Product Review: Saucony Peregrine 8 – The Stealth of a Raptor

Jenna Lyons is an athlete that does it all. Runs, bikes, skis, you name it. She is currently in her last year of law school and still finds time to represent Runner’s Edge as a RErun Ambassador. She recently tested the Saucony Peregrine 8 and gave us her thoughts.

I was asked to test out the Saucony Peregrine 8. I was impressed, and will definitely continue to
wear these! These shoes are very responsive and made me feel confident and fast in tough
terrain. Like this rad bird of prey.

1. Looks
The color I tested is called “Wine and Peach.” I really love the colors. There is finally a
women’s shoe that is not blue or pink, but rather more sophisticated jewel tones
instead! These are one of the more attractive trail shoes I have seen in a long time.

2. Comfort
These shoes have a super soft upper, yet are supportive in the footbed. They are very comfortable. However, the toebox is narrow, and I prefer it to be a little wider than these are. I have high arches, and these were made for folks with normal arches, so you need insoles if you’re like me. These run true to size. I felt super fast and light in these shoes…also very stable and confident in tough terrain.

3. Functionality
I tested these out in New Mexico on sandy singletrack and on packed snow in Missoula. The shoes worked great on both. I also ran in them in downtown Albequerque (long story), and I wouldn’t recommend using them on the road, which shouldn’t come as a surprise because they are a trail shoe. These shoes come with an aggressive tread, so
they are good on pretty much any surface other than slick ice. I saw a lot (A LOT) of
people wearing the Peregrine 7 at the Rut. That being said, these shoes hold up for local
races and tough terrain.

4. Stats and Features
This is a neutral shoe with a heel stack height of 24.5 mm, forefoot stack height of 20.5
mm. The tread is aggressive, and has traction on multiple surfaces. They are light and
come in at a whopping 9 ounces, which is equivalent to 1/10 of a Chihuahua or one
hamster. They are not waterproof by any means. The arch is normal.

Overall, this is a great shoe that I know many Missoulians love. I would highly recommend
trying them out, especially if you’re planning on doing some local races or more technical days
bopping around in the mountains. They’re also perfect for the more local trail surfaces that we
have here in Missoula, i.e. the Kim Williams trail, Waterworks, Sentinel, Blue Mountain, etc. If
you want to cruise around with the stealth of a raptor, I’d highly recommend you pick up a pair!

Product Review: Garmin Forerunner 35

Rachel Brumfield can be seen racing anything from the Resolution Run to Eleven Miles to Paradise, but also likes to explore and spends time in the mountains during the summer. You can follow her adventures on instagram @rachbrums. As a 2017/2018 RErun she gave us her review of her Garmin GPS watch.

I purchased my Garmin Forerunner 35 in the fall, mainly to avoid taking my phone on runs. Little did I know the incredible statistical possibilities that a smart watch would unleash. It’s helped motivate my running and has been a fantastic solution for my needs as a dedicated, yet pretty casual runner.

What it tracks: Steps, heart rate, running/walking distance (GPS), sleep, calories

Why it’s so great: In short, because it’s simple. I’m not a professional triathlete or an elite
ultramarathoner. I just need a wearable that will track my day-to- day fitness and clock my runs. Every once in a while, I’d like to know my splits – and the Forerunner 35 definitely keeps tabs on that (plus fastest mile, average cadence, heart rate, etc). But at the same time, I only have to remember how to use four buttons to get the job done.

Best features:

-Built-in GPS – This is the main reason I invested in a watch. I wanted something that would track my daily activity with a specific emphasis on running. The built-in GPS frees me from my phone, allowing truly unplugged running without worrying I’ll totally lose track of time. It takes a max of 1-2 minutes to link and features five training modes: Run Outdoor, Run Indoor, Bike, Cardio and Walk.

-Long battery life – I can wear this daily for about a week before it needs a charge. Of course, this depends on how much you’re using the GPS tracker. I turn on the tracker for about an hour each day to clock my run. The packaging said it would last 9 days in watch mode and 13 hours in training (GPS) mode – I would say that’s pretty spot on.

-Durability – I love that the watch is waterproof (up to 50 meters). Not that I wear it frequently to swim, but I do not worry about wearing it while running in a downpour. Along the same lines, I have never had any issue with the Forerunner 35 in the cold. Unlike my iPhone, which shuts off frequently when exposed to Montana’s average winter temps, the watch plugs along, tracking with its usual accuracy.

-Wear-ability – As a small person, many smart watches just look downright unreasonable on my wrist. I think the Forerunner 35 is an appropriate fit. It’s not overtly stylish – but I like that it’s basic and doesn’t really draw any extra attention. Not a fashion accessory, but a fitness
accessory. It’s comfortable to wear all day, though I prefer to take it off at night.

– Connectivity – The Forerunner 35 connects to any smart phone via the Garmin Connect app.
While the app appears a bit unwieldy at first (the interface is not as clean as Fitbit or Apple
Health), it is very useful and houses an impressive amount of data – right down to average stride length and step cadence. The watch itself doesn’t have an altimeter, but once your run syncs to your phone, you get elevation stats. It also pushes notifications from your phone depending on your settings. For instance, you can read texts and get calendar reminders. And very helpfully, it buzzes when you get a phone call and allows you to accept or decline from the watch.

-Price – This may be the most compelling factor for the Garmin Forerunner 35. It has many of the useful features of an advanced GPS watch, but still comes in at just under $200. When
compared to Garmin’s other models or brands like Apple and Fitbit, it’s one of the best options
for features + price.

Limitations: All that said, the Forerunner 35 does have a few drawbacks. It is a more basic smart watch, meaning it lacks some of the bells and whistles that more advanced models have. I’ve listed a few below, though none really affect my use of the watch.

-No altimeter. As described above, elevation information is added once the watch syncs with your phone. It’s pretty accurate, but not real time.

-No swim tracking. The Forerunner 35 is targeted toward runners, rather than triathletes or multi-sport athletes. Since it can be worn in the water, you could technically track your swim intervals through the “cardio” training mode, but if you need more specific metrics, you’d need to upgrade to one of Garmin’s more sophisticated models.

-Sleep and calorie tracking are questionable. As with most fitness trackers and smart watches, the algorithm for calories isn’t perfect and the sleep tracker is not accurate. Even with the heart rate tracker, I’ve had the Forerunner sense I was sleeping while I was watching a movie, etc.
Limited connectivity. You can’t pay for dinner using this watch nor can you respond to a text. For some, that’s a deal breaker – for me, the Forerunner 35 is sticking to what a watch should be (aka not a mini smart phone).

Summary: It’s a great little watch. For the average runner, the Garmin Forerunner 35 does everything you need it to – plus a little more – for about the same price as a pair of new running shoes. It won’t take you more than a couple of minutes to figure it out, and you’ll rarely stress about running out of battery or accidentally wearing it into the shower. But beware: you will gain access to more information about your runs/training – which, if you are just a touch competitive like me – could lead to caring more about your training, running just a little bit harder and possibly (dare I say!) improvement

Product Review: Timex Ironman GPS Watch

Angie Partain is very involved in the Missoula Running Community as both a runner and frequent volunteer despite being a busy mom. You can follow her adventures at @jnapartain. As a RErun Ambassador we asked Angie to try out the new Timex GPS watch and share her thoughts.

If you’re looking for a GPS watch to take your fitness to the next level, the Timex Ironman GPS watch is a great option to consider! With a $100 price tag, it’s one of the most affordable running GPS watches on the market.

The box says it’s “The Simplest GPS Watch Ever”, which piqued my interest–since my Garmin 15 is pretty darned simple–and I love that about it! I was curious–is this Timex really simpler than my Garmin? What can it do that my Garmin can’t? Are there things that my Garmin can do that this Timex can’t? And so, I started playing with it.  

The initial set up was super user friendly, and I was able to set it up and start running within a few minutes. Locking into a satellite took a bit longer than I expected, but once connected it worked well. I found it to be quite comfortable, even worn doubled up next to my Garmin.  I also really love the large display and how thin the face is. My Garmin can only show 2 data fields, and I like that this watch has enough space for 3 fields (distance, pace and overall time).

Syncing my workout wasn’t as simple as the initial setup. This watch, like my Garmin, requires connecting to a PC to sync workouts. At first I just tried to pull the files and import them into my Garmin account, but that didn’t work—go figure—but worth a shot, I guess. I turned to the manual and found that I needed to download the Timex Connect app. Once I had downloaded the app (to my PC), I was able to create an account, review my workouts and begin syncing to my usual fitness site. I also found that when the watch connected to the app, it prompted an update, which in turn sped up the GPS connection time.

Playing around with the features, I found this to not only be a running watch, but multi-sport. I like that you can set your workout for different workout types, like biking, swimming—and multi-sport. So, if you’re into Triathalons, this may interest you. It’s water resistant up to 50 meters and it has a lap function for indoor swimming. I prefer running intervals at Tuesday Track Night, but I found the interval mode to be pretty cool when I’m on my own for workouts. The feedback is somewhat customizable ranging from silent to beep and vibrate. You can also use 2 fingers to tap the face as a lap function, which is rather cool. The indiglo light lights up at each lap cycle or at the tap of any of the 5 buttons. It also has a stopwatch and timer along with multiple programable alarms which can all be running simultaneously in the background while recording a workout. One feature that I found super helpful is the ability to engage the GPS and stay connected as long as needed without it timing out. This also works for pausing workouts, allowing you to pause for a length of time.

This really is a great watch and I find myself wearing it throughout the day—I regularly receive compliments on its looks. I chose the white one, but it also comes in black, plus there’s a rainbow of replacement bands to further customize the look to your liking. It charges with a standard mini USB cable (included), which plugs directly into the back of the face. It holds its charge forever—the manual says up to 12 hours! I struggled a bit with the technological side of this watch. It has some quirks, but with some adjustments, I believe you can avoid these pitfalls. I found the need for regular updates to be a bit cumbersome and so I thought I could simply skip this step for a few days. It turns out the updates are necessary to be able to rely on a guaranteed GPS connection. To avoid this, just plan on connecting the watch to your PC for charging each night and the app should take care of the updates automatically. There were a few times I couldn’t get it to update, even though the watch notified me of a mandatory update.  I found if I rebooted my PC the update would then take.

Overall, compared to this Timex watch, I would say my Garmin seems a bit more reliable and with fewer quirks to work out. But ultimately, they are very comparable—I believe the Timex actually may have more functions than my Garmin 15, which puts it in a sweet spot. If you’re looking for a GPS watch with slightly more than base functions at an affordable price that’ll take you from the trails to the lake, this watch may be just what you’re looking for! Check it out at the Runner’s Edge!

-Angie

 

Product Review: Another Look at Nutrition

Rachel Brumfield can be seen racing anything from the Resolution Run to Eleven Miles to Paradise, but also likes to explore and spends time in the mountains during the summer. You can follow her adventures on instagram @rachbrums. As a 2017/2018 RErun she tried a few nutrition options and shared her thoughts with us.

As runners, we’re used to seeing the same brands when it comes to fueling options: Clif Bar, Gatorade, GU. It’s easy to miss the newer and/or smaller companies, whose ethos and high-quality products are worth supporting. I had the privilege of tasting a few and was delighted to find a couple new favorites!

Nutrition

In general, I hate gels. I cannot stand the texture, the super sweet taste and how they make you all sticky, no matter how careful you are when eating them. I tend to go the chews and gummy route instead.

However, with MAPLE SYRUP on the table, I’m reconsidering my go-to fuel sources. I cannot say enough good things about the two products below – my sincere thanks to whoever decided to put maple syrup in little packets for on-the-go energy!

 

  • Untapped

 

Ingredients: pure maple syrup

Of course, maple syrup is a natural, wholesome and incredibly tasty carb! We’ve all enjoyed it on our breakfast for years, but who would think of it as running fuel?! Turns out it’s low glycemic, providing sustained energy, and is full of nutrients like calcium, riboflavin, magnese, zinc and potassium. Better yet, it’s easy to digest, quick to absorb and tastes really good. No more gel-induced gut rot or choking down strange textures. The cyclist who started this company is genius.

Untapped comes in the same convenient packaging as the traditional gel. Each package is 38g and contains 100 calories.

 

  • Endurance Tap

 

Ingredients: Canadian maple syrup, sea salt and ginger

If you want to level-up from Untapped’s pure maple syrup, try the Endurance Tap brand. With the addition of sea salt and ginger, the syrup has a little extra zing. The texture is also a bit thicker, resembling a traditional gel. Each packet has a tiny cap, making it easy to split it up throughout a run.

Endurance Tap contains 100 calories and weighs in at 38g. Overall, I like this one a teensy bit better than Untapped because of the resealable packaging and salty, gingery taste.

I’m super excited about the prospect of running and eating straight maple syrup. It’s like pre-breakfast on your long run. And, it’s absolutely perfect for chilly winter running. While it may be more of a cold-weather flavor, I’m pretty confident I could enjoy it all summer, too.

Hydration

Though I’ve never been a huge fan of flavored beverages, I’ve come to understand the importance of hydration during exercise – especially when training longer distances. All of the mixes tested below are developed by remarkable companies that care about our environment, sustained health and success in sport. They’re all made with quality and primarily natural ingredients. With this in mind, I rated the hydration options below mostly on taste. In the end, that’s what matters most, right? You have to want to drink it!

 

  • Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix

 

Flavor: lemon lime

Special claims: non-GMO, gluten free, dairy-free, vegan, kosher

This was hands-down my favorite in taste. Bright, zesty citrus flavor. It was refreshing and bolder than the other mixes – perhaps due to the use of real fruit in the flavoring. It was also the highest in sugar by far (20g). Very delicious and my top pick!

 

  • Superieur Electrolytes

 

Flavor: fresh citrus

Special claims: zero sugar

With just 10 calories, this little packet was still full of flavor. Fruity, as you’d expect, with a slight aftertaste of stevia. An interesting mix of ingredients – including acerola berry extract, pink Himalayan salt and bamboo stem extract – reflect the little family-run company’s emphasis on high-quality, natural nutrition. I’d definitely drink it again.

 

  • Nuun Hydration Performance Drink Mix

 

Flavor: orange mango

Special claims: non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan

Nuun takes the cake for mild flavor. It’s pleasant overall, but definitely not overwhelming. If you can drink it cold, it’s a great option. I do not think it would be as refreshing at room temperature or warm (aka, halfway through a summer long run). Again, this mix is made with real dried fruit powder and is comparatively low in sugar (13g). It’s intended for long, intense workouts – as opposed to Nuun’s regular electrolyte mix, which is intended for the everyday pre-, during and post- workout (see below).

 

  • Nuun Hydration Endurance Electrolytes

 

Flavor: mango orange

Special claims: non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan, caffeine

The addition of caffeine (from green tea extract) makes this mix a little different than the rest. Again, it’s mild in flavor and is sweetened with stevia, which gives it a slight aftertaste. At only 10 calories, it’s low in sugar and high in vitamin C, B12 and B6. The effervescent tablet adds a fun, bubbly sensation. I’d pick this over the Nuun Performance, but not over the Skratch Labs or Superieur mixes.

Overall, these are all great hydration options! With any of the mixes above, you can feel good about what you’re putting into your body and about the companies you’re supporting. Your taste buds may prefer a different option that mine, but if you can’t decide which to try, start the Skratch Labs Hydration Mix.

Happy running and fueling!

Product Review: Rad Dog Release N Run Leash

Jesse Carnes is a RErun Ambassador for 2017/2018. He is a prolific racer and recently finished up a season that saw him complete the Butte 100 Mountain Bike Race, pace the Missoula Marathon, finish the Portland Marathon, and finish all three days of racing at the Rut Mountain Runs among a slew of other races. Jesse has been in the endurance world for years and finds time to run with just about everyone, including his dog. Jesse recently tested a new leash for us and shared his thoughts. You can read more about Jesse’s adventures here

If you have been around the trails in Missoula (or any similar town) on a weekend afternoon, you are aware that there are a whole lot of folks out there who like to run or hike with their dogs. In fact, I’d say the odds are pretty good that you’re one of them. If not, you might not get a whole lot out of this post, except for a chance to get in on the conversation next time all your “dog-parent” friends are talking about taking their canine companions out adventuring.

Here’s the thing: it’s not just one type of person who owns a dog, and it’s not just one type of dog who’s out there in need of exercise. And like it or not, all those dogs sometimes need to be on a leash, whether it’s because of rules, trail etiquette, or just common sense. What you may not realize, though, is that there are a variety of options out there to match the specific leash needs of whatever human/dog combo you happen to be a part of.20180131_173103

Since my 10 year-old husky, Kava, is not particularly suited to high-mileage summer running (fur is a problem when it’s 90 degrees out), this time of year is when she gets out a lot. We are currently getting ready for the Snow Joke Half Marathon, which will take place February 24th, so I have been trying to get her out somewhat regularly in preparation.

For years, I have used the Ruffwear Roamer leash, which I like for the most part, with one specific complaint: it is bulky. For runs where I am keeping my dog on the leash the whole time, it is great because of the waist belt and the elastic webbing that allows for a little movement without having too long of a leash that flops around when the dog is close. (Runner’s Edge carries the Stunt Puppy version). However, if I get to a trail where she can run free, I have to wrap it around my waist twice and buckle it to itself, which means I am wearing a giant, heavy belt, which really cramps my style when I am trying to crush all the KOM’s on Waterworks, er, um, I mean, go for a nice pleasant jog. Until recently, I have always dealt with it, but only because it was what I had.

Then I tried the Rad Dog Release N Run leash. Now, I don’t want to give the impression that this leash is the answer to all the problems I have ever had with dog leashes, but it does solve some issues.

When the off-leash area is reached and it’s time for some freedom, there’s no fiddling or situating, I just let go of the handle and we’re ready to go. The feature that really gives the Release N Run leash an edge is that it retracts into a collar when not in use. As you can see in the photo, the leash itself it a lightweight cord with a handle made of nylon webbing. The whole collar, including the leash, weighs in at 4.7 ounces. Kava hasn’t complained about the difference between that and her standard collar, which comes in at 3 ounces. Not that she complains about anything when she gets to go for a run. By comparison, the Ruffwear leash is a bit of a tank at just over 9 ounces.

Another big advantage of this system is evident when it’s time to leash up again. Once again, no fiddling or situating; just grab the handle and you’ve got a fully leashed dog once again. This makes it very easy to alternate between on and off-leash sections, like if you have a short road section between trails, or vice versa.

I think the pros of this collar/leash are obvious if you are on and off trails a lot. Really the only downfall that I have run into is the length of the leash itself. It is advertised as being a 4-foot cord, but the 4 feet is measured from the end of the handle to the far end of the collar. As I found, the distance from your hand to the dog’s neck at full extension is actually about 3 feet, 2 inches, which I think is a little short for a rambunctious dog. At first, this was annoying, but to be honest, Kava has been getting more used to it the more we run with it, and now she tends to stay right next to me when I have her on the leash, and since I am not particularly tall and she is not particularly short, it hasn’t been much of an issue. I will say though, generally if I have her on this leash, I am only keeping her on the leash for a short part of the run, until we get to a point where she can be set loose. Personally, I’d rather not carry something in my hand, so if we are headed out for a road run where she is going to have to be leashed the whole time, I will go for the one with the waist belt.

All in all, I think most people would end up liking this leash a lot. There are a few situations you might want to avoid it:

– If you only run on roads with traffic, and your dog needs to be leashed the whole time, or over about 80% of the time, the short length may get annoying.

– If your dog needs to be leashed all the time due to aggression, a particularly, um, adventurous spirit, or otherwise, once again I would opt for something a little longer, or with a waist belt.

– If you are 6’4″ and you like to go running with your dachshund, first of all, it will make my day if I see you out running. Second of all, do yourself a favor and get the longest leash you can find. That is not this one. Seriously though, I hope there is someone out there who fits that description.

Personally, I’d say I end up reaching for the Rad Dog leash about 80% of the time. For the Snow Joke Half at the end of the month? I think I will stick with the Ruffwear leash for that, simply because she has to be leashed the whole time.

Product Review: Brooks Sherpa 7″ 2-N-1 Short

Tim Mosbacher is a staple in the Missoula running community. He is currently trying to run a marathon in every state and because of this runs thousands of miles every year. He recently tested out the Brooks Sherpa 7″ 2-N-1 Shorts for us. 

What makes a good running short? As I prepared to do a review of the Brooks Sherpa 7” 2-in-1 running short, I pondered this question. My preference for length of short has changed over the years as I age and get slower, and it also differs depending on the type of run. 

I used to always buy “short” shorts, believing if you look and feel fast, you run fast. Unfortunately, not everyone shares that opinion. An old running partner from Anaconda joked that he was “uncomfortable” running with me when I wore my “short” shorts. Twenty years later, he still teases me about it. I still wear them if I have a big race and want to have that “fast” mental advantage.  (I last bought a pair because Vicky from Runner’s Edge said they would look cute on me.) I now tend to buy longer shorts, mainly because it seems they chafe a little less.  Something in my stride rubs my thighs together, which makes using an anti-chafing product a must on longer runs.  That was, until I discovered the Brooks Sherpa 7” 2-in-1 running short.  2-in-1 means the inner liner is not the typical mesh brief, but a mesh boxer brief liner. The boxer brief liner is tighter, almost like a compression boxer brief, which provides a tighter material over the upper thighs.

This extra material is light and breathes as well as the traditional mesh brief, but with more chafing protection.  If the run is going to be longer than around 18 miles, I still will put on an anti-chafing product. The Sherpa short fits true to size. It does ride a little lower (shorter inseam). The only problem with this for me has been when I add gels to the pockets. The weight tends to pull the shorts down, when they are already running a little low. But the pockets are one of the short’s strong points.

The shorts have three types of pockets. On the rear outer hips there are pockets or “holsters” on each side. These pockets are not enclosed with zippers or Velcro, but with an elastic band. They are great for gels or other items that don’t really matter if they accidentally fly out. There is an additional zippered back pocket across the middle. This pocket is excellent and is lined on the inner side with a moisture-free lining, so it is a great place to secure money, toilet paper, keys, etc. It is large enough to fit Clif Bloks and smaller cell phones. An additional pocket is located on the right leg of the boxer brief liner. This pocket is held tightly against the leg and is great for larger gels or even a larger phone (fits my Galaxy S8 with a case). The only other disadvantage of this short, besides the short inseam, is the seam that goes across the bottom of the boxer brief liner. At times, especially in the rain, this seam can chafe your perineal area, which makes for a painful run. 

To be honest, I love the shorts so much I always wonder why every other runner is not wearing the Brooks Sherpa 7” 2-in-1 running short. Purchase a pair at the Runner’s Edge and tell them Tim recommended them.