The nice thing about wearing super-crappy shoes on a trail run is you can entertain the idea of simply throwing them away if at any point they become too soaked and filthy to be worth cleaning.
My 2011 Saucony Kinvara 2s spent several days in purgatory after Wednesday’s 14-mile run on partially flooded trails at Ouabache State Park. “Just throw them away,” my sister and running partner advised. “If you wash them, they’ll probably just fall apart anyway.”
It was tempting*. But ugly as they are, they’re so … comfy. Finally, inspired by a blogger who successfully cleaned his shoes after enduring the infamous flooded course at the 2011 HUFF 50K (see video below), I threw them in the washer yesterday, along with a capful of detergent, a couple of scoops of store-brand Oxyclean and a thorough spraying with stain remover.
Post-wash: Well, they smell better, anyway.
The result: They don’t look much better, but they’ll live to see another day, I think, though I’m going to let them dry thoroughly, stuffed with newspaper, before I give them another try.
As for the run: The first loop around trail 5 we tried to avoid puddles and mud whenever possible, seeking out solid ground along the edge if it was available. By loop 2, we just splashed right on through. Our shoes were soaked, so what difference did it make?
“This is good training for the Huff,” we told ourselves. Video of the 2011 race (see below) shows runners tromping through knee-high water in places when the course was hopelessly flooded.
We’d intended to do a third loop but ran out of time, so we just ran to the campground restrooms and brought back the paved stretch of “Garter Snake Alley” to the lake parking lot to wind up with 14 miles in just under 3 hours. Not a great time, but this was definitely long slow distance, with periodic pre-planned walk breaks.
The nice thing was, we weren’t really very stiff and sore afterward, or the next day either. Was it the walk breaks or just simply running on a softer surface? I know Traci’s achy hip and knees are faring much better since we moved to running mostly on trails. She’d never want to go 10 miles on pavement, much less 14. (Or 30, come December.)
*(I DID toss my socks, which were sweat-shop cheapos with stretched out ankle openings that retained the stench and color of swamp water even after they dried. Because all four “girls” in our family wear close to the same size shoe, I tend to inherit unwanted ankle socks and wear them until holes appear in the toes. These weren’t quite to that point, but floppy ankle openings let in a lot of leaf bits and trail debris that proves quite annoying.)