September is here and that means better weather for running is on its way. Well on its way, does not mean that it is here yet — today was 86F and over 60% humidity, so it still has some cooling to do 😉 .
I waffled from thinking about taking a day off, to doing a chase me run towards Waterville, instead, I did an easy Bennie Run and then TheWife said she was going into Kohl’s in Augusta.
She asked if I wanted to run to Augusta and even though it was warmish and muggy, I decided “a what the heck” and said sure.
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.
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 :-).
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.
Okay – Dokay, another first run in a pair of shoes, I think this is about the 12th or 13th time this year that this has happened, so it is not anything, new, strange or overly exciting – or is it?
Nope – just another first run in a new pair of running shoes ;-).
For the 4th time this year it has been a new pair of Pearl Izumi’s, only this time it was the:
Yeah I know these are “old” news running shoes. They were great last year, but now that the brands have all released new models this year – who cares.
Supposedly with all the new releases by all the other brands so far this year, they have left Pearl Izumi way behind, because PI has chosen to have a 2 year release cycle.
Which made it seem as though one of their flagship shoes, the N1 Roads are no longer relevant.
Which is wrong.
Personally, I am in favor of a longer release cycle. It gives runners who might be completely happy with a style/model of running shoes an extra year in that shoe, instead of worrying if the “update” will screw-up their favorite shoes that they have searched so long for.
Which has happened all too often to me in the past.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Today’s long run was cut short, when TheWife pulled in front of me like something out of “Cops”. She told me I had to get in and we had to get home, because something had happened to our 11 year-old cat Isabelle.
We hurried home, she didn’t look good, couldn’t move her back legs, was drooling all over the place and her eyes were just not right. We hurried her to the vet down in Gardiner (yes, we called ahead).
They were fantastic, still not sure what happened, but after a few shots and some antibiotics – Isabelle seems to be doing a lot better.
Our critters are part of our family and when something is happening to one of them, we worry and try to get them taken care of. So we were relieved when we got home and she is doing a lot better.
Wow that was a pretty good storm on Wednesday night/Thursday early morning. Bennie and Joey, both cuddled in against me so much that I couldn’t move 🙂 , which meant that I didn’t get much sleep until the storm passed by.
During the first run with Bennie, it was still sprinkling a little, so it was still pretty humid and even though the temps were okay, I worked up a good sweat.
We started out slow but as you can see…
Bennie really wasn’t into slow running again today, so we picked up the pace and then went into our usual “strides” pacing or car chasing mode, when a couple went by.
I did practice speeding up going into and coming out of a turn-around, instead of slowing down and then just plodding after coming out of it. Looking back at what I have done on my turn-arounds in training – I have been lazy with them and since my next 5K is an out and back, I need to practice going hard into it and then immediately getting back up to race pace, instead of just plodding out of it.
Also something that I picked up when I was reading Running Simply, is to practice finishing hard on a hill. Which makes perfect sense to me, to challenge myself to push harder at the end of a training run and finishing runs at the top of a hill, instead of the before the hill, will help me more in the long run.
The rain had stopped, the humidity went up to about 80% and even though it was only 75F degrees, it was pretty miserable for running. It turned into a great 5.0 mile progression run, I started faster and went slower every mile 🙂 .
The humidity just wore me out.
I felt good, but at the same time I didn’t want to push too hard in that humidity, especially with a long run planned for Friday. So I just ran according to effort, when the effort got harder going up the hills, I slowed down, instead of pushing myself up the multiple hills on this course.
It wasn’t a great run, but I got the miles in that I wanted for today and I had to chuckle, when I saw the weekly mileage total of 26.2. Kind of funny, especially since I do not plan on running that distance until the fall of 2017, when I get into a new age group 🙂 .
The tale of two runs, one was fun and the other a struggle.
I had to deal with TomTom’s customer service this morning, while the person was attempting to be helpful, but when they are reading canned replies to my issues, it just made the call frustrating, especially when it was over and I didn’t get what I wanted. So when they sent their more information email, I responded with more information and due to the nature of the difficulties I am having with my TomTom Runner GPS watch, I requested a replacement, versus their planned sending parts and pieces out to me.
No acknowledgement of my request or even acknowledgement of my response to their email or my request to see if they got my email. Oh well, we will see what happens, but not really all that impressed this morning and I have dwelt on it most of the day – oh well.
Just one of those runner’s problems 🙂 .
I am glad that I didn’t get rid of my Garmin Forerunner 10, I hate having to use a phone app, but if I had to I would make it work. Fortunately, I just had to charge the FR10, update the software and it works like a champ. Getting GPS signal is a lot faster than when I stopped using it in February, which was my biggest issue with it. So far it has been rock solid, but it doesn’t have some of the capabilities that I like about my TomTom watch, so I want to get it back and working as soon as possible.
So by the time Bennie and I headed out the door, I was fairly frustrated and needed a good run!
We ended up doing a few strides, nothing super fast or long, but it got our blood going and then when we got down to Bartlett, the people down there had let their beagle run loose and it decided it was going to come after us. We picked the pace up for a bit, Bandit is an older dog, so he is not into running fast or long anymore. He stopped running after about 20 yards and bayed at us, “saying you better not come back around these parts.”
When Bennie heard Bandit baying, he wanted to go get him, but he also wanted to run fast with me, so it was a bit of a struggle to get him to keep going down the road after we slowed down. Finally, Bandit quit baying, he got going again after the hill.
We did pick the pace up from Blake to the Lower Gate a bit. Even with Bandit interrupting our run a little, we still maintained a nice pace, in the Peak II’s.
I had a few errands to do in Waterville and I really didn’t feel like doing another out and back at home and didn’t want to do a bunch of hills in the heat. So after I got done the errands, I went over to the Alfond Youth Center and did the mostly flat course, of course by now it was noon and it was hot. The AYC sign said 87F, which is a bit warm to run too fast, so my plans changed from doing a tempo run, to just running easy.
The first couple o f miles were pretty good, then over on First Rangeway, it might not seem it in a car, but when running it is almost all uphill over to KMD. I did okay on Silver St. but I was getting hot and didn’t feel like pushing the pace in those temps. At this point, it was all about doing the miles and getting back to the truck. That little cross-over street with the little hill at the end – kicked my butt, and then I just ran enough to get 6.0 miles and stopped.
I ran in the PI N2 Roads and again they did just fine.
I was happy with the run and glad that I changed my goals for the run when I saw the temps, there is no sense in trying to hurt myself when it is that close to 90 degrees and 65% humidity.
Overall, a couple of very different runs, but both were necessary parts of my training. Getting in a little distance run and some speed work in earlier made me feel more confident about my running.
I should be, I am trying to get used to being back at 40 miles a week again and part of this is running with Bennie, so many days I am running twice a day. Which can be tough, but as I get back to running regularly again, it will be a good thing.
Thank you everyone who wished me a happy birthday this week and I am enjoying the additions to my running gear and books. I got a couple of books on Saturday morning and the one that I wanted to read the most was one of them.
Meb’s Run to Overcome.
I started reading at lunch and by 10:00 P.M., I had finished it. It gave me a little more insight to the man, that I had a grip and grin with last Sunday. He shows that it is okay to be driven to succeed, but at the same time you don’t have to be an asshat to do it.
Yep, I got back into double-digits again and no – to be honest it wasn’t easy.
I was playing mind games the first 5.0 miles or so, just to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
There were all of those doubts about whether the old bod was ready for this little jaunt or not and even if I had enough time to get to TheWife’s work before 4:00, when she would be leaving.
You know, wondering if my foot was going to start bothering me after 6-7 miles, how would the hamstring hold together, when would my achilles begin to whine about all the abuse, how would the PI N2 Roads do after not running in them since April and finally how fast could I run it (not that it really mattered, but I still wanted to do a decent pace).
However, one thing I overlooked when I started out was that it was 81F and by the time I got down to the Skowhegan Savings Bank at 3:01 P.M. it was 86F freaking degrees. The frigging temp kept going up, instead of that usual decline after 2:00 and NONE of those showers they were predicting even got close. Based on the forecast, the lower humidity and the usual way the temps work around here in the afternoon, I figured that I didn’t need to bring water with me.