Sunday, September 18, 2011

Kansas, a state of mind. Baltimore with Brendan Brazier. Nike Lunar Eclipse update.

This past week was pretty nice. The weather cooled and, as a result, training times came down dramatically. I love running between 45F and 60F. The difference in breathing and freshness is amazing. For the week, most of my running was done on roads and sidewalks, with one run done indoors (on a particularly cold, rain-spitting morning). My knee creaked and moaned a couple of times in the past 7 days, but it was mainly the result of sitting in a car for extended periods, and had very little to do with running.

My friend, Marisa, and I took a drive over to Lyons, KS to spend the night, before working a trade show in Salina the next day. Lyons is a nice town that is situated close to another nice town called Sterling (where Marisa did her first couple of years of college before transferring to Southwestern). After knowing Marisa for the past 8 years, it was great to get a chance to see where she came from, went to school, hung out, etc. Sterling, while pretty, gives off an odd vibe when you are there. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it is palpable. It did have one of the quaintest Dillon's stores I've ever seen. Set your watch back 40 years and have fun shopping. We picked up some bananas and organic oatmeal for our breakfast. We also had vegan pizza and salads at Gambino's. The college looked like a pretty place to be.

Marisa's father's body shop in Lyons was pretty cool. Since he drag races, his main car happened to be sitting in a bay. Pretty tough '57. I don't know why I didn't take a picture of the places or cars on this trip (other than a surreal-looking natural gas plant in Conway, KS).

All in all, as morally, politically, and intellectually stone-aged as Kansas is, the state has some real physical beauty to it. I love being in the rolling expanses of the Flint Hills. I also thrive in wide open spaces, and love plains (where there are no mountains to get in the way of the view).

I even found the salt and natural gas mines to have their own industrial beauty... Yoiks!?!?

I know what you're thinking: Allen, why is there a picture of Vega Sport Vanilla protein powder posted again at the top of your blog post? See? I knew I nailed exactly what you were thinking at that precise moment...

Well, the reason it is there is because later in the week, I plan to do a run (albeit a little 5 k) with Vega's own, Bredan Brazier (if you wanna learn more, go here ). He's a triathlete, vegan, and author. Since I take one of his products, I followed up on an invite to join him next Saturday at Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore. I got to run with the great (and super nice guy) Scott Jurek at the beginning of 2011, and will bookend with Brendan Brazier. Not too bad - although it would be nice to do something more of a real distance sometime when time didn't constrain our runs.


Finally, below is a recycled pic of my cat, Lucas, hanging out in my Nike Lunar Eclipse running shoes. I had said that I would give an update on them (I am a huge fan of Mizuno and Brooks, and hadn't owned a pair of Nikes in years). Well, after a very rough start, the shoes have finally broken in a bit. Other than the not-attractive color, they perform admirably. The initial problems that I encountered with them were mainly centered around the hard piece of plastic that surrounds the heel of the shoes. Every footfall, particularly when running parallel to an incline, caused the plastic to bite into the side of my upper foot. It was not comfortable. I started just wearing the shoes for shorter, very flat, runs. Over the last month, though, the pair has broken in nicely. I no longer get bitten by the plastic bracing. The sole, while incredibly soft, gives good ground-feel as it offers decent shock-absorption. My current analysis would be that the shoes are a really nice pair to own and run in for any distance. I would want to have a different pair of shoes available, however, while breaking in the Lunars.

Finally, finally... I had planned to go for a good trail run this a.m. It is raining, though, so I'll probably do a shorter road run. My buddy, Chris Ford (Marisa's husband), and I are doing the Riverfront Trails (8.5-9 mi) tomorrow after work, so I think I'll be able to restrain my enthusiasm until that time.

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