Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy New Year!

I totally have been slacking off at posting since the holidays plowed in (literally). I've been busy with family and friends. In addition, Vancouver has been screwed this year with a LOT of snow, and training has been halted for....three weeks now, I feel extremely guilty.

But! I have been training at home myself!...Kind of...I feel rather set back.
But! The new year has come and I'd like to wish you and the ones you love a great new year. I wanted to get back on track so I did some research over the last few days for my fellow runners. Here, I thereby publish, The Best Traction Devices Available

Option #1 YakTrax Pro

This was the first option I looked at. I heard about it from my boyfriend's cousin who works at an Outdoors store. Unfortunately, they were all sold out, so I started researching online. This system works through a band that goes around the sole of your shoe and then a velcro that wraps around the top of your foot. The traction system works through a series of coils that wrap around the elastic cords and they help create traction in snow and ice.

The reviews I have read about this system have been good and bad. It's great when it's on tightly packed snow, it's all right on solid ice, but it's horrible on smooth surfaces (surfaces not covered by snow/ice) - as the coils tend to make it actually more slippery than it should be.

They come in three sizes:
Small (Men's 5-8.5, Women's 6.5-10)
Medium (Men's 9-11, Women's 10.5-12.5)
Large (Men's 11.5-14+, Women's 13-15).

For about $30 a pair, I'd rate this item 3 out of 5 stars.

Yaktrax can be found at MEC at this site.

Option #2 STABILicers Sport
After some more intense Googling, I reached our second type of traction system, STABILicers Sport. STABILicers work by having tiny bolt-like objects that screw onto the bottom of a rubber sole. Rubber can really help when you're indoors to prevent you from slipping, but the bolt-like objects are what works best in the snow. Unlike the YakTrax system, there are no slippery coils, but I'd recommend you to keep these babies off your parents' hardwood floors.

Reviews I've read about this system are fewer than the ones I've read for YakTrax but there seems to be little complaints about these. The only thing I might see an issue with these is that as a whole rubber piece you put on, it might look awkward or funny on different shoe sizes (esthetics issues for us lady runners :)

These also come in three sizes:
Small (Men’s 4-7, Women’s 5-8)
Medium (Men’s 7½-10, Women’s 8½-12)
Large (Men’s 10½-13)

For $20, I'd say they're a good bang for your buck 3.5 out of 5 stars.

STABILicers can be found at MEC at this site.

Option #3 Kahtoola MICROspikes Traction Device
I first set my eyes on these babies at I thought, "Wow, I totally need these! And I want them! They totally look badass!" And they indeed are. This is the first traction device that actually incorporates the use of SPIKES in the design. A whole 3/8" long spikes that is definitely to keep you vertical through any adventure you take in Vancouver's snowy weather. The band that goes around your shoe is rubber and water resistant and it looks totally cool!

The reviews I have read have all been positive and I would really like to get this but unfortunately, the badass-ness comes with a hefty price tag. For $51, these babies can be yours - you crazy avid marathon runners!

Three sizes once again:
Small (Youths' 4½-7 or Women's 5½-8½)
Medium (Men's 7-10 or Women's 8½+)
Large (Men's 10½-14)

I rate these 5 out of 5 stars.

Microspikes can be bought at their website for $59 or from your local MEC for $51.

Option #4 Polar Cleats
Of course! I save the best for last. I finally decided to choose the Polar Cleats because of their very simple, but informative website. Polar Cleats is the official sponsor to the Torino 2006 Winter Olympics. In addition, I've read some very positive reviews about this product.

I called the owner to discuss these cleats and he explained that if you don't have boots, it might be a bit more difficult for these cleats to stay on, but he has included two velcro straps that will strap to your runners better when we're training. He's a super friendly guy and even offered to ship it out next day for me.

It's lightweight, affordable and easy to use. In addition, these are handmade locally in Smithers B.C. The company supports people with disabilities and hires them to hand assemble each product that is shipped out of their plant. This makes me a loud and proud Canadian and I will most definitely support this should too!

The final selling point for me is an article I read online from Runners World. Check it out!

There are two sizes:
Size one (Women's 6-8.5 and Men's 6-8)
Size two (Women's 9-12 and Men's 8.5-13)

$24 a pair + $8 shipping this is a sure-fire winner! 5 out of 5 stars.

Purchase your Polar Cleats at their website.

Now that my review is done, I'd like to shoutout to my wonderful new sponsors.

Am Sagarwala and Aliya who is expecting their first child soon! Congratulations!
Here's a link to Am's business - for all your IT needs!
James Wu from TCBC, thanks for supporting my run, you need to come back to Vancouver ASAP - you sure you don't miss Sundin and Wellwood enough to come back? :)
Brian "Pilsbury" Li from RCCF, thanks for baking with me in first year and also running into me during my electives - why didn't you ever take the same electives as me since we have the same set to choose from?!?!!? You gotta come visit Vancouver soon.
Almond Au also formally from RCCF but now with IBM working in a very special department. I hope you're holding up well while Lili is gone, but can you believe how quickly time has passed by??? Thanks for supporting me, please come visit in Vancouver sometime!!

Please visit this page to sponsor me in my run on behalf of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada.

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