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Training Log Archive: Swampfox

In the 7 days ending Oct 4:

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Sunday Oct 4 #


Just back from biking. The wind direction has changed to give Ft. Collins a reprieve. As a consequence, ash is falling and It is orange outside.

Orange is a great color for things like oranges, pumpkins, mushrooms, and even crayons! But not so good a color for air.

While I was out, I saw someone walking dressed in a bright blue NFL jersey, #17 and reading "Allen" on the back. Probably a disgruntled Jets fan.


After biking, I took a quick 2 minute nap so as to be properly rested for a run at Happy Jack. Orienteering had been on the wish-list/schedule, but the somewhat worse than abysmal air quality dictated a vastly less ambitious effort. So an easy jog on the Happy Jack trails it was.

Other people must have exercised more common sense than I did, because actually I didn't see any other people on the trails, though there was a nominal amount of cars in the parking lot. Perhaps the abnormally dim lighting conditions--basically it was already dusk at 3 pm--had people choosing Netflix over some time out on a trail net.

Ash was falling from start to finish, though it wasn't until I was driving home in the dark with my lights on that I could fully appreciate the amount of ash in the air. On the radio sports analysts were expressing the usual incredulity that a quarterback from a mid-major conference--and from a teensy weensy school at that--could have somehow led a pro football team to yet another victory. But then these are strange times all round, right?

Saturday Oct 3 #


Smoke was well off to the south of town (Ft. Collins must have been getting hit again for the umpteenth day in a row), and I took advantage, first by biking, about 2 hours in all, mostly south of town also. Though not "smoke south".

Then I headed up to the trails and added another 2 hours of running, checking out progress on the Haunted Forest re-route, the Goat Trail up to the Summit Loop, and then checking out the new north loop cut, off of Summit Loop. The crews have made big progress, and it's clear that at least this north loop will be ready for winter. Remains to be seen if the new south loop will also get cut, but for now there is no snow in the forecast. Actually the forecast for precipitation of any kind is at about 0% for the next week.

Friday Oct 2 #


Very murky out all day long--smoky haze, thickest to the west and just north of west, and impossible to see the Snowy Mountains at any point. Yet no smoke smell that I could discern. Given the wind direction--from the NW--it made no sense with respect to either the Mullen or Cameron Peak Fire. But with no smell of acrid smoke or ash in the air, still a keeper compared to a number of other recent days.

I biked on local trails at midday, and then ran trails at Happy Jack in the early evening. The pace selector switch was in the "easy" position and stayed there the entire time.

I thought I would see the moon rising since I was out well after dark, but I didn't. Maybe it was shocked by what happened Tuesday night and doesn't rise anymore?

Thursday Oct 1 #


Headed back to Granite Planite at midday and, after a controlled warmup, ran a middle distance course at my idea of race pace as things stand today. Wholly satisfied with how it went: legs felt good with some speed, handled all the climbs without bogging down and got right back up to speed after each one, and took on the sage with a proper sage attitude.

With this, I can call my recovery period at an end, and while I'm not fully back to where i was on July 31st, it feels like I'm not too far off.

It didn't hurt that it was a super nice day out, and even if it was on the coolish side rather than the warmish side and with some breeze, a simple O' top was all I needed for comfort.

Did some biking at the end of the day right up to dusk. But I forgot to check for the rising moon--darn!

Wednesday Sep 30 #


After doing some mountain biking and road biking, I went up to Happy Jack to do a longer, easy trail run and check on ongoing trail work. I ended going out for a little over two hours, and held to the desired easy pace.

Lots of folks were out, including the UW ski team striding along with pole--they didn't seem to be going very hard, so I'm not sure what the workout was supposed to be, but at any rate they were out there, and it was fun to see them. Maybe they were shooting video to send to racer X8A7 to show how it all should be done? Maybe not.

I checked out all of the new Haunted Forest trail completed so far, and progress there has been excellent. I especially liked the new troll bridge that has been installed--that will be the place to be on Halloween.

Then I checked over the new trail cuts inside of the Summit Loop. By then, dusk was not far off, and it was getting surprisingly cool, borderline too cool for just the short sleeved shirt I had on. Made it back to the parking lot without suffering frostbite anyway, by which time all the mountain bikers had their high octane night lights blazing away.

Excellent stuff.

Tuesday Sep 29 #


With regards to a nearby discussion, I am claiming on behalf of Laramie that it has the highest km2 of O' map per capita of any place in the US. It also has the highest Div 1 football stadium, but I think we will focus on the orienteering thing.


At some point late at night, it started getting smoky outside and inside as smoke settled into the valley. The same thing happened Monday night. I got up and closed all the windows that were open.

In the morning, there was one white plume of smoke stretching off to the SE; by late morning the breeze/wind had gotten going good, and the plum was larger and more compact at the edges.

By mid-afternoon, there was some decent wind out of the NW, and by then 3 distinct plumes could be seen coming out of the fire area, and merging together eventually downwind. The smallest plume was also the northernmost and presumable coming from the north branch of the fire, and was bluish with tinges of pink, and thin enough to be transparent. The next smallest plume was considerably larger, nearly pure white, and appeared to be coming from the general area or direction of southern Sheep Mountain. The largest plume was many times larger than the other plumes combined and was a very dark gray, and boiling up high into the sky, with very distinct edges reminiscent of a thunder head. It was coming from somewhere within the southern branch of the fire and clearly burning hot.

Fortunately for Laramie and the national forest east of town, all of the smoke stayed well off to the south. That may have been unfortunate, however, for Cheyenne or Ft. Collins.

I put in a trifecta of mountain biking (Lunch Lady), road biking down to the river, and running at Happy Jack in the late afternoon. With respect to running, I had decided I would try a set of intervals if I felt like it once I got up there and got going. I ended up doing a set of 6 x 5 min.--first interval session since surgery. I might not have been the fastest ever, but the main thing was getting started again. Lots and lots of people were up and out on the trails--mostly hikers and mountain bikers.

Monday Sep 28 #


I wonder if the Denver front office is sitting there and wondering why they didn't take Josh Allen?


In the morning, the first thing I did was to check for smoke. The air was good. The skies were clear, except for a fog bank off to the south, which I gradually realized was the smoke plume from the fire, only now it was snow white, and pushed towards the SE by cool wind from the north/northwest. It looked somewhat dispersed at the edges and everything about it suggested a fire that was smoldering rather than burning fiercely.

I headed out at about mid-afternoon to re-streamer and run a course at Granite Planite. When I got there, it felt cold and windy enough despite the sun that I went out in a fleece top with a long sleeved t-shirt. The smoke plume was well visible from where I parked, and still almost snow white.

After about a minute and a half, I realized I had been way too wimpy in terms of the cold, and went back to my truck to ditch the fleece top, and then continued with the streamering. Then ran the course, which equated to a short middle. It was a lot of fun to be out and running with at least some speed. At some point after I had just bounced through some sage it crossed my mind how, for me, it's just more fun to be orienteering with enough speed so that things come up quickly and you have to be more attuned to foot placement and the running becomes more "technical" (don't really like using that term, but...)

There were some cows off in the distance and I could hear them occasionally, but none were around in the grazing unit I was in. Nobody else was around either, not a single ATVer, and I couldn't think of the last time I had been out that way and not seen and heard any ATVs. I warmed down for about another 20 minutes until dusk started approaching.

While I was warming down in the area just south of Granite Planite, I glanced off to the south and saw that now the smoke plume had turned a more purple gray, and was much more compact looking than it had been earlier. Maybe the color change had something to so with a setting sun or maybe the fire had started to pick up in intensity again, or maybe it was some combination of factors.

Driving home just after sunset, the sky was lit up from sunlight hitting bands of high clouds that looked like they might have been smoke from far off fires. The colors of both the clouds and the blue sky in between were extra intense and it seemed to me it might have been the most brilliant sunset I'd ever seen.

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