Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saturday run...

We’ll I did get out for a bit this afternoon to enjoy some trail. Lebanon Hills Regional Park is finally drying out, and I ran 5 miles in what was not bad weather, but not good weather. Felt more like late fall than Spring, but it beats a treadmill. I took the new Merrell Trail Glove’s with Mountain Hardware strapless running gaiters, and my feet stayed cozy. I do have to say I’ve come to love my FiveFingers, and it feels funny to be in shoes (opposite of most people’s view I’m sure). When it’s warmer I’ll be back in them.

Overall I’m doing pretty well with running after surgery, but I’m noticing my heart rate is still high at most times. I’m hoping it’s just due to being in much worse shape than I was pre-surgery; this would make sense. A major reason for having the surgery was creating more room for my heart to expand so it wouldn’t have to compensate with high rates due to less volume. So in short, I hope to see slower heart rates over time as I get back into the shape I was in the past.

But anyhow, today’s run took me through woodlands, that despite being located in the metro, had no people in sight, and plenty of wildlife. Lots of birds, big and small, deer, and a brave muskrat who swam right up to be when I stopped for a drink of my bottle at the edge of a pond. Good company. I love getting into the zone out in the woods and forgetting about offices.

New kicks:


Recently I went on a non-outdoor-themed trip with my beautiful wife. She was awarded a random seven day off stretch from flying, and I have some vacation time that needs using before I switch to flying myself, so we decided to take advantage of it. Seeing as my chest still wont handle going big, and since I always cause her to spend her vacation time shivering in a tent somewhere for a week, then coming home smelling of dank nylon sleeping bag and musty wool (things I truly love by the way), we chose a trip of the opposite variety. One has to treat a wife like a lady at times or one’s tent may be missing a lady in the future. J She chose Paris, France to live it up for a few days, and we flew across the Atlantic to check it out. A notable perk of being an airline family (why we stay in the business as awful as it can get).

We found ourselves very tired arriving in Europe after an all-nighter on the 767 that got us there. We found a hotel in the St. Germaine area in the Latin district of central Paris, and promptly took a nap. Then, found some food and made a game plan.

The tick list included: Versailles, the Louvre, Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, Champs-Elysées and the Arc de Triomphe.

The first evening we took the subway down to the Eiffel Tower and took a boat tour of the city.Very very ornate. Quite a bit of history here, and the French know how to make a beautifully city.

It was the first time I’ve been in a country where I do not have a clue what anyone around me is communicating. Kinda fun actually, bumbling your way through the day. I quickly picked up some basic hello’s and thank-you’s and learned to point at things in café’s that looked good.The French were actually very polite and friendly towards us as Americans; not the rude stigma you hear about here in the States. Many people did in fact speak some English, and when you make an effort to ask them in French if they would mind helping you in English, they were very helpful.

The next day we toured Notre Dame, including a trip to the top of the cathedral to see it’s gargoyles and views of the city. Also did a lot of walking in the area and took in some French food. Overall, it was tasty, but they are much more into ham and cheese everything that I’d prefer as more of a plant eater. Did find a couple very good salads during the week though, and I’d get in trouble at home with their bread around.

We spent that evening walking the Champs-Elysees, where the Tour de France finishes. I have to say I didn’t realize what a cash register it is. Tons of high-price shopping and name brands, and way overpriced food. I can say I’ve been there, but it really wasn’t my cup of tea. I prefer it when bikes are flying down it rather than pretentious affluent shoppers. It was nice to see the sunset from atop the Arc de Triomphe though.

I’d have to say that the next day at Louvre was my favorite. It’s overwhelming actually. I think they said that if you spent a few seconds in front of every piece of art in the place it would take you something like 4 months. So, with a day, we hit the hot spots. Too many to comment on or picture. I highly recommend spending some time here if you get to Paris.

Our entrance to the museum marked a surprise of the trip. While standing in line- I heard a loud “Hey Ben Jensen!”. What? I turned around and saw my sim partner from CRJ 200 training at Mesaba here in MN. Nuts. He was on vacation too and we just happened to bump into each other in France.

In the museum, we enjoyed seeing it’s amazing collections, so include some favorites I have pictured below.

The last full day there we dropped down to Versailles. I have to say that this place is one giant display of royal excess. It’s pretty interesting to see how some people surrounded themselves with everything while others were suggested to “eat cake”, if you recall blunders of history.

A flight to Atlanta, then back to MSP brought us home and we quickly adjusted back to life as usual. Fun trip. We’ll probably be back in a smelly tent soon, but it was nice to live it up a little in one of the world’s prized cities.

View from atop Notre Dame:

Code of Hammurabi:
Running into familiar people across the world:
Statues of the Louvre:

Art as big as walls (big walls):
Crowd at the Mona Lisa:
Under the Eiffel Tower:

Champagne atop the Eiffel Tower:

At Versailles:

Typical Room at Versailles:

Walking the gardens of Marie Antoinette:

I think my wife likes hanging out at Paris cafe's. :) Love you babe!


Wasn’t quite sure what this weekend was going to turn out. Almost went to Alaska on a whim, but flight loads didn’t work. Instead checked out the Radical Reels Film Fest as a part of Midwest Mountaineering’s Spring Outdoor Adventure Expo. Now chilling (literally- it snowed last night and our apartment building managers didn’t figure that heat was necessary any longer this year) in my place, and thought I’d dust off the ol’ treadnorth blog. Been dry on the writing side of life lately, seeing as my blog is dedicated largely to adventuring outside, and things have been decidedly focused on the lesser exciting topics of work and more work in the past couple months. Big changes of some sort coming in that realm for me, as I was recalled from my pilot furlough recently. I teach, so I may be splitting my time with that and flying, or may fly full time. So that’s been taking up my brainpower, making big decisions about how (and where) I will spend my workdays.

But the outdoors and the passion I have for it has not been out of sight during this time. I’ve been continuing to run, and have finally been freed from the treadmill months to take things outside and let my toes feel something real. I haven’t been running quite as much as I’d like to due to said work drama, but it’s coming along. I’m stoked for our trails to finish their yearly evolution from snowpack to cold muck to dirt. Last night’s snow didn’t help, but it’s coming. I did pick up a pair of Merril’s new True Glove “barefoot” running shoes and a pair of running gaiters, so I’m more equipped for spring trail running. Haven’t made any big judgments on them yet as I’ve only worn them a couple times, but the initial reaction would be that they have more substance than my VFF’s, yet keep a decent trail feel with zero heel to toe drop. Should end up my shoes for more gravel-y terrain and for when it’s colder out. More on these as I use them.

You’d think I would have blogged this right away, but last month also saw my first pedal stroke off the trainer and outside, which was a huge relief after so much couch time following surgery. I’ve commuted into work a couple times and have been riding on the weekends. I did in fact sign up for MN Ironman in a couple weeks, so we’ll see if my chest likes that or not (more like we’ll see if I think the discomfort is reasonable or not). I’m excited though. It at least feels like I can follow through a bit more on the decisions I want to make outside. My ideas are still much stronger than my body- a balance one has to keep in check to ever get on the other side of said balance.

First post-op ride outside. Rode the Karate Monkey over to Minnehaha Falls (falls are behind me- sorry, you can't see them this time):

View off the Mendota Bridge at a spring-flooded Ft. Snelling State Park:

Climbing has taken a backseat lately, and I hope to get a little of it in sooner than later. Perhaps today or tomorrow I’ll hit the plastic jungle. My chest bar has been feisty, moving and digging nerves under my right pectoral area pretty often whenever I make pushing motions, so that’s been an obvious distraction to climbing without reserve. Three more months of the bar at least is what the doctor says now. Long time, I’m a hard case.

That’s some of what’s been happening in the past several weeks. Oh, and I took my wife to Paris, which will be a post of it’s own. I'm off to figure out the weekend we have free...