Sunday, January 13. 2013
Happy snowy Sunday. We’ve been receiving a lot of fluffy lake effect snow today, which bodes well for our winter sports enthusiasts. Yesterday, the temperature reached 45 degrees and my deck was completely bare. Here it is this evening. I’d say that’s about 10 inches. We (meaning Josh) did snow twice today, but I did venture outside to brush off my car and shovel the sidewalk and steps. That’s our weather station on the pole. We put it up earlier in the week and it’s been pretty interesting watching all the measurements. We’re on Weather Underground and we have our own weather site, so check us out.
We had some good runs this week, partly due to the bare roads. I’m not officially training yet, that doesn’t start for another couple of weeks, but I am trying to stick to 10-15 weekly miles to get good base. Speaking of training, I was on the fence about whether I wanted to run a half or full in the Spring and I decided that I’m not ready to jump into marathon training just yet so I’m going to stick to the half. Anyway, we managed a little over 14 miles this week including one hill session that saw my heart rate peak at 190. I didn’t puke or die but my legs were pretty sore the next day.
Gear review! ICESPIKE
Last winter, I switched from using Yaktrax to sheet metal screws for traction. They worked pretty well, but I was hoping find something that would last the entire winter. Josh pointed me to ad he saw for ICESPIKE, essentially a sheet metal screw on steroids. I did a bit of reading and decided to buy a set. They were a bit pricey ($16.99 for 32 spikes and a couple of bucks for shipping), but since they advertised that I could potentially get 500 miles on them, I figured it’d be worth it. I installed eight in each shoe and headed out for a run. My first impression was that I could feel each screw through my shoe, even with a fairly thick insole. That was a little strange at first, because I don’t remember feeling the sheet metal screws quite as much, but I figured I’d get used to them over time. The spikes provided good traction on the hard-packed snowy roads and aside from being able to feel each screw which was mostly weird, they were fine on pavement as well. When I got back home, I looked at the screws and I was disappointed to see that they showed quite a bit of wear. My run was only 3.5 miles long and of that, probably about a half mile was pavement. I decided to keep an eye on them after each run and note the wear. As of today I have 23 miles on them and some of them are worn to the point of being completely flat and the rest aren’t far behind. I contacted the company and they told me that they have sold thousands and thousands of sets and not one person has reported the same issue that I had. I found that to be a bit condescending, but they did end up giving me a full refund, so there’s that.
I think that if the wear wouldn’t have been so outrageous, I would have just kept them, but there was no way I was going to get 50 miles out of them, let alone the 500 that the company advertised. I can buy a box of 100 sheet metal screws for $2.99 from the hardware store and get more wear out of them for a fraction of the cost($0.30 per shoe with sheet metal screws vs. $4.25 with ICESPIKEs). I won’t go as far as to call them a gimmick, although that’s what Josh says they are, but I will say that based upon my experience they aren’t worth the money. I’m sticking with my trusty sheet metal screws. Two thumbs down.
Saturday, July 2. 2011
Running Chick in Review, Training
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First, a running update. I ran only once on the treadmill this week (scandal!) and twice outside. My month-long gym membership expired on Wednesday and I was too lazy to renew it afterwards, so I ran outside on Thursday and today. I’ll re-up next week and I’ll return to my usual complaining mode at that time.
I was off on Wednesday and Thursday because I had to use up my two-days-off employee recognition award that I got for being employed at MTU for 10 years. Funny thing is (aside from getting them in my 12th year of employment, did they forget about me?) I’d completely forgotten about them (got em last year), and was digging through some papers in my office the other week and discovered them buried in the middle of the pile. Then noticed that they expired at the end of June. Oops. Anyway, my total mileage for this week was 10. I would have done more, but I got thwarted by the heat and leaky fuel bottles (hint: gear review to follow).
Last week I did 13.5 miles and the previous week was 12.5. Things are going pretty well in the running department. I have no shin/lower leg aches or pains whatsoever, but I am getting some achiness in my ankles. Back when I was running regularly without pain, ankle achiness was a sign that it was time to either get new shoes or throw in some cushioning insoles. My shoes only have around 150 miles on them, so insoles it is.
Gear review time, let’s talk hydration belts! Previously, I’d been using the Amphipod Runlite 4, but every time I used it, I’d either spend most of my run pushing it down from my chest or trying to stop it from spinning around & around my waist. It didn’t matter how much I tightened it (I’m sure I was looking pretty wasp waisted for a few runs) or how I balanced the bottles, I was always going ten rounds with that thing. The bottles were awesome, though. They never, ever leaked and the snap-in bottle system was super convenient. But, the belt sucked so bad that I just quit using it entirely. I dabbled with hand-helds (hated them) and hydration backpacks (okay in a pinch, not ideal), but ultimately decided I wanted a waist pack with a pouch that would fit my phone, some gels, beans, and all the other
For the first few runs, I decided that this belt was the best thing since sliced bread. It fit all my odds & ends in the convenient pouch, the bottles were large and easily accessible and, best of all, the dang thing stayed in place like it was glued to my body. No matter how much I bounced, bounded, lunged, leapt, or flailed around, it didn’t budge. It worked pretty well once I left my living room and started running, too. I used it once or twice before my shins flared up and I had to take a few
Come March, when I had worked myself into fuel-belt needing runs, I strapped it on and took off. About half-way through my run, I reached back for my flask and felt something sharp and cold. Ice. Both bottles had leaked and what water came out froze on the lids and also the holster. I didn’t think too much of it until I then noticed that my entire butt was soaked and also covered in ice/frost. I bet that looked cute from behind. I sent an email to the folks at Nathan explaining what had happened and wondered if they could replace my bottles. I was hoping that mine were defective and they’d either send me replacement ones, or, even better, they redesigned them to not leak and I get those for free. I got a response immediately, they apologized for the troubles and they’d send me new bottles right away. A few days later, my new bottles arrived (quick service!) but my shins had flared up again and I didn’t get to test out the new bottles until today.
Well, gosh dang it if those bottles aren’t any better than the old ones. I filled them up, took off and by two miles in, half of the fluid had leaked out and soaked my back and behind. Since it was hot, and I was down by half of my fluids, I ended up bagging my run at four miles. Annoying.
Guest post alert!
After complaining long & loud to Josh about these leaky bottles, he took matters into his own hands and decided to see if he could determine the problem. Here’s what he had to say:
Unfortunately, both sets of bottles have the same manufacturing flaw. The cap has a beveled ring that is meant to seal with the rim of the bottle. However, the bottle’s rim has a flaw on either side at the mold parting line. It looks like the mold’s halves didn’t line up, which leaves a small step in the bottle rim.
Because of this step, the cap’s beveled ring can’t properly seal. In fact, the step leaves an impression on the cap. You can see where the bevel gets folded over when the bottle is closed.
I did try smoothing out the steps on the first set of bottles, but couldn’t get the rim round enough to seal. They all still leak. It looks like Nathan has some quality control issues. At least they’re consistent.
Well, there you go. I might try using my Amphipod bottles with my Nathan belt, but they’re a few ounces smaller and don’t fit as snugly in the holsters. Or, I suppose, I could only fill the Nathan bottles half-full so there’s less splashing around by the rim. I guess I’ll just have to experiment.
So, while the Nathan Mutation Series Trail Mix Waist Pack has many positive features, the bottles are a big negative. If you don’t mind a soggy back or having to carry less fluid, then go for it. Otherwise, I’d take a pass.