Friday, April 27, 2012

Saucony Love

I have worn my Saucony Peregrines now for several trail runs to the point I feel confident enough to give a honest opinion:

I'm digging these shoes.

I ended up buying a new pair of Saucony Peregrines in half a size larger than I normally wear. The pink size 8s were great for shorter distances but anything after 10 to 15 miles plus I could feel my toes getting a little banged up by the front of the toe box. The blue 8.5s are perfect and were on super sale! I like the pink color scheme better than the blue but I'm not being too picky. For the price, my trap is staying shut on the dizzying color pattern.
The good:
-lightweight 8.2 oz
-The tread is aggressive enough to perform great on the trail without being too knobby. 
-The rock plate in the sole is awesome. I have ran on real technical rocky trails and had no issues with cramping, bruising, or uncomfortableness.
-The sole allows you to "feel" the trail completely but without causing discomfort. Rocks feel like lumps, sticks feel like bumps, but nothing actually digs sharp up into your foot. I like this feeling
-The minimalist 4mm heel drop is amazing and has greatly improved my turnover rate in my stride. I never was much of a heel striker but now I notice I am even more on my forefoot than I was before. This also affects my hill climbs and the strength of my calves/hamstrings. 
-The fabric on the upper is very breathable and I find my feet don't sweat as much in them. *I haven't run in any inclement weather so can't remark on this factor. 
-The toe box is sturdy enough, I haven't slammed my toes on any rocks (rare for me) but so far they seem well protected. Some of the other minimalist shoes have had severe issues with toe protection. 
-The back cups the heel perfectly without any extra movement or rubbing. No sloshing around in this shoe.
-I like that although they are following the trendy fashion of bright colors, they have kept with some normal colors for those that don't wish to be "cool". I can't stand many of the flashy neon colors a lot of the shoe companies have adopted. I'm all for a little bling but looking like a toddler armed with a highlighter attacked my feet is out of bounds.

The bad:
- The laces are already starting to fray and I really wish they would switch to a quick lace system like Salomon. *sigh* oh well. I am going to try those after market quick laces that I used for my tri-shoes. 
-The tongue bunches up a tiny tiny bit. Just enough for me to notice but it hasn't yet caused any issues.  
- I can see, at least with this version, how the fabric may not last through too much abuse. However, with the drastically reduced price, replacing them won't send me into episodes of financial chest pain.

The ugly:
Not a thing to be found. 

I can't wait to try out the Peregrine 2 version in which they altered the upper fabric. I'd be interested in how they performed and breathed. The Hoogster mentioned I might be interested in the Kinvaras and see they are coming out with a Kinvara 3 version. I might have to pick up a pair to wear on the treadmill and rare bike trail/road run. As for the Peregrines, I think these might be featured in my TransRockies race if I can put enough miles in them from now til August to develop my muscles enough to prevent injury!

Really Salomon, it's me not you. Wait, no it's definitely you. Okay I'll compromise to say it's a little bit of both of us. So long sweet Salomon and your overpriced fancy pants shoes with additionally overpriced inserts! You have served me well in many amazing races but it's time to try new things. I now have a new love named Saucony which are much much lower maintenance (no inserts!) and feel oh so perfect on my tootsies. 

Sauconys give me happy feet!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Maxwell Falls

Yesterday I headed out for a late hike/run with the pup to Maxwell Falls in Evergreen. Oh how I love the town of Evergreen! The area is so lush with cool little shops and trails galore. Great place to be.

The other day we made it out to Gudy Gaskill for three hours. It was such a beautiful day to run and I slightly over did with the new shoes and pushing hard on the uphills. With the low heel drop my calves paid the price. The back of my legs were incredibly tight from calf (my gastrocnemius...I loved this word second to my absolute favorite sternocleidomastoid in A&P. Gastrocnemius means "stomach of the leg") to lower back, no lie. My left calf was so tight I couldn't walk without a slight limp and it felt like a rubber band about to snap. After a day of stretching and massage (thank you honey, although I think you enjoyed making me howl in pain a little too much) I ventured out to Maxwell Falls with plans to go slow and mostly hike with "just a little running".

This intersection befuddles me. I know where the straight and back arrow go but what the heck are the others? One day, when I have more time, I am just going to have to check out all those extra trails. Then maybe I'll come back to this marker and make a more detailed signage.

The trail is very dog friendly as it runs along a creek leading to the falls. There are plenty spots for pups to wade and drink. 

On one web link for this trail there was great discussion (from both sides) about whether pups are allowed off-leash or not. It's amazing to me how many people can be so harshly anti-dog and so black & white about the whole thing, it's downright rude like "how dare you let your mutt come near the outdoors!". Then again I can kind of see their point at times when I personally observe some really asshole-ish owners who let their poorly behaved off-leash dog menace people and defecate in the middle of the trail without picking it up. There's this park by our house where I take Argos when I can't run him. We walk or run loops on the bike path that surrounds the little park. It amazes and disgusts me how many dog owners let their pooches take craps on the sidewalk and just leave it there! And it's not just a little pile of poo either, it's as if the dogs are all butt scooting poop-walkers leaving their waste in a trail along the concrete. What the hell people?!?

Ah poo, I digress...

Back to Maxwell Falls.

This trail has one hell of a gorgeous overlook if you take the first right turn after crossing the wooden bridge. I cannot recall the name of the trail...something "loop" but take it if you want a little longer hike.

The trail this way, once it gets to the big looming boulders, tends to suddenly fade. There aren't any cairns to guide you. I am not usually directionally challenged, but have lost the trail on now two occasions only to meet up with it eventually and find my way. Just a warning.

I went straight after the bridge right to the falls on the way up and then went the "loop" way on the way back. First, after I viewed the not-so-giant falls (more of a trickle) I continued going straight which led me to the upper parking lot. I hadn't ever gone this way and wanted to see where it led to. From the falls it is only about 0.20 miles to the upper parking lot. It is approximately 2 miles to the falls from the lower parking lot. 

From the upper parking lot I then continued up onto the loop trail. Total was only about 5.5 or 6 miles (I forget) and I moved at a great clip. The legs screamed at me at first and I felt a tight ouch in the deep buttocks/lower back area but eventually things started to loosen up and feel great. I feel quite happy with my running lately and how the new shoes are working for me.

Finished the day with a stop at Da Kind soups. Holy hell this place, although pricey, is so worth it. Soups are out of this world as well as their sandwiches. 

Argos is thinking, "just a little bit closer, just a little closer, and I can sneak a kiss!"

This past week my good friend Kadence did a school presentation on Guard/Attack Dogs and asked if Argos would be part of it. He had a great time, behaved well, and was hard-core flash mobbed at the end of the presentation. As soon as the question & answer session finished one kid raised his hand and asked, "can I pet the dog?" With the teachers' permission, I un-clipped his leash and Argos went to the kid. Immediately he was swarmed by little people to the point I could barely see just a reddish tan ear poking up from the crowd. It was hilarious. 

What this picture doesn't show is the few seconds after it was taken Kadence got right in range for a big wet one perfectly placed.