This morning, we woke up to several inches of freshly fallen snow and warnings about impending wind chill doom for the next two days. Knowing that it would only get colder, I forced myself out the door for a really slow five-miler. (If any old people had been out with their walkers, they would have passed me.) Fortunately, this run gave me the opportunity to try out the YakTrax Pro that I had promised to review.
First, though, I had to get those suckers on:
The YakTrax, in case you're wondering, are rubber straps with small metal coils that fit over the bottom of your shoe and supposedly add extra traction on packed snow and ice. Here's what they look like from the bottom:
I ran five miles on mostly unploughed areas of Champaign. Because the snowfall happened overnight, the sidewalks were covered with fresh, powdery snow a few inches deep. Unfortunately, the YakTrax didn't help much with the deeper, untouched snow, and I ended up feeling like a Clydesdale as I ploughed through it all. It was a real pain. In fact, around three miles, I became severely disheartened and started having mild anxiety about the prospect of freezing to death two miles from my apartment and having my body perfectly preserved in the three inches of snow where I would inevitably fall down and never get up. But that's another story...
Though I have encouraged it, the boyfriend has stated plainly that he does not want to wear any sort of snow traction. He says that he doesn't want to run over clear patches of road and hear clicking or feel the coils/screws in the bottom of his shoe. (Maybe he's more hardcore than I am...) I didn't have much problem when I ran over ploughed patches and even on cobblestones. Certainly, I wouldn't voluntarily use them for a marathon in the summer, but I didn't mind the feeling of coils underfoot when I ran through the one clear street today. (And as a plus, they make a funny squelchy, springy sound!)
Unlike the sidewalks, the roads were covered in dirty, sandy, rolled-over snow from all the crazy people who insist on driving their cars in this weather. Here, the YakTrax were really handy. Normally, I can run on this sandy crap, but my ankles slip and slide all over the place. (I'm convinced this lead to the arch pain that plagued me for three weeks.) Armed with coils, I felt mostly sure-footed as I mucked through the sandy tire tracks in the less-traveled streets. The YakTrax Pro box still encourages users to exercise caution, and I definitely felt a little sliding. Overall though, I think they helped. Nothing hurts in my foot now.
To confirm this very scientific hypothesis, when I got back from my run, I took the YakTrax off and ran down the street. I had a harder time accelerating and coming to a stop and flailed all over the place, per usual. My feet seemed to slide around a lot more without the additional traction.
In conclusion, I think Yaktrax are a good product. I would encourage those who encounter snow frequently (Midwestern and Canadian runners and yetis) to get some. People in California, Mexico, and Hawaii could probably do without...
As for the rest of the products that YakTrax sent me, the white running socks with arch support seem pretty much like normal socks. The "spa" aloe socks are really nice. They are made of that soft, fuzzy material that I always equate with weird stuffed animals from the Hallmark store. I'm not sure how they'd hold up in the apartment's industrial strength washers and dryers. Hopefully, the aloe doesn't un-infuse in the laundry process. Unfortunately, they make me look like I have cankles:
Good news! Dan is back in my life! He came over tonight, and we played video games and ate enchiladas:
Tomorrow, I don't know when I'm going to go running. The high tomorrow is -1, which seems like it poses a risk to my health and happiness.
Okay, time to go read and eat homemade yogurt! Goodnight!