Saturday, May 24, 2008
Function Over Fashion?
One of my "staple" training runs is a 2,000+ foot climb east of Afton. I try to do it once a week to get my hiking legs and my 100-mile quads ready for big summer runs. My previous best time for the run had been just under 54 minutes. Monday I decided to beat it so I blitzed to the top, running several sections I am usually content to hike and then hammered it back to the trailhead. The trail is very steep in spots and very technical. I was pleased with the final result as I finished in 49:27-the only problem was that my feet, especially my heels, felt like they were on fire. I decided the Cascadias which I have loved this year just weren't going to cut it on the steep stuff so I decided to look at something else. I decided to order some of the new NIKE Zoom TrailS+ from Running Wearhouse. I have not donned a pair of NIKE's since my first ultra in 2001. I was a bit skeptical-with the brands reputation for gadgets, gizmos, and concentration on high fashion. By Wednesday afternoon I had my shoes. Unfortunately they looked more like something that Charles Barkley would wear than a runner. After a few shorter runs, I was able to try them out on a 4.5 hour run with Eric "the trailmaster" Taft on the muddy trails of the Caribou National forest. The Zoom Trails weigh in at 10.2 ounces but have traction to handle the goop and the slop. They also have a just the right amount flexibility and rock protection. So maybe Phil Knight and crew are onto something-an ugly, functional shoe that gets the job done. Bill Bowerman would be proud.
Photos: Post-run endorphins, Winnie- recently coiffed, Zoom TrailS+.