Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A little shoe business

Recently, I've decided that it's time to change out my trail shoes. My road shoes are doing fine and I usually have little to no problems with those since most of my mileage is in the trails nowadays anyway. So I've been keeping three pair of active trail shoes. Montrail Hardrocks, Vasque Velocity, and Mizuno Wave Ascends. The hardrocks have the most miles on them. According to the running log I started last Jan 1, I've put in over 540+ miles on them, over 300+ on the Vasque (bought in Feb) and just over 230+ miles on the Mizunos (bought in June) and the Montrails are in the best shape.
I use the following shoes for the following conditions:

Montrail Hardrocks:
- very rocky and technical trails for longer distances >10 miles
- These shoes are indestructable

Vasque Velocity:
- moderate to easy trails but used for long distance runs >12-15 miles
- These shoes are comfortable and never gave my feet problems while they were fresh. I also got these an extra half-size larger than normal and it has worked great!
- no visible signs of wear on the shoes. Foot fatigue becoming evident.

Mizuno Wave Ascend:
- I've used these shoes as my AR shoes and for fast and short (less than 8 miles)
- Very Lightweight and comfortable for short runs.
- not enough forefoot protection from sharp rocks and not enough room to allow for much foot expansion during long runs.

Lately, my Mizuno's have been bothering my feet on ANY run (even the short ones) and so have the Vasques. I think the density foam is done in my Velocity's so I'm not too bummed about that. I'm a little disappointed in the Wave Ascends right now, but I will acknowledge that there have been improvements made in the shoe since my model that I've not yet had the chance to try out. As for my Montrails, I can definitely see why they're so popular with ultra-runners. As I stated above, they're indestructable. Not only that, they're comfortable and consistent. Taller and heavier runners have mentioned that a downside to them is their tendency to "ride high" meaning that they have a thick sole and the foot is not as low to the ground as it is in other shoe models.

Currently, I've ordered a pair of Montrail Oddesy's for my lightweight shoes for fast runs. these may turn out to be used for more than just short runs. We'll see. I'm also considering the Vasque Blur as my longer distance shoes for moderate to technical trails and long distances. Many of the other Trail Nerds run these and like them very much. Last weekend, I tried on a pair of The North Face Arnuva 50 Boa and was VERY impressed with them. I've never been this impressed with shoes before. When I first read about the Boa lacing system on TNF's site, I thought it seemed kinda gimmicky, but after trying it first hand, it seems to be legit. Now keep in mind that I've not run in them, nor have I purchased a pair (yet?) but I did try them on at length and ran around the store and up and down stairs like a little kid in his first pair of sneakers! They are very light and minimalist, but are also very comfortable and built for ultra-distances. These are the shoes that Dean Karnazes is wore and is wearing in his latest endeavors.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

does sacrificial service = fulfillment?

Think about the last time you did something good for someone else with no ulterior motives. Perhaps it was volunteer work at a homeless soup kitchen, or participating in some sort of community project for the less fortunate. Maybe you've even donated time or items during the holidays to organizations dedicated to helping the impoverished. How did it feel? Did you enjoy putting your own interests aside for a time to make better the situation of another? Most people experience the pleasure of selflessness at some point in their life, but few practice it on a regular basis. Why is that?
Giving money may be necessary and helpful, but it's so impersonal that it rarely yields any personal satisfaction and thus isn't repeated often. What I'm advocating is giving of yourself, your time and your own personal effort to something for which you'll get nothing in return. Get out and volunteer! It's very liberating! The harder it is to do, the more it's worth it!
I encourage everyone to engage in some form of (sacrificial) service to others. It's not a "good deed" if you get something other than a good feeling in return. In my own life, it seems that once I agree to do something for someone else, something always seems to "come up" that would give me an excuse to back out of my agreement/commitment. When I forgo my own personal wants to fulfill my agreement/commitment, then it always seems to be the most gratifying. When I sacrifice my own desires, time, and resources to benefit others, it's fulfilling.
Whether you equate it to the movie Pay It Forward or consider it your civic duty, everyone should experience being a giver when it is not reciprocated. It's nice to be appreciated for the effort and work you put into something but just because you may not be appreciated or thanked for something doesn't mean that it was any less of a good deed.

Just in case you're wondering, I'm only advocating sacrificial service in one's personal life. NOT in a professional life. It's great to take pride in yourself and in the work you do, but please do NOT give more than necessary to a soulless company who will show no loyalty to you as an employee.