $152 million
* Community Preservation Act, MA: 7 of 8 measures approved,
bringing the total of communities statewide that have adopted
CPA to 140
* Blaine County, ID: a two-year property tax for open space will
establish the first county conservation program in the state
* Johnson County, IA: a $20 million bond will establish Iowa's
first county conservation program

Complete details of this year's measures--and all conservation
finance measures since 1988--are in TPL's LandVote online
searchable database, a service of TPL's Center for Conservation

The Trust for Public Land conserves land for people to enjoy as
parks, gardens and other natural places, ensuring livable
communities for generations to come.
The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity
of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our
land-for-people mission. For more information please contact us
at (415) 495-4014 or on the web at

Now, go out and enjoy some public lands. And encourage your community to financially support the places you love!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Late February probably seems a long ways off to most folks. And, well, to me too. But I'm already looking ahead to it, as the Snow Joke 1/2 Marathon lands on Feb 28 this year.

For the past two 1/2 Marathons I've done, I've followed Hal Higdon's beginner training plan. This time around, I'm going to do the Intermediate plan, which incorporates some intervals and tempo runs to work on overall speed, and increases the weekly mileage to work towards better endurance. All-in-all it's a more aggressive plan than what I've done in the past.

While I hesitate to say that I want to improve my time on this race (since snow conditions can often alter abilities on this course), I'd at least like to train to be able to do better than I have before.

And since my running has been fairly unstructured since August or so, I'm looking forward to getting back into training mode.

The Plan I'll use has a structured schedule for 12 weeks, which means I'll officially start following it on Dec 7. That's a month from now, I know. So for the next month I have two main goals:

1. Start running on a regular basis and slowly start increasing my weekly mileage so that the first week of the Plan doesn't knock me out with a 17-mile week. I won't be working on speed per se, but will be working on re-building my endurance for the next month, running at least 3 times per week and starting to build from a comfortable 10 miles per week to 16 miles per week. This doesn't seem too challenging, as I'm plenty comfortable running 5-6 miles at a time. But I need to work on my consistency in my training and start running more than I have been (aka get off the slightly easier elliptical machine in the morning and get on the dreaded treadmill!)

2. Find a training buddy (or two, or three...) to train for this race with me. Having someone else to talk with and share stories about training, and to have run the race with me (or at least at the same time) is so great. The last two 1/2 marathons I've done, I've run with Robyn and Amy, and they were great accountability partners. Although Robyn was training from NC and me from MT, we still chatted about how training was going and had made a promise to each other to run the race, and thus helped keep each other on track. And with Amy, it was great to have company for doing the longer runs on the weekends-- we had great times chatting while running. So for this race, I'd at least like to have someone else who I know is going to do the race and wants to be an "accountability partner." And beyond that, it would be terrific to have someone to do longer training runs with... even if we don't end up doing the race together (if we have different paces or whatnot).

So... who's interested? If not you, do you have friends who may be? If so, have them get in touch. They're welcome to use the plan I'll be using, or use their own. It's tons of fun (well, okay, sometimes it's fun... other times it's just hard). But it's a great way to meet people, get in shape, and have a goal that's non-work-related.

Oh yeah, and one other goal: find new shoes. Mine are starting to wear out (again), and so I need to get a new pair before I start upping my mileage very much. I'm thinking of trying a more trail-running-type shoe for these winter months, as much of my running may be on snow-covered roads or trails. Any thoughts?

It's a Family Affair

Two weeks ago Mom & Kurt ran their 5k. Last weekend Robyn (who's like a sister to me) did her 1/2 IronMan. And this weekend my cousin Deb is running the Outer Banks 1/2 Marathon.

It used to be that only my dad and brother, who are into motor sports, were the only Racers in the family. But now many others are starting to set their own race goals. Cool.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What I Was Going to Do Before I Got Sick

Bah humbug. I caught a cold. Crud. Sunday evening, all was well, and then *hugh hgh hgh*, a cough. Then another. And another. And by 3am I was up making hot tea and not able to sleep for my sore throat and cough. Drats.

But I slept a lot yesterday and stayed home from work (I did get a little work done, but mostly rested). And after sleeping another 12 hours or so last night, I'm feeling much better today, and am looking forward to going to the gym in the morning.

Of course, I probably won't be up for this workout quite yet. But soon. I did this one a few times last winter (Amy shared it with me), and it was a great cardio workout that kept me from getting too terribly bored while running on the treadmill. Basically it combines some speed intervals and tempo sections and keeps you switching things up enough that the hour goes by fairly quickly (especially if you can watch tv while doing it, like you can at my gym!)

Give it a try sometime... hopefully I'll be back on the 'mill by the end of the week:

Try this running workout from Robert Pennino, a certified USA triathlon coach. Be sure to keep the incline of your treadmill at 1 percent throughout the workout. If the pace seems too fast, modify to suit your fitness level.
Minutes Pace
0:00–10:00 Warm-up jog; 5.0 mph
10:00–10:20 Sprint at 7.5 mph
10:20–11:20 Jog at 5.0 mph
11:20–14:00 Repeat minutes 10:00–11:20 twice
14:00–17:00 Jog at 5.0 mph
17:00–27:00 Run at 6.5 mph
27:00–31:00 Jog at 5.0 mph
31:00–35:00 Run at 6.5 mph
35:00–39:00 Jog at 5.0 mph
39:00–55:00 Repeat minutes 31:00–39:00 twice
55:00–60:00 Gradually slow pace to cool down at jog/walk