After walking at Allerton, we’ve stopped for lunch at @monarchbrewinco. I’m drinking their Wicked Pissah NE IPA and @jackieLbrewer has picked a selection from a brewery 50 miles south, the Effing Brew Tyrant’s Blood red rye IPA.
I try to emphasize “movement” over “exercise” these days, but sometimes exercise is just what I need. So I was pleased to find this blog post on @rynfrd’s parkour site: six foot exercises that look pretty useful: https://parkouredu.org/six-foot-drills/?learn=11
En route to Mordor, @jackieLbrewer and I are just recently arrived at Rivendell.
The bed where the sidewalks are going to go near my dad’s new house is this silty sand: An interesting barefoot walking experience.
Jackie and I went for a nice walk yesterday, through the prairie and woods next to Winfield Village. We walked about four miles altogether.
Toward the end of the walk I paused to retie a boot, and found that my back was really tight. Bending down caused pain in my sacroiliac joints.
It was odd because it was a familiar sensation, but an old familiar sensation. I used to feel that pretty often on a long walk, but I hadn’t felt it lately. Without really thinking about it, I had attributed the change to general improvements in fitness and flexibility. But here after a fairly short walk that old pain was back again.
I was briefly puzzled, but realized right away what had happened: Because the walk was going to be wet and muddy, I’d worn my old heavily lugged goretex hiking boots.
These used to be my main boots; they’re the ones I wore on my 33-mile Kal-Haven Trail hike. I’ve kept them because I haven’t found a satisfactory pair of waterproof minimal boots, and I’ve worn them right along over the three or four years I’ve been transitioning to minimalist footwear, whenever I needed waterproofness or a heavily lugged sole. But they have the big downsides of non-minimalists shoes: Their thicker heel jacks up my posture, and their rigid sole keeps my feet from adapting to the terrain.
It might not be just the footwear. The trail was muddy enough that every step was a bit of an adventure—my foot would sink into the ground, but it would sink a different amount each step, making it hard to establish and maintain a consistent gait. I wouldn’t be surprised if that didn’t play into making my back feel a bit wonky after a couple of miles.
But clearly it’s time to retire these old boots and find some waterproof minimalist boots with sufficiently lugged soles to handle some short, steep hills on a muddy trail.
If you’ve got any suggestions, I’d be glad to hear them. Comment below, or send me email! (Email address on my contact page.)
A few years ago Jackie and I undertook to walk to Rivendell, replicating (the mileage of) Bilbo’s journey. We started, but we found that tracking the mileage in a notebook or spreadsheet didn’t really suit, and our venture rather petered out. (We got plenty of walking in that year. We just quit tracking it against Bilbo’s journey.)
Recently our friend Ashley Price started a walk to Mordor, replicating the mileage of Frodo’s journey from The Lord of the Rings, and it turns out that now there’s an app for that. You enter your mileage for each leg, and it tells you as you reach each milestone along the way. It also has a mechanism for “friends,” so you can see as they reach their milestones.
So Jackie and I are taking another stab at it. I installed the app, and for several days now have been entering our daily mileage.
If you want to join us, feel free to install the Walk to Mordor app yourself and friend me! (I’m in there as Philip Brewer, although perhaps I should have had some hobbitish name.)
Today we walked some in the University arboretum.
Unfortunately we got started just as the weather turned awful, so we haven’t been making very many miles per day so far. But as soon as it gets a little nicer, I’m sure we’ll start racking up miles as fast as our little hobbit feet can move us along.
Edited to add: We are also re-reading the Lord of the Rings. We meant to read along with our walk, but so far we’re reading quite a bit faster than we can walk. Maybe we’ll catch up at Rivendell where there’s a bit of a pause in the walking, but the prose carries on.
I have never been a winter runner. Most years I start running in the spring, ramp up the length of my long runs during the summer, make a plan to keep running through the fall, and then abandon it at the first sign of cold.
I’d like to run over the winter. Exercise helps as much as anything else I’ve tried to stave off SAD. Besides that, there are any number of spring running events that I’d enjoy participating in that I can never do because I’m not in shape until later in the year.
And so, demonstrating my unwillingness to learn from experience, I’m trying yet again to run over the winter.
To help get myself started, I’ve embarked on a consumer binge. First I bought a high-viz hat. (I already had the high-viz running vest and the red buff with reflecty stripes.)
The hat got me out for a run or two.
Another garment that I didn’t really have was running tights. Having a pair of running tights, I figured, would eliminate one more excuse for skipping a run in the cold. Plus I was able to find a pair marked down from $80 to $20.
I wore the tights for a 5-mile Thanksgiving Day run. (See map at top.) That’s my longest run in a couple of years, and I felt great right along—no sore ankles, and no sore knees (the places that tend to hurt when I push the distance up too fast).
I did wake up this morning with sore feet—classic plantar fasciitis pain. My feet only hurt for a few minutes in the morning, which is typical with minor plantar fasciitis. I expect it will resolve itself in just a day or two, but even if it does, it’s a pretty strong indication that 5 miles is as far as I should run for a while. (I’d had no foot pain after my previous long run of 4 miles.)
To give my sore feet a break I didn’t run today, opting instead for a 3.2-mile hike at Homer Lake. The trails there are pretty flat and level, but there are some places with lots of tree roots right at the surface, which make for a nice complex surface to walk over, giving one a chance to mobilize the foot joints, highly beneficial for preventing plantar fasciitis.
I’ll post further winter running updates, if I manage to get the habit established this year.
I visited my dad in Kalamazoo last week, and managed to establish a bit of a routine for both of us:
- I’d get up around 6:00 AM and spend some time on-line, checking my feeds and email, and doing the Jumble with my brother and my mom (and anyone else in his household who was available).
- My dad would get up around 7:00 AM and we’d each fix our breakfasts and eat them.
- Around 8:00 AM we’d each settle down to do a couple of hours of writing.
- Around 10:00 AM we’d stop for a coffee break.
- After coffee we’d go to a natural area and walk until we got tired or hungry, at which point we’d break for lunch.
- After lunch we’d put some time in on our assigned non-writing task for the week (getting as much as possible of my dad’s old papers and junk gathered and sorted for shredding, recycling, or taking to the dump).
That was the end of the productive part of the day. After that was cocktail hour followed by dinner, typically followed by streaming a Cardinal’s game.
It was a pretty satisfying schedule—productive, but with plenty of time to be social, both with my dad in person and with my other relatives on-line, and plenty of time to be outdoors in nature. (My dad has been keeping up on the latest research on how being in nature is good for your mood, as well as many other aspects of your health.)
Because it was so satisfactory, I’m going to try to maintain a version of this schedule going forward. One complication is that Jackie’s work schedule has her breakfasting very early on days that she needs to be at the bakery early, but not necessarily that early on other days. Still, that’s just a detail that can be worked around.
The picture at the top shows a buttonwood plant that my dad and I saw while walking in the fen at the Lillian Anderson Arboretum near where my dad lives in Kalamazoo.
On my Flickr feed I shared several pictures of the rocky canyon paths that Jackie and I hiked in Utah with the tag “vitamin texture.” Katy Bowman uses the term to talk about how always walking on flat, level paths fails to provide some of the “movement nutrients” our feet, ankles, calves, knees, and other body parts need to be healthy and capable.
There’s not much in the way of rocky terrain here in Central Illinois (although there are some forest paths with enough exposed roots to produce a reasonable degree of ruggedness). There’s also not much in the way of ordinary hills unless you’re willing to drive for at least half an hour, but I do have one reasonably convenient hill: the highest point in the county is just a couple of miles away—a man-made hill in Colbert Park.
Jackie and I walked there a couple of days ago and climbed up and down the hill a couple of times. The image above is the view from the top of the hill, and here’s an image of Jackie walking up:
It’s not like the climbs in the canyons:
But it’s steep enough to provide a good calf stretch.
I’ve thought to use the Colbert Park hill for running hill repeats, but it’s just far enough that I’m generally not up for running there, running hill repeats, and then running home. (I think I did that one time, about two years ago.) I could drive to the park, but that just seems too lame. Still, my running is coming along okay this spring, so maybe I’ll be in shape to do hill repeats in the middle of a five-mile run pretty soon.
Goslings. The open mouth on the goose on the right was because he was ready to start hissing at me for getting too close. I didn’t try to get any closer.