Last night I attended the spring 2012 Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) Fun Run!
I know for sure I did the summer run last year, where we chowed down on ice cream afterward. This time we all met up at Pine Lane and ran the Valley and Buckeye Trails. Food wasn’t on the agenda, but they did host a raffle. For $10 you had your shot at winning a variety of prizes. Everything from Salomon shoes, to Vibram FiveFingers, SmartWool socks, gift certificates and other goodies. I didn’t bring any money because none of those options overly appealed to me on first thought. Then I discovered Marshall and he was there representing Salomon and runners were able to test shoes!
|The bins of possible Salomon choices, already picked over|
|My choice: Salomon Speedcross 3. A one night stand I wish was something more…|
When the shoes hit my feet I was instantly in love and intrigued. I immediately regretted not having money and Guy told me they could give me a “loan” and I could pay after the race. Feeling lucky (after not being picked for nuun’s HTC team, I had to have some luck, right?) I went for it and filled out a ticket. The first thing they raffled was the pair of Salomons! I did not win. Then they began to raffle the socks. My heart sank as I prepared to collect socks I would never wear as I’m allergic to SmartWool. Again, my name wasn’t called. OK now I’m rather bummed because I wasted donated 10 hard earned dollars. Wait, what’s this? I forgot about the vibram shoes? They’re giving away two different pairs? Hmmm. Suddenly, I heard my name! Yes! Yes I did! It was my name! I won a pair of shoes.
|Vibram fivefinger sprint. My awesome prize! $10 well spent.|
I walked over to a SUV trunk full of shoes (ha, but seriously) and it was explained to me the shoes weren’t new, they were returns or some such thing, but were clean. Marshall promised me only minimal foot fungus. Anxiously I awaited him to seek a pair of shoes perfect for the trail. Being a collection of random shoes though, I mostly hoped for something in my size. Trail shoes were not in the cards, but they did have a pair of Sprints in my size and they were in black too! I gladly accepted my prize and look forward to wearing them. Possibly even doing some road miles. As soon as I was done with my selection it was time for the group to get going.
We had three routes to pick from. 1) 2.8 miles, where we went out on the Valley trail and came back on the Buckeye using old Route 303 as the turn around. 2) 3.5 miles using the same trials for a loop, but coming back at Boston Rd. 3) 6.0 miles using I don’t know because I didn’t do that option.
Gale and I opted for 3.5. When we arrived at the first turn around option, we felt strong enough for the mid grade. 50% of this route was on my favorite section of the Buckeye, so I was a happy camper. Not to mention I was keeping a good pace! 14-ish for the first mile, 15, 15, 15 for all the others. When all was said and done I completed 3.8ish miles in 58ish minutes.
At the very start of the run I was trying to sprint past people to catch up with Gale. I surprised myself with how quickly I was able to run. Gale is recovering from a chest cold, so I take it with a grain of salt I was able to keep up with her. When my quads hurt at the end she did “leave me” for all of the 30 second left on the route, but only because I said it wasn’t a big deal. It felt awesome to be out on the trails, running and talking with one of my best friends. I’ve missed all of is so much these past few months. Yes, she was with me at Fool’s, but that wasn’t running. This was us both being in our element. Additional pluses? My feet did not go numb, my legs did not cramp in the calves. Also, not once did I stop to check my pulse. I was simply one with the event.
Reflecting on my shoes, I noticed they provided amazing traction. I felt steady on the down hills, even with a lot of loose sand/dirt and roots. My feet felt supported and protected from the ground, but I was still in tune with nature and could navigate by sense and not luck. When climbing over trees and jumping down there was not a sharp and shocking impact with the ground. A few times we crossed water and I willingly went right into the stream. My feet were not flooded, my feet were not cold or numb afterward and there was not a lingering feeling of moisture. Climbing up hills was also a good experience. Often I find my foot cramps or I put weird pressure on my arch based on a shoe being too stiff or unforgiving. I did not have this issue tonight. The 8mm (I think that’s what it is) drop is half way between a typical shoe and the 4mm “minimal” I like to run in. It fit the bill perfectly for when I want a shoe, without all the extra weight. In fact, I was amazed on the limited road sections how I didn’t feel like I was running with bricks glued to my ankles.
Mind you I only wore them for 4 miles and on one night, but generally I can tell right away if I am going to be unhappy with a shoe and many times I can tell if I’ll love it. Two final practical notes. The lacing system is awesome! It’s a pull-string set up. Not the real word….it’s actually Quicklace tm. This kept pressure off my toes and forefoot and allowed me to not worry about needing to stop and tie them. The extra lace can be tucked into a mesh pocket on the tongue, meaning no troubles with tripping either.
|ROJ and the Salomons…a match made in heaven.|
I’m super picky about my shoes. I’m super sensitive about my feet. I loved these shoes. Above and beyond all else I can simply state I felt supported, but not restricted. Now despite my best efforts I was not allowed to keep the shoes, nor did I attempt to steal a pair. I did point out how the shoes were obviously meant to be with me as they matched my shirt…totally unplanned…but that did not faze my dear Marshall. We did have a great chat about PR and how companies love bloggers. We love them too! So Salomon if you read this…want to hook me up with a pair for further testing and review? I’m am active ultra runner training for a 100K. I use every form of social media and then some…I’ll show you the love, K?