Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gray things for gray days

If I ran down a litany of all the things that have happened in my life over the course of the past couple months, it would sound like a sad country song. I've been busy, and not always in ways that have been happy, but things have now settled back into normalcy and I'm going to celebrate that by keeping on.

For obvious reasons, one of the last things I felt like doing was updating my blog, but along the way I realized that even though it's somewhat frivolous in nature, I actually did miss it a little. If nothing else, it kept my creative juices flowing a bit in trying to capture some decent images and string together some words that made a little sense.

After the most brutal summer that I can remember living through (in terms of heat and drought), we finally got a bit of a cold snap here, and it was welcome to me, as my fall wardrobe contains my favorites. I love my tweed jackets and over-the-calf socks and chunky ties and yes, even sweater vests (and sweaters). It gives me an excuse to wear wool hats and scarves and for once I don't have to worry about what hour of the day I'm going to inevitably sweat through my undershirt.

tweed upper

This past week, I finally broke out some of my tweeds, starting with this color-flecked gray Pendleton. It pretty much goes with anything, but I paired it with navy trousers and a green, vintage v-neck Pringle sweater.

tweed lower

Although this time of year features my favorite outfit combinations, it's also the hardest time to get decent photos outside, as the sun goes down so early that I have to get home early and set aside a couple minutes in addition just to have a chance. With a toddler and various household things that need done, it just doesn't always happen. In the previous photo, I managed to kill two birds with one stone in shooting photos at the same time I was emptying our compost bucket (pictured).


With a dry summer and a really long, mild fall, the squirrels have all gotten incredibly fat. We still have two pumpkins left from Halloween, but one of them has been almost completely destroyed (this is the lucky one).

I'm going to be in the giving mood in December. Six months is long enough to go without Style Share, don't you think?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Shill: Saucony Kinvara

Prior to our daughter being born, my exercise of choice was cycling. Several summers back, I found an old (1985, to be exact) Trek touring bike and modded it out, turning it into a poor-mans cyclocross bicycle that was perfect for riding the crushed limestone rails-to-trails paths that snake across the countryside in my state.

Over the course of under three years, I put over 5000 miles on that bike, and would routinely leave the house for 2 hour rides, my favorite being a 30-mile jaunt that I finished in an hour and 20 minutes at my peak.

With a month left in the pregnancy, I started getting the feeling where I didn't want to be too far of a distance away from home (especially in the middle of the countryside), just in case. The bike got parked in the basement, and I dusted off my running shoes.

It wasn't enough to just start running, though, as I'd done that many summers ago and ended up paying for it with some severe shin splints in the fall. Instead, I did a little reading up and decided to rebuild my running technique based on ChiRunning. Having read up on it, I figured a change might be in order, as over time it's supposed to reduce injury and be better for the body in general. After five summers of hardcore tennis playing and some bone spurs in my hip to show for it, I was looking to reduce wear and tear in any way possible.

Saucony tread

Here's a picture of the bottoms of my first pair of minimalist running shoes (Saucony - Kinvara) after almost 600 miles. The outsole is massively compressed, but they're still wearable and even comfortable.

Saucony shoes

Here's the same shoes from above, showing a little bit more wear and tear, including a bunch of dirt and crud that got embedded in the mesh while running off paved paths (about half my mileage). The shoes are crazy light, weighing in at only 12 ounces each (and that's for a size 14 shoe), and have just enough cushion for a large-framed fellow without going full-on barefoot style (which I know my body would not like).

Since I retired the aforementioned pair, I picked up the latest model from Saucony, the Kinvara 3. They've upgraded a few of the things that bugged me (the outer mesh is stronger), while keeping everything great about the shoe.

I'm up to almost 1000 miles run (since I started up again) and haven't been slowed by injury once (with the longest break between runs being 5 days due to sickness). For an old, lanky fellow with a tendency for aches and pains, I consider that a win.