Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Product Review: Altra Lone Peak 2.5

The first thing about these shoes: Comfortable. So comfortable.

In fact, that will probably be the main theme of this review.

This shoe is rated (by Altra) as Moderate cushioning. But I believe that, although similar, cushioning and comfort aren't exactly the same sensation in this shoe.

I'm wearing this shoe right now. I'm sitting here typing, I get up now and then to pee or hassle my cats or something. But I'm wearing this shoe around, in the house. Instead of being barefoot on our nice carpet, I'm wearing this shoe. It's comfortable!

I'm pretty damn sure though that Altra didn't design this shoe for domestic Adonises to sit around in. They designed it for trail running.

And out on the's comfortable.

Descending a little hill at The Hulk.

Other than my Vibrams, all my trail shoes are of the traditional shape with a narrow pointed Toe Box. One of Altra's points is the ability of the toes to splay in a natural manner with each successive landing to push off. So they have a huge toe box. They almost look like a clown shoe.

Krusty the Klown feet.

I don't have big fat feet. I've never noticed my toes getting squished in my traditional shaped shoes. However, I do feel the difference. And I get it. I get what Altra is doing here.
It's not only comfortable but biomechanically more in stride with what your foot would do if running barefoot.
This is a Zero Drop shoe. That means from heel to forefoot, there is the same amount of material between your foot and the ground. Traditional shoes have varying amounts of "Drop" where the heel is higher than the forefoot. The Zero Drop concept is also biomechanically more in stride with barefoot running.
Do you see what Altra is going for here?
The concept is to protect your feet with a shoe, yet still run the way evolution developed us to run. 

There's even a foot shaped pattern on the sole. Neat. 

If you look at that picture above, you can see the tread pattern. It's not super aggressive is it? But not every shoe has to be built like a crampon. Although I didn't ever slip out, I didn't feel as secure in these as I would have liked. And that may have been due to them having such a unique feel and fit. Again though, I never slipped out, climbing or descending.

I didn't take them mudding. Or into any puddles. This shoe is definitely not meant for that kind of ordeal. This shoe is meant for standard trail running. We don't have any rock gardens on our trail. Which is a drag as I think this shoe would stick pretty well.

Speaking of rocks. I did kick one out on my run the other day. And after getting up I looked at my shoe, ya know, to make sure there was no damage. And there's a this neat little rubber piece right at the top of the shoe that helps protect against just this thing.

Follow the stick.

With a 25mm stack height, these puppies make you an inch taller. But with that 25mm is more protection if you do happen to step on anything kind of sharp. Which of course I did. Some random rock or root, and although conscious that I had stepped on it, it didn't hurt or even change my stride.

Notice the 25mm in this shot?

There is some really nice arch support in this sneaker. I don't have high, low, fallen or any other kind of issue in my arches, but I think if you do have weird arches, you will notice and possibly be uncomfortable in these. For me though, very comfortable.

Because of the unique shape of this shoe, I had to use a modified lacing system. (You can scroll up to the picture of Krusty the Klown feet to see.) With the normal lacing pattern I had a hard time keeping the shoe tight enough across my foot, this pattern allows me to lock the laces down pretty tight. Now my foot doesn't shift inside the shoe at all.
On a funny side note, the lacing holes don't really have grommets, they're painted on.

Gator Trap. Not like an alligator, but the gators people wear over there shoes. It's essentially a Velcro tab on the back of the shoe to lock your gator into place. Am I spelling gator correctly?

Pardon the lint stuck in the Velcro.

I don't own any gators. However, Heather has used her gators and Altras on a few occasion and says this is a great feature.

Altra is pretty huge on the Ultra and trail running scene right now, and I understand why. This is pretty cool shoe. They retail for about 120 bucks, about the norm for any quality running shoe.

Please note that although there is cushion in here, it is still a Zero Drop shoe. This kind of shoe takes a bit of getting used to. Your stride will probably change and your calves are probably going to hurt a bit. If you decide to go Zero Drop, do some shorter runs to get used the changes. And it's never a bad idea to talk with your local running store about running in this kind of shoe.

Right now, I'm pretty happy with these. I'm going to beat the hell out of them a bit more and try to post an update in a few months.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Race Review: Myrtle Beach Marathon

First, the abbreviated version:

It was 26.2 miles. It was flat. I got some swag. My feet hurt afterwards.

Donut did not come with the swag.

Now a little more detail.

Many of my running events here in Myrtle have been due to knowing excellent people and some good karma.
The Myrtle Beach Marathon is one such event. (Thank you Wiki #42, Down-Downs for us both.)

The MBM (that's what we'll be calling this event now, MBM) started at the Pelican Stadium here in town.

The Pelican Stadium is directly across the street from a large retail center known as Broadway At The Beach. So parking (often an issue at some events) was pretty tit. This is huge plus as I've heard of having to be bussed to some races. Bullocks.

This is a pretty big marathon, by the way. Not Boston big, but still a few thousand runners. It's nice to know there's that many people that like to run.

We were able to get a pretty convenient parking space so I was able to sit in the nice warm car until about 10min before my 6:30 gun time. I don't like being cold. It was around 40 some odd degrees at the start. Too cold, too cold, too cold. I'm wearing sweat pants and a hoody. Too cold.

Heather finally made me get out of the car at 6:20 as she was there to see some of her running group off for the 13.1 (also 6:30 gun time). Dedicating her own personal time, she leads the running club at the gym she works at. She's taken at least 3 runners there Couch to 13.1 in four months. All sub 2:30!

I know many people do, but I don't get pre-race jitters. I do however have a pretty active digestive system. So I need to use the porta-jons whenever there's an opportunity. Our walk in brought us past a small cluster of shitters where I kissed Heather adieu to go do her thing while I queued up at the head.

Well, guess who missed to starting gun?
Ya. That's me in the bright orangey pinkish shirt on the right. Very last starter of the marathon.

At least I didn't have to hear the National Anthem for the billionth time.

I mentioned this was a pretty big marathon. Weaving my way through the milling throngs was pretty interesting. I am not fast, it wasn't like I had to work my way up to 3hr pace group, but I am faster than the 13.1 walkers. It's always a bit hairy at the start of any event.

I only passed one or two idiots listening to their music without headphones. I hate those people. Common courtesy is such a lost concept these days.

The marathon route:

Courtesy of Myrtle Beach Marathon

Why the hell would I type out the route when I can show you a map?
I will describe to you a bit however, in particular order.

Ocean Boulevard is the main drag in downtown Myrtle Beach. We ran along that for quite a few miles. It's nice, but honestly, you cant really see the beach very well. There's hotels and houses and shit between you and the beach. I'm not knocking it, just saying don't think this is ocean front.

We ran through some ghetto-y parts of Myrtle too. Nothing where I was afraid of getting shot! But the kind of area that makes me really glad that Heather and I do have what we have.

We ran along some nice bike path, in fact I'm pretty damn sure we ran the opposite direction on the same path in the Mini back in October.

Along the route there were sporadic musicians and/or speakers playing tunes. Even though I personally hate 99.9% of any music you'll hear, it was helpful in breaking up the mileage. And it was really great of the musicians to come out and play on a chilly morning.
There was one band though!! It was the last band on the route (I think), was it at Oleander and 48th? Who cares, but they were playing Cherry Pie by Warrant. Right on. (Ya, it's a silly song, but it's Hair Metal not country or rap, so it's a win.)

Here's a link to Uncle Tom's Cabin by Warrant. Way better song.

Every two miles there were water stops. Plenty of friendly volunteers handing out water and PowerAde. There was food at some of the later stops, but nothing until well past the half way.

Three singles and a deuce. The porta-jon placement on course was definitely adequate for my needs.

The finish corral was very well done I thought. There was plenty of space for the many spectators and of course that wonderful vibe you get when finishing a marathon. I was too busy looking around for Heather to notice too much, but there were some banners/flags and such hanging about. Nice finish line.

After finishing I got my medal from a very confused teenage girl (I probably frightened her somehow), then made my way through the food tent. Apples, chips, PowerAde, H2O, bagels, the usual.

There's never enough food at Road events.

I wasn't really prepared for this event. Ya ya, I've been running, but all on trail and nothing over 10miles since One Epic Run back in December. I also ran in brand new shoes...So this marathon pretty much beat the hell out of me.
There was a big festival area at the finish. I was just too cold and beaten, Heather had the boys, so I didn't check it out.
And I feel almost an injustice to both myself and the festival for not participating, but I know a lot of my friends enjoyed it. And had beer! That I missed!
The House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach offered an After Party which I also did not attend. Although it sounded fun, it was too far of a drive me personally.

The MBM was part of great weekend that also included a Family Fun Run (1mile) and a night time 5k (both sold separately). All the festivities were centered around Broadway and/or the stadium. And the Fun Run takes participants through the aquarium.


You can rego for the 2017 MBM soon for only 65 bones. Which isn't really too bad a of price. But I did hear the 2016 race cost 130 a week or two before the race. So if you want a positive Myrtle Beach experience, rego early, book a hotel and spend the weekend.