“One day’s exposure to mountains is better than cartloads of books. See how willingly Nature poses herself upon photographers’ plates. No earthly chemicals are so sensitive as those of the human soul. All that is required is exposure, and purity of material. The pure in heart shall see God!“. John Muir
I have discovered the practices of reusing & recycling the 1st day I visited Portland, back in 2010. I was at the youth hostel using the bathroom when I read a label on the tank mentioning that the water was directly collected from the roof (no shortage of water knowing the typical weather here!).
As I have been living in Portland for the last 4 years, I have learned the reusing & recycling practices and I have been enjoying participating in any way I can. Last year, I discovered that an organization called “TerraCycle” took this concept to a higher level and strived on finding any ways possible to reuse waste! Chances are that many of the package you have at home have a “TerraCycle” label on it.
My efforts range from the basic recycling (At home and at work : separate glass, metal, paper….etc) to finding ways to reduce my overall waste (no use of paper towel, plastic utensils, cardboard plates…). Our landfill being already overflowing, I believe we can all try to reduce our waste by getting less stuff in the first place but also by reusing and recycling as much as possible. While some goods are easy to recycle, some other ones can be challenging. This post takes the example of my attempts to reuse & recycle running shoes.
Since I started running in 2010, I have used around 12 pairs of shoes and I have tried to find ways to recycle each of them. Below is a list of the possible ways I have found and experimented (successes and failures) in order to reuse & recycle my old running shoes:
“Walking around” shoes: If they are still in a decent condition, I might use them to walk around, work in the garage, hike…etc.
Shoe Charities: Several organizations will give a 2nd life to used shoes so that people who cannot afford to buy shoes can beneficiate from them. You can find a list here.
However, though it is a good idea, not every pair of used shoes is actually recyclable to be used by another person and this is generally the case for my trail/mountain shoes as they usually take a beating on rocky terrain. As a result, I can’t be giving them to such organizations and hence, I have spent some time looking for other recycling alternatives
Flower Pots: My further research has resulted into interesting recycling methods such as reusing shoes as flower pot. I briefly tried but was not convinced.
Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe: Not giving up on this topic and having not found a solution to recycle my beat-up trail shoes, I soon discovered the Nike “Reuse A Shoe” program. In a nutshell, this program aims to eliminate waste by grinding up used shoes and create athletic tracks.
Think about it next time you’re pounding on your local track!
To find a store drop off location, you can use their store locator here
Last Saturday, I opened my 2016 racing season with the Smith Rock Ascent. I ran the first edition in 2013 and immediately put it as one of my favorite local race. It is held in the beautiful Smith Rock State Park (Central Oregon) mostly known for being the birthplace of American sport climbing (Sport-climbing in the US? no wonder several French climbers played a biginfluence!)
Over the years, they have added a “4miler” and a “50K” but the 15-miler (≈ 3000ft elevation gain) remains my favorite as it suits exactly my type of running: It’s steep, exposed, fast and includes some technical parts. It consists of a lollipop course starting and finishing at the park entrance and going at the top of Gray Butte.
The views are beautiful (one can see the cascade volcanoes from Mt Hood to Mt Bachelor), the weather is usually sunny and warm at this time of the year and the organization is great.
3 years after, I wanted to participate again, see my overall improvements since then and enjoy some good competition as this race seems to attract fast runners. Both in my training and racing, I’ve always made sure to establish benchmarks in order to measure my improvements. It’s easy to run year after year and not necessarily notice the improvements/regression. As I like to train with purpose, I believe having such benchmarks help me not only validating my training, but also assessing and adjusting it if no progression is made.
I use such a combination because it has been shown that the most accurate elevation gain/loss profile is obtained using a GPS device with a barometric altimeter, coupled with data smoothing and elevation correction. All this leads to the least amount of error when computing elevation figures (source: La face cachée du calcul du dénivelé cumulé (D+), Author: Florent Sourbier. This document is under the “Creative Commons” license)
Example of a GPS track for which the elevation has been corrected. In this case, the discrepency is about 160 ft for a distance of 4 miles (40ft/mile)