Tag Archives: running shoes

A Very Long Post

And like magic, 2 weeks turned into 6. It’s been a good period actually, but in wanting to avoid any more roller-coaster accounts of “she’s up! she’s down!” I needed some real time to elapse before I felt ready to talk again.

My Running
Right after my last post, I had a couple weeks of suckage but ever since then, it’s been a steady trend upwards.  The back pain (psoas) took forever to go and all that’s left is an occasional hip whisper, so as it stands, I’m going to cancel my Jan 30th neurologist appointment.  I’ll wait until the week before to make super sure but at this point, I’ve no reason to see anyone. Yay!

As for the running itself, it’s pretty damn good.  No screaming off the rooftops about how awesome I am, but my easy paces are back to normal and there are no mysterious anythings.  Mileage-wise, I’m getting in a respectable amount per week though I won’t supply an average here because it’s in flux and will continue to be for a while.

The super cool thing is that I’ve begun adding extra stuff to my runs which is a major positive step.  It’s all very informal, I don’t care about times, distances or reps at all, but just having the confidence to run harder without fear of wonkiness is magical.

Sometimes I do a few hilly reps by the museum that leave me huffing and puffing, but the fast grassy trip back down is gold, re-teaching me about balance and abandon. I had forgotten what it’s like to fly downhills.  And last week I added fartleks and some faster miles.  I was super self-conscious about how stiff I must look (certainly felt it) but after a couple surges my body relaxed and it became solid fun.  And I had such a feeling of accomplishment afterwards, too!

It’s a happy time outside right now and I’m grateful as hell for it.

The last pieces of the supplement puzzle
A few weeks ago, I dropped my multi-vitamin because some of the ingredients had become redundant with what I was taking separately.  Before ditching it, however, I read up on everything it contained so I’d understand the core vitamins/minerals I’d need to replace or could ignore.  Minerals, in particular, work together so you have to be aware of the balance/ratios.  Magnesium was a major discovery.

In all the years I’ve been supplementing with calcium (ever since I became a runner) not once did I pay attention to magnesium and at my age, I take a good amount of calcium (1200mg is the RDA for 50+ females) yet I had no idea that the ratio of calcium to mag should be 2:1, even 1:1.  When I analyzed my ratio of cal/mag, it came out to almost 4:1.

The thing is, calcium contracts the muscle, magnesium relaxes it (besides being responsible for about 350 chemical reactions in the body) so for me, with these stiff-legged episodes that were almost like a temporary rigor-mortis or a painless cramp, it seemed like it might make a difference.  I’ll tell you this, I’ll never be without it again.  Within 3 days of adding magnesium, my back pain diminished dramatically as did that creaky neck I had complained about.

Besides the muscle relaxing properties, it helps mood and sleep, too – between the B12 and the magnesium, my sleep hasn’t been this good in years.  It also helps you poop, which makes it easy to figure out your optimal dosage;  if you take too much, you get the squirts.

Then there’s Vitamin D – wow, what a vitamin! I spent about 2 weeks watching videos and reading articles and studies because of how fascinating and affecting it is. I always thought I was getting enough from my calcium chews, but no.  When I looked at my test numbers from March, I was in the normal range but as it turns out, slightly beneath the optimal range, which is something else entirely and has just been updated in recent years.

Major Vitamin D Tidbit: just because you run outside does not mean you’re getting enough, or any.  If you live in a latitude above Atlanta, you get no Vitamin D from November to March (closer to NYC, it’s October to April) no matter how much you’re outside.  None.  And in the summer?  You have to be out between 10-2pm to get any – it’s VU ray dependent completely.  So if you’re like me and run early in the summer, staying indoors the rest of the day, you’re not getting Vitamin D from sunlight.

Another startling tidbit: the farther you live from the equator, the more likely you are to suffer several types of serious health-ills, such as MS and certain cancers for example, which is thought to be directly related to the lack of sun/Vitamin D the more north you go.  So while I always only thought of Vitamin D for the sfx prevention thing, it goes waaaay beyond that.  In fact, check out this chart of how D levels correspond to diseases. It really makes clear why the “normal” bottom range of 30 ng/ml is simply not enough.

GrassrootsHealth is a fantastic not-for-profit site to educate the public on Vitamin D. What’s cool about it is they’ve got the world’s largest vitamin D project going on where you can get a testing kit from them (costs the same as getting tested on your own) and they add your results to the study.  Over 3600 participants so far and some of the interesting things they’ve discovered from it is that not only is Vitamin D toxicity extremely rare (the more you have in your body, the less adding extra affects your levels) but they’ve also figured out exactly how much you need to add to go from one level to a higher target.  Check out the header at the top of their site, it’s a graphic with the table.

I’ll finish this little tirade by suggesting that in these winter months (if not year-long), particularly if you’re someone who gets Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), take an extra 1000iu/day on top of what might already be included with your calcium or multi.  But really, everyone should do this.

I had to start tossing my shoes – gone are the days of testing how far above 500mi they can go.  Since I’ve recently had such a strong reaction between asphalt and trail/grass, I’ve become a lot more mindful of cushioning and comfort.  Not that I’m in heavy shoes now (though for a while, I was wondering if I should get a pair) but I care less about getting the lightest shoe or a low heel drop and more about transparency…I don’t want to notice the ground if I can help it.

As it was, I had bought some Kinvara 3s a few months ago and never did warm up to them.  Long story short, after years in Kinvaras, I’m done.  I’m now rocking Brooks Launches, a shoe I’d not have even noticed until they were recently on the chopping block, Brooks was going to get rid of them entirely, but their huge fan base raised a loud ruckus so they reinstated them.  This blog post from a running store owner is a hilarious read and honestly, one of the reasons I tried them.  They’re about an ounce heavier than my other shoes but are still in the lightweight category.  What I love about them is their pure fabric upper with no hard plastic bits at all, the Kinvara rubber toe was always a bother to me, even when I sized up.

I also bought the Adios 2’s, another version I’d resisted updating since it included a harder heel cup, a stiffer sole, plus some added weight, but they were on sale and I’m on my last pair of version 1’s, so I got a pair.  They are indeed stiffer which is a sad thing but not awful and the heel cup doesn’t bother me as much it’s cut higher in the back, so I got a teensy blister my first time out with them at the end of an 8-miler.  I’m sure it’s nothing though, and they retain their status of making me want to run fast in them, so they’ll remain in my lineup.

It is funny though, after being so gung-ho on Kinvara’s 4mm heel/toe differential and now, with a plethora of low heel-drop shoes to choose from, I’m now exclusively in 9 to 10mm drops and don’t give a crap about it.

…is fabu.  My holiday season with the new vintage designs was great, it seems I’ve really hit on something.  In fact, it’s only January 15th and I’m already 4x ahead of the entire month of Jan 2012.  I did take a long design break though so now I’m back at work and determined to see what a full year of elbow grease can accomplish.  Pretty excited about it, actually.

In other news, or to be specific, in Adulthood Is Fucking Ridiculous news, I’m trying to get my credit history back.  Yes, me, one who has always prided herself on having primo credit since my early 20’s is now offering this tip: if you ever get to the point where you can cut up all your credit cards to live debt-free, as I did about 10 years ago…DON’T!  Because as virtuous as it might make you feel, I am now in the situation of having no credit history at all.  Nada. It’s like I don’t exist.

It hasn’t been a pressing matter, I’m not buying a car or a house anytime soon, but I realized I’d been wiped off the credit landscape a year ago when I moved into this apartment and they couldn’t pull up anything for me.  I’d forgotten about it till I wanted to rent a car from Avis a few months ago and wasn’t able to since they wouldn’t accept a debit card, so I figured it was time to fix it.

I applied for 2 cards this week, one to a bank with whom I’d had a Visa for 15 years and the other to my current bank, which I’ve been a customer of since 2002.  I was turned down for both.  Ultimately, realizing I wasn’t going to get anywhere via normal means, I ended up getting a secured credit card.  This is what people returning from bankruptcy have to do! Grrr

Please know I’m not worried about it at all, like I say, it’s only a formality, but I do find it utterly ironic that being such a good girl, doing the most responsible thing with money now makes me untrustable. And building a new credit history at age 51 is just plain stupid.  So anyway, never get rid of all your cards, keep your oldest one, at least.

And that’s about it for this ungodly long post.  I appreciate the Facebook waves and hellos and checking up on me the past few weeks, so sweet, but all is well, knock on wood.  Until next time, have some great running, living, laughing and fill in the blanking (make it dirty). Later, loves.

Body & Sole

The photo on my About Page was from 2010.  Since then I’ve turned 50, cut my hair, and am now in the midst of getting into racing shape.  What better time for an update?

Well, hello there bitchin' quad muscles. Au revoir, sweet tits.

I’m still losing a pound a week: 7½lbs gone so far with 4½ left to go (still 5’3¾” tall).  Bodyfat is at an all-time low, from a weekly average of 17.3% in January to 14.1% (accurate as far as comparison on my fancy-schmancy scale but I’m sure it’s not really that low).  This, without any supplemental exercising aside from a few attempts at butt exercises which I’ve since given up on (I’m lazy…let the hills do it).  Anyway, it’s been fun watching myself morph into athlete mode.

And to illustrate the non-linearity of this linear path, here’s my progression thus far.

A Shoe Wear Oddity
This is a strange one.  Behold two pairs of Adidas Adios, one with 393mi and one with 556mi.  Guess which is which.

Well now, that wasn’t a very fun game since you know it’s not the obvious answer but check it out!  I have never worn a pair of shoes to the point of disintegration. Hell, I can never even tell when to retire shoes because mine never show real wear…and at the toes?!

I saw it happening on one shoe weeks ago but attributed it to either scuffing on a rock or a defective shoe.  Then yesterday, I notice both shoes had the same wear pattern and realized this isn’t a one-time deal, that something strange is going on.  Adding to the intrigue, the older pair was worn almost exclusively pre-injury whereas the newer pair, post-injury.

During yesterday’s afternoon run, my mind wandered to this shoe mystery which made me aware of my toes and and feet and then suddenly…a realization: my weight was falling predominately towards the front of my foot.  Apparently, the form improvements I’ve been messing around with the last couple months (keeping my hips more beneath me, giving me a more compact feeling and leading me to run “taller”) have had this cool byproduct.  Shock and amazement.  But makes all the sense in the world.

It’s hilarious in a way because, if you’ve been reading here a couple years, you know I was all into trying to change my foot strike but eventually gave up on it.  My mistake, it turns out, was concentrating on the end of the lever when in fact, it all starts at the hub!

What’s great about this is it signifies better mechanics (you can’t overstride if you’re landing near your toes) and it might even offer an explanation of why transitioning to fast running has been so awkward, not to mention my occasional stride/balance hiccups; my weight is distributed differently, so needing a learning curve to transfer it to faster speeds makes sense.  In fact, this even explains a sometimes “out of control” feeling I’ve had when running downhill since the injury, which I was sure was completely mental, but now I think is actually physical – a distribution of weight is all.  This morning, I thought about my feet while going down a little hill and made a point to land farther back, more flat, and gained a ton of stability.  So wow wow wow.  All major stuff.

Anyway, I’ll pay more attention to this latest discovery, revelations and observations are my biggest thrill.  As for the worn shoes, I’ll keep wearing them till water and/or goose shit starts seeping in.

A Morning Speed Session
I had an early speed session yesterday for a change.  Mornings have been reserved for slower runs but since races are always in the morning, I need to start getting used to it.  I would have liked one more recovery day – the weekend’s tempo and LR left me a tad creaky, but since I’m racing on Saturday (woohoo, first 5k of the season!) that was the day.

The workout was Hudson’s 5k Level3 raceweek workout (¾mi@5k pace, 1:00 rest, 6x¼mi w/1:00 rests).  I didn’t get to 5k pace on the initial ¾mi but that was fine, I didn’t dwell on it. Wind on half the quarters made one direction kinda pokey but I hit 6:16 and 6:18 pace for the other direction which was fun to see.  I was quite pleased with the session despite its imperfection.  The mental homework continues to bring happiness where once there was angst.  ‘Tis a thing of beauty.

Lightest Shoes Evah! (and so dang pretty)

I don’t read a lot of blogs but one that I’m subscribed to and always look forward to reading is Pete Larson’s Runblogger. He’s the absolute king of shoe and gear reviews (but mostly shoes).  His are the most thorough and well thought-out shoe reviews I’ve read and he also has a foot kinda like mine – not officially wide but needs some room in the toebox, so when he finds a shoe that fits him well, I listen up.

He posted a review last week that had me totally curious for several reasons.  It’s a shoe that just now hit Runninwarehouse.com but was distributed earlier to large sporting goods stores like Sports Authority and Finish Line.  But what piqued my curiosity the most is that it turns out this shoe, the New Balance 730, is actually built on the same last as the Minimus Road, a recent model I’d been wondering about trying.  I find it really cool that there are shoes not found in regular running stores but might be hidden gold.

What interested me in Pete’s review were the wide toebox and the fact that it’s light (OMG, women’s 9.5s are 5.9oz!).  But what really got me is the color.  Seriously.  I’ve never once bought a pair of running shoes for aesthetic reasons, none of them look that great to me, but lavender? What a beautiful shade.  Combined with the low heel to toe drop (only 3mm), wide toebox and lightweight factor, I had to try them.

So I ordered them from Finish Line using a $10 off coupon, which came out to $69.99 and they were delivered today.  While I originally ordered size 9s (which were beautifully wide, wouldn’t have had to do my trademarked shoelace frame snip) I could feel the end of the shoe so I exchanged them for a 1/2 size larger.  Perfect.

As far as first impressions, I did a fun little workout today (thanks Coach Adam/A Muse!): 2.5mi warmup, then 3x(1min, 2min, 3min @10k pace with equal rests) plus cooldown, 8mi total.  The workout was good for me, 18 minutes of fast running which is the longest I’ve done in forever.  As for the shoes, they feel exceptionally low to the ground, there’s not a lot of cushion there, but they’re not stiff or uncomfortable on gravel.  For comparison, when I got back home, I put a Hyper Speed on one foot to compare and the Hyper Speed was downright cushy compared to the NB730, so keep that in mind.

They did feel easy as hell to run in though, no hotspots, nothing stood out negatively.  The heel drop is such that it almost feels negative, like an Earth Shoe. But most importantly, the pretty color made me extraordinarily happy for no reason at all.

But seriously folks, what’s interesting to me is that the 730s aren’t being sold as racing shoes, yet they’re lighter than the Hyper Speeds, so it stands to reason they could be good for races and alternately, I shouldn’t be scared to use the Hyper Speeds as a training shoes.  It really tells you how marketing can mess with your mind and steer you randomly.

Of course, I’m a petite woman so I can get away with light shoes easier than a big guy or someone with a heavy gait, so you might want to experiment with a bit more shoe before you start playing in this particular sandbox, but it’s certainly worth trying – maybe reserve them for racing and speed workouts until you know your legs can handle it.

Anyway, if you want to try ’em for yourself, use NEWYEAR10 or EXTRA60 for a $10 off coupon code at Finish Line or you can find them at Runningwarehouse.com or Holabirdsports.com.  But the latter two don’t carry lavender…shame on them.

Edit: Another glowing review can be found here.

Edit after wearing them a few times.  I find the upper very comfortable but won’t use them for fast stuff, there’s a lack of “spring” to them.  They’re fine for regular training runs but I feel like they’re a bit flappy on pavement.  On trail, I like the feel better.  But this was enlightening as far as “just because a shoe is light, doesn’t mean it’d make a good racing shoe.”  Of course, your mileage may vary.

Form, Weight & Magic Shoes

A week gone by with nary a post so this is a meaty one, starting with this: 88 miles and a breakthrough.  Like a gift from the Running Gods (or the result of 3 weeks back at high mileage) my general aerobic paces are suddenly back to my pre-injured state.  ‘Tis a thing of beauty.

In an odd coincidence, Tuesday through Thursday produced 3 runs averaging 8:06, 8:07 and 8:08, yet each run was composed differently: one had some faster miles in the middle, one included fartlek and the 3rd run was even splits.  I was especially happy with that last one since I never start quickly anymore, my first mile is usually between 9:1x – 8:3x so I was pleased when I saw 8:17 for that initial mile.

But then!  Saturday afternoon I wore my Hyper Speeds for the first time (review below) and between their magic powers plus the last day of Lady Time (hormonal magic powers) and a beautiful upper-40s day, my first mile was a completely unexpected 8:05 and then it progressed from there, ending in 8 miles@7:46 avg. pace.

7@8:27 8@8:06
10@8:07 (fartlek)
6@8:37 7@8:08
6@8:35 8@7:46
6@8:43 9@7:58
Total:   88 miles

Heart Rate
As much as I love data, the last time I strapped on my HR monitor was in September before my Half.  It would have been wonderful to have the comparison of HR while injured and rebuilding, but the inevitable crappy feelings it would have brought were not at all worth it.  I like to be happy when I can and knowing those numbers wouldn’t have given me anything useful.

But this week, I figured I was ready to see where I stood, so I started yesterday by checking my resting HR.  Much to my delight, I got a rock-solid 46 with a teasing of 45 (47-48 is more of a usual) so Yay!  Then today, I wore it out for my runs.

I’m glad I wore it for both runs because, while the morning run’s HR was fine, the afternoon’s was better – which is a good reminder never to put too much weight on HR data for one run, there are simply too many reasons for it to vary.  But back to the run…

I wasn’t wearing the magic shoes but the hormonal magic must be lingering because it was another feel-good zippy run averaging 7:58/mi with an average HRR of 73% and it was windy out there.  Considering this is the first week where those paces have reappeared, this is a really strong sign that everything’s in order.  I couldn’t be happier.

Running Form – Arms
As you know, I’ve given attention to different areas of my running form over the past couple years.  I’d work on one thing for a while then eventually come to peace with it, either because I’ve made an improvement (posture) or because the initial problem loses importance (foot plant).

Starting last Friday, I began focusing on something that’s been bugging me since the start: my armswing.  It’s not all bad, for instance I don’t cross the centerline of my body which is a common enough mistake, but when I see photos or watch my shadow on the bike path, there’s a certain “smallness” to my arm carriage that I know could be improved upon.

While it sounds like an aesthetic complaint, it’s much more than that.  I mean, of course I’d like to look like an Elite or, hell, even a high school XC kid, but beyond appearance, I suspect I’m missing out on a power boost because of this.  After all, your arms drive your legs: they dictate how fast you’ll go and even affect your stride length, so it really is no small thing.

I started by studying the race video from September’s Half and noticed a clearly uneven carriage: one arm doesn’t go back far enough while the other one goes back farther, but only because it’s driven by the hand (not the shoulder or elbow, as you’d want),  thus the angle increases well beyond the optimal 90-degrees.

So I’ve been reading articles and watching videos of runners I like – here’s a nice slow-mo of Shalane and Desi at the trials (Kara too, but she was all tensed up at that point).

When I work on it (and it’s very much a focus on the shoulders, not just the arms) there’s more swing to my upper trunk, less rigidity. It also seems to give me a more “tits out” posture, which is a good thing, not because I’m trying to get a job at Hooters, but because it’s optimal for breathing and efficiency.

In fact, Friday’s run was weird, it was unseasonably warm, 59 degrees, but super windy and I was feeling like crap so I almost cut it short.  The first couple miles were 9:15s and I was slugging along. After a bit, I started paying attention to my arms/shoulders and I’m not sure if it was the distraction or if it was really helping, but I picked up a good amount of energy – the last few miles averaged 8:03s.

I tend to think it’s really helping since I also paid attention to it on Saturday’s fast run as well, this time with an additional “trick” of brushing my hands lightly on the sides of my hip, which ensures they’re going back far enough while keeping a good angle.

It’s been 9 days and I’ve lost a touch over 2 pounds. I’m also happy to report that by timing my meals differently I’ve virtually eliminated the hunger spikes I used to get.

As far back as I can remember, my dinner time has been around 6:30pm.  Didn’t matter if my bedtime was 10pm in the summer or 12-12:30am in the winter, I’d always eat at 6:30.  This meant that in the winter I’d have those extra hours before bed that invariably required snacks and carrot consumption.  Carrots are fine vegetables, btw, but I don’t love needing a stomach filler to keep the growling at bay.

Now, in the last month, my eating schedule started shifting due to doubling my runs.  I usually get in from the afternoon run at around 4:30-5pm which left some time before dinner, so I’d eat some almonds or other snack to hold me over.

But this week, I decided to do away with the snack and just go for it: eat a small meal right after the run and then push dinner up to 8pm. This works beautifully because then at 10-10:30pm, I’ll have another little meal, usually the ole standby of PB/cereal (I love that shit like crazy, don’t ask me why) – far much more substantial than carrots or little snacks.

Et voila! I end up pleasantly sated until bedtime and my morning run doesn’t need fueling.  I haven’t had a carrot in over a week. It’s a miracle.

Aside from that, I did a silly motivating thing that I’ve never done before…I bought a clothing carrot.  That is to say, the other day on a whim I ordered some compression shorts (I only ever wear regular running shorts) that I’m too chicken to wear at my current weight but I think might look pretty damn hot when I lose a few.

I didn’t actually buy them with that in mind but once they arrived and I put them on I was like “I can’t wear these, too scary”.  FYI, a 4″ inseam is frumpy for me in regular shorts but in compression (with the potential of ride-up)…not so much.  Anyway, instead of returning them, it struck me that they’d make a fun treat for sticking to the plan.  We’ll see, I may feel too nekkid in them no matter what but it’s silly fun and they were on sale, so no loss.

As mentioned, I took advantage of RunningWarehouse’s shoe sale a couple weeks ago and bought the Saucony Fastwitch 5s and the Asics Hyper Speeds.  Here’s what happened…

Saucony Fastwitch 5s
These are the first pair of shoes I’ve straight up lost money on, which is my own fault for not exchanging them immediately.  The thing is, it was a defective pair but it wasn’t till the second run that I was sure about it.  When I first put them on, there was an intermittent feeling in my right arch when stepping off, almost a pinching, but it was occasional and I thought it might be something that just needed “seating” in the shoe.  I did try to find the source but no matter how I bent or investigated the innards with my hands, I couldn’t replicate it, so I took ’em out for a run.

First run was fine, I didn’t notice the sharp thing though it was odd to run in a stability shoe after wearing neutral shoes for ages.  They were comfortable in the upper but extremely firm in the sole and I did not love them, but as I ran faster I started liking them more.

However, the 2nd time I took them out, the pinching thing was there in full force and I ended up with a blister on my arch!  That is a pain in the ass place to get a blister – you’re doomed to feeling it for days no matter what shoes you wear.  So I was pissed at the shoes but thought I’d give them another shot once my foot was settled. (only because I’d spent 52 bucks on them)

So yesterday, a week after the blister run, I tried them on again but was instantly alerted to that same hot spot.  At this point, I knew the shoes were a loss so I took some snippers and cut the logo off the side thinking it might be the hard plastic and did some other operating but in the end, I couldn’t locate it. I think it’s the stability post or whatever keeps the shoe supported but I have enough working shoes right now that I don’t care to try another pair.  And I’ll stick to neutral shoes from now on.

Asics Hyper Speeds (aka Magic Shoes)
These shoes are wonderful.  They’re the lightest shoe I’ve ever had, 6.1 oz, compared to the Adios’ 6.5.  Talk about barely there.  I took them on that 8-mile run yesterday and you know how that went (fabulously) and they felt great!  Lots of room in the toebox and no discomfort anywhere.

I’m debating whether to stock up on them, putting ’em in regular shoe rotation since they’re so inexpensive right now (new version’s coming out) or whether to save them for races, in which case one pair will last me a long time.  Either way, I resisted wearing them today, the better to harness their mystical magical powers for good rather than evil.  Not really, I just wore the pair closest to the bed.

And that’s it for today’s self-involved novella.  Have a great start to your week folks, run well and enjoy yourselves.  Later!

Double Talk

Back to pre-injury volume this week with 90 miles.  It also marks my first week incorporating doubles as a regular thing, which I loved, so 10-11 runs/week will be the norm until summer.

Even though the mileage is the same, twice-a-days are decidedly different from singles.  Despite the luxury of shorter runs, your day is actually more about running since you have a standing afternoon appointment with the pavement.  This might be a novelty factor that wears off eventually but it does feel like a larger commitment to the sport.  It’s as if me and Running had been dating but now we’re engaged.

It’s great though, I’m getting to bed at a more reasonable hour, the scale is dropping and I feel more adaptable.  For example, I’ve always run when the weather sucks the least, so in winter that meant afternoons exclusively.  But a pre-breakfast run on a frosty morning turns out to be a fine way to start the day, especially when countered by a warmer afternoon run.  You get to see the park changing outfits and personalities as the day progresses.

Anyway, the extra effort of getting dressed and out there twice doesn’t bug me as I thought it would.  My two other preconceived complaints also ended up being moot – mostly because it turns out I’ve no compunction about being a dirty pig.

That is to say, I always thought running twice/day meant you had to take 2 showers and do twice the laundry.  But unless I have somewhere I need to be between runs, I just dry off and sit in my filth (which isn’t real filth, maybe a tad salty but I don’t smell).  And since most of my runs are half the distance they used to be, I’m cool with wearing most of my stuff twice before washing.  Rule: As long as it doesn’t stink, it can have another run.

So here begins a new running experiment (doubles) and a continuation of the one I began last summer (mileage).  Needless to say, I’m excited to see what comes of it.  I expect good things ahead.

A Doubly Good Week In Review
All easy stuff, though a couple runs had some fartlek or a few faster miles.  It’s a relief to find my paces returning to normal, I figure a couple more weeks should do it.

Mon: 9 @8:36
Tues:  6 @9:04 8 @8:08
Wed:  5 @8:59 7 @8:39
Thurs:  7 @8:35 11@8:35
Fri:  7 @8:52
Sat:  7 @8:30 8 @7:59
Sun:  15@8:31
Total:   90mi

More shoes and a PureFlow coda
Running Warehouse has a great sale on racing flats (20% off) that ends today so check out the offerings. The prices are so good I ordered a couple models I’ve been curious about: the Asics Hyper Speeds and the Saucony Fastwitch 5s.  I plan on using them both as regular training shoes since the Adios’ worked so well in that regard.

Speaking of, I really do still love my Adidas Adios’ so despite my dissing the awful new color scheme and major design revamp I’ll probably order a pair of the new version, but only after the price goes down.

A final word on the PureFlows: I mentioned how they’d been said to be slippery in wet/snowy conditions so I took them out on a rainy run this week.  I had great traction on the asphalt bike path so I thought people might have been overreacting…until I ran under a couple bridges and felt some serious slippage.  I’m not sure why, it was the same bike path asphalt on a warm day (so nothing was frozen and I avoided the tar repair spots) but it happened twice.  So I’ll wear them in the rain, being careful under bridges, but if it snows, forgetaboutit, I’ll use another shoe.

New Shoes: Brooks PureFlows

I’ve switched between two shoe models for a while now: Saucony Kinvaras and Adidas Adios.  They’re different on a couple levels – Kinvara is a low-heel drop shoe, the Adios is a racing shoe I wear as a trainer and it has a standard heel-drop, but both are lightweight. This used to be more of a rarity, but lightweight shoes have been popping up like daisies in the past year, several featuring a low heel-drop so it seemed a good time to try something new, particularly since the newest Adios’ are so freakin’ ugly, I’m on strike till further colors become available.

Note on the right shoe, my trademarked snip at the base of the shoelace trim piece. Also of note, I do not have cankles though the photo makes it look like the left one is. It isn't. Really.

I’ve heard a lot of great things about the Brooks Pure line, so I thought it worth a shot.  The PureConnects would have been my first choice, they’re the lightest, but too many reviews mentioned a narrow fit so I didn’t even bother. The PureFlows, however, according to Shoeftr on Running Warehouse and the reviews I’ve read, pointed to a wider fit and roomier toebox, so I ordered a pair. Here are my thoughts:

Weight: I’m currently wearing men’s models in both the Kinvara (size 7½, 7.1 oz) and Adios (size 8, 6.8 oz). For the PureFlow, I bought women’s size 8.5.  At 7.5 oz, they’re slightly more shoe, but not noticeable to me.

Heel drop: Since I’ve been wearing Kinvaras for ages, it feels normal.

Fit: Feels great.  The toe is rounder than the Kinvaras so there’s more room for the tootsies.  There’s also a thick elastic band that crosses the instep which turns out to be pretty cool, keeping your arch snug to the shoe.  The trim frame around the laces is hard plastic and I had to snip it for my right foot (sensitive big toe knuckle), but I do that on all my running shoes now, so no biggie.

Sole: It’s got a harder sole than the Kinvaras which makes it much more comfortable over gravel, you don’t feel each rock.  I like this a lot.  However, it’s also said to be slick in wet conditions (as discussed on the last few pages of this) so I’ll switch out on rainy/snowy days.  I could do without the split sole design since the resulting space will surely grab an occasional rock and it doesn’t seem to do anything perceptible, but this is just a minor “eh”. (Edit: I took them out on a rainy day and for the most part, traction was good, though under a couple bridges I definitely noticed some slippage.  So I won’t be using them for snow or racing/workouts on a rainy day but rainy training runs are fine)

Comfort: Super comfortable!  Well padded and an enjoyable ride.  My first run in them was Friday, a planned 8, but they felt so good, I took it to 14mi.

Conclusion: I really like these shoes and think we’ll be buddies for a long time.

A Cutback Week In Review
My paces improved significantly this week.  I’m still not back to September fitness but getting there.  In the meantime, today I start posting my paces again.

It’s probably not apparent but the shape of the week was purposeful: lower mileage at the start for faster recovery, higher in the middle and lower today since next week will be high again.  Ordinarily, I wouldn’t be so anal about it but after that accelerated mileage bump, it seemed sensible to treat it like an ocean wave chaining the weeks together (calm, crest, calm).

As far as effort, it was all easy runs aside from today, when I did my first bit of faster running in a long time.  Boy did I need it, mentally as well as physically – the nag of workouts has been on my mind and while I said I was going to add strides, I hadn’t yet.  It was fun without any pressure for distance or pace, just “go to that curve” or “where those people are standing” and as a result, I got a couple 7:3x miles in, which I haven’t had in ages.

Mon: 6@8:53
Tues: 6@8:28
Wed: 8@8:17
Thurs: 10@8:44
Friday: 14@8:24
Sat: 9@8:23
Sun:8@8:11 (fartlek)
Total: 61 mi