|Our new little house in Bay City|
I have always hated those blogger posts expelling why they haven't posted much, why the content has changed, or which begged the reader to bear with the blogger because of some half-hearted excuse for why the blog hasn't lived up to expectations. To me, the #1 reason why blogs croak is that folks just get bored with them and mail them in. They post irregularly, traffic falls off, and the blog dies. They are trying, without much spirit, to maintain their traffic numbers without really trying.
So I won't do that. This post will be brief and will offer a legit explanation for my less frequent posts, and an honest description of some of the running-related things I have been going through of late.
The first big piece of news is that we moved from Ann Arbor, Michigan to Bay City, Michigan. It is about 100 miles away geographically, but 1,000 miles away in every other regard, for good and for bad. We did this for the following reasons:
- We have been on a multi-year quest to simplify our lives and take control of our own destiny.
- I had been on a personal "journey" of sorts trying to shift my career in a new direction.
- Leo is old enough that it would be great to have family around, but not so old that it would be harder to move him to a new school or something.
- Ann Arbor and our friends are wonderful, but there were a lot of painful memories and reminders there, especially between the walls of our little house, after the s#!+ storm that was 2009-2010.
- It is so affordable to live up here that we knew the pressure would be off us financially in many ways.
- I love it up here, as I am from this neck of the woods.
- We wanted to have immediate access to the vast outdoors and much better access overall to the wilderness expanse of northern Michigan.
- We found a house here in Bay City that charmed us off our feet, almost by accident, and before we ever even knew we were moving here.
So yes, there were a number of reasons for the decision, all made more immediate by the fact that I was lucky enough to be selected as the Executive Director of a land conservancy, which was basically my dream job. It is a non-profit (I always wanted to get into working for a non-profit) member-supported (I love talking and writing and being with people, so who better to have "relationship building" as a prime component of their work week?), and is a conservation/environmental organization (which requires me to spend lots of time teaming around in the woods, doing something I care about). As you already know, I love spending time in the woods, and with my family. This beautiful job lets me do all of that, all while drawing from the skills I developed as a land use planner.
So between March and May, we sold our house, bought a new one, quit our jobs, got knew ones, pulled Leo out of full-time day care and put him in a new one (but only part time, yay!), sold about half of our belongings or gave them away, pulled money out of investments and paid off all our unsecured debt, sold a car, bought a Jeep, said goodbye to our friends and made many new ones, left our favorite shops in Ann Arbor and found new ones (thank God for Populace Cafe in Bay City, right?), and generally turned every aspect of our life inside out.
We must be doing something right, though...even though my post count has tumbled, my traffic has continued to soar. We have had an average of about 600 page views a day, even in low times, and well over 1,000 whenever a post pops up. In the last 6 months we have had over 100,000 page views.
So now that you know in detail what I have been stewing behind the scenes about...lets talk about running, as that IS why you read AGHTR, right? Well, I was suffering last fall from a few knocks and bruises after Stumpjump 50k. My soft, average, Midwestern flatlander body just was not used to the rigors of true mountain running. It was a great experience, but left me knackered. I kept running, but the wind was out of my sails. I spent a lot of down time over the winter looking at shoe after shoe, and you did get the benefit of that here on the blog, as we posted many reviews. I also had a lot of success interviewing some great athletes, the very best in American ultra runners, like Hal Koerner (who just won Hardrock 100!), Anton Krupicka, Krissy Moehl, David Riddle, and Geoff Roes. I have also been hard to impress with new shoes ever since the Merrell Barefoot Collection came along, it must be said, so my reviews have probably been a little more critical of late, as everything is weighed against that benchmark.
What I didn't do was set my sights on a race, train hard, or keep myself in fighting shape. I haven't been doing much long running at a ll, and I am just now feeling like running 25-35 mile weeks. I was up to over 50 mile weeks last fall, for comparison. After the down time in the winter and the big move, it has been an adjustment, but here we are, ready to pick it back up a little.
Running here is still sort of on the fence for me. I was addicted to Bird Hills Nature Area in Ann Arbor, and had a strong Saturday morning long run support crew in PR Fitness. My favorite running shop was just a few minute drive away. I like topography. Here in Bay City its FLAT. There is, however, crazy wind which is a challenge and a welcome diversion, more diverse neighborhoods, waterfront running, and closer access to some really BIG wild places. Also, in my job I get to be in the woods all the time and I am scoping out new running spots every week. It will come around.
Anyway, we have some great new running shoe content coming in the form of a recent review by Ken of the MT 1010, and I will be reviewing that shoe as well. We also have some updates from Moira on her Merrell Barefoot stuff, as will I. I also have more long-term info on the Skora shoes, Saucony Kinvara 3s, and a few surprises, I hope!
Stay tuned and thanks for making this blog what it is today.