Thursday, July 31, 2008

Rafting the Poudre

The Cache La Poudre River is Colorado's first and only designated "National Wild and Scenic" river. In the 1800's, the canyon was home to Native Americans, trappers, miners, stage travelers, and outlaws. The river's name, Cache La Poudre (translated as hide the powder), was acquired in 1825 when French trappers buried gunpowder along the river's bank to conceal it from others.

Enough with the history. Dirrty Girl and I along with some family members took a 1/2 day trip down the Poudre navigating class II and III rapids for approximately 4.5 miles of wet and wild fun. Dirrty Girl even managed to get thrown from the raft as we navigated our way downriver. We did haul her back in.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lily Lake

After yesterday's effort, today was an easy .8 mile level family walk around another great lake and gave both little dirt dawg and dirrty feather their fair share of interaction with Wyoming ground squirrels.

It is easy to get caught up in the beauty that surrounds us on a daily basis here and make bold statements that we are going to move, but there is plenty of beauty in the thumb state in which we reside. I guess the family and I will just have to make a more conscience effort and make the time to experience it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Flattop Mountain

If there was to be any more discussion of possibly taking a stab at a 14'er (Longs Peak), I thought that a trip above 11,000 ft up to Flattop Mountain would be a good test for all of the parties involved. I put the challenge down that we would be running/hiking up to the summit and only Buzzkill, a budding cross country talent, took up the challenge.

Distance: 9 miles roundtrip
Total Time: 2hr 36 min
Start/End Elevation: 9,475 - 12,324
Elevation Gain: 2,874 ft

It was not easy. A rocky ascent, switchbacks, and the constant elevation gain finally left Buzzkill and I feeling a little lightheaded once we got above 11,000 ft but we continued to put the proverbial hammer down and once we got above 12,000 ft started feeling good and summited the top in 1 hr 26 min. I wasn't sure that we had made great time, but we had passed quite a few people on the ascent and a couple at the top upon hearing our time asked if we had run up and were we headed to Grand Lake, 11 miles away, for lunch? We kindly responded no, but quickly donned a middle layer and some gloves as the temp had dropped 20 degrees since we started.

My faith in organized religion may be sketchy at best, but if there is a higher power I saw it on display today I was rewarded with unbelievable views and even a mini snowball fight just below the summit.

Buzzkill and I flew down the mountain, running most of it, and I am sure my hamburgered quads will thank me tomorrow. We were rewarded one more time as just before we finished we saw two coyotes skirt across the trail.

It doesn't get much better than this.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Bear Lake

In order to acclimate to a bit higher elevation and to get the kids out in nature, we headed this morning to Bear Lake. It was no easy task having dirrty feather and little dirt dawg up, dressed and fed to be @ the trailhead by 8 am but it proved more than worthwhile as a short .65 mile trip @ 9,455 ft provided spectacular views. Finished up in just enough time as the trail was becoming quite crowded on another spectacular day @ RMNP.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Bridal Veil

What better way to celebrate Dirrty Girl and I's six year anniversary and our first full day in Estes Park than to get out to RMNP and go for a hike.

Bridal Veil @ Cow Creek Trailhead
Round Trip: 6.4 mi
Time: 2 hr 50 mi
Start/End Elevation: 7,855 - 8,830

It was beautiful, and along the way spotted some elk that Dirrty Girl had hoped to see. When we thought we had reached the fall which looked more like a trickle, a scamper up a pretty steep and rocky ascent led us to the falls.

Six years of marital bliss and a memorable day to remember it by.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Loveland Classic 5K

With the kids landing safely in Denver, the entire gang settled in Loveland, Co for the night before heading up to Estes Park.

I had checked out places to run in Loveland prior to departure and had found a 5k/10k this morning with a start time of 7 am. However, after getting lost on the way to the hotel due to Bub, note that spelling makes a huge difference on Mapquest, and 2 road weary kids, I did not even pull out the race form to look at where we were in proximity to it.

With no knowledge of the time zone change, dirrty feather was up @ 5:30 am and so as not to wake dirrty girl and little dirt dawg, I fumbled around a dark hotel room for some running clothes and took dirrty feather out to the mother ship to assemble the baby jogger. We made are way around the outlet stores and then headed out along a lake with paved/gravel roads. By pure dumb luck, what did I see on the up ahead but the Loveland Classic 5K/10k!

I checked my wallet, found the entry fee, signed dirty feather and i up to run and tried to call dirrty girl and tell her that we were a mere 1/2 mile away if she wanted to run, and got in a few more miles before the start.

Dirrty Feather and I lined up almost dead last behind what happened to be walkers and had to do quite a bit of work to get some clear running space. Maybe only 150-200 for both races and passed the 1 mile marker in 7:30 as a race volunteer called out, before finishing the 5k in a Garmin time of 21:20. Didn't stay around to see results as we were heading up to the mountains, but at least Dirrty Feather and I both did our first race in Colorado!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Urban Running

A run along the Cherry Creek Greenbelt Path this morning provided Dirrty Girl and I views of the city as we ambled along on soft trails, underneath railroad tracks and even took in some wildlife spotting a fox along the way. I must admit it is pretty cool to see so many people out there exercising or commuting by pedal or foot in such a large urban city.

Mile High

After depositing the mother ship at the Runner's World recommended Hotel Teatro (, Dirrty Girl and I set out to tour the mile high city. Up and down the 16th Street Mall, around Coors Field, and a stop @ Illegal Pete's for some killer fish tacos set us up for a walk across the Platte River, over to REI, and a quick refreshing dip in the river. Walking back over the river we stopped at the coolest bookstore ever, The Tattered Cover before getting cleaned up and heading out for one of the best meals ever at Rioja.

Dirrty Girl and I were both amazed at not only the cleanliness of Denver, but also the use of mass transit and bicycles by a large segment of the poplulation. Something that is severely lacking in the "D" as is evident by our high ranking in the country for obesity.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Putting it down...

Taking a page from my travels as a youth with my dad in which the only stops allowed were those in which your eyes were yellow, dirrty girl and I put it down today. Just around 1,150 miles covered in 18 hours leaving us a hop, skip, and a jump to Denver tomorrow.

Observations from the road:

1. Crop dusters are cool.
2. Iowa has a lot of corn and cops
3. Nebraska - FLAT!
4. Amazing what people will put in in paddocks with horses...trailers, old cars.
5. Driving across the country is pretty neat.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Mother Ship

With little dirt dawg and dirrty feather safely deposited at Ba and Bub's until their flight on the friendly skies, Dirrty Girl and I are loading up the Mother Ship for our departure out West set to commence sometime very early tomorrow morning.

No sleep til.....Lincoln, Nebraska?

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Continuing with my prep for the Dawg Family's Epic Adventure which is set to start later this week, I headed out to to

with my Go Lite Tailwind Pack, a new podcast to listen to, Ultra Dad, and thought I would break in yet another pair of Montrail Hardrocks for the Epic Adventure.
Doesn't seem to matter what time you head out to run in the last week or so in Michigan, since a blanket of humidity has settled over us. A start time of 6:12 a.m. found it to be a pleasant 72 degrees with 94% humidity. Sweet. Paint Creek Trail is FLAT..... but not if you head up Dutton Road to Brewster to Silverbell Road and back on to the Paint Creek Trail where you will find a turnaround point about 7.5 miles right near a old wagon. The result is a nice rolling course and about 15 miles when all is said and done. And I was done given the fact that I looked like I had jumped into a river, pool, or been hosed down due to the humidity...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hands On

Flipping through the latest addition of Metro Parent Magazine, I read about a place that I am almost positive I passed by a number of times in my visits to A2, but not having kids, never gave it a second thought. Teaming up with my sister and nieces, we spent some quality time today @ the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum.
Although most of the concepts and activities were far above little dirt dawg and dirrty feather's understanding, they still enjoyed activities that stimulated both their mental and physical faculties.

Highly recommended for anyone with kids of walking age on up.

Friday, July 11, 2008

D.D.M.C. # 7 - 29'er

Just about 2 weeks removed from D.D.M.C. #6, and the weather was predicting a seasonably cool like low's in the mid-70's with lots of cloud cover, so i thought i would get to it and run for approximately 4 - 5 hours and along the way knock out that D.D.M.C. #7. Arrived @ Kensington Metropark at around 6:15 a.m. and headed out rocking my trail shoes for the year: The North Face Fire Road. First real long run of the year, and I think I like them.
Heading out to Island Lake.
Arriving @ Island Lake. Trails were in pretty good shape. Should have worn some bug spray, but didn't have to worry about any traffic on the trails. Nice. Did both blue and yellow trails and headed back to Kensington to finish up with lap around there. Total Distance: 29 miles
Total Time: 4 hr 47 min
D.D.M.C #7 - 4 hr 18 min
Avg. pace per mile: 9:54

Overall, felt pretty good. The goal for today was to just go out and run for time. Knew the distance would take care of itself.

Enjoying a break. Letting the bad blood flow from my legs. Must have gone straight to my head though, because I forgot to take my Garmin 305 from off the roof of my car before I left, and found it in road exiting park with a few new nicks and gouges.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Kensington Tempo

*pic taken running at around 8:30 pace during recovery mile*

Another beautiful summer day and nothing to do but run. I have been doing some hill work, but my bread and butter in an attempt to get faster have been tempo runs and mile repeats as I look towards Columbus and a BQ qualifier. Most of them have been pushing Dirrty Feather.

Today, a change of scenery was needed so load up the baby jogger, fill up the gear bag with snacks and head out Kensington Metropark for a run around the lake. The distance is around 8.5 miles on a nice rolling paved trail that certainly had me working pushing D.F. After a warmup mile, the workout called for 4x1 mile repeats with a mile recovery between. Spilts were: 6:58/ 6:55/ 6:57/ 7:06. Challenging, but made a bit more interesting pushing D.F., taking her juice cup when she is all done, removing her crocs because she wants her feet to be free, and playing games to keep her amused. Workouts tend to fly by pushing her. Maybe I need to push her in my BQ attempt?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Squirt Zone

While Dirrty Girl is working on her Reading Specialist degree, I have been in charge of both little dirt dawg and dirrty feather to provide their summer activities. To young for summer camps, and to small for the pools and waterslides, the squirt zone located @ Metro Beach Metropark is a perfect compromise. Zero entry depth and lots of shooting water make a perfect play area for those looking to have a place for their little ones to cool off in the summer heat and humidity.

Monday, July 07, 2008

While Dirrty Girl is away....

Little Dirt Dawg will play! WARNING: this should only be attempted by young children and with the consent of their parents as they try to get the sequence of shots right several times.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Conneaut Lake

Although I affectionatley refer to C. Lake as the armpit of PA, it does have more to offer than a Wal Mart and Sheetz. True, the amusement park is dilapidated, and the go kart track is overgrown but once the weather turns nice, people flock to a body of water that is nowhere as nice to what we have in the thumb state but it will do. Both little dirt dawg and dirrty feather showed no fear of the water and even I made a half hearted attempt to even out my farmer tan from all the miles on the road.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Ernst Trail

Dirrty Girl and I were able to ramble for 5 miles this morning along the Ernst Trail located in Meadville, PA. This 5 mile one way path winds along a river and lush forests.

The picture depicts what little dirt dawg referred to as "bumpty bump" indicating a move from the smooth pavement to crossing over the "rough" wood bridge crossing.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

What were they doing?

Out on an easy recovery spin, i happened to ride up on the local fire department's finest spraying water on the park for seemingly no good reason..wonder how much gas they used to do that?