Saturday, August 22, 2009

Last the best of all the game!

Otherwise known as Wrightsock Review #2

I wore the SLTs Monday morning on a 3 mile tempo run. The first thing I noticed was that they were really thin. Even thinner than the SLRs. A lot thinner than I prefer, but they did a good job at keeping my dry, and were quite comfortable. I really liked how they hug my feet. Not too tight, but very supportive.

Monday was also the first day of cross country practice. I've moved up from the middle school to coach at the high school with a good friend of mine. We are really excited about the season and the group of kids we have. We are at a brand new school (in it's first full year), so there are only freshmen and sophomores (another grade level will be added each year until there are seniors). Since these kids will be competing against schools with juniors and seniors, we are really focusing on the kids having fun, with the hope that they will enjoy it and continue with cross country throughout high school. And hopefully the team will grow with each year.

For practice on Monday, I wore the SLXs. I didn't know how much running I'd be doing the first day of practice, so I was planning on having another run with them later in the week. I ended up running some intervals with the kids on the track, and it was HOT! 105 degrees here in Phoenix. My feet were very happy, though, in the SLXs (wish I could say the kids were as happy as my feet, but everyone came back the next day, so it must not have been too bad for them. ). The socks kept me quite dry and comfortable out there on the hot track.

Tuesday, I gave the SLRs another try at practice. It was an easy practice, but still very hot. I must say that they did a much better job the second time around. It probably helps to follow the directions to wash before wearing. And they are so comfy! I didn't want to take them off when I got home.

Wednesday morning, I ran a tough interval workout in the Running IIs. Again, I was surprised by the double layers and how comfortable they are. They did a good job keeping my feet dry, or at least keeping me from noticing the moisture. When I wiggled my toes while I was running, I could tell that they were wet. But how often do I wiggle my toes like that when I run, right? During the rest of my run, I didn't notice a thing.

I'm not kidding when I say it was a tough workout. I had planned to do a ladder workout of 400m, 800m, mile, 800m, 400m. I wanted to do them pretty fast, but I was so tired when I got up that I didn't think I'd be going very fast at all. But after the warm up, I surprised myself with a 1:20 for the 1/4. Not bad at all. Exactly what I originally wanted to run, actually. I was able to do the 1/2 in 2:45, and the mile in 5:48. Now that really surprised me. Last time I did this workout, I ran the mile in like 6:45. And I was still feeling pretty good, so I wanted to run the last two intervals faster than the first two. I did the 1/2 in 2:45 again, and the 1/4 in 1:15. Like I said, that was tough, but it felt so great to accomplish that after waking up thinking I'd be running pretty slow. Maybe it was the socks.

At this point I had tested out all the socks except for the Coolmesh, and as you can guess by the title of this post, I kinda liked them. I ran an easy 5 mile run this morning with a friend. We got a ton of rain last night, so it was really humid. We felt a few sprinkles on the run, but it didn't really rain on us. Taking all that into account, plus the wet sidewalks, these socks kept my feet dry as a bone. I really liked that they are a lot thinner than the other double layer socks I've tried--similar to the rest of my socks. These are by far the best socks (at least my favorite) of the bunch. I just wish they were a little lower. They come up a little higher on my ankles than I prefer, but I really enjoyed running in these socks.

This little experiment has been a lot of fun, adding a little novelty to each of my runs over the last couple weeks. I am excited to make the rounds again and see how each pair does the second time around. Thanks, Wrightsock! I've got some happy feet.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Wrightsock Review #1

This last week, I've had the opportunity to run in my new Wrightsocks. I've only tried out 2 pairs on one run each so far, so this post is only my first impressions, so my opinions could possibly change over the course of the month.

On Wednesday, I had scheduled some mile repeats. Four by 1 mile repeats with the goal of 6 minutes each. I knew this was going to be a tough, fast workout, so I wanted some fast socks to help me get through it. I thought the SLRs fit the bill. These socks were oh so comfy when I slipped them on. I really liked how they snugly hugged my feet. Because they are pretty thin, I kind of felt like my feet were sliding around in my shoes on my warm up. Not too bad though. One thing I did notice, however, was how wet my feet felt. I really don't think they did a better job at keeping my feet dry than my C9s. Later that night though, I noticed on the package the recommendation to wash before wearing, and thought maybe that had something to do with it. I'll give these another try with a clean slate now that I've washed them.

By the way, in case you were interested, the workout was killer. I was able to keep the first 2 miles under 6 minutes. Just missed the third one by a couple seconds, and the last one was agonizingly slow (at least compared to the first two. Overall, a great run though.

I had planned to test out the Coolmesh on my easy run on Thursday, but I woke up to lightning and a downpour. I would have loved to have run in the rain, but decided against it when I saw the lightning. Hopefully I'll get to run in them this week.

Saturday I wore the DLXs on my long run. I ran 8 miles, and didn't notice the socks at all. These did a much better job at keeping my feet dry than the SLRs did. I was a little worried about the double layer. I know about their anti-blister technology, but when I first tried them on (prior to washing), the inner layer was all creased under the toes, which made me wonder how they would hold up on a run. I must say that I was very pleased with how they did. They were comfortable, supportive, and an excellent choice for my long run.

I still have four more pairs to try out. I'm not sure which ones I'll wear this week, but more reviews are still to come.

And here's a sweet picture of Phoenix at sunrise from South Mountain at the start of my run on Saturday morning.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Socks Galore

The topic of running socks is something to which I had never really given much thought. It actually wasn't too long ago that I started wearing socks that were made for running. I made the switch from my cotton Hanes and Fruit of the Loom socks to performance socks when I got tired of dealing with the bulky seams that would frequently give me blisters. I've tried a few different brands, mostly the cheap stuff--Target's C9s, Wal-Mart's Starter socks--and haven't had much to complain about. A few months ago, I got a couple pairs of quality socks from Sof-Sole to review, and I started to see the value in the more expensive/higher quality socks. Not enough, however, to go out and replace the cheapos, though.

A couple weeks ago, I got an email from the good folks at the Runner's Lounge introducing a partnership with Wrightsock, and asking me to participate in the Wrightsock Challenge. Today, I finally received my anxiously awaited package in the mail, which contained six different pairs of socks that I will test out over the next 30 days. I'll be posting frequently over the course of the month with reviews on each pair. Here's a rundown of what I got (product summaries provided by
  • Cushioned DLX: The newest update to the WRIGHTSOCK™ line. The Cushioned DLX provides a light amount of cushioning for added comfort. Dri-WRIGHT II™ wicks moisture away from your feet and the two layers absorb all the friction and foot shear. Stabilizer Zone™ helps lock the sock in place. A great addition to the WRIGHTSOCK™ line.
  • Coolmesh: Our lightest, most breathable Double Layer. Features 30% lighter weight than the Running sock along with a mesh panel across the top of the foot. This panel allows for maximum “wicking” action away from the foot, keeping you drier and cooler than other socks. Designed for all activities where lighttweight is preferred. Perfect for Running, Cycling, Hiking and Walking on or off trails.
  • Running II: Our new Running II sock is a variation on our Original sock. The Running II sock is still a flat knit (no cushion) midweight sock designed for all running activities. This new style also has a bit more Lycra® and a Stabilizer ZoneTM for a snug (but not tight) fit. Features the perfect combination of moisture management and friction-free control. This sock provides all the protection you need without shoe sizing issues. Perfect for the Running sock user who would like just a slightly snugger fit.
  • SLR: A premium performance sock featuring a midweight cushioned footbed that adds comfort and protection from shock for all athletic activities. This sock provides all the protection you need without shoe sizing issues.
  • SLT: A lightweight premium performance sock that provides a second skin feel. Perfect for all running activities.
  • SLX: This premium performance sock is ideal for all athletic activities. It features dense terry cushion in key stress zones to provide exceptional comfort and shock absorption. The SLX also has venting channels for added breathability.
Now, to decide which pair to wear first.

To read more about my experiences and those of others participating in the Wrightsock Challenge check out the Forum at the Runner's Lounge.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

If I were an Inca...

I'd be a mailman.

I recently discovered a little nugget of information that I thought was pretty cool and wanted to share. It is believed that the Incas had no form of written language; however, they had a very sophisticated system for delivering messages, which enabled them to send messages across the mountainous empire at a rate of 150 miles per day! Chasquis were messengers, trained from a very young age to run long distances through the 4,500 mile long expanse of the Andes Mountains, whose peaks reach upward of 20,000 feet. It was a sort of relay where the message was passed from one messenger to another, who would have to memorize the message, and run to the next exchange point. How cool would that job be?! As long as you had a good memory. One account I read mentioned that the penalty for an incorrect message relay was execution. One minor drawback, but can you imagine running through this for a living?
Along the Inca Trail
Runners' stopping points

I definitely have to plan a vacation here someday!