December 27, 2009

Yaktrax: Round 2

Due to the holiday, this weekend us "Winter Warriors" were on our own. Originally I had a group of four to run with this morning, but they slowly dropped like flies. First, Patti had an offer to participate in some debauchery Saturday night which would have made a Sunday run infeasable. She opted to run Saturday instead (or so she said!). Christina was traveling home from Canada in time to run on Sunday, but didnt account for the general poopedness she would feel after the holiday roadtrip. I was actually the third to go, after a sleepless night I determined I wouldnt be able to run in the morning today ... which left Gina alone and hitting the treadmill.

My goal was to run later in the day, at least to get a few miles in (since I only ran once during the week), and I was going to wait and see how the lack of sleep felt as the day moved on. We have had three days of snow here (which followed two days of rain), so there is a decent amount of buildup. Because of the rain/snow combo, there also are a couple of layers out there, making it a challenge to completely clear a sidewalk of snow (without real determination). In addition, the holiday week means many people are traveling and leaving the sidewalks unattended.

It was a perfect chance to try out the Yaktrax today ... and I found the conditions to be perfect! I ran about 2.5 miles out to the lake and encountered very little pavement. There was an occasional shoveled sidewalk, and (of course) the streets. But I hit much more snow than my last time out.

My impression the second time out?

I dont think I could have ran today without the Yaktrax. There wasnt much ice, but there was a good amount of snow and a lot of variation. There were parts that were deeper, much uneven surface, and then areas that were thinly covered with a sticky layer of compressed snow. I ran through (and over) all of this without any issue at all! Again, I did feel some pain in my shins. BUT I could also have been feeling some pain just from the varied terrain ... much like last Saturdays run. At the very end of my run I encountered a bit more concrete due to the fact I was running down a pretty busy street, and again I could feel the coils through my shoes.

When I got down to the lakefront the path had been plowed. I was unsure what do to - do I turn around or do I attempt to take off the Yaktrax and run without them? Since I owe my best review I decided to see what happens when you need to take them off ...

Changing out of Yaktrax during a run

I stopped by a tree and easily pulled off both Yaktrax, while still wearing my gloves (a thin knit pair though). I actually took a minute to provide a Yaktrax sales pitch, when an older lady (early 70's?) stopped to ask me what "those were called" and if they helped on ice. She told me she does a lot of walking (which is obvious, because it was cold and snowing and she was out there ... one of maybe 10 others on the trail I saw) and last year she fell and broke her wrist. I told her my experience, showed her the Yaktrax, and helped spell it for her so she could go find them on her own :)

Anyway, I had the Yaktrax in my hand and pondered what to do next. So I simply held onto them and ran about 2.5 miles on the path. They are very light and I didnt find holding them to be cumbersome at all. What was odd was the sensation in my legs running without them ... almost like walking after you take off a pair of roller skates. Very strange.

Changing back into Yaktrax during a run

I finished up my path run and was back to the streets and snow, so it was time to put the Yaktrax back on. This was harder than it was to take them off, but still took me less than 20 seconds. At this point my shoes had some snow on them and I had to fit the Yaktrax over - when I started back out my feet felt like I had clumps of snow stuck on my shoes. This was partially true. I kept kicking and stomping my feet while I was running (luckily, there wasnt a soul around) and did get the snow off ... but my feet still felt funny. It was hard to transition back into the Yaktrax after a few miles without them. Not impossible though, and I did another 3 or so miles home.


I can honestly say that if I was to go out on a run again on a day like today, that I would not go without the Yaktrax. I felt confident in my footing and didnt have to worry about running in the elements, I could just focus on my run. That, in itself, is worth it. Because I didnt have any sort of issue taking them on and off (even with gloves), I no longer worry about encountering a stretch of pavement in the Yaktrax because I know I can easily remove them from the equation.

Final rating?

Right now I'd say 4/5. Because I can still feel the Yaktrax coils through my shoes I cant give them a "perfect 5". I dont think I should have to wear inserts in order to prevent the feel of the coils. But, its possible that a different pair of shoes would not feel the coils ... and I'm thinking about replacing my own shoes in the next couple of weeks (thanks to some gift cards I got for the holidays) and will update at that point if I notice any sort of difference with a newer shoe and less worn cushion ;)

Running Log
Time:1:26:00   Distance:7.6mi   Pace:11:19

My iPhone died 4.6 miles or so into my run, so my total time, distance, and pacing was more of a guesstimate. I do have the splits from the first few miles:

1 10:48
2 10:44
3 11:13
4 11:02

As the first 4 miles were all faster than my pace calculated out to be, I'm assuming I might be a bit off in either distance or time. But ... close enough!

This was actually the longest distance I have ever run alone. I always run with someone and prior to this I think my longest solo run was 5 miles (but it might have even been 4?). I set out without a major plan and no idea how far I would run. I figured I had to do 5 or 6 to classify as a "long run" for my training, but went even farther than that.

Things were very smooth until about mile 4.6, when my iPhone died. One of the cons of using it as both a running tracker and music supplier is that it sucks the life out of the battery. So I had to run a few miles without having it track my distance and speed ... but more importantly, without my music. For the first mile I just kept replaying the last song I heard, which was brutal. Finally my head cleared and I made it home without going batty. All-in-all, a pretty successful outing!


kilax said...

I got some money for Christmas and plan to buy some YaxTrax. I hope they don't bother my shins!

Jess said...

Thanks for the updated review on the Trax even though I see no immediate future plans that involve needing them :)

Bethany + Ryan said...

Hmm, I'm still not sure if I should get a pair. Ryan got a pair for xmas so I'll see what he says, I don't like how u said it hurts your shins. Odd but I do LOVE holding things when I run, so if I didn't like then I wouldn't mind holding them! Thanks for ur review, its really helpful!! And great job with your run!!

lifestudent said...

Kilax - I think the shin pain/discomfort is due to the fact my foot strikes the ground differently wearing them. I saw others reviewing them mentioning some knee pain. I think if you run on the right terrain, the issues are minimal. I also guess that the more you use them, the more you get used to wearing them ... and are less likely to feel any sort of discomfort as well. We will see!