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November 30, 2010

Winter Running, La Sportiva Style: Winter Running Advice, Crossover GTX, Wildcat GTX, and Hobnail Kit Giveaways

Before we get to today’s big giveaway announcement, I should offer a disclaimer: I’m not really an expert in most of the stuff I’ll be talking about.

When I approached La Sportiva about sponsoring a giveaway this month, I received something of a good news/bad news response. The good news was, they loved the idea – in fact, they expanded it far beyond what I had initially asked for. The bad news: they wanted the contest to have a “winter running” theme that would coincide with their ongoing promotion of cold-weather running gear.

If that doesn’t sound like bad news, allow me to remind you: I’m a California beach boy. All things considered, I’m not exactly the most credible person to make winter recommendations; taking advice from me about running in ice and snow would be like taking surfing tips from an Eskimo. When I explained this to La Sportiva, their response impressed me even further: we’re doing the contest anyway, and just as big as they envisioned the first time.

So the contest will be spread out in a few different stages over the next three weeks, with two grand prize winners announced on Wednesday, December 22nd. Here’s one of the prizes up for grabs:

The new La Sportiva Crossover GTX, a super-winterized version of the company’s wildly popular Crosslite, which was one of my favorite trail runners for the better part of a year. (And if you’ll forgive me a minimalist tangent: Before there was such a thing as transitional footwear, the Crosslite was my transitional shoe between the trail SUVs I once depended on, and the minimalist stuff I’m addicted to now. Its sleek construction and barely-there feel opened my eyes to all kinds of possibilities, which is why I consider the Crosslite my gateway drug to minimalism.)

I’ve been testing a pair of Crossovers, and will have a formal review posted here in the next week or two. As you’d imagine, my testing involves more river crossings and sloppy mud than blizzards and frozen slush, but I’m getting a good feel for how the shoe handles harsh conditions. But that’s for another post … and I haven’t finished describing the grand prize yet. On December 22nd, the same winner of the Crossover will also receive a pair of La Sportiva’s Wildcat GTX (which I reviewed for Feed the Habit last winter), so you’ve got two rugged new shoes for your winter rotation. And to make sure you’re completely stocked for hardcore winter adventures, they’re throwing in a set of hobnails for each pair.

Men's Wildcat GTX, in new colors for winter 2010/11

We’re not quite done yet: since the Crossover is a unisex shoe but the Wildcat is gender-specific, La Sportiva is offering TWO grand prize winners – one male and one female. If you’re losing track, I'll summarize: one male reader wins the Crossover, Wildcat GTX, and two hobnail kits, and one female winner receives the same. In between now and then, I’m running three smaller contests, giving away two hobnail kits each week. To find out how to enter the small drawings and the grand prize contest, read on.


As I mentioned, the theme of this contest is Winter Running – and before I explained my “soft beach boy” situation to La Sportiva, one of their suggestions was for me to post a Winter Running Advice column. Fortunately for my sake, I recalled seeing several great posts written recently about that very subject – so instead of acting like an expert and making stuff up, I’m just going to refer you to some of the best resources I’ve seen lately:

1) The first one comes directly from La Sportiva, with winter training tips from Derrick Spafford, one of their sponsored athletes.

2) Blogger extraordinaire Bryon Powell just moved to Park City, Utah, where he’ll have ample opportunity to employ this list of winter running resources he put together. And finally …

3) My soul sister Gretchen – who also happens to be a Californian, but unlike me, is the tough kind - put together a great list of winter footwear options, including a cool shot of La Sportiva’s Wildcat GTX.

Of course, the secret to winter running is one part preparation, and one part motivation. Since I delegated that first part, the blog contest here will hopefully serve the second part and give you a healthy dose of motivation for heading out into the snow. It’s a photo contest; to enter, send me your best winter running picture – preferably with you in it. Maybe it’s a scene from a snow-covered trail, or a shot of someone tiptoeing across a frosty stream, or a close-up of your reddened legs or ice-riddled beard after a long run. Use your imagination, and be creative, because the judging for Part 1 is completely subjective: each week, the best two entries will be picked by me, or possibly by a reader vote if I can’t make up my mind.

(And before you point it out to me, yes - by having you send me the entries, I’m technically delegating the motivation part of the equation mentioned earlier as well. When you boil it down, my role in this whole contest is rather incidental.)

Those two weekly winners will each receive a hobnail kit from La Sportiva, and they’re still eligible to win the grand prize drawing at the end. I’ll accept multiple photo entries for the hobnail giveaways, but photos earn just one entry in the grand prize drawing no matter how many you send in. If you want additional entries, here's what you can do:

1) Include a short paragraph (3-4 sentences) describing the picture, or why you love winter running.

2) Link to this contest page from Twitter or Facebook. I'm only giving one entry for this, even if you do both, because I'm discovering it's pretty much impossible to verify when someone says "I linked you on Facebook!" So feel free to do both ... but it still only counts as one additional entry.

3) Link here from your personal blog. Blogs, I can verify. I like blogs.

Just to clarify: the ONLY way to get your name in the in the drawing for the grand prize is to submit a picture – but once you’re in the hat, you can multiply your chances by writing a few sentences or linking here a couple of times. Some other ground rules before we open this baby up:

* Send your photos to me at info@runningandrambling.com, with the subject line “La Sportiva contest”.

* Indicate either in your e-mail or the comments section below this post the total number of grand prize entries you have – and please make sure I can somehow match your e-mail address to your profile name.

* If it’s not obvious from your name (for example: girls named Alex, guys named Stacy, or anyone named Pat) which gender you are, please specify so I can separate the grand prize drawing entrants into male and female.

* By sending pictures to me, you’re also giving me permission to reproduce them on this website – so think twice about sending those naked New Year’s Eve 5K shots in.

Whew … that’s a lot of rules, huh? But the prizes are definitely worth it, and I think it will be a lot of fun to see some crazy pictures and get a nice dose of winter mojo courtesy of my readers. And with that, I turn the contest over to you: send me your photos, and check back each week (or, you know … subscribe) to see if you’ve won!

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krystyna47 11/30/10, 10:18 PM  


That's me running in the Winterman half-marathon back home in Canada. It was a cooold day as I recall, and of course it started to gust and snow. Just before the race start, a homeless person ran away with all the finisher's medals. It was the oddest thing I've ever known to happen in a race. We got the medals back, ran the race, then reheated ourselves with yummy food and hot showers. That run really epitomized winter running for me.

Kirstie 12/1/10, 6:46 AM  

Last winter was my first year running in the snow and was unsure about it all but after the winter season ended, I realized it wasn't all that bad and actually enjoyed. I even did a trail race with a foot of snow on the ground. Linking this contest to my blog!

Travis Ringger 12/1/10, 8:50 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
My Life and Running 12/1/10, 9:57 AM  

Sent a pic via email and will blog your giveaway tomorrow. Thanks Donald!

Carrie 12/1/10, 10:16 AM  

I finally used the hobnail set you sent last year- LOVE IT. They are super easy to install and they really grip the ice. I started with 3 each in the forefoot of the shoe but I need to add a couple more in the heel. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

Derrick 12/1/10, 10:41 AM  

Very sweet giveaway! The Crossovers with hobnails are the ultimate winter trail running shoe. Enjoy!

JBK in CA 12/1/10, 2:10 PM  

I think its so cool to see the manufacturers supporting our community this way. I'll email my picture and will be linking through facebook.I guess that's 2 entries for me.Thanks,

wirehairedrunner 12/1/10, 6:06 PM  

I don't need to be entered into the contests, I just wanted to say that I have been using the Crossovers for the last two weeks, in the cold and snow. They are awesome. Combined with YakTrax, they are the best winter running shoes--keep the feet warm, good traction etc. My only complaints are that they are a bit stiff at first (like the Crosslites) and the gaiter could be just a bit higher.

Donald 12/1/10, 8:10 PM  

wirehaired: Thanks for the feedback on the Crossovers! That's great to hear.

Richard 12/4/10, 1:32 AM  

Thanks for the contest! I'll be running the hypothermic half marathon in Montreal in February

treklightly 12/7/10, 8:42 AM  

Thanks for the opportunity! I have been running in minimalist shoes (VFF's and Feelmax) for over a year now, but am now experimenting with occasionally mixing in a minimalist trail running shoe now that I have made the transition. I'm curious to see if a shoe like what you have in the contest would work for me...

Here's a picture of me pausing for a break while winter trail running in Minnesota. I love winter trail running because I typically always have the trail to myself... it is serenity at it's best! Running on snow engages much more of my core and I find it to be good cross-training to running on pavement.


I also have created a few blog entries on winter running in minimalist footwear here in Minnesota if anybody is interested:




Jen 12/8/10, 12:13 PM  

Thanks for the chance to win. They look like great shoes. I'll be linking to you tomorrow in a blog post. I sent you some pictures but didn't get the subject line right. Hopefully you'll still get them.

mybimmer 12/20/10, 2:03 PM  

I would love to win a pair of La Sportiva shoes. I found the Wildcats earlier this year and they have been great shoes through a couple 25Ks and 10Ks.

We don't have much winter her in Phoenix, Arizona but here is a recent photo at a 10K race in Cave Creek park.


Happy Holidays

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