serious running: trail running, races, shoe reviews

Archive for May, 2010

New Balance MT100s Trail Running Shoe Review

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

new-balance-mt100-trail-running-shoeI first became injured on May 19th of last year with Jumper’s Knee.  Over the past year I have been nursing this injury, never fully recovering.  I have undergone countless physical therapy sessions, MRIs, multiple X-rays, a plethora of doctors’ touching my knees, different types of knee braces, and everything else you can think of to subside this injury to no avail.  What was left for me to try?  Minimalist Running shoes.

I received a pair of New Balances’ MT100s Trail Running Shoes and thought this must be a sign to take the first step…running.  The New Balance MT 100s (WT 100s for women) are New Balances’ new version of the New Balance 790s.  Since I had never tried minimalist running before I decided to try the New Balance 100s as my minimalist shoe because they offer more support than something like Vibram Five Fingers and are tough enough for the trail, which is where I run mostly.  I started with a little street running in these trail running shoes, only to get to the trail.  My philosophy is you can’t drive to the trailhead if you are within running distance.

When I first started I ran down a hill in front of my house and could really feel the pounding on my feet.  This probably had a lot to do with the fact that I had never run in minimalist shoes, and these were made for trails, not asphalt; and not to mention I was running down a steep hill.  However, if you are looking for cushioning and comfort then these are not the shoes for you.  If you want a fast ride and to feel the trail but still have some protection, the MT100s could be your new trail running shoes!

new-balance-mt-100-trail-running-shoesThe heel of the shoe is made up of cut outs for rear traction.  This really helped when I was running over some sandy and rocky terrain as I was able to push off better.  The midsole tread looks like someone took an ice cream scooper and scooped out pieces of the sole.  My guess is that this is to reduce the weight of the shoe, as well as increase flexibility and breathability.  You won’t be getting any dirt, mud, or rocks caught in these cylinder shaped holes.  The front tread is made up of some smaller ice cream scoops but mostly squares around triangles which lend for good traction while still giving you ample feeling of the trail.

The Rockstop embedded into the forefoot provides decent protection from sharp rocks and roots.  The puncture-resistant toe material in the toe wrap also helps provide some lightweight protection from trail debris, but I would be careful out there, it isn’t built like your normal trnew-balance-mt100s-trail-running-shoesail running shoes.

The midsole resists compression sets which allows it to bend, feeling more like running barefoot.  However, there is some cushioning in this sole.  I didn’t have any aches or pains in my feet after taking these bad boys on a 6 mile trail run.  There is a little arch support from the rubber that wraps around the sole which helps if you are not used to running in minimalist trail running shoes.

The upper is a synthetic mesh which is really lightweight.  The mesh works great for water drain.  I ran through a couple of creeks and felt like the shoes were completely dry after only 4 or 5 steps!  The mesh also gives a tight fit to your feet.  Helping is the Sure Lace technology that New Balance is using on a lot of their shoes now.  It definitely keeps your shoe laces from loosening or coming undone on the trail.  The tongue is really small too which adds to the lightweight and snug fit that the New Balance MT100 trail running shoes give you.

Overall, great trail running shoe if you are looking for a minimalist trail running shoe or maybe even a trail running shoe with a lot of performance on a trail race.  Now if they would just release with some more rad colors so I don’t have to buy 3 pairs in the same color.

Why Trail Running is becoming more Popular

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

trail-runners-runningRichard Burgunder recently published a great article about the rise in popularity of Trail Running named, “Trail Running:  Racing Towards the top in Popularity.”  In it he states that Trail Running is, “…considered the sixth most popular extreme sport s in the USA, only behind skating, skateboarding, paintball, climbing, and snowboarding.”  I’m not sure what type of skating this refers to, I assume roller skating, which I don’t consider very extreme.  Skateboarding and snowboarding are both board sports enjoyed by a different type of extreme athlete than the Trail Runner and Mountain Biker types and paintball is more of a game so I don’t consider it a sport.  Which leaves Trail Running as the 2nd most popular extreme sport behind rock climbing!  He goes on to say that in 2006 there were 6.7 million regular Trail Runners in the United States and at the current pace Trail Running will soon become the most popular extreme sport in the United States.

That is why we started National Trail Running Day last year with over 5,000 trail runners participating in events across the United States.  Plan an event, register it on the website and mark your calender for August 21st to do some serious Trail Running this year.  When we started National Trail Running Day some avid Trail Runners didn’t like the idea, citing the purity of the sport, being alone running on the trails and exploring paths on their own.  While we understand, we at don’t agree; we think everyone should trail run, the more the merrier.  There are enough trails out there for all of us!  Share and review your favorite trails on our Trail Running listings and help your fellow Trail Runners get the most out of this awesome extreme sport.  We hope that the rise in popularity will lead to better Trail Running information, new gear to help make Trail Running more enjoyable, and an overall better social experience.

So why has Trail Running become so popular?  Well, first off, recently there has been a Running Boom Across America which we determined was due to the poor economy and translates well into the boom of Trail Running.  Many runners get tired of running the same routes and surfaces of road running and have ventured out to the trails for a new experience.  The transition from road running to trail running is simple, using many of the same techniques as running on roads.  Another reason is that Trail Running is easy to access; all you need is a trail.  While many trails have restrictions on mountain biking or horseback riding, virtually no trails exclude runners from running on them.  Even if trails do have restrictions on running then just walk fast if come across another hiker.

So what are you waiting for?  Get off the road and go Trail Running!

Water Running?

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

For those who are into trail running, this might be the next big thing: water running. We spotted this video on YouTube recently and were intrigued.

Our guess is this is a clever viral marketing campaign by Hi-Tec (the fleeting product shot w/ the Hi-Tec logo gave it away) but who cares – it’s a great video nonetheless. We really like the fact that the whole thing almost seems believable, that it should be possible to at least get a few steps across the water before sinking (luckily the producers knew when to quit and didn’t have the guy run all the way across the lake). Reminds us of the Mythbusters episode where they tried to create Ninja water walking shoes (and failed) but were ultimately able to run across a liquid mixture of corn starch and water without sinking.

Water running – now that’s a real challenge!

Great Trail Running Quote

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

“I keep running and when I get to a place I can’t run anymore, I turn around and run home.”

downhill-trail-running-manI read this quote in a running magazine a while back and thought it was really neat.  The quote comes from a trail runner explaining how, and probably more importantly, why he ran down a steep rock cliff that all the other runners stopped and walked down.  This quote symbolizes why I love to go serious and extreme  Trail Running.  It’s a freelance, exhilarating activity where you get whatever you put into it.  If you want to walk down the cliff, you can, but if you want to challenge yourself and heighten your senses, then you run down it.  It’s up to you. Challenge yourself.

Another important challenge behind this quote is not the decision the Trail Runner made to run down the cliff, but the decision to just simply run until he can’t run anymore.  How many of us have run until complete exhaustion where our bodies could not physically run anymore?  I want to challenge myself to do that more often (probably not on a remote trail though).  I truly don’t know what I could be capable of achieving in running until I run to complete exhaustion.

Bottom line, I’m sure the quoted trail runner didn’t stand at the top of the cliff and think, “Should I run down this?”  He just did it.  Hansel from the movie “Zoolander” said it best, “I just grip it and rip it, that’s just how I live my life bro.”  Grip it and Rip it on your next trail run.