Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Driving is expensive.
I love how the comments on the articles quickly revert to the "why don't they tax the bike riders like they tax us?" argument.
Because people should be given every incentive possible not to rely on their cars so much.
307.56 miles cumulative
12.3024 total gallons saved
Monday, April 27, 2009
I spent most of the rest of the day reading/watching/listening to the news about the swine flu.
I'm glad I had the flu last week and not this week. Without health insurance, that could have been unnerving!
300.36 miles cumulative
12.0144 total gallons saved
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
294.44 miles cumulative
11.7776 total gallons saved
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
I've been sick the last few days, and on the way home I got really light headed. Being sick really impacted my walking over the last couple of days. Normally, when the weather is this nice, I'm inspired to go on long walks. Lately I've been walking everywhere I need to go, but more out of duty than enjoyment. I hope another day or two of rest will snap me out of it.
284.04 miles cumulative
11.3608 total gallons saved
Saturday, April 18, 2009
I just read this in the Oregonian:
My year without a car
by Trudy Hussmann, guest opinion Saturday April 18, 2009, 3:21 PM
For 40 years, I took it for granted that I would always own a car. How else would I get to work, shopping, and social events? Over the decades, I moved up the vehicular ranks from a used VW Beetle to a used BMW.
My run of car ownership ended on April 21, 2008, when I wrecked the BMW by accidentally running a red light. Luck was not with me that cold and rainy evening. A car coming through the intersection broadsided the Beemer, sealing its fate. Fortunately, I and the other party came through relatively unscathed.
As I absorbed the full impact of the crash over the next several days, a decision formed in my mind: I would not get another car. The accident, the approach of summer, and the high gas prices created the perfect opportunity to try going carless.
I had already been bicycling the three miles to work sporadically; this just gave me an extra incentive. And since I live within reasonable walking distance of four bus lines and about a mile from the nearest MAX station, I had plenty of other options to fall back on.
I was pretty sure I could bike to work through the summer. The warm, dry weather made it easy. I enjoyed cruising through the back streets of the Irvington neighborhood, my skirt fluttering in the breeze. Often, I noticed things that made me smile -- like the chickens and the Vietnamese pot-bellied pig at Northeast 18th and Tillamook. I arrived at work feeling invigorated and returned home feeling relaxed.
At the end of six months, when the rainy season set in, I dared myself to continue biking over the winter. By then my investments had shrunk like wool in a hot washer, giving me one more reason not to invest in another car.
I discovered that, when outfitted for rain, it really wasn't so bad riding in it. In fact, I found it enlivening to be out in the elements. And I felt a greater appreciation for my warm, dry house after biking home from work in cold, wet darkness.
On the worst days, I took the bus, and when the snowstorms hit and the buses quit running, I simply walked to the office.
A year later, I'm still biking and busing and still not ready to buy a car. I know I can hold out until the economy is solidly in recovery, which might be another year. Meanwhile, I'm saving money I'd otherwise spend on gas, insurance, repairs and parking, not to mention a car payment.
The biggest surprise is how relatively easy it has been to make this transition. I feel fortunate to have so many transportation options close by. I know that's not true for everyone. But even if I bought a car now, I would still drive less and ride more. It makes me feel like a kid again.Trudy Hussmann lives in Northeast Portland"
I'm certainly not the only one.
268.82 miles cumulative
10.7528 total gallons saved
Friday, April 17, 2009
260.82 miles cumulative
10.4328 total gallons saved
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Thorlo medium cushioning walking socks
Darn Tough Micro-crew cushion (charcoal, coolmax)
Wrightsock dual layer walking sock
It's worth noting that I've never paid more than a few dollars for a PACK of socks, so the idea of paying $15 for a single pair was a bit alien to me.
First, I read online reviews of "the best socks for long distance walking" on google, and I found some somewhat biased sounding reviews for Thorlo socks. Still, I set out to find a good deal on a pair.
I ended up at Oregon Mountain Community; which I found did not carry thorlo's. I described my needs to the salesperson, and she recommended the Darn Tough socks to me. I bought them, encouraged by the unconditional lifetime warranty, and have been very pleased with the two times that I wore them. I felt like they did a good job of wicking away sweat and keeping my feet dry, and I was very happy with the extra padding where I needed it most, and the thinner construction where extra material wasn't necessary. Still, I wanted to try the thorlo's after reading so much about them.
I later went to joe's sports, for their going out of business sale. With a little research, I realized that the discounts they were offering in their liquidation only brought their prices down to being comparable with OMC's normal prices, so I only bought socks there. They had thorlo medium cushion walking socks, which I thought sounded about right for my application. I wore these once, on one of my shorter walking days, and found that they not only created more sweat on my feet than the other socks that they promised these would out perform, but they also were way too bulky in places that bulk wasn't required. I later read on the thorlo website that they suggest you wear thorlo socks when you try on new shoes, to ensure the proper fit, but I'm unsatisfied with that order. I buy shoes first. I think a good quality sock should do it's job and still fit in my normal shoe. I shouldn't have to have a special pair of bigger shoes to fit my special socks. Anyway, on the one walk I took these socks on, I felt like my right big toe was very stiff, and not being allowed to move properly inside my shoe with each step. A little stiffness is normal, due to a past injury, but the bulk of the sock made what is usually a barely noticeable stiffness, into something significantly more annoying. When I got home, I felt OK; but later, after I went to sleep, I experienced significant pain and swelling around that toe, which sounds like a possible second metatarsal phalangeal joint fracture. This would be in line with the restriction caused by the extra material in the sock.
I also bought the wrightsock dual layer walking sock while I was at joe's. This was by far the thinnest out of the three socks, and possibly the most comfortable and best wicking out of the three pairs I tried out. I didn't get a chance to take these on too long of a walk to see how the lack of padding would rate these socks over the other two, but in my immediate trial, I was very pleased.
In the end, I'd say I'll probably end up saving my thorlo socks for a future, larger fitting pair of hiking boots or something, due to the extra thickness. I'd also probably save them for cooler weather, since I found them to create extra unneeded warmth around my feet in this spring weather. For everyday walking, under my normal shoes, in spring temps, they were too bulky and warm compared to the other socks.
The darn tough socks were very comfortable, gave me extra padding where I needed it, but didn't feel too bulky due to a good design that eliminated extra fabric where I didn't need it. I will wear these often, and feel good about doing so with the warranty that came with them.
As for the wrightsocks, I think these socks are very promising, and I was impressed with how cool and comfortable they were over the distance I tried them in. I'm also optimistic about the dual layer technology and the blister free promise they offer. We'll see how they do after my foot heals.
I actually made it to and from work in my fastest times yet.
After I went to sleep my foot began to swell up, and I woke up in the middle of the night in a considerable amount of pain. I took 600mg of ibuprofen, but it still wasn't enough to let me get back to sleep, so I elevated the foot more and watched TV until sunrise.
Because I'm a small business owner in a shitty economy, I obviously have fantastic insurance and plenty of extra money lying around to blow on medical expenses. Except the exact opposite of that.
So I self diagnosed myself by googling "pain and swelling where big toe meets ball of foot", and found a very informative website that lists sports injuries, how they're caused, and what you should do for them. The basic description of the symptoms were described under second metatarsal phalangeal joint sprain, but the description warned that if I experienced swelling across the top of the foot, and pain on the bottom, (which I do) it may be a stress fracture of the same joint.
Fortunately, treatment is the same for both injuries. Just keep it elevated, ice it or use hot compresses, bind it so it doesn't bend, and take aspirin. Without x-rays, I should find out if it's just bruised (when it stops hurting in a couple of days), sprained (when it stops hurting in a week or two), or fractured (where it will stop hurting in 4-6 weeks).
My fingers are crossed that it's just weird bruising.
As it is, it's very difficult to walk, drive a car, or even put on a shoe without a good deal of difficulty and pain.
I'm eager to get out and walk, especially with all the good weather we have coming up in the forecast.
256.96 miles cumulative
10.2784 total gallons saved
Saturday, April 11, 2009
As soon as I returned (and fed the cats), I walked to a friends house, where I met my wife, who was returning the friend's car there. From the house, I walked her to work, and then continued on to Oregon Mountain Community, where I got some new walking gear.
I got a pair of darn tough socks. I was impressed my the feel of the padding, the recommendation of the sales person after I described my needs, and the fact that they come with an unconditional lifetime warranty. That's one pair of socks that I will own for the rest of my life. I'll write a review of the socks when I've had a chance to really put them to work, but I have them on now, and they feel great.
I also got a pair of ex officio boxer briefs. I bought these after reading several reviews online. They sounded exactly like what I wanted. I changed into them when I got home, and they are extremely comfortable, light weight, and they breath and wick as well as promised. They were also on sale, so the it was definitely a great purchase.
Finally, I got the north face paramount surplus shorts that I wanted. They were nearly half price, and they had the color I wanted; so I had to. They're very comfortable, super light, and I imagine they'll be very functional and will perform well on long hikes. Again, I'll write a review when I've had a chance to really test them, but so far, I'm really happy with the buy.
From OMC, I walked to the liquor store to get some vodka for easter brunch tomorrow, and then home. The loop was 8.95 miles.
After I got home and changed into my new gear, I loaded up a couple bags with clutter, and went down hawthorne to sell it off. From there I went to the grocery store and them home. That was another 2.96 miles.
Later in the day I did two real short walks. One with the dog (I haven't been keeping track of those, but I'll start) and one to get some beer. .67 and .5 miles.
249.76 miles cumulative
9.9904 total gallons saved
Friday, April 10, 2009
I love this jacket. I stayed completely dry underneath, both from the rain, and because of the great wicking and breathablility of the gortex paclite shell. Great purchase.
Along the lines of new gear, there are a couple of things I want to get pretty soon for my life on foot.
I definitely want to get a better pair of shorts. I need something lighter that breathes better than the shorts I have now. I like these. For hiking/athletic clothing, they certainly could be uglier, and they get great reviews:
Thorlo Experia Socks
april 7th +9th + 10th
234.84 miles cumulative
9.3936 total gallons saved
Monday, April 6, 2009
It was more challenging than I would have thought, both physically and psychologically.
Physically, on all the other marathon length days I've done, the walks were broken up into multiple trips over the course of the day. I had been under the impression that doing those walks over the course of one day would be roughly the same as covering that distance non-stop.
The first lesson I learned yesterday was how quickly your body can restart the clock if you let it. Doing four 6 mile walks, with an hour or so between them, is a lot easier than doing 24 straight, let alone 32. It makes sense, but I was really surprised by how much so. I could have given myself breaks along the way, but because of the distance I was trying to cover, I wanted to do it all at once, so I could return home by nightfall.
Psychologically it was a battle. In the past, because the miles have been more broken up, when my body started to feel the strain, I was comforted by the fact that home was never more than a few miles away. With this trip, I felt the strain and knew that home was 16 miles away. There were moments where I questioned if I was going to be able to make it. I knew no matter how bad things got, I could of course make it; but the challenge wasn't making it physically, it was not giving up first.
Other than the strain, by body held up fairly well. My feet and hands swelled up quite a bit. I had to loosen the lacing on my shoes, and my finger swelled up so tight I couldn't remove my wedding band had I tried. After about half of the walk was over, I began to chafe a little in my upper thighs. I walked through that pain, and got home OK, but upon inspection, two little patches looked like raw hamburger. It was excruciating to wash in the shower.
The absolute worst part wasn't the walk; it was what my body did when I finally stopped. When I got to the house, my muscles started to sieze up. Then this horrible chill came over me, and I started shaking uncontrollably for roughly 15 minutes. When I took my shoes off, my feet swelled more, and the rush of the fresh blood to them throbbed. I took a shower, some advil, and a strong beer, and I relaxed a bit and began to recover.
Meeting the challenge was very rewarding, but it was also very useful. I've learned what some of my limitations are right now, and what I need to do to overcome them next time. I think most of all I have to take a little better care of my feet. I think a cushioned insole, or at the very least, better socks, would have made it possible to extend my range considerably. I also finally want to invest in proper hiking underwear and shorts. There are a lot of great products out there that would do a much better job of wicking away sweat, breathing, and keeping me cool than the normal stuff I've been wearing. Without the chafing, I could have gone a lot further as well. Other than that, it's just a matter of mental conditioning. I think I already have it in me, physically, to walk 50 miles in a day, as long as my feet hold up, and the rest of my body is comfortable.
218.24 miles cumulative
8.7296 total gallons saved
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
After the sale, I walked over to belmont station and picked up a couple beers and walked home.
171.84 miles cumulative
6.8736 total gallons saved