I'm doing the IN tough mudder on Sat. What vff's do you recomend? KSO's or Flows? (or... regular running shoes?)
I'm leaning towards the Flows but they're a bit tight on my feet, and for 11 miles...?
I'm all set with everything else...
Based on everything I have read from past experience... I would say neither of those models. People talk about slippage in the mud and those models don't have enough grip. Something with a trek sole would be better.
This is the advice i would give as well- trek sole will be best for grip on muddy climbs. I used Komodos for my first Mudder, but would advise Trek Sports for anyone buying VFFs for the Mudder specifically.
KSOs or Flows wouldn't be ideal in mud conditions.
OTP question: I wear contacts. If water gets into my eyes, my contacts WILL pop out and I'll be blind as a bat. I see some people say yes, go for swim goggles on the water obstacles and others say no. Your thoughts?
Thats a good question. For my first Tough Mudder I wore swim goggles- they were around my neck the whole time. I put them on for the underwater tunnels, but I couldn't see anything anyway so I figured it was a waste.
But then I don't wear contacts- for your needs I'd say take them, it just seems like a good idea.
Rugged Maniac was a lot more challenging than Warrior Dash was- it was held on a Motocross track- which is cool because it is spectator friendly, and it was challenging because of the amount of elevation change- we started uphill (a first for me in these events) and then a long fairly steep ascent to the top of the course, and then basically repeated similar ascents 3.5 times during the 5k- they were STEEP ascents, and descents- very challenging due to the course material- mostly clay. It was hard to get traction on when it was dry and harder to get traction on when it was muddy. The Obstacles were pretty typical- some higher walls (probably 7-8ft) a cargo net climb with a drop into a track and field type "pit" pad, a slog through some nasty deep clay mud, a few ladder climbs, 2 low crawls under barbed wire, a rock-hop, and another walk across loose stumps. There was also a Mr. Myagi sort of pier jump- logs about 10-12 inches across driven into the ground to create piers about 3 ft tall. Each pier was about 3-4 ft apart so you had to jump from one pier to the next. there were about 5 jumps, and it was challenging. The whole thing ended with a climb up to a 15ft platform, and then a steep slip-n-slide into a nice cold pool- once in the pool, there were floating over/unders to deal with, a rope assisted climb out and then a run up (yes up) to the finish line.
Thoughts... My downhill form is MUCH improved since the Mudder. I kept my weight forward, and was really trucking downhill this time- I passed a lot of people in the downhills so that each descent was basically a slalom around slower runners. My knees still feel great, so I must have been "doing it right".
The Komodos did well enough in the climbs thanks to the flexibility of my feet. also, the muddy climbs had rope assists available so I benefited from that. I did have to scramble for traction a few times on the steep climbs where the clay was packed down really hard. A woman slid down past me on one of these, I stopped to offer assistance and found myself sliding down past her... LoL, I learned after that to go to the outside edges of the track on the climbs- material was looser out there and easier to get traction on.
When I got into the deep clay mud I ran into my first issue with the Komodos- getting through was fine, but running away afterwards the support around my ankles vanished due to that area filling with mud. To my surprise the heel cups became very sloppy just as Barefeet has described above (so I stand corrected ). I was really surprised by this because i didn't experience anything like that during Tough Mudder- It was a real issue though, and it made me a little uncomfortable- especially when they started to dry out and the grittyness of the material started to grate against the skin around my ankles, and heels. I don't think trek Sports would be much better- what you really need is an adjustment around the ankle to cinch closed in order to KSO- something like what the classics have would do nicely.
I went back to the same clothing style I wore for TM, and that was a good move- no wardrobe malfunctions to deal with, so that was nice. We didn't get many pics this time, but I'll post whatever I get from the event.
In summary- Rugged Maniac was challenging. The production value was a bit lower than other events I have run in, but all in all it was a good event, and I'll probably run it again since i have heard these things tend to get better each year as the organizers learn and become creative from their experience.
For this race I finished 10min faster than average and finished in the upper 3rd of the field. Not terrible, but I don't run these things for time.
Next up is another Tough Mudder! This time we are headed down to Edna TX on Jan 28th. They are advertising an 11 mile course with 25 obstacles to tackle. Should be a good time!
I'm running the "Rugged Maniac" 5K tomorrow. I'm going to run my Komodos again and see how it goes. I predict good things.
Also registering for Tough Mudder TX Coast on Jan 28th 2012 @ 11am. a friend of mine and I are flying down from Denver to run it. Anyone interested in grouping up let me know. Always good to have a pack to run in- and some people to drink a beer with after.
Amassing a team for Tough Mudder CO 2012- thus far we are 5, need to get to 7 to hit the group discount. Hit me up here if you are interested in joining us, and I'll pass you our team info
I don't understand any more why people think that $100 is alot of money to pay for shoes. Do you not realize that you use your feet every day? So I would imagine that taking care of your feet is pretty important, and the shoes you wear really matter as far as foot maintenance. You seriously cannot go wrong with Vibrams. Sorry for the rant, recently I have had alot of people think that Vibrams are alot money (and then go spend $50 on drinks later that night).
Well, they're a lot of money to me. I still don't have any yet because I still can't afford them at the moment. However I'm also used to paying $100 for a pair of Nikes and wearing them for 3+ years before buying another pair. So whenever I get some VFF's, if they wear out in a year or two, they will still seem more expensive to me than the Nikes I used to wear.
Patrick- are you from the Team-Integra web site? Just curious as your username looks familiar.
back on topic-
The comments really seem to be subsiding. I wear my Komodo Sports to work periodically and no one ever says anything. Most of the people i know who have seen that I run in them think they are awesome.
As REI now seems to have increased their stock, "VFF sightings" are becoming more and more common around Denver and Boulder. I see someone wearing them pretty much every time i go out into public now.
For really really grossly overweight people (like a large percentage of Americans) I'd say having additional support is a good thing- the human joints and ligaments can only take so much! So if you are 2-3x your ideal BMI, then I'd say stay out of VFFs!
Of course, folks who are that large are generally too busy shopping for mobility scooters to concern themselves with funky looking toe shoes so the warning is kinda pointless anyway
Phil, thanks for the reply. I was surprised they were perfect for you because whenever I leave Crossfit after working up a good sweat, my foot slides around in my Komodos - the insole actually moves from side to side a bit. I take it you didn't have that problem at all?
I tend to run the strap that goes over the top of my foot pretty tight, for the Mudder I also tightened the stabilizers in the heel, and did not experience any shifting what-so-ever.
This may be an issue with the differences in foot shape ect.- for instance, my Komodos fit pretty snug even before tightening anything- if you have really narrow feet, or wide feet it might be different for you
Peter and Phil, thanks for the information! I'm doing the Tough Mudder this October. I have KSOs that now have paper-thin soles, Treks, Komodos, and Flows. From what Peter says about the Treks, they may not be the best shoe for the Tough Mudder due to the slipperiness inside and how it stretches out when wet. The Komodo insole would probably slide around too. Should I use the Flows, or am I risking a bad fall due to the lack of traction on the bottoms?
My alternative would be lightweight trail running shoes (not minimalist).
I ran my Komodos in Tough Mudder and they performed superbly. They offered plenty of useable traction on the slick surfaces, swam well, and shed caked on mud quickly, They were great on the obstacles. As mentioned above, I did not do well in the downhills but that was a result of poor form, and not the fault of the shoes. I'll be downhilling quite a bit in my Komodos before TM 2012, but I DO intend to run them (or another similar pair) again.
Having run Warrior Dash in the Adidas I can now speak intelligently about the differences, and I will say VFFs have the numerical advantage in a pros & cons comparison.
Hey Peter- did you run in the Sunday 3:30 wave? I'm curious because...
I think- based on the people around me during the race (the girl in the pink there) that it might be me the red arrow in the background is pointed to.
Yes! The Groupon wave! (did you use a Groupon to register?) 3:30 Sunday. What are the odds?
Thats it! LoL I think I recall you running past me on the first paved section. I remember because I saw your Treks (I tend to try and identify shoes on other VFF runners) and thought immediately to myself that I was making a huge mistake to be running in traditional shoes.
I missed my Komodos, and won't be making that mistake again.
OK, so i finished my Warrior Dash (Rockies) yesterday and i have some notes as a comparative / contrast of the events.
Differences- I chose to run Warrior Dash in traditional running shoes. This was a decision based on the misery I experienced running downhill in Tough Mudder. I wanted to see how the other half lives so that I could make an informed choice for Tough Mudder 2012. Unfortunately, I am left with a total mix of emotions over the choice. The benefits of VFF were glaringly obvious in some portions of the race, while my feelings about downhill running were also verified. The answer I have arrived at is that I am more confused than ever. I am running the Rugged Maniac 5k in Oct. and I have an idea that I might try. More on this later, but let me emphatically state that I LOVE my VFFs, and missed them during this event.
As for the rest of my kit for this race I went with a more loose fitting arrangement than I did in TM. I wore Northface running shorts, which I like because they are longer in length like the basketball shorts I like to work out in, but they also have a built in compression liner under the loose "short". I chose a loose fitting Nike dri-fit shirt for my upper body. The whole kit was a mistake and I'll get to the why of that during the race description. Long and Short of it (pun intended) is that you don't want loose fitting clothes for these races. I'll carry that with me into the future.
Warrior Dash is a 5k as compared to the near 10miles of the TM. There were fewer obstacles, BUT they are closer together, and the obstacles in Warrior Dash were either comparable, or in some cases more difficult than those in TM. Regardless- WD is no joke, and I felt challenged. I'll definitely do WD again next year- I had a lot of fun.
We started with a stretch of pavement running, then transitioned to trail. The first obstacle was to run through some old tires that were hung from overhead at various heights- not hard when they were stagnant, but once they were swinging it was tough enough to fend them off, and I got some nice bashes in. Then there was a short climb up a ladder board, then more trail leading up to the over/under obstacle- I think they were 4 foot walls to go over, then some wood fences to duck under- i think there were 4-5 set of these in the series. I vaulted the walls, then hung onto the bottom rung and swung myself under the fences. this was followed by some more trail running where we passed through the area where the crowd was observing. I saw my Mom and my Daughter as I ran past. then there was the gratuitous mud pit- it was basically a pool filled with a heavy slurry of clay based mud- there is barbed wire strung over it and you need to belly crawl the stay under that. This is where I really started to pay the price on my footwear choice. when I came out of the slurry I was wearing this heavy heavy clay mud all over my body. At this point i realized my error in wearing loose clothes, and also my traditional running shoes felt like cinderblocks.
After the mud crawl was about a football fields worth of heavy wet clay that had deep foot impressions and was hard to "run" through- most people opted to walk here and try to shed some of the heavy mud from the mud crawl. It was hard to dodge the crowd of walkers here. We then came into a spiderweb of bungie cords stretched over the trail. Id say it was about 30 ft to get through the web, and it was made more difficult to step over or climb under because other people were also doing this and the stretchy cords were whacking others in the face, or tripping you as you negotiated the way through. After this we hit the hill climb section which always sucks, even more so in Colorado altitude. first we entered a low tent where you crawl over dirt piles while inside a low building- I did this in a low crouch. Once out the other side there was a spirit breakingly long climb up hill to reach the next obstacle- a balance beam sort of thing- then you turn the corner to the downhill and run back down the hill just climbed- running shoes did well here. The first obstacle near the bottom of the hill was a cargo net stretched over span on a wooden frame. I traversed this on my hands and feet. The next obstacle was a steep angle wall climb. one side had ladder boards nailed to it, and once you wet over the top the other side was a ladder down. Then a cargo net climb which I think was done better than TM. The cargo net was on a large wood frame about 30ft tall (guestimate) climb up and over the top of the frame then climb down the other side. Had the frame been rocking in an ocean I imagine it would have felt the same as it did for my Grandfather when they climbed into the landing boats during the invasion at Leyte. Next obstacle was a rope assisted climb up a steep angle, then climb down the opposite side with the twist of the last 10 ft being a shear drop- they replaced the ladder with sheet wood so you slid down it. Then we were in the final 1k- there was a guy hosing us off as we ran the paved trail toward the finish (I assume to uncover our numbers for the photographer), At that point I kicked into my passing gear and started my finish line charge, leaving the group I had run with for most of the challenge behind. I came around the corner into the home stretch and there were 2 fire lines to hurdle before making the last turn to come down the chute to the finish.
Things I'd do differently- I'd have worn a skin tight rash guard, and compression shorts instead of the loose fitting kit I wore- skin tight clothing is a must when you are diving into the mud. Having loose fitting clothes laden with mud hanging off my body totally sucked, and definitely slowed me down. I think if you are going to get that muddy, you want to be as close to naked as possible, so a skin tight kit is the way. Since this is also a "costume" type event- a wrestling singlet might have been a good yet still functional costume type arrangement.
I think for a race of this length I should have gone with my VFFs. Sure, in the downhill the running shoes had an advantage, but that was only like 1k out of the 5. The payoffs from the VFFs over the other terrains would have easily made up for the lost time in descent. Also, I need to work on my downhill form- that would help too.
The whole race went by pretty quickly. There were no mile markers at all on the course, so I went by my gut to figure when to kick for the finish. As mentioned above the course was challenging even though much shorter than TM. I had a great time, and definitely think it is worth doing again. This is also a great intro to mud-running for those of you who might be on the fence.
Next up is Rugged Maniac in October. It's another 5k, but this time at the lower altitude of the front range instead of in the mountains. I'll be running in my Komodos and I'm gonna try something different in training- I'll be Gel'in. Lets just see how that goes.