Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Upper Peninsula snowshoe

quick snowshoe trip on Lake Gogebic with my 7 year old Harrison. North end of lake, just east of my parents house is the remains of my grandfathers old saw mill and dock pilings sticking out of the lake ice. cool spot.

Kick Wax Removal - Klister and hard

How do you remove the pesky kick wax that's built up on your skis?
Are you as cheap as me and want to save money on wax remover? (plus its kind of a nasty chemical that i want to limit my usage of). Here's my trick.

1. Get 2-3 pieces of paper towel and cut or rip in half.
2. Pat down over kick wax on skis.
3. Lightly iron over top of paper towel so wax melts into it.
4. Use an old scraper to scrape wax/towel mixture off.
5. Clean off remaining kick wax with ski wax remover as usual.

this method cuts my chemical wax remover usage in half, if not more.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

good week

been a good week of skiing and snow conditions. perfect blue extra skiing mid week right here in town (Gaylord) and even a day of skiing with the kids on friday after school (see pics) One great thing about skiing vs running is the diversity. with running its legs legs legs. Go hard and long one day with running and you have dead legs the next. Today i classic skied and did like 90% of it double poling, great upper body workout. I went pretty hard too - good stuff. Tomorrow i'll skate the hilly terrain of hanson hills for a leg workout - on FRESH legs. Two good hard workouts in a row, working different parts of the body. This is why skiing beats running. (watch for my july post about why runnig beats skiing).

Pics of me and kids.

Monday, December 14, 2009

ski ski ski

after a fall of little working out, the snow has arrived and i'm back at it 2 hour skate Friday, 2 hour classic saturday, 2:20 skate sunday. good stuff.

picture has nothing to do with skiing (its on the appalachian trail in Tn) but it does show snow.

Monday, December 7, 2009

SNOW - yes we have snow in northern Michigan

FINALLY, its here, skiable snow. YES!!

Funny how easily skiing comes to you. first run of the season? pure pain, soreness, out of breath, sweating.

first ski of the season, laughing, sprinting, exhilarating, pure fun.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Nov. 28th at Pictured Rocks???

WILD WEIRD WARM WEATHER in Michigan so why not a 10 mile hike at Pictured Rocks? Light dusting of snow here and there but a beautiful hike. Chapel Falls gorgeous, some new views without leaves to cover them up. Grand Portal always a treat. 4 hours, 10 miles with Andrew and Alex. Good stuff.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

North Country Trail - Michigan's UP.

Did a bit of day hiking on the North Country trail in the UP of Michigan this last weekend. November 21st was about 56 degrees, sunny and no wind. WEIRD. Usually this time of the year in the UP is wind, rain, snow mix or last year 12 inches of snow in a snowstorm. Took the family, wife, kids to Cascade Falls. Beautiful 1 mile hike along the "Valley Trail" into the Falls. On the way back andrew, harrison and I took the "Bluff Trail." What a treat - huge views of the Trap Hills to the west and the access road (forest 400) coming in. You don't realize how big some of these UP hills are until you are standing on top of them with a sheer rock face at your feet dropping off 100 feet straight down or so.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Today was my first SKI workout - easy 5-6 miles running with poles. Time to start thinking Noquemanon. I've registered already and it will probably be my only ski race of the year. I used to race EVERY weekend. Not so any more. Just lotsa skiing and a trip to Marquette for the Noque. Nice course, great area, beauty 'eh. Plus, going up with Jerry is a treat.

I've got rougly 2 months to prep - hopefully we get snow early and I can get my Hanson Hills pass and ski ski ski.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Why working out is so good.

After a great XC season (my boys placed 6th in the state and girls 17th) its time for ME. I put so much into my coaching that i have little testosterone left for myself from september through october. But, now that it's mid November i'm back at it. 4 miles yesterday, 6 today, maybe 8 tomorrow, then gradually work into skiing.

It is simply amazing how quickly the body de-trains itself. Little training leads to lapses in dietary regimens (called junk food binging) and its a downward spiral. Get back on the fitness train and you eat healthy and think good thoughts. the whole word needs to get on this idea.

Off and runnin'.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

time time time

Well, CC season is in full swing at GHS. This means no time to train for me and severe competitive burnout. Seems i put all my competitive juices into the fire up speeches and kids races that there's nothing left for me. Oh well, its over on Nov. 8th and then i'm back at it - this time on skis!

Monday, September 14, 2009


after my last long run i got sick, 9 days of no running means no trail 50 miler. crap.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

18+17 North Country Trail 50 prep

I've had a pretty good summer of running and I'm ready to take the plunge - the North Country Trail 50 miler is on my calendar. The Grand Island Trail marathon was my first prep, followed by the Marquette 50k, and now an 18 mile and 17 mile run the last two days. After this its time to taper and just relax, the work is done. Been getting some coaching from Nick after his Leadville 100 2nd place ( ) and coach Dean Hebert ( ).

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Marquette 50 mile and 50k

Brutal! That was my only word I shouted as i crossed the finish line. The low key Marquette 50k was brutal. Hilly (4000+ feet of elevation gain), rocky (granite outcroppings galore with lots of talus), rooty (thick nasty roots to twist your ankle on), and beautiful (along the shore of Lake Superior up Sugarloaf, Top of the World, through Forestville, and lots of the North Country Trail.) Joe Jameson worked his tail off to mark the full course VERY well (I'll admit i was a bit skeptical of getting lost) and had a great inaugural event. I'll post more pics tomorrow and a link to results - I'm still a bit tired!!

Miles 1-10 Easy start, followed by some gnarly rock areas, then nice trail, then hills, then road crossing then Sugarloaf. First Aid station, water, Gu, etc. About 1:32 for me.

Miles 10-20 amazing trail along Lake Superior out to Little Presque and beach, back across road through Harlow Lake area. Another 1:34.

Miles 20-25 BRUTALLY tough this took me about an HOUR !!

Miles 25-30 BRUTALLY rocky rough terrain after easy Forestville roads along the North Country Trail.

Miles 30-32 Easy finish, smoother trail, under the bridge and done.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


4 days of fun in the UP, waterfalls, hiking, running, beaches, great food, late nights, early mornings.

check my "other blog" and you'll see why.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Grand Island Trail Marathon 2009 & Memorial Falls

Picture of Grand Island trying to rise out of the mist on Friday before the race.

Well, its in the books, Grand Island Trail Marathon 2009. My training was up and down all summer/spring but I think I had a good race overall considering my lack of miles, being sick all spring, and doing little speedwork.

Here is the rundown. Arrived in Munising via Bergland (visit with parents) on Thursday to rain and mist and 65 degrees. Friday, more of the same. Slept in the van (wife and kids in camper) so I could get a good nights rest and not wake them up at my 5am wake up call. One cup of coffee, one gatorade, one banana, one powerbar for breakfast. Hit the ferry to the island at 6am. 50 foot walk to the start line and chip timer on ankle. Vaseline and more vaseline. Porta john. Talk with Eric (the eventual winner!! good job man) about the outlook for the race. 7am start and off we go.

Miles 1-6 i felt absolutely horrible. Maybe it has something to do with not running the past 7 days?? Oh well. Gradually I felt better and moved up from 40th to about 30th from miles 7-15. At mile 15 you hit a big hill after a sand beach run. I walk it all the way up and drink water and hit the Gu. At the top you go downhill and I fly and catch all the people that caught me. Its more downhill then some flat for a bit. Then at mile 20 or so another steep, short climb that I walk. Then same plan, fly down and catch the people that are falling off their pace. Picked up 6-7-8 more people here. Caught at guy at mile 23 and couldnt go any more. I sat on him and ran 8:20 miles to the finish, nothing left in the tank and 23rd overall. Not bad considering the MUDFEST that was the trail!! Gotta love Grand Island and Munising in the summer.

So far I've done all five and I'll continue to do this marathon until the old legs won't carry me any more.

We also found a GREAT new waterfall on this trip. Memorial Falls is the BEST waterfall in the Munising area. Park at the corner where H-58 splits from Sand Point road on the hill and the falls is on the south side of the road with a tiny small set of stairs. Amazing hike and waterfall.

Memorial Falls - this picture doesnt even come close to doing it justice.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Alpenfest 4 mile

15th overall, 27 minutes or so. Not bad, good prep for Grand Island Trail Marathon next weekend.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Autrain Falls and Munising and Pictured Rocks

4 days camping in the UP, ranging from 46 degrees and 30mph winds with rain to 78 degrees calm and sunny. Beauty 'eh.

Also found a new waterfall and sweet river @ Autrain. Autrain falls is sweet! Water cascading over limestone shelves. Be sure to park at the last parking spot by the gate, walk down the hill over the bridge. then, continue down past the power plant on a trail along the river to the end where the two streams merge. wonder if its good fishing? we'll find out next trip!

This pic is "Lovers Leap" just east of Mosquito River.

And here is Anna traversing the lower Autrain Falls.

Finally, here is the far east end of Miner's beach. I bet i have 100 of these pictures, you just can't stop taking them. Of course, that's Finnegan the exploring Shih-Tzu.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


last big run before the Grand Island Trail Marathon today. I felt real tired the last week or so and took a couple days off and cut my runs real short. Then this week i did some speedwork, a short run and my big 18 mile prep run. The 6 mile loop at Aspen is hilly, twisty, turny, root infested and 100% shaded. Perfect for a long run that's easy on the legs. I went 49-49-49 minutes and felt fine at the end. Hit the beach after and laid in the sun. Nice 4th of July!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


I just drove 1568 miles around the state of Michigan in 8 days. Gaylord to Marquette to Ironwood to Bergland to Gaylord to Grand Rapids to Detroit to Gaylord. More later.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rollerskiing in Michigan

when the summer temps top out at 80 degrees the chip seal pavement gets soft, the breeze cools you as you fly down a country road and the heat isn't a big deal - all reasons to get out and rollerski! Had a great one hour roll today on the back roads here. I love digging those new ferrules into that soft chip seal tar for a great upper body workout, plus it gives the running legs a break. good stuff.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Racoon with a drinking problem

mr. racoon hopped onto our back deck outside our bedroom at 2am and we discovered he has a drinking problem. (mountain dew) This is life in northern Michigan.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Outside in Muncie, Indiana

Well, i'm here in muncie indiana. Flat, farmland, with few trees and lotsa roads. Not really an outdoor mecca. So today after class (I'm learning how to become an AP Chem teacher) I went for a run. Planned a 30 minute easy jaunt out and back on a main road. But then I turned right and found some nice country roads, then suddenly I found a RAILS TO TRAILS deal just like in Gaylord. I hopped on and found some trees, some birds, a couple rabbits, and nature! No matter how overdeveloped your town, city or area is.... try to find a bit of nature to enjoy. It sure makes life good. Like, life is good. I should make a shirt or something with that saying.

ANd, it was a nice diversion from what was going to be a boring run. Unfortunately, or fortunately??, I got a bit lost on the trail, not sure where it was going to come out and my 30 minute run turned into a 1:40 long 14 mile run!! hahahaha. that's running. could be worse I coulda been lost in rocky mountain national park for 2 hours while my wife planned my funeral or lost in the woods of the UP near Bergland for 3 hours on a mtn bike. (did both of those too)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Canoeing the Sturgeon River in Michigan

GREAT canoe trip today with my son Andrew. We've been doing some dad/son stuff in the last couples years (Pictured Rocks area mainly) and decided to branch out a bit with a local canoe trip down the Sturgeon from Trowbridge Road to North White Road near Indian River. Big Bear Adventures in Indian River set us up with a canoe a quick shuttle upstream with our boat.

Hit the river at Trowbridge Road just south of where the river goes under I-75 at 11:30am, 65 degrees and sunny. Pretty easy trip down to Wolverine where the west branch merges in with the main branch and we stopped for lunch quick. It was about an hour to here.

From here down it was fast and furious with some nice rapids I'd not been on before. Pretty fun. We'd been on the river about 4 hours 15 minutes when we FLIPPED about 200 yards from the van!!!! DANG!! That water is COLD. Oh well, when a trip goes perfectly smooth there's not much to remember. We'll remember this one. Great day.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bayshore half marathon

Well, just home from the Bayshore half marathon in Traverse City. I did my usual routine, sleep in the van in the parking lot, board the bus, and take it easy the first couple miles. Hit the mile in 7:22 and pretty much stayed there the whole way. Given the spring I've had I'll take that result. While there waiting for the race to start I saw some of the old running crowd from my serious racing days. Mark Doherty was one of them - we used to road race and ski race against each other. And, we both agreed we've transitioned from serious racing to serious participator. This, however, didnt prevent him from sprint past me in the last 800m of the race. hahahaha Also saw my old high school buddy Max. He did the 10k and then afterward we had a nice chat. Bryan Burns is the race director of the whole deal and got to talk to him too - we'll be both running Grand Island in July. Time to get serious about training now that school's almost over and i'll have more time.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Outside in Michigan on the Sturgeon River

Hit the Sturgeon River the other day for a quick 2 hour canoe trip with my high school limnology class. 65 degrees and sunny, perfect. We had about 50 kids in 23 canoes and I'd guess 7 of them tipped over. They thought it was funny until they hit the 47 degree F water. Ouch. BRRRRRRRRRRRRR. One group of gals flipped near a logjam, had their canoe sucked under the jam and couldnt get it out. I had to wade in chest deep and pull it out. I was in the water about 5-7 minutes and I think 5-7 more and I would have been hypothermic. Dang, that's cold. I was gasping for air and panicked a bit when I almost got washed downstream. Once I got out and changed clothes though I was good to go. fun stuff.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


I remember doing a post last summer called HAMMERFEST. This is slugfest. Back in February I decided to start my running season a bit early. I'd not been skiing much and felt like running so off i went. I wanted an early jump on the run season so i could kick some serious butt in the Grand Island Trail marathon again. I had a good time last summer and I hoped to crack into the top 10 before i got too old (43 this year !!!!). Well as usual track season (I'm our high school coach) interfered, but that's not a big deal - I can usually sneak in a couple good weekday runs with the kids and have most weekends free. But, the kicker this spring has been sickness. I've had a lingering case of some viral thing that has seriously kicked my butt. Sore throat off an on, runny nose, etc etc - I'll spare you the details. A grand total of 12 runs in 6 weeks is not a good way to start your marathon prep.

Anyway, I am going to try a good decent 10 miler today to prep for my half marathon in two weeks. You really shouldnt run a 13.1 mile race on 20 miles per week training. Oh well, I've crossed the line from COMPETITOR and WINNER to PARTICIPATOR and ENJOYER. It was a difficult transition to make, but if you can do it you enjoy a differnt side of silent sports.

Good news though too. My 13 year old is expressing some serious interest in silent sports. We've got a canoe trip down the sturgeon or pigeon river planned (100 miles of canoeing and camping along the way) and our annual pictured rocks trip backpack. Should be a great summer.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

going going gone ...

that's it, winter is over, the final snow pile in my front yard is only worth about 5 snowballs. let the sun shine !!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Going, going, but NOT gone.

April 18th and my yard STILL has some piles of snow left. wild.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Cades Cove drive loop

video looking up at the peaks from Cades Cove loop. the highest peak, I think, is where Russell Field Shelter is located on the Appalachian Trail at about 4600 feet elevation.

Clingman's Dome April 2009 with 14 inches of snow

Clingman's Dome April 8, 2009

Snow, wind, ice, 14 inches of snow and a temperature of 35 degrees at 11am. That's Clingman's dome in April. It could be 70 degrees and sunny or it could be a bit rough. After driving to the summit today I gained a new respect for anyone who attempts the Appalachian Trail. AT hikers must brave about 180 or so mile to get to this point and anyone who can make it this far is one tough person. The entire trail is a whopping 2100+ miles - only a few hundred make that every year and that has to be one amazingly difficult trip. Today there would be a handful of 15 or so hikers who would come out onto this area, hitch-hike down to Gatlinburg for a much needed rest and refuel, then back at it. Ur amazing you AT'ers, my hats off to you.