Monday, August 27, 2012

MacNair's Farm 1st Annual 10K 2012 Race Report

While scouting the online listings for local trail races a couple of months ago, the MacNair's Farm 5K/10K* caught my attention. I suspected any race on a farm would have an unpaved course. And a thorough reading of the race director's description confirmed that hunch.

MacNair's Farm 5K/10K Race"MacNair Farms is a never run trail course that lays on 290 acres of land. The race itself will take you through fields, woods, and around the scenic grounds of the Horse complex. The 10k will be more challenging in not only distance but naturally elements. There will be mud, woods, water, and all things trail. Prepare to get a little dirty and have some fun.(Not a Race you want to wear New Shoes for)"

Yep, that sounds perfect!

The Athens Drive High School Track and Cross Country teams were the benefactors of the race proceeds. And, that gave the race an of-the-runners-by-the-runners-for-the-runners kinda feel, which was cool.

MacNair's Farm 10K Start areaThe realization that there would be quite a few speedy cross country kids running the race gave me a sense of trepidation. This is because one of the things that makes a runner my age feel especially old is when he gets dusted by someone under the age of 18. (The winner of the 10K was 17) But, being a grown up, I just have to get over that sort of thing.

Race-day weather was the best we'd seen all summer. Temperatures hovered in the mid-sixties with a wind tumbling across the fields now and then. A drenching rain overnight ensured muddy terrain wherever mud was possible.

MacNair's Farm 10K warm upI warmed up from the starting area, a wide expanse of ankle-deep field grass. There was a lot of this grassy ground cover on the course, in fact. And, that made this an especially ideal cross country trail.

As I turned back to complete the warm-up run, a deer paused on the trail in front of me and stared as if I had no business being there. Then she snorted and bounded into the woods. I've never considered deer to be especially polite. Can't say I blame them, though.

The 5K and 10K races began at the same time to the sound of a starter pistol. Runners of the shorter race lined up about a quarter mile further down the course from where the 10K runners started. So, it was good that the first couple of miles were wide enough for passing people as needed.

MacNair's Farm 10K Start
And we're off! photo by Patti DeBruyne

As we rounded the first turn onto that grassy course, I found myself just behind the lead pack of high school kids. What the hell was I doing? I'm not a lead-pack guy.

So, I slowed just a smidgen to keep pace with a couple of guys who looked like they were more my age. That didn't feel right, though. So, I just ran and jockeyed for position with the eventual-second-place 10K runner as we left the field and crossed into the forest. But, he eventually sped up to keep pace with the first place runner.

MacNair's Farm 10K
High five! Catch that old dude in front of you!
photo by Patti DeBruyne

We reached a turn that separated the 10K runners from the 5K runners. And, it felt nice to know that everyone with whom I was running had the same distance in mind. I don't know why.

I'd been ignoring a sore hamstring thing for the past week. So, I was trying to be slightly cautious as I ran. The fact that I found myself growing tired sooner than I'd hoped pretty much ensured that I wouldn't over do it, I guess. Also, my hamstring reminded me not to ignore it.

Passing a paddock with horses staring, I entered the portion of the course that counted as true single-track trail; or the "enchanted forest" as one volunteer put it. The terrain was fairly easy to navigate with just a few roots here and there.

My favorite features of the trail, though, were the water crossings! I almost caught the three leaders after the first stream. but, they managed to pull away again. It was then that eventual-fourth-place runner passed me. I recognized him from some other race, a fellow trail runner, no doubt.

Overall, the course was a lot of fun. The horse farm afforded a gorgeous setting for the race. And, there were quite a few different challenges with which to contend.

Inov-8 Bare-Grip 200 at MacNair's Farm 10K
The Bare-Grip 200s are good for grass.

A handful of small, muddy hills challenged my pacing whenever I thought I could catch that lead pack. But, I'd say the toughest aspect of the course was the uncertain footing due to the grass creating an illusion of flatness. There were tons of dips and holes in the ground, imperfections that weren't readily visible until you stepped through the grass and stumbled for a second. That's a good kind of challenge, though. And, my Bare-Grip 200s handled the grass and mud perfectly.

As is the custom, I ran as hard as I thought I could until the end. There were lots of turns along the well-marked course. And, thankfully, there were plenty of fantastic volunteers to point the runners in the right direction.

When I found myself running along the course on which we'd started a quarter mile from the start/finish area, I tried to imagine that my form appeared effortless and efficient, because I'm sure I looked nothing like that. I was tired. I didn't even feel that kick of energy that usually saves a runner's ego during the last few meters of a race. So, I crossed the finish line like this:

MacNair's Farm 10K finish
Pretty sure that's a pile of horse manure in the background.
photo by Patti DeBruyne
Crossing the Finish Line at MacNair's Farm 10K
photo by Patti DeBruyne

I somehow pulled off a fifth place finish (probably because many of the local fasties were in Laurel Springs participating in some other trail running event). I like that.

But, I certainly didn't feel as awesome as I should have. So, I don't like that, the not feeling awesome. Specifically, I was disappointed by how tired I was before half the race was done. More tempo runs for progressively longer periods of time might help with that. I'll have to try again next year, I think.

Thanks again to the incredibly helpful volunteers. And, thanks to the race directors for putting together such a great off-road 10K course.

And, thanks to you, reader, for at least skimming down to the end of this overly lengthy race report!

*This was a race with two names. The race listings on various websites title it with "MacNair Farms", while the race logo and official name of the equestrian farm use the possessive "MacNair's Farm". For the sake of consistency, I'll use the logo's version of the title.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Inov-8 Trailroc 245 and 235 Comparison (Trying to Keep it Brief, I Swear)

If you're not already convinced that the Trailroc 235 is the trail shoe for you, perhaps you're wondering what that Trailroc 245 is like.

If only there were someone on the Internet to compare these two Trailroc options for you so that you can decide which one to add to your shopping cart.

Well, lookie here, folks!

Inov-8 Trailroc 245 and 235

Aside from a handful of key features, the Trailroc 235 and 245 are very much the same shoe:

  • The anatomic last is the same, thereby ensuring that the fit is the same.
  • The materials and construction are essentially the same.
  • Both of my orders arrived with 3mm foot beds instead of the specified 6mm foot beds (FYI).
  • And, the Tri-C™ is functionally the same.

So, I'll keep this fairly succinct and focus on a few differences that are not overly obvious in pictures.

Inov-8 Trailroc 245 and 235

If I had to point out one major difference...

By simply comparing specs online, you might think that the 3mm heel differential is the biggest difference between the 245 and 235.

Sure, yes, why not? With the 245 having a one arrow Shoc-Zone™ and the 235 having a zero, these two Trailrocs cover two phases of the minimal-shoe transition spectrum (assuming one abides by such spectrums).

However, when you set aside those specifications and put the shoes on your feet, the most conspicuous difference will not be in the heel — it's the rock plate protection in the 245's MetaShank™ gen3 midsole. Wow!

I mean, it would take a pretty sharp rock, probably one that's attached to a high-speed drill, to inflict any kind of damage on your foot through the 245's sole. And, you know that rock plate is there when you step. It doesn't poke your feet through the insole, or anything. You can just feel the lack of feeling on the ground.

(Note that my reaction to the 245's rock protection may be somewhat exaggerated, since I am not used to wearing shoes with a rock plate. But, as far as I can tell, there's a lot of protection in those 245s!)

Inov-8 Trailroc 245 and 235

As a consequence of extra rock protection, the Trailroc 245 shares only a fraction of the 235's flexibility. Don't misunderstand, there's a fine and flexible forefoot in the 245.

Basically, flexiblity starts at those embedded lime-green shapes marking the Meta-Flex™ line and exists forward through the toe. But, the rest of the sole is quite dense.

So, the Meta-Shank™ rock protection should really be the deciding factor for you here. Do you want a tough midsole that will keep pretty much every sensation of pointyness away from your feet? Or, do you want a shoe that twists and folds readily?

The 3mm differential in the 245 is really not as noticeable as I thought it would be. And, I consider myself fairly sensitive to those things.

In fact, if you take a close look at the picture below, you'll see that the heel area of the 235 seems almost more built up than that of the 245. There's just extra EVA around the heel to allow for the "ZERO" on the back, I think. It is not indicative of the heel height.

Inov-8 Trailroc 245 and 235

Let's conclude with this video and some bonus pictures.

So, was this close to being a brief post? Be honest. Well, I hope I've imparted something useful, at least.

I'll just leave you with this video from Inov-8 that reiterates the concept of the Tri-C™ outsole. There's also some great trail imagery. And, you might like to scroll down for a few extra pictures of the Trailroc 245, too. It's blue, by the way. Did I list that as a difference?

Inov-8 Trailroc 245
Inov-8 Trailroc 245
Inov-8 Trailroc 245
Inov-8 Trailroc 245

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Trailroc 235 Run Review: The Update I Promised, the Review That Never Ends

Since I was so eager to post pictures and write about the Trailroc 235 before actually running in the shoes a few days ago, I realize I probably left some of you feeling unfulfilled.

I am sorry about that, trail runners. But, don't worry. After a 12-mile run through Umstead, I finally have the running-specific observations that I promised in part one of this review.

(I'll use the Bare-Grip 200 as a reference point during this review, because that's what I've been using on trails prior to obtaining the 235)

Inov-8 Trailroc 235 on rocks


I've already established that the Trailroc 235 is a comfortable shoe for me right out of the box. So, let's cut through the fluff and address potential shortcomings of this shoe.

The Laces: They're different. None of the other Inov-8 shoes that I've used have the lacing material that I find on the Trailroc 235. The lace fabric is a little smoother and sort of stretchy, whereas laces I'm used to seeing have a fibrous texture with more density.

Inov-8 trailroc 235This new lacing material may be in place for very specific reasons. Perhaps it is significantly lighter than other lacing materials. Maybe it is supposed to stay tied better.

Whatever the reason, let it be known that I had to stop twice during the first half hour of my run to retie my 235's laces because they'd come undone. I've never had to do that with Inov-8 shoe laces before.

However, after those first two instances of shoelace failure, the laces stayed tied for the remainder of the run. That's encouraging. So, perhaps their newness simply makes them susceptible to unwanted untying. Either way, laces are easily replaceable when problematic.

The TPU in Combination with Lacing for a Secure Fit: You'll recall that I pointed out the additional TPU on the Trailroc 235 and how that is there to work with the lacing architecture for a secure fit. Well, it works!

The potential dilemma with so much secure fitting is that you may need to play with the lacing a bit in order to find a comfortable lacing setting. As with any new shoe, once you find that perfect lacing situation, you'll be golden. But, the quest for that fit can be frustrating. Just take your time. Don't get frustrated.

And, speaking of finding that ideal lacing arrangement, you might notice a certain seam on the medial interior side if you've tied those laces too tightly. This is a seam that exists in all of the Inov-8 shoes I've worn. The fabric adjacent to this seam is always a little puffy when the shoes are new. But, that puffiness goes away once you've given the shoes a good workout. So, don't worry about it.

Inov-8 Trailroc 235 interior
That seam indicated in the photo on the left can be conspicuous during your first few miles of running. But, sweat and physics wear it down quickly. The image on the right is just a bonus perspective for you.

So, from an objective perspective, those are the potential nuisances inherent to running in the Trailroc 235. Now, let's get to the good stuff.

Good Stuff

The Cushioning: Since I've been running trails in the Bare-Grip 200 for several months, the first thing I noticed about the Trailroc 235 was the cushioning in the midsole. I'd nearly forgotten how desensitized to the trail a person could be with an additional few millimeters of EVA.

So, of course, I missed the excellent ground feel afforded by the Bare-Grips. But, over the course of that 12-mile run, I decided that I liked this bit of cushioning, too. It feels a little luxurious when I realize I've stepped on a pointy rock that otherwise would have been painful sans midsole EVA. This feature, the midsole, is especially handy during longer runs on tired feet.

But, if you are wholly opposed to midsole cushioning, then this is not the shoe you want.

Flexibility: Despite the extra barrier between your foot and the ground, Inov-8 managed to make the Trailroc 235's outsole flexible on both the horizontal and lateral axis, a quality that has become a necessity for me.

Granted, the 235 is not nearly as flexible as the Bare-Grip 200 in this way. But, it's still more flexible than anything with a rock plate, or whatever.

In my opinion, this exceptional flexibility is important and justifies the softer cushioning (in lieu of dense midsole material), because the shoe conforms to bumps in the trail fairly easily. And, a shoe that conforms to the terrain enables you to run with a greater sense of stability.

Inov-8 Trailroc 235 and Trailroc 245
If you are a trail runner who doesn't care so much about lateral flexibility and prefers more protection between yourself and the ground, then you'd want to look at the Trailroc 245 (pictured left). I'll write about that one in another post.

To give you a reference point outside the Inov-8 product line, the Trailroc 235's outsole and midsole are similar in flexiblity to that of the NB Minimus Trail 10 — probably a bit more less flexible, actually. But, the Trailroc's advantage here is that the protective rubber outsole covers the entire bottom of the shoe. This contrasts with the MT10's pockets of exposed EVA, which allow pointy things to hurt you easily.

Inov-8 Trailroc 235 mud print

Traction: The outsole's Tri-C™ compound features the Sticky rubber you may have enjoyed on other trail shoes. It's good stuff and seems to work well over wet rocks.

As I ran up and down a few slippery hillsides on the Loblolly Trail, I paid careful attention to my traction. After all, running through mud is one of the Bare-Grip's strong points. So, I wanted to compare how the Trailroc outsole performed on the soft stuff.

Inov-8 Trailroc 235 on wet rock

The Trailroc performed as well as the Bare-Grip for me on East-coast muddy trails. I even attempted to run sloppily so as to allow for a slip or fall. But, the lugs of the Trailroc definitely gripped the mud and wet leaves very well.

I noticed, however, that there was a very slight loss of traction as I ascended a long hill with a lot of rocks under foot. The Bare-Grips typically provide precise footing on this particular climb. So, I was keenly aware of the difference in the way the 235s handled this hillside.

Now, I'm not saying the Trailroc can't handle lots of rocks. I'm just saying that Bare-Grip and X-Talon wearers might detect a degree or two difference in these circumstances when using the Trailrocs.

Liekwise, I suspect that grassy terrain, where the Bare-Grip and X-Talon outsoles also excel in performance; would be more of a challenge for the Trailroc. But, I don't know from experience yet.

Oh, also, The Trailroc kicks ass on hard packed trails! Thus, you would feel comfortable wearing these for one of those trail races that start out on pavement before leading you to the trails.

Drainage: I crossed through an ankle-deep stream on the Cedar Ridge trail to test whether the 235s are satisfactory shoes when wet. And, they drained as well as most other trail shoes I've worn. That midsole EVA probably holds water a little longer than it would if it didn't exist. But, the shoes didn't feel especially heavy after the water crossing.


There you have it: Two long posts about a single shoe. And, I haven't even tested durability yet! I might have a problem.

But, that personal problem works to your advantage, right? Now you have more than enough information to decide whether you want to try the Trailroc 235 for yourself. And, if you still have questions, I check for comments, like, all the time. So, feel free to ask!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 17, 2012

National Trail Running Day Is August 18! WTF? Did You Know that?

National Trail Running Day logoI didn't know that tomorrow is National Trail Running Day until earlier today after seeing it mentioned in a contest link on Facebook. I'm a little disappointed, because I feel as though I should be aware of things like this.

Did you know about it, readers?

Well, we know about it now. So, we can all take part in celebrating our favorite unpaved places to run tomorrow.

Or, if you're like me, you'll get to feel extra guilty, because tomorrow's schedule may not allow for a trail excursion. Had I known that tomorrow would be a special day for trail running, I might have had time to rearrange some things.

But, noooo. Trail Running Day can't be bothered to update it's Facebook page or send out a freakin' tweet prior to this year's event.

(I'm just teasin' you, Trail Running Day people. I'd rather be out running trails instead of promoting events, too)

Next year! Next year, I'll look back at my August blog posts and see this one. And, I'll remember to plan for National Trail Running Day.

(Course, now that I think about it, we trail runners can be a little possessive of our turf. The idea of inspiring a crowd of runners to clog up a favorite trail doesn't exactly appeal to... Oh, what am I saying? That's not the spirit. Nevermind!)

Enjoy your trail runs this weekend, folks!

Run Trails

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Inov-8 Trailroc 235 Out-of-the-Box Review

I couldn't wait any longer. The Trailroc 235 showed up on in my size without a tentative availability date. And, against my fiscal sense, I paid full price to have them delivered now.
Inov-8 Trailroc 235

You know I've been anxious to try this shoe, readers. I dedicated two whole posts to the new Trailroc line before they even hit the stores. So, you can sympathize with my need to write this "review" of the 235 before I even take them out for a run. In fact, you'd expect me to post my initial impressions as soon as possible, right?


Inov-8 Trailroc 235 from right, backOkay, so, why am I annoyingly excited about the Trailroc 235? Well, I've told you before. But, I'll reiterate the reasons here so you don't have to read through a whole other post:

  • Anatomic Fit: Inov-8's answer to a demand for more room in the toe box. As, I've mentioned in previous shoe reviews, I really like this particular shoe last design. It's roomy without being too sloppy.
  • Zero Differential: The zero height differential between the forefoot and heel is definitely one of my preferred features in any running shoe. It can be an acquired taste.
  • More Regionally-Friendly Outsole Design: Being that the only trail-specific outsole available on a zero-drop shoe from Inov-8 thus far existed on the fantastic Bare-Grip 200 (a shoe I use regularly on my Raleigh-area trails — despite the fact that its gigantic lugs are undoubtedly overkill for the terrain — because I really like it more than any other trail shoe I have), I've been thinking that there should be an alternate Inov-8 trail shoe with an outsole more like the Roclite 285s; something that's more versatile than the Bare-Grip or X-Talon, I'd say.
    (Wow, did I really compose that as one sentence?)
Inov-8 Trailroc 235 top and bottom view in black and white

So, how 'bout that Anatomic Fit?

In previous posts, I might have described a slight difference between the anatomic fit of the Bare-X Lite 150 and the Bare-X 180, saying that Inov-8 seemed to be figuring out the final shape of that particular shoe last. Well, the 180's curvier rendition of the Anatomic Fit appears to be the final version, because the Trailroc's shape resembles the 180's shape more than that of the 150. (Too many numbers?)

So, my US men's size 11.5 Trailroc 235 feels just as nice around my feet as my Bare-X 180s do in the same size, almost equally similar in fit to the Bare-X Lite 150.


But, there's a bunch more TPU (that plastic overlay that sort of acts as an extension of the shoe laces) on the Trailroc 235. And, I would venture to say that this feature accounts for the somewhat more secure sensation in the Trailroc's heel area.

A secure fit is a good thing for a trail shoe, of course. But, there is that difference between slipping on the Bare-X 180 and putting on the Trailroc 235. The extra TPU makes the Trailroc's heel area a bit stiffer than the 180, too.

Various websites indicate that the Trailroc 235 comes with a 6mm removable footbed. Mine didn't. Mine arrived with a 3mm footbed, which is fine with me. But, you should know that the web is either rife with misinformation, or I am very special.

So, if you're curious, the 235's footbed and insole are pretty much in keeping with how Inov-8 usually puts those shoe parts together. And, that pretty much works well for me and my sock-wearing self.

Inov-8 Trailroc 235 anterior view

When is Zero more than zero?

The Zero Shoc-Zone™ to which I became accustomed on the Bare-Grip 200s and Bare-X 180s is not at all like the Zero ascribed to the Trailroc 235. See all of that lime green stuff between the Trailroc's mesh upper and the outsole lugs?Inov-8 Trailroc 235 lateral profile That's an EVA injected midsole, folks. And, it is cushiony — f-lite cushiony. (Definitely not Brooks cushiony, though! No, no, no! Absolutely not that soft. Ugh!)

According to the data here, that midsole makes the stack height of the 235 measure 13mm in the forefoot and 13mm at the heel. Compare this to the stack heights of the Merrell Trail Glove (10mm and 10mm) or the New Balance MT00 Minimus Trail Zero (12mm and 12mm) if you like. But, make sure you account for the differences in the lugs on those three shoes.

In short, the Trailroc's midsole will protect my feet from those pointy trail things more than the Bare-Grips do. That's fine. Really.

But, wait, I used the "m" word! You're wondering if this midsole impedes flexibility, now, aren't you?

Don't worry, minimalist runner. The Trailroc 235 bends and flexes nicely. If you've had experience with the f-lites, that's how this one behaves when you attempt to roll it into a ball.

If, however, you've had sufficient experience with the Bare-Grips on trails, you know what you're going to miss when you introduce your trail feet to shoes with cushy midsoles.

Don't make assumptions, though. More protection and cushioning is a good thing, too! I'll let you know what I think of running on these midsoles after I've tested the Trailrocs on trails a few times.

Inov-8 Trailroc 235 outsole

Well, that's an awfully big picture of the Trailroc's outsole!

As you may know, the Trailroc line features Inov-8's new Tri-C™ outsole composition. This means that they've assigned three different variations in rubber compounds to specific areas of the outsole. The purpose of this innovation is to ensure optimum wear rate and grip.

So, if you'll take a moment to look at the photo above, I'll direct your attention to the lines designating the various sections of the outsole that receive a specific rubber compound.

That section under the arch area, where you can see the foot/8 of the Inov-8 logo, is comprised of a softer compound than the larger section surrounding it. That larger section has larger lugs and a harder, "endurance" rubber; because it is described as a high-wear area.

For what it's worth, the rubber density feels the same to my insensitive fingers. And, obviously, this new feature will be subjected to further scrutiny. I'm curious to see how each rubber section holds up over time.

Inov-8 Trailroc 235 profile

Fancy-pants rubber compounds aside, I'm more thrilled to test this new outsole design on the technical-slash-hard-packed-slash-leafy trails in the Raleigh area. The lugs are conspicuously smaller and closer together than they are on the Bare-Grips. And, this outsole format seems better suited to the local trails in average conditions.

(It's an excuse to want another trail shoe, anyway)

Stay tuned

Obviously, I already like a few things about the Trailroc 235. The shoes fit very well right out of the box. They're not the lightest shoes in my closet. But, that's not overly important to me. They're light enough. And, they look good, too.

So, once I've covered a few miles in these, I'll post a follow-up report for you. If you have any questions that I failed to address, feel free to ask in the comment area!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sprigs Big Banjees Wrist Wallet: Another Way to Carry Your Phone While Running

I am fairly adamant about running with my mobile phone for the sake of safety. So, I was dismayed a few months ago when my little flip phone bit the dust and my larger replacement phone didn't fit my previous means of carrying a phone while running.

I searched various running-related retail establishments and found the Sprigs Big Banjees Wrist Wallet at the local REI. And, I'm happy to report that this thing works!

Sprigs Big Banjees Wrist Wallet


I've been using this wrist wallet to carry my phone during every run for a couple of months. And, I only wish I'd found this product sooner! (Thus, I'm relaying my discovery to you, dear reader)

The lightweight, poly-spandex material is a lot more comfortable than those rubber/foam iPod holders that you typically find strapped to the biceps of many other runners. And, the stretchy fabric securely wraps around most anyone's wrist or forearm without too much jiggling.


Of course, one of the best features is the wrist wallet's capacity to carry objects of various sizes and shapes. It seems that most running accessories designed to contain a phone or portable music device are manufactured for one particular product (iPhone). But, the Sprigs Big Wrist Wallet's flexible pocket could hold a small flip phone, a larger smartphone, or even a very small camera. Versatility wins!

The flip side of the wrist wallet features a zippered pocket for smaller items, like a couple of gels, a credit card, or your car key. So, you don't even have to rely on those flimsy pockets in your shorts anymore.

Sweat Factor

Being that the wrist wallet's fabric is so similar to that of your other technical clothes, you'll be able to machine wash it in cold water with your running shirts and shorts as often as you like. And, that's a good thing, because the wrist wallet is not afraid to foster those same sweaty aromas that your running hat emits from wherever you throw it after a run.

Sweat is actually an important consideration with regard to the Sprigs Wrist Wallet. See, there's a trade off for having a breathable, comfy fabric containing your phone: all of that sweat that accumulates between your skin and the wrist wallet goes right into the fabric. And, there is no water-proof barrier within the pocket that holds your phone. So, keep that in mind.

Obviously, the way to solve this sweaty dilemma is to simply place your phone in a plastic bag before putting it in the wrist wallet. It's an extra step. But, I think it's worthwhile. (Sweat helped kill my previous phone)


Warriors Wear Wrist Guards
Tough guys wear wrist guards

Okay, so the name is a little funny. And, the naysayers among us might liken this incredibly practical accessory to a fanny pack. But, I disagree. This is for your wrist! And, really, it looks nothing like a fanny pack. If anything, it looks more like a wrist guard. And, we all know who wears wrist guards.

Aside from not being a fanny pack for your wrist, the Sprigs wrist wallets are also available in tons of colors. You'll just have to visit the website to see them all. Black on black suits me fine. But, perhaps you have an affinity for paisley or tie dye. Go crazy.

The Sprigs Big Banjees Wrist Wallet seems to be competitively priced at REI and on the Sprigs website. For me, the cost has been worth it. And, it'll be even more worth it if I ever need my phone in an emergency during a run. Perhaps it would be worth it to you, too.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Best of AfnR: Vol. One | 2010-2011

The Best of A fn' RBlog posts have a way of disappearing into Internet obscurity as soon as they're replaced by newer content. Sure, the product-oriented posts receive a relatively steady stream of traffic thanks to search results. But, there's more to this running blog — and me — than the shoes in my closet (in my car's trunk, in my car's back seat, in the hall closet...).

So, why not have a post highlighting my personal favorites from the archives? Yes, I'll appear overly geeky and narcissistic. But, you probably figured I was that sort of blogger anyway.

These are not all the greatest hits, mind you. Some of them are just personal favorites that might be too obscure or abstract to garner the attention of search engines.

I am only choosing eight posts published in 2010 and 2011. Eight is enough. And, I like the idea of capping the selection pool at 2011 so that Vol. 2 can start at the beginning of 2012. (Of course there will be a Vol. 2)

So, if you have some time for a bit of good ol' fashioned blog reading, grab a beverage and click what appeals to ya!

If You Don't Feel Like Running

Wherein I wax psychological and dole out encouragement, because I was in a mood.

New Balance MT10 Minimus Trail Shoe Review (With Bullet Points)

This is an offensively glowing review of a shoe I lost interest in wearing for running purposes six months later. I find that kind of funny.

Inov-8 f-lite 195 New Color Craziness and CrossFit

It's possible that this could be called a rant.

Trail Review: Sycamore Trail at William B. Umstead State Park

Sycamore is still my favorite Umstead trail.

Injinji Toesocks Non-Review

I'm just really impressed with my photo illustration in this one. You don't even have to read the review once you see the photo. Read anyway, though.

On the Merit of Reduced Shoes

Look at me getting all political!

How to Enjoy a Lunch-Break Run

Sure, you know how to run during your lunch break. But, do you know how to enjoy it? Read on to find out.

Brief Interview with a First-Time Marathoner: A Medoc Trail Marathon Race Report

It was my first marathon and the inspiration for starting this blog. Of course this fits in the best-of list


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