spring is imminent!

This morning I installed a pull-up bar in the house so that I can grow wings and glide along with ease and joy while running through the trails and open prairies of the upper midwest. Warmer temps are here— lately it’s been getting into the 30s everyday and today it might hit 40. I am incredibly excited about running on the thawed surface of trails again soon. Actually, two days ago when out for a 10-mile run (first double digit mileage since 11/22 when I ran around the lake) some of the mud was beginning to appear on one of the dirt roads I was tearing along on. This was only my second run in my Inov-8 Roclite 295‘s and I have to say, they’re quickly becoming my favourite (they’re made in the UK after all) pair of running shoes ever.

The tread on these bad boys is a bit overkill for pavement, but it works and handles every other surface I’ve been on so far with aplomb. Even on packed snow and ice I’ve had excellent traction— too bad I didn’t buy these a couple months ago. The shoe is quite light for a trail shoe (10.4 oz) and does not contain any unnecessary motion control components. The cushioning is more substantial than in my New Balance MT100’s, yet it’s not excessive and the shoes are still rather low-profile. I am continuing to adapt to a midfoot striking running style, so I am glad to have a shoe with decent cushioning since I still have some tenderness in the balls of my feet.

I’m starting to take Neko along with me on more runs too. Nothing too far yet since she’s not quite 7 months old, but last week she did 4 easy miles with me and didn’t show any signs of fatigue or soreness the next day. I probably won’t take her out for more than 5 miles for a few more months, but it’s encouraging to see how much she likes running. She’s less distracted by smells since she’s moving faster and she seems to like the pace of running more than walking slowly along. There’s so much more for her to learn and experience still, having a dog is great fun an adventure.

NOTE: As I was typing the above, Neko was bouncing around behind me chasing the rainbows (from the rainbow maker) that are dancing around the room. I turned around to find that she pissed on the floor in her overexcited state, hence the edit. Come on, puppy!

Back to running…

My first race of the year is probably going to be the Earth Day Half Marathon here in St. Cloud on 4/17. Being this far along in my running already, I think it’s realistic to consider doing two marathons this year. I’m trying to figure out which ones and where. I’d really like to make it up to Fairbanks for the Equinox, but that might not be a good idea since we have a wedding to attend in Texas shortly after that race. I’m also going to be home in June around the time of the Lake Placid marathon, so that might fit into my plans. Otherwise, there’s several in Minnesota and Wisconsin, including some great trail marathons in northern Minnesota. I certainly have many options to consider.

there will be scotch!

Nothing quite brings about pensive absurdity like a nip of scotch in the evenings. It may not be Tuesday, but tonight, being Wednesday, is Tuesday’s future!

How have I been, you wonder?

Well, I’ve been, most certainly. There were recent doldrums to conquer. Alas, they have come and gone. Now midweek is here and I’m again smacked with gratitude and joy. A new album has made its way into my musical mix-up and it might be the most magnificent album I’ve purchased in awhile— Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. It’s a trip and a half, being equal parts marching madness and gallivanting good times. The music itself is enough to smash apart any sort of foul mood on most days, I imagine.

Besides new good music, I went for an outstanding run for the first time in five days today. Why the long stretch of not running, you ask? Well, the ball of my left foot has been an achy hunk of worthlessness. I figured it was a bruise that’s resulted from my shortened stride— which itself has come about this winter in an attempt to keep my feet underneath my hips and therefore slip less on icy, cold messes. It’s worked, I haven’t fallen once since giving up wearing grippies over my shoes. The shortened stride results in more of a mid-foot strike than my usual over-striding heel strike. The mid-foot landing is desired, but my feet are still adapting to the new gait. After consulting with my friend Jessica, however, I’ve learned that my foot pain might be the result of stepping on a tiger. I do not remember stepping on a tiger, but such a scenario would be quite traumatic and perhaps I am unconsciously blocking it from my memory?

Today’s run was the first in my new minimalist trail running shoes, the New Balance MT100’s. They’re lighter than a popcorn fart. There’s hardly anything to these shoes, which is great! Just a thin mesh upper connected to some light cushioning and a rock plate for protection against hard stuff. The tread seems sufficient, but I’m yet to test the shoes out on trails since there’s still a couple feet of snow on the ground. Today I took them on the partially ice-covered road for a quick 4 mile out and back. My foot did not bother me and I was running faster than I had in a long time without even intending to push myself. I am thoroughly enjoying the added ground feel that comes with such a basic shoe. I know my feet are not strong enough to wear these shoes for a very long run yet, but maybe over time they will be and I won’t need the uber-cushioned trainers anymore. We’ll see.

In other news, I made a vegetarian variation of avgolemono tonight. I’ve never had avgolemono before, which is a Greek soup, but I love soup and my aforementioned friend Jessica sent me a link to a recipe for it today. It sounded good and I made it happen. Traditionally it features chicken, a smooth lemon-chicken-egg broth, and rice or orzo. In lieu of chicken I started with veggie broth and rocked some garbanzo beans and carrots. Instead of rice I used quinoa. It turned out deliciously refreshing and good, but perhaps slightly strong of lemon. I like how the egg mixture succeeded in not curdling and gave the soup a pleasant light-yellowish hue. The only other addition I made was the fresh grinding of some pepper into the individual bowls for a little punch. I think the next time I make it I might cut back on the lemon and make sure I use fresh lemons instead of using the bottled stuff I had on hand. Thank you good people of Greece for a happy little soup that I am now able to make!

Now, get some Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros in you and carry on with the wonder that is your life: