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Trail Running – Mary Jo Peckham Park

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The Perfect Day, is a day when I get the chance to Swim, Bike and Run.  The Mary Jo Peckham Park is the perfect park to accomplish all of your training for FREE!  That’s right, for FREE.  You’ve got a trail to run on, and a swimming pool to swim in all for free.  You can choose to bike there, or bring your bike along for a bike around the community.

Not only can you swim, bike and run there, but you can also fish, barbque, picknick and putt putt on their mini course.  Not to mention, if you have dogs, they’ve got a dog park right next door.

Mary Jo Peckham Park

Mary Jo Peckham Park

As you run the trail you will enjoy watching families fish for a meal.  I’ve even taken my son there for some fishing.  Make sure you go the day the refresh the pond with fish, you’ve got more chances to catch something.

The trail for running is about 0.75 miles long and you have a choice to run the trail, which is about 3/4 gravel and 1/4 asphalt, or you can run the cross country route which has small hills for bikers.  I always run the cross country route to get some variety in terrain.

 The swim is sweet!  They have a 25 meter pool with enough lanes for everyone.  Most of the time I get a lane to myself, and sometimes I have to share.  I usually do an easy workout of about 800 meters.  But, I’ve met swimmers that get their 2,400 meter work out in every day!

I’ll sometimes go work out and then swing by the Harris County Library next door, to check out some books and do some reading.  It’s amazing how convenient everything is there.

Here’s some video footage of the park:

Mary Jo Peckham Park – Trail Running

Layout of the Park

Mapped out Cross Country Run with Elevation

Boot Fit Basics

2011 Dalbello Blender

2011 Dalbello Blender

Welcome back.

Hopefully by now you’ve had a chance to try on your boots. I’m guessing that you found there’s ‘room for improvement’. Most people would think that a tight fit is the problem when feet hurt. In fact, the one problem I see all too often is a boot that is TOO BIG. While everyone wants that little extra toe room, adding extra toe room often brings on other fit issues.  We’ll talk about that and other ailments in later segments.

For now, here’s your next assignment –

While the there’s plenty of time before the season starts and there are great bargains to be had, pack up your boots, socks and footbeds (if you have them). Find yourself a qualified boot technician make an appointment to get ‘fitted’.  Treat this as if you were going to the doctor’s office for a check up – experience matters. How do you know where to go? Ask! How do you know who has the experience? ASK!!! Just because someone works in a ski/snowboard shop and calls themself a ‘custom boot fitter’ DOES NOT make them an expert at fitting. Only years of experience gets someone a reputation in this industry.  While the more seasoned techs are usually around the resorts, that’s not a guarantee. You may just find you have someone right in your area. However, you may have to travel some to find the best. 

Expect some to spend some time with that person. I always like to schedule a full hour to do a proper evaluation of the skier, their feet, their present equipment and to have them try on some new product. You may only need half that time to realize what needs to be done. 

Be prepared for the unexpected. A good boot tech will fill you in on a great deal of information. If you get the ‘quick sell’, move on and find another shop. When you find the right one, you’ll know it!  More than likely the initial evaluation will be ‘on the house’. However, expect the better ones to charge for their time and materials – it will be a very worthwhile investment.

In the next segment, we’ll discuss the boot fit process in greater detail and point out some things you’ll need to get the season off on the ‘right foot’.  Until then, start searching.

Blogs from a Boot Fitter – Introduction

As a Master Certified  Boot Fitter with many years in the industry, it is both an honor and my pleasure to be a new contributor to the Sun & Ski Sports Blog. Throughout the coming months, I will be addressing a variety of topics of interest in my field. Whether your are a skier or snowboarder, man or woman, newbie or veteran, I am certain that there will be something to help you improve your experience on the slopes.  

My Mission – To share all that I’ve learned over the years, to make the wintersports experience enjoyable for all and most important to preserve and increase the number of people participating in our winter sports.

While my list of topics is quite large, I will be more than happy to respond to any questions you may have. Please feel free to post your question/comment at any time.  I will do my best to address them all in a timely manner.  In the meantime, here is your first assignment – find your gearbag, pull out those boots and try them on. Ask yourself  one simple question – Do I really like everything about my boots?  If the answer is ‘yes’, then start looking forward to a great 2011 season. If the answer is ‘no’, then your quest to an enjoyable boot fitting experience has just begun.

Stay tuned…

Shop the Total Package for Kids Ski Gear

Having the right equipment is an important part of making skiing fun for kids. Kids will be more interested in skiing if they have special kids ski gear that appeals to them. Rossignol skis are among many brands that offer kids’ skis and ski gear.

For the girls:
Rossignol FunGirl skis feature a bright pink floral design, and they’re available with matching boots that have four buckles that are designed to be easy on/easy off. The ski bindings are the SAPHIR 70 S style, and junior-sized poles are available as well.

For the boys:
Rossignol Avenger AV Jr skis are a good option for boys (and girls) who are learning the basics of turns. The ski bindings are tool-free and involve sliding a pin, using the Rossignol “zip” technology.

Of course, it’s important to try on different kids skis, boots, and bindings to find the right match for each child based on size and skill level. Visit a Sun & Ski Sports shop in your area for expert advice on fitting kids ski gear.

Make Sure Your Ski Socks Rock

Don’t underestimate the importance of socks when buying snowboarding or skiing clothes. Socks for skiing and snowboarding wear out, just like any other socks, so it’s important to inspect your winter sports socks at the beginning and end of the season and invest in a new pair or two.

Considerations for winter sport socks include:

  • Dryness first: Moisture-wicking socks, such as Thor-los, can help keep your feet warm and dry during winter sports. Some people prefer wool-blend socks, which will stay warm even when they get damp.
  • Single layer: Avoid wearing two layers of socks for snowboarding in particular, because two pairs of socks can start to bunch up inside your boots.
  • Right height: Choose knee-high socks for snowboarding and skiing and you’ll avoid the dreaded problem of having your socks bunch up inside your boots, which can cause blisters or chafing.
  • Boot compatibility: Try on new winter sports socks with the appropriate boots to ensure the right fit.

For expert advice about skiing clothes and how your socks and boots should fit, visit a Sun & Ski Sports shop in your area.

Get the Best Men’s Shoes for Your Sport

If you’re a multi-sport athlete, you need a variety of athletic shoes on hand so you can keep up with your busy workout schedule. Keep these points in mind to help you find the best men’s shoes for running, cycling, and hiking.

  • Running: The best men’s shoes for running are the ones that fit your feet, but some guidelines apply, especially for beginning runners. Choose a shoe with enough room in the toe box. Your running shoe can be as much as a full-size larger than your regular daytime shoes.
  • Cycling: The Sidi Zeta road racing shoe is one of the best mens shoes for cycling, and it’s also available in a women’s model. Features include a tongue and a trio of padded straps for a secure fit.
  • Hiking: For mild and moderate-difficulty hiking, consider wearing trail running shoes, which are lighter in weight than full hiking books, although without the additional support.

Visit your local Sun & Ski Sports store for a full selection of the best mens shoes for different activities.

Child Carrier Safety Tips

So, now that you’ve chosen a backpack-style child carrier like the Pathfinder child carrier, how do you use it? Lifting a backpack-style child carrier with a child in it is a multi-step process: Lift up the carrier by the top handles, slide the shoulder straps over your shoulders, and buckle the waist belt. Tighten the shoulder straps and waist belt as needed for a secure, yet comfortable fit.

When removing the child carrier from your back, start by loosening the shoulder straps. Then unbuckle the waist belt, reach your arm behind your head to grab the top handles and rotate the child carrier around to the front. Hold the top handles as you slide your shoulders out of the shoulder straps and set the carrier on the ground.

Some child carriers include special features such as detachable day packs, gear storage areas, and removable rain or sun hoods and bug netting.

To check out and try on a variety of child carriers, visit your local Sun & Ski Sports store.

How to Care for Your Cycling Clothes

To get the most out of your cycling clothes, treat them right and wash them correctly. Keep these tips in mind to prolong the life of your favorite cycling shorts, jerseys, and sports jackets:

  • Follow the instructions. Look for the instructions for washing different types of cycling clothes and follow them. Some types of cycling clothes can be washed in warm water, but others will be damaged unless you use cold water. The instructions might be on a tag, or they might be imprinted onto the cycling clothes themselves (inside, below the neck is a popular spot). For a sports jacket, washing instructions might be hidden in the pocket.
  • Treat oil early. Oil stains on cycling clothes are almost inevitable, but they don’t have to ruin your cycling clothes. As soon as possible after the stain occurs, rub a cleaning solution into the stain and let it set for a few minutes. Wash in warm water if possible, or use cold water if that’s what the label recommends. Hang the item to dry.
  • Just say no to fabric softener. The ingredients in fabric softeners can break down the breathability, moisture-wicking properties, and water-repellant properties of cycling clothes.
  • Use the right wash. Use gentle detergent, such as Woolite, or a special wash designed for athletic clothes.

Put a Beast in Your Ski Boot Bag

Some things become classics for a reason, and the Nordica Beast ski boot is one of them. The Nordica Men’s Beast 10 ski boot offers all the features that skiers want, and it works well for a variety of skiing styles and conditions. If you have room for just one pair of boots in your ski boot bag for a ski weekend that could include both moguls and deep powder slopes, the Nordica Beast has the versatility to handle both.

The Nordica Beast’s key features include:

  • Comfort-fit, custom-moldable liners to keep your feet cushioned and secure during a long day of snow sports.
  • Trademark Energy Driver closure straps with Velcro to allow plenty of active rebound when the leg flexes. It also helps minimize impact on the shinbone.
  • Buckles open and closed easily, and the shell’s overlapping flaps pivot in two directions to make the boots even easier to put on and to ensure a 45-degree angle of the foot.

Visit a Sun & Ski Sports shop near you to try on a Nordica Beast and other top-rated ski boots.

How to Keep Your Hands Warm During Winter Sports

You might spend plenty of time checking out the latest styles of skiing clothes, snow jackets, and skiing pants, but be sure you don’t forget about your hands. Frosty fingers can detract from a great day of skiing or snowboarding, so keep these tips in mind for warm and happy hands:

  • Consider mittens. Mittens keep your hands warmer than gloves because your fingers are kept together. If you prefer more finger flexibility, look for gloves with a fold-over mitten top. When choosing mittens for snowboarding or skiing, look for gripping material on the palm or fingers for a steadier grip on your snowboard or ski pole. Gordini RM-1 performance mittens are available in both men’s and women’s sizes and feature a waterproof shell, fleece lining, and cinch closure to keep out wind and snow.
  • Look for handwarmer pockets. Handwarmer pockets can be invaluable and provide that extra bit of warmth when you need it while you’re waiting your turn for the ski lift. Many brands of snowboarding and skiing clothes, including North Face Winter Jackets and Burton jackets, have handwarmer pockets located on the torso.