Sunday, April 25, 2010

How many more days like this...

We've done a bunch of family hikes together, all five of us. We've had great times, bouncing up-and-down trails, laughing the carefree laughs that seem to come much easier when cell phones are turned off. As the older kids grew up, they became less interested, and we had to start dragging them along. Then they started arguing about why do we even have to go? So we stopped making them. Fine, just stay home. Then — and this has only been recently — the arguing stopped.

This morning we decided to hike again. All five of us.

The drive was filled with apprehension. Everyone, I suppose, has their own special brand. Mine is colored by a tendency toward perfectionism (go figure) and the memory of that time I hauled everyone to the tubing hill only to find it was closed due to Serengeti Desert-type snowpack. I check the pass reports now.

We arrived at the trailhead to find dozens of like-minded adventurers (and the requisite parking jamboree). Welcome to the REI-fueled, trekking pole-equipped jungle, I guess.

No matter. The moment our five pairs of boots and basketball shoes and tenny-runners hit the dirt, we were kids again. Forgive the melancholy, but I can't help wondering... how many more days like this will we have? Afternoons spent walking the same miles and turning over rocks and pausing at waterfalls and digging in wet clay.

How many more?

Hopefully many more with all five of us. And then there will be days with just three. And then two. And then someday our grandchildren will visit — maybe from far away. And they will wonder why Grandma and Grandpa look at their parents with twinkles in our eyes, remembering days like this...

♥ you, kids.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Brooks Glycerin 8: The First 300 Miles...

My Uncle Steve — a hot rod builder and car salesman since my earliest memories — has always said, "There's a butt for every seat." What this means, of course, is that my ideal ride might not be yours might not be your friend's grandma's. And so it goes with running shoes... finding the right one is a matter of test drives. With that in mind, here's my (300 mile) trip around the block with the Brooks Glycerin 8.

Let it be known that my baseline for this review is a "well-loved" pair of Asics, retired with 1,100 miles on the odometer. Advantage, new shoes. Also, it's well-documented that I'm suffering from False Rockstar Syndrome after acceptance to the Brooks I.D. program. Advantage, new shoes.

Disclosures having been disclosed...

I love these kicks! Just look at 'em. Right outta the box, fresh and clean and smelling... y'know, new! First impressions were entirely visual, and this is a good looking shoe (in my opinion, much better in the black/yellow colorway than its alternate blue/white version). Plus, yellow is fast. Everyone knows that. And while the tribal tattoo-ish details might not be for everyone, they've grown on me.

I started to examine the Glycerin's build and first noticed its short tongue. Many running kicks have a big, fluffy tongue that rises well above the laces when the shoe's tied. Spoiler alert! That extra pillow flopping over your rabbit-ears isn't doing anything! The next build feature that struck me was the Glycerin's "rolled" toe. The front of the shoe seemed to turn decidedly upward and forward. I quickly grabbed my Brooks Cascadia 4's for a comparison. Yep.

Ok, let's get out on the road! The very first time I laced up, my gut impression was, wait for it... ventilation! Ahhhhhhhh. The airflow through these shoes was (and continues to be) remarkable — appreciated on warm days and essential on long runs. Next was cushioning (I think I told my wife it was like running on clouds) and stability (the platform on the Glycerins is considerably wider than my Asics', but it has never felt clunky). Next was the effect of the rolled toe. Call it placebo, but I could feel myself being propelled forward.

300 miles in...

At this point, some runners are already thinking about their next pair of shoes. I say we're just getting to know each other! So, where do the Glycerins stand after daily lunch runs in the rain, weekend 20-milers... and the indignity of being stuffed into a messenger backpack alongside sweaty bike gear?

300 miles in, the Glycerins appear no worse for the wear. Save for some expected tread loss and residual cow poop (thanks, Montana), the shoes are as-new. No stitching has loosened, nothing has come unglued. The forward roll is a booster on long runs, and even seems to have helped "train" those biomechanics when I switch to racing flats. And that low tongue? I'm happy to report that there's has been no pinching or other discomfort. In fact, I've found it easier to dial-in lace tightness without the extra fluff. Wherever I set the knot, there it stays.

I've traveled with these shoes twice. In Montana, we kicked through 10 miles of icy dirt road (and splashed home through mud after the morning thaw). Traction was never an issue. In Reno, we explored 50 miles of unknown asphalt, trails, and red rock. Though the Glycerins are certainly not a trail shoe, they're definitely stable enough for short off-road jaunts.

In grand and glorious summary...

In my time with the Glycerins, I've found no gripes. They are good looking, comfortable, and confidence-inspiring on any surface. For me at least, the fit is so natural that I often forget the shoes are even there... and that's perhaps the ultimate testament. So, if you're a neutral striker looking for a stable trainer, I say put your butt in this seat for a test drive!

Have you run in the Glycerins? I'd love to hear your impressions in the comments.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Jeans by Calvin Klein...

Body by Pabst. Logo by Stowe.

Folks in our running group have been asking about t-shirts for awhile, but I knew the beershoetacomadome graphic I cobbled together wouldn't cut it for a nice screen-print. So... we contacted local illustrator d'awesome, James Stowe, for help. Raising the funds ('cause the good shit costs, man) was painless. The friendlies at kick-ass bar and hot doggery Red Hot even raised their hands!

The logo looks rad. I wonder if Stowe will charge extra royalties if I get it tattoed. Depends on where, I suppose.

Thank you, everyone!
Ginger Anderson, James Duggan, Exit133, David Gale, Robert Gale, Angela Gow, Lilly Hsu, John McClimans, Douglas Pariseau, Daniel Richards, Red Hot, Jenika Hedlund Sannes, Susie Saturated, Colleen Heuiser Schmidt, John Rossetto, Alicia Wilkinson.

Bacon for you all!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Birthday, Josh...

Since the day you arrived in this world, 17 years ago, every moment has been the grandest kind of adventure. I remember the feeling of your tiny hands grasping my fingers as I helped you learn to walk. The sight of you turning your first pedals without training wheels. First fish caught, first time driving clutch, first broken heart. And while I may look back fondly at the years when you needed me... I also look now with great pride at the man you're becoming all on your own. And look forward, with so much hope, to all the years and all the adventures ahead.

Happy Birthday, Josh.

Forever your friend and biggest fan,