Sunday, January 12, 2020

GORUCK I/O Cross Trainer Review

I purchased these GORUCK I/O Cross Trainers during the work shop sale, back in the beginning of September 2019.
They came in early January 2020.

GORUCK I/O Cross Trainer Review

GORUCK I/O Cross Trainer Review

GORUCK I/O Cross Trainer Review

GORUCK I/O Cross Trainer Review

GORUCK I/O Cross Trainer Review

They have they same type of shoe laces as the MACV1s.

GORUCK I/O Cross Trainer Review

The tread is much more aggressive than the MACV1s.  This looks to be what the MACV1s will be using for version 2.

GORUCK I/O Cross Trainer Review

I was very happy with the black and gum color.  I like the contrast between the two.

GORUCK I/O Cross Trainer Review

The insoles look similar to the MACV1s, but they seem to be a little thinner.

GORUCK I/O Cross Trainer Review

I tried them on and they felt pretty good.  I did notice they were much stiffer than the Brooks I normally wear for running and rucking.  The fit for me was perfect.  I wear a 12 in MACV-1s and ordered a 12 in the I/Os.  I like my sneakers a little big for running and rucking so these worked well for me.  They seem to be about a half size up from the MACV-1s.  I normally wear a 12.5 or sometimes a 13 in Brook, depending on the model.

The first ruck I did was a 5 mile treadmill ruck.  I know that sounds like it would suck but I wanted to watch something on Netflix so it worked out.

The feel of them was similar to my Inov 8 F-lites, or probably similar to other cross trainer shoes.

After finishing I did notice some uncomfortable presser on my right foot near the upper left lace grommet.

At first I thought it might be the laces, because they are smaller hard and round, and the only thing between that and your foot was a layer of cordura in the shoe tongue.  So I pulled the laces out of my trail running shoes and replaced them.

Next I took a 10k ruck outside and I still felt the pressure on and off and it was fairly uncomfortable.  So when I returned home I tried to look more into it.  It seemed that the top left grommet for the laces had a little sharper bur or ledge as compared to the others.  Maybe there was an error when pressing it in.

I took a piece of 2000 grit sand paper and sanded down the edge so it was smooth.

After doing this I went out for a 8 mile mountain / trail ruck.

The pressure seemed to be gone, and they felt much more comfortable.

GORUCK I/O Cross Trainer Review

I did leave my trail sneaker laces in as I liked that there was a little more give in them, also I kind of like how they look more than the boot laces.

GORUCK I/O Cross Trainer Review

It rained for most of the ruck and there were a lot of muddy hilly trails.  The new tread pattern is amazing compared to the original MACV-1s pattern.  Honestly they performed as well as my trail shoes.

GORUCK I/O Cross Trainer Review

One thing I did notice is that the toe area collects mud.  Even after walking through tons of water it still collected in this area.  Not a big deal though.  One thing I did notice is that they did drain very well and never felt mushy.  I think this is due to the simple construction and nothing to really collect water in them.

Next I gave them a try for a 4 mile run on the tread mill.

Due to the stiffness I thought these wouldn't be great for running.  But honestly they didn't feel that bad, I would be OK running in them more often.

I also gave them a try on a rower and during other PT, lifting, normal cross training stuff and they worked great.

So far I only have about 20 miles on them, and I plan on putting many more on them.  I am still not sure exactly what was going on with the right shoe early on but that seems to be gone now.  These will definitely be my rucking shoes, probably most of my cross training, and even some of my running.  I am very happy these came out, I love my MACV-1s and plan to wear them quite often, not just for rucking, I have always preferred sneakers and these are what I have been looking for.

I will be updating this review as I get more miles on these, but it's looking pretty good so far.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

2019 Vermont 100 Endurance Run

Registration for the VT100 (Vermont 100 Endurance Run) was a lottery this year.  The names were pulled live and streamed.  I was a little nervous as I didn't get pulled until near the end, but was extremely excited to get in.

We are out of PA so we headed up to Vermont the day before packet pickup.

Registration opened on 10 am Friday, and you had to pick up your packet before 3:30 pm.  If you were not there by then they would hand your bib off to the next person on the wait list.

They offered camping on site for free, but we went with a hotel.  This ended up working out pretty well, because the temps were fairly high.

They had large tents setup for the registration area and the meeting area.

In the registration tent they had a bib pickup area, then after getting you bib you go to another table and pick up your shirt and you got a pair of Darn Tough socks as they were a sponsor.

They also had a merchandise area that you could buy VT100 Gear.

Finally they had the pacer sign up area, so your pacer could sign the waver and get the pacer bib.

Outside of the registration tent, many of the vendors setup their tents and had amazing deals on products.

All around the tents you could see the horses that would be running with us the next day.

They also held 2 free races for Crew and Pacers.  The held a Kids race and a 5k race.

After both races finished we went up to the meeting area tent to wait for the mandatory race meeting.  We were a little early and I was determined to try to get a little rest in, seeing as the race was starting early the next morning.

The temp was empty when I first laid down, but it quickly filled up.

At the race meeting they went over all the rules, trail marking, and talked about the charity, Vermont Adaptive.  They also mentioned that this might be the last year the horses would be running the race with the runners.  After the meeting they provided dinner but we skipped it so we could get back to the hotel and get some rest.  It was still very warm out and it was going to be hot the next day, so we just wanted to get out of the heat and get some rest.

Race check in the next morning started at 3:00 am until 3:45 am.

It was already quite hot and humid.

They had very good directions for traveling between points and told us multiple times not to use GPS.  Mainly because GPS has trouble telling the difference between the Jeep trails in the area and the roads.

After race check in we all headed over to the start line.

The race started promptly at 4:00 am.

The trails were marked very well, using yellow plates in areas that you needed to turn.

On longer stretches they would also occasionally put a yellow plate with a C, as a confidence check that you were still headed the correct way.

The race started down hill on a dirt road, then eventually hit a jeep trail.

The first aid station I don't believe was originally planned but I believe they added a few water only aid stations due to the heat.  It was to get close to 100 degrees that day.

After going through a few unmanned aid stations, we finally came to the first crewed station (Pretty House).

There was a lot of crew at this station waiting for their first chance to see their runners who are a little over 20 miles into the race.

Up to this point much of the running was on dirt roads and some Jeep trails.

Along the way I even ran with the race director for a little who was pacing one of the Vermont Adaptive Athletes.

At this point we started  to see some of the horses on the trail.

Through out the race much of it was on dirt road and horse paths / jeep roads.  It was really cool seeing the horses out there with us.  They had separate aid stations, and they had vet checks also that took some time.  So you would often see the same horses and riders through out the day.

The next crewed station was Stage Rd.  

By this point it was getting pretty hot out.  The aid stations had lots of ice which was very good to have through out the day.

Around Mile 38 ish we crossed the River.  At this point it felt amazing.

The next crewed aid station was Camp 10 Bear.  We would be coming back to this aid station after around a 20 mile loop.  This would also be where we would be able to pick up our pacers on the second visit to Camp 10 Bear.

After leaving Camp 10 Bear the first time, the next aid station in the middle of the 20 mile loop was the Margaritavillle aid station.

From here it was back to Camp 10 Bear, where I was able to pick up my pacer.  It was nice to have someone along out on the trail.  The next two crewed stations were Spirit of 76 and Bills.  Through out the night the trail was marked very well with glow sticks.

On the way to the final crewed aid station Polly's, the sun started to come up.  The sun rise always gives a little boost of energy.

Polly's was the final crewed aid station.  Here I dropped off my friend Sheena who got me from Camp 10 Bear to Polly's.

This is where I picked up my 9 year old daughter who paced me for the final 3.5 miles to the finish line.  She was very excited and even was more excited when everyone was cheering for her.

The last 3.5 miles had around 600 feet of elevation and she did a great job.

The finish was amazing, especially with my daughter being there with me.

The town is extremely supportive of this race, you could see it all through the town.  With race day being extremely hot, many of the homes on the course put out water and pulled their hoses out so the roads so racers could use them to cool down.

This is an amazing race, and the views are even more amazing. The volunteers and staff are extremely helpful.  The race is very runable, because most of it is on roads and horse trails.  This is good and bad, you just need to not push too hard in the beginning.  It sounds like this happens to many on this course and the heat probably didn't help.  Just over 50% completed it.  It was great to see the horses out there on the trail, it made this race different from any other that I have ran.  It was a long trip to take, but totally worth it.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

2019 Laurel Highlands Ultra

The Laurel Highlands Ultra is 70.5 miles covering the full Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.

Registration for this event is old school, no signing up online or using a credit card.  You have to fill out the paper registration and mail it in with a check.  Registration fills up quickly and the only way you know you got in is they cash your check.

The race started in Ohiopyle near the falls.  They also had packet pickup there in the morning.  They had a great pre-race dinner the night before (at least what I heard about it), but I was unable to attend.

The race started out of the parking lot and onto the road for a short piece until we hit the trail.  There was a little backup at the trail head, but it was a pretty good up hill so most racers weren't in a hurry.  One of the toughest parts of the race is the first 8 miles, which are mostly up hill.

The trail is very easy to follow, and is marked very well with yellow markings.

One thing different with this race then others I have done is every mile is marked by one of these stone mile markers.  It is very easy to keep track of where you are and it is a great feeling when you pass them and know another mile is finished.

Throughout the trail there are a few scenic overlooks right off the trail which are worth the extra minute or so to take a peak.

All of the aid stations have the usual stock of all the ultra race foods you normally see.

There are a lot of technical sections throughout the course.

There are a few areas that you weave through large rock formations.

The trail is very well maintained, all of the stream crossings have very sturdy foot bridges.

Almost all of the trail is single track, but there are a few spots you are on a dirt road on Seven Springs Ski Resort.

There are a few crew stations, where it is always nice to see family and friends, even if it is for a short period of time.

The terrain and view changes throughout the race.

There is also a very impressive bridge that crosses the PA turnpike.

The finish is great and the race director hands you your finisher's trophy.  It is a wooden replica of the 70 mile, mile marker.  They later send you a personalized plaque to add to it with your name and finish time.

This a great race on an amazing trail system.  I would highly recommend it.  It was also local for me and something I wanted to do for some time.  I'm glad I finally got the chance to do it.