Running on ...
HOME OF THE 'TALL MAN'... (And you can see the blog pictures below in much greater detail simply by clicking on them)
Friday, March 24, 2017
Damn ... well, at least I can run again
After a six-day hiatus to nurse a sproinged back back to health, I ventured out to the snowmobile trail today and felt good enough. I was eagerly looking forward to that run last Saturday (18th), and I even was dressed for the run. As I made my bed before leaving, I evidently turned wrong or something, and my back went "sproing." I was laid up for two solid days, then nursed it for several more. It was cold this morning (26) so the trail would still be frozen.
This is, of course, Stonewall Mountain, which of course is still snow-covered.
Made it to the proverbial fork in the road; this is the left fork.
And this is the right fork. I met a fellow walking his dog on the way back.
This is the route back from the turnaround spot.
3; 3; 9.5; 43
Thursday, March 16, 2017
March madness begins
I didn't see the animals, but there were plenty of elk tracks out there today. I ran a little early because I wanted to hear Mike McGrath's gardening advice for my buddy Smerconish. McGrath has an NPR show called You Bet Your Garden, and he's great — a huge advocate of raised beds, btw.
Anyway, it rained all night, but wasn't raining when I ran. At the same spot as yesterday, the snow already was better packed and melted, so I was able to go a little farther.
It's a week until my birthday, and the weather looks pretty wet. I may wait to do my annual birthday run in Missoula until the week after the actual day in order to have a clearer path on Waterworks Hill and up the snake.
2.5; 6.5; 6.5; 40
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Not melting fast enough
Tried a different place today, the east end of the snowmobile trail that eventually crosses Keep Cool Creek. I couldn't get that far on it today, though, because the footing was crummy.
It was, however, a beautiful morning. I just don't see how the tracks are going to get significantly better for the next couple of weeks, despite warmer temps. Too much snow!
This is actually one of the better stretches of footing: pure ice. The snow parts are too deep unless on the snowmobile tracks, and even there I sink in to almost the shoe tops. I'll just keep on slogging.
This just shows what a pretty day it is.
2; 4; 4; 38.5
Monday, March 13, 2017
Back in the Montana snow
Returned to the Sucker Creek road east of town, the road on which I resumed running two years ago in the winter. I started today with an easy slog in the mud, snow and ice. I did wear my YakTrax for footing, and it turned out to be a good decision. Interestingly, I looked back at my entries from this date in '016 and '015 and there was virtually no snow, except for a few days right after squalls went through or up really high, like on the Humbug Contour Road on Baldy Mountain. Both years, I was seeing lots of elk on several different routes around Lincoln. Right now almost none of those routes is available because of snow.
This is what the road looks like. The track on the right is the snowmobile trail, which goes out to the "Ponderosa Snow Warriors" clubhouse a mile or so on up into the trees.
It was a beautiful day, 40 degrees or so and sunny, but there was a fairly stiff wind from the southwest. Forecast is for more of the same, possibly touching 50 on a day or two.
This was my first trot since returning from Europe. My last run was a five-miler with Francesco, Andrea and Carlo in late February. I felt fine today, but the footing was tough and I don't like to get too stiff after a couple of weeks off.
2; 2; 2; 36.5
Sunday, February 26, 2017
Return to the almond blossoms
The early morning sun lit the almond blossoms spectacularly this morning. Here are a few more shots around "the yard" this morning.
One of the trees grows out sideways from the hill below the parking area west of the house.
I mentioned Saturday that the high wind might have made the blossoms less lush than they would have been. These are the steps up to the house just below and east of the trees, and they prove I was right.
Running in the Tuscan hills with friends
Today we drove to Bagno a Ripoli, the village where Carlo used to live, and ran with his longtime friend Francesco Matteini and Andrea, his neighbor, and Andrea's dog Paredi. This is the best shot I have of the boys ... I was behind them most of the time.
This is near the start at Francesco's house (and before we were joined by Andrea).
It was very much a ramble on the rolling hills southeast of the heart of Firenze.
The circuitous route took us through endless Chianti vineyards.
This is a more-elegant-than-usual shrine at a huge old estate. Carlo said from the 1960s to the '80s, it had been an asylum, but Italy (like Montana) was among the first to deinstitutionalize its mentally challenged or ill residents.
This is the building, now unoccupied. Where's Donald Trump when you need him (to make it into a hotel).
A beautiful part of the route went through the grounds of the place, now a park. This was some kind of excavation. If you look closely you can see rock walls inside the hole.
An old monument on which the column, and whatever it held, has fallen. I couldn't read what the inscription said.
This was toward the end. I had gotten ahead because Francesco and Andrea had stopped to chat with Carlo, who was, after all, on only his third actual run in many years. His stamina impresses me. I warned him he'd better cut down once I leave ... he's gone 5 miles or so twice in the past week!
The boys ahead in a populated part of the route. My excuse for being at the rear frequently was that I was taking pictures.
Another trailing shot of the boys.
It was a beautiful day. We ran 75 minutes, but there were a few stops. Still, I'll say
5; 17; 31.5; 34.5
Lunch al fresco
After our run today in hilly Bagno a Rippoli with Francesco and his friend, Andrea, Carlo and I came home and it was so beautiful out that we and Elisabeth had a nice lunch in the sun on the porch.
Carlo poured from a liter of Moretti birra, not to be confused with the Poretti I've been drinking most evenings for more than a month.
Saturday, February 25, 2017
Just to prove that I am, in fact, in Firenze, here is Santa Maria Novella, probably the second-most famous church in Florence (after the Duomo), but possibly first in notable Renaissance art. This was wandering after a movie at the Odeon, "Jackie," which was OK.
The almond trees are a-bloomin' in Tuscany. This was just before sundown today. Unfortunately we've had crazy-strong winds all day, which has cleared some of the blossoms. I'm going to give them another look in the morning sun tomorrow.
Just a nice vista from the middle of San Casciano, the larger village near Carlo's home. We stopped there after lunch with Algimiro so I could buy an Italian cheese grater that I favor.
Looking a little away from the setting sun at two other almond trees this evening.
Thursday, February 23, 2017
Shorter on a gray day
Ran a little short today, not tired necessarily but maybe saving up for Sunday when we're apparently going to run with Francesco. I really don't care much for "social" running, but there you go. This is looking back up the hill toward where the car was parked. I called this "Start" but it's just as much — maybe more — "Finish."
This is from the same spot as the top picture, but it's looking west/north toward town and the cat shelter that I photographed a few days ago. I've only run this stretch that one day when we parked up at the end of it.
This is one of three or four such signs along the Val di Pesa trail, detailing the rules and the permitted activities, in Italian of course.
This is the turnaround spot, short of the past few times. I was running slowly, too.
4; 16; 30; 33.5