The New, the Odd, and the Interesting

by Carilyn on April 23, 2012

Monday morning, and after having guests in for the weekend, and trying to leave town on Wednesday, I am a little more scattered than usual.  So, rather than trying to fight it, I decided to post about what was going through my head while I waited for my alarm to go off (Lucky you!  If you want to save yourself, stop reading now 🙂 ).

The New

1.  My new Nathan hydration vest:  I’m very excited about this.  As many of you know, I often run out of water on my trail runs because I’m generally unprepared.  I’m so used to running on roads where water is abundant.  If you remember, a couple of weeks ago I had to bum water off a nice lady on top of the mountain.  Well, no more (I hope).  I’m going to try out this vest and see if it helps my hydration situation – and keeps me from being a water mooch.

2.  My new post-run hydration drink – lemonade.  When I was little, my dad made us get up early every Sunday and work in the yard for several hours – mowing, washing cars, building rock walls, cleaning the garage, etc.  It was hard, yucky, dirty work that no one else in the neighborhood seemed to have to do, and we hated it.  During our forced cleaning, my dad would always set out a big cooler of lemonade for us to drink…

so that we wouldn’t sneak inside, claiming to get a drink, and then escape.  As a result, I have always equated lemonade with torture.  But, after all this trail running (read: a fun kind of torture), I come home and CRAVE lemonade.  I can’t get enough of it.  It is so refreshing, without being cloyingly sweet like so many drinks.  Yum!  And I’ve also become much more appreciative of my dad’s method of instilling a strong work ethic in his kids.  But don’t get me wrong, I still hate yard work!


The Odd

1.  The power of love.  Yesterday, while I ran loops around the Rose Bowl, I saw a man all decked out in a full biking kit, looking like a participant in the Tour de France.  But then I noticed he was pulling one of those kiddy carts on the back of his very professional looking bike.

I thought, how sweet, he’s towing his child while he trains.  Then, as he went past, I looked in his cart and saw that he was towing, not his child, but his dog!  Wow!  Lucky dog!  Too bad I couldn’t see if the dog was wearing a US Postal Team jersey!

2.  The great shoe mystery.   Since I didn’t do much trail running before this year, I haven’t really paid a lot of attention to my shoes.  I’ve owned several pairs of trail shoes, but never liked any of them enough to buy a second pair.  All of that changed when I donned the Montrails I got for a win at Rocky Raccoon 50 miler last year.  These are the best shoes ever!

(and FYI I have NFI in Montrail).  So, with all the trail running I’ve been doing, I need a new pair.  But, I can’t find them anywhere!   Why?  My running store doesn’t carry them.  REI said they quit carrying them.  Why?  Why are they so hard to find?  This is odd, and I’m going to get to the bottom of it.  I hope.  I need new shoes.


The Interesting

1.  US Women’s 100k Team rocks!   The ladies took the GOLD!  Woop!  Love it, love it, love it!  Amy Sproston led the women with a Gold Medal finish time of 7:34.09 (dang!).

2.  Philosophy of life.  We went to see “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” yesterday, a documentary about the world’s best sushi maker.  Jiro has dedicated his life trying to perfect the art of sushi making.  In the movie, they talk a lot about shokunin – the trait of focusing totally on one task in an attempt to reach a state of perfection.  This got me thinking.  Do you like to work on one thing (or area) in your life, trying to master it to the best of your ability?  Or are you more of a generalist – someone who spreads his attention more widely in an attempt to achieve balance?  Are people who are “great” at something (Einstein, Picasso, Jiro) happier?  Or is a balanced life the way to happiness?


Happy Running!




olga April 23, 2012 at 8:40 am

Probably because the only shoes REI cares nowadays are Vibram and other barefooters. Talking about hiking store…
I am trying to get better at many because I don’t know of one I would love the most or think I could excel enough to spend all my time on.

Carilyn April 23, 2012 at 9:49 am

That’s me, Olga. I would love to be an expert at something, but I like too many things. I get distracted easily 🙂 But I’m so fascinated by people who dedicate their lives to one thing – amazing.

Kate April 23, 2012 at 1:13 pm

I love lemonade! Hate wearing hydration stuff, but it’s manageable since I don’t run as far as you do, and we have to wear packs for the adventure races anyway.

That stinks about the shoes. I went through something similar with my much-loved (and much worn) trail shoes. They were discontinued, though. Can you order yours online? I tried that, couldn’t find them, but then the local (well, St. Louis, so about 45 min away) running store had them in stock. Bliss! 🙂

I tend to get obsessive about one thing to the exclusion of others, but it might only last a year or so until I’m obsessive about something new. Adventure racing (hey, look, I’ve managed to work it into this response twice now) helps with that because it inspires me to keep my training more well-rounded.

Michele April 23, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Hey Carolyn! I actually wanted to reach out to you about potential trail running…I wanted to get into that more this year. I did a 10k a few weeks ago and it was partly trails and I loved it. But my NB Minimus were all wrong for trails. So I’d like to find some minimal trail shoes that don’t let the bottoms of my feet get beaten up. Any suggestions? Also, any suggestions in general for a beginner trail runner?
And btw, I LOVE the guy pulling is dog…I would totally do that if my dog wouldn’t freak out!!!

Marcia April 23, 2012 at 3:48 pm

I’m a jack of all trades, master of none. Unless you count Peggle, a stupid game on my iPad that I can’t seem to get enough of. I find it oddly calming.
I just ordered new shoes after last weekend’s mud debacle.
I SO remember claiming to need a drink and then slinking away. Classic kid behavior when it came to chores. : )

Char April 23, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Many years ago I took a trip to the States. It was so interesting to see in person things that I’d only ever seen on TV and one of the things that really stuck with me was your lemonade. Over here lemonade is sold in bottles, highly carbonated and full of sugar. The lemonade I got to taste over there was divine – cold, tart and so refreshing. And you mentioning it has brought back lots of wonderful food memories – sour dough bread, sticky buns with pecans, giant cups of coffee and the tastiest strawberries that I’d ever eaten.

Carilyn April 23, 2012 at 8:15 pm

I tend to be the same way – obsess until I find something else :). So far, running has kept my attention the longest – hope it lasts 🙂

Carilyn April 23, 2012 at 8:18 pm

I am loving my Montrails, Michelle, but I don’t know much about minimalist footwear. I think it really depends on the person. You’re probably going to just have to try a bunch and see what works. My only advice would be to ignore the reviews and listen to your feet 🙂

Carilyn April 23, 2012 at 8:19 pm

I avoid all iPad games – I don’t need something else to obsess about 🙂

Carilyn April 23, 2012 at 8:23 pm

I have still not made it to the UK, but hope to soon! I know I will come back with a similar list of yummy food finds. I’m already a fan of Eaton Mess – not sure if that’s an authentic dish, but I love it. My family is English, so we always had Yorkshire Pudding for Sunday dinner. I didn’t realize until I was an adult that most Americans don’t even know what Yorkshire Pudding is 😉

SteveQ April 24, 2012 at 8:25 am

I can only distract myself from one obsession by another. I think that makes me difficult to be around for any length of time and I have to add that Einstein married twice and Picasso three times (four?). I’ve spent my life wishing for a more normal life – career, family, etc. – but find that the more normal things become, the more I miss the obsessive striving for some greatness of no importance to others.

Carilyn April 24, 2012 at 9:27 am

Very interesting, Steve! I do think that those who have the “greatness” gene/desire/passion tend to have more difficulties in their personal lives. It makes sense – if your grand passion is something other than a person, it is difficult to keep relationships going. In “Jiro” his sons talk about how they didn’t realize there father was even related to them until they were quite old because he was never home – he was always working on his craft.

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