Thursday, November 30, 2006

2007 Race Index

Below are links to my 2007 races:



January 1st - Resolution Solution 5k - White Bear Lake, MN

February 11th - Heart of St. Paul 5k - St. Paul, MN

March 18th - Human Race 8k - St. Paul, MN

April 15th - Pike Island Rundezvous 10k - Fort Snelling State Park, St. Paul, MN

May 19th - Scheels Fargo Half Marathon - Fargo, ND

June 24th - Big Lake Lakes Run 8k - Big Lake, MN

August 4th - Talking Lake Wild Goose Chase 30k - Watson, MN

September 15th - Walker North Country Marathon - Walker, MN

October 20th - Big Woods Run Half Marathon - Nerstrand, MN

November 4th - Rocky's Run 5k - Falcon Heights, MN

November 18th - Turkey Run 5k - St. Paul, MN

Chilly day, and a cool photo

Brrrrr! Winter is here!

Tonight was the coldest run of the season. The temperature plummeted last night and was in the single digit readings. When I got home from work, it was about 17 degrees! I bundled up and had a brisk couple of laps around the lake. It took me a good mile to get warmed up, and once I did, it was pretty comfortable running. I had some ice on my goatee when I finished, though! :)

Here is a photo from a slightly warmer day! This is from my Des Moines race. I ordered one from the company that photographed the event and had Dad scan it while I was home at Thanksgiving. Normally I don't order pictures from events, but I thought the photo was kind of cool, and it was a special day. This was me crossing the George Washington Carver bridge coming back into downtown at about the 11 mile mark.



Trying to stay warm,

Jean

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A rainy day for Christmas specials

A strange weather day; we had some big thunderstorms rumble through the metro this morning, and the drizzle persisted throughout the afternoon.

I ran in shorts and a regular running cap for what will probably be the last time for 2006. It was 48 degrees when I went running. It was a little windy and wet, but that’s not too much of an issue. A decent run; I took it kind of easy today.

With it being so warm outside, it seems somewhat surreal that ”A Charlie Brown Christmas” in on tonight at 7 PM. I am excited, though, and I will be tuning in! This is the best of all the Charlie Brown specials, in my humble opinion. Thankfully the elections are over with, so we run no risk of the show being preempted by a political debate the way the “Great Pumpkin” was... :)

Until next time,

Jean

Monday, November 27, 2006

3000 Miles to Graceland

My apologies for using the title of a mediocre movie as the title of my post, but I hit another milestone today. :)

Since I started running in April of 2004, I have kept track of my mileage. I did so in order to track progress and set new goals. Today on my run, I passed the career 3000 mile mark! That is almost equal to a coast-to-coast journey across the United States. I can’t say I imagined such a distance when I started.

It was a fairly mild, but somewhat blustery day. 41 degrees, overcast, with a strong wind coming out of the east. In spite of that, I had a very good, quick run. With the wind being from the east, it gave me a nice push home, too!

But things are starting to get pretty, and people are getting into the Christmas spirit. I generally run at dusk during the week, and there were lots of homes with their Christmas lights on. I even saw a huge inflatable Grinch on a lawn!

Right now I am a little bit tired, as it is always hard to get back into the swing of things after a vacation! Tonight’s agenda contains two things; 1.) and easy chair, and 2.) Monday Night Football.

To the next 3000 miles and beyond,

Jean

North Country Nature Notes

My Little Chickadee

One of the thrills of spending time at Mom and Dad's is that they have created a true haven for the birds and animals. There are several bird feeders in the yard, complete with sunflower seeds for the songbirds and squirrels, suet for the woodpeckers and jays, and a heated birdbath that is enjoyed by all. In the nighttime, the nocturnal flying squirrels even show up to partake in some good eats and put on an aerial display under the yard lights!

Without question, their faithful resident bird is the black-capped chickadee. Virtually everyone recognizes them, as they are common, abundant, and seen at bird feeders everywhere all year long. They are friendly birds, too. So friendly, in fact, that it isn't unusual to have them actually land on people.

Whenever I visit, I like to try and feed the chickadees by hand. It is not very hard at Mom and Dad's, especially in the colder months. I was successful, and this time I even got to learn a few things about this fantastic bird.

Armed with a cup of sunflower seeds, I walked down the hill from the house. I would stand in a spot for a little while with a handful of seeds extended. It didn't take long before a little chickadee found me. He was a cute and particularly chatty guy with a lot of personality, and he was recognizable because his tail feathers had a slight bend to the right (nothing disfiguring, mind you, it was just a feature that easily distinguished him from others). We seemed to develop an instant rapport, and immediately he flew down to my hand and started taking seeds.

Me with my little buddy, photo by Dad



That day I wandered all over the woods, and the chickadee would follow. It didn't matter where I went, or how far. He would find me.

It was interesting to see the feeding habits of the chickadee. When he was taking seeds, he wasn't eating most of them. Rather, he was storing them for winter. Each individual seed was taken to a different location, be it wedged in the bark of a spruce tree, the fork of a branch, or even a broken off tree limb. There was no pattern or system, and there would be no centrally-located cache of seeds for him to revisit later. Every single seed was placed in a different spot.

I figured these efforts had to be, for the most part, in vain. How would the chickadee keep track of where he was putting of these seeds? I mean, they were truly all over the place! After doing some reading, I learned that chickadees are capable of remembering thousands of locations where they store food. And how many of us would be completely lost if we didn't have a list when we went to the grocery store? Amazing!

For the rest of the week whenever I would go outside, my little chickadee would find me. He was in the yard most of the time at the feeders with the others (again, easy to spot because of his tail). But if I didn't see him right away, it didn't take long for him to locate me. It got to a point where here would fly straight to my hand from deep in the forest as if he were a trained falcon. On a couple of occasions he missed my hand and landed on my hat!

Great fun. Dad now has the task of keeping my buddy entertained until I return at Christmas! :)

In Search of the Black-backed Woodpecker

In one of my posts from October, I described my first sighting of a black-backed woodpecker, one of the more elusive birds of the northern boreal forests. It has apparently been a good year for them, as there have been many reported sightings, including those by my Dad and brother very close to the house.

I was walking down a trail in the woods on a morning bird watching/chickadee feeding excursion. Out of the corner of my eye, a dark bird flew in and landed on a tree perhaps 15 feet from me. It was a female black-backed woodpecker! I couldn't believe it. After watching her for a minute or so, she flew down the hill to another location.

I was within sight of the house, so I ran back to get Dad. I knew he would want to se this bird, so I thought we could possibly track her down since she was in the area.

Venturing back down the hill, I pointed out the place I had seen the bird. All was quiet in this area, so we continued on the trail.

Not far from the spot of the first sighting, we heard a gentle tapping sound coming from a dark stand of cedars and spruce. We headed into the forest to check it out.

A large spruce tree had fallen into another one, and at the top was a gnarled mess of twigs and branches. In that mess, we could see a shadow of a woodpecker happily working. It was difficult to see. From some of the preliminary markings, we thought we had found the black-backed again, as I did catch a glimpse of the trademark barring on its side beneath the wing. However, when the woodpecker did come into view, we were astonished at what we had found.

This was not a black-backed woodpecker. Rather, it was the cousin, the American three toed woodpecker!

Both the black-backed and the American three-toed woodpeckers have something in common; they are our only two woodpeckers with three toes instead of four! But one feature on the American three-toed that distinguished it from its relative in the "ladder" pattern on its back. We were looking at a female American three-toed woodpecker. She pecked away for a good 15 minutes or so, seemingly oblivious to us while Dad attempted to snap some photos.

This is significant for me because I had only seen the American three-toed woodpecker once in my life, and that was more than 20 years ago near Grand Rapids. And how crazy is it that I saw both of these rare, unique birds within 30 minutes of, and perhaps a hundred yards away from, each other? Awesome!

The woodpeckers, along with my friendly chickadee, represent birding moments at their finest. It doesn't get much better.

Eating to run, running to eat

Thanksgiving eats

With any visit home, there is always good food. When Thanksgiving rolls around, things just get kicked up a notch, as Emeril might say!

Over the course of the week, we feasted on pot roast, BBQ ribs, grilled tri-tip, and Dad's famous seafood chowder (a Thanksgiving tradition). Mom and I made lefse, the Scandinavian potato pancake (think of it as a Norwegian tortilla!). And we went to town one day and had lunch at a new restaurant called The Crooked Spoon Cafe. It was good eating all the way around.

Mom and me making lefse



On Thanksgiving Day, we never do a turkey (turkey always comes later in the weekend). We have always opted to do something different. This year, the theme was wild game. A successful hunting season gave my brother plenty venison and grouse. A friend of his gave him some pheasant and duck as well, so the meal would truly be a feast.

The venison roast and duck were roasted in the oven. But my brother decided to do something different with the pheasant and grouse. Those were injected with a flavorful marinade and went into his turkey fryer! The meal was excellent. Everything tasted great, and the pheasant and grouse were truly juicy and moist (both are hard birds to cook because they are so lean).

The Thanksgiving Feast



The Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend is when we usually have our turkey. And with that, we usually do something a little different, too. For years, Dad has put the turkey in his smoker for just a couple of hours. Then, Mom will finish the roasting in the oven. This way, the bird gets a hint of smoke flavor, and because you finish it in the oven, you also get the turkey juices for a slightly smoky gravy (something you would not get if you finished the bird in the smoker). It is simply the best. I look forward to this every year, and it certainly did not disappoint!

Over the trail and through the woods

During the holiday week, I went running several times to work off the massive amount of food I consumed! It was ideal running weather all week with morning temperatures in the low 30's, for the most part.

On Monday, I did long, slow 8 miler on the flat service road. For the rest of my runs, I broke out the trail shoes and went through the woods and up the hills!

One of the woodland trails



I did three runs in the woods, two 5 milers, and one 6 1/2 miler. I hit some of the ski trails and dirt roads behind my parents' house and worked my way north. At that time, there was no snow, so it was a good time to take advantage of the trails before they succumb to the wrath of winter!

According to my altimeter, on my 5 mile route through the woods there is nearly 500 feet of elevation gain. On the 6 1/2 miler, there is close to 800 feet of elevation gain, so I got in more than my fair share of hills!

It was very quiet and peaceful in the woods, and it made running seem like fun as opposed to work (which is a good thing when you are running uphill for a half an hour straight!). I got to see some spectacular sunrises, as well as some outstanding views of Lake Superior when I was running back down the ridge. I can't think of a more enjoyable way to burn calories from the week!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

RACE REPORT - 2006 Turkey Run 5k

I have returned from my Thanksgiving vacation. It was a fantastic week with a lot of fun stuff that took place, so it might take me some time to get the blog updated! Let’s begin with how my vacation started; with a race!

On Sunday, November 19th, I participated in the Turkey Run in St. Paul, MN.

The columns at the entrance of Como Park Elementary



The Turkey Run is a 5k run/walk headquartered at Como Lake Elementary School on the east side of Como Lake. The race isn’t a particularly serious one. It is intended to be fun as a way to encourage people to stay active during the holiday eating season. That being said, there are always some fast people who show up, too.

It was a very chilly morning with temperatures in the upper teens when I arrived at the race headquarters. There was frost all over the ground, and the lake was frozen over enough to offer support to the geese and ducks that were standing on it! Thankfully, as the sun came up, it warmed to a pleasant 32 degrees with calm conditions. A fantastic day for running!

Chilling out at the 2006 Turkey Run



I didn’t have any set goals for the Turkey Run aside from “just go out there and do your best.”. The last race I was in was the half marathon, and this race would be a full 10 miles shorter. I had not run a 5k in 6 months, so I just decided to go out there, put one foot in front of the other, and see what happens.

The horn sounded, and 400+ runners and walkers hit the streets of St. Paul. Faster runners were off like a shot. I quickly found my way out of the congestion at the starting line and settled into a quick but comfortable pace.

The race course is a clockwise loop around Como Lake, mostly on the walking paths. It is a route I am now familiar with, as this would be the third race I have run on the same course.

I won't bore you with a mile-by-mile recap. For the sake of brevity, let's just say I had one of my fastest races ever. I finished in 21:18, which is a new 5k personal record by 20 seconds.

What an unexpected surprise, and a great way to kick off my Thanksgiving holiday. And really, a very nice way to close out the 2006 racing season. This is my final race of the calendar year, and it will give me some incentive to start setting some new goals for 2007!

Until next time,

Jean

Friday, November 17, 2006

Ready for Thanksgiving

Tonight after work I went for my run, doing two laps around the little lake in the neighborhood. This is becoming my semi-regular "usual" route for my runs during the week. The sidestreets and trails are very quiet, and I don't have to cross any of the major county roads during rush hour (which isn't that bad in my neighborhood, but it just seems more prudent). I ran pretty easy today, as I was a little tired after the strange schedule this week, but I made it productive with a strong finish.

After being caught up in the whirlwind that has been the last several weeks with the move and my weird schedule, my next race kind of snuck up on me! This Sunday, I will be at the Turkey Run in St. Paul. This is a short one; just a 5k fun run/walk that goes around scenic Como Lake. I did this one last year, and it was a really good time, so I am looking forward to it.

Immediately after the race, I will head home, shower up, hop in my car and head north to "The Shore" to visit the family. That's right, folks, I am on vacation for the whole week of Thanksgiving! I understand we have quite a menu planned for the week, so I can't wait.

Blog updates will be sporadic at best until after Turkey Day, but I will have plenty to talk about the following week.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and I will talk to you when I return!

Jean

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Run early, wings at night

I had a gathering to attend tonight that was closer to my office than it was to my home. Therefore, I opted to run in the morning and come to the office a little later.

At 5:30 AM, I put on my headlamp and my Illuminite running jacket and did close to 5 miles (actually, it was 4.85 when I traced my route on Google's Gmaps Pedometer mapping web site!). It was a crisp, cool 25 degrees; very comfortable for running.

Today I took a different route and simply stuck to the bike paths along the main roads. Nothing but long, straight stretches here, so it was easy, flat, consistent running with no tricky hills or turns to negotiate in the dark. It was a very good run, and I clipped along at a pretty brisk pace on this frosty morning.

Tonight's gathering that I spoke of earlier was the end of the year banquet for the fantasy golf league I am in (yes, I said fantasy golf league!). It is pretty simple; during the course of the PGA season, we pick one player a week, and you cannot reuse that player during the season. Whatever money that player earns, you get. The league player with the most money wins.

Anyhow, as is tradition, we always meet at Buffalo Wild Wings for our year-end celebration. Most of us have been visiting this place long enough that we still remember when it was simply called "BW3" and wasn't such a family-friendly franchise! But, we feasted on chicken wings, and our commissioner passed out the winnings, including the traveling trophy that goes to the winner.

A fun night, for certain. I am glad I ran this morning, because I don't think I would feel so great running with a stomach full of "Asian Zing" flavored wings... :)

Until next time,

Jean

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

One headlight

I am home right now waiting for a delivery from Slumberland, so I thought I would update my blog!

Since I am going in to work a little later than normal today, I did my run early. I did another two laps around the lake. It was a nice, crisp, frosty. And as it was dark when I started, it gave me a chance to test out my new Petzl headlamp.

Basically it is a small, lightweight beacon that is attached to a strap, and you wear it around your head like a sweatband. It is really slick. The lamp is adjustable, so you can angle it however you like. Plus, it is really bright and sure lights up the road in front of you so you can see where you are stepping. And, you can certainly be seen, too. A neat invention.

Not sure if this is what The Wallflowers were thinking when they sang the words, "We can drive it home with one headlight," but I think it is applicable for running in the dark! :)

Until next time,

Jean

Monday, November 13, 2006

Around the lake

Yesterday was a relaxing Sunday, and a day off from running. I didn't do much except hang out, watch sports, and simply enjoy my new apartment. I made a delicious meat loaf for dinner, so I also dined very well!

Overnight we got a little dusting of snow, but nothing significant. It got up to a pleasant 39 degrees, so none of it stuck around for my afternoon run.

Today I did two laps around the lake behind my place, which I mapped out at 4 1/2 miles on the nose. I now have a couple of different options to do my “normal” 4 1/2 mile runs, so that is great. Today’s route was all done on quiet neighborhood sidestreets and trails. Nice!

There was even a cute female runner that I ran past. I am sure she was thoroughly impressed with my combination of running tights, a neon green windbreaker, and a bright red NASCAR Dale Jr stocking cap. I think is a fantastic ensemble myself, but it fails to win points from anyone with fashion sense. Oh, well! :)

Until next time,

Jean

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Dean's Run Home

A couple of posts ago, I wrote about Dean Karnazes deciding to run home from New York to San Francisco after he completed the Endurance 50.

Anyhow, I wanted to pass along that Dean has started a new blog to chronicle the experience of this new journey. As of his last entry on Day 3, he is in Philadelphia.

There is also a neat tracking tool so you can pinpoint his location on the map.

He is quite the guy. Amazing!

1000 miles on a frosty morning

I checked my running log, and this morning I passed 1000 miles for the year. Always kind of neat to hit a milestone like that!

It was also the coldest run of the season thus far. 25 degrees, with a wind chill of 16! I had frost on my goatee by the time I was finished.

Still, what a pleasant morning. As you know by now, I prefer cooler/cold weather, and the run was very good. I continued my exploration of the area and figured out a couple of loops on the Rice Creek West Regional Trail. I learned a few more routes today and went about 7 miles.

I went early enough that I got to see some wildlife before more people showed up. There were lots of ducks still hanging around in the creeks and ponds, and I scared up a pretty nice white tail buck along the park trail. I am loving my new neighborhood.

No real plans today. I will probably go somewhere for lunch, I will watch sports and make some homemade beef jerky this afternoon, and I will hopefully be having homemade pizza tonight. I say “hopefully” because I have had some dough-making issues since I got to my new apartment. The dough is coming out weird, so I am not sure what is going on. Maybe I need to revisit my recipe?

Until next time,

Jean

Friday, November 10, 2006

Trails!

It was significantly cooler today than it was when I last ran on Wednesday. 40 degrees cooler! It was only 32 when I ventured out for the afternoon run.

I found some honest to goodness dirt trails to run on today. I think I went through four different parks in a 4 1/2 mile run. Yes, I said four parks! This city has a ton of them. I wound my way through winding streets and quiet neighborhoods that were all intersected by these trail, What fun! The exploration continues.

You know what I am looking forward to doing this weekend? Nothing! For the first weekend in a long time, I don't have to pack or drive anywhere. I am looking forward to doing some cooking and enjoying lots of sports; two things I have greatly missed in recent weeks!

Enjoy the weekend!

Jean

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

A Karnazes update, and a little bit of exploring

A bit of running news; While I was moving, Dean Karnazes completed his 50 marathons, in 50 states, in 50 days odyssey. Which ended in New York last Sunday at the New York City Marathon.

How is Dean celebrating this incredible achievement? Well, not only did he go for a 28 mile run on day 51, and run another marathon on day 52, but now he had decided to run home from New York to San Francisco! Wow…the guy is an inspiration.

I did not run as far as Dean did today, but I had fun exploring in my new neighborhood. It was an unseasonably warm 72 degrees this afternoon! I ran with no set route, running only by my watch so I had some idea as to how far I went. I took some trails through the park which led to a school, through a neighborhood, past a golf course, around a lake, and down a trail that led right back to my place. It was a very pretty route. I figure I went a little more than 5 miles. Not a bad way to enjoy one of the last truly warm days of the year!

Tonight I can finally catch up on "Bones" and "Lost." It is nice to have TV again! :)

Until next time,

Jean

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Getting settled

Today was a big day; I vacated the old apartment, so I am officially moved! What a great feeling. I had lived in the same neighborhood for 10 of my 12 years in the metro, so I have a lot of history there. But after I signed off on the final paperwork and tossed them the keys, I left the place like it was on fire. I am just terribly excited about the new digs!

There is some semblance of order starting to take place. The living room and kitchen are pretty orderly, but I still have numerous boxes stacked up in the bedroom that I am not quite sure what to do with. The internet is hooked up (high speed, too...wheeeee!), as it the cable TV, although for some reason, Comcast doesn't provide you with all of the necessary cables to receive an HDTV broadcast, so I had to go out and buy those today. All is well now, though (and there was much rejoicing!). It is starting to feel like home.

I went for a run in the drizzle this evening. It was 57 degrees though, so the temperature was pleasant. I did 5 miles on the park trails again, smiling the whole time. I am really going to like my new running routes!

Until next time,

Jean

Monday, November 6, 2006

Is your furniture Swedish?

This has nothing to do with running, but everything to do with moving!

Chaos in Swedish furniture land

Question for you; is the word “Ikea” Swedish for “chaos?”

When I moved, I tossed the couch because it has seen better days. I decided I would get new furniture. With grocery shopping out of the way, and not wanting to spend another night watching movies on a pile of blankets, I set out to find a chair.

I went to Ikea in Bloomington. I had never been there before, but everyone says this Swedish store has great, cheap furniture.

Upon arrival, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was a little after 10 AM, and the parking lot was jammed. This massive store is right by the Mall of America, but it is separate. They even have their own parking ramp.

I joined the parade of people heading in. You march through this labyrinth of a “showroom” area where they have all of their products on display. It was nuts! There were so many people, it was almost hard to move.

As if things weren’t crazy enough, I found the chair I was looking at online, but I was trying to figure out where to get one. I didn’t see any stock. Upon close inspection of the tag, you have to somehow remember the aisle and bin numbers written on the tag and go to the “furniture self service” area; which is on another floor, at the other end of this enormous building! Ugh...I just want to buy a chair!

Positively bewildered at my impending journey to find the “furniture self service" area, I decided I needed nourishment. I swung into the Ikea Cafe for one of their really cheap breakfasts.

Breakfast at Ikea



Not every department store serves food, but Ikea does. I was too early for lunch (I would have like to try the Swedish meatballs), but I had their breafast of scrambled eggs, bacon, some sort of tater tot-like potato rounds, and some really delicious pancakes with Swedish lingonberries served on top. I am not a big pancake guy, but these were awesome! They were thin and delicate, almost like a crepe, unlike the thicker pancakes that I typically don't care for. And how can you not appreciate the lingonberry preserves? With a bottle of OJ, it cost me $3.70, or something riculously cheap like that.

Satisfied, I set off to the other side of the world to find my chair.

After more complex naviagtion, I made it to the self service area (which resembled any aisle at a Home Depot; quite different from the luxurious showroom area), and I found my chair. I am glad I looked more closely because I didn't realize until that moment that the cushion for the chair was sold separately! Wow, that would not have been fun. So I gathered all the parts and trudged over to the checkout area, which was stacked up 5 people deep at every register. Ugh!

My new chair



Anyhow, I made it out of there, got home, assembled the chair quite easily (which for a mechanical genius such as myself is really saying something!). The chair is very comfortable, and I am happy I got it. Ikea is weird. What a strange experience! But I will go back now that I have a better idea of what is going on.

Until next time,

Jean

He's back!

After a breif blogging hiatus, I have returned! Lots to talk about from the past week’s event:

Everybody celebrate!



It has been an exhausting week that involved several trips from the old apartment to the new one, as well as having to make special trips to accomodate delivery people.

But over the weekend, I officially moved into my new apartment. On Saturday morning, my buddies showed up with big vehicles and we got everything out of there and up here in no time (Brett, Scott, Timmy, and Eric; you guys were lifesavers. Thanks a million!). After treating the movers to lunch at a local bar and grill, I headed back to the old place to clean. I spent 4 hours going over the place top to bottom, so I am ready to turn in my keys.

Exhausted, I dined at Arby’s because it was nearby and I just wanted something quick (note; if you ever want to feel like a loser, dine alone at an Arby’s on a Saturday night!). I also stopped at one of my local liquor stores to pick up some beer since I had nothing in the new fridge except for (strangely enough) hot sauce.

A true "guy fridge" - nothing but beer and hot sauce! :)



With that, I bid farewell to the old neighborhood and headed north. I arrived at my new apartment and promptly opened my first beer to celebrate!

The building is very nice. I face directly east, and I am on the 4th floor, so I have a pretty decent view. It ia delightfully quiet, unlike my former Minnetonka place. I didn’t hear a soul as I slept on my first night here (and my new bed absolutely rocks!). The kitchen is huge, and I will enjoy cooking here (I made Bolognese sauce with spaghetti last night!). I have laundry in the unit, which is something I have not had in a long time. And I love the neighborhood. Speaking of...

A run in the park

Sunday morning I got to do my first run in the new neighborhood, and to say I am excited is an enormous understatement. There are parks and trail everywhere. It is a runner’s paradise.

I ventured down the road on a paved bike path to the trail access point for the Rice Creek Park. There are miles of trails to explore along this mix of creeks, rolling prairie, and mixed woodlands. It is a beautiful oasis in the middle of a developing metro.

On this day I did a typical 4 1/2 miles in the early morning. I had the trail virtually to myself except for a lady walking a dog. I saw ducks sitting in the chilly creek as I ran by. A pileated woodpecker took flight from a low lying area.

Oh my, this is going to be fun.

Until next time,

Jean

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