Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Weekly Log: 3.21.16 - 3.27.16

Monday - 0 miles

Snow! Not as much as was possible but enough heavy stuff to keep me working at home today.  It was pretty much gone by the evening which I guess is for the best.

Tuesday - 0 miles

In a frumpy mood today.  A bleak mood.  Not even interested in planking this morning.  I tried for about 45 seconds and then gave up.  Meh.

Wednesday - 0 miles

7:38 of planks (Elbow - 3:04 / Straight left arm - 1:11 / Straight right arm - 1:13 / Straight arm - 2:10)

Well, I finally got back to the plank routine this week.  Better late than never.  We're up to seven and a half minutes of planking.  Oof.

Thursday - 0 miles

7:38 of planks (Elbow - 2:40 / Straight left arm - 1:16 / Straight right arm - 1:31 / Straight arm - 1:26)

Friday - 0 miles

7:36 of planks (Elbow - 2:44 / Straight left arm - 1:15 / Straight right arm - 1:37 / Straight arm - 1:09)

I finished the work week with a lunch yoga session.  Otherwise a pretty blah week.

Saturday - South Kingstown, RI - 2.5 miles

I was pretty bummed to miss the Brrr-lingame trail race today.  It's the fourth race in the series and without it my overall standings in the series plummeted.  Nuts.

I took the dog for a walk in Perryville on the DuVal trails.  God that dog is a spazz.  Every person or animal we encounter he barks at.  It's our fault for not training him better but it makes walks in the woods a real pain in the ass.  Anyway it was good to get out there.

Sunday - 0 miles

5:32 of planks (Elbow - 2:05 / Straight left arm - 1:03 / Straight right arm - 1:14 / Straight arm - 1:10)

This was an intentionally short plank session to at least get something done on this lovely Easter day.

Weekly Mileage: 2.5 miles
Year to Date; 139.9 miles

Well that was a sad week, wasn't it?  In retrospect I don't mind - I am injured after all and this is some goooood resting.  The stress fracture is feeling much better.  No aching or stinging whatsover and it's not sensitive when I touch it.  I plan to take another two weeks off and if it feels alright I'll slowly slowly begin to work in some jogging over the next six weeks.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Mt Hancock and South Hancock - March 19, 2016

I'm on the DL with the ankle stress fracture and that means no running.  However walking/hiking doesn't hurt so that's fair game.  Amanda suggested I plan a trip north so that I don't go stir crazy.  She thought I'd plan it for the next month or two when the weather warms but I was excited to get up there while there was still snow and make use of my new winter gear one more time.  I scrapped the idea of an overnight as it was still too cold for that (which was wise as it ended up being mid-teens in the valley on Saturday night).  Instead I opted for two day hikes.  The first would be a trip to bag the Hancocks.  This ten mile hike off the Kancamagus Highway is fairly moderate until you get close to the peaks.

I stayed with my friend Rob aka the Manchild on Friday night and he was game to join me on Saturday.  A trip report from the week prior indicated a lot of ice on the steep sections which had me a little worried but we steeled each other and were ready to give it a shot.  It was a gorgeous bluebird day with temps in the 30s.  The trail was immediately snow with a bit of ice.  It became more and more ice as it wore on.  We wore our microspikes almost immediately.  The first few miles were an easy hike through Hancock Notch.  Then we had to deal with a couple water crossings.  The streams were running fairly high and there was still plenty of ice on the rocks.  The first few were tricky and we bushwacked a bit to find the best place to cross.

Rob stops to shed layers

Beautiful frozen waterways aplenty

At about 2.5 miles we hit the Hancock Loop Trail and after a tough water crossing the trail began to climb.  We passed a group of three guys that we would leapfrog with for the next few hours.  The Manchild's cheap knockoff microspikes broke a couple chainlinks but luckily I had brought my leatherman with pliers.  He mended them as best they could but they were soon janked up again.  At the point where the trail splits in two and loops over both peaks, Rob stopped to work on them again.  A woman came down the south trail in crampons and told us not to head down the south side with just microspikes.  Apparently people had been buttsliding and it was sheer ice in many spots.  She was kind enough to provide Rob with some zipties (a great idea!) and once again his janked up spikes were back in business.

Heading her advice, we went up the south trail and would come down the north.  The next mile was slow slow slow.  It was a little bit of snow over mostly ice and the trail was very steep.  The microspikes actually worked well.  We just had to choose our spots carefully.   A couple faster groups passed us and it was tricky finding places to stand to let them by.  The heel of one of Rob's spikes was now good and useless but he could still use the front for traction.  Finally we got to the summit of South Hancock and enjoyed a great view of Mt Carrigan, Attitash and the Moats.

South Hancock summit

Mt Hancock summit

The 1.4 mile trail between the summits was moderate and provided some shelter from the wind which hounded us on the summit.  The trail was wellpacked snow but if you stepped off the trail you postholed about two feet down.  We stopped for lunch and the Manchild fired up his stove to whip up chili mac and hot chocolate.  Those three guys passed us again while we ate.  Once we got going we soon passed them again for the last time.  Not long after we reached the summit of Hancock.  Great views of the Sandwich range.

Now it was time to descend.  The north trail was longer than south but not quite as steep.  There were also some muddy sections near the top where the sun had been at work.  We passed a few groups heading up and they'd be the last people we'd see all day.  One of the Manchild's jerryrigged microspikes finally gave up the ghost.  He now had only one tractioned foot to work with and the going was tough.  Once the trail became all snow/ice again he went with the buttsliding technique, using his feet to steer and break.  It was something to see.  The other microspike blew out on his first slide and now he had no choice but to continue this way.  By the end he ripped a big hole in his pants but otherwise seemed no worse for wear.

The plight of the discount spikes

When we got back to the intersection the Manchild had a much easier time of it though he still had to watch his step on the icier sections.  The rest of the hike was without incident.  After making it over the final water crossing we relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the hike back to the cars.  I'm glad Rob was able to join me.  It made the day much longer but I was glad for the company.  I'm also glad that the trails weren't as treacherous as previous trip reports had led me to believe.  Thankfully the microspikes were good enough.  Well, mine anyway.  The Manchild learned a valuable lesson about investing in quality traction.

This was NH 4k #31 & 32 for me.  It was winter 4k #2 & 3.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Weekly Log: 3.14.16 - 3.20.16

I'll be heading up to New Hampshire this weekend to do some hiking.  Looking forward to it!  Forecast looks good though it may be icy.

Monday - 0 miles

7:04 of planks (Elbow - 2:29 / Straight left arm - 1:34 / Straight right arm - 1:21 / Straight arm - 1:40)

I've moved up to 7 minutes of straight planking in the morning (with a few seconds of adjustment between moves).

Tuesday - 0 miles

7:10 of planks (Elbow - 3:43 / Straight left arm - 1:09 / Straight right arm - 1:06 / Straight arm - 1:12)

A new plank PR of 3:43.   Getting close to four minutes with the elbow/forearm plank.  At lunch I went to Yoga since this is probably the only day that I'd be able to fit it in.  Not my best session, my mind wandered a lot.

Wednesday - 0 miles

7:03 of planks (Elbow - 2:33 / Straight left arm - 1:10 / Straight right arm - 1:15 / Straight arm - 1:18 / Elbow - 0:47)

Thursday - 0 miles

7:07 of planks (Elbow - 3:05 / Straight left arm - 1:09 / Straight right arm - 1:20 / Straight arm - 1:33)

Friday - 0 miles

7:07 of planks (Elbow - 2:32 / Straight left arm - 1:19 / Straight right arm - 1:16 / Straight arm - 1:15 / Elbow - 0:45)

Tough morning of planks but I made it to 7 minutes.  I'm feeling guilty for not doing much else in the way of exercise.  I should at least do some push-ups at work but I'm feeling lazy.  No matter - my New Hampshire adventure is finally here!

Saturday - Lincoln, NH - 9.8 miles

Hiked the Hancocks with my buddy Rob.  Report possibly forthcoming.

Sunday  - Bean's Purchase, NH - 10.8 miles

Hike South Carter and Mt. Hight solo.  Report possibly forthcoming.

Weekly Mileage: 20.6 miles
Year to Date: 137.4 miles

Friday, March 11, 2016

Weekly Log: 4.7.16 - 4.13.16

Monday - 0 miles

6:41 of Planks (Elbow - 2:25 / Left straight arm - 0:47 / Right straight arm- 0:36 / Straight arm - 1:39 / Elbow - 0:22 / Straight arm - 0:19 / Elbow - 0:33)

Welcome to Cap'n Planky's Vunderblog! This week's target is 6:30 minutes of total planking (ideally with no breaks other than transitioning from one form to another).  This morning was rough.  I wasn't in it mentally and as you can see I put myself in a hole which required me to gut out some sad additional planks.  Still I to the 6:30 mark.

I went to Lunch Yoga to start the week off right.  The Yogi Julie is one of the best there and she speeds the moves up after a while.  Good session.

Tuesday - Seekonk, MA - 2.4 miles

6:43 of Planks (Elbow - 2:41 / Left straight arm - 1:21 / Right straight arm- 1:03 / Straight arm - 1:28)
135 push-ups (standard/military/wide) 20/20/30/20/15/30

Felt much better this morning during planks.  It's very much mental and I went into it determined to improve on yesterday.  At lunch I went for a walk around the Turner Reservoir.  Beautiful spring day out there and walking doesn't irritate the ankle so at least I'll be able to walk/hike during this downtime.

Wednesday - Burlingame, RI - 3 miles

6:39 of Planks (Elbow - 2:30 / Left straight arm - 1:07 / Right straight arm- 1:08 / Straight arm - 1:54)

More good planking.  I'm getting some wrist pain during the side straight arms.  Folks have suggested going on my elbows but I don't care for that position.  Others have suggested wrist straps so I need to look into that.

I was working from home today as we're having boiler i$$ues.  Took advantage of the beautiful day and went for a hike in Burlingame.  Parked on King's Factory and did a Vin Gormley > Schoolhouse > Sammy C loop.  Felt good to be out there.

Thursday - East Providence, RI - 2 miles

6:40 of Planks (Elbow - 2:40 / Left straight arm - 1:21 / Right straight arm- 1:01 / Straight arm - 1:38)

An easy walk along the Ten Mile River Bikepath.  Sprinkles throughout but when it's nearly 70 degrees who gives a damn!

Friday - 0 miles

6:36 of Planks (Elbow - 2:24 / Left straight arm - 1:15 / Right straight arm- 1:10 / Straight arm - 1:47)

Saturday - 0 miles

Sunday - Charlestown, RI - 1.9 miles

6:09 of Planks (Straight arm - 3:04 / Elbow - 1:01 / Left straight arm - 0:35 / Right straight arm- 0:37 / Elbow - 0:52)

Mixed up my planks today and did the straight arm first.  It threw everything off as I knew it would.  I'm a creature of habit.  I took the dog for a walk in the morning.  Felt guilty about not getting out there for a longer hike.

Weekly Mileage: 9.3 miles
Year to Date: 116.8 miles

So yeah, I'm counting all these walks/hikes as running mileage.  Sue me!  I've got to pad the stats somehow.  My ankle definitely feels better and I'm not getting any of the ache/stinging I was getting first thing in the morning.  So apparently the rest is doing me good.  Now to just not run for another month to make sure I've got this thing licked.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Weekly Log: 2.29.16 - 3.6.16

Monday - 0 miles

6:17 of Planks (Elbow - 2:17 / Left straight arm - 1:12 / Right straight arm- 0:59 / Straight arm - 1:16 / Elbow - 0:33)

I had a good lunch yoga session to start off the week.

Tuesday - 0 miles

6:10 of Planks (Elbow - 2:16 / Left straight arm - 1:13 / Right straight arm- 0:52 / Straight arm - 1:15 / Elbow - 0:34)

Strange how close the numbers were to yesterday.  I've added another elbow plank at the end in order to bring the full plank time to six minutes.  I'd like to stick to six minutes of straight planking for the week.

I went to the orthopedic doc today to get the status of my ankle.  They took some x-rays, he felt the bone and his conclusion was that it's probably a pre-stress fracture.  The only remedy is time and that means taking 6-8 weeks off from running.  Bah.  Guess I'll need to look into other forms of exercise for a while.  Maybe I'll take up cycling.  Ha!  These roads would eat me alive.

Wednesday - 0 miles

6:07 of Planks (Elbow - 2:33 / Left straight arm - 1:14 / Right straight arm- 0:52 / Straight arm - 1:06 / Elbow - 0:22)

I should probably quit it with the mileage thing for each day since I've resigned myself to not running for a while.  I went to Lunch Yoga again today.  I imagine I'll be going more often now.  I'm thinking seriously about bringing a bike up here.  The office is pretty close to several bike paths so I could almost probably definitely make it to one of them without killing myself.

Thursday - 0 miles

6:13 of Planks (Elbow - 2:18 / Left straight arm - 1:00 / Right straight arm- 0:47 / Straight arm - 1:23 / Elbow - 0:45)

Hope you're having a planktastic day, 'cause that's all this blog is going to be about from now on!

Friday - 0 miles

6:12 of Planks (Elbow - 3:26 / Left straight arm - 1:11 / Right straight arm- 0:48 / Straight arm - 0:47)

New Plank PR of 3:26!  Knew it was going to be a good effort as soon as I started.  At lunch I went to Yoga.  Three yoga sessions this week - a new record.  And probably the new normal for a while.

Saturday - South Kingstown, RI - 3 miles

I went for a hike in the Crawley Preserve.  Not much to speak of but it was a lovely day and the streams were flowing.  Ankle was fine which was good to see.  So long as I don't run I should be able to stay active.

Sunday - 0 miles

6:06 of Planks (Elbow - 2:12 / Left straight arm - 0:48 / Right straight arm- 0:48 / Straight arm - 1:43 / Elbow - 0:35)

Weekly Mileage: 3 miles
Year to Date: 107.5 miles

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Mt. Pierce / South Moat Mountain - February 18-19, 2016

I planned a winter getaway for Amanda and myself in the White Mountains.  Originally this trip was supposed to be a snowshoeing adventure but with the lack of snow in New England we ended up not even needing them.  While Amanda was initially nervous about winter hiking in the Whites, I convinced her that we had the appropriate gear (a clearance sale at L.L. Bean certainly helped) and after talking with an experienced hiker at the hostel we ultimately decided to ascend Mt. Pierce on Day 1.

We drove up to the AMC Highland Center and prepared in the warm lounge area. We should have put on the microspikes immediately but foolishly I made us wait until we crossed the highway.  I say foolishly because it was very difficult to put these on our boots from a standing position.  Amanda may have questioned my leadership skills.  Eventually we got them on and began our hike.

The trail was well packed but there was plenty of icy spots  Indeed, much of the trail was just a light layer of snow over ice ice ice.  The microspikes served us very well.  There was no slippage and we walked confidently up all terrain.  The trees near the base were bare but within a mile snow/frost began to cover all the branches.  The temperature was dropping and I was constantly shedding/adding layers as was my preference.  Amanda pretty much stuck with her jacket throughout.

The beginning of the historic Crawford Path

Great icy waterfalls near the start

The trail was very moderate throughout.  I understood why people recommended the Crawford Path to Pierce for people's first winter 4000k.  It wasn't until we neared the summit that the trees retreated and we began to feel winter's bite.  At a frosty intersection it was difficult to locate the trail to the summit and I took us the wrong way briefly.  The snow drifts made it difficult to determine the path as previous hikers' footprints were nearly erased.  I could see how easily it would be to wander in the wrong direction and get yourself in trouble.

Now we're talking

The ridgeline of the Presidentials was covered in clouds so we were denied a few of the higher peaks.  The summit of Mt. Pierce had some protection from the wind and we rested briefly while we ate sandwiches (this proved foolish as the gloves and my frosted beard made eating difficult - next time: better food choices).  The initial descent descent was straight into the wind and we were quickly chilled.  Soon we were below treeline but my hands were frigid and it took a while to warm them up.

Grumpy Seth did not approve of Amanda taking off her
gloves to snap pictures
This is one of the few times I'll allow for a selfie

Once our extremities warmed up the descent was fairly enjoyable though we were both getting tired and ready to be finished. At the Highland Center we rested inside for a while before driving south for shopping and a movie.

The next day we wanted to get in another hike before heading home.  I looked for something close to our hostel in Conway and decided on South Moat Mountain.  It was about 2800 feet and had great views from the summit.  The first mile was on a meandering trail with crusty snow.  Easy going.  Then there were a couple icy sections that didn't seem like an issue  At one of these early ice sheets Amanda was up ahead.  I stepped onto the ice and immediately realized it was too steep for the microspikes.  I tried to backtrack but it was too late.  I slipped and fell onto my knee and arm, then cracked my head on the ice for good measure.  Amanda was too far for me to get her attention so I lay there for a minute, assessing.  It seemed like there was no major damage so I detoured around the ice and hobbled to catch up to her.  The knee pain quickly subsided but I had a big welt growing above my eye.  I got lucky as it could have been much worse.

Beautiful trail - it's going to be like this the whole way right?

Could've been worse

Not soon after the ice became the rule not the exception.  As the trail became steeper, it became an ice luge.  The woods still had some snow and we were staying to the sides to avoid the slickest parts.  The going was very slow.  Amanda took a bad fall herself, giving her knee a good bruise.  We made a wide berth of the ice, following several sets of footprints through a nearby bushwack.  There was some scrambling to get back up to the trail and we actually crossed over it and ended up on some beautiful ledges overlooking North Conway.  Lovely but we clearly weren't on the trail.  We could hear voices over by the trail so we ventured back.  We never saw the source of the voices but I did spy the blazes on a tree and we continued on.

We took our time to find the safest routes.  Amanda had become grumpy.  This was hard going, much tougher than yesterday.  We were going to be on this mountain much longer than we had anticipated and she was already dreading the descent.  A solo hiker who had passed us earlier now passed us again coming down.  He said that we had another 15-20 minutes to the top and the ice while bad, didn't get any worse.  We soldiered on and as we approached treeline the ice eased off.

As the trail grew steep, so did the ice sheets

Amanda assesses another ice sheet with disgust

The summit was perfect - clear skies and beautiful temps in the sun.  We ate snacks and enjoyed the views.  Soon an older couple came along and we chatted for a bit.  They were heading on to Middle Moat but took a picture of us before they departed.  Then it was time to make our way down.

Big rocks at the South Moat summit

We made it!
With Mount Washington in the background

The going was slow but not too bad.  My knees didn't care for the descending at first but after a while the discomfort let up.  We had no major issues getting down, it just took a while.  Afterwards we rewarded ourselves with lunch at Cafe Noche before making the long drive home.  It's always great driving up here, not so great heading back.  Overall a very successful two days of hiking.  We learned some lessons and enjoyed ourselves.  Until next time New Hampshire!