Review – Go St. Louis half marathon / marathon – St. Louis, MO

goStLouisLogo

Date: April 15, 2012

Distance: 13.1 miles, 26.2 miles

Race Cost: $85

Race website: http://www.gostlouis.org

Total Runners: Around 9,000 for the half marathon, 1,700 for the full marathon

Race Start Time: 7am

Course: Rolling Hills. Some hills are fairly long. The half marathon course takes you through the city of St. Louis, and the roads are all closed for the race. At approximately the 10 mile mark, the half marathoners and full marathoners split up. At that point, it’s a very lonely race for the full marathon runners.

Weather: Weather in April can be cold and rainy or hot and humid. Prepare for all scenarios.

Race Schwag: You get a long-sleeve t-shirt by registering and a very nice finisher’s medal awaits you.

Review – Ramble into Sprint 10 mile race – McKendree University, Lebanon, IL

McKendree University

Date: March 24, 2012

Distance: 10 miles, 10k, 5k

Race Cost: $13!

Race websitehttp://www.mckendree.edu/parents-visitors/visitors/race-day/

Total Runners: Around 500 total for all 3 distances

Race Start Time: 8am

Review – St. Patrick’s Day Race – St. Louis, MO

St. Patrick's Day Parade

Date: March 17, 2012

Distance: 5 miles

Race websitehttp://www.irishparade.org/site/run/

Race Mood: There are some very serious runners, but the vast majority of participants are there to have fun.  You will see runners pushing strollers and running with dogs.  You’ll also see groups of people pushing kegs in pull wagons while handing out free beer.  The mood is about having fun.

Total Runners: 13,000. If you want to race for time, then get there early and up front.  There’s waaay too many people that are doing this race for fun and have no interest in letting you through for a fast time.

Race Start Time: 9am (What’s not to like about that?)

Review – Yaktrax Pro

Yaktrax Pro

Info

Description: Heavy Duty traction device for running, light hiking and working on packed snow and ice.

Cost: $30

Review

Ever fall while running in the winter due to the ice and snow? Trust me, it’s not fun. This year I decided to be pro-active in the fight against slipping by using YakTrax, a device that claims to help you slip less while running in the snow and ice.

These are basically a heavy duty rubber “shoe wrap” that fits around the bottom of your shoe. Surrounding the rubber is a high-strength steel coil, similar to the binding of a spiral notebook, only much stronger. The whole setup fits tight around your shoe, and a velcro strap across your toe box helps it stays put. It takes all of about 30 seconds to put the Yaktrax on both shoes. Once in place, they felt like they wouldn’t move around at all. Solid construction, and a good fit. So far so good.

Review – SPIbelt Energy Belt

SPIbelt Energy Belt

Model: SPIbelt – Energy Belt

Retail: $21.95

Description: Sleek, expandable, secure and does not bounce. Can hold an iPod™, Blackberry™, cell, keys, up to five GU™ packs, and other small personal items. Carry up to 6 additional energy packs on your belt. Easy access, easy removal when needed.

Book Review – Iron War – Dave Scott, Mark Allen & the Greatest Race Ever Run

ironwar

By Matt Fitzgerald

This book chronicles the epic battle that took place at the Ironman World Championships in 1989 between Dave Scott and Mark Allen.

I have to admit, I wasn’t sure how I was going to like this book. This battle was well before I got into racing triathlons, and I honestly thought that perhaps there was too big of a time gap between then and now for it to interest me. In hindsight, that thinking was D-U-M-B.

Review – Hoka Bondi B Road Running Shoe

bondiB

A few months ago I reviewed the Hoka’s Stinson Crossover running shoe, and came away very impressed.  So when I had the opportunity to review Hoka’s road running shoe, I jumped at the chance.

The Hoka Bondi B appears to be very similar to the Stinson shoe.  It has the Hoka “look” with plenty of cushion and width.  And both versions are put together extremely well.  The quality of their manufacturing process is evident.   You have to look closely to see the differences.  They are subtle, but important.

Review – Cobb Cycling Plus Saddle

Cobb Plus saddle

Cost: $149.99 from CobbCycling.com

I think I’ve tried nearly every saddle made. Seriously. It’s like my own quest for the holy grail. My boys need comfort, and I will not stop until they are smiling.

Saddle discomfort is the one nuisance that plagues me in every long-distance triathlon. It keeps me from riding in the aero bars for long stretches. If I can find a comfortable seat, I can remain aero for longer, and I’ll have a faster bike split. I’ve tried them all, so when I saw an advertisement for Cobb Cycling’s saddles, I said “Why Not?”.

Review – XLAB Carbon Torpedo Mount Hydration System

Xlab Torpedo Mount

The Xlab Torpedo Mount is a simple “plate” that comes in either carbon fiber or aluminum. You mount a standard bottle cage onto the Torpedo Mount and then suspend the system between your aero bars by 4 straps. Simple and effective.

MSRP: $50

Review – Hoka Stinson B Crossover Running Shoe

The sole near the toe has less foam in it, so it appears to point up a bit. You can't feel this, and it allows you to roll off your toe with amazing simplicity.  Maintaining good form is way too easy.

I first heard about Hoka’s line of running shoes while racing in a local trail series. A high school coach showed up wearing a pair and they immediately got my attention. They’re hard to miss.  They’re big.  The coach calls them his “moon shoes”. He’s one of the faster guys around, and happened to be racing that day with two broken toes. According to him, he doesn’t feel any pain when running in these shoes. He used the word “amazing” more than once.  I was a bit skeptical, but this guy has been around, so I started thinking about reviewing a pair.

So here we are.

Hoka OneOne was started in 2009 by two ultra runners. They began with one shoe, the Mafate trail shoe, and it quickly made an impression on ultra runners everywhere. They now makes multiple shoes – from walking shoes to trail shoes to road shoes.

The Hoka Stinson B is a crossover shoe that can be used on both road or trail surfaces.