Well the Summer is drawing to a close and the kids are back in school... But there is something I really love about August and this one was memorable. I really enjoy the dry warm weather and the ability to get in some good long runs before work each day. My runs are pretty much all with the headlamp and based on the time available and the weather. Most days I run between 4am and 6am which gives me just enough time to get ready and then put the girls on the bus by 7:15am.
McGregor Park Hike
It seemed like my body finally woke up and began acclimating to the higher mileages (finally) as I was steadily falling behind in my normal 2000 mile year pace. I was able to rack up some of my highest weekly totals of the year so far with a 75, 80 and 70 mile week. And this last week looks like it will be another 70+. At the start of August I was 215 miles behind the 2000 pace but by the end of the month I pulled that number down to ~50. Yes, I'm a "mileage geek" who actually keeps track of that sort of thing. It is actually a pretty difficult thing to do (running 2000 miles in a year) knowing that your AVERAGE weekly mileage needs to be 38+ miles per week and also knowing that December through March don't usually yield those high miles due to cold weather, so you have to "make hay while the sun shines" in August and September! Still, it doesn't even feel like work sometimes when you "get in the zone." And that's what I absolutely love about barefoot running...some days I might go out for a 4 miler and feel so good I just extend it and go for a 14 miler!...I would NEVER have done that in shoes!!
Pretty view on practice hike
Sunny Hike - Testing New Shoes & Socks
Of course since my September may be pretty light on actual running miles due to my 2-week Appalachian Trail hike, I will probably be way behind again by the end of Sept!...but oh well, I'll make it up again somehow. The other complicating factor will be two business trips in the month of September as well. I will be going to CA the first week of the month and then to Michigan the last week of the month.
Still, I am REALLY looking forward to this AT hike. It will be good to be out "alone" in nature for an extended period of time. We will be out for 2 weeks with 8 guys, one week on the trail and one week in a cabin. We are doing a very nice section of the AT in North Carolina starting at Fontana Dam and ending at the NOC (Nantahala Outdoor Center) which will actually be pretty light daily mileages and (I hope) allow me to do a significant portion of the trail barefoot...we'll see what God provides...I did a portion in Virginia barefoot but always put my shoes back on before the end of the day...I may not have shoes this time and go with only sandals, we'll see...still two more weeks to decide that. Either way, it will be fun.
Rocky Trail Somewhat Mimics the AT
I have done some practice hiking trying out the different footwear. At McGregor Park which is just 2 miles from my house, I have now done 3 practice hikes with a full 36lb backpack. Each time I hiked the outer trail (which was originally the only trail there) and it is a 1.6mile loop. The first one was a few days ago in the heat of the day with the hiking shoes and the new Ininji socks. They worked very well and I got no blisters or rubbing.
The 2nd time was in the cool of the morning and I went completely barefoot. Only one lady was on the trail but she did stop to ask me about barefooting and the benefits. The crushed gravel trail was definitely slower in barefeet but there were some grassy sections to help my average speed. The slowest gravel sections were about 1MPH which is what I pretty much expected.
Ininji Socks With Sandals New Combination!
The third trial hike was with the Ininji socks and the sandals and this seemed to be a pretty good combination as well. Granted there are no major ups and downs in McGregor Park, but I think the sandals will be a good alternative on the Appalachian Trail in a couple of weeks. My test hike speed with both the shoes and the sandals was about 3MPH with full pack, of course this will be somewhat slower perhaps when I hit the higher elevations and mountain climbs in North Carolina, but it was a pretty good test and served to give me confidence if nothing else. As always, with the weather, terrain, and how the body feels...I will have to see what God Provides...He hasn't failed me yet!
Well, Enjoy The Fall, and God Bless!
August Mileage = 321.71 miles (biggest month of the year so far)