April 30, 2014

12-hour race: a time for Hoka and nutrition testing

Sometimes when you make a racing schedule far in advance, you turn around and go, what the?! That happened to me right after the Boston Marathon when I realized that this weekend is the 12-hour race that I registered for months ago. Turns out that when you register for things, they actually exist and aren't just something you imagined would be fun in a post-race endorphin euphoria.

Note to everyone: don't register for races within 24 hours of another race. 

I am actually excited about this race as a chance to experiment with some nutrition, clothing, and pacing strategies all leading up to my big goal for 2015: dun, dun, dun ... THE 100 MILER. So far, 12 hours will be my longest time on my feet, an hour and a half longer than my 50 miler in Mississippi. I'm not sure I'll be able to fit in any more miles in the 12 hours because it will be hotter and sunnier, high of 74. Hopefully our 3-mile loop (yes, you read that correctly) will offer lots of shade, but when I did the 50K version of this race last year, it was cold, wet, and overcast. So I'm not sure what the route will be like with the sun to factor in. Either way, it should be a fun day out on the trails with some friends trying to raise money for Camp Smile-a-Mile

If you are interested in supporting a great cause, check out making a donation to this camp. Or if you are feeling like taking a chance, you can donate a per-mile amount for however many miles I fit into my 12 hours. $1, $2? All proceeds go to the kids! Let me know if you are interested in helping out. 

So on to one of the things I'm planning to test on Saturday: shoes. I tried the trail Hokas a while back with the rent-a-shoe program at Mountain High Outfitters. If you want to try before you buy some Hokas, this is the best way to do it. You pay $1 (or was it $2??), and they give you a pair of shoes to try for seven days. They also collect your credit card info just in case you don't bring the shoes back. That means you buy them if you don't bring them back, but if/when you return the shoes, you get your $1 or $2 cash back. So if you bring them back, you actually pay $0 to test them. There is really no better way to try out these shoes.

Test shoe rack at Mountain High Outfitters.

Unfortunately, the one other time that I tried the trail Hokas out, my knees hurt after the run. The Bondi (road) Hokas had the opposite effect on my knees, meaning they felt better, so I was confused and a little sad that my knees hurt after testing the trail version. But I also thought that maybe it was a one-time thing. Maybe my knees were just going to hurt that day. Because I don't want to give up on the idea of trail Hokas, I'm going back in for a second trial. 

Testing out the trail Hokas.

Last time I only took them out for one 5-mile run. Depending on how they feel this Saturday, I could get a lot more miles of testing in. I will bring other shoes too, mainly my new favorite Pearl Izumi N1s. The mesh uppers on these are perfect for when my feet are swelling in later miles.


Speaking of Hokas, here are a few shots of my Bondis after a lot of long runs and a couple of marathons. How many miles exactly? I wasn't tracking, but for me, they still have life left in them.

The trouble spots that I've noticed on these shoes is that there is a lot of wear in the middle of the shoe, like maybe they should use a sturdier material around the mid foot of the sole. 

Also, I recently noticed that the material on the sides, where my toes flex, is starting to tear. 

Here's another shot of the entire bottom of the shoe, so you can see that the upper middle has significantly more wear than other tread on the shoes. 

These two issues were common to friends of mine who had the Hoka Bondis too. The positives of the shoes are that they are really, really comfortable for long runs, and I believe that they helped cushion my legs significantly on long road runs, when I am most susceptible to negative effects of pounding with each step. They also eased some knee pain I was having, but because of the low drop, I would be careful easing into these so that you protect your Achilles. 

Have you tried Hokas? What was the verdict?

Do you wear different brands of shoes for roads vs. trails? 

Have you ever rented shoes other than at a bowling alley?