Let me tell you about my run!

I figure that Vero and I spend so much time running, talking about running, figuring out where and when to run that I should probably write about running occasionally. We don’t have internet access unless we go down the road to our host’s house, so there have been several good runs since this one, but for me it stands out.

17 kms of Pure Joy

Last Tuesday’s run was a beauty! I ran uphill all the way to the next village about 4 km from our cottage. Things got pretty muddy from all the cow traffic, so I turned around and headed back.

Muddy shoes anyone?
My shoes were still dry, so I skipped it

Before I got back into our village, I cut over the small ridge into the next valley. The road there goes 2 km up into the foothill of the Fagaras mountains before it becomes a track through dense forest.
This track is only used by local woodcutters and gypsies out hunting mushrooms. I’ve run there three times now and haven’t seen another human. In fact, because I usually run early in the morning, I rarely see anyone at all.

Rogue cow
This lady was on the wrong side of the fence… jumped it !?

I’d love to follow the wooded track to see how far it goes. Tuesday I couldn’t follow it far what with my little detour to the next village. I had already run 10 km to get to the entrance to the woods.
The first time I went in I went farther, but still only about 3 km in. That far in you climb all the way, but never get a view. The trees are just too dense and it’s mostly younger growth due to the woodcutting. I was just getting to bigger, older trees when I turned around.
Deep in the dark Transylvania woods at 7 AM, when the sun barely penetrates the leaves to light your way, it’s easy to start thinking about…. wolves. I’ve been told there are bears in the area, but bears don’t generally hunt people. Wolves on the other hand…

Anyone know the Gruffalo?
The Gruffalo said that no gruffalo should ever set foot in the deep dark wood

The way down and back is just pure speed-way. A two lane track with a grassy middle on a slight decline, wide open and fast. The last 3 km home were my fastest by almost 45 seconds per km. 17 km round trip and the last 3 were the fastest by far!

Running while travelling with kids

My wife and I, if you didn’t know, are avid runners. Back home we each tried to run at least twice a week. Sometimes we got in as many as 5 runs in a week! Often our sanity depended on a good 10 km; a good hour of running wipes out a stressful day of work and/or parenting.

It's hard to dry running shoes on the road!
Running shoes drying under the ceiling fan – a common sight.

Running while travelling has been kind of hit and miss so far. We had some great mountain runs, in Ella for example. We’ve done a bit of running on the beach, but I don’t see the point of doing that in shoes. Building up enough callus on your soles takes a while, and it’s not permanent. You stop beach running for a week and it’s all gone.

To run when you’re travelling with young kids is a bit tricky for us. The kids can be a bit of a handful, so you feel bad leaving your spouse alone with both of them.

We take turns early in the morning while the kids are still sleeping. Sometimes we can both run on the same day, sometimes we alternate days. This works fairly well but then you always end up with one tired parent for the rest of the day.

Running in Kandy

Lately we have been staying in Kandy, in the central hill country of Sri Lanka. We both love to run hills, and the only flat street in Kandy is the lake ring road.
The problem, as with many places in this part of the world, is the traffic. When there’s no sidewalk and the majority of vehicles are diesel, running in the road is less than pleasant. The local buses belch black smoke in your face and the tuk-tuks pass on the shoulder, which is where you’re running.

The only option is to get up at 5 AM, run before the traffic gets too bad, and then go back to sleep until everyone wakes up.
Hopefully the next destination has a little less traffic, but I’d be amazed.

The Search for a Shoe (Intro).

This is the sad story of a minimalist runner in today’s maximalist world, searching for new shoes.

Two years ago I decided to completely change how I was running. At the time I was running between 10 and 15 km; the day after a 15 km run, my knees, hips, and lower back hurt for two days. I was a heel-striker.

I did some reading, watched a Christopher McDougall Ted Talk, and decided that I would run minimalist, barefoot if possible.

After much online research, I happened to be passing by the Montreal New Balance store, so I stopped in to see what the minimalist options were. I tried on a pair of Minimus Zero V2 and I felt like I was running in socks with soles on them.

new-balance-minimus-zero-v2

Amazing.

I went right out and tried them that night and it was a rude awakening. I got about 1 km and felt a new tightness in my calves. By the time I got back to my house at the end of 3 km, I could barely run. The next day I could barely walk. I have never had calves that sore; not trekking in Nepal, not mountaineering in the Canadian Rockies, never.

I started running to the park in my Nikes, carrying the Minimuses (Minimii?) and then putting them on for a lap and running home in the Nikes. One lap became two, and in only a year (!) I was back up to 7.5 km.