Saturday, October 30, 2021

Quick Strides 23: Sam runs a half in Alphafly, Mike a marathon in Next %2. New Balance Shutter Speed Jacket, Backcountry and GoreWear Gore Tex Infinium Jacket tests


Article by Sam Winebaum and Mike Postaski

Quick Strides 23: Sam runs a half in Alphafly, Mike a marathon in Next %2. New Balance Shutter Speed Jacket, Backcountry and Gore Wear Infinium tests

Sam: (New Hampshire)

I ran my hometown half marathon, the Wallis Sand Half Marathon this past Saturday. Unusual for the time of year and what was to follow the next day a classic Nor’Easter the weather was superb: sunny, low 40’s at the start and hardly a breeze on the coast and that is super unusual as 2 years ago we ran the first 3 miles into a gale of a headwind and I went out to fast for the conditions…

The course is essentially flat with a 60 foot or so climb at 6 miles and after 4 miles along the coast goes inland with the last 3 miles back along the coast.

I ran the Nike Alphafly Next % for the first time in a live race. They proved an excellent choice. My splits and heart rate were super consistent, there was plenty of cushion that’s for sure and the combination of Air Zoom and carbon plate kept me popping off the road smoothly and consistently. You really get into a groove in this geometry but I find it different than say Endoprhin Pro (distinct final toe off rocker), original Vaporfly (drop down and into a roll off) and RC Elite 2 (soft bouncy forefoot and mellow easy roll). Here more a stable distinct vertical pop at Air Zoom pod and less of a sensation of roll forward 

It is a giant of a shoe with its 40mm heel and 36mm forefoot stack. The forefoot stack plate and Zoom Air  for sure is noticeable as totally road isolating platform for toe off with the Zoom Air providing a dense but very clearly felt rebound effect.

They only let me down a bit at 11 miles where the course went on a very bumpy bike path with some uneven pavement from roots pushing up and such. Yes, I was tired but things got very unstable on that surface and in a hurry and it was my slowest mile of the race.  

So not recommended for rough pavement and also heavily cambered roads as there too things were not ideal.

For a flat smooth course marathon I would certainly lace them up.

I ended up at 1:43:16 and 2nd in my age group. This was a 4 minute plus improvement over my half a few weeks before on a very similar course and in similar conditions.  I have one more half this fall to try to get to my my sub 1:40 annual goal which gets a bit tougher every year at 64. 

NIke Alphafly Next % Available from Running Warehouse HERE

Other Race Gear: 

I wore the super soft Brooks Carbonite 5” 2-1 shorts ($75). They have a long, very soft liner, 4 side/front drop in pockets of a quite baggy mesh and a secure thigh phone pocket. The baggy drop in pockets were handy as it was very easy to reach my gels, unlike more compressive mesh pockets. One pocket has a cord loop to which I clipped my car key. 

Of course, they have lots of reflectivity for night running and the optic yellow inner short provides contrast and visibility in motion in daylight.

I also wore Rockay sleeves and Compressport race socks with a Craft Hypervent short sleeve.  Despite the chilly conditions, it was perfect. I wore my recent go to Mission Vented Cap which I find really absorbs sweat well and keeps it off my glasses. I never thought about any of my apparel as either too warm,chilled or wet. 

Brooks Carbonite Collection for men and women  inclu. 5” 2-1 Shorts 

Available at Running Warehouse HERE

Testing Coros Vertix 2 Adventure Watch ($700)

I have been testing the Coros Vertix 2 Adventure Watch. From a full charge when I received it and after just under 8 days of continuous wear and 6 hours of all satellites best mode activity tracking the battery is still at...75%. 

GPS accuracy has proven excellent. Wrist HR has been adequately accurate during training runs but was higher than a Polar (more accurate) on my other wrist during the race in cool conditions. It is always a struggle to get accurate wrist HR with a bigger, heavier watch in cool conditions (less blood flow) on my thin wrist at faster paces as a heavier watch can confuse cadence for blood flow more than a lighter watch might.

Next up for testing the new on board topo and road maps.

COROS Vertix 2 available from REI HERE

Nike Zoom Vomero 16 ($150)

I completed initial testing and written and video reviews (RTR Review) of the Nike Zoom Vomero 16 .  After a side trip into a high performance up tempo direction with the Vomero 14  a shoe which ended up my 2018 Shoe of the Year, the Vomero in the 16 returns to its customary place as the softer more mellow trainer in the Nike line up.  And that is how it runs!  This  kind of trainer was sorely needed as the Pegasus is a relatively aggressive daily trainer and the Tempo Next really took the place of the Vomero 14 as the aggressive uptempo highly cushioned trainer in the line up.

Available from Running Warehouse HERE

TCS New York City Marathon PMV Shutter Speed Jacket ($235)

Sunday’s beautiful race weather left in a hurry and was replaced by a classic Nor’Easter with several days of rain, mist, and of course wind.

Finally I was able to test the New Balance Speed Shutter Jacket in the recent Nor’Easter on two runs during the storm

The star feature of this heavy duty water resistant and dense mesh lined jacket is its iridescent outer very densely woven almost rubbery outer fabric. Any light day or night changes the coloration of the jacket in wild ways. 

At night it is totally reflective.

The shiny see through front pocket has a window called Lucent Touch by New Balance holds your mobile. Put it top facing down and you can pinch the jacket up and use it through the touch window. I was very surprised how well the touch capabilities worked both wet and dry but the location sort of limits use to changing music tracks, answering calls, and quick glances. You could also face the screen inwards and turn on the flashlight for some night illumination but you will not need that to be seen at night that is for sure given the reflectivity!

During runs in the storm with only a thin base layer underneath the jacket proved very wind resistant and warm but not overly so but as with any jacket in heavy rains eventually wet through and got heavier yet but never unpleasant but for a bit sticking at the arms.

The fit is generous and long in my usual medium. Full review soon but I see its ideal use as those long cold winter runs in windy conditions where you might end up or start at dawn or dusk where the reflectivity is important. 

Shutter Speed Available from New Balance HERE

Backcountry Tabernash Anorak and Jogger Pants

Given the now chillier conditions, I also was finally able to start testing the Backcountry Tabernash Anorak and Jogger Pants

The anorak has front, shoulder, and first half of sleeves panels of Gore-Tex Infinium which is a highly wind resistant, highly breathable membrane, with a  lighter than the usual Gore water resistance so it is clearly not “waterproof”. 

The pants have their Infinium across the entire front with the back soft highly breathable very light fleece like material. Classic nordic ski pant construction with front wind resistance and rear breathability.

Emerging a few years ago in gloves we are now seeing Infinium in apparel. I think it is the near ideal material for a cool colder weather high output run, nordic ski, or cycle apparel and in the Tabernash it does not disappoint. 

The main fabric of both is  somewhere between soft shell jacket and mid layer weight pieces is a soft thin, stretchy  fleece-like feeling material with a smooth outer face.  

The fit of the anorak is generous with a brimmed hood that can be snuggly cinched , giant double zipper kangaroo pocket, rear zip pocket, reflective highlights, laser cut panels at the armpits, and a hem drawcord.

The pants are “jogger” style so a stretch waistband and drawcord all around (but with fly), stretch cuffs (with short zippers), articulated knees, reflective highlights, and roomy more pants than tights like fit. 

I have run both pieces in temps just at 50F and still been comfortable. I can’t wait to run, nordic ski and hike these in colder conditions where the combination of generous fit, adequate warmth, breathability and wind resistance should be near ideal.

Shop for the Backcountry Tabernash Anorak and Jogger Pants at Backcountry HERE

Gore-Wear Phantom Jacket ($200)

With yet another Nor’Easter at the Quick Strides deadline I was also finally able to test the Gore-Wear Phantom Jacket in rain and wind at a relatively balmy 55 F today.  

A Gore-Tex Infinium front construction as with the Tabernash the Phantom is in the Gore-Wear cycling line. It is a similar soft shell construction as the Tabernash with its fleece like material lighter and its outer shell a bit denser.

It has of course a snugger cycling type fit with a drop tail and 3 pockets at the rear, one zipped. I was able to store my phone and tripod out back with no bouncing during my run.

The fit at my usual size will allow a decent weight mid layer underneath.

The key feature of the Phantom are its removable sleeves. Each sleeve has 2 zippers which if you don’t want to remove the sleeves can be unzipped for ventilation.

Removing the sleeves (which have blackout reflectivity) and you have short sleeves up near the shoulders. Neat, as this allows you to wear a sleeveless base layer under the “vest” and still have some shoulder coverage.

I ran into the oncoming storm and winds on a 6.5 miler along the coast. 

The front wind protection from the Infinium was total, the jacket had as with all Infinium excellent breathability. I was surprised that the water resistance was quite good on the front with the rear of the jacket, mostly all the light fleece getting wet but nowhere absorbing much moisture.

While cycling oriented the Phantom should prove an excellent winter run jacket with the versatility of removing the sleeves a key feature. And of course you can also cycle with it s well. 

Shop for the Gore Wear Phantom Jacket for men and women at Backcountry HERE

Mike P (Boise)

Boise Marathon in Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2

This past Sunday I ran the Boise Marathon - it was the last event in a stretch of 23 days where I also ran the Bogus 50M (trail) and Heavens Gate Marathon (mountain/trail). It’s not the first time I’ve run such types of events in close proximity- pre-Covid in 2019 I also ran a similar stretch of events around the same time period. I generally like to run more races as opposed to focusing on singular “A” events.  It can be frustrating at times knowing that I would probably perform better at any single event, but then again - I still like to run them all.  Despite running those other two races shortly before this one, I felt like my fitness was really good, and that I had recovered enough. I thought I could be in the range of my 2:40 PR from the Boise Marathon in 2019. Unfortunately, the weather had other plans, and on top of that so did the race organizers. 

[Trusty VF Flyknits retired in favor of VF NEXT% 2]

I won’t get into all of the details here, but it was by far the worst organized race that I have ever been a part of.  I am not alone in those sentiments either- if you want to read up on how NOT to put on an event - read the reviews section of the Boise Marathon Facebook page - it’s ugly. A small sampling of the calamity that was the Boise Marathon 2021 - little to no course markings throughout, the top 3 runners all ran off the course at separate locations; unmanned/abandoned water stations - I passed several water stations that consisted of a pack of cups in the packaging lying on the table, and a water cooler standing next to the table; water stations several feet of the path in the grass; water stations with no cups pre-filled; “water stations” were just that - no electrolyte drink was available at any station, no gels, no nothing. 

[Picture says it all. Notice my preferred arm sleeves - old Drymax Run-lite mesh socks with the toe cut off]

I ended up running 2:46:59 for 3rd place.  The race organization is so bad they still have me listed as 5th 4 days later. They even had the overall winner listed incorrectly in the published results up until yesterday.  As far as actual racing - I was happy with my time given the conditions. The weather was as predicted- 50F at the start, with steady rain and 20+ mph wind throughout. The wind was ESE, which for this course was a direct headwind for the first 15.5M.  Interestingly in 2019, it was also quite windy, but in the opposite direction, with a tailwind from the start and headwind in the 2nd half.  I feel like that wind orientation was much more favorable. Running into the headwind from the start this year seemed to drain more energy, and I couldn’t really use the tailwind as much on the backend. The rain was also a factor as my legs got pretty cold especially around miles 10-15 where the course was more exposed and the gusts were quite heavy. 

[Achilles blister caused by heel padding, only on my right foot though]

I’ll just touch on a few other points. I raced for the first time in the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2. I’ll be doing a full review soon, but I have to say that I have mixed feelings - I like them but don’t love them. They definitely do the “job” for a road marathon, but they do leave me wondering if other “super” shoes might be a better fit for me.  Something about the shape of the shoe feels off to me - it has a distinct banana shape where the toebox takes a distinct inward curvature.  Also the cushioning - super bouncy and explosive forward propulsion with the plate - is no doubt fast, but I do wonder if a touch more firmness would suit me better.  Specific to this race - wet traction was excellent. I didn’t notice any slippage at all, there were even long sections where the course was almost fully covered with wet leaves. Also - Top 3 finishers all wore NEXT% 2.

[Does any human foot really look like this? But.. they work]

Another note about the course - although advertised as “flat”, it parallels the Boise River and half of the route heads upstream.  So even though there are no “hills” to speak of (just a few rollers near the turnaround), I did end up measuring nearly 600 ft. of elevation gain.  Definitely more than your typical “flat and fast” marathon.  Just for reference, the Boston Marathon with the Newton Hills clocks in at 891 ft. of overall gain. 

In relation to my lab testing which I reported on last week (the actual lab test was 5 days before the marathon) - my average HR for this race was 177 bpm.  This seems to be in line with having my lactate threshold in the 175-185 range.  I was even bumping up to 180 in the initial stages of the race, running into the wind, but then there were also parts where my HR was held down by having to run more slowly fighting into heavy rain and wind gusts. I feel like I could have sustained maybe 1 or 2 bpm higher in normal conditions.  Another factor was I didn’t eat that much - 2 Maurten gels, and I even held off on consuming those because with the abandoned water stations, I was worried about messing up my stomach if I couldn’t get anything to drink.  I ended up drinking about 3 half cups of water throughout the entire race.  During normal marathons I typically take some Gatorade here and there when I feel the need, but unfortunately the race organizers didn’t provide that option.  All that being said - this was my final Boise Marathon - I won’t be running this event again unless it gets taken over by new organizers. 

Shop for the Nike Vaporfly Next % 2 at Running Warehouse HERE

Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes others were personal purchases. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content

The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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Anonymous said...

Vaporflys too big for your feet. Look at the laces how tight you have them cinched. No wonder you had a huge blister on the heel. You need to size down.

Anonymous said...

Lots of whining. SAD.