Last Day of Summer

And just like that the leaves turned yellow, the air felt crisper, and another summer drifted into memory.

In three short months we managed to squeeze in quite a lot of action, particularlly considering that the world was still fairly locked down with this pandemic.

We visited the mountains for two weeks across two separate trips, completed a modest list of hikes, kayaked on a couple mountain lakes, photographed glaciers, and enjoyed the wilderness.

We cooked outdoors on our new backyard fire pit, roasting a crazy variety of meats, a garden’s worth of vegetables, and too many marshmallows to count.

We hosted friends in our backyard, spending lovely afternoons or evenings with (on different occasions) family for elaborate meals, co-workers for beers, friends for campfires, and my running crew for a brithday party.

We met our neighbours in the park, new friendly relationships spurred on by the magnetic conversation starting magic of a cute puppy who makes pals with anyone and drags me into it at the other end of a leash.

We ran as I hosted at least a dozen weeks of adventure runs around and just outside the city, encouraging a dozen (give or take) of my running crew to join me in exploring new trails and unfamiliar routes, often with an ice cream or beer at the end of it.

We enjoyed our own backyard.

We toured our own city.

We lived in our space, not always by choice, but making the best of the situation.

The summer of 2021 ends in a couple short hours and it may not have been perfect, but it certainly was not wasted.

It’s All About the Trail Shoes

Sunday Runday and with less than two weeks until my first in-person race in over a year and a half I found myself facing a morning run dilemma.

New shoes.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining about new shoes.

Quite the opposite.

While on vacation in the mountains a few weeks ago I finally found a pair of trail shoes in my size and splurged. The next morning I broke them in with an (a previously blogged about) eight kilometer trail run up some steep incline and early morning terrain in the wilderness beauty of our National Park system, and then …

… well … that dilemma I mentioned a couple paragraphs back compounded itself: I haven’t run any trail since, and the shoes had been sitting by my front door looking more forlorn than the dog when she needs her morning walk, and that other thing I mentioned in my opening sentence about an upcoming trail race kept nagging in the back of my mind.

In two weeks I’m headed back out to the trails we visited last month for our little adventure with the wasps. Apparently the wasp situation has cooled alongside the weather, but neither of those things cooling off negates the fact that I’m signed up to run a roller-coaster single track trail half marathon quasi-ultra later this month.

And as of this morning I’d run a mere eight kilometers in that brand new pair and brand new style (to me) of shoes.

I tossed them into my backseat this morning on my way to meet my running crew and humbly suggested that we maybe, possibly, if anyone was interested run some trails as our Sunday route.

There were some hefty dark clouds lurking to the west and the forecast (though cloudy and dry as we left) was for some light drizzle after a good soaking overnight.

We decended into the river valley and into the rain-soaked single track weaving through the forests. The leaves are starting to yellow as the days shorten and fall creeps ever closer.

By the time we exited that first stretch, my new shoes were clumped with mud and each weighed about a kilogram heavier than when I had entered.

I was also dragging a small branch clinging to my heel, and I pulled off to the side of the path to clear the worst of it into the wet grass.

A bit further down along we turned upwards towards a short ascent and into a utility corridor between the highway and the neighbourhood where the ankle-deep grass was still sopping with last night’s rain.

Onward looped us into more single track and by the time we found our exit back into the asphalt of the nearby suburban streets not only were all our feet soaking wet and muddy, but the rains had truly arrived and would not let up again until we were well done the other half of our morning run.

Soaked. Dirty. Tired. Epic.

All for a pair of trail shoes…

…and, oh, of course, the mental confidence that goes along with logging another medium-length trial run using those shoes, breaking them in, trialing them out, and generally assuring myself of their fit and function leading into that upcoming race.