Thursday, March 3, 2011

Training Runs at LBL / Pacific Crest Trail start date nearing!


-Just dropping in for a quick update.

Friday, Kara and I took off to Land Between the Lakes for some training runs of the Course for the upcoming 50 miler in March. I was anxious to receive my new Montrail Rogue Racers, but I had yet to receive them as of Friday morning. Fortunately, just before departure in the Prius, Kara got work that the shoes were awaiting me at the Quest Outdoors warehouse!

We didn't end up camping on Friday night since we got down late. We got a room at the Grand Rivers Inn, and drank some wine and watched some TV, and ate our camp food that we had prepared at home the previous night...It was pretty awesome to stay in the hotel and "veg" out instead of setting up camp on Friday in the dark!

We ate at our favorite local joint in Grand Rivers, "The Light Side" and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast over several hours and drank a ton of coffee hoping to energize our spirits. Around 11 pm the sun came out and we were ready to hit the trails.

The run started with a runny nose and the onset of a cold, but I quickly began to feel better, I managed to run the 11.3 mile loop much faster than anticipated and I have very high hopes for the 50 miler in March. Last year Zach Gingerich ran a 6 hour 40 minute course record on the 50 miler so I know where I need to be. Hint Hint... My goal is to go under 7 hours.

The Montrail Rogue Racers were pretty awesome. I have been searching high and low for a minimal shoe, which still offers enough support for a 50 or a 100 miler. I probably wouldn't wear the Rogue Racer on a singletrack course that was 100 miles, but for me, it is probably perfect for the LBL 50 here in 2 weeks, since it is on high quality singletrack.

The Rogue Racers offer a race slipper fit, which could be described as narrow in the toebox. In La Sportiva I wear a 10 in Crosslites, and in Montrail for the Mountain Masochist, (my 100 mile singletrack shoe), I wear a 9.5. My New Balance 101's are also a 9.5. With the Rogue Racer's I have a perfect fit if I wear literally the thinnest sock I own. If I even wear a thin Injinji the toebox is too tight and I would have to jump up to a size 10. If you are usually borderline on shoes, like how I wear a 9.5 or 10, I would recommend sizing up...That being said, my 9.5 are great, (perfect fit), as long as I wear a tiny teeny weeny sock.

The Rogues offer surprising support in such a light package. I would say that anyone who likes the La Sportiva Crosslite would also like the Rogue Racer for different applications which require less support and traction. The cut of the Rogue Racer is very low which allows for natural movement of the foot. The weight of the shoe is all in the sole, which provides good traction when needed, but the upper is so light that is sacrifices protection from rocks and roots and stumps. This means you best not stub your toe!

Overall, I am very pleased with the shoe. It is the lightest shoe I can imagine actually wearing for the entire 50 miles. I have tried the NB 101 in 50's before, but I usually don't stick with it for the whole race. The Rogue Racer offers the beauty of not having to change shoes.

I ran the 31+ miles for my training run on Saturday, in a little over 4 hours, which pleased me, as my last 2 laps were at race pace and I actually went faster than anticipated.

We camped that night at a beautiful secluded spot by Lake Barkley and slept well in our new Nemo Asashi tent. It’s very nice to finally have a car camping tent that we can actually sit upright in!

Upon returning to Louisville on Sunday and going to my mom and dad’s house to pick up Kody, (our dog), I was super excited to see that my PCT guidebooks had arrived.

It was a tough choice to decide upon a set of guidebooks and maps for the PCT because there are several options and honestly, many have their drawbacks. The set I had wanted from the beginning is also the most expensive, and once they arrived and inspecting them, I am very glad we got the ones we purchased. They contain maps within the books so you needn’t carry separate maps. (The set is made by a former thru-hiker named Erik the Black.)

I had the chance this week to read some journals written by former thru-hikers. My love for the lifestyle has me feeling lucky and wide-eyed in anticipation for the hike and for a thru-hike of the Continental Divide Trail in the future.

March 1 has arrived also…This means less than 2 months before I step foot on the PCT for a 2658 mile journey on foot from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail.

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