Monday, December 28, 2009

Snow Traction Update

Traction in the snow on steep trails (One I run climes 1000 feet in 1.5 miles) is a challenge. There is (at least) one dilemma for the minimalist runner: how to get enough traction while not weighing down the foot or hindering it's function.

The bottom line:

  • I run in most situations in my double soled primal mocs. This includes in well crystalized snow up and down on moderately packed snow. More on this later.

  • When I absolutely need additional, I now use Stableicers Lite. Why? Because they are the only traction device I've found that doesn't constrict my foot through the minimalist footwear. I use velcro straps over the top to help hold them on (they slip off otherwise). 

Here's more details:

R and D with a solo moccasin maker in the Christmas season slows way down because he's filling Christmas orders! We're working on a possible wire and leather traction solution, but it remains in the pre-prototype stage for being too successful. Grin. Shameless plug: Chuck is great to work with and I highly recommend him if you are ready for a fantastic, quality, custom sized primal moc you can resole and will last forever. Connect with him at Mountain People Footwear.

I much prefer the leather sole to a rubber one (like Vibram's Cherry). Why? With proper primal running technique traction equals rubber soled shoes, yet is warmer, provides better ground feel, and allows the exchange of energy with the earth. Exchange of energy with the Earth? Isn't that a bit wacko? Possibly. But I experience it. I feel much more energized running with leather sole on any surface, but particularly on trails. The closest thing to a "scientific" explanation is that running barefoot or with leather allows for the exchange of energy/electrons with the earth, in which we release waste energy through the soles of our feet and receive renewed energy from the earth. I've tried multiple testing of this and, whatever the explanation, I simply feel better running with a leather sole.

Winter is hard on leather soles. Replenish them with Obenauf's Heavy Duty LP.

Snow type does make a difference. Like any shift in terrain, the type and temperature of the snow we run on makes a difference in terms of how we interact with it. As any skier using waxed skis knows, there are different waxes for different types and temperatures of snow. For leather soled folk, the wetter (ie, warmer) the snow, the less friction it has. Snow is slippery when wet. Increased traction is required on wet snow. On well crystalized snow (ie, temps 25F and below), I've found very few circumstances requiring additional traction (again using proper primal techniques (as a refresher: primal is the style/technique/experience of running or walking either barefoot or minimalist).

Running a winding, rocky trail downhill in primal footwear is mind altering delight. The concept/ technique for it is this: small, rapid steps that take you on the edge of the traction/friction equation. In essence, you run as close to the point of slipping as you can, but because your feet are moving so fast you have a LOT of traction when and as you need it. It's amazing how our feet and legs are made for this (the same is true of any steep/rocky terrain) -- our mind only has to decide the track of our travel, our feet and reflexes take care of the rest (I suspect this requires a lot of time learning the technique and building up the right muscle groups, but Wow! is it a fun payoff!). So, while the Stableicers are functional, and at this point the best I've found, they greatly hinder primal running an so the search continues. Hopefully our own research for a primal moc traction device will yield some results.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Playing on the Lone Mountain

Pike's Peak as seen from N. Catamount this majestic morn.

There is no Smaug here (reference to J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit", as well as a true statement), but seeing Pike's Peak at predawn it always reminds me of what the Lone Mountain from Tolkien's adventure may have felt like in winter.

On this, the Feast of the Holy Family, may all lone mountains know they are part of a family, and may we who are blessed with an abundance of family remember it is through humble love and sacrifice that families have strength.

Plus 8 miles (plus milage adjustment for math errors)
Total Mileage: 355.8

Saturday, December 26, 2009

All Down Hill From Here

Rock formations in Red Rock's Canyon, adjacent to Garden of the Gods.

Today was an experiment to see several things.

First, do my new ear plugs allow me to run on a fairly busy road (if any road can be considered busy at 5am)? Answer: Yes.

Second, how do I do running along a fairly busy road? Answer: not nearly as well as on a trail. Yes, the noise. Yes I have to be constantly aware of traffic. But more than that, car exhaust gets to me. My brain is sensitive to a all types of sensory input and smell of exhaust is bad. This got me in particular as I approached Manitou, where some sort of inversion seems fairly common.

Conclusion: I really have no desire to continue running on any but the small back road to Cascade from Green Mountain Falls. For Christmas, I got a new pair of stretchy Stableicers that seem to work with my primal mocs (not constricting my foot, as do the other similar traction tools. Hopefully I can run the trails more now with these, as I'm really hankering for a good trail rather than road.

Plus 13.5 miles
Total Milage: 336.3

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve!

Christmas Eve Dawn under the arches of Holy Rosary Chapel.

Crisping air reveals,
my empty manger awaits,
Jesus Christ is born!

A very merry Christmas to you and your loved ones. May the warmth of this season fill your personal manger, revealing Christ born among us!

Love and blessings,

Plus 8
Total Miles: 322.8

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Run Cut Short

Och! I daftly helped my daughter put the angel atop the tree before my run. Fortunately, though I'd planned an 8 mile run, I wasn't feeling well so I turned around. I ended up barely able to make it all the way back, completing only 3 of 8 miles. It is amazing how subtle the brain fade is, before it rapidly descends.

Plus 3 miles (and 1.5 additional from yesterday)
Total Milage: 314.8

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Plus 8

Holy Rosary Chapel under a thin grey dawn.
I continue to be amazed by how contemplative road runs are now with my ear plugs (not to mention the rest of life's sound bombardment being much less taxing on my wimpy noggin!).

Plus 8 miles
Total milage: 310.3

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Waiting in the midst of Advent Preparations...

Days like this seem doubly hard. My brain is recovering from trying a new supplement -- one that didn't help my brain chemistry. So I'm here tucked into my "hobbit hole" sanctuary, hearing the distant joyous giggles and trompings of our lassies and my wife in their work to help the Christ Child and Saint Nick prepare for Christ's Mass.

Times like this weigh heavy. The burden leads to feeling sorry for myself. And that's when I remember the gift of prayer -- the prayer of thanksgiving. Take a deep breath. In. Hold. Out. Keep breathing deep and slow. Think of three things that are gifts in my life, right now. It almost seems too easily done. I hear three of them jingling through to my sanctuary. The tremendous gifts they give of loving and caring for me, despite all my short-comings. Thinking of three triggers a cascade of other blessings. Once I reach three, there is a plethora. Our home, our friends, our faith community, all the help people give us, our wee town, trails right out our front door, a rich abundance of food, a multitude of recent "baby steps" of progress...

Thank you God, for the rich abundance you give me. Help me use that abundance to help build the manger into which you are born to dwell among us -- Emmanuel.

The simple act of giving thanks transforms my fundamental attitude. Yes, the road is the same, long hard one, but somehow it is easier, richer, and smoother for keeping my eyes on the gifts rather than dwelling on the pain.

Merry and blessed Advent!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Our Foot is sturdy as an 3 flexible arches interlinked.

Arches at Holy Rosary Catholic Chapel, Chipita Park, CO.

God made our feet to be pinnacles of structural and functional engineering. Any cushioned shoe with a raised heal and/or upturned toe gets in the way of this beautiful design, hindering it, and forcing our bodies to work around it as if we're injured 9and indeed, we aften are because of these monstrosities on our feet, though we and the whole world too often blame running instead of the shoes). Here's the engineering marvel known as your foot.

We have a windlass mechanism which not only absorbs shock when we land on our forefoot, it actually stores and returns up to 18% of that energy to us in the form of propulsion. Run in cushioned shoes with a heel and you have to land heel first, completely negating this God given gift and abusing the heel and knees in the process. Some respond "but I NEED my cushion to run." Yes. You do. But you only have 1-2" of cushion when you run. I have about 30" of cushion if I need it. How? My knees bend however much they need to when my heel kisses the ground. The more weight on my heel, the more my knee bends. Usually this is only a few inches, but coming off a hill, it can be a lot more, though I've never maxed it out. (Tip o' the hat to Barefoot Ken Bob for this wonderful analogy!)

Our metatarsals (the bones behind our toes), form a flexible arch from behind our big toe to behind our little toe. This arch is meant to collapse, absorbing and dispersing the shock of running when we land our our forefoot or midfoot. Wear shoes that aren't wide enough in the ball of the foot, or run with a heel strike, and you don't get the benefit of this incredible arch.

Finally, our foot is made to pronate inward so our foot flattens out into the arch (What?! Isn't that a bad thing? The shoe companies would like you to think so). This helps dissipate shock and load the windlass mechanism. A healthy foot has a strong, flexable, supple arch and bone structure and moves in all kinds of ways you never knew about if your feet are trapped inside their cushioned prisons. Wear shoes with arch support and your arches become weak and aren't allowed to function as they were made.

In running, as in all things, God made us very good. Our challenge is to learn how we're made (and the world around us), how it works, and then what, if anything, we can or should do to co-create with God from there. Sick of trying to make your feet in Nike's image? Free them!

Plus 8 miles
Total Milage: 297.8

Monday, December 14, 2009

Hail, Full of Grace!

Our Lady of the Woods, at Holy Rosary Chapel, amidst the dawn from on high.

Plus 11 miles
Total milage: 289.8

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Plus 7

Plus 7 miles
Total milage: 278.8

Friday, December 11, 2009

Why I run barefoot/primal (minimalist)

Photo: Catamount waterfalls at the Hondo bridge.

A good friend asked me why I run in primal mocs and barefoot when I can (which isn't often, as I need it 60 degrees or warmer, live at 8,000 feet and run in the pre-dawn to early morning). Also, I sometimes get comments from people who see what I'm running in like "How can you RUN in THOSE?" Interestingly, I can only run because of them. Here's why:

I have constant neurological vertigo, which offers me two axes of motion simultaneously, all the time, without exception. As a result, my brain has no idea which way up is. The only way to compensate for it is to "fly by instrument" -- like a plane on a foggy night. So I use two heavy walking sticks which help tell my brain which way up is (yup, I run with them).

Going barefoot, or as close to it as I can get, helps in several ways:
Feet are "awake" (instead of asleep inside padded cells, er shoes), and thus provide a lot more usable information about where I have relative to the ground and gravity.
Most of these messages don't travel to my brain, muttling it's already limited capacity with an overload of   information to process. Instead, most of the feed back from my feet travels directly to the muscles of my feet, ankles, calves, thighs, hamstrings, glutes, back, and elsewhere triggering reflex responses to keep me upright. My brain doesn't have to know which way up is, because my feet and muscles are smarter than it when it comes to gravity.
Previously, when I could only walk, I lumbered along, intentionally falling from step to step, stick to stick. Yeah, I got good, and could hike for miles, but it exhausted me and my brain. Now, because reflexes mostly handle the positional awareness, my brain is ironically doing less work even though I'm running and accomplishing more.
Barefoot technique, in short is travel as tall and upright as possible while making as little sound as possible. Why? Because upright we're more efficient, an the less sound we make the more gently we are touching the ground and the more efficient each step is. There's a lot more to it (like short quick steps on the fore or mid-foot, no heel strikes, rapid cadence (180-230 steps/ min.). The end result is that running barefoot style energized my mind, body and soul, vs, walking the old way which took a toll on me. No longer are my back and shoulders all knotted up from lumbering about on my sticks. Yes, I still use them, but they are more to give my upper body gravity reference than the legs of Frankenstein's monster. Grin.

Plus 6.2 miles
Total milage: 271.8

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Snow Runner

The colors of winter pre-dawn are amazing. glowing purplish, pinkish, and red. With winter hue that's hard to describe, but only present when it's cold. Crisp, clear, yet muted glowing dusty all together.

It's wondrously fun (play with abandon kind of fun) to run feeling the different textures of snow through the thin leather soles of my primal mocs. From powder then "melts" straight through to the ground below, to the crusty surface of wind-blown snow that crumples and caves to powder below, to trafic packed snow and lumpy foot packed snow, and slick packed snow. Delecious, triamphant fun at 2F with mighty winds! Grin.

Plus 3.2 miles
Total milage: 265.6

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cold Weather Running

Todays run was a bit over 3 miles in -10F, (-30s with windchill). I wore my primal mocs (double leather sole) and a thin pair of merino wool work socks. The bottoms of my feet felt slightly cool, but they stayed stable and very happy. The tops and toes were warm and cozy.

Plus 3.2 miles
Total Milage: 262.4

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sheer Joy of Running in Crisp Powder!

Wow! Today's run was -2F and it was sheer delight. To feel the snow crunch under my foot trough my extra layer of skin (primal mocs) while being toasty warm with only a thin wool business type sock on was amazing. Some barefoot purists out there may say you'd get more feel of the experience with nothing on you're feet. Possibly. For the first two minutes. Grin.

Plus 4.2 miles
Total Mileage: 259.2

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

Here in the highlands of Colorado it's a perfect day for waking up to shoes put out the night before and discovering that the grand, holy elf reverse looted us, leaving chocolate gold coins and a few wee toys (can't remember what the lassies got! Grin.).

Plus 3.4 miles
Total Mileage: 255.0

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Plus 3

Primal mocs are working out wonderfully - the leather sole grips a lot more than I expected in snow -- until the snow is packed and/or icy. Working to design a pair of winter traction "sandals" to strap on for use in slippery situations -- then these will be the only footwear I need, no matter what I'm doing. Well, this or barefoot, but that comes standard).

For temperature, the primal mocs worked great at 0F with thin wool socks. They even breathed so well and are so comfortable, I'm still wearing them.

Plus 3.5 miles
Total milage: 252.6

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Plus 6.9

A grand crisp run in 10 degrees F!

Plus 6.9 miles
Total: 250.1

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Running solo, with company!

My brother, who lives in Oklahoma, has joined me in counting his miles. Welcome! He put in 40 last month.

Today's run was plus 3
Total miles: 243.2

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Something about a leather sole!

Wow. There is something absolutely energetic about running in an all leather shoe. Running in an all-leather primal moc feels far more barefoot than running in Vibram Five Fingers or even a moccasin with a rubber sole. The difference is palpable.

Why? I don't know. Apparently when we walk barefoot, electrons are exchanged between us and the earth, helping us unload whatever we need to and giving us renewed energy. Whatever it is, I can certainly feel that difference when I go barefoot, and this feels similar.

So, what are the drawbacks to an all leather sole? Only one that I've found: slippery when on snow and ice or wet grass/smooth wet rocks. For me, we get a lot of the snow and ice round here, but not much of the others. I'm testing out more options to help with traction with the moccasin and will report back when I learn more.

Another thing that may be a problem for some is if their running technique is heavy/loud rather than light/silent, they will wear through the leather, perhaps more quickly than they are used to. From what I can tell so far, wear seems similar or better than Vibram Five Fingers.

Chuck Perry of Mountain People Footwear is the guy to go to for custom primal running mocs. He already has the all leather, but if you're wanting a rubber sole, we're working on that as an option.

Plus 7 miles
Total: 240.2

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Fifty First Viewings of Fifty First Dates

I just finished watching "Fifty First Dates," according to my wife for about the fiftieth first time. For many it's likely a cute movie, using the story device of memory loss for comedy. It is that. But it's also not so far off. There are several places in it, where Lucy is discovering the extent of her injury and of her life, that her raw emotion matches aspects of my own journey.

I don't have short term memory either. I don't remember experiencing things. For me it fades after a few days. I do have conceptual memory and a wide variety of other types of memory that I use to help compensate, including my computer and EverNote. while she discovers she has a daughter, I know I have three daughters (I can even sometimes remember their names!), but I've no idea how old they are. I don't know if I'll come around the corner and see them with play dough, a boyfriend, or a husband. It does add some adventure to the most mundane trip through the house! Grin.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Brilliant Winter Colors

Hard shells of seed pods silhouetted against the dawn sky. I love the crispness of colors in winter, somehow they come through more brilliantly in the crisp dry air.

Plus 13
Total: 233.2

Thursday, November 26, 2009

God's Abundance!

Happy Thanksgiving. I am astonished and humbled by the rich abundance God has poured out on my Beloved and I and our wee ones. Happy Thanksgiving (in Greek, Eucharistia)!

Yesterday plus 3 miles
Today, plus 6.2 miles
Total miles: 222.2

Monday, November 23, 2009

Let it Snow, let it snow...

A gorgeous dusting of snow fell on my run today. Then, at the end, I forgot about small patch of ice (though I'd though of it 10 yards before it then got distracted by something. Idgit.), slid slightly and had to call my wife to get me (a slight slide really messes up my brain because of the constant vertigo). Actually had two people offer to help me, after asking if I was OK. Thank you Pantry and Falls Motel!

Photo above is of the cascading frozen side water fall at the top of Hondo Ave near the water tower.

Plus 4 miles
Total: 213

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Service Dog for Brain Bludgeoned...

I've mentioned him, but I don't think I've said much about my faithful and fearless companion other than his fondness for chasing bear, cougar, deer, and the occasional squirrel when naught more sporting presents itself. Sardonic grin.

Ardie, named after my favorite whisky, Ardbeg, is a Shetland Shepherd, weighs in at a spry 17 pounds when his fur is wet, and is kind enough to put up with me and my brain bludgeoned training that never ends (we don't do "official" training time, just training in real circumstances as they happen.).

Curious folk occasionally wonder, "what can such a wee lad do as a service dog?" Well, quite alot, actually. First, his job is to catch me if I fall. He can only do this once and fortunately hasn't been around to do it when I have fallen. Second, he makes car rides endurable. There is something about his weight and presence in my lap that helps with cutting through the vertigo, helping me last longer in more challenging circumstances (such as a car ride through winding canyon roads which are the only route to the big city round here). He also is a wonderful help when I am out in public, as people pay attention to him, rather than the odd guy with the big, great looking sticks. This allows me to ignore them and go about my business without getting overloaded with an interaction in a busy public area.

Aside from all those practical things, he is a grand companion who is daft enough to put up with me and my quirkiness and accompany me on all my adventures in the Colorado highlands.

 Plus 6.5 miles
Total Mileage: 209

Thursday, November 19, 2009

On the Trail Again!

Ahhhhh! That was wondrous! It's been 8 days since I was last able to run. Why the break? My brain was recovering from something -- I suspect it was that I'd spent too much time in the hyperbaric chamber. It's like Goldie Locks and her porridge. Too much is a bod thing, too little doesn't feed the brain enough, so I need the baby bear's portion. Grin. Which for me right now appears to be less than an hour a week, more than an hour a month.

I started off slow, with just three miles. My muscles are saying "Huh?" and feeling good despite themselves. Yes, lads, that's what we do. We run.

Plus 3 miles
Total Milage: 202.5

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How I Organize my External Brain (Computer)

Matthew's comment that the desktop of his brother, who has TBI, is as cluttered as his brain (see this post) seems to be (I know the feeling!), helped me realize just how much I use technology to do the organizing for me.

I dump it all into my documents folder. I make no attempt at organizing anything, other than to label it with tags. It takes very little time and far less thought than navigating a file tree.

I use Leap and Fresh to easily find new or changed files on my computer. They work so well, I don't even realize I'm using them! The screen shot shows Fresh in action, appearing as needed above my desk top, vanishing when done. Beautiful. Also, uniquely Mac, I believe.

What Is Brain Fatigue?

Last night I wasn't doing well. My brain was overloaded and I was hiding out in my "hobbit hole." But nature calls and I worked my way to the bathroom, all of one room over. On my way out gravity was winning handily despite my leaning on the walls, so to get through the doorway I grabbed the vertical trim on the door.

Apparently I've done this before and it had become loose. It pulled out from the door, turned sideways, and broke, sending me sprawling into the hallway. It took about 45 minutes for me to make it the 15 feet into bed -- and that was with some assistance. As a result, today is a very "hard" day, a measure of brain fatigue.

Brain fatigue looks different for every person. Here is what it is like for me. My body stops producing head. Wrap me in all the blankets you want, unless one of them is electric, I will not warm up. Any noise from anywhere and I can't think. I have my ear plugs in now, just to block the sound of the fan on the computer and the heater blower when the dragon in the crawlspace does it's job. When the diesel trucks of the construction workers staying a the town motel a football field away start their rumbling, as they already have, I can't think at all without the ear plugs.

On days like this, in the quieter hours of the morning, I try and write and get a few things done. Beyond that, it will be a day of simply occupying my brain with the cognitive therapy of trying to follow TV shows and movies, and the occasional emails of the brain injury support groups I moderate.

By definition, very few people see this side of brain injury. Most folks only see me when I'm doing well enough to be out and about. They see the 10 minute miles I can run but not the 10 minutes it takes to make the bathroom, 20 feet, one way. Sardonic grin.

No wonder brain injury is misunderstood. The injury is invisible, hidden behind a few layers of my rock-thick skull. The primary effect as the brain becomes more fatigued is that, from my perspective, the world simply gets harder. From other's perspectives, if they don't understand what is going on and why, it looks like I've suddenly stopped wanting to do _______. They have no idea that the sudden flashing glare off the car windshield did my brain in for the day. THings like that don't even register as having happened for most people -- because their brains are able to filter out all that noise.

That's why so many people with brain injury have to endure ignorant and often arrogant claims that they are faking it, pretending, or simply aren't motivated enough. I've had neurologists yell such things at me in front of my family. Thanks -- that will help (even if you were right and not ignoring my brain scans). Why is it neurologists are 10+ years behind in understanding brain injury?

Keep me in your prayers as I recover from the epic journey to the bathroom!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Thank God for Brain Backup!

Sometimes things happen that just make you scratch your head, say "Huh", and be amazed that God is God.

The night before last (the morning of Friday the 13th -- do, do, do-do!) I discovered that my dreams can "short circuit me, which has never happened before. I dreamt I was turning on a light and the outlet jolted me with a surge of electricity. My brain literally and figuratively short circuited, both in dreamland and when I woke. I didn't think much of it, and struggled to get up and experience what I could of the day.

When I got to my computer I discovered it could not boot, though it worked just fine the night before. It needed a complete reformatting and reinstall of the Mac OS. Thank God for seamless backup from Apple! They made it easy for me to restore my external brain in a matter of hours.

Nothing else in our house was fried, the computer is on a surge protector that wasn't tripped. I've no idea what happened and it may be a coincidence -- but I tend to go with Anonymous who said "Coincidence is God choosing to work anonymously."

Still having mostly hard days. Perhaps I need a break from the hyperbaric chamber (and shocking dreams. Sardonic grin). Will run when I can, but that's not today.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Testing a Primal Moc!

Yesterday I received the first test moccasin from Chuck Perry. He and I have been working for a while on a minimalist running moc. All I can say is "Wow! His craftsmanship really comes through." We're in the final stages of prototyping this one, so here are some pics and my review of them.

Brief description: custom sized, hand stitched, Vibram Cherry sole (prototype has a different sole), resoleable, all leather. Anticipated price: $180.

Putting them on is amazing. The uppers feel like they were made for my foot (they were!). Toes have wiggle room and aren't squeezed, like they are in shoes and to a lesser extent in VFFs. I had mine sized for thick wool socks, as I want to be able to wear them through the winter.

There are no seams in the lower part of the moc. It's all one piece of leather. Beautiful! The heel cups in and is a perfect fit (according to Chuck both of these are possible because of the way he hand stitches it). Not once in my run did it slip or feel too tight.

First, I ran with no sock for about 1.5 miles at 36 degrees F. Feel of the ground was nearly identical to VFF Sprints, but the feel of the moc on my foot was much better. Like with the Sprints, my foot was on the verge of being too cold. I put on my medium weight wool socks. This takes a bit of practice, as I leave some extra sock in the toe to keep it from being too tight on my foot, but I have to wiggle it into the moc so the sock doesn't snug up. Feels incredible and still plenty of toe room to wiggle!

With the sock on, the feel of the ground on rough trail is about halfway between the Vibram Sprint and Trek. The sock definitely adds some cushion. (these can be ordered with a custom thickness to the sole, so if you want Sprint equivalent or Trek equivalent, that can be done. Adding a sock adds cushion, so there is some inherent flexibility there.

Climbing up 1,500 feet in altitude, the temp dropped to around 25 F. I ran on clear rocky trail, snow pack, and ice. My foot temperature remained comfy cosy (but not too hot) through the entire run. Leather tends to breath well and have a wide comfort zone range, especially with a wool sock on.

I tested the ICEtrekkers chains with the Primal Running Moc. By their chart I should use a L for my foot size. I'm inclined to agree, as the Mediums were a bit snug. I'll try the large next. Even too snug, the chains did great an weren't too uncomfortable and did not cause bruising (as they did with the VFFs between my toes).

We hope to make these available to you very soon!

UPDATE (late November, 2009):
We have the double soled leather running mocs ready. If you agree with the running addage that the best pair of running shoes is a leather ballet shoe -- this is the way to go. What are they like to run in? On anything dry, they're phenomenal. On snow and ice, they are slippery (not surprisingly). I simply slid on my chains and go for miles in powder, snow pack, and ice. Because there isn't really any wet grass I haven't tested that or wet rock. I'd bet they would be slippery on smooth wet rock, find on textured wet rock. They wear beautifully and have a replaceable sole (and you could always pray on rubber from the hardware store if you wanted to -- doesn't really help with the grip unless you add some fine sand bits in with it).

We're still doing R&D on the Cherry sole. The question at this point is if/how to make it so it works at least as well as the leather (wear, fit, longevity, durability) because if so, it will address the slippery when wet challenge of just the leather.

To order, contact Chuck Perry at Mountain People Footwear.

Traction Update, December 28, 2009:
I'm finding I much prefer the leather sole and get a lot more traction from it than I expected, especially in snow 25F or colder. For traction I now use Stableicers Lite with velcro over the forefoot to help keep it on, but only when absolutely necessary (which isn't as often as I'd've thought). See the Traction Tag for the latest.

Plus 8.5 miles
Total milage:199.5

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

No Idea Why, Just Having Brain Fatigue Days

Part of the gift of living with brain injury is the realization (which I suspect is true for all of us) that I only have now. Any plans I may make are utterly contingent on my capacity to advance them, and when I can't they have to be flexible enough to go on 'pause.'

Every winter in the past I've had a "down swing" -- an extended period with fewer "good" days and more "hard" days. I hope this isn't the beginning of that -- I'm hoping that my following the blood type diet has leveled off some of those issues. Time will tell. In the mean time, I get to veg in the "hobbit hole" (my room/office we've sound proofed and where my computer is).

On the plus side, my youngest daughter of 6 weeks is now big enough to short-circuit me! I was trying to hum her to sleep, keeping my head on hers, but she was determined to stay a awake. To proove her point, she suddenly and strongly straightened her legs, unexpectedly moving my head and playing bonkers with my vertigo. Ahhhh -- they grow so fast! Grin.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

As Fast as We Can, As Slow as We Must...

Today was one of those days. I head out, not sure how well I'll do. On days like this I either end up doing fine -- just had to get my brain and body working together, or it simply doesn't happen. The challenge is that over time, what it feels like to be "hard" (brain fatigue wise) and unable to go -- that changes. And not having memory - it can be tricky to figure out. The price for thinking I'm doing better than I am is getting stuck out on a trail with no way home except search and rescue (Thank God that hasn't happened in my 7 years of my own personal extreme sport! Grin.). THe motto "as fast as we can, as slow as we must" is essential -- as is the skill of listening to my body (including brain) and what they are telling me.

I made it a mile out before I realize this was not going to happen today. The good news is, I made it a mile back also! Grin.

The picture is of the sunrise looking up part of the trail. The wonderful, subtle hues of purple and alpine glow (which I was in when I took it) rarely come out -- so I digitally ramped up the saturation to try and somewhat come close to the look and feel. Go figure, it still falls short of the majesty of God's creation!

Plus 2
Total Milage: 191

Friday, November 6, 2009

Running with Abandon!

We've been fantastically warm (50's in the mid morning) -- so the snow is dwindling, slushy and fun. Beauty abounds! The photo is of mountain mahogany and it's fuzzy-tailed seeds glowing in the morning sun.

Plus 4 miles
Total miles 189

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Plus 8 and Ear Plugs that really help!

Today I ran along a road I've not been able to run before. Why? Because the traffic noise and wind chimes along the way were more than my poor brain could handle. However, I've found these ear plugs, which reduce all sounds evenly by 20 decibels, and cost less than $20 delivered.

Unlike my hearing aids programed to filter rather than amplify, these do not amplify wind noise and they do a better job filtering down wind chimes and traffic noise (which tend to be either high or low). It was a lovely 8 miles!

Plus 8 miles
Total: 185

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Winter Wonderland!

Beautiful snow up to my mid-calf once I got to where the sun don't shine (this time of year anyway). Fun powder!

Plus 7 miles
Total miles: 177

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The More the Merrier!

What a wonderful gift to be joined by four people. Three of them are my two daughters and my wife (does the milage of my wife carrying our newest daughter count double? Grin.). And Evan has joined the brain injury brigade in memory of his mother and father-in-law, both of whom were deeply effected by brain injury.

It sure is wonderful to be running in solitude in wondrous company! Thank you, and I look forward to running with may more from afar.

Plus 5 miles
Total milage: 170

Plus 3 miles
Total: 7 miles

Monday, November 2, 2009

Plus 7.5

I ran 4 miles yesterday and 3 this morning. Had a few "hard" days before that (measure of brain energy).

Plus 7 miles
Total Milage: 170

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ahhhhh! Powder!

This morning's run was a luscious drifting and loping along through 8-10" of perfect powder!

One thing it reminded me of is that life with brain injury (indeed, any disability) is a bit like running ____ miles through the snow vs. running on a clear, dry day at your favorite temperature. And because brain injury is invisible, it's like I'm running through packed, sloshy snow but no one sees it because it looks to them like a clear, dry, warm day.

Plus 5 miles
Total milage: 163

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Panorama up and down the Pass

This is a panoramic shot up and down Ute Pass. It shows the first few inches of what is predicted to be 12-14" by tomorrow morning.
Plus 3
Total: 158

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dawn from on High

My favorite line from Morning Prayer's Canticle of Zacharia is "...the dawn from on high shall break upon us..." Alpineglow feels like a wee taste of that delicous dawn from on high. I'm just not very good at capturing it on a camera, but the picture give a wee idea.
Plus 6 miles.
Total: 155 miles.

Daughters: Plus 2, for a total of 4 miles

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mind Your Head

Mind Your Head is a cooperative for brain injury survivors and caregivers to find support and therapy that promotes more fully entering life.

What does this look like? We're an innovative and living cooperative by brain injury families for brain injury families which uses physical locations, the internet, and home delivery to provide:

Ongoing, innovative, cost effective therapy (cognitive and otherwise)
Support of community
Business incubation and micro-loans for survivors and caregivers
Research via the above for better ways to accomplish therapy, incubation, and support
Funding for all the above

... all for TBI families by TBI families.

If you would like to be involved in creating some aspect of this, right now, please email Deacon Patrick! You can also help us create this vision by donating here (tax deductible).

Beware Sentient, Malicious Lamp Posts!

Och! The city told me it did not randomly turn off lamp posts to conserve energy. They put lamp posts where they were needed and not where they weren't. They failed to mention that some lamp posts mutate deep in their computer circuitry, becoming possessed by demons who seek to control the light.

Yes. The same lamp that got me a few days ago got me this morning. Same story, different day. I've no idea if it was the same time (quite possible). If so, I simply need to not run there at 6:15 am. The good news this time is I did not need to wake my sleeping beauty and ask her to brave the chill frosty morn. I managed to slowly walk my way home.

Plus .5
Total: 149

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Plus 4.5

Stuck to the roads today as the snow is still powder on the trail and it simply melts into my Treks and freezes my toes.

I'm working with Chuck Perry, a local custom moccasin maker who learned it from his father, on creating a running moc for winter. It should be ready in the next few weeks -- perfect timing for testing it out! Also, Kako ICEtrekkers has generously offered to send me a pair of larger chains and Diamond Grips to test with my various primal/minimalist footwear. Hopefully all this helps make the winter more doable than ever!

Plus 4.5
Total milage: 144.5

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Run with the Bears

This morning I got to run with a bear. Well, briefly. The picture above is of a bear track 15 seconds after the bear made it. I chose to turn round at that point. My faithful service dog had barked at him (I presume, because of his size) -- not bad for a 17 pound Shetland Shepherd! The bear had been about 50 feet from us, paused, looked at us both nonchalantly, and sauntered on his way, which was my way until it became his. Grin.

This morning was also my first test of my winter traction system. The traction part of the test went very well. I wore Kako ICEtrekkers chains on my feet, purchased a size smaller than normal as I stick the chain between my toes.

Chained up sole and my faithful bear dog, Ardie.

My challenge in winter is that there are often icy roads between me and the trails, when then have a variety of challenges all blended together: exposed rock/gravel, snow pack, powder, icy and fairly steep, generally alternating back and forth very frequently. At least with this morning's run of three miles, the chains handled all of it very well (I had everything except deep powder -- just 2-3 inches). The only failing of the system is that snow gathered on my toes, melted, then numbed my feet (on a dry 20F my feet do fine. Not so wet). Apparently the bear was telling me not to push it too much because my toes were heading for frostbite. Thanks, bear!

For future, I plan to try a combo of NEOS over shoes and the Kako ICEtrekker chains as needed.

Plus 3 miles.
Total Milage: 140

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Brain Injury and Controlling the Environment

My Lamp Post post brought in this comment:

Have you ever thought about wearing sunglasses and ear plugs when you know you will be in a situation that might cause you problems?
I don't know if sunglasses would help at all, but I'm sure ear plugs would. I like the silicone type for sleeping.
I love Anonymous' confidence in being sure ear plugs would work and deeply appreciate their good intentions. Thank you.

Yes. I tried sunglasses and ear plugs years ago. Both help but also cause other equal or greater problems. Instead, I always wear a hat to block out direct light both indoors and out. Earplugs don't work because when my ears are completely blocked I'm completely unable to cut through the vertigo. Nearest I can figure I use some sort of primitive eco location to help compensate for the vertigo. Whatever the reason, I need at least a small hole for direct sound transfer. I have custom hearing aids programed to block out, rather than amplify, sound, but they don't work on various tonal ranges and wind whistles loudly in them. I plan on trying a decibel blocking ear plug (rather than a solid one) in the near future, though I'm not sure if it will block my ear too much.  

All this points to one of the challenges of life with brain injury. It is common for people, including doctors, to dismiss survivors as faking or exaggerating our brain injuries simply because they don't understand how we can do _____, yet we can't do _______. (In my case, despite brain scans and neuropsych tests clearly showing the extent of my brain damage). I'm sure people in my town are baffled that I complain about wind chimes yet can run and hike for miles on the trails. For them it's the exact opposite -- they can't imagine running for miles and they don't even hear the wind chimes. Clearly something must be wrong! (It is. My brain is bludgeoned.). "You LOOK fine!" is one of the most frustrating things we brain injury survivors hear, because it echos of the implicit condemning, ignorant, arrogant judgement that we must be making a bigger deal of this than it really is. By definition, people only see me when I'm doing well enough to get out (unless the lamp posts of the world have gotten to me, in which case I'm slumped against a wall waiting for my Beloved to haul me off the battle field), so in their minds I'm always doing that well. If only.

A primary way of compensating for brain injuries' tendency to leave the survivor easily overwhelmed by sensory stimulation: control the environment. Because every brain injury is different this needs to happen differently. We have created my "hobbit hole" sanctuary room, where I go when I need less stimulation. It is fairly soundproof from the rest of the house, I can easily open or close the shades. It allows me to push my boundaries (necessary to create new neural pathways around the damage), while also have a place to recover when I've pushed as far as I can.

I am not yet good enough to be out in public places with lots of people. When I serve at Mass (about every 2-3 months), my parish wonderfully accommodates me by having a silent processional and recessional and minimal singing.

The farther we brain bludgeoned venture from a space that we can control, the riskier things get for us. The one exception for me is the wilderness. Nature has yet to short circuit me.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Street lamps flicker when they go out

Street lamps flicker when they go out. Sounds like the title to a murder thriller, doesn't it? In a way it is. This morning a street lamp went out as I was running under it. Not cleanly, it had to flicker as it went out. My brain instantly overloaded and I couldn't take another step. Had to call and wake the wife for a ride back home.

It's an amazing gift that I can run mile upon mile on the trails -- if only I can make it safely through our wee town. Sardonic grin.

Plus 1/2 mile.
Total miles: 137

What it means to be a sponsor of Shoot the Moon for Brain Injury

To be a sponsor of Shoot the Moon for Brain Injury means the good or service (or combination) provided is both something I've personally used long enough to be confident in recommending both it and the people behind it.

I only contact those companies who meet this stringent qualification to ask them to consider sponsorship.

Ray the Rolfer™

People who genuinely want the best for you more than they want you as a client are rare. Ray the Rolfer™ is such a man of integrity and honor and bar none the best hands to ever help my body work properly. I've tried many practitioners of many body manipulation arts, from rolfing, to chiropractic, to massage, and others you may never hear of -- Ray is not just incredible at what he does, he's the best quality of people.

What exactly is Rolfing? The Rolfing Institute® describes it as "structural integration." I'm sure that means something to them. What it means to you and me is they work DEEP, on muscle, fascia (that Saran Wrap™ like film you see on a steak -- well it wraps all through your body), and sometimes I'm convinced Ray is somehow inside my joints and putting my marrow to rights. It feels incredible!

Not the kind of incredible that you forget as you walk out the office door, or even come the next morning. The kind of incredible that has you feeling and moving better for weeks. Like anything that puts your body to rights after the various wrongs we've managed to do to them, Rolfing can take time to feel good. When it does, you'l know just how good the pain of change can become.

How in the world does such a beast help with brain injury? My brain has limited energy every day. When it runs out, that's it. No more doing anything that day. In my case, I was spending a lot of my day's brain energy on bodily motion. With my body working properly, it works more efficiently and uses less of my very limited brain energy, helping me do more with less and last longer through the day.

Thank you, Ray, for your support of Shoot the Moon!

Ray Welling
Certified Rolfer
917 W.Colorado Ave. #B
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
email Ray the Rolfer™

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mountain Chalet - Outdoor Expertise Extrordinaire

The internet has made it easy to shop around for the best price for your outdoor needs, but it can take a lot of trial and error to find a store online or locally that offers excellent customer service. Mountain Chalet, located at the base of Pikes Peak, offers excellent value and the best in customer service.

I've personally been shopping there since 1989, when I met my future wife in college and we based some of our adventures out of Colorado Springs. Yipes! I just realized that was over 20 years ago.

Whatever your outdoor needs, the grand folks at Mountain Chalet will see you treated right. They always have me -- and I'm a bit of an ogre when it comes to my poor gear.

Thank you to the good folks at Mountain Chalet for your support!

Mountain Chalet

226 N. Tejon
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

Plus 8

Sunrise through Ute Pass on one of my favorite trails, wondrously carpeted with aspen leaves.

Plus 8
Total: 136.5

Our two older lassies (6 and 8) have decided they want to count their miles toward the distance of traveling the Oregon Trail. They are researching just how far that is, but in the meantime they are each one mile closer.

Oregon Trail Annabel: 1 mile
Oregon Trail Cressi: 1 mile

Saturday, October 17, 2009

It's not about how far...

This morning I had a great run for about a mile and a half. Then I realized I may not have the brain energy to continue, despite having planned a much longer run. I continued for another half mile to see if I really needed to turn around. Yup.

On aspect of life with brain injury that's hard to understand, both for the survivor and for everyone else, is the apparent randomness of how we're doing when. We often have no idea what causes us to suddenly not be doing well or rapidly fade and have no more brain energy. When I make plans with others, there is always the contingent that I have to have a "good" brain day.

Plus 4
Total Milage: 128.5

Friday, October 16, 2009

Alpine Glow Embrace

Bathed in purple glow
Gliding through waking earth's soft
Hard embrace. Primal.

Plus 5.5 miles
Milage total: 124.5

It seems truely odd that I can run 15 miles yesterday, 4 today and have them seem like I'm just loping along and yet while on a walk through town with my wife and new wee one, wind chimes ended my day in a matter of seconds.

That's one of the hardest things for people with brain injury -- coming to understand just what we can and can not do, while always pushing the envelope. It's also one of the hardest things for family and friends to understand. "How can you do _____, yet you can't _______?" From the loving and understanding ones, it's simpy an effort to understand. From the rest, it's an accusation with judgement dripping off it. My prayer for such folks is that they never have to learn first hand what I'm talking about. Sardonic grin.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Longer Run!

It was a balmy 47 F heading out this morning at 3am. Beautiful waxing crescent moon rise, owl serenade and eventually sun rise! Fish were finicky today -- only enticed one to jump on me hook! Fifteen inches of tasty lunch. Grin.

15 miles.
Total: 119 miles

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Joys of Brain Injury

I know how that leaf feels. Some days are like that.

I was getting ready for a run this morning and was "short circuited" by a simple event in daily life from simply interacting with my family. A stuffed animal had the audacity to be moved unexpectedly while I was touching it (and thus using it as a spacial reference for the vertigo). Instant brain overload. Och! Brain injury can be brutal.

True, no run for me. As in all things, though what matters is what I can do now, even if I can do nothing. -- if my brain is up to it I'll work on the book that streamed through my head yesterday (thank heaven for my iPhone which recorded the whole thing!).

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mystical Run!

Amazing run! Cool crisp ascent, on which I wrote a book. We'll see how it turns out!

Plus 10 miles
Total milage: 104

Sunday, October 11, 2009

How to uphold the Dignity of the Tarahumara (Rarámuri) -- and all of us?

10-22-09 Update: there is a newly created site here to help support the Rarámuri.
We, and far more critically our brothers and sisters the Rarámuri, live at a cross roads. Why would I so arrogantly place myself, living rather comfortably far from the Copper Canyons, among those effected by the crossroads the Rarámuri face? Perhaps I'm out of place, but I do so because what effects one of us effects us all. That's the notion of solidarity. We are in this together. Even when it looks like we aren't. Solidarity is one of the four permanent principles of Catholic social teaching. It offers every one of us a starting place for asking the question, how do we uphold the dignity of the Tarahumara?

To learn of the Tarahumara, I highly recommend reading two things. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, and this article in NatGeo.

To learn of the four permanent principles of Catholic social teaching, I recommend reading this post. If you really want to dive in, take a look at the Model of Catholic Social Teaching. (I wrote it and it's a bit of wandering egghead, but it will get you through the ideas and principles needed here). While the concepts are explicitly Catholic, they are universal (the meaning of catholic), and speak to the natural law we all share and are bound by.

The Tarahumara face the centuries old challenge of what happens when one culture collides with another. The typical pattern is some form of slavery, impoverishment, and loss of self reliance. It appears that is much the way things are headed for the Tarahumara now, with numerious pressures, legal and illegal, pressing in on them. But it doesn't have to be that way.

There is an answer. It's one we may have heard and perhaps discarded. Or the idea that follows that one. Or it's one yet to be thought. But in the end, it will be an idea that meets the rigorous tests of upholding the common good, subsidiarity, and solidarity and thus upholding human dignity -- the dignity of all involved. Find that answer and we achieve something far more human than what is happening now.

The current proposal of tourism development clearly undermines human dignity, violating the principles of the common good, subsidiarity, and solidarity (the encroaching roads can be argued to have done the same.

A proposal:

The first and most obvious idea is that the Mexican government declare the Copper Canyon a national treasure and the ancestral lands of the Rarámuri, giving it to them to manage, as they have done for centuries already. If they want tourism, let them do it their way. But it's not a reservation -- it's like a free and independent state. Government aid would have to be very carefully considered, as experience in the US shows us it creates a cycle of dependance that also undermines human dignity (see most if not all current reservations to see this cycle in action -- no people receive more government aid).

I'm guessing based on the very limited info I have on the Tarahumara, but their economy is based on korima: the trading of favors. Could that not happen on a societal level?

How does this proposal pass the tests?

It appears to pass the tests of upholding the Common Good.

Subsidiarity. We have to know what the Rarámuri think. If they approve the idea then we can continue in examine if it passes Subsidiarity (it appears to, as Governments role is limited only to protecting the fundamental rights of the Rarámuri).

Solidarity. This proposal appears to pass the test of Solidarity.

It seems to me we need a dialogue between and amongst the Tarahumara, the people surrounding them, including the Jesuit priests serving them, and others to learn more fully the situation and what is needed. The internet seems a perfect tool for such a fool-hearty endeavor.

What needs to happen to both refine and implement this proposal? Or is it as ill considered as the current, tourism proposal? Should it be tossed aside and we enter and facilitate dialogue with the people directly impacted? Input and action from you is needed. Please leave any ideas in the comments box.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Plus 3

Total Milage: 94

Understanding how to Uphold Human Dignity

Note: This is an abbreviated version of the more egghead paper Model of Catholic Social Teaching which I wrote. I've written it here in more social terms than theological, and more general than specifically Catholic.

Human Dignity:
Every human being has a value beyond reckoning and has been given a unique gift that only they can share with the world. Our challenge is to strive to live up to our fullest potential AND to uphold the dignity of everyone else as well.

Human dignity is the goal and source of all that is best in humanity. Rather than humanity being an excuse for mediocrity, as in "I'm only human," We have to look beyond ourselves toward our creator if we hope to achieve our full human potential. We can not reach our full potential on our own.

Human dignity is like a three legged stool, held up by three legs. Each leg is equally necessary and required and it's only with all three legs fully present that human dignity is upheld. So, when it comes to any social action, we need to verify that all three legs are present as fully as possible. If not, we need to seek ways to have them all as fully present as possible. What are these three legs?

Common Good
The common good is the mutually shared responsibility of all individual people to corporately realize our full human potential as individuals.

Subsidiarity is the responsibility of individuals to realize the fullest potential of the smallest groupings, down to the family and individual, by placing ownership at the smallest feasible and practical level. Indeed, not only is it the responsibility of smaller groupings to claim and act upon their local authority, but it is the responsibility of larger groupings to encourage and support ownership at smaller levels as required.

Solidarity is the responsibility of individuals to realize that what happens to one effects all and thus to stand together, with our strongest helping support our weakest, that we might realize our fullest human potential.

 Of course it's important to note that none of these tests is black and white -- they are testing things using entirely subjective criteria. Why, then, use this model at all? Because it gives us a starting point for dialogue and it's far more common ground to start from than if we do not have it.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Dusting of snow

It is amazing wonder how a blanket of white beauty draped over a wild landscape of beauty brings a soft stillness of waiting to the world. It might seem an odd juxtaposition to be running through such tranquility, but with the wings of our ancestors starting to grow upon my feet as I run minimalist, soft, gentle, and tall, there is only soft gliding through the waiting wilds.

Plus 7.5 miles
Total: 91 miles

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Still Recovering...

Thought I felt pretty good this morning, but I never really know until I head out. Well, I made it a whopping 3/4 mile before it was clear that if I wanted to make it back I'd best turn around NOW. So, I continue to recover from whatever brain overload got me and look forward to my next run.

It's been interesting reflection time. A bear ate my fishing net, so I guess what my wife and the 20 F with 40 mph winds on the lake were trying to tell me despite my thick head was right -- I'm done fishing till spring. Grin.

Therein lies the challenge of life with TBI, life running minimalist/barefoot, and life in general: learning to listen to the subtle of what our mind, body, loved ones, and environment are telling us, so we can accomplish as much as possible without overextending ourselves and recovering when we need to. That is life with wild abandon!

Plus 1.5 miles
Total milage: 83.5

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Slammed Today

I'm currently in what we call a longer-term up-swing. That means I have more than usuall "good" days -- a measure of my brain energy. The scale goes like this:

Good: able to hike/trail run, think and write more clearly, handle some minimal extra stimulation (like kids hollering). I fade as the day goes on.

Medium: I can make the half-mile round trim walk to the post office, if I do it by 10am.

Hard: (there are no "bad" days, just hard ones!). Like today. I can't do much. Can barely make it to the next room, or do much writing (as in complex plot, characters, etc).

Clearly my brain is recovering from something. Today is a day of rest -- part of the reality of going as fast as I can, as slow as I must.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Teaming up with!

A huge and hearty thank you to Mark for his enthusiasm in Shoot the Moon for Brain Injury. Mark designed and runs (pun intended) and is working with us to create the tools necessary to track milage and progress both individually and for a team (Team Shoot the Moon for Brain Injury). Thank you, Mark!

I really like GeoDistance because it is simple and intuitive to use, it allows me to mark and save routes, shows me elevations, milage and more, but it doesn't have all the visual clutter of other tools that makes it really challenging for me to figure out what is needed and what isn't. The most elegant designs are often the simplest.

Plus 7.5

Milage Total: 82

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bears love apples!

A mama black bear and her two cubs (look like first year) enjoyed an apple picnic in our back yard. We live on a wildlife trail, and get fox, cougar, bear, deer, and raccoon regularly.

Plus 7.5
Milage Total 67