Thursday, September 9, 2010

Trail Shoe Trial

After the crazy, forgetfulness that has been this week (and I even had Monday off!), I opted for a slower pace this morning.  Instead of getting up early to pound the pavement, I got in a few extra minutes of sleep and took the pup for a walk.  I did not wear a watch or an ipod or anything else that required charging.  I simply put on my mismatched running attire, threw my hair into a sloppy ponytail (more of a bunny tail really), and grabbed the leash, my house key, and a plastic poo bag.  The Chancellor, understanding what was about to take place, began his full body wiggle in excitement.

I also decided I'd better try out my new trail shoes.  I recently purchased a pair of Montrail Masochists and I had yet to wear them. It is sort of important that I do, since this Saturday I will be running the Bartlett Park 50k near Memphis, and I am intending to wear them during that race.

I'm not completely sold on the idea of a trail shoe.  My own trail running experiences have led me to believe that regular running shoes work just fine for me.  I should add here that my trail running experience is EXTREMELY limited.  I can count my total trail races on one hand, and I barely need two hands to count the times I've run on trails period.

All of the more experienced trail runners I know wear trail shoes of various sorts and believe that they are needed when hitting the trails.  When I decided to train and run Mountain Mist in 2008 (a race I decided NOT to run after training on the actual route), I bought a pair of Asics trail shoes because I was told I should, but I never really liked them.  I sprained an already weak ankle multiple times, causing frustration and unwanted time off, but I kept wearing them anyway.

The obvious solution may have been to choose another pair of trail shoes.  And I did try some on eventually.  They all felt bulky, heavy and hard, and I did not like any of them.  So when I decided I wanted to try a 50 mile trail run, I started training in my regular running shoes to see how that worked.  So far, so good.

Reading "Born to Run" did not help the trail shoe defense much either.  I understand the concept of one's feet feeling the ground (while somewhat protected, of course) and knowing what to do, how to balance, shift, settle, move.  I often wonder if the constant ankle spraining is not a result of too much between my foot and the terrain. That does not mean I want to hit the trails barefoot tomorrow, and it does not mean I think supportive shoes are unimportant.  I'm not sure, however, that I need extra shoe simply because the terrain has changed.

But I bought some anyway.  I guess I'm not totally convinced that I know what I think I know.  And the new Asics Cumulus (my normal running shoe of choice) is pink.  Ugh.  I was hoping for another blue and green pair like the ones I have now...that are in serious need of replacement.

So the Montrail Masochists felt a little awkward when I wore them this morning, but not overly so.  I ran some at the end of the walk, and it felt more natural than I thought it would.  They are a little lighter than the other trail shoes I've tried and not as stiff.  I may try them out again this afternoon and maybe tomorrow morning.  I realize this is probably not the best protocol when trying out new shoes but it is the best I've got for now. 

Chance, meanwhile, thought it was all a little over the top and suggested padded paws as the best footwear for running.


  1. Good luck this weekend! I hope it goes great! I have my last tri of the summer Sat, so I am excited to try my new pedals out.

  2. I was just thinking about you and the Frantic Frog a few minutes ago! Good luck to you as well! I did not know you got new pedals. Are these clip ins?

  3. Good luck this weekend!!! For what it's worth, I'm LOVING my Masochist's! They feel much lighter and less bulky to me than my previous 2 pairs of trail shoes. And they feel much better on the road too... it's kind a long story, but I ended up running Cecil in them last night! I like that they feel good on both surfaces, since a lot of trail races have sections on the pavement too. I'll be waiting to hear how it goes :)!!


  4. Oh good! I will be trying them out tomorrow, so I will give you a report! Have a great weekend!