Friday, June 27, 2008

What Do Those Running Shoes Weigh?

With the quick change of seasons from what felt like winter to what now finally feels like summer, we at Run Junkie grew curious about the weights of the different running footwear we don across all the seasons - from the water resistant trail shoe that seems to work so well in fall, to the spiked shoe for those perilously icy and dark winter runs, to the feather light racing flat for those spring and summer road races.

Admittedly, there are better ways to spend time than weighing shoes on a kitchen scale (accurate though it is), but we felt it had to be done. Methods were simple: We weighed a single shoe (generally size 44) from each pair of all the running shoes used in the past year by one of our writers. He clearly favors Asics, yet despite this, it's pretty interesting to see the variance in weights - from the leg busting Ice Bug MR3Bugrip at nearly half a kilo to the whisper light Asics Hyperspeed 2 at just 200 grams.

Check out some of our previous shoe reviews (shoe reviews)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Western States 100 Cancelled as Fires Rage, Runners Look to Move On

With wildfires consuming what seems to be half of Northern California (USFS fire map), the trustees of the Western States 100 made the prudent, yet very hard, decision yesterday to cancel the race, originally set to take off Saturday June 28 @ 5:00am (race announcement). One of the world's renowned ultra races that's also extremely hard to get in to, the disappointed souls have to be legion. But true to the ultra-running philosophy, most of the key players are taking the news in stride and using their fitness as a springboard to the next starting line.

Here's a sampling from the blogs:

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Svetsov Takes 2008 Comrades Marathon in Record Time

Russian Leonid Shvetsov took the Comrades Marathon today for a second year in a row and in a record time of 5:24:48. The 83rd running of the famed South African ultra saw about 12,000 people take to the 90k course - this year being an "up" route finishing in Pietermaritzburg with a net elevation gain of over 2,000 ft. Check out the Independent Online for this and other news about Comrades (link). For gory detail on what it's like to run the world's oldest ultra when you're under trained, check out this Runners' World piece (story).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Rice Rockets to Olympic Glory: Asics' Custom Rice-Soled Shoes

A lot of competitors this summer in Beijing will be carbing up on rice, but who would have guessed that the world's most popular grain could also be a key part of the shoes they may wear to Olympic glory? Today's New York Times has a really interesting and detailed piece on Asics' master shoe maker, Hitoshi Mimura, and his current generation of racing flats that integrate rice husks into the sole (story). The rice supposedly has gripping properties that could help on the slick or rain-soaked surfaces expected on the Olympic marathon course. Mimura's roster of Olympic champions he's custom shod is quite impressive, even more so is the 3.8 ounce flat he developed for reigning champion, Mizuki Noguchi. The article's well worth the surf over to the Grey Lady's website.

(photo by Mostafa Saeednejad , used under Creative Commons)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Ultrarunning Life in "Running Times"

Though we at Run Junkie are not of the ultra-marathon world, we certainly feel immersed in it, running as we often do with many of the accomplished ultra-runners who live near our home base of Hailey, ID. Apart from the wildly long training sessions tossed of in conversation as modest runs, ultra-running really is a part of running set off from all the others. With small, often no, prize purses even for races that draw the world's best; finishing times where 4 hours is often short and 36 hours not uncommon; and elevations gains that make Heartbreak Hill look like a pitcher's mound; it is a sport that draws a unique set of devotees. As dedicated as any Ironman triathlete but as relaxed as a snowboarder, ultrarunners are just as likely to run a 150 mile week with 20,000 feet total evaluation gain as they are to drain a keg of Anchor Steam. And this makes for a great community of folks.

Running Times' latest issue (July/Aug) had a nice piece by Rachel Toor, which really captured the magic of the ultra scene, particularly from the female perspective. It's not available online (RT is quite stingy), but if you have the chance to pick it up or borrow it, it's worth the read. One passage that really captures the ultra-life:

"I am particularly fond of the women I've met - and who have beaten me - at ultras. We're willing to drive long distances, camp out in primitive conditions, take a post-race bath in a freezing cold stream, pee, poop, and sometimes puke on the trail, and then hang out afterward drinking beer and eating cookies."

(Photo by P. C .Loadletter, used under Creative Commons)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Usain Bolt Sprints to New 100m Record

It seemed only a matter of time the way things were heading (previous post), and it played out to perfection. Jamaican sprinter, Usain Bolt, set a new world mark in the 100 meters yesterday at the Reebok Grand Prix in New York City. The blistering 9.72 bested the old mark by a solid 0.02 seconds, leaving current world champion, Tyson Gay, wondering what happened as he came in at 9.85. ( story).