Sunday, October 23, 2011

10 For Texas Race Report

Jeff Irvin
10 for Texas - The Woodlands
October 8, 2011
Time: 1:11:08
Overall: 56/1909
Age Group: 9/144
Weather: 74 Degree/Butt Crack-like Warmth (90% Humidity)

This was the first time I have done this 10 mile race but am familiar with the area as it starts and finishes on Market Street which is the same finish as Ironman Texas.


My friend Bobby came to the house and we drove over to the race which is about about 20 minutes away.  We found rock star parking and walked over to the race expo area to find our friends Dave, Jenn, and Ruth Ann.  They were hanging out in front of the Starbucks so we decided to go utilize the facilities - good call as the outdoor crappers had some long lines! Dave, Bobby and me got in about a mile warm-up run and then it was time to line up.  

The Race:

We started about 4 rows from the front as to not have to deal with zig-zagging around slower runners.  This was also a good call because the gun went off and we made it out extremely clean. The plan was to not stop at any aid station so I carried a 20-oz bottle of EFS Drink in a handheld.

My goal was to hold back a little for the first two miles at around a 7:15 pace - big fail.  Mile one a 6:33 split; mile two a 6:38 split.  It was at about this point that the area just south of my calf and north of the achilles really tightened up on me - on both legs? And when I say "tighten up" I really mean hurt like hell.

At this point I decided to change my normal mid-foot strike stride to a more of a heal strike by elongating the stride a little and reducing the cadence.  This helped alleviate the pain below my calf but required a little of a slow down.  It was a little frustrating because my HR was way down and I still had a lot of matches to burn. From miles 3-7 I held a pace of around 7:15 and it was about this time when my arches began to tighten up - on both feet?  And when I say "tighten up" I really mean hurt like hell.

With only about two miles to go at this point I just sucked it up and finished the race.  My final time was about 3-4 minutes slower than I wanted with a pace of around 7:05/mi. 

Why in the heck would I get this type of pain in my legs and arches?  

Quite simple actually.  New shoes. I made the mistake of racing in the new Brooks Pure Flow shoes with only about 25mi on them.  Normally I do most of my training miles in Brooks Launch and they have a 9.5mm heal-to-toe drop.  The new Brooks Pure shoes take a more minimalist approach by using a 4mm heal-to-toe drop. This is quite a contrast in drop and I knew better than to rush the transition so fast.  Lesson painfully learned as it took me two days of no running for the tightness to subside.

Now this race was over two weeks ago and I have been running in the Pure Flow shoes ever since and absolutely love them.  They are a great shoe that I am currently using for the majority of my training but they did take about 50-60 miles until my feet and legs felt completely comfortable.

Thanks for Reading,


Friday, October 21, 2011

School Me, Runners ...

Howdy y'all!

The weather has been absolutely fabulous here in the Houston area.  We have been experiencing morning lows in the upper 40's and afternoon highs on the lower 70's. No humidity. No clouds. Lots of running!

My next race, the Rocky Raccoon 50K Trail Run, is a mere two weeks away and I am excited to get it started. This will be my second foray into the Ultrarunners world and I am praying expecting a much less painful experience this time around.

Last time was in December of '09 and I was a rather inexperienced runner.  Around the 22mi mark my concentration waned and I slipped on a wet root and hurt my leg. The IT band got plucked and I was left hobbled. It sucked not only because of the pain but because I was at the front of the pack when it happened. I ended up shuffling the final 9 miles to the finish line and still, to this day, was the most pain I have ever experienced in endurance sports. Got some unfinished business with this course. Click Here and Here to read about my first Ultra experience.

Okay, I have a question for all of you badass runners: Are my Saturday long runs too long and am I peaking too early?

Before you answer lets provide some background. The last three Saturdays have been: 22mi, 12mi, 20mi, and another 20mi planned for tomorrow.  I have been running everyday using active recovery runs after hard efforts and long runs over the last three months.  Over these last three months I have totaled about 500mi by gradually increasing the volume each month and will be around 220mi for the month of October. My legs feel great and the increase in volume and run frequency has led to an increase in speed. As of today, I am experiencing zero aches and/or pains or any signs of a potential injury. *knocking on wood*

Now the reason I ask about my long runs is that an experienced runner friend of mine thinks I am emptying the tank early and am going to be flat on race day. Admittedly, this friend performs better on lower volume training and I seem to excel when racking up consistently high miles.

Do you agree with my friend, should I cut back tomorrow's 20mi trail run and start my taper or since I am feeling great should I continue along with my plan and mash out another 20miler?

Talk to me Goose ...

Thanks for Reading,


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Say Goodbye to Blisters ...


A few months back I was talking with my buddy Mike, who is an avid soccer player, and he was telling me about how he was wearing these socks that had completely stopped the blisters that have been plaguing his feet for quite some time.  They were called TRUSOX and he swore up and down that the little rubber patches on the outside of the socks prevented his feet from sliding around inside his sweaty shoes and completely prevented blisters.

I pretty much forgot about the conversation until a pair of the TRUSOX arrived in the mail from Mike.  And since he was nice enough to send them I figured I would try them out and report back my findings and see if they have crossover potential for Endurance Athletes.


I have never really had a problem with blisters while running on the streets until I get up into the 18+mile range.  However, I have had a problem with blister while trail running.

Blister from 50k Trail Race

With the trails I run on being quite technical this leads to a fair amount of lateral feet movement and in the past this movement has led to some rather uncomfortable blisters (above) and hotspots.  My first attempt at using the TRUSOX was in a pair of trail shoes (Brooks Cascadia) at East End Park in Kingwood, TX.

This is a small park along Lake Houston that is packed dirt, sand and wooded bridges.  I was able to rip out about six miles on a hot and humid evening and the TRUSOX performed brilliantly.  They were extremely comfortable and I was impressed with the high quality of the socks.  Amazingly I was able to tell a difference in my running performance.  It felt like I was more confident on my feet when moving laterally over rocks and trail irregularities. This was an unexpected positive outcome of the TRUSOX.

During the run I could not even feel that anything different was even being worn in terms of comfort. After the run my feet looked fine and no hotspots were noticeable.

So far so good ...


Shortly after wearing the socks on a trail run I then tried them out for a long ride with a group of friends on a rainy and windy Sunday morning.  As I mentioned above I rarely have problems with hotspots or blisters while running on roads. This is the complete opposite while cycling.

At Ironman Texas the bottom of my feet were on fire from mile 80 to the 112 mile bike finish. It seems anytime it is hot (which is often here in Texas) that after about 60mi on the bike I develop some hotspots.   After the socks performance on the trails I was extremely optimistic about trying them for this ride.

That morning we did 80mi of cycling and my feet felt wonderful. Zero issues. Zero hotspots.  And it was an extremely wet and humid morning, which is what has lead to my past issues with foot discomfort. I felt like the TRUSOX really shined for me on the bike.

* Since this initial run and ride I have worn the socks for a Half Ironman and many other road and trail runs and my opinion has not changed since the initial run.


- The TRUSOX do what they claim and absolutely prevent blisters.
- They are comfortable enough to be used for everyday training.
- They are as easy to put on as any other sock.
- I could tell a noticeable difference in performance while running on technical trails.
- They are the perfect cycling sock.

- They are a little thicker sock then what I normally use but are still pretty breathable.
- Cost. They are $24 per pair.

Overall I can say that I am extremely impressed with the TRUSOX. According to Mike, these socks were designed by a soccer player for soccer players but the crossover to endurance sports makes complete sense.  Runners and cyclists spend a lot of time on their feet and we need to keep them healthy - TRUSOX does that even if they were not initially made for us endurance folks.

For those of you who have blister problems I would highly recommend picking up a couple pair of TRUSOX.  Currently I am using them for all of my trail runs and long Saturday morning runs and will use them in next months Rocky Raccoon 50k Trail Run. They are a bit on the pricey side but I'd much rather pay a little extra cash then be unable to run or ride because of a couple of puss filled blisters! Well worth the cost.

Click Here to purchase a pair of TRUSOX.

Thanks for Reading,


**Disclaimer:  The TRUSOX were given to me by a friend. I was not paid for this review and am not entitled to future compensation.  The opinions are mine alone based on the trial of the product while training. If you have any questions about TRUSOX I suggest you visit the website.