Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Gear Review: New Balance MT10 (WT10) Minimus Trail

For the first eight years of my running career, I had one trainer (and possibly 1-2 pairs of spikes, depending on what year we're talking about). This meant that I wore whatever road shoes or cross-country spikes I had at the time (which was generally the Nike Pegasus or Nike Zoom Kennedy XC, depending on whether we're talking about trainers or spikes) on trail runs and trail races. As far as I was concerned, trail shoes were just the heavier, stiffer, and more bulked-up version of road shoes. I'm not really an ounce counter, especially when it comes to trainers, but stiffer is really not my thing. Then, in 2007, I walked into a store and saw the New Balance 790, a light, flexible, and low-slung trail racer. I had to have it. The 790 served me well...they got me through 38 miles of the Leadville Trail 100 (as a pacer...and yes, those bad boys stood up well to Hope Pass), 45 miles as part of a relay team for 24 Hours of Boulder (to be fair, my body didn't handle that one as well as I might have liked), numerous shorter trail races, two years of working as a counselor at a high school XC camp, and more trail tempo runs than I can count. Unfortunately, no shoe lasts forever, and by the time I finally decided it was time to replace them, New Balance had discontinued the 790. What's a roadie who occasionally pretends to run trails to do? Enter the New Balance WT10 (women's MT10, also called the Minimus Trail or Minimus 10 Trail).

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Gear Review: Runner's Log by FikesFarm, LLC

One of the things I had drilled into my head in college was that it's crucial to keep a running log. My coach would expect us to mail our logs to him in the summer and to bring our logs into our meetings with him, so he could see how we were handling the training, as well as what kind of supplemental training we were doing on our own. I've tried various logs over the years. My first log was the planner that I had originally intended to use for school assignments (obviously that got used exactly how I had originally planned). That worked until I lost that log. Next, while I still had hopes of finding my planner, I kept everything on the whiteboard outside my room, figuring I'd copy it all over when I found it. Needless to say, I didn't find it, and my roommate eventually erased the "random numbers and jibberish" because people weren't able to leave her messages. Oops. After that, I tried keeping everything in a Word document on my computer (which in retrospect, should have been either a spreadsheet or database, but apparently I'm not that organized). Apparently I didn't feel this was worthy of being backed up, and I lost it when I got hacked (long story, don't ask). I then moved on to various steno books until I was introduced to Athleticore (think DailyMile or RunningAHEAD without the flash). Athleticore is great, but let's face it, it's not 2009 anymore, and a lot of people don't want to deal with loading times and a browser and a log that doesn't have the ability to let you map out a route. People want apps. With the introduction of Runner's Log by FikesFarm, LLC, if you have an iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad, well, now there's an app for that.

Friday, June 8, 2012

An Open Letter to Brooks Re: Launch

Dear Brooks,

It's no secret that the Brooks Launch is my favorite trainer. It's a super simple shoe, no nonsense, no bells and whistles...nothing but function. My friend Andrew recommended it to me a while ago, and while at first, I resisted and bought the Ghost instead because another one of my friends told me it was too soft (and granted, it is pretty soft), I eventually listened to him and realized how right he was. The Launch is a trainer done right. It filled the gap for me when Nike changed the midsole of my beloved Pegasus from Phylon to Cushlon, and may have even eclipsed the Pegs as a shoe that just "works." And man, will I miss it when it's gone.

I'm Still Alive

Life has gotten in the way lately, and I apologize for the sparse updates. I do have three reviews in the pipeline that I'm working on, so stay tuned, and thanks for your patience!
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