Week in Review – 12/29/13

I skipped my Week in Review last week, due to the Ice Storm and this week the weather and road conditions has continued to played havoc with getting runs in.

In other words running was not my priority this week.

Mother Nature making things interesting
Mother Nature making things interesting

Surprisingly, I did get over 20 miles in, even though I ran only 3 times. It was my lowest total since the week ending July 21st, but it gave my legs a chance to rest up and based on my run yesterday, they have more pop in them than they have had for a long time. Continue reading “Week in Review – 12/29/13”

Week in Review – 12/15/13

Looking down the driveway this morning 12-15-13
Looking down the driveway this morning 12-15-13

This week I decided to not run a marathon in 2014. You can read about my reasons here.

When you add in that my Achilles just doesn’t like long runs – still. It is getting better, but still not where I really want it and the base mileage module helped show me that.

Could I have run a marathon in 2014 – probably, but when I really thought it through, I really don’t want to do one right now and need some time away from having one on my plate.

I am still playing around with the McMillan base mileage module, but I am not sure how closely I will follow it through the end of the year, but it does give a framework to work within, instead of just winging it completely. I did make a change to go back to my running week being Monday to Sunday – it is how I have “always” tracked my mileage and when I went back in and changed week around in my spreadsheet, this is how it worked out: Continue reading “Week in Review – 12/15/13”

Week 4 of my Pre-Marathon Training Plan — 12-7-13

 

 

Selfie after 12-6-13 run
Selfie after 12-6-13 run

Week 4 of pre-marathon training is over, you know that building my base mileage thing that I am still doing.

How did it go?

The week had some really great stuff and a couple of disappointments.

Great Stuff

First I was able to cut-back my time/mileage and almost made my goal of being 10 miles less than last week. So I didn’t feel nearly as tired as I have been. I am learning that cut-back weeks are necessary and need to be a part of how I train, I have a feeling that a 10-15 mile weekly reduction is about right for me at this mileage as a cut-back.

Second – I haven’t lost all of my speed, I can still get under an 8:00 minute pace and feel like I have plenty to go faster if I wanted to. That is the beauty of running with the fast ones on during the CMS “nooner” group runs on Wednesday – I get a reality check about where I actually am in my progress. Also I did pretty damn good on my planned 10 miler yesterday.

No speed is not everything, but at the same time, every once in a while, even during a base mileage build-up it is nice to blow the pipes a little to see where you are. Continue reading “Week 4 of my Pre-Marathon Training Plan — 12-7-13”

Nike Free 4.0 v2 – After 50 Miles

Nike Free 4.0

What can I say – I ran 50 miles in the Nike Free 4.0 V2 this week!

Never in my running career have I run 50 miles the first week I have had a new pair of running shoes. Never.

That says a lot right there about these running shoes.

Here is the link to the Nike Free Run site.

Disclaimer: I purchased these shoes at Dick’s Sporting Goods on 5/21/12 with my own money.

Construction / Fit

The Nike Free 4.0 just fit me right. Continue reading “Nike Free 4.0 v2 – After 50 Miles”

Newton’s Getting A Rest and a Good 5.0 Miler

I have put away my Newton Gravity for at least a week to let my ankle heal. I really wasn’t expecting this, because I had over 60 miles on them with no problems. However, over the past week no matter what I have done to protect the rub spot, when I run over 3.0 miles in them, my right ankle is rubbed raw and I bleed on my sock. This has become very distracting to my running and is not something that I enjoy while running.

Hopefully, once my ankle heals up, the Gravity’s will not cause the problem anymore. If they do, it will mean that no matter how wonderful a shoe they are (and I do love them), that for some reason they are not the right shoe for my feet. It seems as though the ankle cut-out is too high for my foot and really rubs my right ankle.

In talking with Newton on Twitter, they gave me some suggestions and discussed my form, but the bottom line is that as of yesterday, the Gravity’s cause my right foot to be rubbed raw to the point it bleeds and it is uncomfortable to run in them. I will be trying them again – next Friday and hopefully I can report no issues and just run comfortably in my great Newton Gravity’s.

Yes, I could tough it out and rub some dirt on it, which I did for the past week and you know something no shoe is worth that to me. Time will tell on this one.

So how did my 5+ run go today? GREAT!  I ran in my old Nike Presto Faze (Bright Red) and you know something they worked like a dream. I didn’t push hard and stayed right around the 8:30 pace I was looking for and best of all – no bloody sock!

Surprisingly, I ran a fairly steady pace until mile 4-5 which has my favorite hills and the dirt road with all the ruts, so I usually take this pretty slow, but today, I only slowed down by 19 seconds, so I am very happy and the best part was that it was because I maintained my focus, not because of being tired :-).  I don’t know if the shoes made a difference or not, but it felt good to run again without any unnecessary pain or blood on my sock. So changing the shoes did make some difference and proved to me that it was the Newton’s and not something I was doing.

I have had the Presto Faze for 5-6 years and I really don’t know how many miles that I have on them, but I used them as my treadmill shoes for at least 3 years of winter indoor running, track workouts and running outside here and there. They don’t feel all that comfortable when I first put them on – the toes are a lot too tight and they certainly are not zero drop shoes, but once I start running – everything seems to fit into place the way they are supposed to and I just run in them. No laces to worry about, my feet don’t slide around and they are light enough to go fast if I want to.

Almost makes me really want to take a lot closer look at the new Nike Free 3.0 with the 4MM drop and I plan to if the Newton’s continue to aggravate my ankle after letting it heal.

Hey Nike do you need the Free 3.0 reviewed here on A Veteran Runnah, I would love to compare them to the old Nike Presto Faze and see what the differences are. DM me on Twitter if you are interested :-).

It will be interesting to see how these shoes do during my 5K race in Fairfield tomorrow morning. I really want to do well and push hard and would love to see a sub-23:00, so we shall see how close I am in my blog tomorrow. :-).

Good luck to everyone else who is racing this weekend and participating in the Twitter 5K.

Newton’s Getting A Rest & a Good 5.0 Miler

I have put away my Newton Gravity for at least a week to let my ankle heal. I really wasn’t expecting this, because I had over 60 miles on them with no problems. However, over the past week no matter what I have done to protect the rub spot, when I run over 3.0 miles in them, my right ankle is rubbed raw and I bleed on my sock. This has become very distracting to my running and is not something that I enjoy while running.

Hopefully, once my ankle heals up, the Gravity’s will not cause the problem anymore. If they do, it will mean that no matter how wonderful a shoe they are (and I do love them), that for some reason they are not the right shoe for my feet. It seems as though the ankle cut-out is too high for my foot and really rubs my right ankle.

In talking with Newton on Twitter, they gave me some suggestions and discussed my form, but the bottom line is that as of yesterday, the Gravity’s cause my right foot to be rubbed raw to the point it bleeds and it is uncomfortable to run in them. I will be trying them again – next Friday and hopefully I can report no issues and just run comfortably in my great Newton Gravity’s.

Yes, I could tough it out and rub some dirt on it, which I did for the past week and you know something no shoe is worth that to me. Time will tell on this one.

So how did my 5+ run go today? GREAT!  I ran in my old Nike Presto Faze (Bright Red) and you know something they worked like a dream. I didn’t push hard and stayed right around the 8:30 pace I was looking for and best of all – no bloody sock!

Surprisingly, I ran a fairly steady pace until mile 4-5 which has my favorite hills and the dirt road with all the ruts, so I usually take this pretty slow, but today, I only slowed down by 19 seconds, so I am very happy and the best part was that it was because I maintained my focus, not because of being tired :-).  I don’t know if the shoes made a difference or not, but it felt good to run again without any unnecessary pain or blood on my sock. So changing the shoes did make some difference and proved to me that it was the Newton’s and not something I was doing.

I have had the Presto Faze for 5-6 years and I really don’t know how many miles that I have on them, but I used them as my treadmill shoes for at least 3 years of winter indoor running, track workouts and running outside here and there. They don’t feel all that comfortable when I first put them on – the toes are a lot too tight and they certainly are not zero drop shoes, but once I start running – everything seems to fit into place the way they are supposed to and I just run in them. No laces to worry about, my feet don’t slide around and they are light enough to go fast if I want to.

Almost makes me really want to take a lot closer look at the new Nike Free 3.0 with the 4MM drop and I plan to if the Newton’s continue to aggravate my ankle after letting it heal.

Hey Nike do you need the Free 3.0 reviewed here on A Veteran Runnah, I would love to compare them to the old Nike Presto Faze and see what the differences are. DM me on Twitter if you are interested :-).

It will be interesting to see how these shoes do during my 5K race in Fairfield tomorrow morning. I really want to do well and push hard and would love to see a sub-23:00, so we shall see how close I am in my blog tomorrow. :-).

Good luck to everyone else who is racing this weekend and participating in the Twitter 5K.

Running Shoes – Time to Rewind and Start Over

Sometimes you just have to say I was wrong and start over. That is basically what I am doing with my running shoe choices over the past couple of weeks. The ones that I have purchased have not performed as I expected and instead of attempting to make do, I have decided to return them both and start this process over.

New Balance Minimus Trail 20

The New Balance Minimus Trail 20s shoes are not going to work for me. I have tried to transition to them, but when I run in them for any distance since the second day – they are continuing to re-aggravate my left calf strain, so it is time to move on.

Could I eventually run in these shoes – I really don’t know if I can or not, all I know is that running in them now is not happening. So I will find out about running in the next step down or two down the minimalist ladder later – not now. Now it is more important to keep developing my base than it is to experiment, so I decided to return MT20s.

I called New Balance Customer Service and talked with them about what had happened and how I couldn’t run in the shoes. The Customer Service Rep was fantastic and I had an email from New Balance authorizing return of the MT20s before I got  off the phone with them.  It is a pain to have to mail them back and then wait for a credit from the New Balance Store, but it is the right thing for me to do. When I do get the credit, I will probably get the MT110’s which have the 4MM drop and are trail shoes.

Asics Blur 33

The Asics Blur 33 just are not working for me. During my runs in them over the last 2 days, I have had to fight to keep my form or maintain a good pace. I haven’t ever had a pair of shoes that I have had to fight so hard to run comfortably in. They are well-built and fast shoes, but they want me to run one way (heel first) and I want to run a different way (mid-foot strike). Yesterday, towards the end of my 4.0 mile run my feet started to feel uncomfortable in the forefoot.  So last night I did some modifications, changing out the insoles to thinner ones and longer shoelaces (to replace the too short Asics laces), to make Blurs more comfortable for me.

I walked in them this morning to see if they were any more comfortable and they just did not feel right, ankles were now rubbing wrong, since they were deeper in the shoe (it is amazing the difference a few MM make, but it does make a difference.  During the walk I realized, that I was trying to make these shoes fit and feel more like my Saucony Peregrines.  When I realized this, I decided that I was going to return the Blur 33s. If I have to make a lot of changes to a shoe to run it, then there is a problem between how the shoe works for me and my needs.

I called Dick’s Sporting Goods to make sure that I could return the shoes to the Augusta store, even though I had bought them at the Topsham store. I told no problem, as long as I had the receipt – which I did.  I got there this afternoon and everything went like clock-work. There were no hassles with the exchange. I looked around a bit, but pretty much knew that I needed to try on the Saucony Kinvara. It was on my top 5 list and the only reason I had avoided them was because of the problems with the left heel wear I have experience with their shoes lately.

Saucony Kinvara

When I tried the Kinvara on, I knew that I didn’t have to look any further. They just fit me right. The way that I want and expect a shoe to fit me.

This is one of the things that I love about Saucony shoes is the way that they fit me. I looked very carefully at the Kinvara’s heel design and it is much different design than the Peregrine or other Saucony shoes I have run in, so hopefully this design difference will be the solution to my issue with Saucony shoes.

I walked around in the Kinvara for a minute, looked briefly at the Adidas Adi-Zero and Nike Free shoes again –  then walked back over, took them off, put the Kinvara in the box, told the salesperson thank you and walked up front, to finish the exchange process. It didn’t hurt that they were on clearance and I had a $10 off coupon for the shoes either. The staff at Dick’s were extremely helpful, I was very pleased with the customer service and appreciated the ease I was able to return something.

The reality is that

1. I wish that Augusta area had a better selection of running shoes to pick from or a running specialty shop in the area. Oh well, we don’t so that is why so many people in the area rely on ordering their shoes online, taking what is available is or traveling to Portland or beyond to find their running shoes.

2. I should have looked at the Saucony Kinvara the first time I went shoe shopping. They are a different shoe than the Peregrine (even though people have made them out to be sister shoes – yes they are from the same family but are definitely different – far beyond just being road or trail shoes).

I originally didn’t give them the chance, because I thought only difference was that the sole was designed for the road. Instead they are a different design, that share a 4MM drop and are in the minimalist shoe category – big difference. I made a mistake and I am owning up to it now. Lesson learned try on and look at the shoes, don’t go by what other people have written.

3. However, if I hadn’t gone through all of this searching, trying and buying, I wouldn’t have had the experience with a more minimalist shoe or how it would feel to run in a “regular” running shoe after running in the Peregrines since November. It was a good learning experience, that I will put to good use when I am buying my next pair of running shoes in 6-8 months (hopefully).

4. I won’t go back to running in high-heeled running shoes.

5. I found out that I am not ready for the more minimalist shoes at this time.

I have heard many on the Internet say that the zero to 4MM drop shoes do not make a lot of difference in how you run. That might be – but all I know is that it is easier for me to keep good form in minimalist shoes, than others I have run in.

I like something in the zero to 4MM drop running shoe with a stack height under 25MM, with some cushioning to help me when my new form deteriorates, when I get tired.  This is probably where I will be on the minimalist ladder for a while and you know it is isn’t such a bad place to be.

Let’s see how my new Saucony Kinvara running shoes do – I just have a feeling that they will do just fine 🙂

Here is my first run report about the Saucony Kinvara’s

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 :-).

Possible Running Shoes – List Narrowed Down

Last week I talked about starting the process to research which running shoes I should get for my next pair – probably sometime in March, but sooner if my Peregrines start to really bother my heel.

The big reason for the research is to narrow down the shoes from everything that is available to about 20 or so, that I would want to look at more closely to see how they match my running needs.

Background and Requirements

My running information and requirements for my new shoes are:

  • I am currently running 25+ miles a week and would like to be running 40+ miles a week by the end of the summer. I do like to run faster (even though I am still pretty slow now) and my goal this summer is to run a sub 20:00 5K and possibly run in a 1/2 marathon (we will see how this goes).
  • During the past two months I have worked hard to change my running form back to being a forefoot runner, to help reduce the impact and stress to my knees. I have had great success with the Peregrine’s 4MM drop (no injuries) and would like to stay with a zero to 4 MM drop in my new shoes. This seems style to be working a lot better than other shoes have for me. I like the lower heel height.
  • I do have shoes that I can wear for racing or track interval workouts, but not an extra pair of shoes that are in good enough shape to wear as an alternate daily trainer. I have some older shoes that I could wear occasionally if my new ones need to dry out or something, but I wouldn’t put them into a regular shoe rotation.
  • I live in the country, so I do a lot of running on both tar and dirt roads.
  • During the spring, summer and into late fall, I will be running non-technical trails 1-2 times a week. Initially I might be able to still use the Peregrines, until they really start to bother my heel.
  • Luckily winter will be mostly over by the time I get these shoes and I won’t have to worry so much about snow and ice during most of this shoe’s running life.
  • No treadmill running, strictly outdoor running.
  • Whatever shoe I buy, probably will be a hybrid running shoe style, to do everything that I will ask of it. Since it will be the shoe that I will wear running 90% of the time.

Narrowed the Choices Down

I have narrowed the shoes down to certain companies and the shoes that I would like to learn more about over the next few weeks:

  • Adidas – Original Blue Marathon Trainer with Dillinger Web – A guy can dream can’t he. 😉
  • Altra – Instinct or Lone Peak – These are still a new shoe company.  However, their presence and engagement on Twitter has been a very good selling point (I have talked with their rep more than a couple of times and they have been very helpful) and many of the reviews I have read have nothing but positives to say about them
  • Brooks – the shoes in their Pure Project series – I have heard a lot of very good reviews about these shoes, but that they are supposedly a little narrow for some people
  • Merrell – Trail Glove, Road Glove
  • Mizuno – Wave Universe, Ronin
  • New Balance – MT101 or 110
  • Newton – Newton Momentum Trail Guidance Trainer – The price scares me on the Newtons, they may be a nice shoe, but very pricey. However, I really like the idea of a shoe that actively promotes forefoot running.
  • Nike – Free – I have run in a lot of Nike shoes and always look at them before I buy something.
  • Saucony – Peregrine, Kinvara, Hattori  – I have had good luck with Saucony, until they get about 200-250 miles on them and then my left heel wears a hole in the back of the shoe, which eventually causes blisters on that foot. Can’t figure out why it happens, but it only seems to be with Saucony shoes? My Peregrines which I love, made it to almost 260 miles before the hole got noticeable, but haven’t started any blister action yet.
  • Vibram  – I really want to try the VFF, but am concerned about the amount of time it might take me to get acclimated to the shoe and if I decide to do longer distances, would it have enough support/cushioning for me to be successful. To be honest – I am rather scared to pull the trigger on this one and not have any other shoes to run in, if they don’t work for me.

Narrowing down the number of shoes that are out there to the ones above wasn’t easy, but I tried to stay with more minimal shoes that will promote a forefoot strike, have a lower heel height and had good reviews from other bloggers.

The Reality is that

I do think that it is important to do your own research on running shoes, because you are going to be spending a lot of money, time and putting many miles on your new running shoes, you need to be fairly knowledgeable about the choices that are out there for you. It is great to go to a specialty running store and have an “expert” help you choose a shoe that meets your needs, but in the end it is you that is going to be running in the shoe, not them.

Your Choice

Like the salesperson will tell you, which shoes you finally chose will be your choice not the salesperson’s. Personally I would prefer to have it be a fairly knowledgeable choice, instead of a momentary whim on which of three shoe models feels best and that were brought out by someone who has known me for 5-10 minutes.

Questions for Readers

  • Are there any shoes that I “have” to look at besides the ones I have listed above? Please let me know which one and why you recommend that shoe.
  • Do you have any first hand experience with these shoes, what was it? If I have talked with you about shoes before, you don’t have to repeat yourself again :-).

Finally

I know to buy some of these shoes it will either be done online (which I am hesitant to do if it is a shoe I haven’t tried on – I like to know how it feels on my feet before I buy it)  or I will have to go down to Portland to the Maine Running Company, which is okay – I like going to their store and then running Back Cove in my new shoes :-). Win-Win.

No I am not looking for a free handout or anything else, I just want some good, no great information on these shoes, that I am researching, hopefully information beyond the marketing hype on the websites and more to the point why I should be running in them and how they fit my running requirements/needs.