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Showing posts from December, 2009

Zero tolerance

It was time for another 90 minute run on whatever passable trails I could find in Wausau, WI. Based on the past several days of snow and rain and ice, most of my dirt trails are not accessible; I will state that the city of Wausau has done s nice job of clearing the green way paths, but in most cases they are spotted with ice and about an inch of mush.
I ran most of the traditional Wausau loop that my brother Richard and I laid out over 20 years ago. I have not yet asked his permission, but intend to see if he's OK with altering the official course. There are some new green way paths in Wausau and one section offers an out and back leg along the Wisconsin River that adds about 15 minutes. If he approves, I will now have a 9o minute route that takes me in and around some great parts of Wausau and culminates with rather hard climbs up Callon Street and then onto "steepie" up 12th Avenue.

Today was different. Temps have hovered around 20 each morning, but today was clea…

The old dog and the pony

Had a great day yesterday hanging out at my brother's in La Crosse, WI. After the traditional holiday pig fest, we were beached in the TV room watching an infomercial for PX90.
Ever see this workout package? I think it's one of the few on the market that actually delivers. No five minutes a day junk, this program demands an intense one hour per day workout, inclusive of "muscle confusion" tactics that changes up the exercise enough to accelerate results.
So after a bit I sent one of my nephews on a quick Internet assignment: Check out PX90 on eBay. It's all good; the retail price is $120 but you can pick up a used version for $50.
Where is all this leading? To a comment I heard on the infomercial. Some dude promoting his ripped body stated that PX90 is not a "one trick pony" and that it's an all-around performance program. That led to some introspection on today's run, where I realized that I'm both a one trick pony and an old dog. The …

White out

Things are a bit sketchy in the Washington, DC area. We're looking at 18 or more inches of snow this weekend, and it's white out conditions.
That said, master competitor had to venture out for a run. Would have gone more than an hour but my cotton gloves were getting wet and my hands were numb. No sense to push too far in the elements.
In this alternate white world, the characters out and about are of a special breed. I decided to offer a "thumbs up" to every individual I encountered. Some observations: County road plowing crews are big into the thumbs up. I had to veer about 20 feet off course when the blades came through (I was running down the center of the road).Bethesda city police are totally into thumbs up and returned the gesture.Most motorists gave me a wide berth and reciprocated the thumbs up. One angry looking dude in a large SUV did not embrace my vibes. He has his own alternate world and it's not a happy one.Another runner coming at me with sho…


I love to improvise and adapt my training routine while traveling.

I'm in DC for a while, doing fun stuff and of course forging my morning run loops.
Found a quick access to a green way called the Rock Creek Trail...of course, it didn't take me long to snoot around and find dirt paths that parallel the paved walkway.
I now have a 90 minute out and back. Funny how after just a short time, sections of trail become familiar and inviting. I'm running to the right of what must be Rock Creek (since I 'm on Rock Creek Trail it seems to make sense; now there's high level PhD deduction at work).
The mornings have been crisp and near 30 degrees. I'm still in shorts but it's getting to the breaking point. May have to drag out the tights soon...but I'll save that for my pilgrimage to Wisconsin next week.
What's important about crisp morning runs in a new area is the ability to reinvent one's self. I felt a spark of emerging fitness deep inside, and find the…
Life in the mountains of northwestern North Carolina isn't bad. As a matter of fact, master competitor is rather cocooned in his existence, as least while school is in session.
My faculty position at Appalachian State comes with many perks. We have a great university and teaching environment and also an infrastructure that offers four (4) recreation center facilities. I make the most of lap swimming, Cybex circuit training, spin classes, yoga, and indoor aerobic training machinery such as the Life Fitness elliptical trainers and electronic rowing machines.
Have to admit the climate here isn't what I had been used to in north central Florida, but that was then and this is now. I want to embrace this region and terrain and push into the winter months.
One new advantage for next semester is that I have connected with the App State running club. This group of individuals meets most nights at 5 pm for training sessions, and travels to local trails to run on Sunday afternoons; m…

Barnett is back

Thanks to blog reader Robert Watson for giving me a Mark Barnett alert...Robert read my report on running and mountain biking on trails in Greensboro, North Carolina and emailed to let me know that Barnett, a former 125cc and Supercross National Champion, now lives in Greensboro! Robert said he saw Barnett at a Vintage MX race and that Mark was very fit and tearing up the mountain bike trails.

Mark was one of my favorites from the early days, when I was a news reporter and photographer for Cycle News. Barnett took a blue collar approach to racing and knew how to get 'er done. Hard trainer, hard racer. Barnett was like a fine artist and his canvas was a motocross track. Anyone from that era knew what crazy powerbands the factory bikes had, and how hard it was to keep them on the pipe. Barnett was one of the best 125 racers ever. He could rail the turns and use the clutch to scream his Suzuki RH125...fantastic.

So where am I going with this? Master competitor is having a hard t…
Profile Trail
"Beginning as a scenic, rolling pathway through seasonal wildflowers, this trail crosses the Watauga River and travels through rhododendron thickets and under a hardwood canopy for much of its length. Upper sections, beginning around Foscoe View, get steeper and there are frequent rest stops with stone and log benches. Along one notable stretch before the trail reaches a view of the famous Grandfather Profile, hundreds of large boulders were artfully rearranged into a rock walkway called "Peregrine's Flight". Shanty Spring, at 2.7 miles in, marks the transition of this trail into a strenuous pathway of tumble-down rocks that joins the Grandfather Trail after a climb of 0.3 miles."
I found the info above, and photo at left, on It's the Profile Trail segment leading from highway 105 to near the top of Grandfather Mountain. Initially I thought "just how hard can it be to traver…