A week up north (incl. sandy faceplant) / summer update

Man, I never write on here anymore. Probably because running has just been slow maintenance, building up mileage – nothing exciting, but good nonetheless. I just looked and I haven’t posted since the end of April. What’s happened since then? I’ve been working, sleeping, running 30-40 mile weeks. Two weeks of June were kind of shot from work being busy and moving, so when I went up north with my family at the end of June into July, I decided to use it to kick my running back into gear. I did 8-11 miles a day on the gorgeous trails in and around Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore – soft and just a little sandy, more often than not covered in brown pine needles, rolling enough to keep it interesting, with views of the pure blue expanse of Lake Michigan to the west. The weather was perfect for running, and the still-frigid lake made for an excellent full-body post-run ice bath. I was actually on track to hit around 50 miles for the week, which I hadn’t done in… I don’t even know how long, but my brothers and I decided to race down a large dune. My trail-running ego kicked in and I tried to be Kilian.

I cannot be Kilian.

Right near the bottom, I realized that my legs were pumping too fast and my feet weren’t under me and suddenly WHOMPthud. My face smacked into the deceptively hard sand and the rest of my body followed. My head was instantly throbbing and before I knew what had happened, I was somehow sitting up – I’m assuming I tumbled over my head somehow? Sand was all over me – in my eyes, hair, mouth, nose, and all sorts of other crevices. It would take me days to get it all out. I looked around for my phone – my brand-new, shiny phone – and thankfully it was all right. My family, along with some onlookers (it was a crowded Saturday morning at the dune – great) gathered loosely around. “Well, that happened,” I said with aplomb as I stood up and began brushing myself off. I felt fine, mostly – my neck felt a little funny. Not painful, just… off, somehow. After a few minutes, my head didn’t even really hurt anymore. We picked up NPS Centennial hats, because we are a Super Cool family, and headed back to the condo. By the time we got back, though, I could feel my neck really beginning to stiffen. Still not painful, but obviously not A-Okay. With thoughts of What if you have permanent brain damage now? dancing in my head, I decided to take the day off and drink beer on the beach with my brothers. Punishing, I know. The pain kicked in the next day, on the drive back downstate, and lingered for… five days, maybe? I spent two days mostly lying in bed, icing my neck & upper back and watching Game of Thrones and OITNB (both of which, by the way, !!!!!!!!!!!!!)(it was an EMOTIONAL TWO DAYS). So I’m loading mileage on the back end of this week, but I should still hit 30-35. Just got back from a brutally hot 9 miles. If I hadn’t brought water, I think I actually would have passed out in the shade on a dirt road. Needless to say, it wasn’t the speediest of runs, but I made it back alive and immediately stuck my head under the faucet outside, dousing my head in icy groundwater. Delicious.

Friday night lights – sunset over Lake Michigan, with South Manitou on the right.

Chilly but happy.

Looking west over the lake from Pyramid Point. Take this, ocean, with your stupid salty water and bitey sharks and stingy things.

Taken about 10 minutes before The Faceplant.

Choppy water, grey sky, low clouds.

keep your face away from the ground, kiddos.
peace love and sandy (but not too sandy) trails,


Ludington report!

It’s a bit delayed, but… Ludington was awesome. It doesn’t make for the most enthralling story, but it was a Good Trip. I only ended up running twice, once for 45 minutes on sandy trails (eugh) and once for longer (75 minutes, I think) along the beach with some fun dune running thrown in for variation. There was also a snake on that run, less for variation and more for a reason to head the other way down the beach. I would have run more if (a) it hadn’t been quite so sandy (dunes do that) or (b) if we had camped closer to the singletrack farther north along the beach. Ah well, Ludington isn’t going anywhere. I’ll be back.

Running aside, the trip was quite enjoyable. We had pretty good weather, especially the first day – hot, dry, and sunny. The other days were cloudy and a bit cooler, but still good. We only got rain the last morning, which is surprising considering my family’s curse: when we camp, it rains. Period. Hmm, what else… we did a lot of walking along the beach, finding dead things and skipping rocks and exploring dunes and whatnot. Turns out, walking in sand is tiring for your feet. I was surprised just how tired the very muscles of my feet were just from walking barefoot in the sand for a few hours. We also went into town for one afternoon, which I would have rather eschewed – except we got Real Food, and a lot of it. (House of Flavors in Ludington – go there! Excellent fries.) The nights were filled with fire and conversation and perhaps a drop of rum and/or tequila. Oh, and the niggling irrational fear that every sound you heard was indeed a bear. (Hiking to our camp the first night, as the sun was setting, we heard a Noise that I am 99% sure was actually a bear. The guys are more like 80% sure, but I’m sticking to my 99.) And the shooting stars! So many, every night. And the sky was so clear and un-light-polluted that (sleeping outside all but one night) we could see the Milky Way and lots of star clusters. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen those (sadly).

And now for pictures!

Crazy fish we found. three or four layers of teeth on this bad boy.

Forgot about this – I woke up early the first morning (well, all the mornings) and perched in a tree not 200 feet away were two bald eagles. Two!

Camp – although we built a lean-to for shade next to the fire later that day.

Bottom line: I ❤ camping and would live outside for the rest of my life, if I could. I might, once I escape college and move to the mountains somewhere. Yeah, I’ll be that crazy person we all know and love and are a little worried about.

peace love and running!