Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Shoe review and motivation

UltraRunning from Matt Hart on Vimeo.

Here's a video that Matt Hart put together for a presentation that he and Sean Meisner did at the Mountain Hardwear store in Seattle. Great video footage. If this doesn't get your blood pumping, you're not a trail runner.

I've been curious about the new Montrail Mountain Masochist shoes and got a chance to try them out for free. They were sent to me from Montrail as part of a promotional deal I won on Facebook. I didn't have to write a review of them or anything, but I'm going to anyway.

Ever since my surgery, my running has been sporadic at best. The knee has been healing, but since I wasn't sure what it could and could not handle, I've been taking it fairly gingerly. Most of my runs had been 8 miles or less at one time and never back to back. Also, I have been running in the Brooks Cascadia which I thought were awesome until I got my new Mountain Masochists hereafter referred to as MMs.

These shoes are amazing. It's been a long time since I've loved a shoe this much (if ever) and I've waited a whole 3 runs so far to report on them.

In the past, I've always worn more protective shoes with a good bit of cushion, but most of the Montrails that I've worn have been really stiff. Mainly the Continental Divides and older Hardrocks. I also briefly wore the Odessey, but that shoe just wasn't for me.

The new MMs seem to be a cross between the Highlander and the Streak. The Streak doesn't work for me because it's too neutral. I need a little more pronation control and arch support and this shoe has just the right amount of both for me. It's also much more cushiony than I thought a 10 oz shoe would be. I figured it would be another minimalist shoe that I wouldn't be able to put many miles on at once like the Fireblade or Raceblade from LaSportiva, but that's not the case with the MMs.

They have enough cushion support and rock protection to allow for technical trails, long miles, and won't hold you back when you want to let loose and go fast.

My first run in them to break them in was a 10 miler on rolling hills and it was the first time in a long time that I actually felt like a runner! The past few months (2 yrs?) I've muddled through runs and forced my way through some miles, but wasn't able to get into a rythm or feel good during it. This run was different a little over halfway into it. After I got past the inital stiffness and achy knees during the warm-up, I decided to push the pace up a little on a flat gradual uphill section and see how they felt. The remainder of the run (~7 mi) I didn't need to slow down.

Heel cup slippage has been a problem for me in past Montrail shoes which I've been able to remedy with the power loop, but Montrail has redesigned the heel cup and it doesn't seem to be a problem with this shoe. It has a snug fitting heel cup and a fairly wide toe box. So much so, that I thought it might be TOO roomy for me, but after cinching up the laces, the shoe conforms nicely to my foot and I still have room for foot expansion when it swells after some longer miles.

Another thing that I noticed about these shoes that I've never noticed about any other shoe is the traction. The MMs are noticeably very grippy in every condition I've been in so far with them. I ran 11.3 miles of intervals in a little mud and technical trails with wet rocks on Tuesday and was comfortable and confident with every step.

On a side note, after tuesday's run, my right achilles felt done for the week. Some of the intervals I was doing was up some hills and it may have been too much too soon, but after stretching it out some all day Wednesday, I decided that I needed another few miles on semi-tired legs so I did another 9.2 miles for a back to back workout.

Yesterday's run (on the heels of Tuesday's intervals) was more than I could have hoped for. Even with the new shoes, I fully expected to suffer through as many miles as I could handle before walking or limping back to the car, but that wasn't the case. After the first 2 miles, I was able to put it in cruise mode and did the last 7 miles between an 8 and 8:30 min/mile pace. I felt so good that I was on a high the rest of the evening. Only mild stiffness in the achilles and some mild discomfort and minor swelling in the knee.

Maybe it was just the right time to turn up some training now that my body is (maybe?) ready for it or maybe it was the magic shoes, but either way, I'm a happy trail runner again!

In case you can't tell, I love my new shoes!

1 comment:

The Cipolla Family said...

Wow, I've never seen or heard of anyone so turned on by little heal cup slippage or wide toe boxes. More power to ya buddy!