I had a big test to take. What better way to delay it a bit then to go for a trail run? It had been raining all night and a good cold drizzle was still hanging on. My very clean Altra Lone Peak 1.5’s needed a good test in some slippery conditions so today was just right. I could run the shoes and get out the pre-test jitters all in one go.
I suited up for a cold, wet run and tossed on my fuel belt also. I hate running with a belt but am attempting to get used to it for longer runs. I haven’t figured out a good way to carry food/water just yet so am practicing various things on each run. I haven’t given my vaporshape a go yet, but I’ll try that out on this weekend’s long run. I digress- here are my pre-run shoes:
I decided to do a warm up on the ‘easy’ trail first. This trail is a single-track trail that’s about 2 miles long and runs first through some pretty woods and then curves along the river before bumping out onto a paved path. I figured I could out-and-back it for a 4 mile warm up before doing the ankle-twister-trail.
The trail was void of human life besides myself but filled with squirrels and birds. There was a thick coating of leaves on the ground which made it hard to see tripping hazards like rocks and roots. There were a few tree limbs down in the first half mile which were fun to jump.
I quickly noted that I had the Lone Peak’s tied wrong and had to adjust the laces a few times to get the feeling right. My right heel kept trying to slip out when I went up or down hill. After a few attempts I got the shoes tied right and things were smooth from there. The Lone Peaks flexed well and gripped even in the sandy stretch near the river edge. If you don’t have a grip on that area, you’ll slip off the edge and fall down a nice cliff into the river. I was able to cruise the 2 mile stretch at a 8:50 pace as this is entirely non-technical trail with very mild hills. The only area that requires a little bit of slowing is in the river-cliff area where I watch the footing a little more. Once I hit the paved area, I turned around and headed in reverse, happy so far with the shoe’s performance on the sand, leaves, and small hills. This netted me a nice warm-up of 4 miles.
Next up was the ankle-twister-trail. This trail is near the first one but hidden a bit as it starts in between some tree’s just up the hill and goes in the opposite direction. If you don’t know it’s there- you can’t find it. It’s an extremely narrow single track trail full of mud, rocks, downed tree’s, water crossings, and ‘choose your own adventure’ ups and downs. Rocks coat the climbs and descents and streams don’t always have an easy way across. The trail is about 3 miles before it hits a little wooden bridge that signals that its about to lead out and down into a paved area.
This is one of my favorite area’s to run. I rarely see another person on this trail and it’s absolutely beautiful.
So how did the shoe’s do?
Pro’s: My feet felt great in these. Sharp rocks? What sharp rocks. Cold water? My feet were warm and didn’t feel ‘wet’. I never felt like I lost too much grip or that they were going to get stuck/lost in the sucking mud. I was able to cruise reasonably well downhill without being afraid of jamming my toes or sliding on the rocks and move uphill at an ok pace using the front lugs.
Cons: They made some sort of squeaking noise every once and awhile while gripping (or losing grip?) on slippery rocks. That bugged the crap out of me. Sharp turns caused a squeak also. It was like tennis shoes on a gym floor. Gross. I felt some sort of seam near the front outer side of both feet (later I reached in and there was indeed a lump where the tongue of the shoe is). The laces are too long- that can easily be fixed but for this run it was annoying. I did slide a few times- more than I would have in my pace gloves so it makes me wonder if they’ll do well in snow at all.
I out and backed on the ankle-twister managing to only wipe out once as I was attempting to play hurdle with a downed tree (and didn’t notice the other side had a hollow spot under the leaves) and then ran up and down and up the hill home as a cool down. The ankle-twister pace was about 10:40 which was reasonable for that stretch for me. I netted a nice 6 miles on the ankle-twister and didn’t track the cool down. The trail mileage was 10 miles and running to/from the trails just didn’t count.
I never actually touched the fuel belt but I also was so focused on the trail and enjoying myself that I also didn’t notice I was wearing it, unlike my last failed attempt where I tugged at it and tightened/loosened it every half mile. I’ll call it a win.
I’ll use the Altra Lone Peak 1.5’s at IceBox now that they’ve passed the rain test. I heard that Merrell has something similar to the pace glove with a bit more smoosh to it (called the “Ascend“) so I’m thinking of checking that out also as I still think the pace gloves have a lot more traction than these though the Lone Peak’s are definitely going to be more comfortable over a long distance.
There you have it.
Here are the post run shoes
Here’s how much of the water/mud penetrated into the sock:
This post has been brought to you by “procrastination”