Hiking-Trails · Run!

Dilemma

A week and a half ago, I did 18 ish miles in Yosemite. This past Sunday I did 5 at a new to me trail- Riconada- in my area. Both days my feet let me know that my new trail shoes were not winning any points. Boo. Which puts me in a predicament. I need shoes! And it’s not for lacking of trying.

My first few years running trails, I had perfect shoes. First Mizuno Wave Hayate followed by a move into Under Armor Horizon HTT. Loved both of them with no issues but neither shoe is made anymore. Not only that, neither shoe company makes any trail shoes anymore. WTH? Which has started a 2ish years of trying all the trail shoes. Let’s recap-

First up- Brooks Cascadia. Anytime I say their name, I hiss a little and call them devil shoes. Pretty sure I broke my foot in the them during Spooner’s Cove back in Dec 2019. 2020 and my lack of running gave my foot time to heal and nope- I never went to the doctor. Did get rid of the shoes. Full disclosure- the rep at the store talked me into buying mens and they ended up being too big. I might like the woman’s version but can’t bring myself to order them.

Both my first trail shoes were pretty minimal and the Cascadia was a beast of a shoe so maybe that was my problem???

Next- Altra Lone Peak. Felt good up until 5 miles… and only on flat. My feet slid around like crazy when running downhill and I needed more cushion. I tend to run downhill like a 5 year old without brakes so I need my feel to feel secure. As for the cushion, I mean I am carrying 50ish more pounds than I used to so that may make sense.

3- Merrell SkyFire. Ok, ok, not bad. Nice blend of running shoe meets hiker. Ok, we may have something here. Until I ate trail going down the Grand Canyon. Son of a!

4- Topo Ultraventure. Kind of like a cross between the Skyfire and the Lone Peak. Traction was amazing, cushion felt good. Until my first 8-9 mile trail in them and I think I broke my big toe. Ok, dropping a bottle on it that night was probably what did it fully in but it was already severely bruised from that day. Returned.

5- Nike Terra Kiger– Nope. Never made it out of the house. Went back in the back and back to the Running Warehouse. For a person who wants snug shoes- this was a form fitting brick.

6- Altra Timp– Tried a size 9, felt way too small. There went that idea. Exchanged for a 9.5 (my usual size). Holy fire of arch pain Batman. Returned.

7. Brooks Caldera- good lord, that’s a cushiony shoe! It also made me about 2 inches taller and that it just too much shoe for me. Back to the store without running in them.

At what point does the Running Warehouse fire me as a customer? And before you @ me about buying from a local running store, the Warehouse is my local running store. Shout out to local businesses going big. But the storefront still hasn’t really reopened since COVID.

8- Merrell MQM Flex 2 I liked the SkyFire but wanted more traction so I searched the Merrell site for a possible other option. They started out good. I’ve put more miles on them then any of the other shoes. But I didn’t really test them until Yosemite. The path was basic so I didn’t really need to worry about traction but my feet were so damn sore, I almost tore them off. My bad toe even reared its head again. Then in Riconada, I slipped 4 or 5 times on the rockier parts of the trail. Which is most of our local trails. WTH again!

So now I don’t know what to do. What else is there to try? I know there is Hoka, but that seems like it will be way too much shoe for me. I’ve looked at Saucony but nothing jumps out at me as the answer. I have dreams of running a 50K but I can’t even begin to contemplate that if I can’t last more than a few miles or a couple of hours in a pair of shoes.

So seriously, if anyone has any tips- throw them my way!

Hiking-Trails · Training

Whirlwind

I love vacation but the first day back at work is always a whirlwind of catching up. Last week started exactly like that and then just kept spinning. I felt like my old washing machine; spinning and spinning and spinning, shaking away from the wall. Thankfully I replaced that very washer on my vacation and last week finally led to the weekend.

I had big plans of keeping to my training plan but well…

One day I forgot my shoes. One day, I had a horrible day with my stomach- which after a repeat this week could mean an issue with spaghetti for dinner, boo. Then an inspector showed up and the next 2 days at work were long and chaotic. Then my dad fell hiking and the fun just continued. I was so ready for the weekend.

Oh but I did get my stitches out!

I kept Saturday as low key as possible. I ran some errands and kind of chilled before heading out and attempting a run. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to run one of the missed 4 milers or try for my long run. Big long run this week- 6 miles. Dude, TimeHop makes me sad- 3 years ago I was running 18 milers training for Big Sur and now I can barely manage 6 miles. And these 6 miles were a struggle. I finished my run but barely. The last few miles were mostly walked as my stomach rebelled… as my stomach is wont to do. Grrr.

Sunday was an early morning as I was heading for a local hike with my mother. It’s been a few years since I had done Bishop’s Peak and not only did I park at the wrong trail head and short us some miles, it kicked my ass. The last time I did Bishop’s I was in probably my best shape… now I might be in my worst, ha!

I also forgot how technical it was, and how crowded it was. So many people! And you can tell yourself that where you are in fitness is fine for now until you are lapped going up a mountain by a college kid in flip flops. The trail is still gorgeous though.

So yeah a less than ideal week but it had it’s bright spots!

Hiking-Trails · Run!

Lost

Last week hit me like a truck and then put it into reverse. Have I already said that?

Maybe trying to limit my carbs and cut back on artificial sugars all in the same week was a bad idea. Both are at Dr’s orders. I’ve watched my carbs before and I admit, I did feel better but why do all the best foods have so many carbs?!?! I am starting slow and trying to moderate my numbers during the day and not stressing about dinners yet. I also may have taken the weekend off as well…oops. As for the artificial sugars, I am trying to cut back on everything except Diet Coke- we all have our vices right? But I use a surprising amount of Crystal Light so it’s taking a moment or so.

I didn’t work out all week, even though I kept telling myself I would. I even had an extra 15 minutes on Friday morning due to a doctor’s appointment but did I work out in the morning? Nope. And I really didn’t that evening as my morning appointment was for a couple of biopsies and the sites were angry that evening. Didn’t stop me from being stupid over the weekend though.

Saturday, I headed out early afternoon to get in a few miles. For the most part, I felt ok and ran/ walked 3.67 miles. My right foot was starting to blister and the biopsy on my back was starting to talk so I called it.

Sunday arrived and I was up early and heading for the coast. It’s been too long since I got lost. Obviously, getting lost was not the plan but sometimes trails with my mother turn into adventures as she does not know how to stick to a plan. We were on track for the first 3 miles and then we went off course. Took a trail neither of us has been on before with only a general idea of where it went. Also one of the steepest climbs… and it just kept going!!! Also it’s hard to oreint yourself to the ocean when you can’t see. Luckily we could from the top of the climb so I knew we were on the right track. Chose the right way through a couple of trail intersections before landing on a wide trail/ road. Which then led us back to the main road…like I thought. What I did not think was how far out on the main road it would spit us out. Like 2 miles out on a narrow winding death trap road. Oops.

I was pretty positive I could get us back to the cove by taking a trail on the other side of the road- the Dune Trail. Aptly named because it’s all dune sand. My mother lasted maybe 1/3 of mile before we were back on the road. Ha! After what felt like a longer trek than the previous 7ish miles, we were back at the car. 9.85 miles for the day. Big oops. But long enough to tell me these trail shoes are a big no. My left foot still feels bruised today. Grrr. Also, the back biopsy is very angry. Dumb.

So my levels of running go from none to getting lost in the state park…yep, sounds about right.

Hiking-Trails · Run! · Slacker

Escape Day 2- Rim Trail

I woke sore and a little tired the morning after Bright Angel. Ok, my calves were screaming a little.

I headed back to the Grand Canyon later in the day, I had some fool idea about taking it chill on the Rim Trail and then watching the sunset at the Grand Canyon. Now, if you’ve ever been to the South Rim or pay attention to anything related to a compass or sunsets/ sunrises you might think this doesn’t make sense. Because it doesn’t. The sun does not set over the Grand Canyon, at least not from this rim. Which I realized I knew but forgot? Told you I needed a vacation.

Back to the trail- the Rim Trail is not a “trail”, it’s a paved path that runs the length of the South Rim. A one way trip on the path from point to point is around 13 miles. Even paved, I didn’t have that in me. I started at Bright Angel and headed East towards the Mather Point.

The path takes you along the Rim and is fairly accessible to everyone. That also means it was more crowded than Bright Angel the day before. My buff was up over my face most of the time. That didn’t detract from the views at all. Again, I think I took a few hundred pictures.

The path took us through The Trail of Time too, a exhibit about how the Grand Canyon formed over millions of years with rock examples. My former wanna-be geologist self was geeking out over the rock displays.

The various lookout points were the most popular so I didn’t spend a lot of time there. I was surprised at how many parents let their kids run wild. Most of the path is not secured by a fence or guard rail of some sort. It wouldn’t take much to slip or fall. But then I am also clumsy so I generally think of worst case scenarios.

Seriously?!?

And of course, there were the rule breakers- the ones who jump fences and go down rocks all to get a good selfie. The number of people backing up to edges was ridiculous.

The Rim Trail is advertised as little to no elevation change. And had I not done Bright Angel the day before I might have agreed. But the 600 ish feet we gained and lost in the 6ish miles we went did not feel easy. Ha!

I kind of feel like the Grand Canyon is the Disneyland of trails. Plenty of trash cans, recycle bins, bathrooms and water stations. I have never seen so many rangers out working the trail before either.

But for the love of Pete, pick up your damn masks people!

Run! · Slacker

Escape Day 1- Bright Angel

Ever feel like you need to run away?

That’s kind of how I have been feeling for a while now. I had PTO to use, so I packed up the car, made a fairly last minute reservation and ran away. Ok… I drove away. And yes, I packed plenty of hand sanitizer, masks and clorox wipes.

I headed for Arizona. And some dirt.

On Wednesday morning, I was up early and prepared for an adventure. I headed to the Grand Canyon. And the Bright Angel trail.

As soon as I knew I was heading to the Grand Canyon, I checked out a couple of posts over at Running to Travel-very helpful. I also poured over the NPS site for the Grand Canyon. I didn’t have a lot of time and I knew I was super out of shape so I knew I couldn’t be too crazy.

Ice, ice

I got there early but not too early as I knew November could mean ice on the trail. I loaded my pack, laced up my shoes and hit the trail. Even with my research, I fell within less than 1/4 mile. I hit ice and slipped but pulled out out before falling. Only to fully fall less than 4 feet later. I landed on my butt and kind of slid across the trail. I was more startled than hurt and bounced up fairly quickly. I then continued my trek.

The Bright Angel trail continues for miles down the side of the canyon- down to the River rest house and back would be arround 15 miles. Luckily, I am not that stupid and I turned around at the 3 mile rest house. There was also an option to turn around at the 1.5 mile rest house but I wanted to push further than that. As much as I love a good downhill on a trail, this had some steep moments and my left knee was none too pleased. Someone help me with trail shoes, please?

I laughed at the sign at the 3 mile rest house- Going down is optional but going up is mandatory. And it was time to go up.

My mom was also with me and she was starting to have some issues. She occasionally has hip issues and it was acting up in a very bad way. In some ways the climb back up was easier to me than going down as there was less ice to worry about. Also for some reason, my body likes a good trail climb. My brain turns off and my legs take over and they just go.

Which sounds ok until I realize I have way outpaced my injured mother. Oops. And that’s not to say I was moving speedily up the mountain side- the Canyon is a beast. Which I knew going in but I don’t think I fully realized it.

Even as I was huffing and puffing my way up the trail, the amazing-ness of the view was too much to ignore. I think I took a few hundred pictures. No joke. I am having a hard time choosing which ones to post here.

There were other hikers out so I masked up anytime another person was near. I was kind of surprised at the some of the things people were wearing on the trail though. I saw sandals, jeans, Vans and even a woman carrying her purse. It made me wonder how far they were going- how did they not slip on the ice?? Was I really that out of shape or were they going to have serious regrets later?

Dude, the Bright Angel trail is hard. After 6ish miles and lots of elevation loss/ gain -I was whipped. Yes, I am out of shape, but still. How was I going to a do a few more days of slightly adventurous things?