Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Sunday, January 5, 2014

8K, 9F, and MICROspikes Road Review

I woke up at 5:30 a.m., no excuses. Got my butt out the door in these conditions plus a mild wind chill. The Edora Park Tortoise & Hare series 8K is always held on what seems to be the coldest, windiest, snowiest weekend of the year. At least when I show up, it's like that.

It goes along the Spring Creek and Poudre Trails, an out and back. The paths are always plowed so it's the best footing in town when the conditions are not so great for running.

I was the first one to arrive, so I went out for a little warmup run. When I came back there were more people, and we ended up with 28 runners. Not bad for a cold, windy, snowy morning.

Nick drew a starting line in the snow and people started lining up in order of their handicap. My best times are much faster than what I run now, and I'm way off, so I usually get passed by everyone.

After my warmup run, I re-warmed my gloves in the car before I got started. That was a good call, because we started out in a headwind. I had a big scarf wrapped around my head and neck. I had to wait around for a long time to start with fast people, who all passed me quickly. My nose, cheeks, and chin were freezing and it didn't take long to start forming icicles on any place that was exposed.

I ran my first mile in about 9 minutes and said to hell with it and backed off to a more comfortable pace, one that hurt my face less. I kept having to knock ice chunks off my eyelashes so I could keep my eyes open. My legs were tired, probably from yesterday's run in the crappy conditions.

I was the last person to reach the finish line, and Nick was laughing as he greeted me with my popsicle stick, threatening to DQ me for "veering off course". I can always expect him to give me a hard time about something.

I ran around and did a cool down, as if I needed one, and then drove home. I was starving and freezing. I am 4 days into eating weird things and so far it is going really well. I've had a few moments of temptation but allowed those to pass. I just need to get through two weeks of it.

I wanted to test the MICROspikes today but since the trails are plowed, there was no ice or snow to run on during the 8K. Later I tested the MICROspikes in the street in front of my house, but I need to take them out this week on the trails to test them going on rough terrain and up and down hills. So far, I like them.

Kahtoola is the company that makes MICROspikes, a footwear traction device for your running shoes, or other footwear like boots. Just an aside...they are located in Flagstaff, Arizona, which also happens to be home of NAU, where I got my undergrad degree. The MICROspikes are sold at REI, or you can find them online.

MICROspikes attach to your shoes much like Yak Trax, like tire chains for your shoes. Except the MICROspikes are more like real tire chains. They are spikes mounted on chains with an elastic piece that stretches over your shoe.

They grip really well and don't have the springy feeling, like running on a Slinky, like the Yak Trax do.

They are easy to put on, no more difficult than the Yak Trax. The MICROspikes stayed on better than the Yak Trax, which tend to slip on the sole and have a tendency to come off.

They worked well both on the icy patches underneath snow and the deep snow that gets all torn up by the tread on the car tires. I never felt like I was landing on solid asphalt, even though the snow is only 3 inches deep at the most.

They were comfortable, and they fit the shoe according to the sizing chart on the box.

They were fairly easy to remove, although with cold hands, it was a struggle. No more difficult than the Yak Trax.

The only drawback I could see was that they are a little bit heavier than the Yak Trax, but in snowy conditions, who cares? They didn't feel so heavy that I couldn't run comfortably in them. I think the security of knowing you have more reliable footing is more than worth the small bit of extra weight.

What I liked best about the MICROspikes was that they felt more solid under my feet. There are 12 spikes on each foot, and they don't roll around like the Slinky-like coil on the Yak Trax, that compresses and wiggles under your feet.

Does anyone remember the Slinky? Do they still make those?

I got in trouble in physics class in high school for stretching the Slinky past it's elastic limit. Hey, it was physics!

Of course the girls had to get involved. They liked the MICROspikes, too.

As soon as I give the MICROspikes a go on the trails and hills, I'll add that to this review post.


giraffy said...

I can't believe you ran in conditions that FREEZE YOUR EYE. Brrr.

Alene Gone Bad said...

Today it is 13 below. Makes yesterday seem like a heat wave. I'm inside on the bike eye-cicles!