One more look back at 2015

The holiday isn’t over yet.

So before I tie a bow around 2015 and charge fully into the new year, there’s one more post I want to file.

Tom and Matt all loaded up and ready for the BSA Troop 228 Katy Trail trek.

Tom and Matt head out for the BSA Troop 228 Katy Trail trek.

Kate, the kids and I had some great outdoor experiences in 2015, and during each of them I made a mental note to share them on Kansas City Runner. But life got in the way.

Then, while I was running the other day, the idea of writing a year in review struck me. It would allow me to share a great run or two — along with some fun cycling and paddling (and hiking, which I also love but can’t fit in the Kansas City Runner masthead) outings.

The Troop 228 guys preparing to hit the Katy Trail.

The Troop 228 guys prepare to hit the Katy Trail.

Voila! And while I didn’t get out as much in 2015 as in previous years — certainly not as much as I would have liked — our family did notch some great outdoor experiences last year.

In April, Boy Scout Troop 228 in Independence, Mo. spent a great weekend on the Katy Trail. The Missouri trail runs 237 miles from Clinton, Mo. to St. Charles, Mo. across a portion of the former Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad.

We camped at the Katy Roundhouse Campsite in New Franklin, Mo., which was ideally located just 50 feet from the trail. We rode a total of 30 miles, heading east to Rocheport, Mo. and back to the campsite.

Tom and his buddy, Wyatt, just west of Rocheport, Mo.

Tom and a buddy on the Katy Trail just west of Rocheport, Mo.

A few weeks later, I had to travel to London for a meeting on Saturday, May 2. I arrived the day before and, after settling in, decided to go for a run in Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, which were nearby.

As I left Kensington Gardens and turned up Embassy Row to return to the flat I was staying in, I passed several guys in suits, one of whom looked vaguely familiar. A few steps later, it struck me.

A grainy shot of Prince William and one of his grips from Embassy Row looking back through the Kensington Palace fence.

A grainy shot of Prince William and one of his grips. I was on Embassy Row looking back through the Kensington Palace fence when I snapped the shot with my trusty BlackBerry.

I quickly stopped and pulled out my phone. I’d seen the prince — that guy who married Kate. But in the excitement of the moment, I couldn’t remember his name!

I took this selfie in the London flat after seeing Prince William. I wanted there to be geotagged photo proving I'd seen him!

I took this selfie — complete with geotag to prove I’d seen Prince William on May 1 in London — after returning from my run.

I turned to get a shot of him as he turned into Kensington Gardens from Embassy Row. When Kate and William are in London, they stay in Kensington Palace, which is in the gardens.

As it turned out, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge was born the next day. I suspect Kate and William were in town preparing for her birth.

In June, I finally decided to scratch the solo canoe itch I’d been resisting for years. I love to paddle, but our canoe is a tandem, which makes it difficult to navigate without a paddler in the bow.

The Royalex Wenonah Wilderness strapped on and ready to go.

The Royalex Wenonah Wilderness loaded and ready to go.

I got on the Kansas City Paddler website and discovered the store had closed several months earlier after its founder’s untimely death. After reading more closely, however, I learned the store was selling its inventory by appointment from its Peculiar, Mo. location.

The Royalex solo canoe ready for her maiden voyage!

The Royalex solo canoe ready for her maiden voyage.

I e-mailed Gary at Kansas City Paddler, who’d sold me my tandem canoe more than 10 years earlier. Within a week, Kate and I met him at the store … and drove home with a Wenonah Wilderness strapped to the top of the car!

Matt's first catch from the new canoe! A small fish ... but a good fighter!

Matt’s first catch from the new canoe. A small fish … but a good fighter!

I enjoyed the solo canoe several times in the summer and fall on nearby Lake Jacomo. I look forward to getting it on a Missouri river or stream in 2016.

We shoved off in July for our Yellowstone National Park family vacation. We took four days to get there, taking in some beautiful sights along the way.

Joe, Maggie and Tom at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Joe, Maggie and Tom at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Our first stop was at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, S.D.  Several friends recommended it, and we were glad we took their advice. It was fun exploring the falls and rocks.

Stop number two: Badlands National Park.

Badlands National Park.

We made it all the way to Badlands National Park on our first day on the road. We arrived about an hour before sunset and enjoyed several quick hikes.

The next day, we spent several hours at Mount Rushmore National Park, which we’d never seen as a family. It was spectacular, and we enjoyed hiking its trails and learning about the amazing effort and commitment of those who created it.

Mount Rushmore was amazing!

Mount Rushmore was amazing.

We took our bikes on our summer vaction, and day three marked our first trail ride. None of us had ever seen South Dakota’s Black Hills National Forest, and to say it was breathtaking is an understatement.

Our ride on the Mickelson Trail in the Black Hills National Forest was spectacular.

Our ride on the Mickelson Trail in the Black Hills National Forest was spectacular.

We spent about three hours on the third day logging 16 miles on the George S. Mickelson Trail. We started at the Burlington Northern Hill City Trailhead and rode toward Mystic, turning around to return to the trailhead after about 8 miles.

Maggie's ready to go!

Maggie’s ready to go!

On day four, we stopped at Devil’s Tower National Monument on our way to Cody, Wyo. We spent two hours learning about and exploring the breathtaking natural wonder, which didn’t disappoint.

A family shot at Devil's Tower Natinoal Monument.

A family shot at Devil’s Tower National Monument.

The fun continued during our week in Yellowstone. We stayed at the WorldMark West Yellowstone, which — less than a mile from the park’s western entrance — I highly recommend.

Joe and Maggie at Devil's Tower.

Joe and Maggie at Devil’s Tower.

A high point of our time in Yellowstone were our cool bike rides. Our research ahead of the trip indicated family cycling trails were limited but growing in the park. We decided to throw the bikes on the car and use them as our primary mode of exploration.

Kate riding the trail to Mystic Falls.

Kate riding the trail to Mystic Falls.

It turned out great. It’s a strategy for seeing less-frequently-visited parts of Yellowstone I’d highly recommend to families and those who enjoy a little physical activity.

On our first day in the park, we took in Old Faithful. Where else to begin, right?

Joe, Maggie and Tom in front of Lone Star Geyser.

Joe, Maggie and Tom in front of Lone Star Geyser.

Later that same day, we logged several great rides. First, we headed to Morning Glory Pool. Afterward, we logged a longer ride to Mystic Falls. Both were spectacular.

Kate and Matt pose for a quick selfie on the return ride from Lone Star Geyser.

Kate and Matt pose for a quick selfie on the return ride from Lone Star Geyser.

Another great ride was to Lone Star Geyser. The trail was covered by tree canopies and less crowded than other parts of the park. The geyser did not disappoint, and the ride out and back just made it more memorable.

Joe, Maggie and Tom in front of Kepler Falls.

Joe, Maggie and Tom in front of Kepler Falls.

After the Lone Star Geyser ride, we took the short hike to Kepler Cascades. We were all fairly tired from the long ride, but the quick walk was a small price to pay for the spectacular views of the falls.

Perhaps the longest ride of our trip was to Grand Prismatic Spring. It took us over some breathtaking terrain.

A spectacular shot -- compliments of my BlackBerry -- of Grand Prismatic Spring.

A spectacular shot — compliments of my BlackBerry — of Grand Prismatic Spring.

We started at the Nez Perce Creek Picnic Area and rode the 12-mile roundtrip route to and from Grand Prismatic Spring. Once there, we climbed a steep trail and took in a spectacular view.

Tom getting ready to zipline.

Tom getting ready to zipline.

West Yellowstone, Mont., has plenty to offer in its own right. One evening, Joe, Tom and I went ziplining while Kate and Maggie took in the shops.

Yellowstone Zipline Adventures was fantastic. After learning the ziplining basics, we spent several hours enjoying the park’s features and building our confidence and skill.

Joe chilling on the zipline landing pad.

Joe chilling on the zipline landing pad.

On another evening, all five Beems took in a live rodeo. Wild West Yellowstone Rodeo is the real deal, featuring local riders hoping to move up the circuit. It’s an experience I would highly recommend.

Joe, Maggie and Tom after the West West Yellowstone Rode.

Joe, Maggie and Tom after the Wild West Yellowstone Rodeo.

All in all, not a bad year! We had a lot of fun in the outdoors and enjoyed some new experiences in 2015.

I hope your fitness and outdoor activity plans for 2016 are coming together. Share them here for us all to enjoy.

Happy running!

Kansas City Runner

 

Posted in All posts, January 2016 | 2 Comments

A new running plan for 2016

I’ve written several times over the holidays about my commitment to and excitement about renewing my running discipline.

As I blogged recently, it’s not that I didn’t run in 2015. Rather, I didn’t hit the road as often as in previous years, nor did I run with a purpose.

In 2016, all that’s changing.

Kate, Tom and I last night committed to two races in the coming months. Both are hightlighted in the Races tab of this blog.

On March 6, we’ll run the Great Plains 10K at Longview Lake in Kansas City. And on April 9, we’ll run the Rock the Parkway Half Marathon in Kansas City, which all three of us have done several times in recent years.

To prepare for the races, I’ll follow a training plan designed for those seeking to finish a half marathon in 2:15 to 2:30. My best half, which I ran more than six years ago, was 1:58 … so I’ve got a nice goal toward which to strive in subsequent halfs.

On my non-running days, I’ll incorporate Dr. Jordan Metzl’s Iron Strength Workout for Runners into my training. I did the workout (as much of it as I could) for the first time two days ago, and I’m still feeling the pain of lingering lactic acid in the rarely used muscles it called into action!

So there you have it. My running commitment for 2016.

What are your fitness goals for the new year? Share them here so we can support your quest to improve your physical health.

Happy running!

Kansas City Runner

Posted in All posts, January 2016 | 4 Comments

Renewed Sermon Center membership

If you live in Independence and don’t belong to the Roger T. Sermon Community Center, add joining the family fitness hub to your holiday checklist. I just renewed my membership for 2016.

My 2016 Sermon Center membership card.

My 2016 Sermon Center membership card.

It’s the best deal in town.

Adults can join the Independence Parks and Recreation facility for $30 a year. It costs even less if you’re retired.

With expanded hours, a new circuit training area, updated cardio equipment and remodeled locker rooms, the Sermon Center has much to offer fitness newbies and veterans alike. There are also activities and programs for kids.

To learn more, visit the Independence Parks and Recreation web site. You won’t be sorry you did!

Happy running!

Kansas City Runner

Posted in All posts, December 2015 | 2 Comments

Another good run … save one thing

I enjoyed an easy run this afternoon. The roads were slushy and slick, so I stuck to the sidewalks, where the snow was powdery and undisturbed.

Dr. Jordan Metzl's "Running Strong: The Sports Doctor's Complete Guide to Staying Healthy and Injury-Free for Life."

Dr. Metzl’s Running Strong: The Sports Doctor’s Complete Guide to Staying Healthy and Injury-Free for Life.

With the sun shining brigthly and temperatures hovering around 28, it was the perfect winter afternoon to hit the road.

Save one thing.

Having not run as regularly in recent months as I once did, I noticed soreness in my shins from the holiday’s previous outings. So I took it slow and easy and, as a result, have decided to mix things up tomorrow and work out indoors.

Dr. Jordan's Metzl's Iron Strength Workout for Runners.

Dr. Metzl’s Iron Strength Workout for Runners.

As I mentioned in a recent post, I several months ago purchased Dr. Jordan Metzl’s Running Strong: The Sports Doctor’s Complete Guide to Staying Healthy and Injury-Free for Life. I devoured the book but am yet to try Iron Strength Workout for Runners, a two-DVD set that came with it.

So tomorrow, instead of hitting the road, I’ll give my legs a rest and do my first Iron Strength Workout. I’m really looking forward to it.

Have any of you done Dr. Metzl’s workout? If so, share your thoughts by replying to this post.

Happy Running!

Kansas City Runner

Posted in All posts, December 2015 | Leave a comment

A winter wonderland

As a wintry mix fell steadily this morning in Kansas City, I concluded it was the perfect time to don an extra layer and hit the road. There were few motorists on the streets as I set out around 10 a.m., and the snow-sleet combination offered plenty of traction.

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A water-resistant shell and extra layer of wicking outdoor wear kept me warm and dry.

If you’ve run in snow, you know what a delight it is. It adds an extra layer of insulation that softens foot falls and quiets the din of passing motorists. The result is a perfect recipe for the quiet reflection runners crave.

It wasn’t my fastest or flashiest four miles, but it was a run for the memory book. I plan to lace up my shoes and hit the road again tomorrow.

It’s just after 5 p.m. in Kansas City as I write, and the snow is still falling outside.  Bundle up and hit the road — you won’t regret it!

Happy running!

Kansas City Runner

Posted in All posts, December 2015 | 2 Comments