One of the great things about the Errandonnee is that it can be whatever you want it to be. As Michelle writes, it can be a celebration of a way of life – a time to think (and maybe write) about everything that goes into a 12 day stretch. For me it’s been a prod to try a bit more. Or maybe a lot more. Before last year’s event, I’d occasionally take a book or two to the library, but during it I tried bring home a stack of 17 books. I don’t really recommend that load, but since then I’ve done around 5 books many times. I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but I changed from avoiding/fearing cargo to it just being a part of the trip. This year I think my discovery is the use of a stroller as a cargo carrier. The chair just went so smoothly! We’re still not sure how we would have attached it to a bike (and maybe in terms of discovering the stroller this was just a stroke of luck since the stroller and chair just fit together so well and other things won’t), and we didn’t really want to deal with moving the car seats around (and actually, you know, driving). I don’t anticipate a lot of stroller errands, but now it’s in the toolbox. Carrying the bikes was amusing. It was a little eye-opening to realize I could just put one (partly) in the backpack. I’ll have to work harder at attaching things to the outside of it, but maybe there’s something there too. We’ll see.
Another difference for me was that this year simply involved more running. Last year was more “we need to do an errand; can I run it?” and this year was “where am I going today?” I’m also at a point where I’m doing the double commute a fair bit. The Errandonnee, probably not coincidentally, was part of a two week stretch of more miles than I’ve ever done. Combining the miles with a pair of workouts each week was pretty demanding, and I did a bit less in the following week. The volume of miles around town do seem to be having a pretty good effect on me as a runner.
The categories are quite flexible. Michelle and I have fun (though maybe she eventually tires of) debating what goes into which category. Personal care vs personal business and both of them vs store and non-store errands? There’s no right answer here. Just don’t do the same thing 12 times. Think about trying something new; maybe you’ll discover something.
I did less (or at least less frequent) writing this year. After the chair, everything else was stuffed into this post, including trip mileage. So all that leaves is the equipment and a control card.
(Shoes marked with (*) were in last year’s post as well.)
Top row, from left:
- (*) Mizuno Wave EVO Levitas – I really like running in these shoes. I’m hitting the end of my first pair, which I’ve held back for only workouts and racing for a long time. This shoe is now somewhat hard to find. This pair came from ebay, and I also found a pair a half size larger on an online discount website (not pictured here).
- Vivobarefoot Evo Pure (black, hard to see) – There are extremely minimal and only come out for short runs. I didn’t use them during the Errandonnee.
- (*) New Balance MR1 Minimus Hi-Rez – I like the design on these running-wise, but when I finally started to try to use them, the bottom started tearing in multiple places. This is probably why this shoe disappeared from the market. Oh well. I occasionally glob some Shoe Goo on them and run in them and tear them somewhere else.
- (*) Saucony Hattori – Nothing new since last year. I like these for speed days, and they did make an appearance this year because of that.
- (*) New Balance Minimus Zero V2 – These are an enigma to me. These seem to be a trigger for pain in the top of my right foot (soft tissue, not a stress fracture, at least the first time around), though I’m also capable of finding that pain with too much training. Right now they are shelved and didn’t see the Errandonnee.
Bottom row, from left:
- Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0 – This is my first shoe back outside of what I would consider minimalist, though many shoes have more cushion or drop than them (stack height of 17mm rear and 11mm front and thus a drop of 6mm). They are visibly bigger than my other shoes. I bought them partly because it’s becoming a pain to find minimal but not barefoot-style shoes. I’m also trying to add a bit of variety to the footwear since my right foot seems to be my weak point when I push the mileage. So far I like them, but it’s easy to get lazy in them.
- (*) Mizuno Wave EVO Levitas – This is my first pair of these. I probably should have retired them by now, and last week’s big tear will hasten that. I’ve been holding on to them until I’m reading to move workouts over to the new pair.
- (*) Merrell Road Glove – These are the original Road Glove. I like them more and more as time goes on. They were falling apart last year. I think I can get them to 2000 miles. Merrell, if you have size 11s in a warehouse somewhere, please send them to me 🙂
- (*) Inov-8 Trailroc 235 – I pulled out the trail shoes for the stroller/chair run on the Cross Kirkland Corridor, where they were completely overkill.
Surprisingly, I don’t have a true running pack. When I started carrying cargo, I tried the various packs that we already had, and I use two of them now. There aren’t a lot of places that carry running packs. I recently ordered a bunch of racing-style packs in the hope of shedding some weight, but I didn’t really like any of them. If I have time I’ll post some partial reviews. (I couldn’t use them if I wanted to return them.) The only place (without escaping my run- or bike-shed and there’s something backwards about driving somewhere for running gear) with any is REI, and I only realized that recently. If I had to purchase a pack now, I’m fairly certain it would be a Osprey Stratos or a Gregory Zulu (recently redesigned I believe). I don’t think they are much lighter (if at all) than my pack, though they are a bit nicer. In particular, they both have a suspension to keep some air flow on the back while still holding the bag fairly snug to the body. They also have various doodads. I do really want a hip pocket for stashing my phone (camera).
This is my main pack, an old Lowe Alpine Walkabout 35:
The first thing is fit. I have an above-average torso length (6′ tall with probably more of it in the torso than average), so I tend to have trouble with one-size-fits-all packs. They don’t reach both my waist and shoulders, so they end up pulling the bottom of the pack up. I don’t have that problem with this pack. I don’t remember if it’s just a long pack or if it came in sizes. Next is having enough of a waist strap to hold the weight comfortably. In lightweight, minimal-cargo packs (not much more than hydration packs), they can get away with most of the weight on the shoulders and minimal or no waist strap. I put most of the weight on my waist and use the shoulder straps to keep it in place. Also important are the two straps that tighten along the length of the bag. They pull in the bag and cargo and keep it all from bouncing around. Other designs can do this (e.g., cinching around the side more). I find that I need to position the bag and then tighten these (a fair bit but not as much as possible). Otherwise they will contort the pack into a curve. All of the buckles and things are large enough to be fairly easy to use. Race packs sacrifice this for weight. The main compartment is big enough for various bags of stuff (clothes, shoes – it is important that they can fit horizontally or they will take up the entire bag, food), and the opening is big enough to actually get stuff in there. If the contents are heavy, then it is possible to overload this pack for running. It has a few areas beyond the main compartment – some vertical ones for long things, phone, ID/credit card, etc, and a stretchy net pocket for last-minute stuff (or often an orange). Lastly, it has a rain cover and a separate pocket for that. I don’t use it a lot; it isn’t necessary unless the run is long or the rain is hard. But if it wasn’t always there, I’d never have it for the few times that I need it.
My other pack is possibly more surprising. It’s just a waist-pack:
It’s obviously a Mountainsmith. I don’t know which one it is or if any current ones are better (or worse) for running. It’s only a bit lighter than the backpack, but it feels like a lot less since it’s not on my shoulders. It has a huge waist-strap, which goes a long way. It has four straps that cinch the load. It does ok even if I fill it somewhat full. I can toss my phone in one of the water bottle holders and access it fairly easily.
I also have a running belt for when I only want to carry a phone, cards, and keys, and don’t want to put them in my pockets.
And I’ve been known to just carry something in a hand.
For larger loads, wheels come in handy (similar to switching from a backpack to anything else on a bike). I didn’t push any kids around during the Errandonnee, which of course is their intended purpose. You can race with them too. For the Errandonnee, I used a double Bob Revolution. I think it might be the SE, but they didn’t have so many models when we bought our single and we bought the double used. They are hit-or-miss with cargo. They don’t have a lot of contained cargo capacity; the basket that is underneath the seats has limited clearance. In turns out it was perfect for our particular chair.
The only things about carrying cargo that influences any of my clothing are pockets. On shorts, I have found front pockets to work way better than back pockets for anything more than a gel (which, in fairness, is what they seem to be designed for). Unless I’m running a workout (or doing strides or drills that aren’t part of transportation running), I can get away with even a smartphone in a front pocket and my ID/bus pass/etc in the other. I tried a cycling shirt with a rear pocket and couldn’t put anything in it. Both kinds of rear pockets bounced around like crazy.
By official rules, each category is only counted twice. I did my 7+ categories and 12+ appropriately counted errands, but this includes them all.
Personal care: #4 (donut – yum), #6 (to workout – pretty trail), #12 (to track – tired), #23 (to workout)
Personal business: #5 (drop-off/pickup – hills), #11 (pickup – pole in sidewalk)
You carried WHAT?!?: #1 (chair – chair!), #19 (bikes – improve attachment next time)
Arts and entertainment: #3 (art tour – it’s all around!), #20 (Strava art – hard work!)
Non-store: #2 (library – in hand ok), #21 (ATM – has money!)
Social call: none
Work: #7, #8, #9, #13, #14, #17, #22, #24 (commutes – important, bag contents, crossings
Store: #10 (chair round 2 – uphill not so bad), #16 (Trader Joe’s – cargo experiment)
Wild card: #15 (failed trip – fully read email next time)
23 errands, 12 categories, 84.5 transportation miles (108.5 total)