Posted on Jan 06, 2014 under Equipment, Product Review, Shoes, Winter | No Comment
What do you wear to gain traction while running in icy or snowy conditions? I personally wear YakTrax when I want extra traction and sure footing. I know of people who drill small sheet metal screws into their shoes, and I’m sure people use other brand traction devices. What is your preferred device?
There are a few factors I consider before adding my YakTrax to my shoes.
1) Where am I going?
We live by a hospital so if I run that direction I’m guaranteed that a large part of my run will be on plowed the majority of my run. Running the Lakes? They will be plowed, but not to the ground. Downtown – plowed to the sidewalk.
2) What are the conditions of the trail/sidewalk?
This depends on where you go. Most actual off-road trails won’t have been plowed and I often will wear the YakTrax on them just to be safe.
3) Is there fresh snow/ice?
If the snow/ice is fresh or falling then I’d probably wear them just to be safe.
I’ve worn my YakTrax a few times this year for runs. A lot of my runs from home end up having a fair amount of the run being on sidewalks that are well taken-care of (hospital or downtown) so I don’t wear them a lot.
The YakTrax basically use a coil of wire to form an X on the ball and heel of your shoe. They pull over the sole of your shoe and have a strap that helps hold them on. They make a very distinctive mark in the snow! When running on clear pavement these coils add a little bit of spring to your step and if worn for long stretches can mess up your shins. For shorter periods of clear pavement you can survive or run in a snow bank to prevent the shin pain.
In the past when I’ve known I’ll want them for running around a park I’ve crossed the street or even run in the street instead of running on the hospital’s clear sidewalk.
I’ve been wearing YakTrax since we moved to Minnesota 6 years ago. I wore my first pair out mid-winter last year and bought a new pair of YakTrax Pro. I did receive a free pair of YakTrax Pro to review this winter (and some hand warmers).
My YakTrax wore out similar to how the heel of my shoe wore down. The rubber and coils on the back of the heel eventually broke due to my running form. I didn’t keep track of how many miles it took for this to occur, but having them for almost 5 years seems like a pretty good amount of time for them to last.
Another benefit of YakTrax over sheet metal screws is that you can wear them on virtually any shoe (mine won’t fit onto my winter boots, but do on my every day winter shoes). This also allows you to rotate through your running shoes instead of only wearing (and ruining) one pair of shoes!
Have you enjoyed your YakTrax or other traction method? What works for you?
Posted on Jan 03, 2014 under 30Days | No Comment
clutter (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)
January - Get rid of something every day - After a busy holiday season of getting gifts and buying stuff for yourself on clearance it is time to remove something from your life!
This could be anything that is cluttering up your space. One rule is that it has to be yours or you ask before getting rid of it!
We are blessed with so much stuff and I don’t like to get rid of things like that ugly metal shelving unit that I’ve had since high school. So it is good to get rid of things every now and then. ”Getting rid of” could mean several things:
Sell it – Craigslist, ebay, Garage Sale, etc…
Give it - Goodwill, Freecycle, “Free” sign, etc…
Trash it – Garbage or recycling just take it away! Around here if something decent is sitting in the alley it could disappear! We’ve given and taken from this method.
We have a box of stuff in the basement that is waiting to go into my school’s annual garage sale. I really wish there was a way to get rid of it earlier than that, but it is better to keep it for the sale than donate it to Goodwill.
One special note about this challenge is that you could do it a few ways. The most literal would be to find something each day, but in the spirit of the goal it would be to get rid of 30 things. Either way the challenge is to clean up your space!!
Posted on Jan 02, 2014 under 30Days | 2 Comments
This year instead of creating a list of goals to accomplish throughout the year, I thought I’d try doing a small challenge each month. During August of 2013 I unsubscribed to an e-mail newsletter each day and it felt very gratifying and actually helped me to continue feel “empowered” to unsubscribe from e-mails still today!
I also figure that 12 “mini” challenges are easier to keep than a few larger ones. Each month you get to start over!!
There isn’t a whole bunch of rhyme or reason to my 12 Challenges and I’ll throw some more random ones out there as they come up! Please feel free to join with me too!! At the beginning of each month I’ll post a short description of the challenge and a review of the previous month’s challenge.
January - Get rid of something every day – After a busy holiday season of getting gifts and buying stuff for yourself on clearance it is time to remove something from your life!
February - Do the 7 Minute Workout Each Day – The doldrums of winter are here… Hitting the 7 minute work out will hopefully spice things up!
March - Unsubscribe, de-friend, unfollow - Time for some spring cleaning. Clean out your inbox or news feed by getting rid of some unwanted/unneeded clutter!
April - 30 Day of Biking - This popular event in its 3rd or 4th year is a great way to break out the bike and hit the trails!
May - Read a poem - Read a poem each day this month. The sky is the limit with so many great poems to choose from… Don’t just pick 30 haikus though!
June - Blog everyday – There are some cool writing challenges floating around the interwebs about writing novels, etc. Find something to compelling to write about each day.
July - Be Outside – We don’t have enough nice days to sit out in the sun, so spend 15 minutes or more outside each day in July to soak in some rays!
August - Take a Picture a Day - I’ve done photo challenges in the past, mostly trying to take a picture a day for a year and while that created some cool pictures, I also got some fairly lame ones. Do it for a month and be creative. Avoid the weird 30 day challenges that show up on Facebook!
September - Proverb a Day – With school in full swing it seems fitting to go back to the Book of Wisdom and read a chapter from the Book of Proverbs each day.
October - 30 Days of Core Work - Haven’t had a fitness challenge in a few months… Mix it up… 30 days of planks and push ups? or 30 days of planks and squats? Pick 2 or 3 areas and stick with it!
November - Give Thanks - Send in the mail a note of Thanksgiving each day. A little Cheesy maybe, but we need to spend more time being thankful.
December - 30 Days of Advent - Find something advent related and read/reflect on it each day.
I will doing a few things on top of the 30 day challenges like, reading the Bible each day using this plan and reading out of this daily devotional book. I’d also like to read 20 or so books this year (as long as Amazon keeps giving me free books!!)
And then I can’t resist a challenge like the January 50 mile challenge laid out by Minneapolis Running! On the racing scene my plan this year is to complete the following events:
April half marathon with my sister?
5/13 Almanzo 100 (bike race)
8/2 Minnesota Half (running)
8/15-16 Powderhorn 24 (bike race)
10/3 Something… maybe the TC Loony Challenge?
What are you thinking about for 2014?
Posted on Oct 13, 2013 under Foto, Marathon, races, World Vision | No Comment
Last Sunday was a beautiful day for running a 10 mile race or Marathon. After the 10 mile I didn’t go back out to watch the marathon, but I did find some amazing pictures via Instagram’s hashtag #tcmarathon. I can’t figure out a way to search via the computer so I can’t create a link, but there were over 2,000 pictures posted throughout the day!!
I didn’t look at all of them, but here are a few of the best that I saw:
Local photographer Ben Garvin captured some amazing finish line shots that have been making the rounds.
Posted on Oct 12, 2013 under My Running, Trail Run | No Comment
I didn’t realize until 1/2 way through my run this morning that the trails I was running on were closed due to the shutdown. There were no signs at the trailhead I used – it was in a state park. There were plenty of National Wildlife Refuge signs all along the trail once I entered the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. When I emerged at the Lyndale Trailhead there were signs posted saying the trails were closed – with a QR code with more information. I didn’t have my phone so that was useless and I couldn’t snap a picture, but I found a similar sign (right) online.
On my run back to the car I didn’t see any signs along the way indicating the trail’s closure and I didn’t when I popped out at the Hopkins Cir/Hopkins Place trail head either. It isn’t super clear when you leave the State Park and enter the Wildlife Refuge. So fortunately no ranger was waiting to give me a ticket like happened to John Bell.
Bell said he drove to the park Sunday morning and noticed that internal park roads were barricaded, much like they are at night after the park closes, so instead he drove to a remote parking lot off of state Route 23.
He proceeded to run about five miles through the 3,500-acre park and returned to find a pair of park rangers in the parking lot.
“When I came back my car was surrounded by two ranger vehicles with their lights flashing,” Bell said. “I felt like I was a terrorist.”
Bell said the rangers asked him if he “watched the news” and told him the park was closed because the government is shut down. Bell said they had already placed a $100 ticket on his car.
“I’ve got to go to federal court if I want to fight this thing,” he said.
According to the article over 20 tickets have been issued at Valley Forge. Runners World reports that there will be a protest run tomorrow.
Relevant Magazine reports that at the same time this occurred Congress deemed that Congressional gyms were essential, but unfortunately gyms for Congressional staffers aren’t.
Ironically, that very week, Congress deemed their tax-payer funded personal gym “essential” so that they could still workout during the shutdown. (Though, we should note, the “staff” gym—for employees of our elected officials, was closed.) Congress can keep their fancy gyms, but as John Bell is reminding everyone else, from the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters, ?this land was made for you and me.
Posted on Sep 20, 2013 under Half Marathon, Race Plan | No Comment
Tomorrow I run the Surly Trail Loppet Half Marathon. This is a fun/tough course that I ran last year in 1:55:18. I didn’t write much of a review last year, but it is pretty much all hills!
Last year I did a 10k training plan as part of my training for the Square Lake Triathlon. I feel pretty good about tomorrow even though I’ve run a lot less hills – having 2 kids make slipping out for runs at Wirth harder. My plan is to go out conservative and see where I’m at around the half way mark and pick it up from there.
I think that means going out between 8:30 and 9 minute pace.
Wish me luck!
I’m racing as part of Team World Vision raising funds for clean water projects in the Congo! $50 provides clean water for life for one person.