Meagan is a graduate student and avid volcano and pie enthusiast. She spends most of her time thinking about the development of the magma chamber at Crater Lake. Her free time is spent running, blogging, playing with her bunny, and watching too much TV. Meagan started running in May 2011 and ran her first half marathon in October 2012. She is looking forward to her first marathon in 2013!

Jan 172014

I’ve written a few times on this blog about my struggles with weight gain/loss. A few years ago, over the course of about 2 years, I gained a significant amount of weight. Before our wedding, I managed to lose about 25 pounds of it by counting calories and running and was very happy with my progress. That said, because I have hypothyroidism (and despite taking medicine to bring my thyroid hormones up to normal levels), losing weight is a very slow process for me. It took me over a year to lose those pounds, whereas it might only take 3-4 months for others on a similar diet/exercise plan. Continue reading »

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Oct 212013

One of my favorite pastimes is watching movies. So, now that my racing season is over until the spring and the temperatures are starting to drop outside, I decided it would be a good time to enjoy some inspirational running movies and share my picks with you! I’ve already seen some of the movies I’ll share, but others I’ll be watching for the first time (recommendations are welcome!). To kick things off, I’ve chosen one of my favorite movies, Forrest Gump, as the inaugural Running Movie of the Week. Obviously (although I doubt I need to say this for a movie that was released in 1994), *Spoiler Alert* for the rest of this post. Continue reading »

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Oct 022013

As most long distance runners will tell you, running is just as much about mental toughness as it is about physical toughness. We’re now four days out from running our first marathon and, at this point, it feels like it’s all about the mental game. I’m confident in all of the training I’ve done, and my longest run of 21 miles (which took place a couple of weeks ago) felt pretty good. So, as we wrap up our tapering, my focus has been not so much on running, but on trying to keep a positive outlook and working on strategies to stay positive during the race in preparation for hurdles such as hitting the wall. The following video is a funny look into the mind of a marathoner during the course of 26.2 miles of running. It gave me a good laugh, and definitely made me feel like I’m not alone in having an almost constant internal dialogue going with myself when I’m running. Enjoy! Continue reading »

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Merrell Proterra Vim (Mid) Sport Review

 Posted by on September 4, 2013  1 Response »
Sep 042013
Merrell Connect Proterra HT 3

Fieldwork and minimalist shoes are not two things I ever planned on combining. Hiking over rubbly lava flows, through dense brush and over downed trees, and on steep slopes, all while carrying a pack loaded up with 40 pounds of rocks, requires sturdy shoes, whether I like it or not. Features like a thicker, stiffer sole and a high-cut vamp (meaning that it extends up around your ankles) help provide stability and protection for your feet and ankles across a variety of surfaces, which is very important safety-wise in the backcountry. However, during the past couple of field seasons (after making the switch to minimalist shoes), encasing my feet in traditional hiking shoes for 8-10 hours a day made my toes feel super cramped, and the larger heel-toe differential and added weight felt really odd (and tiring).

Despite this, I had pretty much resigned myself to having to deal with wearing my traditional hiking shoes in the field. But then, earlier this year (and much to my excitement), Merrell added the Proterra, a hiking shoe, to their M-Connect (Barefoot) line, and I was lucky enough to get a pair to test. Although I was still a bit skeptical about them being able to handle the rigors of fieldwork (they are still more minimal than my traditional hiking shoes, after all), I finally got the chance to take them on some heavy-duty hikes out in the field a couple of weeks ago, and ended up being completely blown away by their performance. Read on to learn why!

Brand: Merrell

Name: Proterra Vim Mid Sport

Color Options: Women’s – Sea Shore (Blue), Aluminum (Tan); Men’s – Castle Rock (Gray)

Weight: 1 lb 9 oz

Drop: 4 mm

Other: 20.5 mm stack heigh (9.5 mm cush); bellows tongue to keep debris out; treated with Aegis antimicrobial solution

Price: $120


The first day I chose to wear the Proterras in the field, I felt like I was taking a risk. I’d already worn them on a couple of short hikes, with well-worn, easy-to-traverse trails, so I wasn’t worried about breaking them in, but knowing that I was going to have to carry 30-40 pounds of rock and hike through dense forest was a bit intimidating. The second I slipped them on my feet that first morning, though, I knew I had made the right choice (especially since I had been wearing my old hiking shoes for a few days before that). My toes finally felt like they had some “breathing” room, my feet didn’t feel so heavy, and the low heel-toe drop felt much more natural. As far as stability goes, Merrell hits the nail on the head with their claim that these shoes provide “control and stability through improved muscle awareness.” The only criticism I have with regard to stability is that, in the Vim Mid Sport version of the shoe, the portion of the shoe that extends up around the ankle is still fairly low, and I think the boot could provide better ankle stability if it was a little higher.

Hiking_ProterrasThe Proterras are also impressively well made. I admit I was initially a bit worried that the thin material used to construct the upper (which I can only think to compare to a thicker version of the material used to make tents, although it is reinforced by rubber strapping) tearing easily. I managed to snag my boots pretty hard on downed tree branches several times, though, and it didn’t create so much as a scuff on the fabric. However, the thin, mesh-like quality of the fabric does have a downside when it comes to keeping fine dust (like the volcanic ash at my field site) out. My feet ended up very dusty every day, although so did my mother’s, and she wore a traditional pair of hiking shoes.

Obviously, there are some situations for which a minimalist hiking shoe, even one as sturdy as the Proterra, is not appropriate. Very steep slopes, especially ones that are unstable or that require you to be roped up, still require a heavy duty hiking boot, with thick soles and ankle stabilization. The Proterra is also not water-resistant/proof. This means that it is more breathable and an overall lighter shoe, which is great for day hikes, but it would not be a great choice for your only shoe say, on a backpacking trip, where you might encounter rain, muddy trails, or even snow. That said, a waterproof version is already available for men (albeit at a significantly higher price) and a waterproof women’s model is set to be released this fall.

Merrell Connect Proterra HT 8


Although the Proterra is lightweight and features a low heel-toe drop, it is definitely what I would describe as rugged and sturdy relative to all of my other minimalist shoes. Of course, this is as it should be, considering it is a hiking boot. Compared to my traditional hiking shoes, the Proterras feel incredible on my feet. They are worlds different when it comes to weight, and there’s few things so wonderful as a wide toe box after your toes have been crammed into a standard width toe box for a few days. One thing I was especially thrilled to discover is that the Proterras lack is the aggressive arch contouring that is present in most of the Merrell Barefoot line (and that requires a somewhat lengthy break-in period to mold them to your foot). The most important thing is that my feet felt utterly relaxed all day, no matter the terrain, while wearing my Proterras.


The Merrell M-Connect line is pretty reliable when it comes to aesthetics, and the Proterras fit right in. They have a very modern, sporty look as far as hiking shoes go. Most of the color options are more subdued compared to other Merrell Barefoot shoes, but this is not unusual for a hiking shoe, and I suppose it wouldn’t make much sense to use bright fabrics that would end up looking dull and dirty pretty quickly upon use. A big plus for some may be that these shoes are not super unusual looking, so you don’t have to deal with strange looks from fellow hikers who can’t figure out what’s going on with your feet.


  • Incredibly durable, but still remarkably lightweight and breathable
  • Very comfortable, especially the wide toe box that allows plenty of room for both toes and thick hiking socks
  • Allow for impressive amounts of stability and control over a wide variety of terrain
  • Modern, sporty, but not unusual looking
  • No uncomfortable arch contouring as is present in many Merrell Barefoot shoes


  • Not water resistant or waterproof
  • More ankle stability could be provided by a slightly higher ankle collar in the Vim Mid Sport


As far as minimalist hiking boots go, the Merrell Proterra is what dreams are made of. I was unsure about how these shoes would perform during field work, but found that they are the most comfortable hiking boots I have ever worn in my life. They are an excellent addition to the Merrell M-Connect Line, and will hopefully be the model upon which future hiking boots are built and added to the barefoot collection.

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Jul 122013

Being a 6’1″ tall woman has its advantages. For example, I can reach pretty much every top shelf I encounter, I’ve been tall enough to ride every roller coaster at Cedar Point (bonus points if you know where that is!) since I was about 8 years old, and being long-limbed was definitely an advantage in the pool when I swam competitively. That said, tallness also has its disadvantages, and one of the more annoying ones is how difficult it can be to find clothes that fit properly. Luckily, in terms of casual clothes, the options are starting to expand, with more companies offering Tall or Long versions of their clothes in recent years. Unfortunately, though, workout clothing is more of niche market, so the options remain much more limited. Because I’ve been running for a couple of years now, I’ve had the opportunity to try on (and purchase) running clothes from quite a few brands, and wanted to share my recommendations of those that are the best for tall women. The list below represents the best of what I’ve found so far, and is focused on brands that offer longer inseams on pants, longer torso and sleeve lengths, and longer inseams on shorts (because 3-inch inseams look more like underwear when you’re 6’1″ with a 36″ inseam). I will be sure to update it as I discover more brands! Continue reading »

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Jun 212013

After a frigid winter and a fairly cool spring, and just as we welcome the first day of summer, temperatures are finally starting to ramp up in Wisconsin (93 ℉ today!). While I’m generally enjoying the warm weather, our marathon training is now in full swing, bringing with it much longer runs than I’ve ever had to do in the summer heat. So, I’ve been doing some research on the effects of soaring temperatures on running, and how to deal with them, and wanted to share some of my favorite facts, figures, and tips that I’ve come across with you!

1. You can easily determine how much fluid you are losing and how much you need to take in by weighing yourself before and after a run. The amount of weight you lose (converted to ounces; 1 lb = 16 oz) during an hour-long run (plus the amount of water/other fluids you drank in ounces) is equal to the amount of fluids you sweat out per hour. It is suggested that you drink every 15 minutes during a run, so if you divide your hourly sweat loss by 4, you can determine how many ounces you should be taking in each time you drink. This is a great way to quantitatively determine if you are getting enough fluids, but also to avoid over-hydrating, which can result in dangerously low electrolyte levels. Of course, keep in mind that the results of this test will change based on the temperature, the terrain, your pace, etc., so test in different conditions and adjust accordingly! For a more detailed procedure of this process, as well as examples of results based on weight and temperature, head over to Runner’s World. Continue reading »

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 Posted by on June 7, 2013  3 Responses »
Jun 072013

It’s been almost a a year and a half since Skora burst onto the minimalist scene with the release of their original models, the Base and Form, becoming what can only be described as the “luxury car” of the minimalist shoe world. From their inspired “Run Real” campaign, to the beautiful design and quality construction of the shoes themselves, it wasn’t hard to see why people were willing to shell out almost $200 to get their hands on a pair, and the overwhelming consensus was that they were definitely worth the money. By the time the women’s models were finally released last August (about 7 months after the men’s), I was practically beside myself with excitement to get the chance to test out the Base model. Unfortunately, because my feet are quite narrow, the straps didn’t quite hold things in place well enough for me, and I struggled with uncomfortable rubbing on the balls of my feet.

Because I loved the overall fit, feel, and style of the Base, however, I wanted another shot at Skoras, and I thought a pair with laces would solve my rubbing problems by allowing me to better secure my feet. So, I was very happy to get the chance to test a pair of Skora’s new model, the Core, which is one of two new styles added to the Skora line this spring. Like the Form (reviewed by Steve), the Core’s upper is made of goat-leather, and it features similar design elements (e.g., asymmetrical lacing), but is somewhat less expensive ($155 relative to $185 for the Form). The $30 difference can be accounted for in several elements of the design, such as the lack of a velcro heel adjustment strap, simpler stitching/construction of the upper (in the Core), and differences in the material and structure of the soles. Despite being priced as a “lesser” shoe than the Form, though, the Core holds its own as a great (and in some ways better) minimalist running (and casual!) shoe, and it, along with the Phase, further solidify Skora’s position as one of the best minimalist shoe companies around today.

Continue reading »

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