And now for my second trick I shall wow you with tales of new shoes and earworms.
I’m going to jump into the IceBug section of the to be expected sponsors gear review quite early for a number of reasons which I’ll cover off as we go. When I signed up for the Xterra series I joined a team with my mates and we were the Badass Runners aka Team IceBug (although the team shirt didn’t fit at the time). As such I was able to become an early Ice Bugger and get my hands on or more specifically feet in some of the first Icebugs in New Zealand around the time of the 4th race.
Hearing tales of Riverhead, the 2nd race, I purchased a near new pair of ‘brand that shall not be named’ trail shoes and was amazed at the grip I suddenly had but as it transpired that was to be nothing but a taste. After talking with ‘Nice Bug’ Tim he recommended that I go with the Anima3‘s, as they best suited my skill and fitness level.
Take home point 1 – Tim knows his product.
Since then I’ve put nearly 350km on them on a mix of mud, sand, clay, gravel, and concrete (yes they are quite comfy on the hard since their soles are not super aggressive). I noticed was my ‘brand that shall not be named’ trail shoes where good in the mud and dirt but down right pathetic on wood or clay, it was like running on ice. The Anima’s with their trick rubber (RB9X for you technically minded folks out there) sticks like snot to a blanket to wet wood and clay, meaning you can power across the bridges and tree roots like a boss.
Take home point 2 – Icebugs make you feel like you can run up the side of a tree.
One of the perks of this Inspirer gig is a new pair of shoes (and CEP compression gear which I cover next time), and although I love my Animas they do struggle a bit in the heavy mud due to a lack of large cleats. This time I went for the punch you in the face, take you on a date and never call, shit just got real Zeals. These are to become my winter, technical and potentially Hillary shoes (pending a course reccy). Like the Animas before, I set about breaking them in/stretching them to fit my wide feet, and like before after wearing them around work for a week or two and a handful of shorter runs they are, in my eyes, got to go. And HOLLY CRAP, they are awesome – having the knowledge that I won’t slip has given me the confidence to put some of my mass to use and run down those hills with some speed and purpose.
Take home point 3 – More grip = more confidence = more speed.
This brings me to the main reason for the early review: sell or return those unwanted Christmas gifts, take your Christmas bonus (if such a thing exists) and get to your nearest IceBug stockist and try out a pair, or if there are none near by head to badassrunner.co.nz so that they will be broken in and ready for the Hillary in 2 months time.
Take home point 4 – Get some yourself some bugs and pick up 2min/km*
(*results may vary).
Now for a shameless plug of a product my work supplies to Tim: While at badassrunner grab a bottle of waterproofing spray. Fend is a nontoxic invisible nano coating that repels water and dirt, making gear easier to clean, quicker to dry and when used inside shoes stops them from getting musky. It’s also great for re-waterproofing your much loved older gear.
And now the Earworms:
I don’t like running with earphones in, I find that I feel too removed from the track and the sound of them moving in my ears bugs me. However I end up with songs stuck in my head aka earworms. Once upon a time these would have been rock songs or EDM, however now with two preschool girls the genres are much, much different. Songs now range from the Wiggles to songs from kids movies to the themes from shows like Dora or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. So I’ll be plodding along with playing in my head; “Let it go, let it go,” or “Dr Knickerbocker number nine” or “I’m a bumble bee and Bumble is my name“, and if I ever get lost I always have “I’m the Map, I’m the Map, I’m the Map, I’m the Map, I’m the Map!“.
In the interest of full disclosure, yes I was given a pair of Icebugs as part of my Inspirer role, however before that I had purchased my own pair. Since then everyone that I know that has brought their own, confirm my raving about Icebugs; they are comfy and super grippy.
So until next time stay classy on the trails.