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Training Log Archive: Swampfox

In the 7 days ending Dec 18, 2016:

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Sunday Dec 18, 2016 #


Checked the Cowboy Orienteering Index (temperature - wind speed must be greater than 25) in the morning to see if it might be allowable to go orienteering today, but it wasn't even close. So, skiing. Pretty windy up top, however if you could survive the parking lot and get into the trees, then it wasn't so bad. Saw Mark Jenkins and chatted with him briefly; he had been climbing not so long ago in the Boulder area with someone who recognized my name from orienteering, but it wasn't a name I knew from anywhere.

I was planning to run afterwards, but the wind was increasing and the walk back across the parking lot was enough to make me doubt I had the right combination of pants to take much more. So I made the smart decision to head home and spend some time burning calories on the trainer instead, which has the additional benefit of heating the house.

Saturday Dec 17, 2016 #


When I woke up this morning, the sun was up and yet it was still -8F. Pretty cold, and that was the *inside* temperature! Sleeping in for a bit longer felt like a good idea, but that would not be the cowboy way. I threw off the buffalo robes, jumped out of bed, grabbed the nearest guitar and strummed on it vigorously--and realized I was not wearing any clothes and was in full view of anyone walking by the front of the house. Whoops! Plus by then my fingers had become frozen to the strings on the guitar--definitely not the cowboy way. I threw down the guitar in disgust; not too much of the skin on my fingers got ripped off in the process, so at least that was good.

It was time for breakfast, and I stood in the kitchen for a good 2-3 hours trying to decide whether it should be cold oatmeal or hot waffles. Cold oatmeal will actually warm you up quicker when it's really cold inside--counter-intuitive, I know, but run the experiment and see for yourself--and therefore oatmeal offered the wimpy choice. So naturally I steeled myself to make the harder choice and I commenced to make waffles.

I will admit that rather than going outside into the even colder cold and plundering a neighbor's beehive for honey, I took the easy route and just reached into the cabinet and pulled out a container of honey bought from the store. Though there's nothing like a few dozen bee stings to properly bring out the warmth on a cold day, so even using the store bought honey involved taking the harder route. I made a mental note to tweet all this with #storeboughthoney=htfu.

It never got any warmer than 0F, but after all the commotion and what not of the morning, getting out and up top for some skiing wasn't as bad as it could have been. At least there wasn't hardly any wind (that would have quickly made things bad), and even with the new snow from the storm last night, my skis had at least a little bit of glide, rather than it being a pure skis-on-sandpaper type vibe--a fact I attribute to not having touched my skis since last season, and probably there wasn't a vestige of anything even faintly resembling wax on their bottoms.

I skied for a little over an hour and a half, which was enough to get finally get some blood into my fingers and get that tingle of fingers returning to life going. By the time I got home, the sun had set, and there was nothing but an orange-pink glow on the western horizon, an odd color that yet at the same time looked vaguely familiar. As I was going inside, it came to me what it reminded me of: it was the exact color of the president-elect's hair.

Friday Dec 16, 2016 #


Another day without sun (and even though the day isn't over, there is no hope, as snow is headed this way very soon), but I got out on my bike for a ride over to West Laramie and back anyway, arriving back home just in time to catch President Obama's press conference as it was beginning. Listening to him speak and take questions, my overwhelming thought is: he's going to be missed.


Went skiing in the late afternoon, with near perfect timing--snow started a minute or two after I did. It was still mild out, even up top. And it remained mild while I skied. When I finished, I hopped in my truck, changed into running shoes, drove 4 minutes to where I wanted to run from, finished listening to the NPR segment that was on the radio, and then stepped outside into...some really cold air. In that short amount of time, the temps had dropped--my guess--somewhere between twenty to twenty-five degrees. So instead of a slightly sweaty run, it became a brisk run. If it had been any colder, I would have needed a face mask.

Thursday Dec 15, 2016 #


Biking plans/hopes came for naught today. No problem with the temps--way up into the high 40's. Rather, another day of no sun meant the slush on the streets hung in there and hung in there. I don't ride on cobblestones, and I don't bike in slush--at least, not without an overwhelmingly good reason.

I was pretty sure the mild temps would turn the snow up top sticky and I didn't feel like fooling around with re-waxing, so I ran trails. It was really nice out. It took about 2 steps to realize I had been wrong about the snow--it was perfectly dry and the usual afternoon winds were showering snow across the snowfield that I traverse in so many of the winter runs I do. Too bad about missing the skiing, but it was great running, so no tears.


Wyoming is playing BYU in the Poinsettia Bowl next week, the result of somehow, miraculously, not ending up ranked in the Bottom 25 this year (but there's always hope for next year, so watch out Kansas!)

The last time the two teams played was in 2010. Then BYU left the conference and tried to break up the conference by taking several other teams with them in an attempt to fashion a new version of the WAC. The attempt didn't work, and teams and fans of the MWC haven't forgotten the treachery. Somewhat amazingly, there is a player who will play against Wyoming next week who *also* played on the 2010 BYU team--which goes to another reason why no love is lost when it comes to BYU out this way: BYU players are often pretty old, and on average, much older than the players they play against (because most BYU players will have done a mission.)

But BYU was detested long before 2010, and it really probably goes back to the 60s, with race issues and the Mormon Church. If you're curious, this is well worth reading: the Black 14

35 years ago Wyoming played BYU here in Laramie in a game that is known as the Blizzard Game. Wyoming won in a white-out snowstorm/blizzard. It was the first time Wyoming had beaten BYU in 10 years, or something like that. After the game, the BYU coach addressed his players and created another bit of history that Wyoming fans have never forgotten and never will, saying: "I'd rather lose and live in Provo than win and live in Laramie."

Hopefully the Cowboys will prevail next week and cap off what has been a pretty terrific season for them. But it won't be easy, as the BYU team is probably the better team. And they're a lot older.

Wednesday Dec 14, 2016 #


No sun today either, though it was fine since it snowed all day long.

That's a little misleading in terms of what happened down here in town though, because for most of the day the snow was only falling at a rate of about 1 snowflake per minute. And let's face it--that's not enough to get even the smallest snow worm excited.

Up top it was better though, with about 2-3" of new snow by mid-afternoon. Even with my largely de-waxed combi skis, it was quite nice skiing, considering.

Ran afterwards until the arrival of darkness, in the still falling snow. When I got home I replenished with one of the absolute best foods for the hard striving snow runner athlete: lemon pie.

Hope to get out for a bike ride tomorrow, as the weather forecast looks promising for that.

Tuesday Dec 13, 2016 #


No sun today--clouds coated the skies all day long--but that did not mean there was no sunshine in my day, because I made my skiing debut for this season. No doubt the trails could use more snow and less moose (moose tracks were everywhere), but considering the late start to the season and the below average snow amounts so far, conditions were not bad at all.

Ran afterwards and saw even more moose tracks. But never the actual moosies.

Monday Dec 12, 2016 #


For anyone who was worried there is no wind left anywhere, I can offer reassurances from SE Wyoming. I am about to venture outside to go running, and if I don't come back within 2-3 days, please someone send out search and rescue. For an initial target zone--should it prove necessary--I suggest that anywhere in the Nebraska Sand Hills would be a good area to begin with.


When I looked outside and saw how windy it was, my heart filled with glee at the bike ride I could take. Plus, there were rumors that Rick Perry might be Trump's energy pick. How much better could it get!! Ah, Texas--the state that never stops giving.

But I had to back off when I saw sheets of plywood and 2x4's sailing by. A mere bike helmet would be no good against such items, and what if one of them scored a direct hit and punctuated me? My innards would fill commas and slowly I would sink to the ground one final time, reduced to a mass of misshaped sentences.

So I thought about skiing, but even after some warming tea, I could not get past the thought of having to cross the Tie City Parking lot in that wind twice.

So in the end I ran trails, which was the correct choice. Once in the woods, I hardly noticed the wind at all, and was thankful to be there rather than, say, Tysons Corner.

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