Week In Review 8-31-14

A good training week with a double-digit run, speed work and some faster sessions with Bennie made this week a really good training week. I had thought about doing a race in Augusta on Saturday, but Friday’s long run results let me know in no uncertain terms that racing was not on the agenda the next day.

Bennie and the Snake
Bennie and the Snake – my favorite photo from last week

I am noticing that I am not writing as many posts on my daily training, especially when they are just recovery days, where nothing special happens. They were just getting too routine and didn’t/don’t add any real value to the blog. So I imagine that I will continue that trend.

I did get a couple of 50 mile reviews out one pair that worked really well for me and another pair that didn’t work the way that I wanted.

Also I explained why I still bother to write reviews on close-out and older shoes that I get to run in, which you can read about here. But to sum it up quickly — I think I am like a lot of other runners who do not have big running shoe budgets and know that last year’s models work quite well for me and I am interested in how those shoes worked. So writing about older shoes is something I think other runners will be interested in, as well as the newer models.

Continue reading “Week In Review 8-31-14”

Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Road – 50 Mile Review

I have over 50 miles (actually over 70) on my new Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Road running shoes, which means – I get to write about them again.

N1 Road Mileage 8-29-14
N1 Road Mileage 8-29-14

Here were my initial impressions from my first run and why I chose to buy the N1 Roads.

While the N1 Roads are still one of Pearl Izumi’s flagship running shoes, they are getting long in the tooth, when it comes to the typical life cycle of running shoes.

Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads
Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads

In other words they are no longer the newest/greatest thing on the roads anymore. All the marketing hype/multiple blog reviews around them and their “new when first released” Dynamic Offset design has pretty much died away and like most of last year’s models are beginning to fade away or overlooked in the anticipation the newest and greatest versions from all the brands that will be coming out over the next 6 months.

What do I think of the Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads after 50 plus miles, without all the hype? Continue reading “Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Road – 50 Mile Review”

Long Run on a Perfect Day – RunLog 8-29-14

The Winds of Change came in yesterday!

Oh what relief it was. However, it is also a harbinger of things to come, so it was a mixed blessing.

So I will enjoy this kind of weather while it lasts!

What a gorgeous day for a long run, 72F degrees, bright sunshine and a breeze, best of all – low humidity.

I started out slowly, and while I thought about going for a 8:30 pace, I decided to just stay around 9:00’s. I haven’t run double-digits that much lately and am not sure of how well I was going to do, plus I was doing my first long run in the Pearl Izumi N1 Roads and wanted to make sure they were going to work well, before trying to go faster in them for this distance.

Strava Stats 8-29-14
Strava Stats 8-29-14

I did really well with my pacing until between miles 8 & 9, my left Achilles area really began to bother me, which shot down any thoughts of doing more the trail head. Continue reading “Long Run on a Perfect Day – RunLog 8-29-14”

4 – 6 – 4 Colby Track Workout – RunLog 8-26-14

For my primary run today, I went to Colby College’s track.

More because track/interval workouts are what I do on Tuesdays, than because I wanted to go run in 85F degree weather with bright sunshine on a track with no shade.

However, I also I know that running faster in the heat is one of my weaknesses, it always has been. Even though the summer is almost over, I am sure that we will have a few more days of hot weather running. If I want to run well in the heat, I need to run in the heat.

Also this type of running develops a certain amount of mental toughness. Especially, since I wasn’t really all that into doing track work today. I had planned to do 4 x 400m, 4 x 200m and 1 x 1.0 at sub 6:40 pace,  a fast mile at a sub 7:00 minute pace and between 4-8 100 yard pickup/sprints – depending upon how I was feeling at the end.

During my recent 5K races, I find that once I go past the 1.0 marker, I let my foot off the gas and start to slow down and then when I get to the 2.0 mile mark, I tend to slow a little more until I get to where I turned around during my 1.0 mile warm-up, where I begin to pick up my pace again.

I know that I need to work on faster pacing between miles 1.0 to 2.5

So what did I do?

  • 1.0 mile warm-up
  • 4 x 400m with 400m recovery between
  • 6 x 200m with 200m recovery between
  • 4 x 100 yards on the football field.
  • 1.0 mile cool-down

Continue reading “4 – 6 – 4 Colby Track Workout – RunLog 8-26-14”

Week In Review 8-24-14

Running with Bennie this week has been an adventure and 14.52 miles of running together, but we have had fun and he is making me much more consistent than I would be otherwise about my running. My run streak is up to 21 Days and I am not sure when it will end – probably when I get to feeling more tired.

Bennie pulling on the leash because he wanted to run faster
Bennie pulling on the leash because he wanted to run faster

For now, I am feeling pretty good and upbeat (well now that the race is over).

If you read my Run for the Fallen 5K recap, you will understand a little more about my struggles with race anxiety and how it affects my attempts to run in races outside of the local area. The bottom-line is that I made it to the starting line and finished the race with the best 5K time I have had this year :-).

Continue reading “Week In Review 8-24-14”

Tough Speed work Day – RunLog 8-18-14

Since I have a race coming up on Sunday, I changed up my normal routine and did my speedwork today, instead of Tuesday. So the body really wasn’t ready for or into this kind of effort on a Monday 😉 .

The first run was with Bennie down-back and then the second one was originally going to be a track workout at Colby, because I had errands to run up there.

Bennie’s Run

We started out really good as you can see below:

Strava - Bennie Run 8-18-14
Strava – Bennie Run 8-18-14

and had a nice steady pace until we got to the first hill and then just before 1.2 miles, Bennie caught a good scent or something and just stopped, I did everything I could to avoid running over him and making out with the road. I clipped him a little on the back leg and then dragged him a little ways, both of which got a couple of yelps out of him and had him looking at me what are doing that for kind of look. Continue reading “Tough Speed work Day – RunLog 8-18-14”

Week In Review 8-17-14

Isabelle
Isabelle

I have been busy this week, running more miles than I have in a while, reading a lot, writing a little more than usual, got a new pair of daily trainers, sent back my TomTom GPS watch and doing a lot of thinking about the book I got for my birthday Run Simple by Duncan Larkin and how I have incorporated (already) some of the suggestions in the book.

When I was first writing this post – I hadn’t decided if I want to do a complete book review or not, but my first, but not my last reading of this book has been a good thing, it is getting me to think about how I can simplify my running some more.

I was going to do a quick two paragraph review here, but it grew and grew, so I will end up writing a full book review on Run Simple, later this week :-). It is a good book and worth taking a look at, no I don’t agree with everything he says, but he did make me think about why I do some of the things I do and gave me some great tidbits that will help me focus my training even more.

On Friday, I was running into Augusta for my long run and suddenly a white Toyota pulls in front of me and TheWife says get in something is wrong with Isabelle (our 11 year cat). We rush her to the vet, she gets some shots, pills and although she is doing better, she is still not quite herself. So we are keeping an eye on how she is doing and spoiling her rotten.

Continue reading “Week In Review 8-17-14”

Why Pearl Izumi N1 Roads

My order from Sierra Trading Post came in last tonight, it contained just one item:

  • a pair of running shoes

What are you doing this time Harold?

IMG_20140816_084715_202

While I love my Skechers GoRun Ride 2’s and GoMeb2’s and consider myself a Skechers fanboy, unfortunately the last pair of my GRR2’s daily trainers are beginning to bother my right knee on long runs (after only 180 miles), which is my warning sign that a pair of running shoes are getting tired and it is time to start looking for another pair of shoes for my longer runs.

That was rather disappointing, because I was able to get over 400 miles on my last pair and could have gotten a lot more on my first ones (yes, I have run in 3 pair of GRR2’s). I had hoped the combination of my present GRR2’s, along with the shoes I have in the house, would let me make it until the new Skechers Performance line daily trainers come out in November.

Unfortunately it didn’t work out as I planned and while the other shoes I have in the closet, might have gotten me through to then. They each had a reason for being in the closet, instead of my present rotation, beyond my liking the GRR2’s more.

Since none of the current line of daily trainers in the Skechers Performance running shoes work for me due to my issues with a Tailor’s Bunionette on my right foot, I had to do a lot of research and it came down to:

  • Skechers GoRun Ride 2 – This was my first choice, unfortunately, the GRR2’s are getting hard to find in my size and even if they are new in the box, they are at least 2-3 years old.

Although I have heard different points of view on whether the foam actually breaks down or not over time, it does seem that when I get closed-out running shoes (those older models from the previous two or more years), that they do not last as long as the same as when the models first come out?  I am probably just imaging things, but that has been my experience.

So after looking around at what was available online, I decided to pass on this option, even though I came very close to just getting another pair of GRR2’s.

  • Saucony Kinvara 5 – I really wanted to try these on and looked around locally for a pair , but couldn’t find them??? I had a pair of the Kinvara 2’s which were too narrow and didn’t want to go through that again, even though I have heard the toe box is wider. Oh well, it would have been nice to have reviewed a current release instead of what I have done lately, end of the cycle or close-out running shoe reviews.
  • Mizuno Wave Sayonara 2 – Same thing as above and at $120 they were at the top of my price limit. I had the Elixir 7’s and Ronin 4’s and did well in those shoes, but I found out later that the one of the reasons I had problems with them was that I bought them a full size too small.
  • Newton Energy – I had good luck with the woman’s model, the only problem was that it was too narrow, but couldn’t find any locally to check the men’s width and yes, I could have gotten them on some pretty good close-out deals, but I remembered too many problems with Newton’s and my feet in the past, so I am leery about going back to Newtons.
  • Pearl Izumi N1 Roads – I had a good idea on how they would fit and the hype that these had last year was that they were a top of the line shoe (but were firm and not very flexible). They are no longer the newest or greatest thing in the running shoe marketing wars, so they have fallen off the radar for many runners or a least those of us who believe we “need” the newest and greatest shoes.

Why did I decide to go with the N1 Roads?

Honestly, I do not need any real excuse to get another pair of running shoes, since I admittedly have a running shoe problem and enjoy the process of getting new shoes – WAY TOO MUCH.

Could I have gotten by with the shoes in the closet until November – mmmmm probably.

This was more of a – I wanted some new running shoes and when you add in that TheWife had given me her tacit permission to get a pair when she gave me money for my birthday, expressly to buy some new running shoes, that money was “burning a hole in my pocket”.

1. I “needed”, well let’s be honest, I wanted  a pair of multi-purpose daily trainers that I can do a variety of workouts in and feel comfortable doing them. Yes, I have the Meb2’s and Green Silence for planned faster paced workouts, N2 Roads for long or recovery runs (slower runs), GRR2’s for medium length runs (4-6 miles) at a comfortably fast paces and PI Peak II / Go Bionic Trails for – yeah trails and running on the dirt road down-back with Bennie. If all else failed, I have a pair of Brooks Launch that work just fine, but for some reason, I always manage to run in something else.

Even with all the specialty shoes, I still like to have that “all-around” light-weight trainer that I  wear for the majority of my runs, so I can change a workout on the fly and not feel like the shoes I am wearing will hold me back or not give me enough protection.

The N1’s according to everything that I have read and experienced with my N1 Trails fit this description exactly. A pair of light-weight daily trainers that can do a little of everything.

2. I have put more miles in Pearl Izumi running shoes than I have any other brand of running shoes this year, so I was very familiar with the PI Brand and happy with how they worked for me compared to the Brooks, Newton and newer Skechers line-up that I have run in.

The bottom-line was that I ran well in them in spite of some issues I had (mostly the firmness, inflexibility and letting some grit/pebbles inside the shoes). The only shoes that I have liked better than my PI’s were the Skechers GRR2’s and that was because they had a more responsive, flexible and cushioned feel than the N2 Road’s.

Running Shoes through 8-16-14
Running Shoes through 8-16-14

3. I had a really GREAT experiences with the N1 Trails and the one issue (it was a fatal flaw – letting in too much grit/pebbles) I had with them, shouldn’t be an issue with the road model. Hell, at one point I even said that they were one of the best running shoes that I have ever run in.

4. Since my knee started bothering when running longer in the GRR2’s, I have run a lot more in the N2 Roads and it helped me “remember” they are very comfortable and have a smooth ride, even if they are a lot firmer and inflexible when compared to the GRR2’s. However, they are great for putting in miles, as long as I am not looking to pick up the pace too much.

5. When I discussed my issues with the N1 Trails, with the Pearl Izumi Outlet Store in Conway, NH, they listened to me and didn’t poo-poo what I was experiencing as “my problem”. I was very impressed with their commitment to customer service and wanting consumers to be happy with the Pearl Izumi products.

This commitment to customer service was a big deal to me and made it so when it was time for me to get another pair of running shoes, I looked a lot closer at getting Pearl Izumi again. If it hadn’t been for my experience at the outlet store, I probably would not have chosen the N1’s and would have bought either the Kinvara 5 or Sayonara 2.

So do not say that great customer service from a brand representative does not make an impression or influence a consumer’s future shoe purchases, because for me I know it does make a difference. I am very loyal to those brands who treat me well and shoe line(s) that work well for me.

6. I got the N1 Roads at a GREAT, FANTASTIC deal on them from Sierra Trading Post and yes cost can be a big reason for me to choose one pair of running shoes over the others, when all other things are pretty much equal.

While I looked closely at other running shoe options, when it came right down to it, I felt more comfortable getting the Pearl Izumi’s, so I did.

All I have done so far is take them out of the box, try them on and wear them around the house for a couple of minutes. They fit exactly like I expected them to and now I can’t wait to run in them, hopefully today –  if my legs coöperate.

I will write-up my initial impressions after my first run in them.