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Training Log Archive: Swampfox

In the 7 days ending May 20, 2018:

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Sunday May 20, 2018 #


We have a long and very bad tick season around here, which consists of the month of May. Some people think that the tick season should be extended for a week or two into June because of the looming/ongoing impact from Global Warming, and they may be right. I have at least once found a tick on me in June.

But May is bad enough, especially if you do any map surveying. If you're just O' training and running, sometimes you can slip through the cracks and emerge from May tick free. That is the best. You can't count on that however, and anyway the odds of that are tilted against you if you do any mapping.

It was sunny out most of the day, pleasant in the valley, and yet quite cool up top. I was deceived by going for a bike ride in town first before going up to do some mapping, as it turned out that a light jacket and a baseball cap should have instead been a knit cap and a medium weight jacket. When the sun was out and there was no breeze, it was comfortable. When there was breeze--there was usually breeze--it felt cool. When clouds obscured the sun and there was breeze, it was chilly. And tendrils of fog were never very far away to the east and south (breeze was out of the east and ascending and therefore cooling). When banks of fog finally got in the way of the sun at around 4 o-clock, I had to hang it up.

Even though it had been cool out, it was not so cool as to limit all tick activity, and back in my truck I discovered the first tick of the season on me. Hopefully it will be the last. My threshold for a really horrible tick season is two ticks, so so far it's just been a pretty bad tick season.

Even though finding a tick crawling on me was traumatic, I was able to calm myself down, and after a while I got up nerve to go out and hang streamers for a course at Pitcher Hill--even though what I really wanted to do was to call the tick hotline (911-TICK) and request emergency assistance.

I did manage to get a little more survey done at Granite Planite, so that was good.

Friday May 18, 2018 #


For the second straight day, I didn't spot any pickles trucks, But headed up the interstate, I did notice a self-propelled, giant blade on the way down, headed west, probably for Reno. And, just as I was stepping over the cattle guard on the Vedauwoo road, a Red Bull truck rolled by. That's even better than a pickle truck, and certainly less scary. Some people will have by now forgotten that Red Bull was once the official energy drink of Midwestern orienteering. I've always admired those original skinny little cans, a unique combination of form, design, and aluminum.

I finished off (finally) the first block--about a third of the area--of the coming Granite Planite map. This was the most intensely detailed part so I have hopes that the rest of the map will survey up at a quicker pace. It was cool and breezy, and the whole time it looked like it could start raining at any moment, which seemed extra reasonable given that the forecast was for "heavy rains statewide". But the darkest looking clouds stayed down south over the Colorado line.

After getting done with the block of mapping, I switched over for running and planned a circuitous route involving a mixture of public trail, obscure trail, and no trail at all. The no trail at all portion took me past a very special tree--a good sized ponderosa pine. There's normally nothing special about any given ponderosa pine, but this one is an exception and it is quite possibly unique. For various reasons, I think the odds are significant that it is growing at a higher elevation than any other ponderosa in the state of Wyoming. Given that, I judge the location must be kept shrouded in a very high level of secrecy in order to protect it. If the sub-morons found out about it, hordes of them would rush to the tree in order to be able to claim the honor of shooting it down, no doubt posting many photos and video and such on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, etc. to document their feat.

Thursday May 17, 2018 #


In the way it can happen at these high elevations, it feels like we have transitioned directly to summer from winter, with only a brief 2 week interlude.

This is the best kind of summer--all the light of the longer days, but minus any excessive warmth. The absence of biting insects also does not hurt.

My legs were mildly sore from yesterday and Monday so I threw caution to the wind and ran at a very easy pace up at Happy Jack, examining the very few snowfields left--3 in one little grouping at the edge of Browns Landing, and then the snowfield at the East Edge overlook, which is invariably the place where snow clings the longest.

I didn't see any horses, pickle trucks, or ants, though it must be said in the case of the ants I wasn't looking that carefully. I did hear a hummingbird though, which made up for everything else.

Wednesday May 16, 2018 #


Summer. Many looks around revealed no regn skurs. Totally beautiful day, and it felt like the warmest of the year so far. Well done, Mister Weather!

O' at East Pelican, 8.7 kms, 26 controls, no cows. Pasque flowers are well past peak now, and mostly vanished (unless you know what to look for and can spot the leaves), replaced by many newly blooming flowers such as cutleaf daisy and larkspur and sand lilies and, well, you could just keep on going.

While warming down and feeling the need for some upper body work, I jogged over to a discarded sub-mon mattress out in the area I'm mapping, and carried it out, flung it over the cattle fence guarding the highway, and then leaned it up against a highway sign. Maybe WYDOT will pick it up at some point. At any rate, it's no longer fouling the forest.

Tuesday May 15, 2018 #


I was forced to declare a pair of Roclite 280s "hors de combat" today, and consign them to the trash. An uncompromising running style through the bitterbrush and across the high elevation, short grass prairie was more than any ordinary shoe could handle, but in the end and was the abusive wear and tear from the hairy pasque flower that caused the uppers to give way and fail.

They were okay shoes and I got a lot of hours out of them between when I started using them last fall and now, and decent enough for training, but they weren't O' shoes and I didn't think the so called "standard fit" was near as good for off-trail use. With more rugged uppers, they could have lasted much longer.

Nearly all the snow on the trails at Happy Jack is gone now. All I saw today (where I was running) was one sliver of a patch of snow of about 4" x 5", which would not have lasted long in Phoenix. Mountain bikers will be out in force soon.

Monday May 14, 2018 #


O' at Remarkable Flats, 13.4 kms, 31 controls, sunny conclusion to the day (which is the part I took advantage of) after quite a bit of chilly rain earlier. I printed the map at 1:13,000 to make it fit the paper size I was using, and it turned out to be a little bit too small for what my eyes can handle now. I really couldn't see the finest details well enough in or around the control circles so that was not so good and to a degree frustrating. It meant a number of times I had to stop to be able to get a better look. It could also lead to bad habits or at least not training the way you want to race, so using a large enough scale to see better is probably getting more important now.

And ultimately I'm going to have to do something for my weak right eye--and I'm not thinking of switching to curling or short track skating quite yet!

It was very nice getting out and avoiding the rain and catching the little bit of blue sky we had at any rate, especially after a soggy, foggy Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Also--amusing to me only, I"m sure--I ran through a number of wet marshes, and when I got back home and pulled off my socks, I had some pretty muddy looking feet. Post show, I just looked down at my feet, and they're still just as muddy. I think I might have forgotten them. But it's all good I guess--it just means they're already prepped for marsh activities tomorrow.

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