Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Springing Back Into Minimalist Running

Get it? Spring?... :P No, but I've dropped the heavy shoes again, and I'm a 100% minimalist runner.

It's been a little over 2 weeks since I've switched back to my VFF's and my New Balance Minimus shoes. My feet and legs didn't miss a beat over the winter months. I've not been suffering from the lower leg pains that I experienced last year when I started running in my VFFs. Muscle memory at work here, I'm assuming. (?)

This past Friday, I took an 8 mile fun run with my buddy Eric @ Dillon State park. On this run, my new Minimus shoes gave me some nasty blisters due to the fact that I didn't wear any socks and we sloshed through some mud early into the run. When the shoes came off, I had some bright-shiny blisters on the tips of my middle 3 toes on both feet, and some nasty blisters on my heels from the back of the shoe. I put socks on after that run and had to grin-n-bear it the rest of the evening.

On Saturday morning, I met my good buddy Farley up at Mohican and we ran the Orange loop (15 miles).

Due to my tender blisters, I decided to break out the old black VFF KSO Treks that I got over a year ago. They have 500+ miles on them, and they stink like hell. They're falling apart but they are still amazingly comfortable. I glided through the forrest and only kicked a few roots and rocks on this run. Farley wore his Merrell Trail Gloves and had nothing but great things to say about them. They looked pretty comfortable and he claims that they are indeed extremely comfortable.

Side Note: Remember the last time I met with Farley, we ran into a fellow named "Last Place Jason". Farley recognized him from the Huaraches Google Group, and we stood around and talked to him for a few minutes after the race. At that time, we only knew him as "Last Place Jason". He was (and still is) a huge advocate of barefoot running and all things "minimalist". Anyway, (long story short) it turns out that he recently became the official spokesperson for Merrell Barefoot running. Oh and he has a real name too: it is Jason Robillard. :) I thought it was pretty cool to see a true success story from a great guy.

Check out some of his work on the Merrell Barefoot Training site.

Anyway, back to the Mohican run, this was the farthest that Farley has ever ran, and he rocked it like a trail pro. I think he has the taste for Mohican running now. :) It's quite addictive. He stated that most of his runs are flat, road runs around his neighborhood. This was an insanely hilly, single track trail that weaved in and out of trees and up and down hills the whole time. He admitted that he was a bit concerned after the first 2 miles. Of course, the first two miles of this run was all uphill and pretty slow going. However, once we got to the top of the hill and settled into a nice pace, our conversation allowed the time to pass pretty fast. I totally enjoyed this run and can't wait to run with "Brother Farley" again soon.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Balance Minimus MT10OB Trail Shoe

I got a new pair of shoes today, and I can't wait to hit the trails in them. I chose the New Balance Minimus MT10OB trail shoes (New Balance's answer to barefoot running).

My VFF KSO Trek's are stinking up the house and simply unsanitary. I've put hundreds of miles on them and I've even had my mom stitch them together for me on one occasion. My other VFF KSO's are great for running on the roads or the bike path, but they aren't really good for running on the trails. There's no traction on the bottom and I slip and slide all over the place in the slightest bit of wetness or mud. I was going to just order another pair of KSO Treks online and be done with it. However, my good buddy, Farley, was telling me how much he likes his Merrell Trail Gloves (Merrell's answer to barefoot running). I've also read some pretty good reviews from the New Balance Minimus MT10OB shoes.

Jennifer and I decided to head into Columbus and do some "Daddy shoe shoppin". Our first stop was Easton to see what the New Balance Minumus shoe was like. I literally walked into the store, tried them on, and bought them. No need to look any further. These things fit great and there was no need to look at the Merrells. I'm going to officially retire my stinky VFF KSO Trek's. :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

NuGet Package Management to the Rescue

I've seen the light.

I am working on a project and needed to include a reference to Castle.Windsor. I thought about all the pain that goes with this. In order to even get Castle.Windsor working, I have to first download it. Place it into a directory on my file system. Then I have to add the reference to my .NET assembly. Once that's done, I have to then modify my web.config file to ensure that everything get's mapped up correctly. Then (and only then) can I try to do a compile and hope I didn't screw something up along the way.

Welcome to NuGet!

With NuGet, I simply go to the Package Management Console toolwindow inside Visual Studio and type:

Get-Package MyProjectName | Install-Package Castle.Windsor -Version 2.5.2

This means:
- Set MyProjectName as the default project
- Pipe that output as the input to the Install-Package command
- Install Castle.Windsor (v2.5.2) along with anything it might depend on

Viola, all that stuff is done for me automagically for me. I see a slew of output in my console window with a final "Done." at the end. Looking through my solution explorer, I see that the references have been added and a few config files were updated. Castle.Windsor is installed and configured.

Since this was so easy, I went so far as to install Elmah next. Installing these two projects into my solution took me less than 10 seconds. Without NuGet, this would have taken me 20-30 minutes and lots of docs-diving.

I'm a NuGet fan!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

My Lil' Trail Hacker

Not often do I get to spend time with just one of my 3 girls. Sometimes I'll get to drive Jazzy to art class, or watch one of the girls while Jen is in town with the other two. However, it's rare that there is just "one on one" Daddy time.

Well the other day, I was wanting to get out of the house and get some fresh air. I was considering a relaxing 4-6 mile run around Marie Hickey, but I threw out an open invitation to the entire family for a relaxing 2 mile hike instead. Everybody declined, as they were sitting around watching TV or surfing the web... except Daizi. She was watching TV, but actually got excited to go on a hike. She was genuinely excited about it too. No matter how many times Jennifer, Lizzie, and Jazzy said "Daizi, are you sure you want to go!?". She asserted that she was sure! This made my day!! What was supposed to be a quick breath of fresh air outdoors, turned out to be an unforgettable hike with my favorite 4 year old!

We got to Marie Hickey around 3:30 pm, and Daizi suggested that we check the map so that we knew where to go. :) I let her pick which direction to start, and she decided that she wanted to go UPHILL into the woods instead of doing the easy, flat part first. I love this kid! :) We headed up into the woods with great conversation. Of course she started complaining about her legs hurting about 200 yards into the hike... I assured her that they'll feel better soon, and she didn't mention them for the remainder of the hike.

We kept our eyes peeled for animals the whole time. She wanted to see a "trock-a-dile" really bad. I told her that there were no "trock-a-diles" in Ohio, but she didn't get it and kept claiming that she wanted to see one. :) We did see some hawks, small birds, a crane, a family of deer, and a few "stwirls". I was really wanting to see the local owl, but we never did see it.

Daizi prolonged our hike with her never ending search for cool "egg-torns" (ie. acorns). We had to stop every 100 (or so) feet to pick up acorns. I never once told her to hurry up or "let's go". I truly cherished the time that she gave me on the trail. I was here with her, she wasn't here with me this time. I would stop and look with her. At one point we had about 10-15 different acorns and she wanted to put them under her pillow (?). I told her that she should pick about 3-5 of the best ones and leave the other ones for the squirrels. She thought that was a good idea, so she dropped a bunch of them and put exactly 3 in her coat pocket. :)

About 1.5 miles into the hike, she said she was getting tired. I believed her and picked her up and put her on my shoulders. She stayed on my shoulders the rest of the hike. This kid is tough to walk 1 1/2 miles on her little legs through these hills. She'll be running ultra's with me in a few years. :)

As we were approaching the back side of Oak Knob trail, we heard the water fall off to the side. After a nice rain, Marie Hickey comes alive and there is a beautiful waterfall that sits off the trail a bit. We headed over to the water fall and spent a few minutes admiring it.

After the water fall, we got back on the trail and giggled back to the car through the mud and over the little bridges. The entire hike took us a little over an hour, but it seemed much longer. We had a great time together and Daizi was wore out after we got home.

I hope to talk her into another hike next week... and then the next week... and then the next...