Wednesday, January 30, 2013

birthdays and ice

After our track meet last weekend, I decided to go home to spend Montana's birthday with him. First we went out to dinner at Out of the Fire CafĂ©, our new favorite splurge-y dinner place. We only go there when we're really hungry so we can appreciate the food more. Unfortunately, thanks to some lack of foresight on my part, we didn't think to make a reservation. At 7:45, the place was packed. We had the option of going somewhere else (Brady's or some place called Gu's, which didn't sound promising). We had to wait 45 minutes just for a seat at the bar. By the time we ordered, we were both completely hypoglycemic. We couldn't even talk to each other (see: hangry).

But we finally got our food (which was excellent--they do a mean plate of sweet potato fries) and resumed enjoying our weekend. Snow was glittering down outside. In a fit of festivity, I decided to order dessert. Bananas Foster. It's supposed to be on fire, right? Like a birthday candle.

It was not. Turns out that their Bananas Foster was a bowl of hot bananas and some ice cream. Wht a ripoff. Still, we ended up lingering over it for half an hour before we went back into the cold.

Sunday brought a bluebird sky.

We took a walk over to Cucumber Falls to look at the ice (and I could try out my new lens). After last week's freeze, it was incredible.
Then we walked back so I could do my long run (oh, hey hills!) and Montana could ride his fat bike on the snowmobile trails. We had dinner at the pub (terrible service, mediocre food, cheap).

Overall, a successful weekend.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

another online alter-ego

Some self-promotion here.

For my senior project, I'm developing an outdoor magazine about this wonderful state of Ohio. I realized that a website is really easy to make, too.

Behold, everything that's wonderful about Ohio (and my site avatar, which is an awesome Scottish cow):

If you're interested, check it out here. Much appreciated, friends!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


An Ohiopyle dog had a litter of puppies a few months ago. A bunch of little labradors got dispersed around town. One puppy went home with Jared and Amanda, the awesome head yogis of Power Yoga Morgantown, one of them went with a student at WVU, and one of them stayed at home with its mom. The runt of the litter ended up with an enormous bearded guy named Grizz, who lives at the White House with Montana. He named her Ursus, the bear.

She is devastatingly cute.

I'm not sure if Grizz thought this one out. He works days. And nights. Meanwhile, Ursa stays in her cage, waiting for him to come back and causing an ungodly ruckus when anyone walks into the house.

So Montana and I have been taking care of her during the day. Mostly to keep her from peeing all over the floor.

The other day we took her on a hike. It took some wrangling, but we eventually got her onto the leash.
 But of course, we had to stop for a play break.
 Before we finally got to the trail.

It was a beautiful day--one of the few days of winter sunshine we'll get all year in Pennsylvania. Ursa loved exploring all the new things in the woods.
 It was a nice hike, but unfortunately we had to take her back home to Grizz.
As much as we'd like to have a dog, both of us think a puppy needs more stable people to take care of it. Someone trying to raise a puppy probably needs to be home for at least a few hours every day to give it some exercise and make sure it doesn't rip apart every sock in the house and pee all over the floor.


Monday, January 7, 2013

laurel highlands trail run

I've been upping my long run by 15 minutes every week. Not that I've added too much distance, since all my runs have been on snowy trails. On Saturday I decided to do my long run on the Laurel Highlands Hiking trail. It's got some fantastic views of the river.

But I forgot that the elevation profile looked like this:
Just kidding. But not really. Here's the actual map.
Basically, getting to the lookout is the easy part. After that, the trail levels off for half a mile before plunging down again. 

And then going way back up again. I turned around at 4 miles, although a hiker assured me I was close to the 5 mile mark. I didn't trust myself to finish 10 miles out there with just snow as a water source. 

Turns out the run clocked in at around 8.6 miles. I had Strava going on my phone, so I set a new Queen of the Mountain on the first climb, since bikes aren't allowed on that trail. So unless someone breaks the law, the fastest climb up the first hill will be set at around 2.5 miles per hour. Hah! 

But when I got back to the park, there was a weird mood in the air. Three fire trucks and an ambulance were all parked by the falls. There were more stationed by the visitor center. A few groups of people in safety orange were milling around all the trailheads with German Shepherds.

Apparently there's been a guy missing in (or around) Ohiopyle for the past few days. He stopped by asking about hiking trails, ate at the pub, and disappeared. According to the news, the situation is inconclusive.

It gives me chills. I feel terrible for his family and friends. I hope they can call off the search soon. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

haven't you ever heard of skis?

Last year I packed on the winter miles and ended up with tendonitis. That wasn't too fun. So for the past month or so, I've been following a training schedule that allows a bit more room for improvisation. My running mileage has taken a big dip--most of my runs have been on snowy trails (which is actually about thirty times harder than normal trail running), and I've been doing a good bit of cross training. Since I don't own a pair of cross country skis, I've been getting creative with my snow activities.

For instance, this was my last hill workout.

Montana has been spending less time on the bike and more time perfecting his unicycle skills. He's actually been getting pretty good at it. Check out this expert filmage. And this one if you'd like a morning giggle. 

We spent our New Year's Eve riding bikes on snowmobile trails Laurel Mountain with our friends Rob and Chrissy. They just got a couple of Salsa's fatbikes, which are basically dirtbikes without motors. 

Montana and I just had our 29ers, which worked pretty well on the trails that were packed down. 

But Montana's singlespeed was geared a little too high to sit and spin up the hills. 
That might the first time he's ever uttered the phrase "Colleen is dropping me." He considered going back to get the unicycle after that. 

The riding was sketchy and slippery. My descents were painfully slow, and the climbs were exhausting. Especially the last one, which everyone but Rob had to hike. We passed a few snowshoers who laughed at us as they floated above the snow like elves. 

We managed to cover 15 miles in 3 hours, but it felt like we'd been out all day. When we finally got around to eating, I tried to crush a plate of cheesy egg scramble at a family restaurant off the highway, but I was too sleepy to finish it. 

Needless to say, our New Year's celebrations weren't too rowdy.  

Happy winter, people!