Monday, December 5, 2011

Run with a Jolt?

I have added a couple of short jogs to my workout schedule, mostly as a warmup for the stretching core strength exercises which I now do after each run. Another beneficiary of these early morning activities is Mellie, who loves going for a run with the master, especially when it includes some off-leash time.

As the weather has turned colder and the sidewalks slipperier for my faithful canine companion and me, we had a strange adventure on the Snelling Ave bridge S of the Fair Grounds. It started when Mellie yipped in pain and anguish as we were heading north across the bridge, just after crossing the first BNSF tracks. I was jure I hadn't stepped on her toes, which sometimes happens when she inadvertantly runs into my path. She was really disturbed and kept looking over her shoulder. A few days later we were closing in on that spot from the north and as we were approaching she started to be nervous. She yipped again, this time I saw it clearly: she stepped on a large metal plate covering a bridge expansion joint. In my mind there must be an electric current in that plate.

We ran across the bridge on the opposite sidewalk, albeit she was nervous she did not cry out. This morning we came from the north again and while she was a little scared she did not seem to feel anything. I'm guessing that the snow-deicer mix probably grounds the plate and disperses most of the current. I am going to take my volt meter out there to check it out. I am chronicling my training on a website frequented by my orienteering club mates (Attackpoint). One of them, Todd, read my log and replied with a link to a Strib article form 2009 mentioning that some light-post-watering pooches were rudely jolted when doing so in Minneapolis. The city started an effort to check light posts for faulty wiring and eliminated further canine sterilization by electrocution. I will be keeping a close eye on that particular spot and figure out whom to let know about this.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

First Ski of the Season!

This Sunday we got to do what we had been waiting for a long time, we got to take advantage of the 10 cm of fresh snow (measured in my back yard) and head for Highland 9-Hole for our first time on skis and in harness. While the park was uniformly white, but the tracks showed grass. Thus, it was good that I had picked my old Landsem Telemark Touring with the big Asolo backcountry boots for this outing. Using the heavy things were not that good for technique but they sure as heck were good to build some strength, sort of like skiing with dumbels strapped to your feet. The forecast does not look that great for additional snow but since the temps will be dropping to about -15 C and staying below freezing for the foreseeable future, the little we have should last us some time.
First time out, trying to tame a black dog who appears to have
had too much black coffee ...

We did not see many other dogs but there were quite a few smiling skiers. Since trails had not been groomed we did our best to reconstruct our customary lap by following the tracks of skiers who preceded us and breaking our own trails. we did this two times and in spite of my weekly Sisu group I was sore from the workout. And I had the honor to file the first trail report of the season for Highland 9-Hole at!