Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Boston Marathon: Race and Gear Report

A pretty cold, wet day on the run from Hopkinton to Boston. The rain held off until about 30 minutes into my Wave 3 start.  The wind,while forecast to be about 25-30 mph, was not particularly noticeable as it was mostly a cross wind.
As always Boston was an incredible experience. The intensity of the crowds, the organization, the committed volunteers, the history, the memory of 2013 when I saw the bombs go off down Bolyston, and the dreams and efforts of all the runners all come together and were powerful every inch of the 26 miles, as well as for days before and after the actual racing.
At the Half

Then, the finish, the cold, the slow endless shuffle of wrapped runners towards family, friends, and  some warmth from borrowed coats, sweaters and fleece.  I was fortunate and so psyched to have my wife and daughter cheering me on, and I spotted them  at exactly the half at Wellesley and at Kenmore Square with a mile to go. My daughter pushed me all the way to the parking garage as I was pretty locked up.

My race was OK with a 3:56 with a slowdown the last 5, as usual. Really have to cross train as my hip flexors just don't do much driving forward after 18 miles. Most unusually, my GPS app and watch did not start. Maybe because I synched them to far in advance? I didn't want to pull my phone out and re sycnh on the run so decided to run without my "timing" but on feel. I went out slower than last year but a bit faster than planned but felt super enjoying the sights the whole way,  occasionally and increasingly unsuccessfully trying to do mile split math based on the digital clocks which started with the elites. Great to run without the watch but not sure I will repeat that or maybe I will.

So read on for my gear and more pictures.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Review: La Sportiva Mutant: Very Supportive Upper, Great Cushion, Deep Lugs, and an Agile Forefoot. All for Less than 11 oz.

The La Sportiva Mutant is a highly supportive, deeply lugged trail shoe for rough mountain terrain: loose rock, snow, mud, etc.. Yet it is also perfectly fine on smoother terrain and has been more than decent for shorter road stretches due to its soft yet stabilized cushioning. It manages to pack a ski boot bootie type mid foot wrap tongue, debris proof sturdy upper, deep 6mm lugs, and road comfortable and not overly firm cushioning into a package weighing less than 11oz -10.9 oz 309 grams size Men's 9 EU 42, Women's 9.6 oz. To accomplish all of this must not have been easy! The shoe is aptly named as it really is a "mutant" combining features of ski boots and lightweight running shoe design in neat new ways.

La Sportiva Mutant

The Upper is the Star
The upper is one the most evolved and carefully considered for purpose, rough terrain, I have seen in a trail runner or for that matter any running shoe. The Mutant features two innovative upper technologies which to date work as intended.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Guest Review: LaSportiva Helios SR- A Strikingly Light, All Terrain Capable, Very Refined Trail Runner with One Flaw.

Editor’s Note: I am tickled to offer this review of the Helios SR authored by Dominick Layfield. Dominick is one of the speediest trail and ultra distance runners in Salt Lake City and Park City, Utah. Often on the podium, and with many long trail races under his belt, he prefers agile light trail runners such as Nike Terra Kiger and Montrail Rogue Fly.
Dominick won the 2015 New Year's Day 5 Hour Run at the Utah Olympic Oval, running 39 miles!

Reviewer Bio
Dominick Layfield lives in Park City, UT, and is an avid trail runner who likes to race.  He runs 10-15 races each year, mostly in the 50-100 km range.  He holds a PhD in biomedical engineering from MIT, and has worked as a researcher in orthopedic biomechanics. So he knows the difference between a ligament and tendon :-).

La Sportiva Helios SR Review by Dominick Layfield
La Sportiva Helios SR
La Sportiva Helios SR

First Impressions:
Putting the shoes on indoors, my first impression was how elasticated and snug the shoe feels.  Due to the sock-like fully-gusseted shoe liner/tongue construction, the laces felt almost superfluous. I could run in the shoe with the laces untied.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Review: Nike Lunar Tempo: Fabulous Racer Trainer with Very High Cushion to Weight Ratio.Comfortable Any Speed Ride

Nike Lunar Tempo

The Nike LunarTempo is versatile trainer and long race shoe which provides a tremendous amount of decently stable cushioning and upper at an impossibly light weight:  6.8 oz 192 grams Men 9, 5.9 oz Women 8. Retail Price $110.  It has a 8mm drop with a 26mm heel, 18mm forefoot stack. These are similar overall stacks to the Brooks Ghost and Launch, Mizuno Wave Rider, adidas Energy Boost but... at a weight 2-3.5 oz lighter!  Of course cushion to weight  ratio is not the only factor to consider, yet Nike has carefully crafted a lightweight blend that hits many checkmarks for me:

  • Very high cushion to weight ratio but also not mushy cushioning, particularly in the heel. It is the best such ratio (add heel and forefoot stack and divide by weight) of any shoe in my collection except the Hoka Clifton (review) whose heel I found too soft and angled. Lunar Tempo has enough cushion, as I generally like at least 18mm in the forefoot and 26mm in the heel in a training shoe or for marathon racing.
  • Very firm, responsive but not overly extensive outsole rubber over the soft cushion. I know outsole is there but can't "feel" a hardish landing I do in, for example, the Saucony ISO Zealot (review), ISO Triumph(review) and  New Balance Fresh Foam Zante (review) heel's or the somewhat stiff toe spring push off of these shoes and the Adios Boost (review).
  • A minimal and light upper yet one adequately supportive with Flywire cable support around light mesh "fabric". Part of the price to pay for such a light overall shoe. I'm OK with this tradeoff
  • Smooth running, not too stiff. I like toe spring for shorter races but find shoes such as the Adios Boost and Zante tire and sometimes cramp my forefoot after longer miles. No such issues during my 20 mile run in the Lunar Tempo.
I have run 40 miles to date in the LunarTempo. These runs included a 20 mile run with middle 9 miles at marathon pace (8:30/mile) on a flat route. I did not experience my usual hip weakness and lack of drive and the run left me with no soreness anywhere, unusual and this after several weeks of back and hip issues
Update: Lunar Tempo was my Boston Marathon shoe this year, replacing my trusty 10oz Energy Boost. I went with the true to size optic yellow pair below.  Absolutely perfect on a wet rainy day. No blisters. Plenty of cushion. Flexible upfront. Super light weight. 2 days after the Marathon I am having the quickest recovery from a marathon in many years. I did not run as fast as I planned but still put in a long hard cold effort.
Nike Lunar Tempo
Read on for details...