Tuesday, April 28, 2009


It's been a crazy few weeks. Between loads of travel and loads of work and loads of changes at work, the blog has fallen by the wayside. Fortunately, my training hasn't completely fallen off; I was able to get through a particularly brutal, hot workout in 93-degree shadeless hills at Harriman State Park on Saturday. I then ran a not-so-fast local 5k on Sunday. I finished, and got $10 off at the nearby New Balance store for my efforts (the fact that I was one of only two people in my age group had nothing to do with it).

So, since I figure I owe pictures from my recent trips, but not much explanation, here's some photos from England. The Grand Canyon post will come soon.

Hannah declined to mention on our customs form that she came in contact with these ponies. If pony flu becomes a pandemic, you know who to blame.

The rest are from some of our walks around the countryside.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Goodbye my friend(s)

On a sad note, I (deliberately) left my workhorse trail shoes behind in the UK. Over the course of the week, I wore the last of the cushioning and lugs down to nothing. We got some good walks in though. Photos and recap from the trip to come soon.

And while my shoes were sent to the great English rubbish bin in the sky, I successfully managed to (accidentally) bring the key to our B&B room back to the US. So, I left something behind and gained something in return. The circle of life continues.

(Yes, I'm mailing the key back to England).

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The workhorse

I understand you might be suffering from withdrawal since I haven't written about shoes in a while. That's all about to change right now!

I picked up a pair of Inov-8s on sale a little while ago (yes, another pair of running shoes -- but these fell within my ~$60 "why not?" price-point). They're made with an innovative (ha! get it?) design philosophy and are much less supportive than most other trail runners, while still being all grippy. The basic theory is that the shoe gets out of your way to let you run more naturally and efficiently. In those terms, they're very similar to my favorite, super-inexpensive, super-reliable Vitruvians, only the Inov-8s are meant for off-road running.

Unfortunately for my calves and IT band, the Inov-8s take the "natural" running theory a little farther than my Vitruvians. Since they have such a low heel and not much built-in support, you need to gradually get used to them so that your muscles can adjust. Needless to say, I spent no time adapting and dove right in -- wearing them exclusively for three days, including a couple hour walk on Sunday (after I had already worked myself over with a tough bike and run on Saturday).

So, I'm sore. My right achilles is really tender. And my IT band pain is flaring up again. Nothing like waiting until a few days before a big event (the Grand Canyon hike in this case) to try something new! That hike's still far enough out that I should be healed up, but in the meantime, I'm back to aggressive rehab for my achilles and IT band and I'll be back in my favorite old pair of trail runners for our trip to England.

Those shoes have been through a lot, including our first hike in the Grand Canyon, our hike in St. John and numerous shorter walks and runs through the woods (or brush, in the case of Texas). They're probably at the end of their active life, but I keep pulling them back out because they keep performing. Who knew $40 on sale at EMS a few years ago was going to be such a good buy?

I don't know why I'm so attached to a pair of sneakers. It might be because the reason I have my $60 "why not?" price point is a result of these shoes being so awesome for so long for so little money.

It might also be because I'm weird.

On a slightly less weird note, I'm sure you're saddened to know that many of those shoes in the above picture are no longer with us (or, more specifically, they're not with me -- they're still with us in a landfill somewhere). I'll also be donating any other non-frequently worn shoes to either Soles 4 Souls or a similar charity in Doylestown, PA.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Two weeks (give or take) of adventure

Next Wednesday, Hannah and I leave for England for a week to visit her family and have some days of strolling around in the countryside (or what I perceive is the countryside. We're staying in a B&B, and last I checked, those typically aren't in the major metropolitan areas). We return to the US on Tuesday and Hannah continues on back to Texas.

On Saturday morning, I fly down to San Angelo for a quick visit. On Sunday morning I then fly to Phoenix by way of Dallas. Then I hop in a rental car and drive up to the Grand Canyon. I debated trying to do the short course Striders Duathlon in San Angelo on Sunday morning, but thought better of it -- no reason to make an already physically stressful trip even moreso.

Monday morning at 6:00 (if I have my way), my dad and brothers and I start our hike down to the Colorado River. If it all goes to plan, we'll be back up in the mid-afternoon. If it doesn't go well... then it'll probably be our last family trip. Ever.

Tuesday morning I drive back to Phoenix for a mid-afternoon flight to NJ.

Hopefully, I'll come out of all this with some good photos. But there might be an even bigger gap between posts. Somehow, I think you'll manage. If you need some excitement during the lull, check out my post about our new washer again. It's riveting.