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Marshall Mtn Trail Fest & Customer Party

The Runner’s Edge wants to celebrate our customers and all things running. We couldn’t think of a better way to do this than a summer party up at Marshall Mountain. Join us THIS Saturday, June 2nd between 5-8pm at Marshall Mountain.

We love & appreciate our customers and we know we couldn’t be here without your support of what we do. We wanted to thank you by doing something fun FOR YOU.

This event is a way for you test out trail product(s), have food on us, listen to great music and win some awesome prizes. We offer up an amazing (FREE!) bbq meal and provide some refreshing (FREE!) beverages from Big Sky Brewery. We finish off the night with live music and blowout raffle of goodies. So what are you waiting for? Come join us at the Marshall Mountain Trail Fest!

Product Review: Scatbelt

Jesse Carnes has spent a lot of miles on the trails, both on foot and bike. He is currently training for his first 100 mile footrace, IMTUF. You can read more about Jesse’s exploits here

It was one of those endless August evenings. You know the kind, where the sunlight tricks you into thinking it’s 4 o’clock when in reality it is closer to 7, and you’re out on the trail and there is really no reason to go home and eat dinner at a reasonable hour. That can wait. There is singletrack to attend to. And there we were, out on a run in our local recreation area, fully appreciating the long, winding descent we had earned after a tough uphill effort.

Here’s the thing about those winding descents: you can’t see all that far in front of you. You turn a corner and before you know it, you’re face to face with an angry mama bear. Well it just so happens that on this particular evening, that is exactly what was waiting for us around one of those corners, several feet off the trail, with two cubs close by.

I have never made a habit of carrying bear spray when I am going on short runs or rides close to town for a couple reasons. For one, there is usually a fairly steady stream of people, so generally the bears will be somewhat desensitized to human presence. In addition, the bears you might run into close to town are almost exclusively black bears, which are very rarely aggressive.

Mostly, though, I just don’t really like carrying bear spray, so in my mind I will justify not taking it however I can. I’d rather not carry anything in my hand when I’m running, and I’ll certainly avoid putting on a vest if I can get away with it. So what is to be done? That’s the problem the Scat Belt set out to solve.

Basically, this a belt that holds your bear spray so you don’t have to carry it. Simple enough. Of course, they do have two versions of the belt. The Griz (pictured above) includes a phone holster and a small accessory pocket. The Cub is the bare bones version that is designed to only carry bear spray.

In terms of overall comfort, this belt is not bad. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I stopped noticing that I was wearing it, but it doesn’t bounce and the straps are effectively contoured and cushioned to avoid any discomfort. The ease of access is awesome. I like the idea of having my bear spray attached to my waist without having to worry about it jostling around. Pulling the canister out quickly, which I was a little worried about when I first saw the velcro strap design, turned out to be very easy.

I’m not sure about the phone holster design. It uses an elastic velcro strap, and if you have a phone that is particularly tall, you have to pull the strap very tight to secure it. Under that pressure, I am skeptical about the durability of both the elastic and the velcro. With smaller phones (under 5 inches), this will not be an issue. Still, I would be interested to see a system that places the phone horizontally, opposite the bear spray, instead of vertically next to it.

At first, I was interested in the prospect of using this belt while backpacking. In the past, I have always let my bear spray dangle from my hip belt. If I could have my phone handy for photos and my bear spray secured but easily accessible, that would be great. The Scat Belt is advertised as “fitting comfortably under any backpack,” but unfortunately, there is no way I could get it to work with mine, as my hip belt very much gets in the way. Alas, it looks like I will have to stick with my current system (although maybe this is just the excuse I need to upgrade my embarrassingly old, heavy backpack).

Where I see myself using the Scat Belt a lot is for longer backcountry run/hike days, in combination with a vest or hydration pack. Since it can carry my bear spray and phone, it frees up two vest pockets for more nutrition and hydration, and it is by far the most comfortable way I have found to carry bear spray while still keeping it accessible. In my preparations for the IMTUF 100 in September, I see myself doing a lot of those types of days this summer.

Fortunately, we didn’t end up needing the bear spray that we weren’t carrying on that beautiful August evening. By the time the mama bear crashed out onto the trail to give us a good talkin’ to, we had already passed her by. She stood up for a moment, but then glared disapprovingly at us and ambled back into the bushes. Perhaps, though, I will try to make a habit of bringing my bear spray along more often, at least when I am running alone.

Product Review: Gels and Hydration Mixes

Jenna Lyons is an athlete that does it all. Runs, bikes, skis, you name it. She just graduated from law school and still finds time to represent Runner’s Edge as a RErun Ambassador. She recently tested a variety of gels and hydration mixes and shared her thoughts.

PRODUCT REVIEW: FRUITY GELS AND HYDRATION MIXES

To get in the mood, I recommend listening to this while you read this review:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqYxyd1iSNk

This month, I reviewed several nutrition products across a spectrum of several brands and flavors. All the products I tried were bright and fruity. In the words of Katy Perry, these gels will “give you something good to celebrate.” I sampled four products: (1) GU 25 th Anniversary Birthday Cake; (2) GU Tutti Frutti with Roctane; (3) Superieur Watermelon and Orange electrolyte drink mix; and (4) Skratch Labs passionfruit electrolyte drink mix.

GU 25 TH ANNIVERSARY BIRTHDAY CAKE GEL

As someone who is intimately familiar with Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip cake as my cake of choice for 25 years, I was excited to compare this gel to my favorite cake. Coincidentally, the very same year that I was born, Dr. Bill Vaughan concocted GU in his kitchen to help his daughter Laura get through the Wasatch 100 mile trail race. Since then, GU has helped many athletes get through their events. It’s not practical to carry Rainbow Chip cake in your running pack. But GU really stepped it up to celebrate their anniversary and made a delicious gel that tastes just like cake mix. They even made a special website and video about this gel: https://guenergy.com/25-years/. GU is a favorite nutrition choice for a lot of endurance athletes I know due to their wide variety of flavors. GU Energy Gels are easy to use, meaning it is easy to figure out exactly what you are eating because they contain exactly 100 calories, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 50 milligrams of sodium, and 40 milligrams of potassium. I’m generally not a fan of these sugary gels, to be honest. But this birthday cake gel tasted pretty darn good and didn’t have any adverse effects on my tummy. It was pretty fun to bring a birthday party out on the trail with me, too. 

GU TUTTI FRUTTI WITH ROCTANE

If you are in need of an extra boost during a long workout, I would highly suggest the GU with Roctane. Also, if you love Fruit Loops, the Tutti Frutti flavor is right on point. The GU Energy Gels with Roctane contain an extra ingredient called Ornithine Alpha-Ketoglutarate (OKG), which GU claims will “support recovery by blocking the catabolic effects of various hormones that cause muscle trauma.” Like the normal GU gels, the Roctane gels also contain 100 Calories, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 50 milligrams of sodium, and 40 milligrams of potassium. Again, not a fan of the sugary gels, but this one tasted good!

SUPERIEUR HYDRATION MIX

This hydration mix is my new favorite. Mostly because it has ZERO sugar and contains ingredients that I already eat and that I can support. Some of these ingredients include acerola berry extract, bamboo extract, stevia leaf extract, organic rice, pink Himalayan sea salt, and ionic sea minerals from the Great Salt Lake. Basically, Superieur is all about nutrition that is made from real food and contains real nutrients. As someone who doesn’t like to eat sugary products regularly, I will be drinking more of these electrolytes in the future on my journey to achieve perfect hydration. By the way, the watermelon flavor was AH-MAZING.

*Screenshot from http://superieurelectrolytes.com

SKRATCH LABS PASSIONFRUIT DRINK MIX

Skratch Labs contains slightly more sugar than the Superieur drink mix (which has none). In fact, the first ingredient is sugar. Skratch Labs’ philosophy, however, is that “in the context of an active lifestyle and more specifically during prolonged or very intense exercise, sugar can be critical to helping to maintain one's blood sugar, to keeping oneself fueled, and along with sodium can significantly improve the transport of water into the body.” (see https://www.skratchlabs.com/pages/faq). I have used Skratch products for years and I really enjoyed the new passion fruit flavor. It is definitely a tried and true and effective product, especially if it is very hot outside or if you tend to sweat a lot when you are exercising. Also, in case you were wondering, Skratch Labs drink mixes are certified Kosher (by The Scroll K – Vaad Hakashrus of Denver).

So there you have it. I would encourage you to try all these great products out and see what works for you!

Product Review: lululemon Metal Vent Tech SS

Tim Mosbacher is a staple in the Missoula running community. He is currently trying to run a marathon in every state and has experience with a variety of running products. As a RErun Ambassador and connoisseur of technical short sleeve shirts, we asked Tim to review the lululemon Metal Vent Tech SS. You can follow more of Tim’s adventures here.

Reviewing the lululeman Metal Vent Tech Short Sleeved shirt has made me reflect a little on my wearing of t-shirts. I just love the feel of a good t-shirt, and it is always so difficult in the morning to pick the one I am going to wear that day. 

Back in 1978 I took my first date to the movie Grease. I asked the girl when making the arrangements if we should dress up, and she said yes. I was a little embarrassed when I picked her up and she came out of her house wearing a long, fancy white dress and I was wearing my best bell bottom jeans and my favorite t-shirt.   

This still happens today. My wife will invite me to a gathering and I am faced with the tough decision about which t-shirt to wear. Needless to say, they are all “free” t-shirts from various runs. But is the gathering one where I can wear a 5k shirt or marathon shirt, or is it one where I bust out the Bighorn 100 mile shirt (which I dropped out of, but I have no shame)?

All of this will change with the lululeman shirt. It is a shirt you can run in but also is so swank you can wear it to most Missoula gatherings. If you really want to test out the shirt’s advertised anti-stink technology, you can even go for a run and then go straight to your party. If you smell, don’t blame the shirt. 

The metal vent shirt is very sharp looking. It is so comfortable due in part to its “four-way stretch.” I have never worn a shirt with so much elasticity, which just adds to the luxury of the shirt. The sizing runs slightly larger than most-shirts. 

The one downside to the shirt is the price. Maybe it will last two times longer than a normal shirt and will make up for the cost, which is my hope. There is no logo on the shirt, so if it does last that long it will be excellent. I sometimes wonder if I should still be wearing a shirt that says “1996 Shack 10k.”

If you see me around town, there is a good chance I won’t be wearing my typical running garb. Feel free to come up and touch the shirt, or better yet, try one on at the Runner’s Edge and tell them Tim sent you.

Treat Your Feet to Reduce Spring Injury Risk

By John Fiore, PT
The spring running season is underway. With Runner’s Edge Events Trail Series and Run Wild Missoula races taking place nearly every weekend, now is the time to treat your feet to reduce injury risk. The human foot is comprised of 28 bones and their associated ligaments, tendons, and muscles. This month’s article will focus on the plantar fascia which plays a large role in the Windlass Mechanism which improves intrinsic foot support. Spring is the season when plantar fascia injuries increase. Early treatment is key to avoid season-ending pain.
The plantar fascia is a thick fibrous band of connective tissue which runs from the front of the calcaneus (heel bone) to the base of the toes. It acts as a last resort to stabilize the longitudinal arch of the foot. Characterized by pain in the heel region of the arch of the foot,

 

plantar fasciitis is the the most common cause of heel pain requiring medical care. It is estimated that 1 in 10 people will develop plantar fasciitis in their lifetime, resulting in one million visits per year to medical visit annually. Because plantar fasciitis is often a chronic condition, understanding the causes and treatment options will lead to effective resolution.
Plantar fasciopathy is a more accurate term to describe heel and arch pain as it includes the inflammatory condition (plantar fasciitis), and degenerative condition (plantar fasciosis) of the plantar fascia. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the thick, fibrous plantar fascia becomes inflamed due to poor foot strength, repetitive arch strain, or faulty foot-ankle biomechanics. Plantar fasciosis describes the non-inflamed degenerative state of the plantar fascia due to repetitive stress.
Diagnosing plantar fasciitis involves palpating its attachment on the front of the calcaneus (heel bone). Pain is experienced during prolonged standing, running, descending stairs, and most notably upon rising and walking across the floor first thing in the morning. Additional causes of heel and plantar pain to be ruled out by your physician or physical therapist include bone stress reaction, stress fracture, localized nerve entrapment, lumbar S1 radiculopathy. Predisposing factors to plantar fasciitis include repetitive impact (distance running, jumping), rapid increase in activity level or mileage, poor intrinsic foot-ankle support, poor running biomechanics, and obesity (BMI >30).
Effective treatment of plantar fasciopathy includes four phases:
Acute Pain Phase: During the acute pain phase, pain must be reduced by avoiding running or prolonged standing, support through taping, anti-inflammatories (if inflammation is present), and reducing impact through gel heel cup and comfortable footwear. Isometric toe flexor exercises, active stretching techniques for the plantar fascia and gastroc-soleus muscle group will improve foot and ankle function.
Gradual Loading Phase: Manual physical therapy, progressive lower leg and ankle resisted exercises are added during this phase, and underlying hip, glut, and core weaknesses are addressed. Gradual plantar fascia loading exercises begin with double leg heel raises followed single leg heel raises as tolerated.
Heavy Loading Phase: Once single leg heel raises are tolerated pain-free, a barefoot modified (towel roll beneath toes) single leg calf raise progression is commenced. The Rathleff loading program (Rathleff et al 2014) continues to add resistance to single leg heel raise progressions over four weeks, building eccentric strength and tension tolerance. Running is reintroduced upon successful completion of the Rathleff program. A 2D video running analysis is vital to insure proper running biomechanics to reduce re-injury.
Successful long-term return to distance running requires regular plantar fascia release, foot intrinsic strength, and lower leg mobility and strengthening exercises. Proper footwear, adequate recovery following exercise, and gradual increases in training load will help keep plantar fasciitis and other foot issues from returning. The experts at Sapphire Physical Therapy can evaluate your running gait, detect any form or strength issues, and develop a foot injury prevention and treatment program to meet your individual needs. Call Sapphire Physical Therapy, (406) 549-5283, or learn more at www.sapphirept.com and don’t let your feet keep you from meeting your spring running goals.
1.Riddle DL, Pulisic M, Pidcoe P, Johnson RE. Risk factors for plantar fasciitis: a matched case-control study. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2003:85-A:872-7
2 Riddle DL, Schappert SM. Volume of ambulatory care visits and patterns of care for patients diagnosed with plantar fasciitis: a national study of medical doctors. Foot Ankle Int. 2004 May. 25(5):303-10

Product Review: New Balance 880v8

Angie Partain is very involved in the Missoula Running Community as both a runner and frequent volunteer despite being a busy mom. As an RErun Ambassador we asked her to test out the New Balance 880 and give us her thoughts. You can follow her adventures at @jnapartain.

Until a few weeks ago, I’ve never tried on a pair of New Balance shoes. I’ve had a hard time settling into a running shoe for the last year or so. It seems whenever I find my favorite shoe a new model comes out, and changes just enough that I’m back to square one searching for my new fave. I’m sure some of you can relate to this. I think I kind of have persnickety feet, so I may never find the perfect shoe—but gosh darn it I keep trying and thanks to my friends at the Runner’s Edge I’ve found some pretty sweet options along the way!

Look

This is a great looking shoe! Over the last month I received a ton of compliments on their color and overall look. The understated color paired with touches of metallic silver and hot pink accents bring a fun change up from the bolder options out there. I wasn’t sure I was going to love the lighter color, but I am digging it…and call me weird, but my favorite part of the look of the 880s are the navy polka-dotty laces. The only downside to the color is they can start looking a bit dirty this time of year, though they wash up nicely with a quick wipe down. They also come in Black, “Blue Iris” (Lavender) and “Guava” (Coral). After having worn them for a few weeks, they are beginning to show signs of wear with creased mesh uppers as well as in the outer cushioning.

Fit

The 880s fit true to size with a 10mm drop and slightly wider + taller toe box. Their neutral sole is a bit more shoe than I’m used to in a road shoe. I felt a little taller in them, which means they must have a bit more cushioning than I’ve had with previous shoes. The cushioning is firm, but quite comfy—just not in a pillow-y soft way. My toes were happy for some extra room, but I found my forefoot slipping around quite a bit leaving them feeling a bit raw after longer runs. However, I found that when I locked my heal in place with a “runner’s tie” this was completely eliminated.

Ride

Worn on varied terrain—from the track to trail to road to sand to…bunch grassI felt stable and well supported (as much as possible when it comes to running on bunch grass—that stuff takes a toll!). But seriously, the 880s are a nicely versatile shoe. I was able to bust out some fast miles on the track feeling a spring in my step as well as tackle some uphill, rocky climbs (and descents) without wishing for more traction. On sand and bunch grass my ankles were stable enough to keep a decent pace. On longer runs as I began to fatigue I was aware that they felt a bit clunky, but I suppose that is the trade off for having a bit more cushion.

The 880s are moderately priced at $125. Overall, I really love this shoe and think it’s definitely worth taking out for a test drive to see how it does for you the next time you find yourself at the Runner’s Edge. Their knowledgeable staff will help you know if this is a good option for you and your running goals!

Happy Running!

-Angie