Bulki Running

This here is a running post. Every once in a while I get out and nothing, or almost nothing, gets in my way of turning over a few miles on the pedometer. Those days are good, really stinking good.

A long time ago, when I’d hit the trail, I’d see people struggling to push their brood along, and all the requisite gear that necessarily must come with, in baby joggers of one variety or another. I would chuckle to myself and speed on past. Yeah, I had no idea the workout I could have been getting back then.

Pushing your child and all his stuff in what amount to a three-wheeled sled while trying to maintain a running pace is not for the faint of heart. I hate to look down at my GPS watch because I know what I’m going to see there is my struggle to maintain even 75% of my usual pace. It can be a little disheartening I suppose.

Today’s loop stuck to mostly paved roads, sidewalks, and the River Trail. I mostly walked through downtown, my thighs were screaming after their two-mile wake up call to Main Street Bagels and I had a danish in my stomach to contend with, but pacing picked up again all the way back to the apartment.

After some serious playing out in front of the bagel shop, we got back underway. Aral fell asleep which means that I don’t have to gasp for air trying while to have a conversation with him and pretty soon my mind began to wonder like it does when I’ve got a really good cadence going. I was thinking that this sort of running a) could be its own sport and b) probably deserves a better name for it than “running with a baby jogger”.

The setup, at least for most of the joggers that I’ve seen, is very much reminiscent of a dog sled or pulk. Yeah, there are three wheels instead of runners and you’re pushing it, not pulling; but the set up is largely the same. Think the Swiss style schlitteln or better the northern-Sami style bulki.

“Yeah,” I thought to myself, “I’ve got something here.” I already take my jogger and my little boy pretty much anywhere I could take a mountain bike. What could possibly stop this from becoming the summer equivalent of single-stage dog sledding endurance sports like the Iditarod. Maybe I could run the length of the Tour Divide?

Things were getting out of hand inside my head. I was devising alterations that I would implement to extend the range of our Chariot CV1. Adding some much needed luggage space. Ways I might narrow the wheel base to make it more useful on single track. Calculating how much water I might need to cross long stretches of northern prairie highlands with my young charge tucked inside.

Well, this folks, this right here is “brain soup”. All the cool things I think about when I’ve found flow state and there is nobody telling me all the things that cannot be done. It is an awesome place to be as an author, it is an amazing experience to be in this frame of mind.

Anyone want to go run with me?

Mud Month Has Arrived

Wow, it has been a while. The last time I posted a trail running related post was more than a year ago. Yeah, sure, there have been a number about running in general, but nothing about me actually running.

Bummer I know, but hey, there is good news. I’m back out on the trail again. Late at the end of 2013 two friends I ran with last back in 2009 compelled me (by the power of the Sun Sword) to get my ticket for the Canyon de Chelly Ultra. This has been one of a couple I’ve really wanted to run for a long time now, so it’s little wonder that I nabbed my place in the starting pack.

With all the moving and travel lately I’ve been hard pressed to get back into training mode. Everything has become measurably harder since about the middle of January. Worse it has been wearing me down from time to time too, but on Wednesday Aral and I packed the last of our stuff up in Ootek and left Boulder. We spent Thursday unpacking and organizing and then by Friday I was able to leverage enough time to take my first training run in a long, long while.

Aral still rides along in the Chariot like a champ, which makes any of this possible.

Right now we’re up on Glade Park house sitting for my parents. Yesterday I loaded us up at about nap time and hit the road intending a longer run along pavers and jeep roads on the Park. It was windy and chilly, but the sun was out and had warmed the snow cover that remains up top.

Click for detailed rundown on Strava

I wasn’t really thinking ahead like I should have been when I turned off on Holloway Lane pushing the buggy along at a reasonable clip into a head wind. The Lane was pretty squishy despite county maintenance and yet I trotted along to Black Mesa like a complete boob intending to traverse the lower road and then follow it down to the McInnis Canyon parking lot.

Not much past the second switchback I realized two things. First, I was already too far down Black Ridge Road to turn around. And second, mud month has begun here in ernest.

My new Brooks TrueGrit 2 trail shoes got tested in a profound and meaningful way. And at times, the build up of bentonite clay clinging to the buggy wheels weighed more than my child and gear stowed inside. I really had to huff it hardcore to clear this short-ish stretch of “road”.

And when I got back to 161/2 Rd I was beat. The next two miles I could only manage a jog at best and my pace suffered.

Incidentally, mud makes an excellent training tool. You’ve got to be very careful of your foot placement and drive your legs much harder than you would have to even in a pool. The resistance is amazing and the instability in the surface demands mindfulness.

Everything is cleaned and drying today. I’m really hoping to get out for a shorter run this afternoon (I will accidentally-maliciously schedule during nap time), but I’m going to stick to pavers for a while.

And Glane and Josh, if you read this be afraid for I have the power of bentonite getting me ready for CdCU.