Saturday, July 19, 2014
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Saturday, June 28, 2014
Today, after nearly three weeks of no running due to a nose surgery, I ran stairs. Last night, I did push ups, sit ups and squats. So, I'm quite confident that this means I'm now finally training for Superior.
Starting over is humbling. When I was struggling on hill # 2, I remembered that I used to be able to to 10 with little problem. But even as I struggled, how quickly I compared myself to the others doing stairs. Then I realized that starting over is good for my soul.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Race Generally: this is a self-supported, adventure run. See "Terrain" below. I have spotted no open water along the course, except for man-made spots that we will explain Saturday night.
Wear appropriate clothing, bring your own hydration and way to keep it from freezing, your own nutritional needs, and your own light(s).
Time: Saturday, February 15. Meet at our Stillwater office at 8:00pm. Race Briefing will begin at 8:35pm in my office. This will include a great story of Kyle Palmer's inaugural Frozen River Run. There are restrooms in my building and plenty of space in my office to store your gear. Parking may be tricky: There is a good parking lot on the high end of Nelson Street, just one block up the hill from Main Street and just one block from my office.
Aid Station: the aid station will be held on the South Lawn of The Dock Cafe. They are excited to have us. This is just 80 yrds from my office and directly on the river. There will be a bonfire, soup (veggie and chix), Nutella, honey, bread, M&Ms, Coke, water, and hand warmers. Use the restrooms in my building - not in The Dock Cafe. You can, if you wish, enter the Dock from their side door if you want to get drinks at their bar. All runners will be required to check in after the first section and at the end of their second section.
Terrain: there are no ice or snow piles. Simply flat snow fields cut through by snowmobile tracks. There are main, well-worn snowmobile highways but one can jump off of these and run in undisturbed snow if one wants. It is not as rough as rocks and roots on a trail - no Sonju section of the Sawtooth. But, it is bumpy. The most difficult part is punching through snow unexpectantly; like riding a trike with one wheel the shape of an egg and one the shape of a triangle. Don't expect to run a steady pace. Plan on an average pace of between 9-14 min/mile.
Distance: there are two sections: South - 3.3 miles down and 3.2 back (distances may vary). This section goes past the new bridge pillars, the old NSP plant and many fishing houses. North - 3.1 miles up and 3.1 back. This is the most beautiful section, going past the famous Boomsite, a 60 ft ice fall across from the Boomsite, cliffs on both sides and numerous ice falls and islands. We are planning on running the South section first, saving the best for last. Strong winds may change that order. Runners will have the option of running further on the second section, but all will be asked to manage their time and be finished by 1:00am - that's 4 hours of river running, which will equate to about 9 hours of Afton trail running and 16 hours of road running.
Post Race: bring some food and drink to share. All are welcome to hang out and chat afterward at my office, unless the South Lawn is too inviting.
There are currently 17 "Yes"s
If possible, please send me a confirmation or non-confirmation of attending if you haven't already.
Don't hesitate to call me with questions: 612-805-6861
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Several days ago, Kyle Palmer told me that he and his girls had walked down to the St. Croix River at the point where we plan to have the half-way aid station. To his dismay, he found open water where the usual ice channel should be.
This evening, Kyle and I set out to inspect the half-way entry point as well as several other options should Kyle's earlier assessment prove correct. Not only was Kyle correct, but we discovered some alarming situations that may require amending the 2014 Full Moon Frozen River Run. At the half-way point, we found that near the shore (and as far out as our 4 foot stick could reach) just below the 5 inches of snow, there is another 5 inches of slush. It didn't take much pressure or force to reach the slush. What was even more alarming was that there was a channel of snow 15 feet from shore that was a light grey color rather than the pure white of all the surrounding snow. Needless to say, we did not try to access the river here.
Now, let me define SLUSH. It is the icy, water-infused snow that lies below the non-water-infused snow. The snow on top ranges in thickness from 2 - 10 inches in places. So, to reiterate, on top is the wonderful, pure white, fluffy, I-love-you,-you-love-me, I-can-cancel-school-if-there-is-enough-of-me snow. Lurking underneath is 3-8 inches of grey, icy, I-hate-you,you-should-hate-me-unless-you're-in-the-dessert, I-will-freeze-your-toes-off, nasty almost ice snow. The water-infused, nasty snow underneath is not completely frozen but is almost frozen and becomes frozen within about 3 minutes of being exposed to the air. Underneath the nasty water-infused snow is .... solid ice. So solid that we could run on it. The problem: when running in this type of cold weather, or even warmer weather when on a river, is that having wet toes is very dangerous. Being wet above the waist is fine, to a certain degree. Even being wet in the waist is fine :). But being wet below the knees is problematic, and the problem gets worse with time. And when running on a river, one has lots of time.
Well, getting back to Kyle and my investigation, we ran back up to our cars and drove to the trailhead of the trail that runs somewhat parallel to the High Bridge, located a mile south of the half-way point. We ran the trail down to the river. As we began seeing the river, we noticed large channels of grey snow along the MN bank. We also found an open water channel along the MN bank. Along the edge of the river, we once again encountered SLUSH. This extended as far up and down the bank as we could see and out into the river as far as our branch (now a 6 ft one) could reach. So, we ran back up to the High Bridge where there is always good access onto the river. SLUSH! In fact, there were tracks of a daring XC skier who had skied out onto the river since Sunday night (the tracks had no sign of wind-blow from Sunday's intense winds). About 15 feet onto the river, the ski track showed signs of deep SLUSH, with at least five feet of darkened tracks, before they grew white again.
What was most disturbing, however, was that out in the river, where the snow mobile highway lies, we spotted a 10 foot wide, 30 foot long channel of grey snow. That means SLUSH. In one of the most stable places for running.
With this extreme cold it is mind boggling to see so mush slush. Here is Kyle and my assessment: this year's early freeze placed a a thinner layer of ice on the river. It then became covered with snow, lots of snow. Now, two things are happening. First, the snow on top is insulating the snow underneath, preventing it from becoming more solid and preventing any SLUSH from freezing. Second, the river is a river. It continues to receive from streams, springs and seepage from limestone and other rocks (lots of ice falls along the river) more and more water. This creates lots of pressure. Not all of that pressure can go downstream. Some seeps up around the edges of the ice along the banks of the river and up through normal open water areas. This water then tends to flow on top of the ice. This would explain why several weeks ago I encountered a channel of SLUSH right in the middle of the river about 20 feet south of the Stillwater lift bridge, an area that is always frozen and stable.
Please see the diagram below showing this theory:
So, FLEXIBILITY. Depending on the changes in weather and temps in the next weeks, we may alter the course in order to avoid potentially hazardous entry-exit points.
Brief details: 12, rather than 16 miles. Start at lift bridge and run 3 miles north and return to lift bridge (potential bonfire on WI side with soup and...smores) then 3-4 miles south and return to lift bridge. Yes, two out-and-backs. And, it's not the most dramatic section of the river. But, this is the most stable section of the river (4 wheel drive trucks drive on plowed highways on this part of the river), and it's likely that you will have a cheering section from all the folks in the downtown bars.
We'll keep our eyes on river conditions and keep everyone informed.
Running for more than running,
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
The 2014 running of this event will be Saturday, February 15, 2014.
The approximate starting time will be 9pm. The distance: about 16 miles. Because of the terrain (ice, snow, snow mobile trails), it usually takes about 3.5 hours. Expect a 12-15 min/mile pace.
There may be an official beta run the weekend prior. I will also be doing shorter test runs prior to the 15th if anyone wants to join me.
Send me your email to be on the mailing list.
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
For those interested, we can accommodate both Nordic skiing and fat tire bikes. Remember, though, it's only 16 miles, the terrain is either rough snow mobile tracks or deep powder snow or sheer ice (depends upon the wind), and we might ask bikers and skiers to assist with "managing" the runners :)