That's a lot of Backs! I can feel it in my legs, too.
With the guys heading up north for the huge event, the Minnesota Opening Deer Hunt, I had lots of time on my hands.
First off, I entered the Tuscobia 50K, a race held on snowmobile trails in WI. The race is held December 18 so I need to get my running legs back into running shape.
This race has options of 50K, 75M and 150M. The 50K allows foot or snowshoe, dependent upon snow conditions I suppose and the 75M and 150M allow foot, ski or bike. For the 75M and 150M racers must pull a sled to carry stove, gear and food. This would be a great try out for Arrowhead 100 in February. Well, the 75M would.
As I stated, I decided to enter the 50K. What a wuss, hu? Maybe next year I'll try the 75M with Arrowhead on the brain. We'll see. Talk about walking out of my comfort zone as I don't care for the cold weather all that much. Nothing feels as good as getting out of the comfort zone and realizing it really wasn't worth all that fear and stress..
Yesterday Topaz and I headed out for a 20 mile run. Because he didn't run the 26 mile with me last Saturday I didn't want to pop him up to 30 without a 20 in. Have to think about his training, too! It was just a spectacular morning. Clear skies, 30F, really nice..except for the gun shots.
I wasn't running in Lake Maria State Park at this time last year so I wasn't sure how many hunted around the outside perimeter of the park. Quite a few, I now know, but I didn't see any hunters within the park..a smart thing. I didn't see any other humans on the trail yesterday, either, although I did see a few tents so there were some people camping out. I just didn't see them.
The run went very well. No pain, fatigue or anything else of concern. Just nature at its finest! It really is beautiful out there. Now that all of the leaves are down when I am on a higher peak I can see over across the hills and view all of the lakes, the farms out of the park, etc. Such a pretty area.
I strapped on Topaz's blaze orange hunting vest headed out. Immediately we heard shots out of the park. Topaz does not care for loud noises. He would never had made a hunting dog. It's a good thing he wasn't born a lab and was born a Border Collie or he would have been culled long ago. Upon hearing a gun shot he looks at me for reassurance that all is well and moves on slowly. At times he is practically running upon my toes. After a few 'it's ok Topaz, no worry' and a quick few pats he is OK..until the next shot.
There is only one outside boundary of the park that isn't surrounded by a road. Yesterday the deer stand that is situated right outside the boundary was empty. Today it wasn't.
We ran a 10 mile course, back to the car, drank water, ate a gel, Topaz had a biscuit and we were off for another 10. Good run!
Because Troy was not home bouncing on the tramp or playing football in the yard, Topaz rested the remainder of the day. He'll be 9 in December, I keep wondering when he will need to slow down. I think he has put on a few pounds during my hiatus from long distance racing.
Today with daylights saving time I slept an extra hour. Wow, I woke up after a 9 hour sleep. Yeah, I went to bed early last night, shortly after I arrived home from Church.
Today's run was 25 miles. We began before dark so I had my head lamp on and figured we'd put the orange on after a run of 7 miles or so, as dawn would approach. We made it back to the car as sun up arrived. Beautiful pink, purple and blue sun rise. Just spectacular! I'm so glad I didn't miss it.
As we headed back out the gunshots began to fire and Topaz began to cower. After a few more miles he wasn't quite as nervous. Poor thing. As we came up to the deer stand that was empty yesterday, was full of orange today. Even though I had on a blaze orange running top and hat and had Topaz in his running vest I still began to talk loudly so they could hear me. I don't imagine they were very happy but hey, Topaz has a white tail and I suppose it could be mistaken by some nut as a white tailed deer? Maybe I should tie an orange ribbon around it. We trotted on and I was quite pleased when I came by a few hours later and the stand was empty.
I've never seen so many deer running around in all directions. There was one instance where I crested a hill and there was a big buck, straddling the trail, with his head turned at me, looking me in the eye. I stopped immediately as did Topaz. Topaz was a good 10 feet in front of me, the deer about 25 feet in front of me. His eyes were huge they looked full of fear, crazed. He only stood staring at us for 5 seconds before he jumped off of the trail and ran full speed ahead into the woods, but I have never seen anything like it..and I come across deer during my runs every day. This was different. He didn't have a doe with him either and they usually do. As he ran off, one direction, turning to another, I said "oh, you should just lay down, then you will be safe" . He belongs in these woods. I hope he is still here after deer season.
Steve and the boys all hunt and yes, I'll be cooking up the venison they bring home and eating it, too. There is a 12 pointer that Tyler shot and it is hanging on the rec room wall. I am proud of them when they get their deer, but I just couldn't do it. I just couldn't shoot one. Well, if I was hungry and couldn't afford any food, then I would. I'll leave the hunting in this family to the guys. I'll continue to run with the deer and talk with them. Troy would say "at them" as he is certain to point out to me that they don't talk back, Mom.
As I ran along at mile 23 I was feeling a bit tired. As Topaz was laying in the ponds, lapping up the cool water, I stretched instead of jogging on.
25 miles was good today. I had a Vespa 45 minutes prior to running and a gel every 90 minutes or so. No pain, just felt tired toward the end. A good tired! A tired that I've missed.
Topaz is laying at my feet and will have a good rest today. No boys until later this evening. Me, I'm heading over to Pittsburgh Blue. I've been there half a dozen times and can see no reason not to go back a 7th!