Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Road to Badger Mountain: More Notes

First off, I have to apologize to readers, because I misinterpreted/mis-read/mistook my friend Mark’s post about the 30/30/45 running schedule for a Hundo. In fact, that schedule is NOT to be done every week, but more like every three weeks! Big oops, and very embarrassing for this former English major. But good news in that it doesn’t sound quite as insane now!

That said, with x-mas done and over, I did another 30ish mile run last Thursday (see previous post) and today, Sunday, did another. The same route. I also plan to run it on New Year’s Day. I have yet to run the ‘45’ portion, but the good news is that this 30 (or more) route feels very doable now, though of course I am sore and tired as I write this tonight. But, I had enough energy to come over to a cafe to write this!

The big lesson learned was about nutrition: Last Thursday I wrote about running the route having fasted the day before, and feeling very low energy. Well, this time, I carbo-loaded the heck out of myself yesterday, with gobs of spaghetti. And today I felt much more energy. I also increased my food intake on the actual run, with a second Clif Bar, in addition to the first, and some raisins, but even before I ate my first bar, on the 11 mile run up Leif Erickson Road, I felt way more energy. I could just tell that the run was going to feel better.

So, I know, sounds basic, but, fasting the day before a big run? Not a good idea. Not impossible, but not a good idea. Fortunately, now that I’m not running the 30/30/45 every week (!) I can still fast one day on the weeks off, when I’ll be doing more ‘normal’ runs (whatever those may entail). Something to remember for Badger Mountain: carbo load carbo load carbo load!

Interesting how having energy just changed my perception about the route. What felt like hills on Thursday, needing to be walked, today seemed only mere inclines that I could run up! In fact, the best news of the day was how much time I cut off the route: 50 whole minutes!

The weather of course was great, clear and sunny (in Portland! In December!) which didn’t hurt, but I really feel this was all about nutrition. Again, probably a no-brainer for most folks, but I’m a slow stubborn learner, and need to make my own mistakes.

Now a day off, and ring in the New Year with another long run!

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Road to Badger Mountain: Notes

Yesterday, Thursday, after a short house/cat-sitting break, in which I did nothing but watch lots of DVDs and eat mostly junk food, I returned to my new schedule of a long long run. Again, I’m not sure on the length, but I was out for another eight hours. I’d like to say that puts the route at 35 miles, but I run really slow, so it could be 30. I think it’s at least 30.

On Wednesday, I also fasted, something I’ve been doing for a while now: fasting one day a week, though on the run I felt pretty low energy, so I’m not sure fasting the day before a long run is the best thing to do. I may have to change the day. I’m trying to find the optimal three days for running, based around what’s going on in the rest of my life. So far, it seems that Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, will work best, with Friday and Saturday off. The holidays are kind of messing with that schedule though, what with people coming into town and such. I don’t want my running to interfere with my social life (such as it is....)

Anyways, though I felt low energy, and walked mostly all the hills, that eight hours wasn’t much different from my last run on the same route, which is something to remember: feeling low energy doesn’t mean running isn’t possible! With the low energy, my mantra became, don’t fall in to the Death March.

I invested in better gloves, which made the run much more enjoyable. I was warm enough the whole way. In fact, the weather was good, with actual sun. I still dressed fairly warm, with a shell and two shirts and runing pants and a pair of shorts over them. Most of the other runners I saw were dressed much lighter, some in just shorts and a t-shirt! But they were moving faster than I was. I didn’t hardly break a sweat.

The Merrell Trail Gloves are still the best tool for the job, for both the cold, and the muddy trails. I wouldn’t run on pavement in them, but for cold trail running, they’re perfect. I suspect I’ll want to use them for at least the night portion of Badger Mountain.

The things I carried: One Clif Bar and a bag of raisins. I didn’t seem to get the boost of energy from the Clif Bar that I got on the last run, but I think I’ll be taking one with me on each run. Maybe even take two. They’re cheaper than I thought, just over a dollar.

What I was really grateful for was being able to attend a yoga class almost right after I got home and ate something. Doing all the stretching, along with some strength poses, took the ‘edge’ or ‘bite’ out of my soreness. I could move a little more easily afterwards. This option isn’t available after races, which are on the weekends, but I’m thankful to have this yoga studio right down the block! Yoga maybe be my secret weapon on the road to Badger Mountain!

The one thing bothering me is that I'm not running barefoot. I miss it. And, in fact, need it. For this trail route, carrying my Merrells part of the time is just not really feasible. I'll have to move out to some city running, where I can carry my Xero Huaraches part of the time. That or sneak in some short barefoot runs here and there.

Now, two days of rest, and then another 30 miles on Sunday. I do like this ‘not running every day’ schedule of Mark’s. I just wish I were a little faster so the 30 miles didn’t take all day!

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Road to Badge Mountain: 30/30/45

I'm trying out a training schedule recommended by my friend, and ultrarunner extraordinaire, Mark Ott. It's kind of scary sounding at first, and goes like this: 30/30/45. That is, run 30 miles one day. Rest one day. Run another 30 miles. Rest another day. Run 45 miles. Rest two days.

Mark's thinking goes, that if marathons are no longer a problem, and for me they aren't, then it's time to up the mileage. Which I knew, and I needed this kick in the pants to get me to do it, but I'll admit that the length of each run kind of shocked me. I mean, I can run 30 miles, and even 45 miles, without much problem. I did finish two 50 Mile races last summer (2011), and DNFed a “Hundo” at Mile 70. But those were races! This would just be me, on my own, with no competition to inspire me along.

Still, what I like about Mark's plan is the days of rest in between. My initial reaction was, Wait, shouldn't I be running every day? Even just small ones on the days off? But then I came to my senses: I would need those days of rest to recover for the the following day. It seems/feels a little counterintuitive, training for an ultra with four days off a week. And yet, this has been one of my 'excuses', that training for a hundo seems to require someone to be independantly wealthy. Mark's idea is that this schedule gets you the mileage, while also allowing for plenty of time off, to take care of business, and have a social life. So much for my excuses....

And, since I actually have a lot of free time lately (laid off from job—long story) I figured even if I was totally destroyed by this schedule, I have time to play with it. And recover from it.

First 30 Mile Run
Went well, in that I felt good after. It may actually have been more than 30. Previous 50Ks I've run in 6 hours. This took me almost 7! I think I wasn't running as fast as I would in a race. And, if it was more, that's ok. But, although tired, I certainly wasn't wiped out, and was walking around my apartment ok. Still, seven hours is a big chunk of time. I have to remember that Mark can run a 50K in like 4:30, so this did become an all day thing.

Tied in with that is the fact that I didn't plan for loss of daylight. I ran the last hour, hour and a half, in the dark, which probably added even time. I could've anticipated this problem a little better, but didn't. I haven't run a long trail run here in Portland, so I was going on my normal short run routine. Could've been injurious to me! I adapted by getting off the trail as soon as I could and back out onto this dirt road, though the problem with that is the road is the Gravel Road from Hell, so even in my thick Luna sandals, my feet got hammered.

I did end up dressing appropriately. I started my run with almost clear sky, and almost didn't bring my 'shell' jacket, but did at the last moment, because of the cold. Well, five hours later, I was in a hail storm, and I never really sweat that much. If anything, I could've worn some Injinji socks with my huaraches, though they would've been soaked in mud very early. My feet were actually ok. A little cold by the hail storm, but the huarache soles kept me up off the cold ground (see the second run day).

Also: I have to remember to lube up. Again, just not thinking. Used to only lubing up for marathons and other races, not for lone runs. Had some chafing when I got back!

Day of rest
This felt good, to just do anything but run. I was a little slow-moving, but otherwise felt fine. Yoga classes helped immensely, as did eating a lot, carbo loading for the next day.

Second 30 Mile Run
No hail, which was good. I was running a little slower, though not much. I felt surprisingly strong. More mud, more rain, though mostly a light mist. The big unexpected problem was my footwear malfunctions. Not one, but both of my Luna sandals broke down: The hemp rope laces do not seem to like wet weather. I'd been trying them because I thought they shrunk when wet, and so would be more stable (ie more than leather laces) when wet and on hills. And, they don't stretch as much as leather would, but they don't necessarily tighten up either. I had to stop and tighten the back heel straps numerous times. But the big problem was the rope rubbing against the soles and getting cut off. Both of the 'toe knots' snapped right off, and both laces were cut off at the outside 'heel holes' as well. All of this seemed sudden, though I wonder if I could've inspected and anticipated this, by checking for wear on the ropes.

Unfortunately, it's really really hard to re-thread the rope through those little holes, especially when the rope is wet and muddy, and especially when my hands are numb from cold and running five hours. I was able to sort of force the rope through the holes, though sometimes just strands of it, enough to barely hold, and finally, with the last toe hole break, I just could not fix it. On a dry trail, yes, but not in these NorthWet conditions. Fortunately this happened three-fourths of the way through the run, so I could simply run barefoot the rest of the way, though I will say the Wildwood trail is not the most barefoot friendly, with lots of gravel laid out. That plus the cold made for a pokey run home, though at that point I knew where I was, and even knew a couple short cuts.

Still, with all the repair stops, and the slightly slower run in general, my run ended up lasting almost eight hours. (!!!). I felt ok when I got home and showered. Kind of like I'd run a 50K. But, considering the 50K I'd run two days ago, I felt surprisingly ok. My feet were ok too.

Neither day did I actually run the route I thought I'd run, which would have added maybe at least 45 more minutes!

I'm not happy about the sandals. For the next run, I'll either try the Leadvilles, and see how that fancy lace fares, or take my Merrills out of retirement, which is kind of what I bought them for: colder weather and rougher trails.

And, I might try my 45 mile run out in the city somehow. Do a Dean Karnazes “Runabout” and just stay on my feet all day. Which, might work out, since if running this 50K took eight hours, 45 will have me running at night. In which case maybe I'll just wear my thinner Xeros. But in any case, I have to figure out a way to reload on water and food. Either do this 30 Miler, come to my apartment for replentishment, then head out again, or, just bring money along on the city run. but 45 Miles is going to be on up to 12 hours! (which is what those 50 Mile races took me). But, so far this is taking a big chunk out of my days. I'm ok with it for now, but I'm not sure if this would work for those normal people with jobs and families. We'll see what Mark has to say about that.

Now another day of rest....

Monday, December 10, 2012

Resolution: Badger Mountain 100M

Well, I've done it: gone and signed up for another 100 Miler. The Badger Mountain Challenge in March 2013.

I feel good, both in running and in my yoga cross-training. And, I have the extra free time to devote. There's no excuse not to do this, other than it's a crazy idea.

I will share my training and thoughts as I go along, in the chance it might help any of you in your running challenges. But I hope to, to hear your thoughts and encouragement as I go along. Please share! Running has always been a solitary time for me, and I'm bad at asking for help, but I'm asking for help now. And advice or kind words, I'll take it all!

Stand by for training updates, as well as more run/race reports (I'm signed up for a couple Fat Ass 50ks next month. Thanks for reading! I'll see you in the comments section below!


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Eat and Run by Scott Jurek: A Review

Scott Jurek is known as kind of the patron saint of ultrarunners. Most people outside the ultramarathon world will know him as one of the profiled runners (you could almost say 'characters') in Christopher McDougall's best-selling Born To Run. With Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness, Jurek shares his journey to becoming a world class runner and athlete, and as the title hints, much of the journey involves food.

The structure of the book is based around one significant physical event in every chapter, usually tied in with a significant person, like, say, his friend and pacer (and monster runner in his own right) Dusty, but also other interesting people pushing the limits of what the human body can do. So, he doesn't cover all the races he's run (though he does list them in an appendix in the back), but highlights, for example, winning the Western States 100 one year (the first “flatlander” to do so) and then coming back the next year and setting a new record for it. And he of course devotes a chapter to his race in Copper Canyon, described more thoroughly in Christopher McDougall's Born To Run, where he came in second to one of the native runners. Interestingly, almost as a side note right at the end of the chapter, (and this wasn't mentioned in Born To Run) he mentions that he returned the next year and won.

There are also to smaller 'threads' woven in: At the end of each chapter, he spends a page discussing some aspect of running and/or training—Helpful tips from a veteran. And, he gives a very tasty-sounding vegan recipe, for some healthy dishes that also double as good running food. I'm a vegetarian, and have always said that going vegan would be sacrificing to much in my enjoyment of food, but after reading these recipes, my diet seems bland. These recipes are my main argument for buying the book!

The more radical, and maybe risky, move Jurek takes in the book is to talk openly and earnestly (though never zealously, or in a preaching manner) about his veganism. He presents both scientific and ethical arguments for having a vegan diet, which I appreciate. I fear that this might turn some readers off, but I also know this will inspire others to at least question and think about their diets. His basic argument is that eating healthy is just plain smart, and no one can doubt after reading this book that Jurek isn't a smart runner. In fact, that may be his main legacy, that he was a smart runner, rather than one of those macho guys that just tries to muscles through races. Not to say Jurek doesn't have the ability to muscle through things—he won the Western States 100 with a torn ligament in his ankle (there's a picture of him doing it—as someone in the book says, his ankle is the size of a grapefruit!) It's his combination of determination and brain-power that makes him the monster runner he is.

Something I was personally glad to see was Jurek's openness to barefoot and minimalist running. He himself goes minimalist, or at least endorses 'running flats', and not the super science-fiction shoes out now, but he doesn't spend too much time lecturing people on the type of shoe they should wear, if any. Instead, he stresses the value of running right: shorter strides, but with faster cadence (in fact, his secret to running up hills is maintain the fast cadence and move the foot stride down to “granny gear”), which is the basic advice barefoot runners pass on to each other. He does say that regular running shoes tend to lead runners to over-stride and heel-strike. It was refreshing to read a running master not excluding the barefoot running world. In fact, if anything, Jurek comes off as open to anything that will make someone a better runner, and he encourages readers to experiment for themselves on what works for them.

Jurek is not without some puzzling contradictions: While in many places claiming he runs for the zen-like quality of running, the purity of the feeling it gives him, in just as many places, during races, he comes off as highly competitive, to the point of talking smack to people he passes and/or beats. He very much likes winning, exults in it, and I don't fault anybody for that, but sometimes he comes across as almost unsportsmanlike. This might, I think, be a by product of having the story 'filtered' through his ghost writer, Steve Friedman (not so ghost-y actually), where the words, said out loud, may have seemed more play-like, or friendly talking-smack-like, but when copied down, loose that humorous emphasis, as sometimes happens, say, with email. Sometimes I was left wondering if some sort of emoticon should have been used to let me know as a reader that what I was reading was supposed to be funny, and the only reason I started to maybe realize this was towards the end when Jurek talks about hanging out with some of those very same guys he seemed to be mocking years, and chapters, earlier, in races.

Also, after the chapters and chapters arguing for good, whole, non-processed, food, he'll pound the sports drinks, the shot-bloks, and the Clif Bars during races and runs. This is the one point where I would have like more explanation of why, or how those processed, sugar-loaded foods and drinks work, and/or how they're better than eating, say, fruits and nuts, and drinking straight water. And, as the poet Walk Whitman says, “If I contradict myself, well then I contradict myself.”

That said, what comes across more than anything is a man who is sincere, in both his desire to be the best runner he can be, and a healthy eater, and in the Buddhist idea (which he surely came across in his readings) or 'Right Living', of living in a way that is good for other people, and the world. In fact, Jurek shows that this is not only possible, but that one can also live the best life for oneself, and that the two forms of living are inseparable: to live the best life for oneself is the best way to live for others. Just like in Born To Run, the case is made that running makes us better people. It's not only good for us personally, it's good for the world.

[Note: Blogger doesn't allow me to use the ampersand '&' in the title or the labels/tags. If you want to search for the book, use the ampersand!]

[I'd love to hear your comments about this review, or the book, or Scott Jurek, down below in the comments section! —John]

Monday, December 3, 2012

Huarache Review: Xeros vs. Lunas

I’ve now spent enough time with two (actually three) new huaraches that I know which ones I prefer for which situations. In brief, I’m recommending the Xeros (formerly Invisible Shoes) over Lunas for ‘regular’ runs, including pavement and mild/smooth trails, and for the best minimal feel for walking and hiking. For more rougher and/or longer trails and gravel roads, I’m recommending either the new ‘original’ Lunas, or the Leadvilles. The rest of the review will be a more in depth explanation of why.

First of all, I recommend running barefoot. It feels better, whether on pavement/cement, or most mellow trails. I love being able to feel what I’m running on, and doing so makes each run a unique experience. And it made my plantar fasciitis go away. I basically wouldn’t be running any more if I hadn’t run barefoot.

Still, there are times when a little added layer on the bottom of the feet really helps out, when my feet get a little raw from longer runs, either from the ‘sandpaper’ effect on pavement, or the ‘poking’ effect from trails. I have worn both Vibram Five Fingers (VFFs) and Merrill minimalist shoes but I, and I think most minimalist runners, prefer the feel of huaraches, where the feet are open to the air. Exceptions in the past have been longer runs (50Ks, 50Ms, and a DNF 100M with my VFFs) and snow (a Fat Ass Marathon in the snow with my Merrills), when I just needed a bit more protection than what my huaraches at the time offered.

Those huaraches were Luna’s, from back when Barefoot Ted’s company was a “one monkey operation” and were custom cut for my feet.

I used these huaraches, with the leather lace option, for almost three years, and loved them. The rubber sole was very thin, almost flimsy, giving me the ‘closest to barefoot’ feel I could get. I ran a few half-marathons in them, but mostly they were for when my feet felt raw from longer runs, and/or sometimes for night runs, when I just wasn’t too sure about whether I could see what I’d be running on. Their thinness/flimsiness also made them fairly easily carryable, either by hand, or tucked in the back of a water bottle pouch.

I would probably still be using them if I hadn’t abused them so badly on a hiking trip down in Kentucky, where I was on wet, muddy, hills. When wet, the leather laces stretch, and the rubber soles get slippery, so that I finally put too much weight on one of the side holes and it tore open. Lesson learned: muddy and hilly are the worst conditions for most huaraches.

After that experience, and because I moved out to the ‘Pacific NorthWet’, to Portland, Oregon, I wanted to try a pair of huaraches with hemp laces, which shrink when wet.

Also, I’d been interested in the Luna Leadvilles, with much thicker soles, ever since I’d attempted a 100 Mile Ultramarathon, and completed two 50 Milers, all three of which left my VFF-wearing feet feeling pounded. I didn’t want cushion so much as a thicker barrier for the long-term rock and root contact. So I indulged in buying a pair of both kinds.

Full disclosure: I received a 30% discount from both Luna and Xero in exchange for writing this review. That said, and I’ll repeat this later, the price of the Lunas just seems too much. The ‘original’ Lunas start at $50. The Leadvilles at $95! Not even including the ATS laces, which are another $15. Part of the pleasure of switching to barefoot running was the idea of not having to pay for running shoes anymore, yet now minimal footwear, and sandals, which are essentially a slab of rubber, cost as much as shoes. At the time, I didn’t know how much less the Xeros cost, otherwise I might have decided to just not review the Lunas at all.

Also, I’ll say here, again, that the concept of a sandal, a huarache, is pretty basic. All you need is some slabs of rubber, or rubber-like material, or just hard leather, a whole punch, and some laces. My excuse has always been that I don’t have a workshop, nor any tools to cut rubber, and that at least for the first pair I just wanted to see how they were made before I tried it on my own. But, those are excuses. It’s totally possible to make your own pair. My friend Mark made some for under $20 out of an doormat, which he bought new at Home Depot. Check out his post about it here:

The ‘Original’ Lunas

I was disappointed with my new ‘Original’ Lunas. They’re now cut cookie-cutter style (though you can request a custom fitting, for more money) and though that would seem to cut down on actual time spent making them, the price has gone up since I bought my old pair.

Also: they’re thicker.
Old Lunas vs. new Lunas

Gone is the thin flimsy feel. I don’t know the technicalities, but the new soles are made from a different material, not only thicker, but sort of ‘foamier.’ Some people may not mind this, and in fact may not even know that Lunas used to be thinner (in fact, maybe the company was just responding to consumer demand for a slightly thicker sandal). When I got them in the mail, I had just arrived in Portland, still in dry season, and was exploring the trails of Forest Park: lots of rocks, pebbles, and roots. The ‘Original Lunas’ handled all of these well, in the sense that I felt little discomfort, though could still feel the bumps. The older thinner versions would have still felt a little rough over certain rocky areas (which is not necessarily a bad thing, in my opinion).

I did, and do, like the hemp laces. They do tighten up when wet, though to be honest I haven’t actually worn them in a complete downpour, nor in the super muddy conditions, just because I really like running barefoot in the mud! If anything, they tend to loosen/stretch when dry. I also like the look, which is even more primitive-looking than the leather laces, especially in the traditional ‘gladiator style’ wrap around the ankles, which seems to freak out people even more than the leather, which is always a good thing.

After less than three months though, my new ‘original’ Lunas blew out: The knot on the bottom, where the lace comes up between the big toe and the long-skinny toe, began to tear up through the sole. I’m not exactly sure why/how, because I never had this problem in my older Lunas. I suspect that the hemp rope is thicker, and doesn’t squish down as much as leather, but I also feel like it had something to do with the material of the sole—the foaminess of it, so that, despite the thickness, it’s actually less durable than the earlier rubber.

In any case, I will say that the guys at Luna Sandals were very nice, and quick, about replacing my blown out Lunas, though I haven’t worn the new pair at all, because in the meantime, I had received my Xeros.

The Xeros (formerly Invisible Shoes) have the thinner and flimsier-feeling soles of my old Lunas, that feeling I love of being the thinnest they can be besides barefoot.
Xeros vs. Old Lunas

They too are cut cookie-cutter style, and are actually a little wider all around, with two ‘flaps’ that hang out on either side towards the back, for the holes. I don’t mind the extra wideness at all, though I’m not sure it adds any sort of protection.

The thing I really had doubts about with the Xeros is the laces, which are simple nylon shoe strings. They seem to have neither the ruggedness nor the thickness of leather or hemp. Yet, they actually work well. They don’t stretch out when wet, like with leather, nor are they at all bulky like the hemp, but they stay in place, and they’re easy to tie. In fact, they add to the flimsiness/lightness of the whole feel, while keeping the rubber sole tight against the feet. You can now even get soles in colors like pink and blue, along with various colors of laces, though I am not at all interested in this feature. I also liked that with every order, the company includes a rubber hole punch, allowing the buyer to make the hole between the toes, and to customize their sandals, for example adding more holes on the sides for an ‘across the toes’ lace design, for those folks who don’t like the lace coming up between their toes. They even offer free videos on their website on how to do their alternative tying methods.

Best of all with the Xeros is the cost: Around $25 for a pair. I don’t know why anyone would still go with Lunas at this point (with the exception, maybe, of the Leadvilles: see below). Even if you didn’t like the nylon lace, you could buy a pair of hemp or leather laces, and they’d still be cheaper.


As I stated before, I was curious about the thicker-soled Leadvilles, for possible use on longer ultramarathons. I had no desire for thicker soles for any of my ‘regular’ minimalist use, and as a general rule, I still feel the thinner the better. But I have to confess that I did like my Leadvilles at first purely for their look: Rather than the longer gladiator-style laces, I opted for the new ATS laces ($15) which do a great job of holding the soles tight to the foot, without any extra length needing to wrap around the ankles. Because of that, they actually look more ‘normal’, like for example Tevas (which I can’t wear anymore—too cushion-y, hurts my feet), so that, during the summer at least, one could fit right in with all the other outdoorsy-types. For a while there, I felt like women might not think I was too weird, though apparently I guess sandals, at least on guys, are just not cool anymore.

The problem with the thickness of the soles is that, for general walking around, they tend to hurt my feet. The added cushion, and/or my inabilty to feel what I was walking on, made my walking stride a little longer. I think. I’m not sure. But if I wear them a lot, just for walking around, my heels start to ache, almost that plantar fasciitis feel.

That said, I did run in them, and they provide smooth sailing over rocky trails. I never would have considered running on pavement with them, that just sounds painful. But I did try them out for the Forest Park Marathon. As I said, Forest Park can have some gnarly rocky and rooty parts, enough that there was no way I was going to run that race barefoot. I’ve learned my lesson on that with trail marathons. There’s a point where the pain just slows my way down, and running becomes not fun. My new ‘Original’ Lunas could have handled that, but there’s also a gravel road to end all gravel roads called Leif Erickson that part of the rout was on, and I just didn’t want to have to worry about it. The Leadvilles handled the gnarly gravel without problem. I almost felt guilty somehow, that since I was a minimalist runner, I should have at least a little suffering while running on gravel. But no. For contrast: My friend Katherine ran the race in her VFFs, and was definitely uncomfortable during the gravel road section.

But after that marathon, I have not worn the Leadvilles at all. No need. I will only bring them out when I do an ultra, and maybe for the night section of the Hood To Coast, if I end up on the gravel roads section again. If I didn’t have them, I’d just adapt and overcome with either the new Original Lunas, or maybe my VFFs. But, since I have them, I’ll use them.

To summarize
First I’ll recommend running barefoot. Unless you start getting up into the marathon range, most runners are probably ok with mostly running all barefoot. Still, for those times when some extra protection is needed, I recommend the Xeros over the Lunas, more than anything because of the price, but also for the thinner soles of the Xeros. For super gnarly trails or roads, the Leadvilles will provide excellent protection, though the new ‘Original’ Lunas are almost as thick and might do just as well, though the Leadvilles seem made of more durable material.

Please click over to my latest review of Xero Shoes, 2014, here.

Xero Shoes Website:

Luna Sandals Website: