So…it's been over a month since I last posted. A lot of prep has been going on since my last post and I have to say, it's been awful running this winter in these Alberta conditions. I like to pride myself in the fact I can get in reasonable volume through the long winter but this season has been a big 'ol kick in the junk. That being said, I got in nine 45+K runs since Christmas and I feel my base has been set. Now to step it up for this year's upcoming races. Next week should be a good lead up to some cool events. On Good Friday I will be meeting up with a group of friends in Red Deer and running a quick 50-60K training run in prep for their sub 8hr 100K attempt three weeks later. Both Joe Huising and Oleg Tabelev are stone cold killer runners and what can I say, I just want to be apart of this. This run will be followed up with a dream bucket list run. Thirteen runners, including myself, will be running the r2r2r in the Grand Canyon on May 10th. Organized by Ryan Twa, I'll be running with the likes of Blaine Penny, Duncan Marsden, Adam Campbell and oh yeah a little known guy, Rob Krar, the r2r2r FKT record holder and Ultrarunning Magazine's top male ultra runner in 2013. With all these super cool guys, I'm sure I'll have a blast. My only worry is that the pace might be a bit too quick and being it that Blackfoot 100K is only 2 weeks following I very much have to treat this run like a slow easy training run. Even if I feel I'd like to stretch my legs and keep pace I really, really shouldn't.
I have had the privilege of trying out a couple new products so far this year and both have been an absolute success. First, a number of my running friends have been trying to get me into running in Hoka's maximal shoe technology and I have resisted until now. New Balance have put out their version of the perfect max shoe, the Fresh Foam 980's. Hesitant at first, since the 980's have been my go to shoe for runs over 30K. The difference being that the fatigue in my legs later in long runs are cut by about 25% and the recovery the next day is remarkable. Now, I don't make myself out to be a shoe expert but I definitely know what I like and I love these shoes. The cushioning rating is higher than the Hoka's but don't have as high of a lift. The upper is comfortable. The foot bed is very wide and accommodating, which may be a negative for some but I like to have plenty of play in my shoe. The con - needs more traction for trails and icy paths. These shoes are definitely designed for the roads as the traction would leave me slipping on technical, wet trail.
The other product I've been using is the Salomon S-lab advanced skin hydro 12 set running pack. This pack is a state of the art, light weight, easily accessible unit for longer training runs and races. Surprisingly comfortable this pack flows along with your body's movements. Not that it's really important to me but it looks so damn sweet too. With two wicked soft flasks in the front, space for a two litre bladder in the back and plenty of room to stash everything you'd need and the kitchen sink. The tech/science junkies at Salomon have outdone themselves once again. Big thanks goes out to the best running store around Gord's Running Store for hooking me up with this awesome pack.