Brooks Beast: The perfect shoe for a challenge

I’ve jogged in Brooks Beast shoes for a number of years. The marketing guff calls the shoe “mighty” and that it is. Every physio I’ve been to (the latest one yesterday)┬áconcurs: if you have any foot issues, nothing else will suffice. Three years ago, a shoe salesman persuaded me to try another lighter Brooks model . . . I’m sure that’s what started this latest set of foot niggles.

A geek’s advice: don’t shortchange yourself with your gear!

The lure of hiking Big Years

Does this person show happiness? I think so.

Hiking in Wales with good friends, each day I sank further and further into the sheer pleasure of extended walking, sometimes close to civilisation, sometimes quite remote. The Jogging Big Year and Writing Big Year have curtailed our walking somewhat and the thought occurred to me: shouldn’t I do a Hiking Big Year? Max out on something clearly challenging, beneficial and enjoyable?

But when? 2017 certainly isn’t a Hiking Big Year and 2018 seems so far away!

A Big Year needs the best app: Go Strava!

I used a few apps before Strava to do the obvious, recording the basics of my routine glacial running outings. My 2016 Jogging Big Year (note the word “jogging” – I don’t consider myself a runner, I’m a jogger) involves covering 1,600 kms by obsessively doing 10 kms 4 times a week. My goal doesn’t mention speed, vertical ascent, races, anything at all that a club runner might fasten upon. So in theory my app needs are minimal.

Yet from my very first hitout with Strava on my iPhone, I was a convert. Strava is beautifully laid out. It gives me split times every kilometer – I love hearing that reassuring female voice cooing “distance: 3 kilometers; time: 18 minutes 29 seconds; previous kilometer in 6 minutes 10 seconds.” It syncs rapidly and reliably. I can set monthly distance challenges. My annual kms are split up by month and day. I can compare times across my four chosen regular routes. Anyone can establish a segment that other runners can judge themselves against; I’m yet to use this but surely will.

But Strava’s greatest bestowal upon humanity is its socialisation of what in my case is a solitary activity. Runners and cyclists who have never met “follow” each other in Facebook style and receive “kudos” from others. Corny? Potentially yes, but I relish being able to observe each day how other runners (all of them, I repeat all of them, “real runners” faster than me) gobble up their kilometers on path or track. Magically, I feel part of a community. Magically, that community sustains my jogging.

And all of this is done with just the right mixture of joyfulness and commerciality. I pay to use its Premium option . . . I’d pay ten times what I do. Long live Strava.

Big year conflicts, management thereof

A month ago, desperate to finish a chapter, I skipped a gym session. Now, my Jogging Big Year is nearly all about 1,600 kms, but I’ve been insisting that on every non-jogging day I would do gym. So in my mind I’d made a decision to commit a minor Jogging Big Year breach in order to attend to the Writing Big Year.

Then, two days later, even more desperate to finish that chapter, I ┬ádid the unthinkable – I did not jog on a jogging day. For the first time this year, during a week entirely in Melbourne, I jogged not 40 but 30 kms. Major breach, major breach.

It seems to me that conflicts of this sort must arise. All you can do is steel yourself and decide between the two conflicting goals.

But here’s the good news – I rose extra early the next morning – the day we flew out – and fitted in a jog otherwise not planned. Peace of mind . . .