Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Neuse River Greenway Update: A Trail Runner's Guilty Pleasure

I was dismayed, no, extremely perturbed to find that the rustic segment of the Neuse River Trail I'd been frequenting for convenient off-road runs was closed for construction a couple of weeks ago. There are signs at each access point that read, "No Trespassing[.] Trail closed for construction[.]" I mean, how am I supposed to get past that kind of barrier?

We knew this was coming. I told you about the plans for the grand Neuse River Trail Greenway several months ago. And, it's finally hit my portion of the river.

Neuse River Greenway Sign
See more photos of the new Upper Neuse Greenway in Get Going NC's Flickr photo set.

So, I've had to seek other conveniently located natural areas in which to run. And, wouldn't you know it, the Upper Neuse Trail Greenway opened to the public in September!

This isn't an off-road trail, mind you. So, I was hesitant to try it out. But, hey, this is pretty much my nearest space for running that's not in the neighborhood. So, I figured it'd be worth a go. Besides, if I'm ever feeling really adventurous, I could run this portion of the Greenway right over to the single-track trails at Falls Lake.

In spite of my obvious penchant for unpaved running surfaces, I have to say that my first two runs on the Upper Neuse Greenway were downright enjoyable. The path is paved with that dark, soft asphalt, the kind that doesn't smack your feet quite as hard as concrete sidewalks do. And, the course winds through some beautiful flatland along the river with lots of vines and foresty stuff.

You'll also notice that there's no shortage of space on this new greenway. It's rather luxurious, really. Whole bunches of bikes will ride by without forcing you off the path into the grass. Even the bridges are wide enough to dispel any sense of claustrophobia on a busy Saturday afternoon.

Upper Neuse Greenway Luxuriously Wide
The Upper Neuse River Greenway at Mile Six

There are quite a few convenient access points along this portion of the greenway if you happen to live in close proximity to said access points. Otherwise, your best bets for getting to the Upper Neuse Greenway via automobile are from the parking areas at the north and south ends.

Upper Neuse Greenway at Capital Blvd.
Upper Neuse River Greenway at Capital Blvd.

Find the northern parking area off of Falls of the Neuse Rd. across the street from the Falls Lake Fishing Area and dam. You'll make a quick right turn and drive a short distance to the parking lot, which seems to be open all the time. (Don't quote me on that)

The southern trail head may be found at the back of the WRAL Soccer Center off Perry Creek Rd. Drive toward the far side of the complex and park in any of the gravel lots that are open. Then, get out of your car and head as far away from Perry Creek Rd. as you can until you find the trail head. Be sure to get back to your car before 5 PM, because the Soccer Center closes its gates at that time, at least in the off season.

View Upper Neuse River Greenway (Phase I) in a larger map
Ignore the comments about unpaved areas.
Thanks to Joe Miller for creating this map.

So, despite my frustration with the temporary closure of the Neuse River Trail segment nearest to my home, I'm really excited to have this newly constructed segment available. Sure, I have to drive further. Sure, it's paved. But, still, a really long greenway is a welcome addition to this area's expanding network of running/riding space. Check it out if you haven't already!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Late-Day Notice of Cyber Monday Shoe Deals

Or, I Can't Afford New Shoes. But, Maybe You Can.

Your inboxes are undoubtedly loaded with Cyber Monday deals on electronics, stuff, electronics, and more stuff. But, did you get any Cyber Monday emails from RunningWarehouse? Did Shoe Mart send out a FaceBook notification about their Cyber Monday sales? Did you know that Zappos just placed several awesome shoes on sale?

Maybe you did. But, I didn't receive notice of such savings. So, I've scoured the web to relay the sites where you can find sales on some of the marvelous shoes previously featured on this blog.

I'm doing this because I care, friends...

  • Zappos Sale Shoes of Interest: Inov-8 f-lite 230s and 195s at 20% off retail. This is the retailer with the widest selection of f-lite colorways. So, BOOM!
  • ShoeMart Celebrates Cyber Monday: Find a couple of other unique Inov-8 f-lite colorways marked down by 20% here.
  • Mountains Plus Outdoor Gear: Get free socks in addition to saving 25% on select Inov-8 shoes!
  • ZombieRunner Offers 20% Off Everything: That's right, use coupon code CYBERMONDAY during online checkout and save on all the shoes, bottles and packs, clothing, and socks in your cart!
  • RevelSports' Some Sort of Sale: I can't tell if this is just for Cyber Monday or just because. Either way, at the time that I'm typing this sentence, you can click through to find several Inov-8 shoes on sale. (To be honest, though, the deals here are pretty much commensurate with deals already found on other sites listed above)
  • The Natural Running Store Purports to Dominate Cyber Monday with savings of 15% - 40% on some of their inventory (Inov-8, Altra, Newtons, and Vivobarefoot).
  • The New Balance Online Store challenges you to save a super 15% on your entire order.
  • RunningWarehouse Cyber Monday sale: Pretty much just apparel advertised in relation to Cyber Monday here. Meh. This might be the only time of year when you can buy certain Inov-8 styles for less at another site.

Whew! All that pretend shopping has me pretend exhausted! I don't know how I managed to get any actual work done today.

So, if you're thinking of needing new shoes, today might be the day to buy 'em. Otherwise, you won't really need them anymore later in the week when these sales are over. And, you'll wish you'd needed them just a little more right now.

You can quote that, if you like.

Friday, November 11, 2011

NB Minimus Zero Trail and Road: Shoes for the Outspoken Minimal Runner

The latest New Balance Minimus Zero Trail and Road shoes news comes to us from an article on the NB website. (Thanks to Donald of Running and Rambling for bringing this one to our attention) Senior Designers Drew Nyssen and Chris Wawrousek describe the inspiration and motivation for the design of these forthcoming NB Minimus Zero offerings.

"These are shoes designed for the most vocal, outspoken group of minimal runners," Chris says, "They’re not afraid to let people notice their shoes."

New Balance Minimus ZeroIt's redundant for me to continue repeating here what you could easily read via the links in the first paragraph. But, I'll mention a couple of points. What's the Internet without a little redundancy, anyway?

The uppers of these new versions of the Minimus appear to be much more flexible and less confining than the 2011 renditions.This is good, because you might have read here that my primary complaint about the toe box on the NB MT10 is that; although wide and spacious, the curvature of the toe area is somewhat rigid. And, since it doesn't exactly fit the shape of my foot, my little toe still feels squished. Thus, I prefer the enormously flexible upper of a somewhat less spacious Inov-8 f-lite 230 over the MT10.

Also, these NB Minimus Zeros seem more race-appropriate, at least to me. They definitely have a sleeker appearance in comparison to the MT10 or MT20. And, I like that the designers sought to enhance the slipper-like fit while looking to traditional racing flat architecture for a lightweight shoe. I've mentioned before that I don't feel as fast in my MT10s as I do in other shoes. So, I've never felt compelled to race in the Minimus Trails.

But, perhaps those drawbacks of the 2011 Minimus will change with the February/March 2012 release of the NB Minimus Zero Trail and Road line. I'll be anxious to find out for myself.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...