McNaughton Park Trail tour (encore post)

Reposted from my old blog

Workout notes: 10 mile trail loop (walk) 2:44; I wore my new Brooks Cascadias (ok, I bought them a week ago).

Because the McNaughton Trail Runs are coming up, I’ll talk you through one of the 10 mile loops (note: in the 50 miler you do 5 of these, 10 for the 100, and 15 for the 150).

Note: on race day, the course is very well marked with fluorescent green tape (ok, it is yellow, but it looks green to me) and glow sticks.

Update for the 2008 race: today is Thursday and it has rained hard all day long. The course should be a gigantic mud-bath, so expect lots of this:

See here for more “mud” photos.

The start is near where the McNaughton Park blacktop road runs out. Note: there is a red arrow pointing to the right (as you look toward the end of the road loop). This is the start of the 7.5 mile “red trail”. If you want to do the trail course, you look left. You’ll see a wide, somewhat muddy trail heading down hill. Start there.

You go down hill and empty out into a field. Starting in 2006, the course turns left and you go around the field, hugging the outstide.

The race course has a “short cut” marked; if you go all the way around you’ll add a couple of minutes to your loop time. Stay around the field (don’t follow the horse trails out!) and, at about .8-.9 miles into it, there will be a small entrance into the woods; that leads you up your first climb.

The entrance can be hard to see during the summer; remember it comes at “almost 1 mile” into it. You go up this hill and empty out into a grassy field.

You can see the start of the course on your right and you head straight across the field toward the woods (near where the woods get closest to the road). This is where the “red trail” starts. Again, this entrance can be hard to find when the course isn’t marked. Here is a summer and a spring view:

Now the trail goes through the woods and you’ll go over several “dipsy doodles” (mini ravines). You’ll also cross several mini streams and possibly pick up some mud. Note: recently, a couple of cool foot bridges have been added. Eventually you’ll turn right and go up your second good uphill

and face another field to cross; this one has a foot path and features tall grass on either side. You’ll cross under some power lines.

You are closing in on mile 2. Then you’ll head back into the woods for some more single track; here you’ll encounter 3-4 more mini-ravines and perhaps a small stream. The footing is mostly good but the ravines are momentum killing. Eventually, you’ll come to yet another footbridge and that means that you are close to exiting this woodsy section.

This takes you to the totem pole aid station, and I have a hard time believing that I don’t have a photo of that. Here, you are at mile 2.5, and this is the first aid station.

Here is Jerry Davidson’s:

From this station, you head out following the red trail, for a little while. Eventually, you break away from the red trail:

Note that the red trail moves off toward the left; to follow the race course you go to the right of the tower that you see. This takes you past a bathroom and through some open fields.

Though this stretch, you might encounter some fallen limbs, maybe a stray root and some gopher tracks/holes. But mostly you can make good time.

When I am out on my own, I always get lost here (and so I usually just follow the red trail). But when it is marked, you can see where to cross the first small rectangular field (short side), and go between two trees into a footpath through the woods. You empty out and follow another field going along the long side of the rectangle, then when the field jogs right, you turn left thought the woods again, and move up over a tiny grassy hill.

Then you hug the field and then turn left through some woods

and this path connects to a very sandy path; you turn right on this path and head downhill.

The down hill area is called “the beach”. Stay on it and then go uphill to leave the sandy area; the path becomes packed dirt again. Then downhill to the first major creek crossing:

Note: during the summer, this crossing is sometimes dry:

And you are about 1/3 of the way through the loop!

Across the creek, you turn right and follow the dirt path. Here (when it isn’t marked for a race) it is easy to get lost and miss that first uphill section; you don’t want to miss that! 🙂

This first post-creek uphill takes you about half way up the bluff that you are about to get familiar with. Then you go down, take the dirt paths that run along side the creek and stretch out those legs getting them ready for the bluff section.

You eventually head toward the bluff and go along side of it for about 100-200 meters until you then make a hard right turn right up the side of the bluff: welcome to golf hill!

You are at about 4 miles into the loop. This hill has a rope during the race.

This starts you on an interesting 1 mile section where you repeatedly go up the bluff and almost all the way back down it:

You do have some flat stretches along the bottom of the bluff. The third uphill is the longest though not the steepest. You have one up-down part on this third uphill,

but eventually you’ll come to the end of this section where you will see this:

That is the signal that you are about to take a long downhill toward the creek. Note that this has been changed this year; no more screaming downhill but rather a more reasonable, gentle downgrade.

This bridge is just a hair shorter than half-way! On the other side, you’ll have a minute or two more of a few minor dipsy-doodles

prior to crossing another small foot bridge and emptying out at the base of a hill, where you will turn left and go up a long uphill, which features a wide trail and another wooden footbridge.

You empty out into a field for about .5 miles worth of easy running or walking:

Along the edge of the field you’ll pass a small family cemetery. Then you’ll pass an easy to miss (when not marked) clearing on the right. This is about 5.8-5.9 miles into it and is called “Heaven’s Gate”. Turn into this clearing and you’ll be at aid station number 2 and 3, as you pass it twice. Head towards the end of the field and you’ll see an entrance into the woods. Follow it, but then when you get on the foot path, take your first right (easy to miss) If you go straight, you’ll cut off about .5 of a mile.

This takes you down toward some woodsy paths that run along side the creek. I call this the slalom course as you frequently twist and turn between the trees. Eventually you empty out into a grassy field and follow that for a while.

Off to your right, you can see the mile 8-9 section of the loop.

Eventually, you head back through the woods, up hill

and back into the Heaven’s Gate field. You exit that, turn right, and head out along the outer perimeter of the field; you have about 3 miles left in your loop.

Here it gets a bit tricky again if you are not out there when the race course is marked. Keep going so long as you see the red markings on the trees.

You exit the field to the right and go along a wide grassy clearing.

You keep going until you see woods off on your left, and at about 7.25 miles or so, there is a small opening into the woods:

Yes, that one:

And that takes you through just about a mile of small ups and downs, with perhaps one good sized hill.

You pass over one small footbridge, and at about 8.1-8.2 miles you’ll see a larger one:

Turn right when you cross this bridge; this takes you on a bit more of path which empties into yet another field and a downhill.

Here you get easy grass running/walking for about a quarter of a mile.

When you come back toward the woods, there will be a right turn that you do prior to moving toward a field (where you first went downhill at the beginning of the loop. Turn right and after about 200 meters you’ll find the third steam crossing.

yes, that is Andy, the race director, and on the other side you see where the trail picks up again.

You go up a steep hill and past a hole in the Disc (Frisbee) golf course; don’t be deceived; you still have about 1 mile left.

You go through some woods, alongside the creek again, and then back into the woods on a steep uphill.

This part is the most mentally taxing for me, as it appears that you are finally about to get out of the woods, but then you are directed back into them again. The uphill is followed by a downhill, then two more minor uphills and downhills.

The downhill which has the wooden marking post signifies the end of the last wood section; you then empty out onto the disc golf course!

Turn right, follow the red signs on the trees. This takes you across a field, to a path where you go right. The lake will be on your right as you go past. Then as you see a big uphill on your left, take the hill and go through the clearing. This is the last hill of the loop.

Then as soon as you are on the top, turn hard left and follow the treeline. You’ll go through a clearing toward another “hole” of the golf course, but then turn right through yet another small path.

That path empties you out into yet another field, where you will be able to see the start of the course.

Congratulations; you now have another 4-9-14 of these to do. 🙂

Update: this shows what things can get like if it rains hard:

Note the tape on the tree to the right; that is the kind of tape that is used. I see this as a very bright green but perhaps it is really yellow? 🙂 (re: Brian’s comment)

Here is another photo showing a muddy course and the tape:

Both of these, I believe, come from the stretch between the last stream crossing and the disc golf course.

keep on keeping on

I got the time of the pool opening wrong; so I hiked and did non-banded PT exercises.

Short hike:

No, it never quite felt right, but it wasn’t as if it got progressively worse. I did have to stretch a few times; forward bends helped. The trail: sort of an easy FPNC caliber trail; kind of nice and empty.

Then the 50 meter pool. Well, only 2 lanes for lap swimming due to a class.

500 meters in 12:52 (OMG)

400 meters of kicking, swim with fins

500 meters in 11:44

100 side.

That was enough for today.

Shoulder: a little bit sore, but gentle swimming seems easier than intervals.

And the stalker remains

I woke up late, answered a math question, did some admin and then worked out:

pull ups went fine: 5 sets of 10 and then 2 sets of 5 chins. These went GREAT.

push ups: ok, 30 sissy, then “walk 10” (about killed me: 5:10 to do) then 20 with feet elevated.

Some rehab and off to Forest Park Nature Center where I did the 3.3 mile outer loop (measured as 3.2 by my Garmin). Note I did this in 1:23 this summer BUT that was on dryer terrain and I really WAS taking it easy today.

Walking time, which included some stretch breaks (stopped the watch for the longer ones) took 1:28 minutes of walking time. That is pathetic; but I was slow, deliberate and there were some slick spots; muddy in places. The piriformis barked at me..and the back reminded me that I wasn’t 100 percent, but cardio wise, well, I didn’t go fast enough to stress that.
Yes, I didn’t stretch enough; that was important to note. was like visiting an old friend.

On the trail: a few people, which included one older person struggling on the Wakerobin (he had a walking stick) and a young woman wearing just a jog bra and tight workout leggings (it was 40 F, and yes, she was walking).

I was wearing sweats and a jacket. LOL. It drizzled some.

Yes, I walked yesterday so that was part of it.

Forest Park Nature Center, pain, etc.

Well, it was a warm summer day and I said “the heck with it; I am going to hike the outer loop of the Forest Park Nature Center even if it hurts.

And hurt it did; the loop took 1:23 though I’d say I spent at least 10 minutes total time on stretching breaks; the glute downright hurt after 15 minutes. Good thing I am getting professional attention.

I’d say this was a 1:10-1:15 effort on most days but…well, it is what it is.
I’ve been through a couple of years like this: 2006-2007 and again 2010-2011 and eventually, things got better. And given that I am older, it will take longer.

Then I did pull ups (50 or 55..missed a set of 5), push ups: 3 sets of 10 “hands on the ground” and 2 sets of 40 with hands on the bar.

Curls, rotator cuff and I did 10 x 95, 10 x 115 bench press (special bar; probably less range of motion.

stumbling start

Well, classes start in 2 days. And there were problems with Zoom (yes, the app works)

But my back ups are in place.

Yesterday: yep, some glute pain (kind of predictable by now)…back track to less mileage and perhaps some simple jogging to get it cleared up.

It made the hike a bit less pleasant that it would have otherwise been..a few spiderwebs but that’s to be expected.
Then platelets WITH plasma …only platelet person an early start

This morning: 75 minute workout (still made it on time sans shower:
glute stuff
pull ups (15 minutes); 10, 9 sets of 5, some with short rests ..decent 55 total
bench press: 10 x 132 (old plates), 3 sets of 5 x 176 (first set was the worst); still tough.
shoulder press: 36 kg (83.6) 3 sets of 10: challenge
rows (trap bar) 3 sets of 10 x 134
trap bar squats: 10 x 134, 10 x 156, 10 x 156 deficit (keeping as upright as possible)
push ups: 25, 15, 10 (tough)
This wore me out.

2019 in review

Here is my 2019 in review. I posted photos that are meaningful to me. The first one is collage of “friend” photos.

Here is the “where” (many of the “wheres” anyway)










The TBK Bank Quad Cities Marathon




Dead ending or Dead lifting?

Workout notes: yesterday, a routine 4 mile hike at Forest Park Nature Center. There I ran into the very lovely Lori Lindo; she was a runner from the “old school” back in the 1996-2001 era. She worked down to a 3:12 marathon, and we were reasonably well matched in the 5K (though she left me almost 30 minutes behind in the marathon).

Today: weights only. No, I did not weigh myself though I suspect I am up. I wore sweats.
Rotator cuff
pull ups: 10-10-10-5-5, (5-5), then 10 later (60 in total); sort of a challenge.
dead lifts: 6 x 135, 1 x 185, 1 x 225 (missed once too), 3 minute rest, 1 x 235 (easier than the 225), 6 x 205, then did a set of 6 x 135 going from a shallow step.
bench press: 10 x 135, 3 x 185 (strong), 10 x 160
military: 9 x 50 standing, 10 x 45, 10 x 45
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 100 machine
goblet squats: 6 x 30, 6 x 50, then 6 x 70 (too high of a bench for this last one)
2:30 plank, headstand

I should have gotten my hair cut prior to lifting? (LOL)

I feel better about the deadlift; a change of technique is enabling me to practice this without hurting myself. Maybe I’ll get better; I have to remember that back in 2010 even a 115 lb. incline lift was difficult as was a 30 lb. shoulder press (which is what I do instead of a true military press) Right now, my pull ups and bench press ..and even my shoulder press is far, far better (not that these are good).

Personal: we had a bat in the house. It was easy to capture with a soft laundry basket.

A photo tour of my 10.6 mile Peoria course

Today I strolled a very easy 10.6 miles (17 km) (total time of day, including photos took 3:10 to do, strolling very easily)

This is a map of the route I took with numbers corresponding to photos (photo 48 was taken a long time ago; other photos were taken today)

1. The start of the course (my house)

2. Moss Avenue (canopy of trees and older, larger homes)

3. MacArthur bridge with a nice pedestrian bridge; just put in this year.

4. Path near Carver Center and past a water park that I used to take my daughter to.

5. Not part of the course, but there were a lot of utility trucks.

6. Dozer Park; I spend way too much time here.

7. Caterpillar building.

8. Start of the downtown area with shops, bars and restaurants.

9. One of a series of abstract sculptures (silver)

10. Bars and restaurants near the water.

11. Start of the bike path along the River; part of a much longer system stretching from Toulon, IL to Morton, IL

12. Peoria Museum

13. One of the restaurants.

14. Gateway Building

15. I 74 bridge over the Illinois River.

16. Geese everywhere. Riverplex is in the background.

17. Sculpture by the Riverplex

18. Birdhouses behind the Riverplex

19. Path..sand volleyball court to the left.

20. Old railroad rotating “bridge.”

21. Entrance to the marina (since closed)

22. Old Marina docks.

23. The gooseloop; a .37 mile loop path.

24. Baseball field.

25. Abington road..kind of rough.

26. Entrance to lower Glen Oak park.

27. The Ingersoll statue

28. Hill; start of the Steamboat 15K hill loop section.

29. Crest of the hill; upper Glen Oak Park.

30. The park lagoon.

31. Park Building.

32. Entrance to the Peoria Zoo.

33. Open space in the park.

34. Prospect Avenue.

35. Upper entrance to Springdale Cemetery (where cars can enter).

36. Forrest Hill and Central avenue: where the Boredom course meets this course.

37. Long shot (about 1 mile) on Forrest Hill.

38. St. Paul Church.Forrest Hill section is almost done.

39. Bigelow Ave., nice section.

40. Hansler and Bootz; I sometimes turn on Hansler.

41. Broadway; an old section.

42. Nebraska and Broadway and Gale; a tricky intersection. Better look 4 ways before you cross.

43. Over I-74.

44. Columbia Terrace: 1 mile to go.

45. Crossing University and into the Uplands neighborhood on Columbia Terrace.

46. Columbus statue in Bradley Park, along Parkside.

47. The Arbor District: my neighborhood ..and street too.

48. Laura and Cooper. I took this photo this fall; this shows an entrance to the Bradley University campus. My office building is the “castle top” building.


49. Home! Another 10.6 miles (17 km) deposited into the bank.

Why I keep reminding myself…

Well, I had a friend complete the grueling 314 mile Vol State Ultramarathon (they had 10 days to do it). And when such a thing happens, I go back to think: “ok, maybe I can…”

Well, today I walked my 7 mile route from Tower Park to Forest Park Nature Center (the spur to the Nature Center, outer loop: Valley, Lower Deer Run, Deer Run, Wakerobin, Bee Tree, Possum Path, Valley, Wilderness) and back. It took 2:21 to do with the lower loop taking 1:10 (spur segments: 27:20, 26:48) and this was, oh, about 20 minutes longer than it once took. Why I keep bringing that up? Well, when I did my only sub 24 hundred (walking), my training paces were a LOT faster (13:30 or so..which are now 15:30.) and my 5K races were mid 23..not mid 27.

Those days are not coming back. But …well, I remember doing it is hard for me to say “forget the past..focus on doing the best you can NOW.
And this year..and probably for years to come, 6:00-6:15 for the marathon (walking) might be just fine.