Friday, February 25, 2011

Shoe and Gear Review

Since my last post I have received a few pieces of gear that I am pleased to say have met or exceeded my expectations!

Montrail Badrock OutDry-
I had received an email a few weeks back that I was being sent a pair of the Badrocks to test out. Included in this shoe is an OutDry laminate that works infinitely better than Gore-tex for a few reasons.

First, OutDry is a laminate that is bound to the mesh, whereas Gore-tex is an independent bootie. This eliminates the possibility of water and debris buildup between in the mesh and the bootie of the shoe, which will keep the shoe truer to its original weight. Secondly, OutDry is able to "breathe" without a heat and moisture gradient, which Gore-tex ultimately needs to perform. Thus, the OutDry keeps the interior of the shoe at a more agreeable temperature.

What I really liked about this shoe was the seamlessness of the OutDry technology as its built into the shoe. In Gore-tex shoes I was always aware of the extra layer. While wearing the Badrock on several 20+ mile runs I never once felt any hint of added fabric or rigidity in the shoe on account of the waterproof laminate. As for performance, I'd say this is a true trail runner's shoe. I wore it on the roads up to my usual trails several times and I felt it was completely unresponsive and clunky. But once I got on the dirt roads and single track the shoe completely transformed under my feet. It became responsive, grippy, fluid, everything I want in a shoe. I also wore it yesterday while running in the snow and mud and I was actually aiming for puddles by the end. I've gotta say, this is the first waterproof shoe I've ever liked, and it will be a "go to" for any future muddy or snowy runs.

Montrail Rogue Racer-The Rogue Racer is a shoe I've been excited about ever since I approached the Montrail tent at Western States last June. Its light and fast, but also has a lot of added elements that I could never get with my usual road flats or even some of the trail flats I'd tried. I really like the 3 micro-lug system they have placed on the outsole. This system allows for fantastic traction on the trails, but also allows for a much more fluid motion on roads. I have used these shoes quite a few times on trails, but also for a 25 mile progressive run last wednesday on paved bike trails. I can say now, with complete confidence, that I will be able to race in this shoe (unmodified) at the Mad City 100k. This is definitely going to be a favorite of mine for the season.

Mountain Hardwear Geist Jacket-
This 6 oz slice of heaven was delivered along with my team uniform pieces. Since then I have not missed a single chance to wear it. It is completely windproof with small pockets of mesh for venting in all the right places. I also has 3 pockets for storage, which is very uncommon in such a light jacket (usually i've seen a lot of sacrifices in storage to save weight). Whether its 45 and sunny or 18 and blowing snow (on the progressive run that happened within 10 minutes), the Geist Jacket has kept me warm, dry and comfortable. And since its so light I am able to tuck it into my waist band when its not needed.

So that's all for the reviews for now.... Training has been going well. I took a few down weeks after the marathon to make sure I didn't put myself into an early deficit like last year. I want to make sure this year that I am fully recovered before starting training for the next race. But this week I have already logged 101 miles since Monday. I'm hoping to hold on to this streak for a few more weeks to gain some much needed strength for the 100k in April. I certainly have the aerobic capacity in place, but I can tell every 20 mile day I add on is bringing back that familiar ache and fatigue of early last season. Now I just have to wait until that starts feeling normal :)