Hyak Hike

Just a quick share of photos from our election day hike up to the top of Hyak.  GORGEOUS day.  It was a bit too warm for November….on top of the mountain in sneakers?  But it was fabulous.  Hopefully we will have snow soon though!

 

Solitude, found!

 

 

October

October was a busy month!  We bought a new car.  My husband’s ’04 WRX had over 370,000 miles on it and had to be put out to pasture.  It was on it’s second engine, but everything else was worn out!  Within the next year, he will reach the point of having logged a million miles in Subarus!  LOVE them!

our new Subaru Crosstrek

I also went to Las Vegas for a weekend with my daughter to celebrate her 21st birthday.  She turned 21 back in September.  We have been through a lot together, especially over the last decade.  She is a type 1 diabetic; life is not always easy.  It’s a very challenging disease to live with 24/7.  So, we thought it was a great occasion to get a little over the top and celebrate her birthday!

We have both tired of telling this story, but….so we got tickets to see Billy Idol.  She has always been a fan since she was a kid.  No idea why….she also bought a Meet and Greet ticket!    Let’s just say that didn’t go as planned.  Some nit wit (this is the G rated version) a couple of people ahead of my daughter (who was about 6th in line out of 100) decided to try to KISS BILLY!!  That ended with him freaking out, swearing and storming off, cancelling the M&G and threatening to cancel the show!  Some people just can’t follow the rules!!  After a lot of waiting and chaos over a couple of hours, we arrived at our table.  The offending fan was eventually taken away by security.  The concert was GREAT.  Excellent venue, super staff and a great show.  It wasn’t exactly the experience she had dreamed of, but not many of us get to see a rock star freak out from five feet away!  Now that is a memory!!
October has been rainy…very rainy.  I thought I was being premature complaining about it until I read that this October has been the RAINIEST on record in the Seattle area. (about 10 inches)  We tend to get a bit more rain here in the mountains, so no wonder it’s been getting to me!!!  Every day is wet and dark.  Every day is wet and dark.  Did you hear me?  Every day is WET and DARK!!  Gotta think snow….there is some up high.  Hopefully, November will be white!
Mae and I wish you all a very happy month ahead.  Hope your days are dry and bright!

Mountain Mae

I know you’ve been missing Mae.  Come on, of course you have!  She, as usual, has been having quite the life…running, hiking, swimming.   But last month she was stung by hornets three different times!  NOT fun.  The last time, we had been out hiking on the mountain and about half an hour after we got home I looked at her and her entire face was swelling!  Luckily a benadryl tablet brought it under control.  But she hid in the closet for the next hour!

The bee-sting lip look?

I’ve been a bit more careful about avoiding places bees might be, but it’s not easy out in the woods.

Today she had her first Mountain Bike training ride, and she did great! Actually, this is the second try.  Last summer we took her out but she didn’t get over jumping at the bikes and I wiped out pretty good.  This time I went fast enough that she had to really run to keep up and while she was trying to herd me for the first mile or so, she finally figured out that she could just run ahead or along side and it was a blast!  At last , a way to tire her out that doesn’t wear me out first!
Does she look tired?

Altra Mid

In case you missed it, I finally found a great shoe!  I am just so happy that I tried these because they are exactly what I’ve been hoping to find.  They are the Altra Lone Peak 3.0 mid height, neoprene/polartec trail runner.  My goodness, that’s a mouthful!

What do I like about this shoe?  well, everything!  Pretty much anyway… the fit is just like the Lone Peak 2.5 which I also have.  Most guidelines will say go up half a size in Altras and I have tried both the 9 and 9.5 and did go up to the 9.5.  I LOVE the extra toe box room.  If you aren’t used to that it may seem sloppy at first but believe me, it’s the best thing ever!  The rest of the shoe fits great as well.  I was concerned that the mid height may be annoying but it is fantastic!  Well cushioned so no uncomfortable parts.  The lacing system is great, nice and even and the metal grommets at the ankle make it super easy to snug up.  Yes, I know, I will actually have to tie and untie these shoes!  But the extra couple of minutes for that is well worth it!
Cushioning is fantastic.  it’s my favorite thing about Altras. It’s like a cloud for your feet.
Tread is fantastic.  No slipping on anything, wet, dry, gravel, mud, it was all good.
Zero drop….I’m a fan!  I know some people can’t stand it but I love it.
And here is the big, most fantastic thing about these, as a Pacific Northwest runner…..THEY ARE REALLY WATERPROOF! I intentionally ran through puddles and my feet stayed dry!!  The polartec lining also is a big bonus because I will be able to wear these through the winter and still be cozy.  Plus the Gaiter Trap will be uesful for snow.  The mid height also means less debris getting into my shoe and driving me nuts.  Where they debris free?  No.  But oddly, the only time I got little pebbles in the shoe were running on the paved road that connects to my trails.   But I got nowhere near the amount of dirt and plant bits that you would in a regular height shoe.
What I don’t like?  Well, let’s be honest….the price is staggering.  At $168 retail they are clearly the most expensive running shoe I’ve purchased to date.  That price makes it prohibitive to stock up with a second pair too.  But, considering what I spend on other types of footwear, winter boots, snowboard boots etc., and the fact that I LOVE them, I just have to go with that.
Happy Fall!  Have a great weekend~

Love Match

Oh. my . GAWD!!  I just took the new Altras for a test run….it’s a perfect match!!   They are the Altra Lone Peak 3.0 Mid height, neoprene/polartec trail shoe.  They look like this:

 

Briefly, I am going to be bold and say that they are the best running shoe I have ever worn, IN MY LIFE!  Ha ha ha, no, really.  I’m being serious.
I will have a full review soon.  For some reason my photos won’t upload to my server from my phone today, but I have a few from our jaunt around the mountain and if they ever show themselves in my mail folder I will share.  These shoes are awesome.  Comfort and performance perfectly melded.  Tell my husband I won’t be home later because I’ll be out romancing my Altras…..
Also, a quick nod to The Running Schlub for the inspiration for my post-run pbj!!  If you haven’t checked out Schlub’s blog you should do so!  He’s one of the most enthusiastic, motivated runners out there and I always enjoy his posts.  He’s taking on the BIG TRAIL RUNS and training for his first 50k trail race !   Need a dose of inspiration and positive vibe? He’s your guy!!

Fall Color

We’ve had some GORGEOUS fall weather up to this last weekend, then we got slammed with lots of rain.  I think we had a couple of inches on Saturday!  But precipitation is good….that rain will soon be snow!

 

And then there’s fall color of another kind….these new Asics trail shoes!
I finally found a shoe I can run in and that fits relatively well!  Is it a perfect match?  No. But it’s close.  It’s the Asics 2000-4 Trail running shoe.  I had the road version last year and liked it well enough.  When I  first put this shoe on the big thing I noticed is the lack of toe room.  I think this runs small, as did the road shoe, so I sized up half a size.  However, I have gotten used to shoes like the Altra with great space in the toe box, and while this is long enough, and wide enough, there isn’t a lot of space up and down in the toe area and the top of my toe actually rubs on the fabric!  SO annoying.  I think it will loosen up, as will the entire shoe, as it feels a bit stiff all over.  Great heel cushioning, if that’s your thing.  I think it could use more forefront cushion.  Though when I started downhill I immediately appreciated the extra cushion in the heels. Awesome tread!  Pretty much bomb proof, no slipping whatsoever.  I ran on everything from grass and forest duff to recently dug up gravel and loose dirt roads.  This however was under dry conditions.  And THAT, is one thing that hurts this pair…when the rain came and the conditions were wet (Hey it’s THE NORTHWEST),  my feet were soaked instantly! The fabric has no water resistance at all and in fact seems to soak up water like a sponge.  Not very enjoyable.  The tongue also is a bit short for me….I am one of those weirdos who hates to tie and untie shoes.  I like to get them just right and then put them on with a shoe horn?  So when you go to put these on, the tongue is rather small and doesn’t open up enough for me to slide my foot in….again, one of my strange peeves but if you get what I’m saying?  Then you have strange peeves too!
Overall, this shoe is adequate.  I gave it an 8 when I first put it on but by run’s end it had crept up to an 8.75.  They cost me $95 on Road Runner Sports.  meh.  not super thrilled as far as cost to worth for me personally but these days it seems anything under $100 is a score.
Next up….that pair of neoprene shell Altra Lone Peaks….They are sitting right here awaiting a run up the mountain.   Should I say that I wish it was a rainy day??

Mountain Mess

Well, Saturday I did go out shopping looking for running shoes.  And I bought….RUBBER BOOTS!  That’s right, you can’t run in those. Well, you can, but it would be sloppy and awkward.

I am so thrilled to have found these though because they are the perfect thing for walking the dog in the morning. The fields we play in are soaking wet this time of year and last fall and early winter my feet were soaked every day! These fit perfectly, YAY!!
Sunday I went out again looking for the perfect running shoe.  No luck.  I went to Road Runner Sports and tried on about 6 pairs.  I really am a lot like Goldie Locks here ….too small, too big, rock plate, toe guard, bad tread…ugh!  On Wednesday I checked out one more local store but had no luck.  So finally, after driving my husband nuts talking about running shoes for WEEKS, I ordered another pair of Altras and an Asics GT2000 trail.  The Altras are the neoprene/polartec waterproof MID version of the Lone Peak 3.0  .  I’m not thrilled with the changes to the Lone Peak over the 2.5 version I have but if these are “right” they may be exactly what I’m looking for to wear in the mountains through early winter (gaiters!!)  The Asics are the fall back pair.
As soon as they both arrive I will give an update….right, because it’s SO exciting to talk about my running shoes….
Okay, on a side note….did I mention (ya probably) what a big fan of Harry Chapin I was?  So, I have Sirius radio and honestly the BEST thing about it is the crazy old gems that pop up as you surf channels.  Awhile ago I heard Taxi and it just is SO INCREDIBLE.   Taxi… go on, take a listen.  “There’s a wildman wizard, he’s hiding in me, illuminating my mind”.   And the part about having “something inside me, not what my life’s about”?  oh man!
The funny thing about this is that I kept singing it, playing it, yelling it, writing it down, working out to it etc.  And I thought about a concert I went to back in the 70’s.  Harry came out after the concert and talked to us, shook our hands.  It was just us, a small group of high school friends who hung around after the show.  He was such a nice, regular guy.  He even signed a leather visor that I was wearing at the time.  ya, a leather visor that had “Budweiser” tooled into it.  To my complete delight, my best friend found a photo of the two of us, circa 1978, and there I am, wearing the visor!  It was completely coincidental too!  Just like that…BAM, I’ve got a photo of me in the visor!!
I must have really been into hats as the newsboy cap on my friend is also mine….

Well, there you have it.  An update from the mountain mess that I am.  Maybe I spend too much time alone with Mae?  ya, maybe… I hope your first week of “fall” is going great!!  Drop me a note.  Got a favorite old song that lights up your day?  Share it!

Still Looking….

I really thought that I had a match.  I’ve been looking for new running shoes for so long and I picked up a pair of La Sportiva’s .  I’m not sure what I was thinking with them , as they were the opposite of most shoes I like.  But you know, they felt good in the store.  Dont’ they always??

runshoes

But on my feet, on the trail, up and down the mountain?  They felt like WAY too much shoe. After wearing shoes like Altras, Newtons and even my favorite original Brooks Pure Grit, this shoe did not have enough room in the toe box .  I had even sized up half a size, but my toes were hitting the very hard toe guard and that was fairly uncomfortable.  The laces were annoyingly long.  Sure, I didn’t lace the top hole but that was because the tongue was also huge and uncomfortable. The laces also tended to come undone, despite double knots.   They did have excellent traction, especially descending, I’ll give them that.  That feature was probably the only thing I did like about them.

brakes

But overall , it was just too much shoe.  They seem more like a nice hiking shoe (for someone else) but I was not comfortable wearing them running , or actually wearing them at all.  So glad REI has such an excellent  return policy.    I’ll have to keep looking…What are you wearing ??

 

Tuesday Afternoon Fun

You know lately, all I want to do is wander around in the mountains with my dog.  Is that so wrong?   Here are a few shots from our Tuesday afternoon at the “lake”….

Someone pulled the plug….

 

It’s okay, there’s still MUD!

 

There’s not much of summer left.  How are you spending your final days of the season?  Heading back to school?  Sending off the kids?  Sneaking in some last vacation days?  I hope it’s all great!

Dogs and Houseplants…

This is a  quick post to relate something scary that happened with Mae last night.  We were getting ready for bed and she wanted to go out on the porch for a drink, (she has a bubbler fountain on porch) so I opened the door to let her out.  She came back inside and my husband yelled to me that she had something in her mouth.  Well, it was part of a silver jade plant that is in a pot on the porch, been there all summer along with  Aloe and other succulents.  We pulled the leaf out of her mouth and within a minute she started having what appeared to be an asthma attack, wheezing and having difficulty breathing!!  It lasted about 10 scary minutes and finally she was ok!!  A  quick check online though told me something I didn’t know….Jade and Aloe are toxic to dogs!  While it’s not likely they will consume enough to poison themselves, they can have irritation, stomach upset and other symptoms.  I had seen Mae nibble the ends of the aloe but never thought much about it.  Who knows why at 11 pm she decided to start eating a jade plant that she has sat next to all summer??  Dogs!!!  Anyway, just a heads up if you love succulents and dogs….like Lilies and cats, they might not go together!

And of course, the obligatory photo of Mae….keeping cool on a hot day in a mountain stream!