So Tuesday night, Weather Canada was calling for another storm to hit southern Ontario. This brings up a problem, Lisa is now working days and I am no longer able to run to work as I drop our son off at school now. So running at night is the only option, even when a wet and snowy storm is rolling in. So Lisa and I donned our gear and headed out long after the sun had gone down.
Conditions were not the worst we had ever dealt with but there was snow/slush on all sidewalks. This made for cold wet feet, but a huge sense of accomplishment. Not everyone enjoys adversity, a nice hard challenge that is out of your control. Lisa and I are used to it and thrive on dismal conditions. Our best 10 km race to date was on a hilly course in Burlington in October, raining and about 5 degrees. But I loved every minute of it as did Lisa. What is the fun in completing something if it is easy? So with cold feet and snow in the face we got our run in, it was not fast but that was not the point. We wanted to run, in fact we needed to run, it has become part of who we are now. Also all of our recent runs in the past few months that have been in cold and snowy, have all been the most satisfying and zen-like times we have experienced. Empty trails, silence and the majesty of snow covered scenery is beyond words. So next time the snow flies and people are huddling in the house on the couch, gear up and head out. You will not regret it, if you just let go and take in the calm.
So about 3 weeks ago I received a pair of Inov-8 TrailRoc 235’s from OptimalRun.com (formally NaturalRunningStore.com). I was excited as my wife Lisa has a pair of Inov-8 Roclite 275’s and has had nothing but great things to say about them (her review to come in the near future). I chose the TrailRoc 235 because they have a little cushioning, great tread and zero heel to toe drop.
All things pointed to a shoe I would enjoy. I was right, the shoe was snug in the heel ( no slipping but does not pinch) and loose in the toe box (similar to the original New Balance Minimus Trail) to allow some toe splay. The upper material was incredibly airy and felt nice and structured enough to seem durable for the trails. The shoe has a removable insoles that is about 3 mm and adds to the cushioning. I would not remove it and run as the foot bed is not designed for that and would destroy your feet/socks. The tread was very sticky to the touch which was nice as this was going to be my race/winter shoe.
I only wore the shoes for my runs, a few short (3-5 km to work) and a few longer ones (15 km or more). The shoes felt excellent and were nice on the cold roads and trails (merino wool socks helped with keeping warm). I noticed less slip than with other shoes I have had as the sticky compound rubber seemed to grip a little better. This is not to say I did not feel any slippage as there were icy patches that the rubber just could not grip, but that’s to be expected. I had no hot spots and my foot always felt secure inside the shoe.
These shoes were shaping up to be my new favorites ’til I notice after my run to work on Monday that the protective material on the toe was peeling. 3 weeks of moderate running and the shoe was coming apart, not in a vital area but still it should not be happening this soon (photo below).
So now the shoes are going back, and after further reading on the internet I have found this is common. Shame as this is in my opinion and very solid shoe and if Inov-8 would have just maybe stitched on the coating or chose something different this issue would not exist. I really wanted to have these be my shoes but I can bring my self to look past a defect that occurs so early in the use of the shoe. Still I have not given up, I hope I am going to now try the TrailRoc 150, a slightly more minimal shoe with less cushioning but same great soles. I have my fingers crossed and will let you know my thoughts.
So, we went for our long run on Sunday and it was cold. It was also beautiful and peaceful. Leaving at 6 in the morning was trying, but once on the trails around the Grand River it was well worth it. However due to the slick and snow covered trail, my ankle and Achilles were not quite up to the task, so I am now having to take a few days off to rest a strain. I am hopeful it is enough because missing my runs drives me nuts. It makes me disappointed in myself, but it is better to rest and feel disappointment than to cause further injury.
On a different note, if you are ever in Brantford, Ontario on a cold day and are taking the trail through West Brant to Brant Park, crossing the large bridge spanning the Grand River cam be terrifying. The ice cracks, and sounds as though you will be plummeting to an icy doom, but it is stable. It also gives a chance to take nice photos. Wishing I had not included the railing.