Thursday, October 07, 2021

Quick Strides 20 Race Reports Week! A Win, a 2nd, a 4th, PR’s and Sub 2:30’s: Mike Wins 50 mile Ultra in Pulsar, Sub 2:30’s for Michael (RC Elite 2) & Ryan (adios Pro 1) , Nils PR at Berlin (Metaspeed Sky), and More!

Article by Mike Postaski, Michael Elllenberger, Ryan Eiler, Nils Scharff, Shannon Payne, Jeremy Marie and Peter Stuart.

Race Reports Week! A Win, a 2nd, a 4th, PR’s and Sub 2:30’s:  Mike Wins 50 mile Ultra in Pulsar, Sub 2:30’s for Michael (RC Elite 2)  & Ryan (adios Pro 1) , Nils PR at Berlin (Metaspeed Sky), and More!

Mike P: Bogus 50M Race Report / Salomon S/LAB Pulsar Test and Durability Report

On Saturday I raced the Bogus 50M here in Boise. The weather and conditions were great, clear skies, no wildfire smoke, little/no wind, nice and crisp for the 5AM start, and for most of the race, then heating up slightly for the last couple hours with the sun fully out.  I came away with the win!

[@thepulserunning BOGUS 50M @this.spiritedrunner]

Overall for sure it was one of my better races!  I felt strong throughout and planned my nutrition, gear, and drop bags mostly well. I did have some issues with cramping throughout the second half of the race, which forced me to slow down a little as well as manage my stride a bit- shorter steps and carefully avoiding sharp movements. Unfortunately, I didn’t pay enough attention to having enough salt tabs on hand - I carried just a few, was able to pick up a few here and there at aid stations, but definitely not enough. I have no idea why I didn’t just grab a bigger handful at one of the aid stations. Dehydration can sneak up on you easily when the weather feels so cool and even comfortable. Lesson learned. 


[Post Race- Injinji liners, Compressport Pro Racing Trail V3 socks, Altra 4 point gaiters. Zero foot issues, no hot spots or blisters.  Pulsar upper is great because you can leave the bottom essentially loose (with the upper still being secure), while still cinching down the top 1 or 2 laces]

As for my shoe plan which I outlined in  Quick Strides 19 - I started off with Pulsars, and did have in the back of my mind the idea that I might stick with them if A) my feet were feeling ok, or B) if the race was tight and I didn’t want to give up the few minutes changing shoes. 

With that in mind, I ran very mindfully over the first 27 miles- careful to land right on the midfoot sweet spot of the shoe as much as possible, and also careful to avoid any rock impacts as much as possible, even the smallest gravel. This was all in an effort to keep the soreness in my forefoot to a minimum, and to hopefully keep them on for the full distance. It worked out very well, as my feet, ankles, and legs felt relatively fine at that point - I didn’t want to fix something that wasn’t broken. Also I came into the 27 mile aid stop in top 2 position, with 3rd shortly behind. I felt it was best to get in and out fast, which I did (aside from having to backtrack about a tenth of a mile after realizing I left my food bag on the aid station table). 

[Post-race: not a spec of dirt or grain of sand on the inside. Nothing seems to get through the Matryx upper, while also maintaining breathability - my feet were not hot at all despite 2 layers of socks and gaiters]

I thought I would have an advantage on the descent over the final 25ish miles - I’m typically relatively better on faster descents than grinding climbs. I wasn’t sure how it would work out this time though with the Pulsars, being that they are not as inherently stable going down. But it ended up mostly playing out that way. I was able to get a bit of a gap around the high point of the race up at Bogus Basin (around ~6,700 ft, the race started around 2,700 ft). I was able to carry my pace and effort through the main descent down through Dry Creek. I was a bit stressed, having to deal with the cramping, while not actually knowing what the gap was. In my experience sometimes it’s more difficult to be chased than to be the chaser. 

The rest of the way was mainly crossing some ridges back to the finish with some deceptively difficult but shorter climbs. The trails at that point were mostly exposed, so at times I was able to see 2nd place across the gulches. I used landmarks to time out the gap and I roughly pegged it between 4 and 6 minutes most of the way back. This helped me gauge my effort while managing the cramps. I had one bad spell shortly after an aid station that had no salt tablets available - I had to walk a bit and was worried that my legs might totally lock up - there were about 5 miles to go. But I was able to fill up some Tailwind so I drank that down hoping some electrolytes would get through, then was able to keep the wheels turning after picking up some salt at the final aid station 2.5 miles from the finish. 

Many thanks to Beth Warner and Holly Finch @thepulserunning for putting on such a great event in the midst of very difficult times. They always put on fantastic events as well as supporting other local and non-so-local events throughout Idaho. Everyone in the local running community has much love for you and greatly appreciates everything you do. Kudos and thank you again!

I really feel that the low weight of the Pulsars really helped me a lot throughout the race. Being so light (my pair @ 6.5 oz, US 9.5), I was able to keep up my leg turnover even with the inevitable soreness and leg heaviness that comes with longer races.  On top of that, having to deal with cramping - mainly inner thighs and calves - made me very glad that I decided to stick with the Pulsars and didn’t have to carry around at least an extra 3 oz on each foot. 

50 miles is the absolute max limit I would take the Pulsar as far as distance and time. The stats for the race were 51.9 miles, 9.2k ft gain/loss, 8 hrs 15 running time. 

My feet and ankles were definitely fatigued by the end and I had to focus on maintaining good foot strikes and placement. I attribute this to the platform being so narrow, somewhat less stable in the rear, while higher off the ground (relative to the width and weight of shoe)- it does make your foot and ankle stabilizers work. Also if the terrain was more technical, I wouldn’t have been able to take them as far. The trails were mostly dry/dirt, smooth, not twisty, with scattered rocky parts, but for the most part they could be managed.  The more technical the terrain, the more my feet and ankles would have been worked. Anything more technical, rocky, or very twisty and turny, I would not recommend the Pulsar.

As far as durability, I have 93 miles in my pair - including one 10k race, plus this 51.9 miler. 

The upper and the outsole show little/no signs of wear. 

[Little/no outsole wear (93 miles)- especially to the lateral forefoot area, my landing spot- which typically wears first and is a tell-tale indicator of poor durability for me]

There are some compression lines on the midsole, but the ride still feels great with no noticeable differences in ride at 93 miles.  I’m 5’10”, 135 lbs (61kg), and a forefoot/midfoot striker. 

I fully expect to get to the 200-300 mile range in the Pulsar, with a lot of that being racing. After that I’m sure they’d be a great workout shoe, even for some road intervals. I consider that to be a good value, for really what should be considered a trail “super shoe”.

Michael (Chicago)

Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon

 Like my fellow RTR testers, I went out and suffered through a marathon this past week - fortunately this time to a positive result! I lowered my PR to 2:23:19 at the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon, from 2:31:17 (which I considered a weak PR, but didn’t expect to beat by this much).

I think shoes actually play a big role in this one, as I had raced the Chicago Half Marathon the week prior (68:39) - but coming off only seven day’s rest, I honestly did not feel soreness in my legs on the line of the marathon, and I think a lot of that is due to the construction of these super shoes and in particular, the New Balance Fuel Cell RC Elite v2 (RTR Review). When I ran my half PR (67:43) at the same race a few years earlier, I wore the Reebok Run Fast Pro (RTR Review), and could hardly walk for days after, let alone return to the start line. I had wanted the extra week to run the Chicago Marathon, but some scheduling made that impossible, so I made the last minute (or, in this case, three-day-prior) change and registered for Lakefront.

Truthfully, the race itself was a bit of a lonely one - the course is undoubtedly fast and easy, but I was immediately dropped by two runners off the line, and ran solo the entirety of the course (though I passed one runner about mile 20, to finish in second overall). Fortunately, the course provided bike escorts for the top runners, and so I at least had something to key off of (and follow!). My brain wasn't entirely working properly, after getting up at 3:15am to drive to Milwaukee on race morning, but having something to focus on helped pull me along. Either way, I would recommend the race to others - they say it’s a race “by runners, for runners,” and I can’t help but agree - there were people all over the course, even on a very rainy and muggy day, and the organization and logistics were very easy.

At some point, Ryan and I are going to need to line up to find out who is the fastest RTR marathoner, but for now - happy to have it over, and excited to have a more races on the schedule this fall! 

Ryan (Boston)

Maine Marathon

Last weekend, I headed to Maine for my third marathon. Nearly everything about the race felt the way you’d expect an October marathon in Maine to feel — rolling, moderate hills right along the coast, spritzes of rain that constantly threatened, a ukulele band, and plenty of friendly folks camped out at the end of their driveways to support the show.

We started the race with masks on, but could ditch them into bins immediately after the gun went off. Things started without a hitch, aside from splitting a too-fast 5:16 first mile, ahead of my 5:30 goal. A half mile in, we were squeezed from a wide asphalt road onto a narrow gravel footpath for about 1200m or so. Unfortunately, from that point in the race until the finish, I ran alone. I spent most of the race in 2nd place, watching the leader pull away at 5:15/mi pace. 

The course started to sway and roll starting around mile 6, with two 60+ foot hills before the halfway point. The 16th mile was the most taxing, with a steep 100+ foot gain to reach the highest elevation on the course. At that point, things felt very comfortable and I could catch glimpses of the leader and the pace car about 90 seconds ahead. One nice thing about an out-and-back: on the way home, the spectators love to tell you when you’re closing the gap on the person in front of you! During the 23rd mile, I finally caught him, having averaged 5:28 so far. Things felt completely under control until about a half mile later, when it became all too apparent that I hadn’t been taking in enough nutrition. At that point, it was too late to take gels or a drink to boost my sugar levels, and the bottom fell out swiftly. Anyone who’s been there can attest that it’s a horrible feeling to hit glycogen=0 and have no time to remedy the problem. My pace dropped into the mid-sixes, and I ended up in fourth at 2:27:45. It all made for a great lesson in distance running, which I’ll be careful to avoid next time around!

I raced the adizero Adios Pro v1 (RTR Review) which performed flawlessly. The monster stack height kept things from feeling flat at any point in the race, and was especially welcome on the steep downhills. As many reviewers have noted, the upper is nearly perfect with tremendous lockdown capability, and seemed to hold relatively little moisture on a wet course.  If I had to nitpick, I’d say that the ultra-high stack made it tricky to navigate a few hairpin corners, and the treadless outsole was especially dicey on wet road paint. What an incredible contrast to my previous marathon 3.5 years ago, when I wore the Nike Flyknit Racer, and could hardly manage a flight of stairs the following day. 

There’s no question that the Adios Pro played a huge part in reducing leg fatigue and helping me to PR. After about 200 miles, the Lightstrike Pro midsole is starting to show some degradation, but I plan on wearing these for another 100 miles or so.

Overall, it was an incredibly enjoyable day thanks to a very audible group of family members on course, as well as a superbly organized race. Boston in April is next, if all goes well!

Up for testing this week is a high-visibility Run Visible kit from Brooks, now that we’re entering layering season here in Boston.

Nils (Germany)

Berlin Marathon

I’m a little late with my report, as the Berlin Marathon is almost 2 weeks old, but I wanted to share a few things nonetheless. First and foremost: What a great event! So many amazing people, both running and cheering, made it an unforgettable experience for me. It has been my first BIG city marathon and I definitely want to experience more of that. I never considered traveling abroad for a race - but now I’m thinking about all the other World Marathon Majors. It will probably take me a little longer to convince my wife - but at least I’m going to sign up for the Berlin and London 2022 lottery. 

The race itself played out perfectly for me. I had a lot of respect for the high temperatures (24°C/75°F) and I saw a lot of runners get affected by the heat (and sun). But maybe I played it conservatively enough to get away with it. I wasn’t sure before the race what my strategy should look like. My previous PB was 2:57h. I knew that I was fitter than during my spring marathon but I also wanted to make this Berlin marathon a special memory for myself and therefore not risk to bonk later on. The easy way would be to stick with the 3h pacing group at least until the half and then speed up a little. I even went with that strategy in the beginning but threw it out of the window after 3km. Turns out the pacers would start a little too fast (about 5sec / km faster than their goal pace) and when they then realized that and slowed down I just stuck with the previous pace and left them behind me. It felt good, I was in rhythm and many other runners around me did the same - so there was no fear of running alone.

The first half flew by in a heartbeat. My watch measured the course a little longer than the course markers but I knew that I was in time for a new PB and felt good. My amazing wife and some of our friends managed to get around the course and cheer for me 4 times! That was always something to look forward to, especially in the second half when things got a little harder. I also want to give a little shoutout to my former colleague Markus in Stockholm! He is an experienced and much faster runner than I am and recommended building a little throw away handheld to skip the first few and very crowded aid stations. Running just in the middle of the road and avoiding the crowds left and right who were “fighting” for their cups felt pretty good and for sure was a confidence builder.

After passing the halfway point some of the runners around me started to push the pace a little. And while I had no intention of doing so, it again just felt good and right to go with them (about 5sec / km faster than in the first half). From 25k onwards you could see more and more runners slowing down or even dropping out. Looking at my stats afterwards I passed about 150 runners each 5k. From 38-40km you run just straight down the really big Leipziger Straße. Of course in quite heavy headwinds all those 2km. That was probably the hardest stretch of the race. I wanted to push it and go a little faster at this point. But because of the wind I knew it could be suicide. At about 39k someone just behind me bent his ankle and actually fell which even more underlined my cautiousness. Therefore I just stuck with it until we reached the turn out of this street and the head wind. That left me 2k to finish it off and during those I managed to increase my pace by another 30sec/km. 

And even though I looked like I’m dying coming down the home stretch from Brandenburger Tor I was really satisfied with my new PB of 2:55:19h (1:28:23h/1:26:56). But more importantly I achieved my A-goal: Having a great experience and a lot of memories at my first WMM! I can’t wait to come back!

After Berlin I of course took it a little easier. But I actually just had 2 days off with a lot of sightseeing and walking. And as the legs felt okish on Wednesday I started some easy running again. I have another half coming up next week and my first 50k the week after. Therefore my plan from Berlin going forward was basically 1 week recovery, 1.5 weeks full training followed by a 3 day mini taper for the half and a 1,5 week taper for the 50k. I don’t have any experience with racing this much in such a short time and I’m really curious how my body responds. Of course day-to-day feeling is more important than any plan, but it feels good so far. I will report back on how it went.

Shannon (Northern California 

I am living the dream of a shoe and gear nerd in that I find myself faced with the “problem” of having too many things to review at once.   

As for shoes, I fell into the possession of a pair of ON Cloudstratus recently. ON has historically had a distinctive feel to them: firm, responsive, flexible (Cloud), on the minimal side a little more narrow. Never a shoe I’ve disliked, but typically not my go-to owing to an outsole that I found can be less than accommodating when it comes to picking up rocks. The Cloudstratus has sort of blown my doors off. While it’s already been reviewed at RTR, this is my first go-around in them. 

On is definitely branching out in that this model is plush, soft, has a rocker type midsole and a wider forefoot. On has also come a long ways with their outsole in that the Stratus, featuring only one big channel (which admittedly still grabs rocks), but overall fewer flex grooves in the outsole which is a plus in my opinion. To be honest, the Stratus may give the Hoka Rincon and Clifton and NB Fresh Foam More a challenge.

A big footwear highlight for me in recent weeks though has been my own discovery of the  Brooks Glycerin 19 (RTR Review), a shoe I also “accidentally” came into possession of (unintended consequences of working in running stores). The newest Glycerin has become arguably my all-time favorite road shoe ever made. That’s saying something. To me Brooks has always been a strong and reliable staple in my shoe repertoire, but this took it to a new level. It’s light despite being high cushion, soft without being overly mushy, and has a wide and accommodating forefoot. I can’t do it justice, just try it yourself and trust me. Given the impending shoe shortage (if you’re not already panicking, you should be!), I may be stocking up on multiple pairs of this.  

A pair of VJ Spark also recently found their way to my doorstep. This is a slightly more niche shoe. Its grip appears superb, and its last-shape and volume are similar to the Salomon Sense Pro. I expected a very firm ride and a slightly constricting fit on first appearances, but upon trying them on found the feel to be pleasantly soft, and the fit to be quite accommodating. While I’ve not given them a reasonable number of miles to truly form an opinion of them yet, so far so good, and I plan to have them be my shoe for my first Spartan race in November.

On the apparel front, I now have two of ON’s new Performance Ts. While these shirts carry a high price point of $80 for a short sleeved T, their performance is spectacular. They have a very relaxed fit, with my extra small being more than roomy enough. These are not fitted shirts and for those who like something relaxed and comfortable, as I do. They are seamless, featuring “taped seams” to prevent chafing. So far, I’m impressed and On’s apparel will certainly be a force to contend with in the world of running apparel. 

Tracksmith has long been a brand I have been intrigued by and I recently received one of their singlets. I’ve always loved their vintage type style and also have affinity for smaller brands who offer up their support for sub-elite runners on the cusp of being in the upper echelon. 

I’ve noticed they’re now sponsoring and supporting a number of post-college teams and sub-elite athletes and have picked up Nick Willis and Mary Cain as employee-athletes. I love companies that put their money where their mouth is and truly support the sport as they have, so I find myself more and more drawn to them. Anyway, the price point has historically deterred me from actually making a purchase, but I am very impressed with the Cross Country Singlet ($65) that I received. 

The material is super high quality, very durable, the perfect weight, and the perfect fit; being just so slightly fitted, but overall very relaxed, functional, and offering a lot of coverage. At 5’6 and 120 lbs, women’s size small was spot on. I think the price point on their products, while high, is truly indicative of quality and these are not pieces that you will be replacing due to wear and tear. 

Finally, while in attendance at the Broken Arrow Sky Race, I spent some time talking with the reps at Go Sleeves and received a pair of calf sleeves. 

Go Sleeves are unique in that they aren’t your ordinary compression sleeves and have what essentially functions as kinesiotape built into the sleeve. Things like Kinesiotape and Rock Tape serve to function as a proprioceptive cue for muscles and tendons to work more effectively as well as to enhance lymphatic drainage in the area, and this particular sleeve has that feature built into the achilles, soleus, and medial and lateral gastroc areas. Ideally, these are primarily used post-run to enhance recovery. Go sleeves are made in a calf sleeve, quad and knee sleeve. In the event of coming back from injury and ramping up mileage, if it happens to be that areas need added support and proprioception, they’re also ideal for the actual run itself.

I will go more into depth in coming weeks over several of these products as I get more mileage on them! Meanwhile, I am putting in my final miles over the coming week leading up to the Mt. Baldy Run to the Top in SoCal, my first race in four years!


Peter (Austin, TX) 

Doing some fun testing in the Scott Pursuit this week. It’s taken a couple of runs to break in, but is starting to feel pretty good. High stack, a little firm, but a solid (and pretty light shoe). Also waiting for temps to break here in Texas so I can get the new Brooks Carbonite vest out on the roads. 

Jeremy - Scott Supertrac RC2

Running my first miles (actually 30kms now) in the Scott Supertrac RC2, a full bred mountain running shoe from the Swiss company.

Updates from version one come from the lug pattern (and compound?) that has been slightly arranged, and the upper which switched to Schoeller fabric mixing 3XDry (water repellency and quick-drying) and Coldblack (heat protection).

For sure, the upper is both breathable, protective and protects well from either heat and cold. I’ve been able to run in opposite conditions (chilly, humid morning and hot sunny afternoon) and it sure works as intended.

The shoe is quite enjoyable to run with nice traction...Stay tune for the full review coming soon

 Some 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. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content

The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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ANTE said...

Nice report!
Michael, what hat is it you use for running the race? Congrats to the win!

Ante said...

The link to Vj Spark is wrong!

Mike P said...

It's a Salomon hat. Its quite comfortable, and has an elastic in the liner which cinches in the back. Perfect for summer runs here in Boise where most of the foothills trails are exposed. You can tell from the pics how much it shades compared to a cap.