Trusting My Gut and a good Recovery Run 3/14/13

Have you ever had one of those runs, where after you get going, something just feels wrong. No I am not talking about physically, but that feeling that we get when our instincts are telling us that now is not the time to be where we are.

That feeling kept getting stronger and stronger the last half mile before I finally turned around and started going the other way.

I have no idea about why I was feeling that way, but I have learned to trust those “gut feelings” and not go any further when I am getting that feeling.

Who knows maybe it was nothing, but maybe it was something, whatever was going on I will never know what it was because I listened to my instincts and turned around.

Once I did, the feeling went away and I felt fine again, it became another easy recovery run.

Today, I was scheduled for an easy 6.0 miles at a 9:00 plus pace, so I decided to go up on the Quaker Road – where I haven’t run since last year. As you can see from the Garmin stats screenshots, there are a few hills and that is why I tend to avoid this course.

However, I am in a lot better shape than I have been for a quite a while and on slower runs don’t bother me nearly as much.

Although this was an easy run, I did go under 9:00 for a three of the miles, so I wasn’t as good as I was on Tuesday’s run. However, the overall average pace was above 9:00 so I was okay with the run and didn’t push hard during while I was out there.

I ran in the Instinct 1.5’s and it took a little while to get used to them again, where I have been running a lot in the Altra Superiors, there is a difference between the two shoe styles and you can definitely tell the difference.

I would still like to know what spooked me, but I have experienced that feeling and ignored it before and found myself in uncomfortable or unsafe situations that could have been avoided if I had listened to my “gut feeling”. So instead of fighting the feeling, I listen go back or change directions.

Altra Superior – 50 Mile Review

Altra Superior

How do I write a 50 mile review about a pair of running shoes that are listed in the trail shoe category, when I have only run 2 short snowmobile trail runs int them?

Very easy – they are the best fitting pair of running shoes that I have run in, in a long time! Although they might be considered a trail shoe, I have put mostly treadmill miles and road miles on them so far and I love them.

Disclosure: I purchased the Altra Superior with my own money from Optimal Run, so I can say whatever I want to about them and it isn’t advertising.

Here are the technical specs from the Altra website:

  • Ideal Uses: Trail Running, Hiking, Fastpacking
  • Designed to Reduce: Running Slow on the Trail
  • Platform: Zero Drop™ Platform
  • Weight: 7.9oz
  • Midsole: Two-Layer EVA / A-Bound™
  • Outsole: CheckerTrail Outsole
  • Insole: Contoured
  • Upper: Quick Dry Trail Mesh
  • Lacing Structure: Asymmetric
  • Other Features: Removable StoneGuard Rock Protection, Foot-Shaped Design

I did make one modification to the shoe, I got rid of the long stock laces and used LockLaces, I have them in all of my shoes, that I run regularly in and love how they help make my shoes fit my feet better.

Altra Superior

While Altra designed and lists the Superior as a trail shoe, to me it is more than that. In my mind the Superior is an outstanding Hybrid shoe that works well for me on a variety of surfaces. I have run in so far:

  • My first run in them was a 10 mile treadmill run, without any issues
  • I have used them to do fast-paced treadmill workouts interval (a few sub 6:30 paced quarters) and longer tempos (at 7:30 pace or faster), each totaling 10 miles
  • short snowmobile trail runs

  • easy recovery a couple tempo runs on the roads

The Superiors are the shoe that I am choosing to do most of my running in and yes I have plenty of others to choose from.


Simple – they work for me.

I run quietly in them, no slapping the pavement, which means my form is better.

Where I live out in the country, I run a lot on tar, dirt road shoulders, ditches (to avoid traffic), dirt roads, for a little longer – snow, slush, and as spring gets here mud, (sometimes all on the same run), so the road conditions are constantly changing and a true road shoe, doesn’t quite do it and a heavy duty trail shoe is too much shoe.

The Superiors are light, fairly nimble (as much as an old plodder like me can be), let me run on a multiple surfaces in the same run without missing a beat, very comfortable and due to the zero drop make me focus on how I am running, which is what I want/need right now.

As a trail shoe I will use them for 80% of the trails that I run on, but if I know there is a lot of rugged single-track, mud or sand, where I will be running, while I could use the Superiors to get through those areas, I would probably want a little more aggressive tread and beefier shoe.

As a road shoe they are the same weight as many light-weight trainers and have worked well on the roads for me. I plan to run my long run (14+ scheduled) tomorrow and a 5K race in them this weekend, simply because I think they will do well. I am very interested in seeing how these trail shoes perform in those two very different types of road running activities.


I ran 15.0 miles on Friday in the Superiors and they did FANTASTIC! No issues related my running shoes at all and my usual problem with my little toes hurting didn’t happen at all. I was very happy with how they performed on this long run and it has me really thinking about getting another pair to alternate as my daily training shoes and going with the 3-Sum/The One for racing shoes. Decisions, Decisions.

I like the ability to make the shoe lighter by simply removing the rock plate and then if I am going to run on single-track trails, just put it back in. It is a feature that helps makes the shoe flexible enough to meet the different styles of running that I really do.


I am still not sure if I like the way the tongue is made, I have to take a couple of extra seconds to get them just so, but when I am running there are no issues with it. The other thing is I don’t know what the strings are really for on the sides of the shoe, they seem loose all of the time, so I will see how long they last before I decide to see what the shoe is like without them.

The other thing is the rear rudder, while it doesn’t bother any, but it does fling up stuff on the backs of my legs when it is wet or muddy, I could do like a few other writers have done and take a Xacto knife to them, but I kind of like the way they make the shoe look. They do help me get the shoe off a little more easily, so I will keep them.

Overall, I am very pleased with the Altra Superior, they have become my go-to running shoe for almost all of my running lately and have performed very well. I have a feeling that this weekend will help me decide if my next pair of Altra running shoes will be the 3-Sum (which has the same last), Torin (a slightly different last, but more cushioning) or who knows, maybe, just maybe another pair of Superior’s – I mean why change if what I am using works.

Doing that would make my life a lot easier, staying with a hybrid shoe that does a lot in different conditions, instead of a lot of specialty shoes for each condition.

I do not have any affiliations with Altra Zero Drop at this time, other than a free pair of Altra Instinct 1.5’s that I got along with other #RWHalf Fitfluential bloggers.

My Favorite Exercise Partner – #RealHealth

Once a week I write a blog post for Anthem’s Real Health Blog, after the post is published, I  post a link to it from my blog. No I am not paid to put this post on A Veteran Runnah or anything that is expected by the people at Real Health.

I post a link here because I am proud of the work that I do for them and want to share it with you.


Posted by Harold Shaw

My Favorite Exercise Partner

In training for a marathon, I have found my favorite workout partner to be my words.
Specifically, I mean the words that I use with myself to describe how hard or easy a workout is going to be. In this video, I talk about the words I used to get through a run I had never completed before. After completing this run, I worked out a three point checklist for re-framing my thoughts and words before my workouts. Read More
This post has a video of me talking about overcoming my arch-nemesis – a hill that I was intimidated by and had avoided running up until just recently.
If you have a minute, go check out the rest of the post. While you are there take a look around and see what the other Real Health contributors are writing about.
Other Contributors
Phyllis and Rosemary

Sorry Runners – Vehicles Win


Since winter is almost over and we are going to be getting outside and be on the roads a lot more over the coming months, I thought it would be appropriate to re-publish this post as a reminder to other runners.

This post probably isn’t going to win me any friends in the running community, but it might save someone from some pain and suffering.

On Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and elsewhere, I have been hearing all the complaints about how many bad drivers there are!

I have to admit I have had a few incidents myself. Were I have felt the need to salute certain drivers in what I thought was an appropriate response to their actions, stupidity or carelessness.

However, for the most part – I would say that 98% of the drivers on the road are pretty decent about sharing the road with runners. Where I live and run in Maine, there are not a lot of tarred shoulders or sidewalks and if you get off the road, you are either in a ditch, dirt or high grass. Most drivers I have found will try to move over and let you stay on the road – when they can.

That is the big point – when they can.

  • If another vehicle is coming, they have to stay in their lane and it always seems that the two vehicles meet when right beside a runner. Murphy’s Law of Running in Traffic.
  • If a vehicle is going up a hill, they have to stay in their lane.
  • If a vehicle is coming to a corner, they have to stay in their lane
  • If a vehicle is in a blind turn and suddenly come up on you, it sucks to be the runner.

At those points the runner needs to be aware of where they are and regardless of how much it destroys their rhythm or pace, get off the damn road and let the vehicle go by – for everyone’s safety, especially their own.

However, many times this last year and yes even this winter, when I have been driving by runners in those situations, they don’t yield the road willingly and have caused unsafe conditions for me as a driver, other vehicles and them as runners. Then they give me that wonderful one-finger salute to signify their displeasure, because I didn’t move over the center line at that point or come to a immediate stop when I am going 35-45 mph – to avoid hitting them.

At the time I didn’t due to safety reasons, not because I was being an asshat.

As a courtesy when I see fellow runners on the road I tend to slow down, especially when I see more than one, however, when one of the conditions I listed above are happening and the runner or runners do not yield and get off the tarred road, it becomes a dicey or dangerous situation. Yes I know that sometimes getting off the road isn’t fun and it is easy to twist an ankle or knee, but it is a lot better than getting hit by a vehicle.

So runners while there are crazy/stupid drivers out there, from what I have seen there are also a few crazy/stupid runners too, who create unsafe conditions on the road as well. I believe that most of us have experienced both.

My tips for running safely in areas where there is traffic and only dirt, grass or ditches on the shoulder are:

  • Run facing traffic. You want to be able to see what might be coming at you.
  • Don’t be arrogant and think you own the road. Just because YOU happen to be running don’t believe that you have the right of way in all situations – YOU don’t.
  • Be aware of traffic – you can hear them or see their lights on the telephone wires a long time before you see a vehicle.
  • Visibility can the driver see you? Are you wearing bright colors that contrast with the surrounding area, is it dawn, dusk or night time while you are running? Are you carrying a light of some kind?
  • Be aware of the traffic coming up on you from behind (especially in a passing zone), a car might be passing another and take the piece of road you are running on. Remember to listen for traffic behind you as well as in front of you.
  • Know where you are and areas that could be dangerous for drivers (i.e. hills, corners, driveways, etc.). Be proactive in these areas for your own safety and don’t endanger others.
  • Road conditions and weather can make a difference in how drivers and you react while on the road.
  • If running with a group on a busy road go single file in areas with a lot of traffic or areas where sudden vehicle confrontations might happen without warning – danger zones. Don’t run 5 across and block the road.
  • If you are running with headphones on have the volume turned down. A better idea when running in these areas is not to wear your headphones or listen music.
  • BE PREPARED TO GET OFF THE ROAD and don’t be an asshat about sharing the road.

It also doesn’t hurt to wave a quick thank you to the vehicles that do act courteously and go out around you – as a simple courtesy. Who knows they might be more willing to give up some of the road to you or some other runner again next time, if they see us as being courteous to them?

Be proactive about your possible encounters with vehicles – if you notice a vehicle, tractor trailer or dump truck coming towards you and it isn’t moving over, don’t force the issue. Get off the damn road for your own safety. There maybe a vehicle that you can’t hear coming from the other direction.

The reality is that

Runners really need to think about where and what they are doing while running, especially where road shoulders or sidewalks are non-existent.

I don’t mean to sound like I am bashing runners, because I definitely am one and run on the roads a lot. At the same time runners need to be aware of situations that they sometimes put themselves and driver in, when they are running in traffic.

If we all look back honestly, it isn’t always the vehicle’s fault for all confrontations we have had with vehicles. What could you have have done differently, before the situation occurred. Would it have been easier to have stepped 3 feet into the dirt shoulder or ditch and then resumed your run, rather than forcing an unsafe condition to happen and reacting with the middle finger wave if you survived it? I think many times this could be the case.

I know I hate reading about runners being hit by cars and don’t want any of my fellow runners to become just another statistic.

The bottom-line is that in a car/runner everyone looses, but the runner is the one that will most likely end up in the hospital or morgue, when they are hit by a vehicle. It isn’t about who owns the road or who is right or wrong – is about

Keeping safe.


  • What do you think, have you encountered runners being inconsiderate when you are driving?

I know that most of us all have had bad encounters with vehicles, but looking with 20/20 hindsight have you ever contributed or created a dangerous situation while running? I have.

So if this post causes just one runner to stop and think about where they when they see a vehicle coming, I will be happy.