Saucony Kinvara 2 – After 50 Miles

I now have 55.7 miles on my Saucony Kinvara 2s and I like to do a follow-up review of new shoes after 50 miles. So it is that time.

The newness has worn off and I have had time to notice the little things about a my Kinvara 2s that I didn’t, when I started to wear them

These are not leading edge shoes and have been around for a while (in shoe terms) and have been reviewed too many times for me to go into any great technical detail. My review will focus on how the K2s are working for me.

I have run in the K2s 12 times with long runs of 8 and 9 miles. How have they done?

Honestly, I like running in them so far. The K2s are a fast, light shoe that allows me to run the way I want to run.

Fit

They are mostly comfortable – I have a minor issue with the right pinkie feeling slightly too snug against the side of the shoe, but no blisters have formed there and after I start running, the snugness doesn’t seem to bother too much. Other than that minor snugness, the shoes fit very well and my feet don’t slide around inside of the shoe and there are no other hot spots, even after my long runs. When the Kinvara 3s come out, if I decide to stay with the Kinvara line – I might try on the wider edition, we will see how it goes and what I think of them in a few months.

Performance

On the road and in dry dirt the shoes have done very well and I like the amount of protection they offer, while only having a small amount of drop and being so light. Whether I am going faster or slower the Kinvara 2 feel very comfortable for me to run in.

The couple of times that down-back got a little muddy, the tread design wasn’t that great for muddy conditions and I slipped and slid around more than I would want, along with my feet getting pretty wet. These are definitely not mudder shoes.

I purposely ran out in today’s snow storm to see how they would do in snow – not as bad as some I have run in, but not all that great either, I was slipping a lot more than I did in my Peregrines. In my opinion as a winter shoe, they are not really all that good. I wouldn’t want these shoes to be my primary trail or winter shoes. Yes they you could run in them in those conditions and they would work on non-technical easy trails or some snow, like most other road shoes do.

This does mean that I need a second pair running shoes that have better traction and don’t allow your feet to get as wet or feel the cold  quite so much. In other words a pair of trail shoes, which are enroute.

The good news is that the snow run helped clean off some of the crud that had accumulated on these shoes :-).

Wear

There were a lot of reviews I read before getting the K2s, that discussed how the sole wears too quickly and how the uppers would last. To be honest, they look about like any other of my shoes after 50 miles, a little wear on the soles and the uppers are in still in great shape, just a little dirtier/stained than when I got them. I am not easy on shoes, by any stretch of the imagination and the Kinvara 2s have held up nicely for me.

Cons

The biggest thing that I don’t like about the Kinvara 2s that I have, is that they are mostly white. I am definitely not a White shoe type of runner, I run in mud, dirt, snow, slush and other stuff that just doesn’t do well with white shoes. It is what it is, and white/blue are what was available for colors in the Kinvara 2 when I got them, but white shows the crap that I generally go through way toooooo much.

The reality is that

If that is the biggest complaint I have about a pair of shoes (the color), then they must be doing fine. 😉

The Kinvara 2s are now being closed-out to make way for the Kinvara 3’s that are coming out later this spring, so you can definitely get some great deals on this shoe. Who knows, if I can get a great deal on another pair, I might just buy them and put them in the closet for when these wear out.

Yep – so far I like them – a lot.

FTC DISCLAIMER: I bought these shoes with my own money and no one has compensated me to write this review. The thoughts and words are my own.

Colder and Windier than it Looked – 2/20/12

It looked a whole lot nicer from inside the window, than it did when I got outside. It was bright sunshine and what looked like a nice breeze to dry the ground a little. However, when I got down to the road it was mid 30’s with a 10-15 mph wind straight out of the north – i.e. cold. But I was supposed to do an easy 3.0 and work on cadence up on top, so the weather wasn’t a big deal, the roads were all clear, I just had to run against the wind 4 times :-).

My GPS App took almost 200 yards to pick up a signal, I wonder if that has a lot to do with the major difference in distance at what was a 3.1 the other day, being 2.88 today, I added the extra on at the end to have 3.0.

The cadence part started out really well, I was following the beat of the metronome, until my App announced the 1.0 mile mark and stopped the metronome and didn’t tell me anymore splits. So I am pretty happy with my cadence that I maintained it fairly close to 90 without a metronome – making progress.

The run was easy and I felt good after yesterday’s 6.0 miles. The Saucony Kinvara are breaking in nicely and feeling more comfortable every time I wear them.  I guess I can put my shoe pocket on them now :-).

On my cool-down 1/2 mile walk, I stopped and talked with a neighbor, who told me that their Chow was attacked by Coyotes in January and had been injured so badly that they had to put her down. Pretty sobering thoughts, especially for my 6:30 P.M. Bennie walks in the dark, really thinking about some anti-critter spray now. Probably will get some at the local hunting store this week.

AVR – Week in Review 2-19-12

I took 3 days off last week and Monday off too, while attempting to be smarter about letting an injury heal. I tried to slowly come back to running, but it has also been a week of trying to find the “right” shoe, seeing how the shoes performed at different speeds and how they felt and made me feel while running in them.

I believe that I have finally found one that will work for me, especially after today’s 6.0 miler – no problems at all.  The Saucony Kinvara, they are definitely the most comfortable shoe and easiest for me to run of all the ones that I have tried on or brought home in a long time.

I was able to run through down-back again, now that the ice levels have melted back to dirt or should I say mud, so I can run some longer courses without so many hills or as much traffic – I just have to deal with the mud in places i.e. go slower :-). The past week weather-wise was very good, but I can’t believe that Winter is going to just fade away, I have a feeling that we still have to get through at least 2-3 more bad storms. So we will see on that, but even so, it really is only about a month to better weather.

Running Summary This Week

RunLog Week of 2/19/12
For a with Nothing Planned, I did really well! I wore 4 different shoes this week and finally found a pair that I can run in as my primary running shoes. Thank you Saucony.

Three things Running

  1. Running AgainAfter taking 4 days off to let the calf, get semi-back to normal, I started running again on Tuesday, but only a mile. Then the rest of the week was 3-4 milers as I tried to get used to a few different shoes. The calf didn’t bother very much, unless I ran too fast or tried to put too much lean into my form. It is not 100% and probably won’t be for a while, but at least I can run with it now. I actually did something right, by taking those days off and giving the leg a chance to heal a little more. My long run was today – a 6.0 miler felt good and I could have gone further.
  2. New Running Shoes – againActually 2 different pair, I raided the cookie jar on Thursday and went to Brunswick to buy a new pair of shoes at the Maine Running Company, unfortunately, they didn’t have what I was looking for and I went to Dick’s and bought the Asics Gel Blur 33. I had them two days and decided that I had made a mistake, returned them and got the shoe I should have gotten the first time around the Saucony Kinvara. They were on my Top 5 list and met all of my pre-requisites, but I had ben leery because of the left heel wear pattern in earlier Sauconys that led to blisters. These have a different design for the heel cup and I am a lot more confident that they will be fine.
  3. Valentine’s Day = eating differently than normal.We decided to treat ourselves to a decadent meal of Cheeseburgers, Store french fries, a drink and then homemade (scratch) cake. I couldn’t eat that way very often any more, I just felt heavy for a couple of days. Also, that piece of cake turned in 5 over the course of the next few days, I couldn’t just let it sit there and rot – could I? Nope I didn’t ;-). So here is getting back to regular eating this week and hopefully start moving that weight down the scale again.
  4. This week in a word:
    Reality

Blog Posts

Below are my posts from last week:

  1. Tommie Copper – Is Working
  2. My Transition Plan to Minimalist Running Shoes
  3. Calf is Not Ready for Prime Time Yet 2-13-12
  4. TheWife and Valentine’s Day
  5. Happy Days Are Here Again – 1.0 Mile Done 2-14-12
  6. Running Injuries – Go Slow Grasshopper
  7. Wordless Wednesday 2/15/12
  8. Things Are Getting Better – 2-15-12
  9. Raiding the “Cookie Jar” – New Running Shoes Again
  10. First Run in Asics Gel Blur 33 – 2/16/12
  11. Warm Weather Running in February – Nice!
  12. My Very Tentative Race Schedule for 2012
  13. Running Shoes – Time to Rewind and Start Over
  14. First Run – in My Saucony Kinvaras 2
  15. WOW – I am Impressed with the Saucony Kinvara – 2/19/12

Top 5

Here are my top five posts for the past week based on pageviews:
  1. My Transition Plan to Minimalist Running Shoes
  2. My Very Tentative Race Schedule for 2012
  3. Running Shoes – Time to Rewind and Start Over
  4. Running Injuries – Go Slow Grasshopper
  5. Narrowed the Choices Down to 5 Running Shoes

My Favorite post from last week

TheWife and Valentine’s Day, where I introduce you to TheWife and what she means to me.

Bonus pick was Running Injuries – Go Slow Grasshopper where I talk about being patient and going slow when returning or recovering from an injury.

Weight

I have bounced between 164-166 all week – so I am on a plateau for the week, but I also had to eat a lot of a homemade Valentine’s Day cake that was left-over. You know that “force me” to eat it, so it doesn’t go to waste syndrome :-). Besides homemade from scratch is good for you – right?

Injuries

I purposely didn’t run Monday and on Tuesday only ran a mile to see how the calf would respond and it did well. As long as I don’t go to fast or lean forward too much, it is okay. However, my left calf strain wasn’t really getting any better and it seemed like when I attempted to run or walk in my New Balance Minimus Trail 20s that would re-aggravate the injury. So they are being returned and I won’t be tempted to walk or run in them anymore – hopefully that allows the calf to start healing better. The knee continues to get better and my back feels fine, so things are getting back on track again.

Running Shoes

Peregrines

I am almost up to 300 miles on my Saucony Peregrines before I wore a hole in the heel and they started to give me a blister on my left foot. They are now retired and put on the give-away pile, so that I am not tempted to get that last bit of mileage out of them. The did well by me for the entire winter, but the left heel blister at the end meant that it was time for them to go. It is too bad that happened, because they were a great shoe until that happened – oh well – way things work sometimes.

MT20

Of all the shoes that I could try-on in the local area, the MT20s were the most comfortable. Unfortunately, these are being returned to New Balance on Monday, they were just too far down the minimalist ladder for my left calf now. It was getting so that I couldn’t run or walk in them without re-aggravating the calf strain, so instead of putting them in the closet to gather dust or tempt me to justify the money and to keep using them, I am sending them back to get a different pair of New Balance shoes – I need a pair of trail shoes so I will be looking pretty closely at the MT110s. We will see on this one.

That also means my transition to a more minimalist shoe is over for now.

Ascis Blur 33

Let’s just say after 2 days of fighting to maintain proper form in the Blur, I gave up and returned them. Nice shoe, but just didn’t work for me.

Saucony Kinvara

I was hesitant about trying these shoes initially, because of the wear/blister issues with my last several pair of Sauconys, but after looking at the Kinvara and seeing that the heel cup was designed differently I decided to try them on. As soon as I did, I knew they were coming home with me. They just felt right.

I ran in them yesterday and they felt great and then today when I ran a 6.0 miler, they were fantastic. Hopefully, my shoe problems are behind me and my biggest concern will become how many miles do I want to do today 🙂

Racing Schedule

I started a Google Calendar – Running In Maine 2012 with a lot of the dates of races in Maine during 2012, I know that the calendar doesn’t have all the races on it, but I was able to put together my very tentative race schedule.

I have it sort of narrowed down to the races listed below

Date Name of Race Location
3/4/2012 Chamberlain 5k Brewer
4/7/2012 Fly Like An Eagle 5k China
4/14/2012 Rocky’s 4 Miler Augusta
5/5/2012 Woodfords Family Services 2nd Annual
5K Fun Run/Walk for Autism
Waterville
5/26/2012 Pineland Fams Trail Running 5k New Gloucester
6/24/2012 Rail Trail 5K & 1/2 Marathon Augusta
7/4/2012 Friends of the Fourth Winthrop
7/15/2012 Bradbury Mountain 6 Miler Pownal
8/5/2012 Bradbury Mountain 9 Miler Pownal
8/11/2012 Topsham Fair 5k Topsham
9/9/2012 Bradbury Mountain 12 Pownal
11/10/2012 Maine-ly Moose 5k Portland

As we go through the season, I have a feeling that some of these races will change, but at least I have an idea of what I would like to run.

Running Goals

This section shouldn’t change too much from week to week, but I want to keep them right in front of me so that I don’t forget what my goals are

This year my big goals are to run 1,200 miles, run a sub 20:00 5K and get through 2012 without any significant down time or injuries (running related or others).  My unadvertised goals from the start of the year are to be able to finish a half-marathon (notice I said finish not race) and run a few trail races when the weather gets better.

My long-term goal will be to run the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon. I finished the 1983 Marathon and to run/finish Marine Corps again 30 years later would be very cool. This is one of the major goals that I have in mind for my running and it would be even more fantastic if I could qualify for Boston that same day. Therefore, I am doing a 2 year work-up to the Marathon distance, just to see if my knee will hold up.

The reality is that

I am glad that I tried on the Kinvaras and shouldn’t have to be looking around to figure out which shoe I am going to run in. I was getting tired and frustrated of the search and the limited shoe selection in my area (at least the ones I wanted to try).

I didn’t get to try on 4 out of 5 of the running shoes on my top 5 list, because they are just not available around here and I am hesitant to buy shoes online without having a least tried how they fit. Just think in 6 months or so, I will have to go through this same exercise all over again, but that is just a part of running.

Thank You again for your support and reading posts from “A Veteran Runnah”.

WOW – I am Impressed with the Saucony Kinvara – 2/19/12

This is Day #2 in my Saucony Kinvara running shoes and I ran 6.0 miles in them with no shoe problems!!!!! I haven’t that far in a pair of shoes so soon, since I had a pair of Saucony Dixon back in the early 80’s – so call me impressed!

I did an out and back loop with the idea of going between 6 and 10, but that if my calf bothered or the shoes me at any time, I would simply turn around. I decided that 6 was enough and didn’t want to take any chances on how the calf would feel on a longer run. It felt good when I finished and did my cool down 1/2 mile walk, so I think I made the right choice.

The shoes felt great and I love them so far.

The Problems

The problems that I had were not related at all to my shoes, it was related to lose dogs, mud and hills.

I came across one dog that wanted to see what I tasted like until I turned around used “the voice” telling it to get home and charged it. It was a smaller mutt, so it turned tail and looked for easier prey. The second dog was with a horse and a local who was giving horseback riding lessons on the old mud road and just happened to have her Golden Retriever mix running loose, with her.

I had to ask her to hold the dog while I went by (yes I got the evil glare) and when I returned (damn out and back) she grabbed the dog and glared at me again. Hey lady, I have a right to run on the roads, as much as you have a right to lead your horse around, but you don’t have the right to not have your dog leashed – there is a leash law in town. Deal with it!

I have had problems with this person before and was bitten by one of her dogs while walking with TheWife a few years ago, so we do sort of have a “history”. She knows that if her dog goes after me again, I won’t be as nice as I was last time about it.  Maybe it is time to get some anti-dog spray, if people are going to let their dogs run loose again – which really sucks, but seems the way it is.

Splits for the run

Unfortunately the frost is coming out of the ground – you heard that right, frost is coming out and it is only Feb 19th, it was a muddy mess and I baptized my brandy-spanky new white shoes :-), No longer quite so white. TheWife said “You ruined them!” I just said “No, I am breaking them in right.” hehhehee

The mud did slow me down, especially going back up the hills, I just did the best I could and enjoyed the sun and the mud :-). I didn’t want to slip and re-injure anything, so just went slow. Other than the problems, I had a very good run, I felt comfortable and it was just a nice long run.

Over all it was a very good day and a great run, even though my times would have been about a minute better without the dog problems slowing me down – just part of running out in the country sometimes.

First Run – in My Saucony Kinvaras 2

I have had way too may “first runs” lately, but this one felt different than the other shoes I have tried out lately. As I discussed in my Running Shoes – Time to Rewind and Start Over post I chose the Saucony Kinvara 2. Even though they were on my top 5 list, I had been hesitant to try them because of what had happened to my previous Saucony shoes (heel wear and blister problems). However, nothing else was working and I really do love the fit and feel of Saucony shoes, so I decided to look very closely at the Kinvaras.

I am glad that I did, the heel is designed differently than other Saucony shoes that I have run in and hopefully this design change, fixes the issues I have had with them in the past.

When I tried them on, there was no doubt that they were going to come home with me.

They did and here they are:

Enough of the pictures already, how did they do on my feet during the run?

How were they

FANTASTIC – this is a PG-13 site, so I can’t write what I really said-but the sailor did come out and play for a while. 🙂

They were comfortable, I easily maintained my form for most of 3.1 miles (except when I was screwing around with my iPhone’s arm band, which I eventually threw in my pocket). I knew the calf strain was there and had to back off my lean when I was going faster, but at more reasonable speeds, it was hardly noticeable – big freaking difference!!!!

The shoes are light and fast – and yes I like them a lot so far.

The only thing I noticed at all was that they were a little tight on my right forefoot, not uncomfortably tight, just more snug than the left, so that is something that I will watch to see if it loosens up a bit, after I wear them for a while.

Splits

Here are my splits for the run today:

The first mile in a new pair of shoes is always slower, as you get used to how they feel, plus I was messing around with how I was carrying my iPhone for the GPS program. That is my next project finding a great way to carry it once the weather turns warmer and I don’t have pockets to carry it in or else find a GPS watch that I have on my wrist – who know maybe I will win one of the contests going on.

I am definitely very happy with my mile 2 & 3 splits for a first run and my cadence was very close to my goal of 90.

The reality is that

Now I wish I had gotten my Saucony Kinvaras earlier and not done the run-a-round routine, if these work as good as I think they will, next time I will know to start with the Saucony, instead of waiting like I did this time.

The Kinvaras have had the best start of all of my shoes in a long time! Now let’s see how they do from here.

Next report at 50 miles.

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

AVR – Week in Review 2-12-12

This was a very busy week and a one that I have learned a lot. It started out great and ended with a thump. However, I still have a positive outlook and while I have hit a couple of speed bumps this, I feel that I have learned some important lessons and will carry them forward in both my blogging and my running.

The light at the end of the Winter tunnel is glowing a little brighter, but as I write this post it is only around 12º F, but the sun is shining brightly beckoning me to go out and do a long run. Unfortunately, this is day 3 of my 4-5 days of self-imposed no running time to let my left calf heal after re-aggravating it last week. So I will do some weights in the garage and go walk for an easy couple instead of a run.

Running This Week

RunLog Week of 2/12/12

Three things Running this week

  • Injury – nothing dreadful
  • New Running Shoes
  • Cadence Work

Injury – Yes I re-aggravated my calf strain that I originally did on my snowmobile trail run over a week ago, by a dumb training mistake. I got new minimalist shoes and instead of taking the time to transition to wearing them slowly, I did two fairly tough 3.+ mile high cadence runs in them the first two days I had them. Dumb, but survivable.

It just means that I will be patient, let the leg heal again before I go back to running. What is frustrating is that this was a very preventable injury and that I didn’t listen to my body, when it said enough is enough – I continued to push through the discomfort and ended up on the beach for a few days. Lessons learned and my streak of over 20 miles a week was broken, unless I sneak out and do an easy 2.5 later today in my Peregrines :-).

New Running Shoes – I purchased the New Balance Minimus Trail 20 running shoes Tuesday night. They were not on my top 5 list of shoes that I wanted to try/buy, but unfortunately, my Peregrines were starting to blister my heal and I knew I was going to need the new shoes.

I wanted to try the new shoes on before purchasing them, instead of taking a chance ordering online and it was going to cost a lot more to make a road trip south. Unfortunately, the shoe selection in my area is limited. So I got a pair of minimalist shoes that I probably should have waited until next time for. However, I will start the transition to wearing them correctly this week and I do like how they feel on my feet and when I run in them, so I think it in the long run will be the right choice. Time will tell on this one.

Cadence Work – This is something that I really want to work on is increasing my cadence to over 90/180 for regular runs, I did two cadence workouts this week (with the MT20s) and I was in the 87-89 range for those workouts, so I know I can do it.  I just have to keep working at being more consistent about it.

Racing Schedule

I started a Google Calendar – Running In Maine 2012 with a lot of the dates of races in Maine during 2012, I am not done yet, but I have made it public and if I have missed one, please let me know, so I can add it. 🙂

Goals

This year my big goals are to run 1,200 miles, run a sub 20:00 5K and get through 2012 without any significant down time or injuries (running related or others).  My unadvertised goals from the start of the year are to be able to finish a half-marathon (notice I said finish not race) and run a few trail races when the weather gets better.

My long-term goal will be to run the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon. I finished the 1983 Marathon and to run/finish Marine Corps again 30 years later would be very cool. This is one of the major goals that I have in mind for my running and it would be even more fantastic if I could qualify for Boston that same day. Therefore, I am doing a 2 year work-up to the Marathon distance, just to see if my knee will hold up.

This week in a word: Learning

Weight

I have bounced between 164-166 all week – so I am continuing to make slow, but steady progress on losing weight.

Injuries

I re-aggravated my left calf strain when I attempted to run too much, too fast, too soon in my New Balance Minimus Trail 20s. As stated in my Who is the Minimalism Dummy Now? post that I was rather stupid about how I ran in a much more minimal shoe. I have been on the sidelines since Friday and will probably take today off as well. Could I run – yes, but I am really trying to be smart about this one, 3-5 days off to let things heal, is better than letting the injury linger on and on, because I keep re-aggravating it.

I have been very lucky so far, this is the first time since October that I have had to take off more than 1 day off in a weekly cycle, so maybe it will give the body a chance to rest and recuperate from the little annoying stuff, that doesn’t stop you from running, but you still notice them.

Shoes

Peregrines

I am almost up to 300 miles on my Saucony Peregrines and they started to give me a blister on my left foot. Enough so that I went out and bought a new pair of shoes Tuesday night. Later I decided to operate on the Peregrines and removed foam/cloth from the left heal that had bunched into a hard little knot, that was causing the blister, so that I can walk and run a little in them. However, they don’t feel nearly as comfortable now with a bunch of material gone in the heel area, but they are not causing any blisters and I will see how they feel when I run in them again.

MT20

Of all the shoes that I could try on in the local area, the MT20s were the most comfortable. I was skeptical about moving this far down the minimalism ladder before this and wanted one more pair of shoes in the Peregrine type (4MM drop with some foam) minimal category before I moved further down the ladder. However, none of the other shoes I tried on fit or felt as good as the MT20s – so I got them.

However, I ignored the advice of other runners and didn’t transition to the shoes, I just ran in them. Great learning experience that was.  I will start a much slower transition to these shoes next week :-P.

Blog Posts

Below are my posts from last week:

  1. Narrowed the Choices Down to 5 Running Shoes
  2. Running Through Colby Again 8.25 Miles Total
  3. Running Away from the Winter Blahs
  4. I Saw Mud Down Back – A Sign of Spring?
  5. Unexpected Running Shoe Shopping
  6. First Run in New Balance Minimus Trail 20
  7. The Winter Runner Stink
  8. What a Beautiful Day to Run 2-0-12
  9. 10 Things I Love About Running
  10. Who is the Running Minimalism Dummy Now?
  11. The Ultimate Beginners Running Guide – Book Review

Top 5

Here are my top five posts for the past week based on pageviews:
  1. 10 Things I love About Running
  2. The Winter Runner Stink
  3. Who is the Running Minimalism Dummy Now?
  4. Running Away from the Winter Blahs
  5. The Ultimate Beginners Running Guide – Book Review

My Favorite post from last week

Who is the Running Minimalism Dummy Now? where I discuss how stupid I was to not heed the advice of other runners who have transitioned to more minimal running shoes and do it slowly. Instead I ran two – tough for me workouts and re-aggravated my calf strain from the my snowmobile trail run the week before.  It shows that even an old fart, who is supposed to be older and wiser can become brain-dead, when getting some new shoes and simply wanting to run in them :-).

The reality is that

I made a training mistake and am paying for it by not being able to run for a few days. It was probably time for a few days off, but to have to do it because of doing something stupid, doesn’t make me feel good about it.

I do think that I will love the MT20s, I just have to get my body used to the different running style that they make you use. It is the direction that I want to go, but I do have to go slower on my transition plan ;-). No I am not beating myself up over this mistake, just admitting how dumb and preventable it was and hoping that someone else will listen. That way they won’t make the mistake that I made in my attempt to transition too quickly to a very different style of running shoe.

Thank You again for your support and reading posts from “A Veteran Runnah”.

Who is the Running Minimalism Dummy Now?

At some point I knew that this would happen, a minor running related booboo. No it is not serious, yes I will definitely live to run again.

However, it is the first time since I returned to real running last October that anything besides my knee has bothered me. That is why I am being a drama queen about it tonight :-P.

It is my first injury – post injury and it was running related – it seems that I am back to being a real runner ;-). The worst part is that it was self-induced by my own training mistakes.

The Snowmobile Trail Run

Last Friday, we walked almost 4.0 miles on a pretty tough snowmobile trail in the morning and then that afternoon I ran just over 5.0 miles on the same trail. It wasn’t an easy run and on one of the moguls in the beaver bog, I slipped and tweaked my left calf pretty good, but finished the run without a lot of problem.

The next few days it was sore, but I was still able to run through it and even ran a great 8.0 miler on Monday. On Tuesday night I went out and bought new running shoes the MT20s, which I really liked. However, these shoes are fairly minimal and do work your calves a lot more than regular running shoes or my Peregrines did.

Brain dead me did two pretty tough workouts in those new shoes on Wednesday and Thursday. In addition to transitioning over to the new shoes, I did some cadence work – trying keep up a 90 cadence rate per minute, which resulted in some faster times than usual.

A small problem

The only problem I really had after the runs was that little calf strain.  Apparently the calf was not fully healed when I did these two tough back-to-back runs in the MT20s, which meant that my idea of a transition plan to the them was not such a great idea.

My left calf has really been barking at me ever since I sat down and rested for a while after yesterday’s run. Today was a rest day (I was supposed to have it yesterday, but I wanted to run in my new shoes – not too bright sometimes Harold) and I have worked on the calf with heat, self-massage, TheWife generously did some pounding, kneading and beating on my calf and only a total of 3.0 miles of dog walking (very easy day).

The calf still hurts – not enough to not run if I really wanted to. However it does hurt enough that I “know”, I should let it be for another day or two. While the Tommie Copper calf sleeves are really helping a lot, but unfortunately, I just don’t heal as fast as I used to.

I don’t need to transition

Everything I did with the MT20’s totally went against everything that I had read and been warned about when you first get a pair of minimalist shoes. I basically ignored the need to transition slowly to my new minimal shoes, even though I had read a lot beforehand about why you need the slow transition. I of course didn’t listen, overdid it and am now paying for my stupidity

Everyone can go ahead and say I told you so. .

Yes I was stupid

Those of you out there who are transitioning to the minimal shoes, listen to those who have gone down the minimal path before you! I didn’t think I would need much of a transition – guess what I was wrong – even though I had worn 4MM drop Saucony Peregrines and Earth Shoe Lazers, they did not prepare me for the difference running in a much more minimal shoe.

Also if you are having any problems minor strains or pains in your calves or Achilles, you need to either go really slow on your transition to the next phase of minimalism or possibly wait until the issues are resolved before even starting the transition.

20/20 Hindsight

That damn 20/20 hindsight is kicking my butt right now 😦 and no I am not too impressed with myself. I allowed myself to get caught-up in running in a new pair of shoes, not listening to the experience that others have had or what my body was telling – to slow down and be smart.

After all I just wanted to run in the damn things, which is pretty normal for someone with new shoes. I didn’t internalize what I read from other’s first-hand experience with their transition to minimalist running shoes. Now I understand why for such a major move, most of us (me included) need transition time, instead just going for a run and hope that it works well for  you.

The reality is that

I have to figure out if I am smart enough to let the calf heal. Which probably means rest for a couple of days or if I will run tomorrow if it feels pretty good. I do know that if I run tomorrow, it will be in the Peregrines (which I operated on the last night and took out chunks of misplaced foam & fabric that were giving my heal a blister).

We will see tomorrow how smart I really am :-).

BTW – I think that I will start a much slower transition to the MT20s next week – at least I hope I will be a little more intelligent about it. We will see.

QUESTIONS FOR YOU

How well do you listen to the advice others give about something related to running?

Have you ever gotten a new pair of shoes and done too much in them, which resulted in downtime from running?

Were you smart about your transition to minimalist shoes?

If you were not smart about your transition to minimalist shoes, what did you do to continue your transition?

First Run in New Balance Minimus Trail 20

This morning I got to try out my New Balance Minimus Trail 20 shoes. How did it go?

The first run

For the first run in a completely different kind of running shoe, it went very well.

The first mile I was focusing pretty hard on running completely forefoot and getting used to the feel of the shoe. The forefoot striking was causing some aches and pains in my left calf (the one I strained on last Friday’s snowmobile trail run), so I went to a more of a ChiRunning whole foot strike, which really seemed to make a huge difference with these shoes.

This foot strike style is more of what I tried to run in with my Peregrines and felt much more comfortable than the forefoot strike, I would definitely need to build up my calf muscle a lot more for to completely change to forefoot running. I really think that walking a lot in the Earth Shoe Lazer with its negative heel drop and having run in the Peregrines with their 4MM drop since November, helped a lot in making run a lot easier for me than it has been for some, when moving to a minimal shoe. I will be able to tell you more tomorrow about how sore I am from my first day.

Very Different

The MT20s do feel completely different from any running shoes, I have run in, in a long time. I have a feeling that the closest to the MT20s, would have been the old Blue Asics Tigers, that I ran in during high school in the early 70s. Everything else has had a lot more cushioning than these. The MT20s do make it so you use more of a midfoot strike without thinking about it so much. I hope that this helps me become automatic with this style of running, because I have worked on it for a while now.

You definitely can feel the road much more than you can with regular running shoes, the little pebbles and everything else that you step on. It isn’t quite at the barefoot level, but you can feel the road nicely. However, I knew this when I bought the shoes and expected it. Oddly enough (I know I am weird), I liked the way I could feel the road under my feet, maybe if I was running on a different surface or a tough trail it would be different. However, being able to feel the road more, does cause me to focus on where I am putting my feet and stay in the present, instead of the wool-gathering that I tend to do when running on roads with well-cushioned shoes – when things are going well.

You know that auto-running that we sometimes do :-).

Satisfied

For a first run in a completely different kind of running shoe, I am very happy with how they felt. I still don’t know how they will be (or how my form will hold up) for longer distances, but for a first impression – it was very favorable.

I am still a little apprehensive about making this change to a more minimalist shoe, but definitely feel a lot more confident about the move than I did before the run this morning. I will know more in a week, especially if I can still do my longer running in the MT20s. Friday should be a good test, I plan to run Middle Road, which is over 5.0 miles.

Today’s Splits

The run itself was pretty darn good considering the experimentation that I was doing, my splits were:

Distance      Pace       Cadence

1.0                 9:38        86

2.0                 8:38        89

3.0                 8:00        88

As you can see, as I got more comfortable in the shoes, I was able to pick up the pace a little, figuring my stride when going faster will be a work in progress, but that will come. I still have to work on picking up my cadence, but that is progressing nicely.

For the first run in a new pair of shoes I am very happy, they did what I wanted. No pain, no blisters and were comfortable for a pair of fairly minimal shoes.

Unexpected Running Shoe Shopping

I have researched what my next pair of running shoes would be for the past couple of weeks and had a good list of shoes that I thought would meet my needs very well. Which I discussed in my Narrowed the Choices Down to 5 Running Shoes post. Sometimes you have to throw your plan out the window and go with Plan B, that is what happened to me.

Oh Crap

During my recovery run down-back yesterday, my left heel started to get a blister from the hole in my of Saucony Peregrines, it was more a question of when, not if I would get a blister.

I was afraid that this might happen, before I could get down to Portland, Maine (not Oregon) and check out all of those shoes on my list.

Where to Buy

Although online stores like the Natural Running Store and some of the shoe companies themselves are great, have fantastic customer service and I have talked with many of them on Twitter (Natural Running Store, Brooks Running and Altra) or other social media sites, there is nothing like actually trying on a pair of shoes for the first time in that style or model, before buying it. Especially new models or manufacturers I haven’t tried before at all.

The advertisements and blog reviews for a particular shoe might be great, but until I try a pair on, I really don’t know if it fits me correctly. When I am buying something that is this expensive and I am going to be spending a lot of hours in, I want them to fit correctly. Typically when I go new running shoe shopping, I try on between 5-15 pair of shoes, to get the one that fits me just right. I am a shoe salesperson’s nightmare, but that is how I buy shoes. After having a pair that work great for me, I am much more likely to order a pair of running shoes online and save a little bit of money that way.

TheWife and I had talked about how we wanted to do this and decided that we wanted to stay in the local area. If we went to Portland or Oxford, it would add at least another $50-$60 dollars onto the cost of the shoes (gas, lunch or any other shopping that we did). Also I didn’t really want to spend a week or two running in my old shoes. They are good enough for a day here or there, but not as a primary shoe for any extended period.

That meant that last night going into Augusta, Maine (not Georgia) and try to find a pair of running shoes. This may sound easy to do, after-all Augusta is Maine’s Capitol, has a couple of fairly large Malls and lots of stores. However, there are no specialty running or outdoors stores in the area (EMS went out a couple of years ago).

The Choices

Unfortunately, most of the shoes that were on my list of shoes were specialty shoes and usually sold at those kind of stores, not at regular retail outlets.

My choices were:

  • Olympia Sports
  • Lamey-Wellehan – I was surprised at their selection, especially that they had Merrells and Vibrams
  • Famous Footwear
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods

I tried on shoes at every store. Saucony, Reebok, Nike Frees, Adidas, Puma, Asics, Merrell, Vibrams and I even looked at a pair of Scotts. The Scotts were very interesting, but definitely were road only shoes, so they didn’t get the third look. I am not quite ready to go the Vibram route yet and everything I tried on seemed to be too stiff or just felt wrong. By the time I got to Dick’s I was tired and hadn’t really found anything that even remotely interested me besides the Kinvara.

Dick’s choices were the best of anywhere I had been in town. After trying on the Kinvara again, Asics – a couple of different models and yes the venerable Pegasus 27 (I ran a long time ago in the first Pegasus), along with the Frees again. None of these shoes made the cut for different reasons.

Decision Time

Finally, it came down to either the Adidas AdiZero (a big surprise) or the New Balance MT20. The AdiZero really was about everything I was looking, but when I jogged in them a ways – on that little track that Dick’s has, they were definitely too stiff for me. I had put on the MT20’s between trying on the other shoes and the more I wore them they just felt right for me.

I had to decide between the 8.0 or the 8.5, so I was wearing one on each foot and then alternating to see which fit the best, when I tried the 8’s on my right foot, I knew it was definitely the 8.5 that fit me the best.

The reality is that

I was and still am a little apprehensive about buying such a minimal shoe. In my top 5 post, I stated that I wasn’t ready to move to the next step for minimal shoes yet, because I felt that I still needed the extra cushioning. However of all the shoes that I tried on last night the New Balance Minimus Trail 20s just felt the best on my feet.

It will be interesting to see how my previous efforts of moving to a more minimal shoes for walking, running and how working on changing my form, will aid me in this next move down the minimal running shoe ladder.

Thank You

I do want to thank everyone who took time to give me advice on which shoes to I should look more closely at and representatives from The Natural Running Store, Altra, Mizuno and Brooks Running were very helpful in my search. There were several people on Twitter, Google +  and Facebook who provided me with information that you just can’t get anywhere else about the different shoes I was looking at and helped me make some tough choices.

Today I am scheduled to run 5.0 and do hill repeats, I don’t know if I will do the entire workout in the MT20s, but I will do the warm-up in them and see how it goes from there :-).

Things happen for a reason, let’s hope that the MT20s were the reason for this sudden change, if they don’t work like I expect and want it is going to be a long next couple of months. I have a feeling they are going to be just fine.

Questions for you

  • If you have the MT 20 what were your experiences with the shoe?
  • How well did they hold up?
  • What was your transition time to run in them full-time?
  • What is the longest distance you have done in them
  • How did you find them to be on the roads for a trail shoe?