I just finished a pretty difficult week of training and I have to admit I'm tired. I ran about 45 miles which is only one mile less than my biggest running week ever.
I went to the MEC (Mountain Equipment Coop) on Saturday to buy a face mask. When the weather is cold and windy, my nose and face become really numb and I'm afraid to eventually get a frostbite. I have a regular Balaklava, but it has no breathing openings and when I cover my nose and mouth, I feel like I can't breathe so I never cover up.
So I got me a Seirus mask. It's really nice and comfy. The nose opening still keeps my nose warm. There are holes for the mouth. I'm thinking of cutting a larger hole to let a bit more air in.
Then I walked by the trail running shoes and tried the La Sportiva Crosslite. They felt great and I got a pair. I figured that with a 50k and a 50 miles trail races coming, I should at least try trail shoes. I hear that some people prefer to run in regular running shoes but I figured that if the conditions are nasty, I might need to wear more robust shoes than my Nike Frees.
Yesterday I had a 13 miles (21k) run on the menu and I decided to try my race gear. I felt like I was going on a polar expedition. It was about -12C outside and it gets windy near the lake. In addition to my mask and new shoes, I decided to try to run with my Camelback instead out my regular belt/bottle kit. It makes quite a difference because I don't want to put Gatorade in my Camelback. Nasty things tend to grow in Gatorade, so I filled it with water and put a couple of gels in one of the pockets. The key word here is FILLED. I don't know what I was thinking, but I filled it to the rim, a bit more than 2 liters, which means I was running with about 5 pounds extra on my back.
I don't think I will run with the Camelback again. I believe the model I have is for cycling and it tended to bounce a lot. By the end of my long runs, my traps are always stiff and this time it was almost unbearable.
The mask performed well. It wasn't quite cold enough out, so I took it off when I was out of the wind. Like I said, I might cut a bigger hole for my mouth. This would alos allow me to drink without taking it off.
The Crosslite shoes were really nice. Fair warning, the sole is HARD. I usually run in Nike Free shoes, which have little cushioning, and the Crosslite felt harder, probably because the whole show is stiffer. Still, they were nice and light. Remember, this was my first time running in them and I went for 13 miles... I didn't suffer any chafing or blister. The shoes let me keep a fairly forefoot/midfoot stride. About half of my run was on snow covered road and sidewalk, and they had really good traction. I'm happy I got them.
So today, I rest and tomorrow it's back to the grinder!