Thursday, September 18, 2014

Running the Scioto Greenways

Running the Scioto Greenways

Last week I was in Columbus, OH for business, so I decided to bring along my running shoes and see what I could discover - as many of us know, running in a new city is probably the best way to see it. Since I was staying in a downtown hotel, it made sense to see if there was a path along the river, which bisects the central area. On Google Maps, the Scioto Greenway appeared promising, with bridges here and there to cross over and return on the other side. If you're anything like me, you'll take a loop over an out and back any day. I mapped out a 3 miler, because I'm still horribly out of shape, MAF training, and it was supposed to be warm and humid.

Just my luck the Scioto Greenways project has just begun, tearing up the better part of the most scenic section of trail - a dam used to slow the water down, creating stagnant areas and appearing less than optimally beautiful. The project removed the dam, narrows the river bed, and creates new opportunities for additional trail miles, a definite bonus to the folks who use the trail. Skirting the construction area, I got on the path and headed along the river. Only a small section of the trail has river views, which was disappointing, and hopefully they'll trim the vegetation to make it more scenic.

Running the Scioto Greenways

Returning on the other side wasn't much more scenic, with the same overgrown trees and brush blocking river views. Along the downtown section, the hardscape is quite beautiful, but the rest has a slightly desolate feel. So, while it wasn't all beautiful, it's still a nice place for a run if you're in the downtown area. While the improvements will certainly make a difference, this all-pavement path could use a parallel path that is wood chips or gravel, for a softer feel and to separate the runners from the cyclists (though I only saw 1 bike rider and no other runners, I would think that weekends are busier). This trail does connect to other trails, including a longer one that goes out to the University, so these obviously are beneficial for commuters.

It sounds like I'm being harsh, which is unfortunate, because these should be great trails - running along a body of water in a city center is a true pleasure. Here the views are obstructed, so much of the run does not benefit from the proximity of the river. Hopefully the Scioto Greenways Project, which has a few years left to go, will make this a dynamite place to run, rather than just adequate.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Primal Blueprint - Will Paleo Work for Me?

Banksy Graffiti Caveman
Banksy Graffiti Caveman

One of the things I've often tried and failed at is following a diet, but not following a diet is not much better in the results department either. Probably the simplest thing I could do to lose weight would be to stop drinking alcohol - lots of empty calories, usually leads to the munchies, etc. At this point, I'm not ready to do that yet. I'd still like to have the will power to find an eating style (diet) that I enjoy, is healthy, and I can maintain as a lifestyle, rather than continue bumbling along on my own.

One thing I've been intrigued by, but was always unwilling to try, is the Paleo diet. The whole caveman thing seemed silly - we've come a long way, baby. And its association with CrossFit made me a bit leery, though that doest bother me as much anymore, as I'm coming around again to the benefits of CrossFit. Over the years, aspects of the diet (and associated physical components) have made more and more sense to me. Since I'm trying to reinvigorate my cross training with CrossFit-inspired workouts, it might make sense to go the Paleo route as well.

At its most basic, Paleo makes sense to me. My understanding of it is that one eats whole foods, shunning processed foods and most carbohydrates. I've got to do some research and definitely meal planning and grocery shopping will change, but it seems like something I'd like to try.

The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge
Learn more at Mark’s Daily Apple.

What's your experience with Paleo? Yea or nay? Good websites, books, or other resources?

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The North Face Endurance Challenge Wisconsin 2014

The North Face Endurance Challenge Wisconsin 2014

And we're back! What a weekend of fun we had at The North Face Endurance Challenge Wisconsin 2014, more colloquially known as ECSWI. Friday we picked up the RV and headed over to the campground at Ottawa Lake Recreation Area, a beautiful location for this weekend of trail races. While we love tent camping, there are definite advantages to the RV: heat or AC, a fan for white noise, an actual (sort-of) kitchen, and beds rather than cots or sleeping pads. If only it weren't so expensive compared to tent camping - still, it's a nice treat once a year or so and the perfect way to spend this particular weekend.

The North Face Endurance Challenge Wisconsin 2014

Saturday was all about Laima's marathon. After sending her off, we got in the car and started driving to intercept points to cheer her on - I think we managed to get to 9 locations to see her. It was fun for the kids especially, as the runners (who we mostly saw all 9 times) were very appreciative of the cheering. We even got to see Dean Karnazes several times - later, after the kids race, I took a picture of him and Munchkin, which was a lot of fun for him. That evening we attended a hibernating animal nature talk that was the exact same one we attended 2 years ago (must be that time of year). That night, headed for a late toothbrushing session, the kids were fighting over the flashlight. On the way back to the RV, I managed to convince them to turn it off and check out the countless stars visible. The Big Dipper was even framed perfectly above some trees, making it an easy intro to constellations. We definitely do not see stars like that in Downers Grove.

The North Face Endurance Challenge Wisconsin 2014

Sunday Tazer, Gaigai and I lined up and then headed out on the 5K course - I had warned them that, while the road portion wouldn't be that difficult, the trail part would be. We ran together for a little while before Tazer took off to chase a front-running boy ( Tazer ended up winning 3rd in the 19 and Under age group, not too shabby for his first trail race). Gaigai pulled me along, rabbiting the first 2 miles before a balky thigh muscle slowed us down (thankfully) - on the way back we walked some and ran some, both eventually finishing 4th in our respective age groups (disclaimer - I was 4th of 4), a nice finish for her in her first trail race as well.  We spent the rest of the morning enjoying some beers from Sierra Nevada (Laima and me), face painting and hot cocoa (the kids). Kind of sad to see the finish line festival empty out, but it was also very cool to have the campground to ourselves. Sunday night, out of the hundreds of available campsites, it seemed like less than 10 were occupied.

Not sure about the other locations, but the The North Face Endurance Challenge Wisconsin is really perfect as an active family getaway.  Camping, trail running, exploring nature - this weekend really has it all, in a somewhat formatted manner, with plenty of downtime to do what you want as well. The fact that there are so many options for distance, along with a kids' race and really means  that literally the whole family can actively participate. Kudos to The North Face for their stellar planning and execution.

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Geocaching: Michelin’s Quest for Adventure Contest

MIchelin Quest

The “Michelin’s Quest for Adventure” contest (which began September 8th) is being conducted with Geocaching—the world’s largest location-based activity. The Michelin geocaching contest will award prizes to individuals who find one of nearly 1,500 Michelin Man tire pressure gauges hidden across the United States and who then share the most creative, adventure-inspired photo on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the campaign’s hashtag #MichelinQuest.

In the first phase of the contest, geocachers will voluntarily distribute the 1,500 Michelin Man tire gauge trackables throughout the United States. Within days, all trackables will be hidden and logged.

Once discovered, participants should record their find with an original, creative picture. Next, they log the find and share the photo on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the #MichelinQuest tag. The photo posting of the Michelin Man trackable serves as registration for one of the prizes.

The 10 best photos will win a set of MICHELIN® passenger car or light truck tires worth up to $1,000.

Those photos will then be added to the MichelinUSA official Facebook page where the photo that garners the most likes will win the grand prize – choosing between two incredible experiences. The first is a fine dining experience at the exclusive gala to celebrate the release of the MICHELIN Guide in New York City, San Francisco or Chicago. The MICHELIN Guide has been the gold standard in fine dining since 1900. The second option is to attend one of the inaugural Formula E races in either Miami or Los Angeles. Formula E is the all-new, electric race car series.

Michelin’s Quest for Adventure is open to all legal residents of the United States and will run from Sept. 8 to Dec. 31, 2014.

More details, along with contest rules and information can be found by visiting the campaign’s website: http://michelin.geocaching.com.

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Running, Skiing, and Endurance Sports - Patagonia.com

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