Moving efficiently over ground

G & I ran the past two days.  I suppose run is a general term.  He has a lot of experience in moving efficiently over varied terrain, as evidenced by his 180 day “yo-yo” from Mexico to Canada and back on the Continental Divide Trail.  So obviously running with him for hours at a time is less about pure speed then about endurance and a desire to see new trails.

Saturday we drove out to French Creek and had the park mostly to ourselves (with George).   It was about 13 miles in 4 hours over some very crusty foot deep snow and some postholing for good measure.  The park itself seems to have mostly mellow climbs, and certainly a few different large loops are possible.  And we walked across a large cold frozen windy lake where people were ice fishing and ice skating. We’ll likely go back once more of the snow has melted.

Yesterday, Sunday, we drove up to the north end of Pennypack and decided to “run it out” to the terminus on the Delaware River behind the Holmesburg penitentiary.  It is in fact a surprisingly nice waterfront park there on the Delaware.  Not counting some trail offshoots, I believe it was approximately 10 or 11 miles to the Delaware river from Pine Rd. #1 parking area.  There are a few double and single track trails (horse trails) in Pennypack, though again with the snow it was a bit difficult to correctly stay on the offshoots, similar to the Wissahickon where many head out toward neighborhood access trails.

According to maps we’ve seen, there is a theoretical 15.5 mile loop that includes only 3 or 4 miles of pavement.  It would be nice to have a .gpx of this loop the next time we head out.  It ended up being about 21 miles in 4.5 hours (probably closer to 4 hours of actual moving time) and some slogging through wet snow as we attempted to veer on to barely discernible single track in a few places.

All in all some nice footwork moving over varied terrain this weekend.

Mighty Delaware

Mighty Delaware

G&Dela

G&Dela

wiss

G & I had  a good snowy, slippery run in the Wiss.  Less mud, more snow than expected.  It took longer, as we didn’t have spikes / screw shoes.  Which would’ve been nice.  A good 20.5km loop nonetheless.

New Balance appears to be discontinuing the MT1210 Leadville series, but it’s unclear.  Perhaps they are simply delayed in shipping; I presume they usually have “spring shoes” in stock by the end of March at the latest.  But they also haven’t updated them on the official NB page, which is a bad sign.

I figure I’ll try some of the Altras and see if they fit my wide foot better (or at all).  Certainly the toe box will be wider, mid-foot probably not so much.  I did buy two pairs of the Saucony Kinvara 3 in wide, so there’s that, and they don’t seem to be discontinuing that model any time soon.   Ideally I’d love to see something like the Kinvara 3 with thicker forefoot cushioning and sticky rubber trail lugs.  That would be swell.

Also, a hilarious bulldog at the dog run when George was getting more exercise because the winter has taken its toll and made him a fat Kenyan hunting dog  (G took the photo):

Hilarious dog at the dog run

 

Houdini Guccini

Me & Houdini

Me & Houdini

I recently bought the Patagonia R1 Hoody and the Houdini windshirt. This past week I tested the Houdini in cold wet, icy and snowy conditions in upstate New York.

I was skeptical of this “piece”. Many reviewers claim ecstatically that it’s the single best windshirt out there. Bold indeed. The Marmot Ion née Trail Wind Hoody is certainly less expensive and the DriClime Windshirt a bit heavier. Oh, but the cut? Most Patagonia stuff I wear in size small, but sometimes I find small feels constricting or medium feels a bit loose. With the Houdini and R1 Hoody I ordered size small and the fit is athletic but not tight and you can wear a thick baselayer underneath, while the hood fits nicely over a hat or the R1 Hoody.

The first of many runs I took wearing the Houdini was in the rain and melting snow. So far so good, it kept me warm and dry, much unlike my feet. Next up were two hours of snowshoeing. Uphill I was hot, but simply flick off the hood, pull up sleeves, unzip, and go. How about running in a snow storm @ 18°F? Perfect again, the DWR works well and the cut of the shell is really well done for movement. The final test were two bouts of classic Nordic skiing. One afternoon it was almost 32°F out! I was on fire. Nonetheless with the wind I kept the Houdini on, though I did take off the gloves and hat! It was too hot on the snow.

The next morning proved a better test, 10°F on icy XC tracks. I kept the hood on over my hat and wore my goto Black Diamond MidWeight gloves. Once moving I was warm and stayed warm, never getting clammy as I have in other windshirts. My older thin Pearl Izumi cycling jacket I ran in frequently this winter would often become clammy within 30 minutes of running, whereas the Houdini breathes well and keeps the precipitation off.

I certainly haven’t tried every windshirt on the market, but I can tell time was spent getting the Houdini dialed in. At approximately 4oz, folded into its own pocket, it’s a no brainer to bring it traveling or zip it on for a cold early morning run. It’s on my “go list” for Alaska.

Vermonter

I didn’t expect the romanticism of the train to be so overpowering. The eight hours to Montpelier flew by and I felt like a giant weight had been lifted off my chest. There is special smell in Fall as the leaves change and the days grow colder and the snap of freezing cracks. Aaron lives in a cabin close to Hardwick, about 15 miles or so from Montpelier, down a dirt road, on the top of a hill with no electricity and running water from a spring. My last night I had a couple of logs in the wood fired stove to keep the little cabin warm. I ran a 5 km trail race with Aaron’s friend Caroline and other runners from town; it was sponsored by the shop she and Aaron work for. The trails in the Winter become cross country skiing tracks. It was hilly and I was nearly beaten by Caroline’s fleet feet. I went mountain biking in nearby Barre at some Granite Quarries, borrowed a Cannondale Prophet from the bike shop. Mostly I felt myself quiet down. The city has been too much lately. I feel like more simplification is needed. I don’t really want to spend my nights in condors or on ledges any more. I need something else. I know. This is basically how it always is. Something else. But it was so quiet up there. And the stars and the moon.

Sarah

Sarah

I think Matt would appreciate this

I think Matt would appreciate this

Aaron's cabin

Aaron’s cabin

Misty morning

Misty morning