December 22, 2009

Chicagoans Are Too Proactive

Avatar Review
Before I get into the point of this post, I thought I would give my review of the movie for those of you interested. We went and saw the 3-D version, and a lot of my opinion is based on that fact...

3D: The beginning was cool, but after a while (it was 3 hours long!) you just got used to the 3D element. It wasnt a big deal. I actually would/could have forgotten I was watching a 3D movie if it wasnt for the glasses. They got a bit uncomfortable and cumbersome after a while. And my husband, who doesnt wear glasses, found they became a bit restrictive as well! At our theater, we had to pay more to view the 3D version ... I'm gonna say it wasnt worth the couple of extra bucks.

Plot: I have seen some negative reviews about the plot, mainly the idea that there really wasnt one. I do think there was a plot, but it was definitely simplistic. You could guess the ending within the first 10 minutes of the movie. Still, I didnt find the plot to be an issue ... just dont expect some sort of thriller, mindtwister or life-altering story. There was also some need for additional explanations here and there - which were probably originally in the movie but had to be cut because of the length!

Length: Yes, it was three hours. Aside from having to pee during the movie (which I generally do during every movie) I didnt find myself getting bored or fidgity. The three hours went by pretty fast.

The James Cameron Effect:The scenes in the movie were amazing. Everything was bigger and better than I generally have seen in anything else. In the movie Titanic there was one, massive, impressive, boat. In this movie, everything was Titanic. The characters, the scenes, the background. James Cameron has a way of making things big and beautiful, and he certainly did in Avatar :)

Overall Rating: I'd give the movie a "B". It was pretty awesome, but the plot was a bit predictable. I guess that isnt super suprising, but I think to get an "A" you have to have great plot in addition to all the fancy-schmancy other stuff.

The Point Of This Post
We got home after the movie a bit earlier than expected. Brooke was still napping and my husband was home, so I pondered ... should I go for a run? The issue was, I had just finished a latte and marble loaf from Starbucks. And not long before that I had popcorn and a Coke at the movie. Essentially, I had a belly full of garbage and a lot of caffeine.

Due to the contents in my stomach, it would seem like running would be a dumb idea, but I dont always have a window of opportunity like that. In addition, it was pretty warm out (30's) and had been snowing all day. I figured it would be a great time for a short run so that I can try out the Yaktrax. So I weighed the good and the bad and admitted that I frequently run with a bunch of garbage in my stomach. In the end, I decided to go.

I started off with my SmartWool socks, in case it was wet out there ... so my feet didnt freeze.

Followed up with my Mizunos.

And then the Yaktrax.

On a scale of 1-5, I'd say they were a 4. I decided to try to put them on without the instructions, to check how idiot-proof they were. I got them on really easy, but they looked funny. I asked my husband if they looked funny, and he agreed. I had put them on backwards. The negative thing here is that they went on easily backwards and thats why I gave them a "4". They actually went on easy both ways and if I had read the directions I wouldnt have put them on backwards in the first place. Perhaps I am an idiot, but I'm subtracting a point for the fact that the Yaktrax themselves are not clearly labeled with a "front" or "back" or something along that line to make it easy for those of us who know better than any directions could tell us ;)

I figured as it had been snowing all day before I even got out for my run there should be a decent amount of snow out there (it was still snowing when I left), but it appears that 99% of the people of Chicago either A) are off of work today or B) hire someone to shovel their sidewalks. I'd say 1 in every 20 houses had some snow on their sidewalk, and 50% of those had someone actually in the process of shoveling while I ran past. This created for an odd run. I actually was running on regular concrete for most of it, with some mixed in patches of snow (like what you see on the right).

Running through the snow felt good. I didnt find a moment where traction was an issue (although it was not a slippery kind of snow and it was too warm for ice). But, I did find running on the pavement to be a bit of a challenge. I felt some reaction in my shins, I think because of the way my feet were hitting the pavement. In addition, by the end of the run I could feel the metal treads through my shoes. If I was wearing the inserts I do not believe I would have felt the Yaktraks, but I wasnt ... and I did.

So as for performance in this particular situation I'd have to give the Yaktrax a 2 out of 5. But, to be clear ... Yaktrax are not recommended for concrete use. The issue is, if you are out running and the snow/ice melts or there are patches without it ... what do you do? Do you go without them, and then risk falling when you do hit a patch? Or do you go out with them and hope you dont hit any iceless and/or snowless patches? I've seen recommendations to remove them when you hit a stretch that isnt snowly or icy, but I cant imagine they are very easy to remove or store. When I got home I had a hard time removing them; there was snow stuck in the treads and my cold fingers were a bit slow and clumsy. Now how would that work if I tried to remove them in the middle of a run?

I'd say attempt one with the Yaktrax was moderately successful. Putting on the Yaktrax was easy, except for the part where I put them on backwards. I ran in the wrong terrain setting ... but it wasnt my fault. Who would have thought all of the sidewalks would be clear of snow on a weekday afternoon after hours and hours of continuous snowfall? The portions of my run on snow were good - but there werent enough of them.

I still have some questions and concerns about Yaktrax but will definitely be using them again. I'll continue to update as I figure the things out a bit better!

Running Log
Time:31:27   Distance:3.01mi   Pace:10:26

My run actually went well and I'd say the biggest obstacle was the Yaktrax. Not that they are bad, or that I will not use them again, but that they did not suit the terrain I ran in on this particular day. If I was running on a trail, they would have been awesome. Since I do my weekday runs on the local streets and sidewalks, Yaktrax might not always work. But, my long (weekend) runs are done primarily on trail - and the Yaktrax will be a nice tool to have this winter.

1 10:36
2 10:18
3 10:25

Considering that I had to stop and wait for every single stoplight I approached these splits are pretty good!

I'm actually really glad I got out today. This whole week is such a busy one that its actually harder than a normal week to find the time to squeeze in a run. I did it today and hope to get another short run in at least once (ideally twice) this week.


Jamie said...

I felt the same way about avatar. Plot and acting/writing were average/predictable but everything else was amazing. I still haven't used my trax due to the same reason you encountered today. I'm hoping people in Ohio haven't shoveled so I can try them out!

Jess said...

I've heard mixed things about Avatar, but I think your review was the best balance of everything I need to know!

Sorry the Trax were only moderately successful, but I bet you get more chances to use them ;)

Bethany + Ryan said...

HI, Thanks for doing this post. I think i will pass on buying them. i don't want to run on pavement with them. i guess if i went out during the snowstorm it would be okay. I don't think i really have much of a need for them, New Balance plows our running path in Boston and Boston is quick to give out fines for people who don't shovel. I dunno, i'm still torn.