The winter runner

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February 14, 2016 by scratchtype1

Let’s borrow some words from Wallace Stevens —

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

I heard that nothingness earlier this week. The sun was on the edge of dipping below the horizon and there was still some wind, which during the day had been pulling up feathery plumes of snow from open fields and carrying them to the lees of hills, the dips between banks along small roads.

I was little more than shadow. But maybe shadows are fast, free of substance and here my feet in a pair of thin minimalist shoes struck the last pavement before a stretch of snow drifted across the road. Then I heard the odd crunch of dry packed snow. And I was alone in the cold winds of early February, in the fleeing light, a tenth of a mile away from a bridge of concrete and steel.

Here I ran, not exactly like I’ve run here so many times before. I felt much. I felt nothing. I was both there and not. No one heard me there. No one saw me. Running had carried me somewhere beyond the ken of most.


It’s been a long time since I’ve written here. The new job takes up time and I continue to find time every day to run. Often by the time I get home there isn’t much extra energy after I get through some review on Duolingo. Maybe it’s still some lingering effect from Lyme disease last year.

But even if Lyme is still knocking at my heels some, I’m running the best I’ve ever run. I strongly suspect that the various stretches and drills I’ve been doing to improve the stretchiness and spring in the fascia is working. There’s a decided snap almost always when I run now, a bounciness that used to be rather elusive. I’m running faster with less effort.


The running streak reached 308 days today. I’ve had to scramble some at times to do the miles. At the beginning of the week ending January 25, they began forecasting the chance of a big snow come the weekend. Those forecasts stayed pretty consistent and by Friday morning, it was pretty likely that I was going to be in the bulls-eye for snows of a foot or more. So Friday after work I ran a couple of miles after work as the first few tiny flakes began to fall.

Here’s a pic of my running log captured on day 300 —



Then I stayed awake and watched as the snow grew heavier. My plan was simple. Put on an old pair of running shoes and run as soon as the clock ticked past midnight and get at least  a mile in, because conditions would only get worse as Saturday went by and the snow might not stop falling til early Sunday morning.

So I did it. I ran in a few inches of snow, a little more than 2 miles. The snow wasn’t falling so heavily then and the wind was only moderate. I felt some exhilaration at times in spite of how usually I would sleeping at that time. I didn’t much like wearing the shoes, but they protected my feet better than Xeros and toe socks. Still, the squishyness of the thick rubber soles annoyed me.


I ended up doing 4 straight days of running in an old pair of Brooks Adrenalines from which I had long ago pulled out the insoles. Even without the insoles, they’re still squishy. They feel weird to my feet if I wear them. Now that I have a little more disposable income because of the job, I took a look for some minimalist running shoes that I could put my feet in.

I first searched for Merrell Vapor Gloves on Amazon. They were there, but the search results also showed the Tesla Baretrek Trail Running shoe, for about 1/3 to 1/4 the price of the Merrells. So I ordered pair.

My early impressions of the Teslas are very positive. They shipped with squishy insoles, but pull then out and they’re like a perfect pair of minimalist lace-up running shoes. I can feel how my feet strike the ground when I run, and being something that covers the foot, they don’t have the problem of small pebbles getting in between the foot and shoe sole that sometimes afflict running sandals like Xeros. So the Teslas have been seeing a lot of use as the roads continue to be affected by snow and salt and pebbles. The question now is how durable they’ll be and how well-made they are. Will they fall apart quickly? I don’t know. But if I can get at least 300 miles out of them, they’ll still be a bigger bargain than any running shoes like those from Nike, Adidas, Brooks, etc. Plus I’ve bought a pair of them that’s mostly black to wear to work and my feet are much happier not to be wearing the odd squishy modern shoes of today.

Believe me, if you run barefoot and minimalist and go around barefoot a lot, after a while, the squishy of today’s shoes is weird. It’s why I can’t wear lots of types of flip-flops anymore. That squishyness just feels wrong.


Today it was about 7 degrees when I stepped out the door. I decided to run at least 7 miles because of that. It was a good run.


And a picture of the Garmin after today’s run for streak day 308.


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