Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cross Country Action

Elliot had another cross country meet today. He was quite disappointed in his performance but I could tell he gave it his all. He told me that he had never run so hard in his life, and that as he sprinted to the finish he could hardly feel his legs. My hope is that his hard work and tremendous race-day efforts will eventually pay off with some ribbons or medals. Whether or not it does, I hope he will be permanently infected with the sheer joy of the run. 
Elliot is fourth from the right.
Next meet I'll bring an actual camera instead of just my iphone.
And I'll try to get a picture where he's not behind a branch.

And here's a video of his finish:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Another runner in the family!

Elliot ran his first cross country meet today! He finished 26th overall. (Sadly, only the top 25 got ribbons.) His team won first place. Hopefully he'll fall in love with running and excel!

Things seen while running: premature Christmas decorations

It's inevitable that stores get their Christmas stuff up early. I saw stores with Christmas displays out before Halloween. But my neighbors don't have a commercial, profit-driven excuse. I saw these decorations out on November 12. Isn't that jumping the gun just a bit? I love Christmas, too, but can't it wait until after Thanksgiving?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Stuff I like: North Face Better Than Naked clothing

A few weeks ago, I decided to use some gift cards and store credit at Luke's Locker.  I was all set on shoes, so I decided to splurge and try some of the North Face "Better Than Naked" line.  I love minimalist, lightweight gear, so I was drawn by the idea of these clothes.  I bought a singlet ($45) and some shorts ($55).  These are pretty expensive in my opinion, but hey, they're free with gift cards!  (Thanks for the gift cards!)

First the shirt.  It's super thin, almost like women's lingerie.  But it's cool and comfy.  I like wearing it, even though you can see my chest hair through it.  It's an ideal running shirt for me.  Thankfully I live in a warm climate, and I get hot when I run, so I can wear a singlet almost year-round.  This is a terrific running shirt, but I have others I like just as well which cost much less.

The shorts are just about my favorite shorts ever.  They dry quickly (which I noticed even while running in the rain) and are super light.  They have a gel-sized pocket on each hip, and a zipper pocket on the back that's big enough for a key and license and credit card.  I like these about as much as my Hind running shorts which I bought 5 years ago and have not been able to find a replacement for.

These are great running clothes for warm-weather running and racing, and for year-round running if you live in Texas and love to run in next-to-nothing even when it's cold.  However, if I buy these again, it will certainly have to be on a major sale.  Finally, do they live up to the name, "Better Than Naked"?  Well, Kelly agrees, I do look better with these clothes on than I do naked.  For running comfort, they're almost better than naked, but not quite.  For the sake of my neighbors, though, I'll stick with the next best thing.

Goofy fake running pose.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Stuff I like: Luna Sandals

If you've read Christopher McDougall's Born to Run, then you're familiar with minimalist running, the Tarahumara Indians of northern Mexico, and Barefoot Ted.  (If you haven't read Born to Run, you really should.  It's one of my favorite running books ever.)  Inspired by the huarache sandals the Tarahumara run in, Barefoot Ted designed Luna Sandals on the same principle, only with some modern touches. The Tarahumara might use an old tire for the sole; Ted uses a Vibram sole.  The Tarahumara use leather straps; Ted uses nylon webbing with a Fastex buckle.  But it's the same idea.
Usually those 1/2-off e-mail offers go straight to the trash, but this one caught my eye.  I had been curious about Luna Sandals for a long time, but the $80 price tag put me off.  For $40, though, I'd give them a shot.  They arrived at a time when I was in a bit of a running lull, so for the first few weeks I had them, I just wore them to walk around.  They quickly became my favorite shoes.  I've always worn flip-flops, but if I'm doing much walking, I don't like them.  I have to sort of flex my toes a funny way to keep them on my feet.  That gets old.  I've also worn several different full-strap sandals (Teva, Merrell).  I like those, but they're always too heavy and have too bulky a sole. 

The Lunas capture the best of both worlds: they're super simple and light, like my favorite flip-flops, and they stay on my feet well, like Tevas, only without any extraneous straps.  I wear them every chance I get.  I would wear them to work if I could.  (In fact, I have seen women at work with shoes almost as stripped down as these.  Why do women get to wear strappy sandals and flip-flops to work and men don't?  Sexism in the workplace!)

Now for the running.  I have worn my Lunas on several runs, all primarily on pavement, the longest being 9 miles.  I have concluded that the only time I would wear these to run is on flat, straight, smooth courses.  The thin sole is perfect; just a little bit of ground feel with adequate protection.  I have run with less on trails, but I think most runners want a thicker sole if a trail has any rocks or roots.  For smooth dirt, they'd be fine.  (They do make a trail version with a thicker sole.)

My problem with running in these is two-fold.  First, if you have any lateral movement at all, you will have a hard time keeping your foot in the footbed.  I noticed this especially when throwing the football around with my boys.  Quick stops or sidesteps had me on the verge of stumbling.  I can imagine that if you run on a winding trail, you would be wishing for more lateral control.  The second problem is more significant.  I love the smooth leather footbed, but on even a slight incline, my foot slides back.  Obviously, the straps keep me from sliding all the way out, as I would with flip-flops.  I tightened the straps as tightly as I thought I comfortably could, but still got some sliding.  Where I usually run, this isn't a big deal, but on a hilly course, the sliding would get really old.  I also slide some if I start quick.

I have continued to run in my Lunas, but as I look toward Isle du Bois, I think I'll start running more in my Vibrams.  For an everyday shoe, I LOVE my Lunas.  But for a running shoe, I don't think they're my first choice.  Also, as much as I love them, I am not sure I can swallow the $80 price tag.  I hope mine don't wear out until I get another 1/2 price offer in my inbox.

Buy Luna Sandals at their web site.  I just went to get the link and saw this:
You can choose between a copper brown suede leather footbed and the MGT footbed. Our new MGT (Monkey Grip Technology) footbed maintains the black, low profile, look of the naked top Lunas while improving traction and durability. For wet and muddy conditions go with the MGT footbed.The leather footbed adds comfort, helps it form to your foot, and absorbs some moisture.
Hmmm....  Sounds like I might need to keep my current pair for daily wear, and order a MGT pair for running. . . . .

Thursday, November 1, 2012

My Road ID

Here's my Road ID:

I hope I never have to have someone call these emergency numbers.  I should have gotten one of these years ago. . . .

If you want to order one, use this discount code, good for $1 off until 11/25/12: