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Training Log Archive: Swampfox

In the 7 days ending Oct 11:

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Sunday Oct 11 #


With an uncertain weather forecast calling for much cooler temps, strong winds, and the possibility of rain/snow, I was equally uncertain about what I might plan for. Probably just running and no biking. In the end, plan A was to run an O' course at Granite Planite, and plan B was to do something else (how's that for a plan!).

As it worked out, I drove through some light snow falling to get to Granite Planite, and as I was parking and getting my gear ready, snow was whistling by horizontally. It was looking like plan B.

So plan B was to put on a new pair of O' race shoes which I had tried on and run in very briefly and found to be too tight right out of the box, and which would require some breaking in. With the shoes on, I steeled myself, opened the door, and hurled myself into the wind. It actually wasn't near as bad (cold) as I had expected and the snow soon stopped.

About 10 minutes in, I was wondering if I should turn around and head back and change shoes, as the new shoes really were tight, with an especially bothersome band across my right forefoot. But I kept on at a very gingerly pace, and gradually things got better. By around the 50 minute mark the shoes were feeling noticeably better.

Prior to that point, however, and new snow cloud swept through and for about 20 minutes I was enveloped in snow that at times was quite thick. I really wasn't properly dressed for that at the speed I was running and gloves would have been extra nice. But the snow eased off and then quit altogether, to be replaced by full, brilliant sunshine. I was running in the area immediately south of Granite Planite, consisting largely of one good sized south facing slope with scattered rock in all sizes, and dissected by various small valleys, gullies, and reentrants, with mostly a savannah of ponderosa pine and some scattered sage for vegetation. I tried to think what it reminded me of, and in the end I decided more than anything else it reminded me of Lake George rather than any of the other mapped Laramie areas. Even though it adjoins Granite Planite, it's almost an entirely different terrain type, and more physical as well (it's a big slope.) It's excellent terrain, especially this time of year, when nearly all the cheat grass has been cropped down low. But even though we have base map covering the area, I think it will wait until lidar arrives. The base map is roughish and really not much fun to work with.

The sunshine lasted for a half hour or so, and long enough for me to get back to my truck. Back on the highway, another snow cloud swept over, and this one unleashed very heavy snow in big wind, with visibility dropping away to virtually nothing. Soon enough that squall ended, too, and that was it for snow for the day.

Saturday Oct 10 #


Yesterday and today were the golden days of Fall locally--blue skies framing cottonwoods at the height of their goldenest. To me, the best place to enjoy this brief period is on the Greenbelt along the river, with leaves falling onto the path and floating in the river, which itself reflects the blue skies.

But by early afternoon the wind shifted directions and smoke blew into town and obscured the sun. Tomorrow's forecast calls for cooler temps, overcast skies, and big winds which will quickly strip the leaves from the trees.

I did some mountain biking up towards Pilot Hill, but not all the way to the top, and then did some easy running at Happy Jack--mainly running out to the far end of the ski trails, where I did some work cutting some branches and cleaning away debris and little branches to create short re-route around a problem area that is almost always thin with snow. I finished up right at dark and was the last to leave the parking lot tonight.

Friday Oct 9 #


Orienteering in clean air at Twin Boulders. Enjoyable to be out with the smoke away (for the day.)

Thursday Oct 8 #


Woke up to more smoke in town this morning that settled in overnight, which has been pretty typical every day for the past two weeks. When breezes start up, they either clear out the smoke or bring heavier amounts, depending on wind direction. As of last night the fire had burned about 170K acres. To put that in context, that is larger than my front yard.


Smoke was in town all day long. It was never bad, bad, and it was also never good, good.

I rode around town some in mid-afternoon and swung by the stadium, thinking I would swing by the south end of the playing field and peek in to see if practice was underway. But one of the main gates was closed and there was an attendant at the other gate with about as many cars parked there as there would be for a basketball game (at last year's attendance levels.) So I did a u-turn and rode over to the attendant to ask what was going on. It was a mass flu event for the community. I was impressed by the numbers and said so, and then left.

But as I rode away, I couldn't help but think about the fact that there were all those parked cars, yet no cars coming or going, or any people coming or going on foot to and from the cars, like you would probably see if it was people getting flu shots. What if it wasn't a flu event? What if it was the Rapture in progress instead? And what would you do if you wanted to conceal what was really going on? You'd probably make it look like a community flu event. I realized the space ship must have landed in the stadium and was loading everyone there. Whew! Close call for me! Can't even begin to imagine what it must be like to be on a space ship full of human cargo and headed to Greeley to deposit them in the fattening pens there, what with the corona virus going around and all that.

I headed up to Happy Jack after that and ran trails as more ash fell everywhere, finishing up in the early night.

Wednesday Oct 7 #


More smoke in the morning, which started to clear off from the south by early afternoon. I rode at mid-afternoon, by which time it was clear the main plume had shifted to north of town, but that's all that was clear. It was very hazy outside of the smoke plume, and for the second straight day there was no sign of any mountains off to the west.

With the smoke plume off to the north, I chose to ride out to 7 Mile Lake. The fresh(er) air was so nice that I even waved a friendly hello to a guy who was standing in a yard jam packed with Trump signs. Maybe it wasn't his yard.

Ran trails at Happy Jack and checked the continuing progress at Haunted Forest and Summit Loop. Finished up at dark. My legs didn't have much, and maybe the bike ride stole away whatever it was I began the day with.

On the way home I picked up a massive Corona Burrito (black beans/chicken) to use as a makeshift doorstop.

It looks like a record high out at the airport might have been set--76F.

Tuesday Oct 6 #


Wind directions shifted and pushed smoke straight towards Laramie all day long. It wasn't super bad (like Sunday) but it most surely wasn't super good, either. I did some mountain biking over in the School Yard, and then did some "reg-lar" as well before going up to Happy Jack. I had considered intervals for a running workout today, but put that aside because of the air quality, and did some very low intensity running instead, and checked progress on the Haunted Forest re-route.

The smoke seemed to tamp down interest in the great outdoors, as there were only 2 other vehicles in the parking lot, and in terms of other life forms, I only saw 3 mountain bikers out.

The latest estimate of the burn area is that it now stands at about 161K acres, which I think makes it larger than any fire in Colorado ever, but much smaller than the largest fires in Wyoming ever.

Monday Oct 5 #


NW winds returned and swept away all the smoke to the south. That was my signal to head out to Granite Planite for another run on the course I ran last week.

Even though the primary goal was to get in a good, hard run through the terrain and press the system to some degree, it would of course would be fun to be able to do it faster than I did before. Auguring against that was some tiny niggling thing in on e knee that I could feel now and then walking around, some pretty decent wind, low sun (harder to run at speed through sage when you're running towards the low sun than you might guess), and just a general feeling while warming up that my legs felt a little tired and lacked any pop.

That was in my mind going to the start, but once there I got ready to go, and just aimed to do the best I could while I was on the course, and that would do. And at the finish, when I checked my watch, I was quite surprised to see that I had in fact run faster than last week: 19:42 vs. 20:08. That made the run extra satisfying.

For a warm down, I ran through a nearby area favored by shooters, and picked up some brass they had left behind. "No brass, no ammo", is how I think it used to go.

It was quiet out the whole time--no ATVs, only saw one vehicle drive by the whole time, and didn't see another soul out there. Quite different from when we there Labor Day Weekend!

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