Sunday, March 8, 2009

Eagle Creek Trail Run and Product Suggestion

Earlier today, I had the honor and pleasure to share an awesome trail run with some fellow Project folks. Today's run was not a formal Eagle Creek Adventure and I only invited current Project Grads and Recruits, so I expected the turnout to be small. In fact, there were 4 of us up for the challenge of completing 1, 2, or maybe even 3 loops of what Joe now calls "Chris' Loop", which is a loop I pieced together last year that covers around 4.9 miles and takes you through a variety of terrain and scenic spots in the park.

Rad (in baseball cap and sweatshirt) completed a full lap with us, then Joe (yellow jersey), Carrie (red jersey), and I completed an abbreviated lap so Carrie could go a little longer before getting back to her Sunday errands. Finally, Joe and I continued on for another 30 minutes before calling it a day. All-in-all, I think Joe and I were on our feet for around 2 1/2 hours.

From the feedback thus far, I think everyone had a great time; I know I sure did! Sorry if you missed this run, especially if you stayed home because of the weather; it was perfect!

Pam, the best support crew ever, showed up and snapped the "before" pictures for us and went for a trail hike. Of course she also came back to offer us some refreshments and encouragement after our first lap. Thanks, Pam the Blam!

Also, a shout out to Coaches Cooper and Singleton who we saw on the trail and ran with for a while.

Product Suggestion: "Dirty Girl Gaiters"
Yup, you read correct - "Dirty Girl Gaiters", I know the name is more than eyebrow raising and dudes might be a little reluctant to purchase and wear something by this name, yet if you are a runner who gets tired of running with pebbles, mulch, sand, small rodents, and other crud in your shoes, then get over yourself and get a pair (or two) of these things.

Since last season, I've been looking into getting some gaiters. If you aren't up to speed on gaiters, at the most basic level, they are things that wrap around your shoe upper and ankle and keep debris from getting into your shoe on a hike or trail run. More advanced versions are made from heavy fabrics and may even be Gore-Tex water proof. I really didn't' want anything that technical, plus they can run upwards of $50.

I came across and read up on them. The reviews I found and the online forum buzz about them was all "thumbs up", plus with a cost of only $15 (including shipping), I figured they were worth a shot. You can select from a variety of patterns such as "Wild Thang", "DFL (Dead F-ing Last), and "Lime Gaiteraide Hurl". I went with "DNF (Did Not Finish)". I mean, come on, a black background with white skulls, how could I not pick DNF?

The website can be a little confusing, as their links/tabs have names that can throw you off. For example, to check out the patterns and place an order, you go to the link, "My Empire of Dirt" (a great line in the Nine Inch Nails song "Hurt", by the way...), and the play on words may be offensive to some, such as "My Dirty Pictures", or "My Dirty Little Thoughts". If you can get past that, it's all good.

I placed my order in the evening and they were shipped out the next day, so that was a thumbs up in the customer service department. The "installation process" is super easy and every thing you need is provided. You just stick a piece of Velcro to the rear of your shoe, let it adhere for 12-24 hours and you are good to go. You put the gaiter on, put on your sock and shoe, hook the front of the gaiter to your shoe lace, Velcro it in the back and off you go.
These gaiters provide no water proofing or water resisting; not what they are designed to do. What I can tell you is that they do keep stuff that should not be in your shoes out, and they are virtually weightless and breathable. I can see using these even on really hot days and posing no problem whatsoever. In fact, I've seen pictures of people using them in the Badwater Ultramarathon, where temps often get over 110 degrees!
While some trail runners might not have an issue with getting stuff in their shoes, I do. Seems like within the first mile of every trail run, I've picked up a piece of mulch, a pebble, or something that I have to deal with the rest of the run. This is no big deal on an hour or less run, yet beyond that it's an unnecessary distraction and waste energy. Worse, on wet runs, I often end up with small pebbles, sand and grit, which combined with the water essentially ends up wet sanding the soles of my feet. Not with these baby's. Even with a few mud puddles or crossings, after today's run I took off my shoes and nothing came out that wasn't in there when I put my shoes on. I'm in love and my only regret is that I didn't order at least 2 pair.
Let me know if you get some and what you think of them.

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