I was pretty chuffed with the trainers LSS had bought me for Christmas: 2 pairs of Karrimor XTS. In appearance they looked like wannabe minimalist Inov8’s being low drop and consequently very flexible and also very comfortable... I was really enjoying wearing them and eager to get running I toed the line at the start of 2017's Endurancelife CTS Exmoor marathon under the blazing sun in temperatures already in the late teens at 9am.
It was about a mile in and on the climb up on to the cliffs of the shorter 7 mile loop that I felt a pinging sensation at the front of one of the trainers. I looked down and saw the sole had detached from the toe of one trainer... I thought nothing more of it, blundering on regardless.
Shortly afterwards I felt the other trainer ‘ping’ and sure enough that one had the sole separating from the upper. Bugger.
|The start of the failure.|
Crossing the moor I felt the sole catch on a rock and fold back under my foot. Looking down it had separated from the upper all the way back past the ball of my foot. I realised the other foot had peeled-back about 5cm and the was worsening. To get by I had to drastically alter my running style, pronouncedly heel-striking so as to try and preserve the trainers until I was back at the start. I looked like I was running whilst wearing flippers, with the soles making a slapping, clapping sound at me with every step, much to the amusement of those who were overtaking me.
I arrived at the start just as the half marathoners were being unleashed on the course and had to wait for 300 of them to run past before I could get in to the marquee. Inside I asked a Marshall for some gaffer tape and they refused to let me have some!.. I explained clearly why I needed some and reluctantly they found a roll and supervised me using it in case I used too much! Great, don’t you love being treated like a 3 year old!
It was all to no avail though as with the moisture of the ground soaked in to the trainer fabric, the glue would not adhere and the tape slipped off the front of the trainers, so I was faced with a choice: DNF or a walk to the van to change into my only other footwear: walking trainers... Half a mile up a 16% gradient hill and I was at the van contemplating chucking it all in, but after a can of red bull and a strong word with myself I put the walking trainers on and eventually rejoined the race having lost over 30 minutes with this on top of about another 20 from the enforced slow pace of the last 4 miles.
|The trainers at the van.|
The trainers were binned after a poor showing of just 150 miles and you know what, the other pair went at the same mileage which kind of explains why they were on sale in Sports Direct in the first place - I did not really trust the second pair for racing in after I had accumulated about 70 miles, can’t think why!.. Still combined both pairs of trainers were £30 for 300 miles, so not too bad on the money per mile stakes but frustrating as I was certainly not expecting a trainer failure mid race! Karrimor trainers seem to be a bit of a lottery - they either go for 700 miles a pair or 150, still at least they're cheap as trainers go when they do give-up early.
At least by means of compensation on a compromised race there was plenty of time for pictures of trail porn along the way without pressure for a decent finish and I maintained my 100% record of finishing my races rather than DNF'ing over footwear rather than something worthwhile like injury!
Certainly a real contrast on conditions from one year to the next when you look at the pics in the previous blog entry compared to this one... It was actually easier to run in the conditions this year as it was not too hot and maintaining a level body temperature was easy, unlike when these pics were took where the temperature had jumped over 10 degrees in one day making it difficult for everyone as consequently no-one was acclimated to running in 20 plus degrees temperature and strong sunshine!