Sunday, March 28, 2010

VFF - Mud & Ice and Rocks oh my

Tonight I gave my Vibram FiveFingers Flow their biggest test yet.  This wasn't an exceptionally long run, at around 13km, but it was the most technical. The route that we took started with 3km of easy trail, progressed up a large hill and then the last half was on hard backwoods trails.

Being New Brunswick in the spring, the terrain for the backwoods section was a mixture of mud, ice, slush, snow, and even some sharp rocks on one section. This was a true all around test of the shoes!

The temperature was around freezing and much of the trail was snow or ice covered. The Flows kept my feet very warm. Several times my feet ended up in streams and slushy puddles but my feet were never cold.

I found the shoes exceptionally good for areas where technical running was required while straddling streams, hopping across rocks or traversing fallen logs.

The only area where the shoes really don't do well is on smooth ice. Several downhill sections were icy and the shoes do not grip well at all in these conditions.

As a result of this muddy run I have to wash my VFF for the first time...but that's just a good sign that they're being used!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Vibram FiveFinger Shoes

I finally bought myself a pair of  Vibram FiveFinger Flow's last month. I was originally going to get a pair of KSO's but changed my mind because I thought the Flows would be better for cold weather running. I am in Canada afterall! I bought them while on a trip to Florida at Fit2Run in Tampa. The sales guy really gave me confidence in the purchase. He's been wearing a pair for 6 months and raved about them.

I've been running for the last few months as training for the upcoming Race the Phantom adventure race.

I don't really expect that I'll be able to run a 36hr adventure race in my FiveFingers but I do hope that they strengthen my feet and calves.  Since the race also has a kayaking section they should come in handy for that section of the race though.

I have a couple of shorter events that are coming up that will be a good test for the shoes. A 5k race in April, a 5 hour adventure race later in April, an 8 hour adventure race in June and a 58k run of the Dobson Trail in June. I'll test them at progressively longer distances and see which of these I actually end up wearing them in. 

I've done a few runs in the FiveFingers. All of the posts that I've read say that you should take it easy for a while until your muscles build up. I'm having a hard time with this. Every time that I go out they feel so good that I just want to keep running! I haven't done anything too far with them yet but last time out I did 7k and could hardly walk the next day because my calves were so sore! I really need to pace myself or carry another pair of shoes to throw on after the first 4 or 5 km. I think I should be up to 10k in them by the end of the month and my calves should be able to stop a bullet!

I've had the shoes in a pretty good variety of conditions already. My first run was in Florida on Cocoa beach. The Flows did a good job keeping the sand out. My last run was back in Canada and had a mixture of snow and mud (Oh Canada!). Again, the Flows kept my feet clean and also surprisingly warm. The temperature that night was around 2C. I think I'd be comfortable trying them at -5C for at least a short run.

I'll post more comments as a get more miles on these.

Recipe: Roasted Butternut Squash and Pepper Rigatoni

My son has been taking an interest in cooking lately. We've been experimenting in the kitchen and came up with this good pasta recipe last night. It only took around 20 minutes to prepare and it gave him his first experience with roasting veggies. 

2 Bell Peppers (1 green & 1 red looks good)
3 cloves garlic
1 onion
1 butternut squash
1/2 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
3 tbsp olive oil
1 box Rigatoni
1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese

Slice, coat with oil and roast the peppers until starting to char.

Cube, coat with oil, and roast the squash until tender.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta until tender.

Fry the onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent.

Peel and chop the roasted peppers.

Combine all of the ingredients into a pan and toss. Salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

2006 Jeep Liberty Diesel - Major Service

I thought it might be a good idea to keep a running tally of major service that I have to have done on my Jeep. This might serve as an indication of quality (or not) over time. I haven't been the only owner of my Jeep so this isn't comprehensive but I assume (perhaps naively) that there wouldn't be too much bad that would have happened in the first 75,000km before I bought it.

I'll count major service as anything that doesn't fall under normal wear and tear (tires, brakes, oil).

BAS/ESP censor lightReset Sensor75,000Warranty
Key Stuck in IgnitionReplace shifter assembly and shifter lock cable81,000$480
Check engine light on
P0299, P0401,P2264,P0513,C2202

Replaced Turbocharger, EGR valve and EGR system.  Ended up being 12.5hrs of labour! Luckily I had 64km left on warranty!99,936$700
($5000 covered under warranty!)
Slipped out of gear and never returned...Torque converter was replaced along with a crap load of other parts that were collateral damage. Total transmission rebuild!105,000$2600
Back gate window wouldn't openNew Lift Gate Handle110,000$166
Back seat window wouldn't closeNew Left back window regulator111,000$429
Leaky rear axle & front right wheel bearingNew axle seal and bearing150,000$1200
Little performance...lots of black smokeAnother new turbo180,000FU Jeep...I'm outta here!

Final update: July 2015

After yet another major breakdown, involving the turbo yet again, I have decided not to pay the $6000 that the dealer wanted to fix it. I have traded the jeep (for $2000 trade-in value) for a Subaru. 

The Jeep diesels are getting long in the tooth, so I expect there aren't many being considered for purchase. If you are considering...don't.

I will never buy another Chrysler product.