Sunday, February 13, 2011


People who know me know that as far as running is concerned, I would rather spend all day gouging my way along the AT, than spend one hour beating the pavement or the running track. This would be clearly evident also if one were to look in my closet at my running shoe collection. Two pairs of racing flats, two pairs of trainers, and up until Friday seven pairs of trail shoes.

Friday afternoon that number increased to eight pairs of trail shoes as my much anticipated Avi-Stoltz finally arrived. Time to put the shoes to the test. So Saturday morning I decided I would scratch my scheduled ride and instead, take them out for a test run.
Once I opened the box a couple of things were plainly obvious, setting these shoes apart from any other trail shoes I have ever owned. First was the color. The bright orange and shiny blue accents are going to be visible for miles and will ensure that, at least my feet will be visible to even the blindest hunter in Notheast Gergia.

Second was the weight. At only 10 ounces they are almost as light as my racing flats. This is pleasant change from my other trail shoes as most of them are are heavy and have more of a hiking shoe feel to them rather than a running shoe. I also liked the fact that the heel bed although padded and protected, it isn't so high off of the ground that the shoe feels unstable.
Third was the extended heel tab in the back. At first I was worried that it would rub the back of my heel or achilles. This actually ended up being a bonus for a couple of reasons. First it helps when pulling the show over the the heel, secondly I was to find out later that it seemed to grip my heel and eliminate slippage that is common with all shoes when climbing steep ascents.

I did have some trouble initially getting the shoe to open up to get my foot inside. Once I got the laces loosened up and adjusted them to my feet the the fit was perfect! The quick release laces are a nice touch.

Another problem I have with trail shoes is the toe box area. They are usually too narrow for my small, but Barney Rubble shaped feet, which presents a major problem on steep descents as my toes tend to get wedged uncomfortably in the front of the shoe, or they are too wide which causes excess movemet inside the shoe. Avia has seemed to have worked this out perfectly (for my feet at least). They griped my entire foot comfortably and without any excess movement.
As far as performance is concerned the tread seemed to grip well in the hard frozen red Georgia clay. They were a little slippery over rocks however no more than any other running shoe. I accidently ended up in a creek in an unsucessful leap attempt. As I climbed out of the creek the shoe didn't seem to drain exceptionally fast, but it didn't seem to soak up excess water as many shoes do. A great bonus.
In my opinion, one sign of a great shoe is one that you forget you are wearing. This happened after about two miles as my thoughts went away from my feet and to my run. Gone was the usual arch pain, as well as the usual throbbing I get in my toes. All great signs.
All in all I think this is a great shoe. Its even light enough to use as a road shoe. I'm pretty sure that this will become my primary training shoe as most of my runs take place on hard pack fire roads and trails. I think the only improvement that can be made would be the addition of Yankz laces. Next month I'll be spending a week in Yosemite and weather permiting, I'll run the Half Dome Trail in my Avi-Stoltz!
It's also good to mention that the Avia skull logo is probably the coolest logo out there!

Friday, February 4, 2011

January ramblings.....

January is in the books and despite a minor setback (old man back injuries suck) training is progressing well so far. I have gotten back to the pool full force and although I still only move slightly faster than pond water, my swim fitness is returning quickly. Hopefully, with some concentrated effort this year, I can progress from pond water speed to trickling water hose speed. I’m also hoping this year I can make it to one of Carole’s swim clinics in Atlanta and she can turn me into one of those speedy torpedoes in the water. I am still hesitant to throw down a split goal for Knoxville as it appears that although I have swam countless miles over the years, completed many 70.3’s and even a 140.6, I still find surviving a 400m open water swim a major accomplishment. Damn those sea monsters and large man eating fish.

This week I conducted an LT Field test to wire down my training zones. Over the course of that test I came to realize several things:
1. LT Tests suck.
2. Despite how much an LT Test sucks I’m not as out of shape as I thought.
3. The tri shorts I was wearing on the treadmill were so threadbare (apparently from swimming), that my…… man parts were visible …. (Luckily for me, and the rest of the world, it was early, and I was alone in the gym).
4. I need new shorts.

This Sunday is The Red Top Rumble 11.5 Trail Race, which is the first event of 2011 for me. This is a small trail race sponsored by the Georgia Ultra Running and Trail running Society (GUTS). This one is an Atlanta favorite and is limited to only 300 runners and usually sells out within 3 hours. Not an overly technical course however there is several sections with long steep leg blistering climbs and descents. Last year I finished in 1:36. Would like a 1:30 or better this year. I had hoped my new Avi-Stoltz would have arrived in the mail for the race, but alas, no……..

Things I am really excited about this year: 2011 Trakkers Team and sponsors! Especially Avi-stoltz shoes (Avia Shoes in general), Recovery Pump (I need this bad), and the Rev3 Half in Knoxville!

Finally, I’m still looking for a Trakkers Teamate for the Rev3 Adventure Race in April……..Male or Female……. Or both…… registration is free for us……………… any takers out there?.........Hello?