Thursday, July 19, 2012

the land of enchantment

Welcome to lovely New Mexico, the current place I am. After returning from Montana, I rested for two days and departed on the third. We (me and three other intrepid scholars) drove the twelve hours. It turns out that there's not much between Amarillo and Albuquerque, though the owners of little holes want you to think there is.

Tomorrow, I'll be running with other WPA folks. Right now, I'm enjoying the view from the back patio (see pic). It was too early to go to bed, so we are sitting outside. Tomorrow, we begin conference stuff. We had our opening banquet tonight, with a fascinating talk.

Today, I worked, swam, worked out in the tiny gym, met some people, and had a generally relaxing pre-conference day. I'm glad we came out a day early.

Now that I'm rambling, time to sign off!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

running all over town

The joys of running in a new place are hard to describe.  Not only do you get a break from the scenery that maybe has grown a little too familiar, but you get a chance to explore a place on foot.  I always feel like I get a great sense of a town when I'm able to run through it, running around in unfamiliar paths and having to find my way back home.  I rarely have trouble locating myself in a new place when I run it--my brain remembers directions very well when I run them.

Bozeman has become a trip I look forward to each year, and a minor part of it is running.  (A lot is hanging out with L's fabulous brother and sister-in-law--my brother- and sister-in-law now!--and our niece, who is amazing.)  I love escaping the muggy Arkansas heat.  I love running in altitude, the lack of oxygen more than made up for by the cool temperatures and the great views.

I got up early this morning and set out for a little 4-miler, which was relaxing and thoroughly enjoyable.  I ran in my Vibram Fivefingers, a pair I purchased in Bozeman two years ago when I first began running barefoot/minimally.  Today, I picked up a new pair of New Balance Minimus to replace the pair I purchased last year that are ready to be retired.
Old Mimimus (gray) meet New Minimus (black)
The old ones I have are the Minimus 10 trail runners--I ran a year in them including training for and running the Little Rock Marathon and three half-marathons in them. They got me through a lot of runs, and they completely converted me to a more minimal shoe.
Hello, my lovelies
The new ones, however, are Minimus Zeros, meaning they now are completely flat from heel to toe.  Normal running shoes have a stacked heel, which means they have a bit of a higher heel than forefoot--the Minimus 10s have a 4mm drop from heel to toe.  It's not much of a drop (a LOT less than "regular" running shoes).  And they also have a bit more padding in the soles.  When I heard NB released a zero-drop, I was intrigued.  So today I tried some on and was amazed at how they felt.

The Zeros are lighter by far--I picked them up and was stunned at how light they are.  The 10s are a lot lighter than regular running shoes, but these felt like air.  When I put them on, it felt like I barely had anything on my feet.  The Zeros are also a lot more flexible in the sole than the 10s--you can actually fold them in half!
I walked around in them tonight as we went to the farmers' market and ran a bit to avoid the incoming rainstorm.  I liked how they felt--they were a part of my foot, molding around them and flexing as my feet flex.  I plan to run in them a bit tomorrow to see how they feel on a regular run--I'm sure it'll be an adjustment, but since I've been running fairly regularly in my FiveFingers, I'm sure they'll do just fine.

And now to leave you with a picture of some awesome scenery: Hyalite! Even a crappy iPhone picture looks beautiful--the skies here are amazing.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

morning run + pictures

As promised, I post again! Here's some photos from my run early this morning.  We picked up a bike trail near our house and ended up at a tiny lake, so I ran a couple of loops around it before turning back.

As I rounded the corner and stopped to take the photo around the tiny lake, a mama duck thought I was too close to her nest and came quacking and flying toward me. I wasn't there to hurt her babies, though, and you can see them in two of the photos.  I also saw a gosling with still with down instead of feathers up close (she hopped in the water when I ran too near), and tons and tons of ground squirrels in their colonies, which L biked through to watch them scurry and chirp with alarm.

I had 12 miles on my schedule for today, but I was unable to run the full amount because it take a day or two for me to adjust to the altitude.  I took it easy, but after 8 or so, I was definitely feeling the miles in a way I don't normally--my legs felt like lead. For the whole run I felt like I didn't have quite enough oxygen, which I normally don't really feel unless I'm running all out.  It was a lovely morning for a run, and I decided that the stress of altitude and running on some of the trails would make up for the mileage reduction.

I talked L into biking along with me while I ran because I was a little apprehensive of finding my way and getting back home.  Mostly, though, he kept the run fun, and I had someone to talk to since I wasn't able to run with my normal running gals.  They got their runs in yesterday back in the muggy state I left behind for a week, though apparently it rained and made the temperatures more tolerable.

We're about to head out to Hyalite for a day trip: canoeing, fishing (for L and his dad), and grilling.  It should be fun and relaxing, and I promise to take some photos with my better camera.

And before I go, here's a pic of my niece's piggy--it's a big mama pig with one of her six babies! (The babies store inside of her and zip up, and there's velcro for them to attach to her.  It's like the best thing ever.)

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Cooler temperatures, lighter hearts

It's amazing how oppressed one can feel when it's hot and muggy.  The world moves slower, time seems to inch along.  I feel weighed down, sluggish when it's hot; I have a heart time motivating myself to move a bit more quickly, to do a bit more even when I have more time to do it in.  It's the effect of summer: the body is not meant to do a lot when it's hot and is meant to rest and relax poolside or take a nap.

Yesterday, halfway through South Dakota, the air cooled off to 64 degrees.  Clad in shorts and a tank top, I was actually a bit chilly as we walked around during a rest stop and later when we stopped for dinner.  L and I both felt our spirits lift; not only were we on the way to visit family, but we were freed from the leaden heat.

Today, we arrived in Bozeman where we'll be staying for the next week.  Our little cottage is cozy; we are near L's fam and we have spacious accommodations.  L and I have commandeered the downstairs for our own little space while the in-laws have the upstairs bedroom, so we each have our own little space in the house.

Tomorrow, I'm heading out for a 12 mile run where I'll explore the town a bit (and hopefully not get lost!), then we're off to the mountains for the day to fish and hike and cookout.  I will take photos and post regularly while we're here. :)

Yay, Montana!