Monday, November 30, 2009

The modern name for Persia

Despite the early-season teaser, it hasn’t snowed in earnest yet, so rather than making good on my predictions of skiing in October, it’s now the last day of November, and I still haven’t been on skis.

Sure, I could have been on skis by now, but my general policy is not to switch from biking to skiing until the skiing is better than the biking and not to switch back in the spring until the reverse is true. The little bits of snow at upper elevations notwithstanding, there isn’t enough base for skiing to have turned that corner. Which is saying something, because the bike riding isn’t so great right now either.

Desperate as I was for some post-gluttony exercise, on Saturday morning, I went for a run. I know. The earth is spinning off its axis. The fourth horseman of the apocalypse just rode through your front lawn. Something is clearly wrong. But I figured running was better training for ski season (the uphill part) than cycling is, so I’d give it a try.

The cardio part was no problem. I could have kept going for hours. My legs, however, started to give out on me after about 50 minutes. Good thing I was five minutes from home at that point. And since I was back in the neighborhood, as much as I wanted to walk, I had to keep running lest the neighbors think I was some kind of ninny that couldn’t finish his run.

Obviously it was a good workout. So good in fact, that yesterday I could barely walk. And this morning when I pulled into the parking garage and harbored thoughts of taking the stairs up seven floors to my office, that notion was abandoned as soon as I bore weight on my legs. But I think I’d get used to it and the soreness would go away with time.

The really cool thing about my run was what I saw while I was out there. I ran from my neighborhood west along the Traverse Mountain ridgeline towards the high point/summit where there’s a surveying beacon, the same one I hiked to several weeks ago with JunkieBoy and Keiki (cool map of my neighborhood courtesy* of Alex).

*Is it still “courtesy of” if you didn’t ask first?

As I crested the second-to-last hill and could see clearly the summit ridgeline, I saw silhouetted against the sky a large bull elk, similar to the photo below. The only difference being the elk I saw was facing the other direction, and I wasn’t quite close enough to see the detail you see in the photo (not mine).


After the bull looked down the other side and evidently gave some sort of all clear, his harem of some 20 or so cow elk followed him up over the ridgeline. They just hung out and foraged while I ran, eventually moving out of site by the time I reached the summit.

A wildlife sighting like that is cool in pretty much any context, but when it takes place during a run of less than an hour that starts and ends at your house, I think that makes it extra-cool.

Whether it’s cool enough to get me to go running again is another matter entirely, though.

[Bows head and utters unheard prayer for snow.]


  1. You should reconsider your rule about not skiing until the skiing is better than the biking. I have been going to get my snowboard legs under me so when it does snow, I am ready out of the gate. If you start late you are going to be behind in ski fitness. I hate to say it but my cycling fitness was a different kind of fitness than my snowboard fitness. YOu use different muscles, etc... Besides I cant build callouses on my knuckles by biking.

  2. Really? That’s my map? Man, my maps have gotten so much better in the year since. One of these days I will do a new Suncrest map for you with an “Expand-O-Graphic” zoom in on your house.

    In 50 minutes you had to do 5 or 6 miles. That’s too much right out of the gate. Try what I do: do 2.5 miles, then stay at that distance every couple days till you don’t hurt the next day. Then take it up to 3.0 miles and repeat the cycle, a ½ mile at a time. Every year I start running in November, quit in April, and ramping up like this keeps me from getting hurt.

  3. The biking is still great! Although I would rather be skiiing right now the trails are in perfect shape and if you go before the days melt sets in, no mud anywhere.
    You guys doing a lunch ride tomorrow?
    email me...

  4. I'm disappointed that Forrest didn't leave a comment about how great this running stuff is (get it? Run, Forrest, run!)

    Running rocks. It's the efficientest of all workouts. And the least technical, and the most portable, and the most social, and...

    p.s. Diet Coke in India is sparse.