...err, Everything Blog.
|Panorama shot overlooking Ogden.|
As the title implies, I'm going to cover a lot of ground in this post, so let's get started.
My last race was several weeks ago at the the Xenia marathon where I forgot how to run a marathon. I felt quite good the day after the race, so I immediately started looking for another marathon to redeem myself in short order. But two things happened that made me change my mind. First of all, my legs didn't bounce back as fast as I thought they were going to and I was tired for a week (imagine that!). Secondly, I decided that I really didn't run that poorly in Xenia. If I had run 2:28 I would have been very pleased. After some research, I think the 20mph headwind the last 11 miles was worth 2 minutes. And if I hadn't gone out in 1:12 for the first half, I believe I could have run 2 minutes faster on the return trip. So, I see a clear path to the 2:28 I thought I could run. Plus, I ran completely alone after 7 miles so it was basically a time trial. Sometimes I think I might be too hard on myself.
|Pretty sweet setup for the Salomon/Suunto crew in Ogden.|
Next up, the Salomon US Trail Team Summit. A couple weeks after the marathon, I had the chance to go on a great trip that involved running, but it wasn't a race. Salomon organized a summit for the US trail team at their headquarters in Ogden, UT and brought us all out for a long weekend. It was so refreshing to go on a running adventure that didn't involve the focus and stress that comes with a race. The Salomon crew took us on some beautiful trail runs just a couple miles from downtown, and I got to know so many of my awesome teammates in a way that wouldn't have been possible at another venue. Of course, Salomon also hooked us up with a ton of great product, and I want to tell you about a few of my personal favorites.
Did you know that Salomon and Suunto are owned by the same parent company? Well, now you do. So my first new toy that I want to talk about is the Suunto Ambit2 S. I've had the original Ambit for almost a year now and it's been a great watch, but it's a bit overkill for your average runner. Suunto realized this and designed the 2S. It gives up some battery life (now 6 hrs) and the barometer/altimeter to become a much slimmer, sleeker, lighter, and less expensive package. It is now a full-featured GPS watch that is comfortable enough to wear as a regular watch. It may be only a few millimeters thinner than the original Ambit, but it fits my wrist so much better. It also has a new GPS chip that seems to be more accurate and consistent than the previous version. If you need the additional battery life and barometer, there are refreshed versions of regular Ambit as well. What's more, Suunto has also completely revamped the Moveslink site and it is also much improved. For these reasons, I highly recommend looking into the Ambit2 S if you are in the market for a new GPS watch.
|Testing out the Advanced Skin S-LAB Belt in Utah.|
Another product I am excited about is the Advanced Skin S-LAB Belt. It is designed to be used with the soft hydrapack water flasks. I have run with a couple different water bottle belts, and they all bounce and slide up to my rib cage. This belt, however, fits comfortably and stays in place quite well. I also like carrying and drinking out of the soft flasks more than I thought I would. Although this belt is a great idea, and I'll be wearing it this year, I'm hesitant to recommend it to the general public just yet. The clip system is a little awkward and it doesn't stay cinched tight as well as I think it should. It needs one more design iteration and it will be great, but I already like it better than anything else I've worn.
|The S-LAB Belt with 2 full flasks. Two in the belt + 1 in the hand = 24oz.|
A quick comment about Salomon's shoes. Building on the success of the Sense, designers introduced the Sense Ultra and Mantra this year. I think these are great shoes that will work better for your average trail runners. I have enjoyed running in the Mantra lately, but I'm not quite ready to race 50 miles in it yet. So I still plan to wear my favorite XT 5's at Ice Age. But there looks to be a lot of nice refreshes coming down the pipe. I haven't run in it yet, but the Fellraiser looks awesome if you need lots of grip in a low-profile shoe. I'm looking forward to running in the XT 6 shoes soon and I got a sneak peak at a big change in the XR Mission that is a little farther out. I'm excited about the future, that's for sure.
|A sneak peak of the XT 6 from runningwarehouse.com|
So, next weekend is Ice Age 50 mile in the Kettle Moraine State Forest of Wisconsin. Should be another very competitive race, but I think it suits me well. I'm told the course is very runnable, but there are some short, steep climbs as well. I hate mentioning names because it's so easy to accidentally overlook someone in a list of 400 entrants, but I'll give it a shot anyway. From the Salomon team we have myself, Matt Flaherty, Glen Redpath, and Cassie Scallon. Other top male contenders that I spotted on the list are Zach Bitter, Scott Breeden, Adam Condit, and Josh Brimhall. I'm not as familiar with the women's field, but I see Denise Bourassa and Melanie Peters who should be able to give Cassie a good race.
My last ultra was in January at Mtn Mist, and it was only 50k, so I'm not exactly sure what to expect. I think I'm in pretty good shape, but I've gone a little light on the ultra-distance long runs during my spring marathon training phase. Luckily, there aren't any big mountain climbs, because I haven't spent much time climbing lately. It should be interesting. But this is why we race though, right?