Saturday, 15 December 2012

Closing out the year in hot water--Shoes and the Dirty Feet Challenge

I have an admission to make, publicly.

I have a problem.

I am addicted...... running shoes. I love them. I love the look, the different feel each shoe provides, the traction, the weight of them. It is my long term addiction. Running has taken top spot in my activities due to the crap inclement weather/ rainy season that ruins bike parts and wheels. I don't like to ride in this sh*t, so I might as well run in the pouring rain. I do not mind that as long as my hands, head, and feet are toasty. But I digress.

This addiction hearkens back to my obsessions post, quite a while back. I have been busted, a number of times, by my wife, on smuggling a new set of minimal or trail runners into the house, and conveniently hiding them for a long while before they make an appearance.

This is not the first thing I have been busted for. There was that mountain bike that made a surprise appearance in the garage a number of years ago. I guiltily snuck it in, and did not have the heart to even ride it for the first few days. All worked out, I sold my other bike and some parts and it was a break even effort.
But now, this is getting out of hand.

I love running shoes.

I love running in a variety of shoes.

Kinda like taking out a different bike, or driving a different vehicle for the appropriate conditions. I mean, it is all about the right tool for the job. And this month, I need a lot of tools. For example, I would not ride my road bike in the Watershed, nor would I enjoy taking my mountain bike across town to run errands. Some Many things were designed for a specific purpose. I like to have a quiver of those things.

I have tried very hard to get my hands on some Salomon Speedcross 3s that actually fit my feet. The last set in a size 13 were not for me, as they pinched and blistered my toes, and did not generally agree with me at all. They were more like a 12 or a 12.5 instead of a regular size 13. Granted, I wore them up 25kms up Singing Pass with no issues, but subsequent runs were death to my feet. The 67 or so kms that I put in them left me liking the grip and the lightweight feel. I could also tell that the cushioning for ultra's and distance trail running/ racing would be perfect--as long as it was off the pavement due to the soft lugs on the sole. Those tend to wear down super quickly when worn on road.

So on to the size 14. The search began.

Problem: Salomon rarely makes a 14 in the Speedcross, unlike in the Crossmax and the XT wings, the later a shoe I was recently busted for smuggling into the house back in the summer. When the family was looking for a box to make train Christmas costumes out of cardboard boxes for school, the contraband was found. I officially now own a set of XT Wings 2, not just the shameful mistress pair that I was hiding in the garage. I must credit Salomon West Vancouver for those ones, and my own selfishness for keeping them a secret.

Then one day a month ago, after diligently searching Salomon retailers across Canada--West Van., Niagara, Toronto, and Montreal, I had all but given up on finding them locally from a number of specialty running shoe stores. The Salomon warehouse suggested that they would be in stock in late spring. I was resigned to play the waiting game.

Until magically, a search on had resulted in a set of Speedcross 3 CS, size 14! Without a hesitation, I snapped them up. They are now in a box in the garage. The XT Wings are dirty and in proper rotations, the Speedcross 3, waiting in the wings until they will be called into duty for the winter races coming up in 2013. To train for those races from January to April, I am doing something this month that I have never done before.

For December, I have taken up the Dirty Feet Challenge: Run one mile a day at least, for the whole month. I have modified my plan from one mile. Jason Fluckiger, my DE teammate, convinced me to modify the challenge when I told him about it. He, without saying anything, sort of scoffed at the idea of one mile, as if it was not a real challenge at all. I was (perhaps insulted is not the correct word, but) taken aback by his reaction. If you are a runner, you know that one mile rarely means only one mile, and running 31 days in a row, without rest days, can be a tough thing. But Jason's non-comment got me to thinking "perhaps I am capable of more?"

So I upped it. To run at least 10kms a day.

I really am curious with how my body will respond to the added stress. Will I get stronger? Will I weaken and break a bone? Will I get PF? How will I get a run in on Christmas day? Will I be running like a bullet after all is said and done? All of these questions are on the forefront as I attempt this little challenge. I hope that I have a HUGE base to start 2013 with, after running at least 310 kms for the month.

I rarely run back to back days, and never have I run more than 7 in a row. I kept that streak alive today, by running my 11th day straight, for 154kms. I figure that training for my next ultra is going to be hard with all the added elevation needed to survive and thrive. So far, the body is a bit tired, but feeling good after I have managed to kick the hell out of my Mono-mimic-ing virus. I am pumped to run long and fast, and Sean is killing me on the runs as he trots out a perfect gait, steadily hammering me on the uphills. He is running like a star right now--best he has ever run, and he is injury free to boot.

Here is the stats for the first 15 days this month:

Back to the shoes...I have honestly and truly come clean to Lori-Ann about all shoes purchased, and she has graciously allowed me to sleep back in the house. The crawl space was getting a bit cramped, and I kept bumping my head. At least that is where I felt like I should have been for not being honest to my love. She has been a loving, forgiving, rational spouse. Honesty is the best policy. Always.

I am looking forward to breaking out those sick shoes and running up the miles on them. They all get used, worked, and worn out. Next on my list are a set of Kinvara's, New Balance XC X700 spikes, the Winter New Balance MT110, and the NB MT1010. Or the NB Leadville. I have a list of shoes. I had better get running...and get a second job.

Thanks to Phil and Grace from Dirty Feet for putting this challenge up for a second year in a row. I look forward to finishing up strong, and starting 2013 in the best running shape ever to meet my goals!