Run Safe

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Why I Run?

Doesn't it seem like you have to answer this question more than you should? Isn't it strange how it makes so much sense to you and absolutely no sense to so many of your friends and family members? When I was out on the trails last weekend, for my 12 mile run, I started to ponder this topic. On a whim I decided to pull out my phone and capture my thoughts with the intent of writing this post. As the moment unfolded there were a couple funny moments that made this too priceless not to share with you directly. Unfortunately, it's not very easy to share a simple audio clip so this is being shared as a file which you will need to download (I think) here.

I think I should clarify one point in this audio about competition.  I love watching competitive running.  I'm envious of the speed and power I see in competitive runners.  When I went back and listened to this it sounded like I was minimizing those that do run competitively-that was not my intent.  I was speaking to the masses of runners who struggle with calling themselves runners because they feel they are not fast enough.

Here's a couple pictures from the run that morning.  Silver Springs State park in Illinois.

Monday, August 19, 2013

I Am Funny Shirts-Review

I was recently contacted by the creator of I Am shirts, Matthew Perret, and asked if I'd be willing to check out their line of shirts.  Matthew explained they had a large collection of shirts which included an entire line of running shirts.  How do I turn down that?!  I was asked to pick out my favorite and it arrived three days later.  When the shirt arrived I found a fava bean with the company logo on it.  According to "legend" this bean is supposed to bring luck.

The first thing I noticed about this shirt was it's softness.  In watching the intro video on their website I learned this shirt is made of a blended material which included a material called rayon.  According the I Am, this gives the shirt an already washed feeling and over time the shirt will continue to get softer and softer.  Another interesting fact about these shirts is they dye they use.  The inks are eco friendly and are a unique formula used only by the I Am brand.  The ink is dyed into the shirt rather than printed onto the shirt.  The design has a weathered  look to it.

So I know what you're thinking, "can I run in it?"  While the shirt is not marketed or sold as a running shirt I had to know if it was a shirt that could be added to my running days.  I wore the shirt out on a 6 mile run the first time out.  The temps were mild (low 60s f) which allowed me to stay pretty cool during this easier, slow paced run.  The second time I wore the shirt out, I intentionally waited for a warmer day.  We haven't had too many really warm days here in the midwest recently so it took some time for that to happen.

While I waited I wore the shirt out to the casino one night to see if it would bring me any luck, of course I took my new lucky bean with me.  I must say I was looking sharp in my "Your pace or mine." I am shirt with some jeans and nice shoes but the bean, well let's just say it didn't live up to the hype.

It's not easy to take a selfy of your sweaty armpits
Back to the hot run.  On the warmer day, I ran about 4 miles in the shirt and worked up a pretty good sweat.  This would not be a shirt I would run in again.  It wasn't to the degree of wearing a cotton shirt but after a couple of sweaty miles it became an issue.   As I stated earlier this shirt is not marketed or promoted as a running shirt and given that fact, I can't really call this a negative.

If you stick with using this shirt as your fashion statement running shirt or for running on those cooler days you'll be happy.

One finally note about the I am running shirts they are all individually hand made and made in the USA.  Head on over to their site, maybe you'll find your next favorite shirt there....well,
second favorite to your RunJunkEes shirt :)

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Handana Review

Recently, I had the opportunity to try out a pretty unique new product called the Handana.  It's marketed as a "high performance sweatband for running and other sports."  Here's the description from their website "It’s made of soft, durable wicking SupplexTM LycraTM fabric that wraps around your hand allowing you to use both sides of your Handana hand to wipe sweat from your eyes, nose, neck or forehead. Your hand and fingers are completely free to keep your stride smooth, steer your bike or to open snacks and water bottles."

I was contacted about trying out the Handana and was surprised when it showed up in the mail two days later.  My opinion, fast shipping is usually a good indicator of someone who is passionate about what they are doing and that was further confirmed after inspecting the quality workmanship of the product.  Here are some of the product highlights:

  • Made of SupplexTM LycraTM fabric that is soft, durable and wicks away moisture
  • Comfortable, glove-like fit
  • Multiple sizes and colors
  • Machine washable
  • Lightweight, natural fit around your hand
  • Perfect for allergy sufferers and people who sweat
  • Great for running, cycling, yoga, racquet sports and more!
  • Made in the USA

The Handana can also be worn on either hand.   I asked for the same size that I would normally wear in a glove. The fit was snug but not to the point of uncomfortable.  There were several factors in my testing favor on the day one of testing the Handana. Several days prior I was involved in a rollover car crash and in my effort to get out of the car I cut my hand up pretty bad. The wound was still bandaged and raw on the day I ran with the Handana. In addition to the wound I decided to go on a trail run on a day with high humidity and temps in the upper 80's.  

The Handana performed as described and then some.  It effectively provided a simple way to wipe the sweat from my face. Normally on a hot run like this a hat, headband or visor will help but short of a gutter strapped to my forehead I don't think anything will keep all of the sweat away.  I would usually take my shirt off and carry it to use as my towel. The Handana allowed me to keep my hands free. It also added a little extra protection for my booboo.  

Another benefit of the sticky hands.  I usually end up with some degree of gels and/or sports drink on my hands when out on a run.  But on my second Handana run my tactic  was to carry my handheld in the same hand as my water bottle.  Only problem here was now I couldn't use It to wipe the sweat however it did a pretty decent job at keeping my hand sticky free.  I almost wish I had one for each hand. 

On my third run I first soaked the Handana with cold water. The thought was to use it as a cooling towel. I didn't feel this worked too well. It was great at first but it didn't stay cold.  This is not a marketed feature of the product but thought it would be worth a try. 

In addition to running, I could see this being useful in other activities such as cycling, yoga and probably many more I'm not thinking of. 

One other use I'm going explore with the Handana is to use it as a way to keep my hands warm.  Don't get me wrong in the dead of winter these are going to cut it alone.  But, as an added layer under your gloves or mittens they would work great.  

In addition to my running adventures I also play the bagpipes. I told Katie, the founder of the Handana company, I think these might be an effective option to blocking the wind but still leave enough freedom of movement for my fingers. 

If you'd like to learn more about the Handana or their product line go to

Thursday, July 11, 2013

No Women Allowed!

Up until only recently that was the official position of both the Olympics as well as the world's most famous marathon, Boston. Women were not allowed to compete in the 26.2 mile distance.

Recently I was contacted by Adrian Kastelic of Tribesports who said "Over the coming weeks, Tribesports are celebrating those people throughout the history of sport who have had a truly game changing effect on their sport. Those people who's actions transcend generations and change the face of their sport forever."

As soon as I read this two game changers came to mind; Roberta "Bobbi" Gibb and Kathrine Switzer.

1966 photo of Bobbi Gibb as she ran the Boston Marathon

Prior to 1966 "it was generally believed that women were physiologically unable to run marathon distance."1 as sited in Bobbi Gibb's Wekipedia entry. After training for nearly two years Bobbi applied to enter the Boston Marathon in early 1966. She was denied by the race director who basically told her women were incapable of handling a 26.2 mile run. Undeterred, she borrowed some of her brothers clothes and snuck into the starting line crowd of runners, disguised as a male. "Although not an official entrant, Roberta "Bobbi" Gibb became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. Joining the field shortly after the gun had been fired, Gibb finished the race in 3:21:40 to place 126th overall. Gibb again claimed the "unofficial"2 title in 1967 and 1968." In 1969 the BAA officially recognized these finishes and awarded Gibb a medal for each race.

Semple finding out it's not that "simple"

In 1967 Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to enter the Boston Marathon as a registered entrant. Still 5 years before officially permitted to run, Kathrine entered under the gender neutral name of K.V. Switzer. She finished in 4 hours and 20 minutes. During the race, race director Jock Semple ran up to Kathrine yelling "Get the hell out of my race." and tried to physically remove her from the course. Unfortunately for Mr. Semple, Kathrine's boyfriend was running along side her and didn't agree with his wishes. Kathrine's boyfriend pushed Semple away and the two finished the race. "I think it's time to change the rules," said Switzer. "They are archaic." Switzer's story and the surrounding publicity had made the quest for equality in road racing for women a political issue. Coming as it did in the midst of the women's liberation movement, it galvanized women in the belief that it was time, as Switzer had said, to change the rules."3

And as crazy as all of that sounds it wasn't until the 1988 Olympics that women competed in the marathon. NINETEEN EIGHTY EIGHT! According to an article published in Runners World magazine today women make up nearly 50% of the runners in the major marathons in the United States. And, I would suspect that is true around much of the world.

So just in case any of you ladies needed a little more motivation to run a marathon, there ya go.

If you'd like to learn more about the history of women in the Olympics check out this article.

Head on over to Tribesports and join in the conversation.

2.Boston Athletic Association.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Skecher's Go Run 2-Review

I don't know if I'm in the majority on this or not, but I have to be honest and tell you that I have never thought of Skchers as a performance running shoe.  Come to think of it, I'm not so sure I've ever owned a pair of Skechers in my life!  So, in my recent trip to the running speciality store I was a little surprised when I saw these amongst all the big boys and girls running shoes.  Admittedly, I have some pretty strong preconceived notions about Skechers, none of which make me think running shoes, however I think that might be changing.  Skechers Gorun 2 is marketed as "the next-generation of a serious minimal running shoe. Designed for speed with innovative performance technologies to promote a midfoot strike, it works as a great transitional shoe  to foster a barefoot running experience."  

Shoe Highlights:

Foot room-  This shoe has what I consider the ideal design.  It's wide enough in the front to allow your foot to splay and still narrow enough in the heal to keep your foot feeling secure.  There's also just enough padding around the ankle area of the shoe to provide some cushioning.

Seamless upper-  The seamless upper is definite bonus of this shoe.  The tongue sits nicely at the top of the ankle.  The upper has a very lightweight, comfortable design.   I won't go as far as to claim these are water resistent but in a recent run, I did not try to avoid any of the many puddles along the side of the road.  The shoes did get wet, my feet did not.  I don't think this is something claims to be a feature, it's just my observation.  The laces are a thin, flat design. The shoes come with both the high visibility orange (pictured) and a yellow color.   I didn't double knot these shoes, like I do with most, and so far they have stayed tied.  I think this could easily be worn as a sockless shoe, if properly fitted.

Build- The shoe is a lightweight weighing in at approximately 6.2 ounces.  The forefoot is at 11mm, the midfoot 20mm and the heel is at 15mm, giving this shoe an overall 4mm heel to toe drop.  Apparently the midfoot design was done with the intent of encouraging a midfoot strike.   You might think this design might cause some discomfort but I didn't notice any.  I do have high arches, which probably helps but even other reviews I could find stated the improved design of the Go Run 2 virtually eliminated the "bump" that was felt in the midfoot section of the original.

Soles-  The insole has a firm but comfortable fit however, the shoe does not lack a cushioned feel.  From what I could tell in wearing it the cushioning is a result of the pods in the tread of the outsole.  They layout was unique.  The larger pods were grey and orange.  The grey were firm and the orange were soft.  Then there are smaller circles (4 at the forefoot, 4 at the midfoot and 2 at the heel)  these were softer yet.  I'm sure there some "science" behind the design but whatever the reason it makes of a nice ride.

Price-  With a retail price of $84.95, the Go Run 2 is already a more affordable option than most running shoes.  Add in my VIP discount at the local running shop combined with the sale price and I was able to get these babies for close the $70.  I usually rely on the last year model clearance shoes to get that kind of price on a quality shoe!

As I stood in the store trying to convince myself to buy these I tried to look up reviews on line- not very many could be found.  I actually found the majority on Amazon.  As is my usual approach I quickly read through the 1 and 2 star ratings.  Of the nearly 50 reviews two were one star and two were two star.  Two people actually claimed this shoe to be narrow!  I completely disagree.  This is the one factor that keeps me from trying many pairs of shoes.  This shoe is not narrow.  The other complaints were based on the life of the shoe.  One guys said he has only had the shoes a month and they were already starting to wear.  He then proceeded to say he runs 60 miles per week in them.  This shoe is a minimal design.  I wouldn't expect more than 300 miles out of any minimal type shoe.  So, 240 miles and they're just "starting to wear"...I'll take that.  The last genius explained that he took these on the trail and they were torn after he caught a tree branch.  It's pretty obvious that this is not a trail shoe.   After seeing all of the other reviews were 4 and 5 star I decided what the hell.  They were one of the cheaper pairs in the store and I'm all for trying something, I bought them.

The Run:
My first two runs in these shoes have been great.  The shoe provided a comfortable fit and performed well.  The upper is breathable and as I stated earlier, appeared to provide a small level of protection from water.  The shoe fits great around my ankle.  This is another point of contention with many pairs of minimal type shoes.  Many will have a flimsy design that allows space between your ankle and the shoe.  If you notice in my arial shot, the shoes fit pretty snug.  I don't think this shoe felt as minimal as some people might prefer.  Remember, minimal shoes are intended to all the runner to connect with the ground.  In other words, feel everything and give the runner the barefoot running experience.  The Go Run 2 is not that minimal.  This shoe is categorized as a transitional shoe, meaning there are minimal features but not on the extreme end of a true minimalist shoe.  The ride was similar to that of the Brooks original Pureflow.

I've only put about 15 miles on them so far, so a future update will have to be added but for now I'm enjoying my new shoes.

And, as far as my hang up with the fact that I now actually own a pair of Skechers shoes, I think my friend and fellow RunJunkEe Jeff summed it up best with his observations.  "Skechers to me 

will always be light up shoes for 3 year olds and then those rocker things embraced by senior citizen 

hipsters. Glad to know they've actually broken out of the shell. Be curious how they hold up. They look 

great. May have to go try a pair on."

Saturday, June 15, 2013

"You Run Too Much"

Recently, a friend was venting about his "concerned" family member who was lecturing him about running too much. That it wasn't good for him. That it was going to kill him. 

As a person who has spent the majority of their adult life as a sedentary slug and only a runner for the last several years I feel I have a fair perception of  this topic. 

While out on my run yesterday I started thinking about writing a post on the subject.  This is when I seem to have my best thoughts however, by the time I finish I've usually forgotten all of the great thoughts I had.  So this time I decided not to let my emotions and thoughts pass me by.  I pulled out my phone and recorded a short blurb of what I was thinking and feeling at the moment.  Well, really it's more of a message. A message to all of those people that are so concerned about my well being. 

 It's not scripted, it's not perfect and I made no editing to the clip but its from the heart.  You can listen Here.  

Enjoy the run. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Why You Should Not Be Too Embarrassed To Run

While out for my early morning run today, I happened across a fellow runner.  He was a big guy and I would not be exaggerating to say he was obese.   It looked as if he was doing a run/walk/run method.  He wasn’t going very fast and I saw him take at least one walk break.  By no means, was he “slacking”.  It was very apparent this guy was putting effort into what he was doing.  As I got closer I couldn’t help but be filled with a sense of admiration.  I said good morning as I passed and continued on my run.
It got me thinking about a conversation I had with another fellow runner, not too long ago.  This lady, who was also overweight, was struggling to “keep with it.”  She told me she would only run on a treadmill because she was “too embarrassed” to be seen in public.  When I asked her why she would be embarrassed for trying to better herself she told me she just didn’t feel like a runner and felt she would be ridiculed by other runners.  I’ll share with you what I told her.
If you are a new runner or even a walker (non-zombie type) aspiring to become a runner DO NOT feel embarrassed by making the effort.  As an experienced runner, I’ve learned that you will encounter two types of people (generally speaking); runners and non-runners.

Photo from
Runners will support you.  Runners respect the effort.  Runners, both new and experienced, will admire you.  Most runners had to learn to become runners ourselves.  I promise you that most do not care about your pace nearly as much as you do.  Runners will tell you “good job” not because they are just trying to be nice, but because they truly understand that what you are doing is not an easy thing to do.  Runners truly are the GREATEST and the most supportive group of people you could ever want to be around.  Slow or fast, runners are filled with pride when they see you making the effort.   Now don’t get me wrong, just like with anything there are those small percentages of runners who think they are God’s gift and that their shit doesn’t stink but I can assure you those are not the majority. 

The first time you stand amongst the crowd at the start of a race you will discover how different each of us are but how much we all have in common.  It's an unforgettable experience and the reason why you don't hear of very many people who only do one race. 

There are really two groups of non-runners which I affectionately refer to as the lovers and the haters.
  • The lovers admire you just like the experienced runners do.  They are soul searching and have that desire but have not been convinced enough to believe that running is a possibility.  When the lovers see you, you are their role model, their inspiration.  And you are a far greater source of inspiration than the experienced runners.  You’re more relatable.  You’re the person they look at and say “Well hell, if they are doing it, maybe I can too!”
  • The haters are the true non-runners.  They have no desire, no interest and are perfectly content spending their life being sedentary.   They are not to be confused with people who are active in some other form of physical activity.  I’m talking about the people that see you while you are running on the side of road and as they pass you in their car they flick you off, drive a little closer to you or even swerve in your direction.  Yes, those people do exist.   As an experienced runner I can assure that these people will laugh and taunt me just as much as they will you.   The topic of safety while running is another thing worth looking into.
You’ve probably seen it worded and phrased in a number of different ways but all of the sayings are trying to tell you the same thing.  If you run, you’re a runner.  It doesn’t matter how fast you go, you’re still lapping they guy/girl on the couch, etc., etc.    The best piece of advice I can give you is to always remind yourself of who you’re doing this for.  Why do you run?  Do you run for that person driving past you?  Are you running for the guy running faster than you in a race?  Are you running to impress “experienced runners”  I think once you start to be honest with yourself about why you run, you will have a much easier time dealing with all of the other negative thoughts that my seem to discourage you.  
So the next time you're out their making the effort don't feel embarrassed, feel proud.  I can assure you there are far, far more people who are being inspired by what you're doing than not.

Monday, June 3, 2013

My First 3sum- An Altra Review

As a happily married man I would have never expected to be writing a post titled "My First 3sum". Suffice it to say, I'm appreciate Altra affording me the opportunity to do so, even if it is only in regards to their new tri shoe.

Although, as luck would have it, I did find this to be one sexy looking shoe.  As a shoe that was designed with the triathlete in mind I was not sure if these would be a good fit for me.  But after logging about 50 miles in these shoes I've found that they can work for us running simpletons, as well.   The 3sum is a lightweight shoe built on a semi-firm 18mm zero drop platform and offers a comfortable ride most suitable for short to mid distance runs.  While it's true that some minimalist shoes can have a zero heel to toe difference ratio, not all Altra Zero Drop™ shoes are minimalist.  They actually offer a wide range from minimal to cushioned shoes.  You can learn more about Altra here.  
When I first tried the shoe on, I did so with thin sock.  There was some noticeable slipping in the heel, despite the good forefoot fit.  (as a side note this shoe was not as wide as the Superior, which was a bummer for me but they were still more roomy than most traditional shoes)  I switched to medium thickness sock and this took care of the slipping but made the forefoot area feel tighter.  Finally, I gave in and tried it sock-less.  The seamless upper, built in tongue and padding in the heel area make this a shoe that appears to be built to be worn sock-less.   After doing a couple of test runs both with and without socks, I found the ride more enjoyable and the fit more secure without socks and the problem of the heel slipping was no longer a factor, once I was running.  I was a little leery about blisters from running sock-less but after several runs, with one has far as 10 miles, in the heat, that has not occurred.  Outside of my one, what we will call "dork run" in which I wore a thin sock on one foot and sock-less on the other, all of my runs in these shoes have been sock-less.   In the dork run I didn't notice any significant difference in the overall fit of the shoe, however the shoe did seem more breathable on the sock-less foot. 

built up cushioning in the heel.

 These shoes come with a quick lace system by a company called Yankz which allows for a quick easy on and off when transitioning. The quick lace system can be a bit intimidating if you have not used them before. However, once they are properly adjusted it is a nice added feature. The key to the adjustment is not to make them too tight.  After they are adjusted properly it's recommended that you knot and cut off the excess lace.  Rather than doing that I chose to tuck  the extra lace in the laced area in hopes that I can use them in my next pair of shoes. I replaced a quick lace with a traditional shoe lace just to see if it changed the comfort or fit.  I didn't see any noticable difference in the two.  So +1 for the lazy side of me that doesn't want waste time tying shoes. 

A couple other features of this shoe which were a bit out of my norm were the eyelet holes at the tongue and in the heel, the higher heel counter and the holes in the sole of the shoe.  I learned more about these from my expert triathlete friends, the Midwest Misfits
  • The eyelet holes at the tongue and heel are designed to assist with getting the shoes on quickly when transitioning during a triathlon.  But it also suited me well, from a laziness stand point (another +1). 
  • The higher heel counter is due the eyelet in the heel but if you fold that down, which is called "training" your shoe, it will keep it from rubbing on your skin.   These folded easily and stayed down.  Apparently with some shoes you need to use a rubber band, when not wearing them, to help reshape the heel.   That wasn't the case here. 
  • The holes in the bottom of the shoe are intended as drainage holes.  I didn't get an opportunity to run through any water so I can't say how well they do the job.

"Trained" shoe with the insole removed

As with anyone new to the minimalist or zero drop running it's a good idea to make a slow transition into these shoes.  Visit the website to learn more.  At 8.2 oz and a performance like feel, I think Altra nailed it with these!

And, just in case you were wondering what these bad boys look like after the first 50 miles

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Altra 'Superior' Experience- Review

I would put myself in the category of an experienced runner and would maybe go so far as to even say I’m a bit of shoe connoisseur.  In my time running, I've gone through lots and lots of different styles of shoes from just about every major running shoe manufacturer out there.   But, again, I'm far from being an expert on the topic.  So why, do you ask, am I now deciding to make a feeble attempt at doing a shoe review?  Because my experience in these shoes was truly 'Superior' to anything I have experienced in my running tenure.   For me not to share my experience would be a disservice to all the fellow Run JunkEes.
Over the past several months I've been on a mission to find the perfect, minimal, trail shoe.  Rewind, I've actually been on a mission to find the perfect shoe since I became a runner, way back in 2006, but recently I have been searching for a new trail shoe.  I wanted something that could provide a mix of everything that I've been looking for; roomy up front, snug in the heal, light weight, decent protection, minimal heel drop, cushioned but firm, and of course something that screams..."Get me dirty!"  I’ve purchased and returned so many pairs of trail shoes in the past month; I'm practically on a first name basis with the refund/exchange department at Runningwarehouse. It's gotten so comical that some of the shoes would barely make it out of the box and I was already slapping the return label on.  They were sent back because they were too heavy, too narrow, not enough protection, etc. Each time I made my next choice, I'd consider the Superior, but I was really skeptical that my legs could handle a zero drop shoe, especially on the trails.  People kept saying give them a try.  I'd listened to podcast reviews, read reviews on-line, but despite all of the positive responses, I'd still choose a different pair.  Finally, it got to the point that there were no other shoes (on my list) so I gave in and order the Altra Superiors.

I'm not exactly a novice to the minimal experience.  I had just recently made it as far as 26.2 in a 4mm drop shoe, but still experienced hip fatigue after about 15 miles.  I also had what I would consider normal soreness the following day.  As someone who has always been a heavy heel striker, the transition to a more minimal shoe, for me, was a slow one.  (Learn more about heel drops here. ) I'd gotten to the point where I enjoyed the minimal shoes on the road but not so much on the trails.  Since I was focusing on a lighter weight shoe, most of what I was wearing offered very little in the way of protection or cushion.  The Superiors were far from what I had been wearing.

 First Impressions

The Superior is a deceptively light shoe-I think   Running warehouse has it listed around 10 oz, which is still on the lighter side for a trail shoe.  Looking at some of the pictures I envisioned them to be heavier. The design of the shoe was narrow in the heel and wide in the toe box, the sole design was also different than anything that I had seen before.  The tread on the shoe actually goes in both directions. From what I've read, it's designed to help with the uphill and downhill traction.  There's also a lip that protrudes from the heal which resembles a skid plate.  One thing that I was concerned about was the straps that are on either side of the shoe.  I'm not sure of their intended purpose but I worried they could be easily caught on something while running the trails.   They only thing I disliked about the shoe was the length of the laces, but in the grand scheme of things, this wasn't a deal
breaker.  When I slipped my feet into these bad boys I instantly knew I had found the fit I was looking for.  They felt like slippers on steroids!! They were soft and roomy, but did not remind me of the other minimal shoes I’ve worn.  While the heel drop was noticeable, so was the combination of support and cushion.  I don’t like a super cushioned shoe but in those longer runs it is nice to have a little something there.
Another feature of these shoes which I thought was interesting was the removable rock plate.  Without it, the shoe felt a little less firm. For me, keeping it in provided the perfect blend of cushioned but firm.  I will point out here, that the more minimal shoes I had tried in the past were lacking in the rock protection department.  I would venture to guess the rock plate in the Superiors would account for an ounce or two of the overall weight.

The Run

Now, I should mention here that this run was my final long run of my 50k training plan. Having done my share of long runs over the past two months, I had a pretty good idea of how I would feel both during and after the run.   The trails I run consist mostly of grass, dirt (mud), tree roots and small rocks. These trails were certainly more along the lines of a less technical trail, with average hills of 100 to 200 feet.  On this particular run, much of the area had experienced localized flooding.  These shoes got nice and wet and muddy.  At one point I was attempting to traverse a swampy mucky area and my foot ended up in the water.  While these are not waterproof shoes, the shoes drained the water well and with the help of the moisture wicking socks, kept my feet dry.   Personally, I feel most waterproof/weatherproof shoes are too stiff and constricting.

The heel "skid plates"
I had worn the shoes on a quick road run just to make sure I was good with the feel and fit and two days later took them out for the big test, a 20 mile trail run.  To say I was beyond pleased in the performance of these shoes would be an understatement. I was blown away by how great my legs and especially my hips felt throughout this entire run.  I was 15 miles into the run and running up hills like I had just started out.  The tread provided a satisfactory grip on the wet hills.  I was probably 18 miles into the run when I remember saying out loud for the 4th or 5th time. "I can't believe how great my legs feel!"  By mile 19 I was trying to convince my running partner that he needed to buy a pair of these shoes. I even laughed at myself for sounding like a cheap salesmen.  I really had no complaints about this shoe.  Even the little straps on the side were a non-factor.  One thing that intrigued me- I never tripped during this run.  Almost without exception, every trail run I go on there is at least one or two times I will catch the front of my foot on a tree root or rock and stumble.  I'm not sure why this didn't happen on this run or even if the shoe had anything to do with it but it was an unexpected, pleasant surprise.
Almost more impressive than the run experience was how I felt the next morning. I awoke with full anticipation of being sore. As I started to get out of bed I realized I felt pretty damn good. I had virtually no soreness. This was truly a first for me. I know my training leading up to this run was partly responsible for my lack of soreness as was my slow transition to a more minimal shoe. However, there is no doubt the Altra design was also to blame. About two days after this run I did have some slight soreness in my glutes, which was not something I normally experienced after a run.  To me, this indicated these shoes changed my stride enough that it relieved the stress on my hip area and engaged larger muscle groups.

Rock Plate is the grey piece.
Suffice it to say these shoes held true to their namesake, providing me with a truly Superior running experience.  We will be spending many, many more runs together and I can hardly wait to run my upcoming 50k in them. 

Resting peacefully after their first 20 mile test run

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The New & Improved

Since creating the RunJunkEes Facebook page, back in August of 2011, I've been simply astounded not only at the overall positive response it has received but also the incredible people who have become a part of my goofy idea.  As of this writing the page was nearing 5,100 likes and averaging 1.3-1.8 million "friends of fans"reach weekly, according the stats supplied by Facebook Insights.

Some of the features that have become a regular part of the page include the runner submitted Random Running Moments and the fellow RunJunkEe submitted questions were my inspiration on creating the new .com site. The quality and knowledge of those responding to the questions posed by fellow RJ's is consistently top notch.  The only downfall...within a couple weeks it's lost somewhere in the feed of the page so unless you are stopping by everyday there's a good chance you missed out on some great advice and conversation.

The re-worked website will hopefully improve on some of the Facebook page "issues".   Here are some of the highlights:

1.  The Home Page-  The only notable items on the home page are the search box at the top and the slide show at the bottom. 

-The search box will allow you to search a key word and find anything within the site pertaining to the search.  So if you've come looking for a hot pink shirt, type pink and it should point you in the direction you need to go.  The only thing the search box will not find are words within the forums (there is a separate search area under the community tab for that)

-The slide show is comprised of a variety of user submitted Random Running Moments that I've JunkEe'd up a little. 

2. The Community-  This area contains the forums and what I hope will be the biggest and best improvement to the RunJunkEes community.  Within the forums you will see several general categories listed out.  You should be able to find or create specific topics under one of the categories.  All contain a brief description.  You will have to sign in to access the forum and this can be done by linking almost any social network (all are listed).  Once you've done so there is also a spot that you can click that will allow you to edit your profile to include your forum picture and how your user name will appear.  I was happy to see this because it will afford you a little more privacy if you decide you'd rather not have to entire world knowing who you are.  It will also benefit the page in the event someone is being disrespectful or inappropriate because the page admins will have the ability to ban users (I'm guessing that will probably never happen but still good to know it's there just in case).

3. The Store- For now it's just the small collection of RunJunkEes T-shirts but I'm hoping to expand this area.  Your support here is what will allow me to continue to operate this page completely free of charge so I thank you for doing so.

4. The Blog-  Just in case you want to delve deeper into my warped little mind.

That's basically it.  But here is the most important thing to remember, like the Facebook page this site is nothing without the participation of the people who are there.  I'm hoping between the experienced runners combined with the number novice runners seeking to Find the Magic in the Misery everyone will find much to enjoy over at .  And as always I'm open to your ideas & suggestions.  I just ask that you keep in mind that I'm a one man show; please be patient with me.

More to come.