Sunday, June 27, 2010

Between the snow shoes and the GT 2140 Trail I choose...

In life, you often have to make choices. Do I want to huck this 20 foot cliff onto a sketchy landing with ice and rocks? Do I want vanilla or chocolate? Should I fart in public or not?

Some of those questions are easy, some are not. What shoe to wear on a particular run should be fairly easy. Asics managed to make it fairly extremely not.

Let it be said that I LOVE Asics. They typically fit my feet perfectly, and my wife will never ever stray from the Nimbus. If I ever have any doubts on trail conditions and general comfort, I go for my Trabuco GTX (see very favorable review here).

For quite some time man has struggled with road vs trail running. Two very different beasts, yet oh so similar. They both involve running... and well, running. One happens to be the scourge of the earth and boring as frozen bacon, but that's my problem. Asics has tried to bridge the road to trail gap with their GT 2140 Trail shoe. It's a hybrid shoe, more or less a cross between their 2140 road and their trail sensor line. Keep in mind that they have updated to a 2150 line this year, but very little has changed.

In effort to make road running more comfortable from a trail shoe point of view, they reduced the overall stiffness of the shoe, de-tuned the aggressiveness of the sole, and added a bit more EVA foam to the mix. The whole point is to make road running possible from a trail shoe, which brings up the question... Why?

Your given trail runner isn't a wuss. They've been hitting the road in trail shoes for years, toughening their feet and minds in the process. Next question... why would I ever run road in a shoe that weighs a good 5 oz's more than a standard road shoe, per shoe!

I found many, many problems with these shoes. As a trail shoe, they didn't provide enough support, allowing my wife's chronically bad ankles to get torn up, and had tread grip that was about as good as Old Navy flip flops. Oh man, don't get these wet either. They drain about as well as a plastic bag.

Now as a road shoe... this is where they flopped even more. Their flex wasn't great, the trail sole was awkward on the road, and the weight penalty is just stupid.

The real question is... if you have to compromise one way or the other, either road or trail, wouldn't you lean to the side that you'd be stuck on more often? You can always run trail in road shoes, especially in good weather, and handle things pretty well. If you're on a trail that is really that technical, you wouldn't dare touch it with road shoes anyways.

As shoes go... These get a big, bold NO GO!

Asics puts out plenty of other great stuff... just this isn't their shining achievement.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Raccoons aren't your cute, cuddly friends

As with pretty much everything in life, there's always something that seems cute but really just wants to bite you, and spending times in nature is pretty much the prime example. Nothing is your friend when you're truly immersed in nature; maybe your dog, but your dog is not going to get a good face-licking by the skunk that wandered into your tent.

Something to be acutely aware of when dealing with animals is the rare, yet extremely deadly rhabdovirus. Rhabdovirus is the causative agent of Rabies, which ranks very high in the worst ways to die. . .ever.

Rabies is transmissible by animal bites (pretty much the only way), and the typical culprits are raccoons, skunks, and bats. It's rare, but aerosolized virus can be a problem in bat caves. Basically, any time you get bit by an animal, rabies should be considered and treatment should be sought after!

Rabies works as such:
1. gets into your body through a wound; the larger the wound, the worse the infection
2. gets into your nerves, the closer to the head, the worse off you are
3. travels up the nerve to your brain
4. fever, nausea, vomiting, inability to swallow water, coma
4. kills you.

Here's the deal, you have anywhere from 1-120 days for rabies to start to work, so any bite should be considered a serious threat. IF AND ONLY IF medical treatment is sought early, can a victim be saved. Through a series of vaccinations, rabies can be stopped in the early stages. Once it makes it into your brain and the symptoms start, you're hosed.

Take home lesson? Don't trust any animals, especially ones behaving oddly. If a raccoon is out during the day, staggers around, and approaches you, it's highly likely that the lil bugger is the spawn of satan and wants to give you rabies. The whole foaming at the mouth thing? Not so much.

Just be careful, and anytime you've been bit, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Set your body free

Nothing is more frightening than suddenly having a medical incident that scares you to death. As an avid skier and general dumb as they come action sport participant, I have managed to rack up many an injury. One of my most trivial, yet most scary, is the curious case of the re-appearing broken ribs.

After skiing for a day, I decided to hot dog off a jump and do a quick grab. I'm not a park and piper. Yah, I'll drop 20 feet off a cliff and giggle, but the actual act of launching up in to the air on skiis terrifies me. Which is hilarious because I love that feeling while BMXing or wakeboarding... eh. I came down a little fast, caught my ski behind me and landed squarely on my left lower rib cage. Pop... Pop... Pop... Three broken ribs.

Flash forward 5 years or so...

After a hard workout... WHOOOAAA... Why does my chest hurt so badly??? HOLY CRAP! Am I having a heart attack??? To make a long story short, I went to a few docs and was diagnosed with being an idiot (as far as my chosen hobbies) who ripped up the muscles in his rib cage pretty badly. The stress from med school didn't help (do you know how bad boards are???) and things spiraled. Thank God that it was just muscle and bone, not heart.

So what if it was heart? Do you know what to do? It's something EVERY athlete should be aware of. You never know where or who an MI (the medical short-hand for heart attack) can happen to. Plenty have happened in middle of nowhere, just as a ton have happened in the home.

1. Crushing chest pain (mine was sharp and didn't feel like an elephant). In fact, having an elephant on your chest is a common complaint

2. Pain in LEFT shoulder, or LEFT jaw. Also pain radiating in your back

3. generally feeling like crap, even a feeling of doom.

4. general super awareness of your heart, be it fast or slow (depends on the exact cardiac event). Palpitations (thumping more or less, out of rhythm) can be felt

IF these symptoms show up, CALL 911 or push the freaking button on your spot!
Best of luck to you out there! Oh yah, get yourself a CPR lesson. Save someones life. You'll feel so bad-a.