Friday, December 25, 2009
My friend John had volunteered to come and crew/pace with my Dad. Dad is always the first to volunteer to help and is an awesome crew captain. We met my Dad at camp Bethel and sat down to a filling pasta dinner. We then attended the brief and I headed off to my Jeep to try and catch an hour or two of sleep. The next thing I know John and Dad are in the car and we are driving to the start. I quickly got dressed for the cold and we all walked down to the start together. We prayed and sang the National Anthem and without much fanfare we were off.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
This weekend called me to run back to back 3 hour runs.
Saturday Morning: My legs were sore and tired from running hard last weekend in the mountains and the kettlebell workout I did on Friday afternoon. I headed my local state park and started off on the 1.7 mile paved trail up into the park. I started way too fast and before I knew it I was sweating up a storm and had a little touch of blurred vision. I quickly slowed up, but the damage was done. The rest of the run was horrible as I walked for long stretches and ran intermittently. After an 75 minutes of this run some walk a lot pattern I finally pulled together and managed 8 ok miles of running. With my next race only 5 weeks away and the training I have been putting in I was just a little concerned about this run and my confidence took a hit. How could I run so well the previous Sunday and so poorly today? How would I run the second part of this back to back weekend?
Thursday, October 1, 2009
I took the liberty to find Mountain Dew commercials and post them here. Enjoy! In the future I may research and post the year each commercial aired. Anyone have more commercials? - add a link in the comments and I will add it to the post.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
- Stays in place on your ear
- Decent sound quality for a sport headphone
- Nice looking design
- Does not drown out external noises (good for situational awareness)
- Weird feeling to not have them secured in ear
- Price - I paid $30 at a local sporting goods store. I found them on amazon for under #25
- In the Box - Headphones, Cord wrap coil, Storage pouch
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Signal Knob Fog from Justus Stull on Vimeo.
The highlight of the trip was watching the fog roll over the mountain and the 2 bear sightings. The first sighting took place near Signal Knob. I had just talked to some hikers and was only a minute down the trail when I heard something and looked off the trail. No more than 30 feet off the trail was a black bear 15 feet up a tree. We made eye contact and he charged down the tree. At this point I started to yell, hoping to scare it into running away. Luckily when it bottomed out of the tree it headed down the mountain away from me, but in the general direction I was heading. The second sighting occurred half way down Mud Hole Gap. A cub crossed the trail 20 feet in front of me. He got 30 or 40 feet off the trail and stopped to have a look at me. I quickly assessed the situation to make sure he did not have a sibling or his mother with him and went for my camera. By the time I got it out he was gone. Not more than 2 minutes later I ran across a couple with 2 dogs. I told them to watch out for him and was on my way.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Jon Webb (Montrail Factory Rep) the folks at Montrail contemplated the name change. That being said I must qualify my experience with both the old and new versions of the shoe. I have run around 250 miles in a size 11 old style hardrock. These miles include the first 20 of the Laurel Highlands Ultra and various other training efforts when I knew the terrain would be very rocky. I have run 80 miles in the Hardrock 09. These runs inlcude a 2 mile "test" run on a flat smooth grass surface, a 5 mile run on the same grass surface with some pavement thrown in, a 38 mile training run in the Massanutten Mountains, and the 2009 Promise Land 50K. The run on Massanutten was completed after a few days of rain had fallen and a lot of the trail was flooded with calf deep water pools and stream like flowing water. Massanutten is notoriously rocky and this run included a trip over the notorious Short Mountain. The running surface conditions at Promise Land consisted of around 7 miles or gravel road, 4 miles of nasty down hill single track, with 2 stream crossings, many miles of grassy fireroad, and over 8000 feet of elevation gain and loss. I feel these experiences qualify me to review the Hardrock 09.
Jon Web's review does a good job of describing the shoe in general and is worth a quick read. Jon points out that the Hardrock has a medial post for stability control, something that was not apparent to me upon inspecting the shoe and reviewing its data on the Montrail web site. Lets look at a few key areas and see how this new Hardrock stacks up to the old Hardrock:
- Weight: The new hardrock has an announced weight of 11 oz for a size 9, the old had an announced weight of 15 ounces for the size 9 - you may think this is not a big difference, but I believe that a pound on the foot is equivalent to 10 pounds on the back. I could tell a significant difference here.
- Breathability: I do not have enough wet experience with the old hardrock to comment on it, but the new version is highly breathable and dries pretty quick. I am used to running in trail runners that started as street shoes and were "beefed up" for the trail. Road shoe companies have a bad habit making the upper water resistant, thus the shoes get wet quickly and never dry. This is not the case with the new Hardrock. Even with my leather and foam orthotics my feet were fairly dry shortly after running through calf deep water. There was no sloshing around shortly after exiting the water as well. At Promise Land the stream crossings were a breeze and my feet were dry very quickly.
- Flexibility: The new Hardrocks are much more flexible than the older model. They have a different flavor of rock shield than the older version and feel closer to a road trainer than before. While on the rocks I could feel the rocks more than the old version, but it was not a hindrance. I prefer the feel of the new model as the stiff older model feels too much like a boot to me. The road running at Promise Land was a breeze and at no time did I think I was in a trail shoe. They are more than adequate to cover the few road miles you may encounter in training or racing.
- Size: I had to order a 1/2 size smaller to get a similar fit to the older Hardrocks. Try them on somewhere as other people have reported the sizes are similar to the older model.
- Lacing System: The new Hardrocks have a superior lacing system to other shoes. Montrail has done away with the traditional hole design and replaced it with a loop design. This allows for the lacing to adjust easier and distribute weight more evenly across the foot. I just tied them like normal and did not have to adjust the lacing tightness at any time. The laces stayed tied for all of Promise Land (I did remove and retie them once to clean rocks out).
- Cushion: Little to no cushion is present in the new Hardrock. In my opinion this is a desirable feature for a trail shoe. I have logged a few pavement miles with no discomfort, but unlike a beefed up road shoe I would not want to wear them to run a road race. They work fine for short pavement sections you may encounter in some trail races. (See Flexabilty bullet) At Promise Land I had a little pain on the ball of my right foot, no blistering just a little discomfort. This is not unusualy for me in any trail shoe.
- Traction: The tread pattern is not as aggressive on the new model as the old. Traction was good in the mud and on the leaves. I did take a hard fall on a flat wet rock as my foot slid out from under me as I pushed off. Traction on dry rocks was great. I had no traction issues at Promise Land.
- Fit: Out of the box the new Hardrocks feel great, with no real break in required. The only issue here was a slight rub on the seam above my little toe, due to a shallow toe box. It was just a nucence and never turned into a hot spot. I believe that if I trimmed the seam a little this issue would go away. I had no such issues at Promise Land.
- Durability: The shoes held up great over the rocks of Massanutten. I noticed a little wear on the heel strike region of the shoe after a few road miles. I suspect they would not hold up for a long time on the pavement. At Promise Land the shoes held up great and after 80 miles of trails and mud the shoes look like new after a good cleaning. I see no issues with durability.
- Medial Post for stability control (if you need this)
- Great draining
- Good traction
- Lacing System
- Traction on wet rocks
- Durability on pavement
- Possible toe rub because of shallow toe box
In summary I recommend this shoe as an all mountain running shoe that should hold up for longer races and training. Do not judge it based on the older versions as it is a whole new shoe.
Legend David Horton's Comments: At the Promise Land pre-race briefing Race Director David Horton commented on the new Mountain Masochist and Hardrock shoes. He thought it was pretty cool that Montrail named a shoe after his 50 miler (Mountain Masochist). He also stated that both shoes are great and the Masochist would make a good race shoe and the Hardrock is a super stable and durable shoe.
I require a medial post as I am an over pronator. I also have been wearing a pair of custom orthotics that require a wider base shoe to work properly and not cause blisters on my arches. Both the old and new Hardrocks worked well with the orthotics. This is one of the only trail shoes that I have successfully been able wear to accommodate my stability needs and swallow orthotics. If you wear orthotics and need some stability you should take a hard look at this shoe. After Promise Land I had none of my normal foot pain I experience after running a race. This is a real plus for the Hardrock in my book and if you wear orthotics they are definitely worth consideration.
I wore the Hardrocks for the 65 miles of Massanutten I completed and they worked great. I had a few hot spots, but no blisters or other external foot issues. The only problem I had was my little toe rubbing a little on the roof of the shoe on my right foot. When I changes shoes at 40 miles to another pair of 09 Hardrocks I had no toe issues. I also logged around 10 miles on hard or dirt roads and they worked great. I highly reccomend these shoes to any long distanc trail runner.
After Massanutten I decided to not wear the custom orthodics. I feel them made my feet week in general and I would have pain after walking around bare foot or in sandals. This issue has since gone away as my feet have regained the strength they lost while using the orthodics. This being said I was left was a few pair of the 09 Hardrocks. Wearing the shoes with the factory inserts left a little too much room for my heal to wonder. I would develop hot spots while running extended periods down hill. I decided to purchase a set of the moldeable Dean Karnazes Sole inserts. The inserts work perfect with the Hardrock 09s. If you like inserts then these are the ones to use. Here is a review of the Sole Inserts on irunfar.com.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
My longest race going in was Laurel Highlands in 2008. I gutted it out and did not quit when it hurt bad and I was mentally drained. I thought that experience would prepare me for MMT, but was wrong in that assumption. If I can describe MMT as another sporting event it would be a heavy weight fight. This course just keeps coming after you, body blow after body blow after body blow and then finally a hay-maker meant to knock you out. The experienced fighter/runner survives the hay-maker and suffers through the night to the hope that Sunday morning's sunrise must bring. My hay-maker came in Duncan Hollow on my way from 211 back to Gap Creek/Jawbone II.
My MMT story begins back in 2008 on the Laurel Highlands course somewhere around mile marker 32. I was really down at this point and an older gentleman caught me and I muster the strength to keep up with him. We talked and I learned that he worked the Edinburg Aid Station at MMT. He said it was a hard long slugfest of a race and not to run it. Of course I took this as a challenge. After a few miles I was feeling better and moved out past this man, never to see him again. I wish I would remember his name to thank him for helping me get to the start of MMT.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
I pulled into the camp around six and set up my tent at the bottom of the field by the stream. What a great spot to camp. I went to check in, got some pizza, and talked to some friends that I have not seen since past races. After the pre-race brief I crawled into my tent, made final preparations for the morning, set my alarm, and was off to sleep. I slept pretty well and was up before the alarm went off at 4:40. I walked to the start while eating pop tarts and drinking mountain dew, ready for this adventure to begin.
We sang the national anthem and were off. I forgot how steep the road section was and after a mile or so was walking with a pack of runners. As we reached the first aid station and hit the trail I was warmed up and ready to go. I remember running a great deal more of this section than last year. I hit the turn at the top of the mountain in 1:06 and was off down the hill. I ran pretty hard on this section, including running some of the moderate hills. I heard the water rushing below and knew that I was near needed aid. I had only brought one bottle on the course and wished I had two as I found the bottle dry numerous times during the day.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Back on track! I ran 65 miles this week, including a tempo interval session and a interval speed session. The highlight of my training was a great 23 mile run at First Landing State park. It was a great day to run and I put forth a worthy effort, taking a few short walk breaks not because I had to, but to ensure I slowed down and not burn my legs out one week before a race. My original plan was 80 miles this week, but sometimes commitments get in the way of training. Not hitting my mile goal was not because I was tired.
Next Saturday I will compete in the Promise Land 50k. I have run 4 different ultras (5 total) in my short career, but regard this one as a favorite, maybe only second to Masochist. Here are some reasons for running promise land:
- Location - Everyone camps in a big field at a youth camp - with a bond fire Friday night who could ask for anything better
- Food - Runners pitch in for Pizza Friday Night and Race Director David Horton and his family put on a huge cookout after the finish (fruit salad, burger and hotdogs with Mountain Dew!)
- Terrain - Nice mix of it here - a little dirt road running, a lot of grassy fire road running, some single track, and of course some river crossings
- Elevation - Tons of climb and descent - better warn your quads they are in for a nasty day
- Scenery - Good all around, apple orchard falls is as beautiful as the trail is steep
- Ending - A 2 mile run down the steepest gravel road you will ever encounter (you run up this bad boy to start the race)
- Weekly Mileage: 65
- Month To Date: 125
- 3 week average: 52
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Tired week.... I had 2 exams this week and was up late studying most nights. This left me tired and not mentally or physically prepaired to run like I wanted too. This was all topped off on Saturday when I slept through my alarm and managed a meager 13 miles at First Landing before running out of time. The first 5 was horrible as I walked a bunch. I had some caffeine and felt much better and ran pretty hard the last 8 back to the car. At least I salvaged it a little bit.
Speaking of caffeine, there was an interesting article in the New York Times about its performance enhancing abilities. I have been tracking my caffeine input prior to some key workouts (long runs, tempo intervals, and speed intervals) to determine how it effects my pace and level of effort. I have also been tracking the weather, time of day, and monitoring my heart during the interval workouts. I have turned my training into a science report. Once I gather some data I will discuss how caffeine MAY effect my performance and level of effort.
- Weekly Mileage: 46
- Month To Date: 60
- 3 week average: 45
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
As you may know Montrail was purchased by Columbia. There has been a lot written and commented about how Columbia has ruined the Montrail brand of shoes. After testing the Hardrocks and looking at the new Mountain Masochist along wiht the above stated awards Montrail has addressed these concerns. I believe that Columbia has brought Montrail into the present with well designed shoes that meet the needs of the average trail runner. Once again this is my opinion and time will tell if I am correct. I believe that a large company like Columbia understands marketing and competition very well and based on competion from companies including Inov-8, Pearl Izuma, and Stumptown, has made the necessary changes to stay relevent and hold market share. I know that the trail runner does not care about market share, but a good product will lead to higher market share, especially in this market. I have no brand loyality when it comes to shoes, if It feels good I wear it. Most of us probalby feel the same way. So do not judge Montrail until you check out the new line of shoes and give them a try.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
The race is now less than 6 weeks away and I have 4 big mile weeks planned up until the taper 2 weeks out. Wish me luck, not only in running but getting my mind wrapped around training and the challenge of mmt.
- Weekly Mileage: 18
- Month To Date: 14
- 3 week average: 51
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
- Weekly Mileage: 70
- Month To Date: ~250
- 3 week average: 49
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
- Feels much lighter than the old version (I will post actual stats in the forthcoming review)
- Appears much more breathable than the old version
- Feels much more flexable (think running shoe, not hiking boot) than the old version
- Size run large (I wear an 11 in the old version and a 10.5 in the new)
- New lacing system distributes weight better
- Less "beefy" tread pattern than the old version
- Same width or maybe even a little wider than the old version
One other glaring difference I noticed in just a 2 mile run on grass is that my feet did not fall asleep. When wearing the old version on long stretches of flat non technical terrain (think fireroad) my feet would fall asleep. This eliminated me from wearing the shoe in most races. The other quick observation is the toe box could be higher. When wearing them with thicker socks I noticed a little rub on my right little toe. This did not happen when I was running in them, but I am anxious to see if this is an issue after many miles on the trail.
Look for my full review sometime early next week.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Now it is time to step it up even more. This week I have planned a 73 mile week, highlited by a tempo run, an interval session, and a 40+ mile long run over the weekend. I am also hoping to get some good hiking in on Sunday. This will be a really nice change of pace from the usuall running all weekend I have been doing.
- Weekly Mileage: 65
- Month to date: 175
- Year to date: 443
- 3 week average: 58
I was looking at some old posts and come upon this one about a dream I had a few weeks before Laurel Highlands last year. It was never published until now. ENJOY!
Last night I had a very strange dream. It started with me in the middle of a 100 mile ultra, normal enough. When I hit mile 25 I found myself at the top of my old Driveway, Melva Lane. The field that used to stand there was now a lake. In real life there is a lake 1/2 mile down the road from this spot.
There in a cabin that resembled a ship wheel house was Captain Sig Hansen, of the Deadliest Catch. He barking out at me that I had to get in this Kayak and paddle on the lake doing maneuvers. I had to turn it around and roll it from side to side. Once Sig was satisfied he ordered me out of the Kayak and told me to continue. I finish the race strong. I do not know where I placed, I just know that I did really well. Next I find myself in a classroom with Captain Sig teaching us something. At this point I realize that I did not complete the race registration form properly and that I would now be disqualified from the race. I was missing 2 sections which read -
Have an educator ask you these questions and sign off on this. I wish I remembered the questions, but I do not. They were very easy, like what is 2 + 2, and name parts of a sentence.
Citizenship quiz - have a patriot ask you these questions and sign off on this. Once again I do not remember the question
I was going to be disqualified and yelled at by Sig for not completing my application correctly. I thought about cheating, but could not pull it off.
Weird dream. On the new Deadliest Catch commercial Sig is screaming at the crew from the wheelhouse.
Very weird dream, it was almost like a nightmare.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
The weather was perfect for this run. It was 50 degrees and there was not a cloud in the sky. I decided to run for around 4.5 hours and to take it pretty easy out there. I started out running for 25 minutes and walking for 5. This carried me through the first 12 miles pretty easily, but I did not feel very well and my legs were pretty tired from this weeks miles. Then I decided to run the second lap non-stop. This turned out great and I effortlessly ran down the sandy root covered trails. What a great feeling to be out on the trails with the sun shining down on you. I could not have asked for a better day or a better run.
I am feeling pretty strong and this run was a big confidence builder. There are only 8 weeks left until MMT, but I feel like the last 4 or 5 weeks have done a good job hardening me up a bit and my body has responded well to the miles. I am so far ahead of where I was last year at this time. It is amazing how much progress you can make with some effort and dedication.
Friday, March 20, 2009
I will be posting more on MMT in the weeks to come.