Showing posts with label Trail Lizard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trail Lizard. Show all posts

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Cascadia 8's take on Stillwell Woods

A happy sight
Today's run (Stillwell Woods): 4.1 miles 

Although I bought my Brooks Cascadia 8's with the intention of using them as casual shoes, I couldn't resist taking them to Stillwell this morning. I have a perfectly nice pair of Helly Hansen Trail Lizards that have been my primary trail shoe over the past few years. Even so, I was curious to see how the Cascadias performed on Stillwell's tough trails.

The Cascadia 8
It's been over a month since I've done any type of trail running, so I was excited to hit the trail head leading into Stillwell Woods. The Cascadia's fit is generous for my shoe size, and I was concerned that it might create some lateral instability. Within a minute of my start, I could tell that would not be an issue.

The first thing I noticed about the shoes was the rock plate that provided less flexibility than the lighter weight Trail Lizards. On the positive side, I was able to plant my foot anywhere on the trail without concern for the jarring impact of roots and rocks. I normally need to step gingerly along certain areas at Stillwell, but the Cascadias absorbed everything in their path.

I didn't get adventurous enough to test vertical ascents out of the Viper Pit today, but I had no problems with the steep, scree covered sections that I encounter along my usual loop. Once I became confident that the Cascadias could handle any terrain, I shifted focus from watching the trail to enjoying the sights. That nearly cost me a face plant when my toe caught a high root and I almost went down. I was glad to have quickly restored my balance and suddenly grateful for the substantial toe guard.

The temperature was a few degrees higher than yesterday, but the tree cover kept me cool throughout the run. The Stillwell caretakers had recently trimmed the high grass adjacent to the single track that runs around the open field. That was great. When that grass gets high, it presents a real tick concern.

Overall, I ran easy and kept my heart rate between 81-84% of max. It was nice to be back in the woods and I appreciated the way the Cascadias performed. I'm thinking about adding more trail runs to my schedule while the weather remains cool. It's been a long time since I ran the Dirty Sock course in Babylon, so that might be a nice change of venue for my next outing.

I got my signed release form in the mail from my doctor yesterday and I'm now able to use my company's fitness center. Not that I love treadmills, but they have very nice equipment. Best of all, they have showers, so no more post-workout towel downs with Wet Ones, like I used to have to do at my old office.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A difficult run on a cold winter's day

H/H Trail Lizards -- great on snow - not so much on the road

Today's run (street): 3.8 miles

My streak of energizing, feel-good runs was broken today with a 3.8 mile run that felt much longer. I was surprised to hit the wall so hard on this relatively short run. Learning from yesterday's experience, I wore my Helly Hansen Trail Lizards because there is still much snow and ice (and ice covered snow) on the roads. Things started out well, I moved right along, hardly slowing down for the snowy-icy patches. The Helly's provided great grip and stability over these areas for the most part though there were some spots that I preferred to dodge rather than run straight though.

My first hint of trouble happened on my first turn into the westerly winds that made the 18 degree temperatures feel much colder. I really wished at that moment that I'd worn my balaclava. On top of the force of the wind, the touch of my glasses against my face grew increasingly uncomfortable. Once I turned another corner that problem fell away and I felt like the worst was over since my body was warmed up, making straight-on winds less of an issue from that point. That much was true and I progressed well but I started to get tired as I neared the 25 minute mark. It may have been the cold or the fact that the Helly's don't run very well on pavement but I began to experience signs of bonking.

My level of effort (using the Daily Mile 1-5 scale) moved quickly from two to three to almost four in a period of five minutes and I decided to re-point my route back towards my home. Despite this difficulty I forced myself to maintain a reasonably fast cadence and came in with a respectable mid-9 overall pace. The runs today and yesterday were not typical street runs as the snow, ice and slush made them more trail-like. Perhaps it was the harder work coming from running the Trail Lizards on the road instead of the trail where they shine. It doesn't matter why, only that today's run was tough and hopefully the next one will be better. Even as I slogged through the difficult last mile I thought to myself how much I loved this crazy sport.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Our natural resource

Nature was the theme of the day on Friday as the whole family headed out to the trails at Stillwell for a forestry tour conducted by none other than Adventure Girl herself. My wife and kids often visit the nearby trails for hikes but they wanted to know more about the forest, plants and trees. It was a different way of viewing Stillwell which I have previously seen only while bounding over trails, roots, puddles and rocks. We had a great time and learned a lot along the way.

After the tour my family returned home to look up the samples they collected. AG and I remained at the Preserve to do some serious trail running. I'm planning to run the Dirty Sock 10K in August so I'm trying to log some trail time. AG may join me in the race although she'll be back at grad school by then so it may be hard for her to get there. We brought along the Qstarz 1300S Sports Recorder so we could record our run and later view the area we covered on a map. Stillwell has lots of trails, some with fairly challenging sections and the layout of the trails can be confusing when you're viewing them from the ground rather than from Google Earth. I had my compass and that helped a lot. AG has a much better sense of place and direction and was able to identify some trails that we'd previously covered. The last time I ran that course I'd suspected that I was circling back over old ground a few times and now I'm sure I had. We wore our Helly Hansen Trail Lizards for a true field test and liked the result. The full report is being written for Runner's Tech Review but, in short, we felt they were capable trail shoes for shorter length runs like the 4 miles we covered yesterday.

AG stayed with us until this morning and we did a 5K+ neighborhood run cutting into neighborhood #2 along the way. Today's run was at a fairly easy pace and served as a good recovery from the rigor of Stillwell. AG wore her Helly's and pronounced them less than ideal for the street. That was the conclusion I'd also reached the first time I tried them on pavement. Before AG left us for more weekend adventures she engaged in some competitive Wii play with my son and daughter. I don't remember who won but any of them can beat me. It was a great, educational and fun filled running weekend. The best part is that there's much more to come!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

First impression - Helly Hansen Trail Lizards

I've patiently waited all week for the opportunity to try my new Helly Hansen Trail Lizard running/hiking shoes so I put them to the test this morning. We will be posting a full review in the coming weeks on Runner's Tech Review but I'll give some first impressions here.

Today's run was at Stillwell Woods Preserve that has many different trail conditions and surfaces. I started with a run across grass from where I parked my car to the trail head and noted that although I'd requested size 10.5 shoes they seemed very roomy in the toe box and at the heel compared with my Brooks, New Balance and Asics shoes that are also in that size. The generous toe box didn't concern me. I'd rather error on the side of it being too large versus being too tight. The heel was a concern because of stability and slippage that could lead to blisters. It wasn't pronounced and I had good socks so that didn't prove to be a problem.

I followed the paths I knew but quickly found myself in unfamiliar territory. I skirted some big muddy sections then came upon some steep inclines with large rocks and I put the shoes to the test. The challenge was well met, no issues with traction. I would have liked more support and snugness around the back but the shoes themselves felt more stable than I'd expected. I can also see using these shoes for straight trail hiking. I dodged a number of bikers along the way and encountered some very rough terrain with pronounced inclines and declines, the surface often consisting of rough sand and rock. I had no trouble with that but the shoes really felt good when I found a trail of hard packed dirt. The running there was a pleasure and I think these shoes compared favorably to the New Balance 460's in that respect.

I had a very small compass (the face was smaller than a dime) so I needed to stop a few times to get a read. I spent some time getting lost and with the hills I got very tired and took a couple of short rest breaks. At one point I crossed paths with a mountain biker who was also a bit lost so I looked at the compass and sent him toward the difficult trails that he wanted and headed off to complete my run. As I exited the trails I ran on grass but then cut over to the pavement to get a feel for running on the street. Here I saw a big difference between these shoes and the NB's as the Helly Hansens are clearly made for softer surfaces. I ended up running 5.2 miles, much of it up steep trails, and the Trail Lizards handled it all competently. The big test was how I felt after the run and I was happy to note there was no foot or leg pain and my biggest current concern, a slight groin pull, felt much better at mile 5 than it did at mile zero. Trail running is clearly kinder to my body than street running but I love them both. I'll be writing more about the Trail Lizards, my next test will be to face them off against the NB 460's over similarly rough terrain.

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