Wear and Tear

For those interested, here is a nice comparison between my Altra Superior 2’s.  The blue pair has roughly 600 miles, the silver/yellow pair are brand new.

Other hikers I’ve met seem to be using the Altra Lone Peaks instead.  Honestly, I bought these on a whim in Damascus, and I have been more than happy with them.  They offer more terrain feedback than the thicker-soled Lone Peaks, and I’ve been very pleased with how they grip the trail.

They fit me so well that, even with the five inch gash on the side, I was rock hopping down switchbacks today at 3-4mph with complete confidence.

Hauling ass down switchbacks, especially when my pack is light and low on food, is my favorite thing to do on the AT. I typically have my earbuds in, blasting some kind of fast, loud music.

“Trail Legs” are discussed often early into a thru-hike.  Many people think they happen 400-500 miles in.  I’ve learned that having trail legs is about far more than strength, but also balance and coordination.  Currently, all three of these elements are the most refined they’ve ever been in my life.

Often I enter this strange flow-state where I’m mentally checked out, but completely focused on every step.  Mushin?  This is where I reach the edge of my ability as a hiker, and I’m moving so fast a single miss-step would be serious enough to end my thru-hike.  It’s important to get on that edge once in a while though, and I love it.

My father was an accomplished skier, and I often muse that this downhill dance is in my blood somehow.


One thought on “Wear and Tear

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  1. Altras are awesome, the wide toe box, the zero drop, they were the shoes that I ran my first marathon in. I only ever had the road shoes, but did see a lot of people wearing the trail shoes on my mountain goat races. It is funny how you blew out the side before you wore out the tread, but hey, that many miles on a pair of shoes is really good. The trail feedback is really important, going with a thinner soled shoe will actually benefit you in the long run as you will know if you are not stepping correctly right away versus the end of the day. If I had my way, I would run trails all the time. I completely agree with checking out part, it is amazing when you start to run trails how you just find this zone and everything comes into focus, you see every rock and root, well except that one and then you launch in the air like superman, if you are lucky you will catch yourself before you fall, but in doing so you pull every muscle in your body :). I was on a mountain goat race when the girl in front of me launched but did not catch herself. Her friend was bent over laughing at her and I told her to make sure she called delta to get those miles added to her frequent flyer account. Trails are the best though and I think by the end of this you could totally run some of the trail races and have a blast, it is a great group of people.


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