Saturday, December 16, 2006

Talkin' trail running in the St. Croix River Valley

I’ve had a fun and busy day so far.

This morning I did a 9 mile out-and-back down the bikepath in my neighborhood. It was a great day to run, with temps staying unseasonably mild in the upper 30’s. Once again, it felt good to go long.

After a quick breakfast, I decided to venture to Stillwater to do a little shopping and exploring.

A shot of downtown Stillwater

For those who have never been there, downtown Stillwater is a pretty river town located on the St. Croix, with Wisconsin being just across the bridge. The downtown area is like a beautiful old Main Street with many gift shops and restaurants.

My first stop was at a store called 45 Degrees. I have been wanting to go here for some time, as they are the only Minnesota store I see advertising in Trail Runner Magazine. I ended talking about trail running and trail shoes for quite some time with the store staff.

The famous Stillwater lift bridge connecting MN and WI

Two different members of the store staff recognized that I was wearing Keen trail shoes, and they asked how I liked them. I told them they were great for walking around, but that they were too soft and unstable for trail running. Both of them couldn’t have agreed with me more. The guy I talked to (presumably the manager or owner) said he quite carrying them because they weren’t up to par with the other trail shoes. Good to know!

I ended up getting myself a new pair of shoes. I got some bright red Vasque trail runners that felt very stable and supportive. I also picked up some Montrail Enduro Sole inserts that I can heat-mold to my feet for extra comfort and support.

I even met the two “shop dogs” who came over to greet me as I was paying for my shoes. Very nice, knowledgable, and helpful folks (and dogs).

After that, I did a little Christmas shopping and had a tasty burger at Brine’s Bar & Restaurant. Now I am home, doing laundry, soaking some beans for my bean soup tomorrow, and contemplating making some pizza dough. Whew! It has already been a full day!

Until next time,

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