Forest Thinking

I note it is a thing to use a social media platform to express concern about how social media platforms and posting of events (running) has taken over just enjoying oneself.

Things that resonate with me this morning: The point on being drained brought this out of my stack of things to read, but what I am working on is #5:

“What do I need to do to get myself to where I’d like to be?”

I am a little put off about the short time frames, but as I approach the one year anniversary of the beginning of what turned out to be an unplanned year and change in life force … I am thinking about steps to take in the direction of where I want to go.

That leads me to outside, and the forest.

Unexplained phenomena: I find the most fun in the fact that part of my regular loop, the very first part, makes it super hard to get started. Other parts are just fun for familiarity. Why run a regular route. To make it easy on myself to take a small step in the direction I want to go and when I am more ready, I will run more unfamiliar trails and locations.

12 Types of Trail Runners

Training is lonely. With a plan. Without a plan. Track Nights. Speed Workout. Tempo Runs. Long Slow Distance. Recovery Runs. Stair Workouts. Hill Repeats. Intervals. You do these often by yourself. Sometimes with a running buddy and conversations are then held under the cone of silence rules.

Then there is the Group Run.  These are some of the folks you will undoubtedly meet there.




They read maps and grok elevation profiles like everyone else does Game of Thrones.  The know the Gorge, the Coast, and especially Forest Park like the partner it is.  Any picture, any season, they know where they are. They leave piles of rocks and rumor has it have Hansel and Gretel memorized.

If you show them the picture above they know exactly what trail it is and how many miles you cut off the Wildwood by using the shortcuts, and they have run all of it.  They know it is Balch Creek, the proper name is the Witches Castle (not the Stone House), they know where the Giant Owl is mounted on a tree, where the wood teepee is maintained as well as the trail closure web page.

It is a role that falls on a veteran member of the group, they’ve run every one of the routes many times.  They will let you get lost if you are having a good time, and they will point the way if you sound tentative, and they watch the front and the back of the group.  Measure how good your group is by these runners.  Great ones check to make sure you get back and go back and get you when you are lost.  A GPS or a trail sign are a wonderful thing, but hold these runners closer than that.



If it isn’t on Strava, it didn’t happen.  They wave a hand in the air like a pink flamingo raises a leg.  They won’t budge until the satellites lock in.  Their annual bucket list includes a run where the Strava route draws a shape.  They also have the best run titles and will loan you a file when your run doesn’t record.  It won’t bother them you look identical.

The technical ones know where the why your phone records differently than a Garmin, and can spend hours discussing the waypoints different watches and phone operating systems utilize.  They can be spotted with a smartphone that isn’t playing music as it is secretly recording and one or more wrist devices as well as a heart monitor.  When the apocalypse happens they will be purchasing a Garmin for their dog who is well behaved and has their own Instagram account.  They never turn on Beaconing.  They could get lost in the running store.

Then there are the hunters, who are not the sheriffs.  They run whatever pace it takes and sprint like mad over a segment to prove something and you hear from them over post race coffee.  If you are tempted, save it for your training runs.


Speed blur

They are fast on road runs.  Concrete.  They run so precisely they slow when they step on lines on a track.  On a trail they go nuts.  They are easy to spot as they look constantly at their watch and are sure that real running happens at faster speeds.  They struggle uphill and run downhill like a Prius.

They will catch on, they are runners.

Until then they are a pain in ass.



This is usually a sub group, running slowly near the back of the pack if in touch with the group at all. If there is a regroup point, they can’t make it before everyone is shivering and needs to move on.

They are friendly and buzz with conversation amongst themselves.  You will not get to know them: you weren’t dancing with them last night, weren’t injured at the same time, didn’t do the last race with them.

You may not see them again, even at a post run coffee or beer.


This one has never run with a group or held a conversation.  They run the group run like a training run and go as hard as they can.  There may be people with them; however, they are so far above Tempo they can’t talk.  They compare Strava times at the end and freeze while everyone else comes in much later.  They show up to a group run for the social connection.  They are fun after a beer.



Announces themselves as an Ultra.  Thy are insulted when you call them a runner.  Mentions that they shouldn’t have done those hill reps before the group run.

They measure runs in hours.

They usually run a Half to get to the run, and you will never see them again.


They know exactly what is wrong with your running mechanics that caused the problem you are having.  They have had it before, repeatedly.

Not to be confused with the ER Doc or DPT who is running with the group,  these folks have no idea what salt is for but have a portable rolling device for whenever you stop.


They are up on all the latest treatments, methods, and shoes and you will have to probably let them tape you up.

9. The always late RUNNER




This is what waiting looks like. (Credit: Jesse Wild)

Try telling only them that ride starts at 8.45 when it really starts at 9. Their sixth sense for lateness will probably leave you waiting til 9.20 anyway.





Leave the big rings to Roger

Just because you’re riding a 54×42 chainset around the South Downs, it doesn’t make you Roger De Vlaeminck.

11. The TRI




Leave the big rings to Roger

12. The PACK




Leave the big rings to Roger


14. The FAST GUY




Leave the big rings to Roger






Leave the big rings to Roger


Inspiration for my bit of group humor from Cycling Weekly.  I hope they accept it with grace for all the group rides I have done.

I am sure I left off your favorite, contact my legal department.

Hamstring Rehab

I like the idea of “listening to your body” but what happens if it is much better but still a sensation, not of pain, but of stiffness. Does one completely idle? Run hard until stiffness sets in? Try another run and see? Hmmm.

Wait, going downhill I slowed up and tried for fluidity and no braking as I understood that motion was aggravating to a hamstring and when I noticed it tightening I slowed up more and then on the way in. Still, I am left with something residual. Quick eBike ride to coffee shop and off to run group. It will involve hills and there is no reason to set the pace, can run with the 2nd lead pack as a compromise 🙂

Fun. Light and Easy.

Running 5 Minutes a Day Has Long-Lasting Benefits

Originally seen on the NYTimes

Running for as little as five minutes a day could significantly lower a person’s risk of dying prematurely, according to a large-scale new study of exercise and mortality. The findings suggest that the benefits of even small amounts of vigorous exercise may be much greater than experts had assumed.

In recent years, moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, has been the focus of a great deal of exercise science and most exercise recommendations. The government’s formal 2008 exercise guidelines, for instance, suggest that people should engage in about 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week. Almost as an afterthought, the recommendations point out that half as much, or about 15 minutes a day of vigorous exercise, should be equally beneficial.

But the science to support that number had been relatively paltry, with few substantial studies having carefully tracked how much vigorous exercise is needed to reduce disease risk and increase lifespan. Even fewer studies had looked at how small an amount of vigorous exercise might achieve that same result.

So for the new study, published Monday in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers from Iowa State University, the University of South Carolina, the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., and other institutions turned to a huge database maintained at the Cooper Clinic and Cooper Institute in Dallas.

For decades, researchers there have been collecting information about the health of tens of thousands of men and women visiting the clinic for a check-up. These adults, after completing extensive medical and fitness examinations, have filled out questionnaires about their exercise habits, including whether, how often and how speedily they ran.

From this database, the researchers chose the records of 55,137 healthy men and women ages 18 to 100 who had visited the clinic at least 15 years before the start of the study. Of this group, 24 percent identified themselves as runners, although their typical mileage and pace varied widely.

The researchers then checked death records for these adults. In the intervening 15 or so years, almost 3,500 had died, many from heart disease.

But the runners were much less susceptible than the nonrunners. The runners’ risk of dying from any cause was 30 percent lower than that for the nonrunners, and their risk of dying from heart disease was 45 percent lower than for nonrunners, even when the researchers adjusted for being overweight or for smoking (although not many of the runners smoked). And even overweight smokers who ran were less likely to die prematurely than people who did not run, whatever their weight or smoking habits.

As a group, runners gained about three extra years of life compared with those adults who never ran.

Remarkably, these benefits were about the same no matter how much or little people ran. Those who hit the paths for 150 minutes or more a week, or who were particularly speedy, clipping off six-minute miles or better, lived longer than those who didn’t run. But they didn’t live significantly longer those who ran the least, including people running as little as five or 10 minutes a day at a leisurely pace of 10 minutes a mile or slower.

“We think this is really encouraging news,” said Timothy Church, a professor at the Pennington Institute who holds the John S. McIlHenny Endowed Chair in Health Wisdom and co-authored the study. “We’re not talking about training for a marathon,” he said, or even for a 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) race. “Most people can fit in five minutes a day of running,” he said, “no matter how busy they are, and the benefits in terms of mortality are remarkable.”

The study did not directly examine how and why running affected the risk of premature death, he said, or whether running was the only exercise that provided such benefits. The researchers did find that in general, runners had less risk of dying than people who engaged in more moderate activities such as walking.

But “there’s not necessarily something magical about running, per se,” Dr. Church said. Instead, it’s likely that exercise intensity is the key to improving longevity, he said, adding, “Running just happens to be the most convenient way for most people to exercise intensely.”

Anyone who has never run in the past or has health issues should, of course, consult a doctor before starting a running program, Dr. Church said. And if, after trying for a solid five minutes, you’re just not enjoying running, switch activities, he added. Jump rope. Vigorously pedal a stationary bike. Or choose any other strenuous activity. Five minutes of taxing effort might add years to your life.