Recently I purchased some new running shoes. The Inov8 x talon 212s. I love my New Balance Minimus running shoes, however they are quite what I want for racing. In the last Portland Sprint the NB Minimus had some trouble with grip on some hills and obstacles. I went out looking for some new shoes that had this attribute, but I also wanted the minimal feel and durability. This is where I cam to the Inov-8 x Talon 212.
My first run I attempted with these was the Sierra Buttes run. I was a little worried that my feet were going to be full of blisters after this grueling 15 mile run. There is some major incline as well as decline to test the recommended great grip of these shoes. In addition, the uneven terrain tested the shoes ability to prevent any ankle rolls. I really wanted to see if these shoes lived up to its great recommendations.
After the run, I ended up with very limited foot blisters and no ankles rolls. Also and most importantly, the grip on these shoes are insane. There was absolutely no slippage on the steep uphills and downhills. Furthermore, the traction on the shoes helped me gain more on each step I took.
First, these shoes run a half size too small and they are quite narrow. I have a relatively wide foot and I was a little nervous that the shoes were not going to workout. However, they turned out to be very comfortable. The narrow component helps when you are running side ways on a hill to prevent your foot from turning in the shoe. Also, the talons are a little awkward at first I got over that pretty quickly. The shoes were a little bit heavier than what I am used to so my achilles got pretty sore at times during the run. Yet, once I went on a couple more runs the ankles strengthened for the little added weight.
I have only had the shoes for a couple of months, but so far the traction has not warned down much. There is the typical wear and tear, though nothing major. The large talons on the bottom of the sole seem like they will wear down quickly. So far they have limited strain, but time will tell.
All in all I love these shoes. The tight fit and talons makes it seem like you are barefoot with this special grip ability. I would definitely recommend these shoes, especially for Spartan Races. I will be uses them in the Spartan Championship Race. Hopefully they give me that extra edge to do well!!
In the beginning of August I did the Portland Sprint. So, this is a similar distance to the Boise race with around 20 obstacles. I got 2nd overall and 2nd in the mens elite!! It is a huge improvement since the San Francisco race. It seems like I have been going in the right direction with my training, but as always there’s still room for improvement.
Since I was training for the super, which is 8-10 miles, before this race I was at a head start with training. I just needed to improve my speed for the shorter distances and better my running on hills. For most of the race I was solid except for a couple of sections. These were right at the end of the longer hills. In the future I need to practice longer hills at a higher intensity. In addition, the person who got in first place took off around 3/4 into the race. This showed that my running still needs a lot of improvement. When running in this race I realized that I need to increase my overall intensity when I run to train. Just the presence of the competition really pushes me. I need to carry that over into my workouts.
In the past couple of races I have lacked sprinting at the beginning of the race. I finally did this in the Portland Sprint. I think it was a huge factor in how well I did. When running with the men who are in the front of the pack you run at the pace you need to run to get a higher placing. So, this is a major tactic I need to do and improve on for future races. Where I was struggling later in the race may have been because of going fast at the beginning of the race. So, I still need to improve on this strategy. If I was a little more conditioned I could have kept up with the winner.
Overall I did pretty well on the obstacles. The obstacle I had the most trouble with was the bucket carry. I was pretty winded when I got there and the grip on the bottoms of the buckets were different compared to other races. It was hard to maintain the grip I wanted. Also, the hill we had to climb was steep with pretty loose dirt. At times I slipped a little bit, which messed with my grip as well. The slippage could have been because of my worn out shoes. Shoes are something I definitely need to invest a little more into. At the beginning of the race there were times where I was in first place. This could have been due to how well I did at some of the obstacles. The strength obstacles are something I could be a little faster on too, but they are difficult because of my smaller size and weight.
The Portland Sprint was a major success!! There are a few things I need to touch up on, but it seems like I am getting closer to a great training regime. In addition, it was great to explore the city of Portland with my girl Majken!!! The next race is the championship in Tahoe. I have a ton of training to do. The best Spartan racers will be there so I really need to step up my game!!