From Cragmoor, up Shanahan/Fern to Bear/SoBo West Ridge/Green/Bear to Green and the back via Bear Canyon/Mesa/Shanahan.
Yesterday I got a surprise call from the in-laws, who after viewing this post on my other blog decided that they had to come up for some quality grand daughter time, which meant that I could get a few hours to myself on consecutive day three of baby juggling. The weather forecast was pretty stellar for mid December, high 40's to almost 50, sunny, calm and I was pretty fired up to get in some running where I did not need a flashlight. The warm sun and vitamin D really helps boost the spirits.
Conditions are still pretty good, but things are getting bare in spots and there are some patches of ice forming. Most of the ascent up Fern though was absolutely perfect and Bear Canyon was nice and smooth. The remainder was hit and miss, with many of the trails that see less use being a bit mucked up with deep frozen footprints that made for some poor footing.
I kept up a decent pace, not pushing too hard, despite what always seemed to be a higher than I was trying to put out HR. I was planning to do a bit more, maybe tack on a second round on Green or Bear, but I was a little behind my predicted pace and my fitness/endurance did not at all match my intentions today. I might have been able to dig deep and race back home just in time for my 2:30 deadline, but the prospect of being worked over, then not being able to eat and shower seemed quite unappealing, so after Green, I just called it a day and cruised back down Bear Canyon.
A few random observations on the day.
- At the Cragmoor TH, there was quite a lot of blood splattered all over the snow, where I suspected a dog had cut it's paw. I did not think too much of it, until I ended up following a trail of blood, a drop or three every 10-15 feet or so, all the way up to the Bear/Nebel Horn saddle. The entire way, I was wondering how it could be that the owners would continue on with their dog bleeding so badly and was rehearsing in my mind what I was going to say to the owner(s) for doing such a thing. I never did get to see them, either they were off trail at the saddle, or the blood drops were from earlier that morning and not as fresh as I thought.
- I bumped into Kendrick at the Bear/SoBo saddle on my way back to Bear/Green (who I was expecting to bump into). We stopped and chatted for a bit, along with another runner who was familiar with my blog (forgot his name though). I was tempted to join Kendrick for a re-ascent of SoBo, but had to keep moving in my own direction due to time constraints.
- On the way down W. Ridge, I was getting a little annoyed with all the trail diversions and had me musing for quite a long time as to why somebody with minimal or no knowledge of the trail, up and decides to be the one to break trail in shin deep snow to the top of the peak and often times getting off route. Sometimes, it is just by a few feet, on the wrong side of a tree or whatever, but other times the diversions are more significant, where the trail breaker totally overlooks obvious cues.
- While topping out on Bear the second time, I passed 2 OSMP rangers hiking together, a rare sight on the higher sections of trails, more rare in the Winter, even more rare hiking in tandem. You would think they would be able to write up double the off leash tickets if they split up.... I reverse tracked their footprints all the way back to Green.
- I get a kick out of seeing the tracks in the snow of the types of shoes people wear and noticed footprints ranging from Saucony Kinvara 2's, NB MT10 (or maybe MT00?) and even some sort of traction-less loafers. Wearing those shoes without traction must have made for a miserable outing. Most people however, whether running or hiking, were wearing Microspikes, as they seem to be really catching on. I really enjoy tracking prints in the snow, determining direction, age, type of shoe, stride length, pronation, supination and if I know the owner of the shoes or not. I think this started for me tracking animals as a young child roaming the woods of New Hampshire.
- While rehearsing all the snappy things I was going to say to the neglectful dog owner with the bloody paw, I realized that if I actually were able to confront the person, my tone would not be anywhere near what was going on in my head, as I am just not very confrontational by nature and spend the majority of my life trying to avoid it. In a round about way of random thinking, that usually happens while running by myself for hours, led me to the conclusion that this non-confrontational nature is the very thing I like least about racing and is probably the root cause as to why I don't race more often. This aversion to confrontation is just the foundation though and supports several of the other excuses I typically come up with to not race. I would simply just rather be doing other things on a day off, such as climbing mountains and spending time in the mountains with my wife, friends, Sierra and more recently, with my daughters. Not to mention many of the entry fees are kind of pricey and I am cheap, which reinforces my "I would rather be doing something else" thoughts. I also hate wasting a week tapering, then another few days or whatever recovering, it just throws off what I like most, just being out running on the trails and completely enjoying it for what it is.