First Run in Asics Gel Blur 33 – 2/16/12

I went out and did it, I bought yet another pair of running shoes and here is the story behind why I got the Asics Gel Blur 33 today.  Let’s just say it was necessary. To be honest they were not what I was expecting to be buying today and I cannot say that I absolutely love them and have always wanted to run in them.  However, of all the choices and shoes available to me that I have been able to actually try on lately, they seemed to be the right one for now.

I have run in Asics before and while they were not what I was originally looking for, I think that they will be what I need as a nice compliment to the MT20s when I get done with that transition. A blend of the old style running shoe and the new minimal running shoes.

First Impressions

They are comfortable shoes, that look like they will take a pretty good beating and still keep on going, with me that is part of the deal and one of the reasons why I chose them – I am fairly tough on shoes. They fit well and are a bit more cushioned than I would have expected and are a nice looking running shoe. They are not a minimalist or in my mind a transitional shoe, they are more of a regular lightweight trainer, that would have been better received a couple of years ago. I did have to chuckle though, the size 8 Blurs are longer than the 8.5 MT20s – definitely a different style.

First Run

It really didn’t take very long to get used the shoes, trying to figure out the foot plant needed for these shoes and I felt very comfortable once I found the shoe’s sweet spot for running with more of a forefoot strike. However, in my opinion they are not designed to promote forefoot strike. They will let you find it easily, but also allow you to revert to a heel strike very easily. Which is something that on my longer runs, I already know that I do as I get tired.

The best part was that I didn’t feel any discomfort/pain in the left calf – just a little tightness, which is okay I expected that.

I found the Blurs are very comfortable to run in and while I don’t think that they were designed to promote forefoot strike, I was able to run with mostly a forefoot strike for most of miles 2 and 3 (at least I thought so). I really believe that they will be a better shoe to run in for my longer runs or for the gravel road down-back – they offer more protection than the MT20s will.

My Splits for this run

Overall

My first impression the Asics Blur 33 was very positive. They were light, responsive and let me run as fast as I wanted to. It will be interesting to see how they do on my first longer run, when I start to get tired.

Still Disappointed

Yet I am still very disappointed that I didn’t get to at least try the other shoes in my top 5 list, besides the Kinvara – oh well next time. This is just something that I have to get over and maybe I am in the Asics Blur 33s for a reason.

I am hopefully going to grow to love these shoes, once I get running in them, because they are very nice lightweight trainers. I just need to get over my disappointment and get back to just running.

GPS

One thing I noticed today is that I ran the same course as yesterday and yet the 3.0 mile mark was about 100 yards before where I stopped yesterday. I know that Civilian GPS is purposely off by a certain amount, but it gets a little frustrating, when it is off by that much on the same run as the day before. Just something you gotta live with.

One thing is for sure – that it felt good to be running again!  Now to get my mileage back up to where it was and for now that mean that I will get to know the Asics Blur 33s very well :-).

Raiding the “Cookie Jar” – New Running Shoes Again

After my efforts yesterday to find a pair of old shoes that, I could use while I was transitioning to my New Balance MT20s, resulted in less than spectacular – to be honest nothing that I had around the house was going to work. TheWife and I decided that it would probably be wiser to go ahead and buy another pair of running shoes and that way I would have a pair to alternate in the future. Which in theory allows both shoes to last longer.

So we raided the cookie jar and used the proceeds towards getting me another pair of running shoes.

Went to Brunswick

After not really finding what I wanted in the Augusta area last week, I also decided to go down to the Maine Running Company in Brunswick – about 45 minutes away. I prefer to buy from the local running stores when possible and this is the closest running store to where I live. Plus it is really nicer to try on the shoes you are buying instead, blind sizing that you do online.

Unfortunately, when I got to the store the selection of minimalist shoes was very minimal, (their selection of “regular” running shoes was much better) especially for my shoe  size (7.5 to 8.5 depending upon the shoe). The salesperson was very knowledgeable and helpful, but the lack of inventory and not finding what I was hoping to try (the Brooks Pure Line, Altras, Newtons, Mizuno, Innov, etc.) was disappointing to say the least.

While there I tried on some Asics, they just didn’t feel right and then because they didn’t have the other shoes in my size, in mens, she brought out comparable women’s model of the Nike Free and Newtons – none looked like anything I would wear and at that point I was done. The salesperson offered to let me try on other women’s model and then they could order the men’s model – I politely declined, thanked her for her time and left.

Dick’s Sporting Goods

Topsham has a Dick’s Sporting Goods, so I stopped there hoping they might have something that I wanted. I actually found a better selection than I had at the Augusta store last week. I spent almost an hour at Dick’s trying on 8 or was it 9 pair of shoes. It finally came down to the below 3 shoes that were about the same fit:

* * *
  • Nike Free Run+2, it was a great looking, light and comfortable shoe, but for some reason, it just didn’t fit quit as nice as the other two. I had done a lot of research last night and pretty much was looking for the Nike Free +3, if I was going to run in Nike again, they didn’t have it in the store yet, so I passed on the Free +2.
  • Reebok RealFlex Transition – this was very comfortable and light. I really liked both the way it looked and how it felt on my feet. With the lugs, I thought could even do non-technical trails in these shoes. I just never think of Reeboks as a shoe that I would normally buy – I don’t know why, just haven’t considered them very often before.
  • Asics Gel Blur 33 – I don’t know what it is about black and orange/orang and black lately, but it seems that many of the shoes that I like seem to have this color pattern? The Blurs were comfortable, a little heavier than the other two choices, but seemed a little more solid too. I have had good luck with Asics in the past and know that they are generally bullet-proof shoes.

The Choice

If I had seen the Reeboks last week, I probably would have gotten them then, they seem like they would be a pretty good hybrid shoe (although they are not really minimalist), but now I have the MT20s for trail running after I get used to them. Today I was looking for more of a road shoe that could do dirt roads, an occasional non-technical trail or single-track and longer distances, while protecting me from myself.

It came down to Reeboks and the Asics and truthfully was a toss-up which one fit better. The Reeboks definitely looked better to me, but the price for the Asics was $20 less and let’s face it, I am not all that worried about looks most of the time, so I went with the lower price and got the Asics Gel Blur 33.

They are not true minimal shoes with 27mm stack height and a 10mm drop, but none of the other shoes in this list could be classified as true minimal shoes either. While they are not really what I was looking for originally in a shoe, I needed running shoes today, not in a few days, so these will do fine for now, based on the choices that were available to me.

The Reality is that

It sucks sometimes about being so damn particular and wanting to try on shoes before I buy them.

Thank goodness for having that coin bottle – our cookie jar, that I used to throw my change into every day after work. We had $78 in change that I took to the bank this morning and cashed in. It is a lot easier to justify another $5 to $20 bucks out of the budget, for another pair of running shoes, than it would be for the whole price.

Disappointed

I was more than a little disappointed in not being able to support the Maine Running Company, because they do an awful lot to support running in Maine, but the selection and inventory in their Brunswick store did not meet my needs and I wasn’t driving another half hour to Portland. Going there was the only reason I travelled to Brunswick, otherwise I think I could have gotten a similar shoe to what I got here in the Augusta area and saved time and gas.

Strange how things work out sometimes, isn’t it?

Here I am trying to go to more minimalist/transition shoes and yet can’t find the ones that I really want to try on before buying them in my area (Brooks Pure, Altra, Newton and some of the Mizuno line). I guess this is just one of the joys of living in Maine :-).

Next time I will probably take a chance on ordering the shoes I really want through the Natural Running Store, I know that I will get great customer service, but unless I fly out there, the only drawback is that I can’t try the shoes on before buying them ;-).

Quite honestly, the past couple of weeks has been a real pain in the butt, trying to get my running shoe situation figured out, so I can just freaking run, without injuring/hurting myself more than I already have.

Any one need a running shoe wear tester, after the past couple of weeks and all the shoes I have tried out, I have a lot more experience now :-).