After a lot of thought and consideration -- I have decided to retire One Foot in Reality and leave it as an Archive. I will still monitor it to keep the trolls at bay, but will not be posting here any longer.

If you are looking for my new posts, please go to www.haroldlshaw.com .

Thank you for all they years of following One Foot In Reality.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

50 Mile Review of Altra Instincts

After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah blog, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: July 29, 2012

P7290006Initially I was going to wait until 100 miles to do this review, but I have been doing the 50 mile running shoe reviews since I started A Veteran Runnah and decided to keep doing it that way.
There have been so many reviews published on the Altra Instinct’s over the past year, that I probably don’t have any earth shattering insights about them, other than my own experiences with them.
So I will not bore you with the technical specs on the Instinct’s, which you can find on the Altra website or by doing a web search for them.
Some very good reviews of the Instinct’s can be found here (Birthday Shoes) or here (RunBlogger).
Many bloggers and others have tried to pigeon-hole the Instinct’s into this category or that category, but the only thing that really matters to me, is whether or not they work for how I run and if they are comfortable to me when I am running in them.
Isn’t that what is actually important? Not all the other noise and hoopla.

How are the Altra Instincts doing after 55.8 miles?

The Instincts still look boxy to me and as I said in my initial review of the Instinct’s, appearances are deceiving! They have a nice quick feel when running in them that promotes landing with more of a forefoot running style. Also they feel much more cushioned than the lower stack height and amount of midsole would indicate, which is very important since I am running higher mileage than I have in a long time.
I have done 2 double-digit runs (13 & 10), 50 mile week, had a 5.0 mile best time for this year in them. Yesterday, I decided to wear the Instinct’s in a 5K road race and ended up with a time of 22:03, (which was a 1:22 improvement over my best time this year), just to see how they would be at my race pace.
The faster times and longer distances have shown me that the Instinct’s are a very good multi-purpose running shoe and that they are working well for me.
On the gravel road down back, they have protected my feet quite well and I don’t have any aches or pains that I didn’t have before I started running in them.
The outsole is showing very little wear for having over 50 miles on them and even though they might pick up a small rock once in a while, it really is not the issue it was with my previous shoes.
So far the Instincts have done a great job with everything I have thrown at them and appear to be holding up quite nicely.

Aches and Pains

The dreaded calf pain that many runners seem to have when switching to a zero drop shoe, did not happen for me (running most of the year in 4-6MM drop shoes has helped). Although I completely did the opposite of what Altra recommends, I got lucky and it worked for me, since I ran 50 miles in them the first full week I had them
Initially I did have some issues with my right little toe, just not feeling comfortable. This is something that I have had a lot of problems with, in most of my shoes and one of the primary reasons that I wanted to try the Altra’s – the wide toe box. Part of the problem was the style of sock that I was wearing, but the shoe didn’t feel quite right. While I was looking around the Altra website, I saw this alternate lacing system and tried it. After changing to this lacing system and the socks I was wearing, that issue went away and the Instinct’s felt a lot more comfortable!
Yes I had to cut and tie the laces because they became too long after changing the lacing pattern.
The only problem that I have had with the Instincts was when I flew back from Minnesota and had loosened them up for the flight. In my rush to go from terminal A to terminal C in Logan, I forgot to tighten up the laces and got a blister on my right Achilles from the back of the shoe. I have read comments about this being an issue with other runners, so it is something I will keep an eye on.
This didn’t/doesn’t bother me when I was running, but I do notice it a little when walking in the shoes.

The reality is that

My experience in the Altra Instinct’s has been very positive so far.
Of all the shoes that I have run in this year, the Instinct’s are very competitive with anything that I have worn. I am looking forward to seeing how the Instinct’s will be doing at the 300 and 500 mile marks, IF they make it that far, though I am hopeful they will.
However, I am not going to get all excited and gush about how great a shoe is anymore, until I get up into the 500 mile range with them and want to go get another pair to run in again. I have had too many shoes that felt really great in the first few of weeks of running in them and by the time 200-300 miles come around they are done and I wouldn’t go out and buy another pair of that model, because of the lack of durability or other issues.
Overall – my early impression of the Altra Instinct’s is: so far, so very good!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Peter Golding Inaugural Memorial 5K Race Recap

It was a small race with under 20 runners, on an out and back course from the Silver Spur down to the Sidney Recreation area.
I found out about this race on our Cable System’s Public Access Channel on Thursday night. Since where it was being held is part of my 10 mile River Road, I decided hey why not, only $6.00 for an entry fee helped as well.

Initially the weather cooperated and it stayed cloudy and relatively cool low 70’s until about a mile into the race, when the run came out and heated up quickly.

Even though this was a really low key race that I didn’t know about until Thursday, I had a really hard time getting to sleep last night and turning off my brain on how I would do today or if I really wanted to even go. Then on the ride over, I still thought of different things that I could do instead of running in a race, including going for a trail run at Bond Brook.

You know it really sucks to be so freaking anxious about going to something as simple like running in a race, but as I explained in my post on Why I Haven’t Raced That Much, the anxiety that I used to experience about running in races, stopped me from racing for many, many years. Hopefully, I have gotten by the worst of the anxiety that I have about racing and just have normal race day jitters from now on.

But I made it to the race location and got registered. Once I do that I tend to calm down a lot, to me that means that I am going run the race.

Actually I had a good time talking to the other runners and didn’t disappear and crawl into my shell. So I am doing a lot better with that part of running in races

My goal for this race was to break 23:00 minutes, a goal that I thought that was pretty attainable.
So how did the race go?

Unfortunately, I screwed up my watch at the start, so I didn’t have that to let me know how close I was to my splits or goal time. The start felt pretty quick. I was in 5th after the first quarter mile and stayed there until after the Recreation area turn-around and that damn hill coming out of there.

That is where I lost at least the .04 seconds that I would really want later in the run – a LACK of mental toughness and focus on my part going up that hill.

After getting back on the River Road, I caught up and passed the person in front of me and moved into 4th. However, there was just too much distance between me and the third place runner, so I relaxed and didn’t really push the last mile as hard as I should have and that is where I finished – 4th.

I finished the race in 22:03 – just missing my annual goal time of sub 22:00, but almost a minute under my race goal time, without really doing any heavy duty speed work over the past few months. Still I was a little disappointed that I didn’t break 22:00 – that old competitiveness that I still have in me. I am confident that I can in an upcoming race. In any event, this was a huge improvement from my previous best this year of 23:25.

No the times were not world shattering, but I was more than happy with my time.

Peter Golding Memorial 5K Race Photos 7-28-12


Altra Instincts

I didn’t run in racing flats, I wore my Altra Instincts and they did great! I didn’t have to worry about how my feet felt and the shoes didn’t feel heavy at the end of the race. While not really race day shoes for a short race like a 5K, I wanted to try them out to see how they did, so that if I wanted to wear them for a 10K or longer, I would have experience in wearing them in race situations.

The more I wear them the more I like them.

For me to run at a 7:06 minute mile pace, in my training shoes says a lot about how light and fast the Altra’s actually are and how well my training is progressing.

I know that I just wrote a big post about running slower and not worrying about running fast, but the race seemed to unfold, I just went with how I felt and ran faster by about a minute, than I thought I would.

I wonder how much the Olympics will inspire me over the next few weeks.

After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah and A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: July 28, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Retiring the Nike Free 4.0 v2

After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah and A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: July 25, 2012

It has been a good run (pun intended) for my Nike Free 4.0 v2 running shoes.

However, when I run in them for more than 3.0 miles now, my knees, hips and ankles are starting to bark at me afterwards.

Nothing serious, but when I start to feel these aches, I have learned from experience, that it is time to retire those shoes.

How did they do?

From my perspective they are a very, very good shoe with a couple of flaws that made me decide to continue to look elsewhere for that elusive “perfect” running shoe.

Comfort – This is without a doubt one of the most comfortable running shoes or any kind of shoe, I have ever worn. The second day that I wore them, I ran over 13 miles, the last 3.0 in pouring rain and didn’t have any blisters or other shoe related issues. It had the right amount of cushioning and protection for running on the roads.

Quiet – I ran very quietly in this shoe, no slapping the ground, which to me meant I was more efficient.

Flexible – Without a doubt the most flexible shoe I have ever run in.

Weight – Light 7.6 oz. for a size 9 according to the Running Warehouse review.

Low Drop – 6MM drop shoe, which felt pretty good to me, definitely not a high heel shoe and not a zero drop, it does a good job of transitioning from the more traditional running shoes to a lower drop shoe.

Upper Durability – The uppers look pretty much the same as they did when I bought them, just a little dirtier, no holes, major scrapes or other wear/damage. I could put them in the washer and they would come out looking pretty damn good.


Rocks – with all the gaps/siping in the sole (for flexibility) it had a tendency to accumulate small rocks and stuff in the sole, which could be not noticed, a minor distraction or a situation where you had no choice but to stop and remove the rock, either because it was jabbing into your foot or the tap, tap, tap of it hitting the pavement was driving you crazy.

Road Only – due to the Free 4.0’s tendency to pick up small rocks and ground feel, running on dirt roads was not always enjoyable. Due to that and the lack of lateral stability, I didn’t run on any trails with these shoes.

Wear – Looking at the soles of the shoes, I experienced fairly decent wear, but over the last 50 miles it seemed that the wear really accelerated and it also started to have some weird wear patterns.

This was my right shoe and as you can see for some reason (my running form) caused a very weird wear pattern on this section of the sole. I have never seen a pair of shoes wear like this and this was a major reason that I decided to retire these shoes. If they were wearing oddly, I was concerned about how that might affect my gait.

The Free 4.0v2’s had around 250 miles on them when I began to notice the little aches and pains setting in after running in them. When I got to 300 miles, I really started to notice the achiness that tells me it is time to replace a pair of shoes.

300 miles is about average mileage on a pair of running shoes for me, so this to me is the least that I would expect from a very good running shoe, but I was and am looking for 500 or more miles from my running shoes.

I probably could have gotten another 100 or so miles out of them, but instead of pushing the shoes and myself to the brink, I elected to be more conservative and change to a different pair, to make sure that I don’t get injured due to worn out shoes.

Hot – During the summer heat, these shoes did make my feet sweat a lot, the breathability of the Free 4.0 v2, is not quite enough in my opinion.
The reality is

that the Nike Free 4.0 v2’s did a great job for me and allowed me to increase my mileage pretty dramatically after I started running in them. However, I was hoping to get at least 500 miles from my “perfect” shoe.


I enjoyed running in these shoes – A LOT.

If you run on a lot of dirt roads or are looking for a shoe that can do light combo duty on roads/moderate trails I would have a difficult time recommending the Nike Free 4.0 v2 for that, there are better models out there to meet those requirements.

However, if you are primarily a paved surface runner, who doesn’t mind picking a few small rocks out the soles of your shoe every so often or run on a treadmill, the Nike Free 4.0 v2 is a great shoe. It is extremely comfortable, good-looking, light, is a “fast” shoe and I recommend it highly.

Due to where I live, most of my runs have 1-3 miles of running on the dirt roads down back (which in the spring are pretty muddy), as well as running on pavement. Which is not one of this shoe’s stronger points and was the primary reason I chose to not buy another pair of them at this time.

If I ran primarily in an area consisting primarily of paved roads, my choice would have been different.
A Top 5 Shoe

The Nike Free 4.0 v2’s definitely made my Top 5 of all time shoe list, coming in at number 3.
My All-Time Favorite Shoes

Out of all the shoes that I have run in, the shoes on this list came closest to approaching that mythical perfect running shoe for me?
  1. Adidas Blue Marathon Trainer with the Dillinger Web (from early to mid 80’s)
  2. Brooks Villanova (late70’s)
  3. Nike Free 4.0 v2
  4. Saucony Hurricane 5
  5. Asics Gel Kayano 11
Now if Adidas would ever decide to do a retro shoe sale and have the Blue Adidas Marathon Trainer with the Dillinger Web available, I would have a pair in my rotation, to see if they are as good as I remember.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"Do not go Gentle into that Good Night"

After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah and A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: July 17, 2012

In about three weeks I turn 55.

Which in today’s world is not that old, but it is the point where many start to believe that you are old, it is one of those multiple of 11 birth dates and I am eligible for senior citizen discounts in many places.

And to be honest, I am struggling with hitting the double-nickel age-wise more than a little. This birthday is tougher than either my fortieth or fiftieth birthdays – maybe that too is part of the aging process, especially when you refuse to age gracefully.

Truthfully I don’t want to get old, but I am getting there and it is a hell of a lot better than the alternative. This post is just part of the process that I am going through to wrap my head around this thing called aging and how it is affecting me physically and my perspectives on many things.

I will try to focus this to running, but I am sure that I will wander every so often .

Yes I am Slowing Down

In conversations on Twitter or when I read their blogs, I see what younger runners are doing in races or training and want to do those things too. 

Yet I am finding that I can’t. Which frustrates the hell out of me and much like me at their age, they don’t understand why I just can’t go out and hammer like they do, when I say that I can’t do something.

It isn’t that I can’t run or even that I can’t run fast, because I do okay for me and might even surprise many who are younger than me.

However, the problem is that when I run hard it takes longer for me to recover, sometimes a lot longer and when I push too hard without adequate recovery – I get injured. That is part of the aging process and just the way it is.

The other part is that my perceived effort is different today than it was when I was in my 20’s or 30’s. My old 6:00-7:00 minute perceived training pace, has changed to a 8:00 to 9:00 minute pace. When I look down at my watch, I can’t believe how much slower it is, when I feel as though I am giving the same or more effort as when I was younger.

So my training is less efficient for faster running than it used to be, which means that I will not get as fast as I once was.

That is just reality – sorry but that is the way it works.

While I was no where near this level - ask guys like Rodgers, Salazar, Shorter and all the other greats, who might still run fast for their age group, why they aren’t competing at the front of the pack – it comes down to one thing – their age.

Mental Mind Games

Oh we play the mental mind games of saying we are resetting our PR’s and talking about competing in “our” age groups, but in truth all that is a crock of crap. 

We all still remember what our actual PR’s are and still want to break them, even when there is no way in hell that we ever will. Yes I enjoy competing with others in my age group, but hell yes I would like to still be able to compete in the open classes at local races – my old times would be doing nicely up here in some of the smaller local races.

Maybe I am just having a hard time letting go of “what used to be” and “how it was”. Sort of kind of maybe, but at the same time, I think that I have both of my feet planted very firmly in reality and am painfully aware of the limitations and advantages that go along with getting older.
The reality is that

at some point in the not to distant future, I will slow down even more, even though I will fight it every step of the way

That is why I changed my tagline to:

"Do not go Gentle into that Good Night" - Dylan Thomas

Here is the poem in its entirety:


Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas

This has always been one of my favorite poems and as I get older, I understand the meaning of the message much more clearly.

There ain’t a whole lot we can do to stop the aging process, all we can hope for it to keep it at bay or slow it down for a time, but it catches us all eventually. No I am not as young as I was, but I do know that I will not go quietly into that good night and will rage with all my might against the dying of the light.

However, it still sucks when you see pictures of yourself now, and the picture looks more like your father to you, than it does you ;-).

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Bond Brook 5K Trail Race– 7/12/12

After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah and A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: July 12, 2012

I made it to the Bond Brook 5K Trail Race tonight!

This is a big deal for me, as I explain in this post. Although a couple of times during the day and on the way there, I really thought about trying to find an excuse not to go, but I quickly shoved those thoughts aside.

Needless to say, I am glad that I did!

I got to see Jen from Running With the Girls and Dan from Wicked Decent Learning - Dan is from my teaching days

The Race

The race itself was great, however, where is was the first race of the season - a lot of people got turned around. So I am glad that I went to the trail orientation run and then ran it again on Sunday. It helped that I knew the course and where the turns were.

I purposely went out slow and picked it up after we got on the single track. While on the single tracks I felt great, it was on the path/roads that I just didn’t really like it. Oh well, can’t have a whole race be single track, makes it tough to pass.

Not that I am passing too many people.

Overall, my time was faster than I thought it would be, but the GPS only had it 2.46 (did a little correction on this one). Once we got through the first 1/4 I only had one person pass me and helped a few get back on the right trail.

Unofficially, I finished in 27:48 and 17/47 and had a lot of fun pushing myself harder than usual. Even though it was still pretty warm. Here is the link to the official race results.

Lessons Learned

I know that I have to work on speed work and hills.

Also my new neighbors were there and we talked about doing some speed work or hill training together, which will help me because he is faster than I am. He beat me by 20 seconds even after getting turned around, so if I can get a few speed sessions with him, it should help me out and hopefully, I have enough left in my legs to help him too.

My Adidas Vigor's did great, no slipping and sliding and when I stepped on a bunch of rocks wrong, it didn’t kill my feet, so I was very happy with them. They are not lightweight racing shoes, but they protected my feet. Which is what I need more than speed, so they are what I am looking for.
Race Photos

Some other pictures of tonight’s run

This is the part of running that I missed, the social side, where I get to talk with other runners and meet new people.

The reality is that

I will never be a fast runner, but you know something, as long as I have fun and meet some great people – who really cares.

You know something else – I made it to the starting line and that is a big deal and a lot of progress in my opinion.

Thank you Augusta Trails for putting on the race. Next month I am going to join that organization, it just seems very active and is something that I want to get involved with.