The Kinky Green

Review: Water Filter

Posted in The Physical by Joy on April 13, 2011
Tags: ,

A few days ago G– and I hit up REI to take advantage of a member coupon and our dividends from last year. In preparation for our first camping trip of the season, he got a stove (JetBoil Flash), and I got a water filter.

The filter is MSR’s Hyperflow Microfilter.

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I just came home and tested it, and I love how adaptable and easy to use it seems to be. The outlet attaches easily to my nalgene, CamelBak, and  a regular water bottle. Pumping was fast and easy, and backflushing proved a pretty seamless operation as well.

The HyperFlow is super light (11oz), and I found the pumping very easy. I don’t have anything to compare it to, but I’ll describe it a bit so the pic above makes more sense. The pump connects to a hose that has a pre-filter, which goes into the water source. The instructions say it should rest at or near the top of a water current.  The output can connect to the destination water vessel via a nipple (for Camelbaks, etc.) or a valve (for nalgenes and other water bottles). There’s a handy adapter for the nalgene as well as a super handy strap on the pre-filter that keeps the whole kit tidy in its sack.

I stepped out of my norm mode of operation and didn’t look up reviews before making this purchase, so I was a little disappointed to see it’s pulling 3 stars (of 5) on the REI website. I read a bit further, though, to see that most of the negative reviews seem to be coming from before the manufacturer acknowledged and (I hope) addressed some flaws a couple of years back, so I’m still pretty excited to give it a try outdoors.

I’ll update with a field review after we get back from our weekend jaunt in May. Based on some of the review comments, I’ll be looking for any issues with ease of pumping, how well the backflushing works if/when needed, etc.


Fresh Eggs & a Hike

Posted in The Environmental,The Physical by Joy on April 10, 2011

This year I joined Bull Run Farm‘s CSA. The delivery season hasn’t started yet, but the owner has been inviting shareholders out most Saturdays to pick up eggs. Today was the first Saturday I could make it, and he also had some tomato seedlings to give away and was heading out on a hike around the mountain later in the afternoon.

G– and I got up and headed out to The Plains just in time to catch the group dispersing from their egg gathering. We got a quick look at some of the farm, snagged a couple seedlings for each of four kinds of tomatoes, and joined the owner and another shareholder in a (roughly) two-mile hike up and around the mountain.

Looking forward to a few weeks from now, when I’m told we’ll likely be invited out for lettuces and asparagus. Exciting!

Something to be Said for Consistency

Posted in The Physical by Joy on April 8, 2011
Tags: , ,

So I ran this year’s Cherry Blossom 10-Miler, thoroughly enjoyed myself, and set a PR. Victory!

Finishing strong at the 2011 Cherry Blossom Ten Miler

And now that the second race of 2011 is behind me and I don’t have anything major on the calendar for the coming year just yet, I’m considering my options and trying to figure out what my focus should be.

The truth is, aside from pounding out the mileage, there hasn’t been much actual focus in my training to date. I generally register for races so I’ll have motivation to keep running regularly. And I roughly follow the suggested mileage on a training plan to ensure I’ll be able to finish said race. And, sure, I always have a race goal. (For myself as well as for the dozen other runners who are inevitably going to ask.) But, really, I tend toward goals I know are (how shall I put it?)… attainable.

My goal for the CB was to beat my Army Ten Miler time, which I did! Clocking 1:44:18 – exactly 31 seconds faster than my ATM time. (Talk about consistency!)

But my dirty little secret is I know I run somewhere around a 10:30/11-minute pace pretty consistently, whether I’m doing an easy run, a long run, or something in between. So it’s pretty safe for me to pick a time in that range to finish under. Setting goals like this is really just my way of saying my goal is to finish. (This, in and of itself, is an accomplishment, I know. Not taking it for granted, just reaching for the next thing…)

So I’m here wondering… What’s the next challenge? Where should I set my sights?

Now that I’ve done two half marathons and two 10-milers, people keep telling me to run a marathon already. But the thought of it just doesn’t strike my fancy. (Besides… I made a pact, dammit!)…

Since I can’t juggle while standing still, I know I’m not cut out to be a joggler

I don’t have offspring, so there’ll be none of that stroller racing for me…

I’m so clumsy, the thought of trail running (more precisely of rolling my ankles) scares the stuffing out of me.

So… After going ‘round and ‘round with myself, I’ve finally conceded there’s only one logical goal for me at this point. <sigh> I suppose I have to improve my time.

Ugh. The mere thought of speedwork fills me with dread.

But I know I can get faster. Just running consistently, without really pushing myself, I’ve shaved something like 45 seconds off my average mile in the last year or so.

At the CB Expo, I joined Friends of the W&OD Trail and registered for their 10K at the end of July. This will be my first 10k, and I think it’s a good distance to set a real speed goal for myself. A bit more of a challenge. Haven’t quite nailed down the actual goal, but I’ll be working on it…