Sunday, March 7, 2010

An A-Maze-Ing Sunday

Well not really amazing as in "I saw my first Broad-winged Hawk of the year" or "I crossed paths with a coyote", but I couldn't think of a clever title to settled for the one above. :-p. Anyhow, I woke up late (as in 6am), and decided to putter around the house some and wait for the sun to warm up the temps before venturing outside and got out at around 10am or so after a breakfast of banana pancakes, a fried egg, turkey bacon and a very strong cup of French Roast, the breakfast of champions so I had more than enough energy to last me the morning as I headed back to the same bike trails I was at yesterday and search of the elusive Barred Owl.
Most of the paths are now snow free and firmly packed, and evidence of tire marks from the 4 wheelers are starting to show again (ah, the joys of spring and summer, not! While I understand the appeal of 4 wheeling for some, I just don't like the ones who whip past you while you are out there on the trails, not so much the four wheelers as the dirt bikers, but that's a story for another day! ;-).
And then some of the trails are literally unpassable unless you are sporting a fashionable pair of waders which I wasn't so I did a lot of bush whacking to avoid being sucked in by the mud.
The usual birds were about such as the large flocks of Dark-eyed Juncos, Black-capped Chickadees, etc, but I would never hear the Barred Owl today, much to my disappointment. I decided to burn up some of the fuel from breakfast and really explore the maze the mountain bikers had developed here and let me tell you it was a blast. The picture above does not do the path justice, but it will give you an idea on how technical this path is. Every corner comes another twist and sharp turn with all of them being narrow so I decided to not only test speed, but reflexes as well as I went about running them as fast as I could, knowing one wrong turn could land me into a tree or onto the ground, but that's what made it ever more fun. HA! ;-)
Most of the snow from yesterday had long since melted here so I ran this maze a couple of times before heading to Brierly. Brierly has a lot of snow on the paths and I didn't have the heart to put on microspikes again this year, so I turned around and headed to some local Powerlines for more running.
As soon as I got there I heard the familiar squeaky wheel call of the Grackles, and I stopped dead in my tracks to listen to their call so I could get a visual on them and sure enough there there were in a group of 4. The birds were everywhere and I was overwhelmed with all of their songs playing at the same time for me to drink in as the sun shone strong from above making it even more enjoyable. I started to run, but for some reason just didn't have it in me.
And this my friends is why. Here I was about to run another trail with my trail running shoes, as my brand spanking new Vibram Five Fingers laid in a corner in the hall back at home just begging to spend some quality time with moi!!!! What are these odd looking things you ask? Why they're sneakers of course!! That's right all, just when you thought I couldn't go any further off the deep end, I prove you wrong and have decided to embark upon the newest craze in the running community which is barefoot running!!!!!

You see, I have just finished one of the most amazing books I have ever read, and I mean that in all seriousness, which is called Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. Christopher went off to Mexico to learn more about the Tarahumara Indians who are some of the most gifted endurance athletes in the world. They can run 40 miles plus miles a day with nothing on their feet but a pair of flimsy sandals and a packet of chia seeds in their pocket for energy (think the Chia Pet you all have in your closet somewhere that you got as a gift long ago much to your horror, and you never decided to open it, and those are the seeds they eat). Anyhoo, one of the theories is these Indians can run long with no injuries because they are essentially barefoot which allows their foot to land the way nature always intended when you are running vs. the way the running shoe companies think you should run when you are sporting a pair of their fashionable sneakers.

They do have some padding on the bottom of the shoe, but not enough to trust myself running trails with them, YET, so I decided to head back home and try them out on some cement. I did my first mile and my feet were in heaven. My arches tend to ache whenever I run and with the Vibrams on, I would tend to land more upon them which is just what they wanted as they were very happy with every stride I made. I was only going to do a mile, but it felt so good I just continued getting to about 2.5 miles before calling it quits. They say, you need to take baby steps with them to avoid injury so I practiced common sense, even though I swear I could have run to Bolton Flats with these babies on! The sense of freedom is incredible. How many of you remember running through grass when you were younger, or running on the beach chasing waves? That was exactly how it felt and my legs are still happy 10 hours later!.

Take care all


Jamie said...

Well done on the run! And definitely take the Vibrams out on the trails. Thought not as much as barefoot, you'll still get sensory perception and adjust to rocks and roots. Just start small and work your way up. Keep up the great work on the running!

Rich said...

Great job!!!! The shoes look a little funny but if they work - that is what matters. Somewhere along the line I might try a pair.

Kim said...

Jamie, was just out there this morning w/ my Vibrams and am getting used to now to navigating through rocks, gravel, etc so I will definitely be doing a short trail run w/ them this upcoming weekend.

Felicia said...

I heard about that book; the premise sounds completely reasonable, and those Vibrams look comfy. Another advantage, I suspect, is that one won't get blisters from running long distances in them. Still, I haven't gotten up the nerve to try them yet!

Hilke Breder said...

Those are neat looking "shoes". When I was a youngster and living in the country we went barefoot all summer. As I remember it took a couple of weeks though to grow the right layer of calluses.

Marc said...

Hey Kim

I saw a handful of Black Vultures mixed in with the Turkey Vultures along N. Main St in Millbury this morning around 9:30am.

Thought it interesting enough to let you know. Have a great night.


BirdingMaine said...

Yes, they are funky looking running shoes, but hey, if they work why not use them.

Happy running and birding Kim!

Kim said...

Thanks all. Marc, thank you for the heads up. I will be sure to keep my eyes out more as I am in that area frequently. Cool!


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