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.


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Final Totals and Thoughts

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: December 31, 2014

2014 is now a memory and although I didn’t accomplish everything that I wanted - I accomplished a lot this year.

The biggest things that I learned this year:

  • If you give your time, effort or love, give it freely - expect nothing in return for your efforts and you will not be disappointed or have expectations that are unmet.
  • Learn to say no and mean it.
  • Live and enjoy the life you have.
Selfie time - it just seems right, after all it was the year of the selfie.

I finally accepted that I am retired and embraced the things that it allows me to do, instead of fighting the preconceived notions that many others have of what it is and what I should be doing. It was not easy, because of the social conditioning that we seem to have that makes being "retired" such a negative thing in our society.

As I am learning - It is not. Being retired has many more advantages that you just do not realize until you accept that you are. So that is one of my biggest accomplishments this year. Will I always be retired, I don't know, you never know, but I plan to enjoy it until I am not.


2014 Final Totals

  • 2014 Miles: 1,845
  • Best Month: January - 200.1 miles
  • Longest Run: 15.1 miles -- twice 1/12/14 & 4/11/14
  • Longest Running Streak: 41 Days
  • Fastest Times
  • 5K: 22:28
  • 5.0: 37:29
  • 10K: 54:19
  • Half: 1:45:50

Injuries took their toll on my conditioning and speed (well age might have a little to do with that too), so I didn’t make any of my speed or total mileage goals - I missed that by 169 miles, so I got pretty close. Also I finally figured out that I am not much of a marathoner and that my strengths are in the shorter distances.


In June, I started running with Bennie and created a monster. He has become a great running partner and believe it or not a Coach. Coach Bennie has gotten me to run more and better than I have in years. There is something about running with him that has just been “right” and you know what, I re-discovered the joyful part of running…well the joy in running fast, being out of breath and then having to stop and bend over to get it back.

He never complains, except when I am going on a run without him - he thinks that just because I am running, he is supposed to also - after all he is my coach and protector. Bennie is a running machine and all heart.

I raced a bit this year and am finally getting a handle on that damn thing called race anxiety. I won a 5K outright, finished first in another (read about them here and here) and took my age group a couple more times, so I did pretty well locally. However, in bigger races I was strictly middle of the pack.

Thomas College Terrier 5K - 10-26-14 - Awards Ceremony.3

Both wins were amazing experiences for different reasons and no, it was not because I had blazing fast times in either race. It was more that I actually showed up at the race and competed against the other runners who showed up for that race - you can’t do anything more than that.

Unfortunately, 2014 was like so many other years, I lost significant time and had my running limited by injuries. This year’s most notable injuries were:

Left Hamstring - which caused me to miss most of May, spend a lot of money in June for treatment and finally, just sucking it up and running with varying levels of discomfort the rest of the year.

Left Achilles - This was still an issue from May 2013, when I partially tore it during a 5K race. They say it takes 12-18 months to recover from something like this completely and I sure didn't heal any faster than that. It didn’t really start feeling right until late in the year and every so often it still bothers more than it should.

Yeah, there were also lots and lots of niggles and little pain-in-the ass things that resolved themselves without anything more than some time and/or rest. All runners go through this stuff, so these were just part of the deal.

Still I would love to be able to run pain-free, for six to twelve months to see what it is like and what I could actually still do.

Running Shoes

Yeah, running shoes are a negative in many ways for me. I always seem to give them too much credit when things are going well and too much blame when the injury bug hits or when I am running poorly - yet again.

Just a few of the shoes I have laying around the house and yes Bennie was going "What are you doing now?"

Below are the shoes that made it more than 100 miles in 2014:
  • Pearl Izumi N2 Road - 1/18/14 — 339.8
  • Pearl Izumi N1 Trails - 1/13/14 — 264.3
  • Pearl Izumi N1 Roads 8/16/14 — 217.4
  • Skechers GoRun Ride 2 - 5/19/14 — 184.4
  • Pearl Izumi N2 Road - 12/26/14 — 179.5 in 2014 - 213.6 total
  • Brooks Cascadia 8 - 11/1/14 — 115.1
  • Skechers GoMeb2 6/28/14 — 104.3
  • Brooks Launch 4/9/14 — 101.4

I tried way too many pairs and the worst part -- I never found any shoes that I really loved this year, even with trying so many shoes. I can see me getting back to a couple of brands that worked well for me in the past and sticking to those choices in 2015. The brand experimenting or going after the "next great shoe", that will be the newest greatest shoe ever has to stop.

I have moved to Strava as my primary online running log and am mostly happy with the results, enough that decided to move to the pro version.

Strava - Back Cove Stats 12-17-14

As much as I like the ease of importing my GPS watch data to Strava and how it documents the runs, I will still keep using my Spreadsheet - it remains my official running log and the data there is completely mine.

My Spreadsheet
The reality is that

2014 was my best year of running since my knee surgery in 2011.

I learned (the hard way as usual) that you cannot do everything well and have to make choices, focus on the choices and train correctly for those choices, instead of training for 2-3 different things at the same time. It just doesn’t work too well and for me always seems to end up badly.

I also learned a lot about what works for me and what doesn't gear-wize (running shoes, GPS watches, smart phone apps, clothing, socks, etc.) and since I do not have to experiment or search as much for gear to see if it works for me as much, I have more time to focus on just running.

Speaking of focusing on the running - I have learned that training and racing long distances is not a strength of mine, I get injured way too often. I do better and am more motivated when I am running/training and racing shorter distances. In my One Goal to Rule Them All post, I talk a lot more about this.

I am thankful to all the runners that I have met in person and online in 2014. I have made new friendships and acquaintances that will last beyond simply running, so that is a good thing.
Running with Sam W, in New Hampshire

I hope that your 2014 was as great as mine was and that you are ready to step into the arena in 2015.

Here is to seeing you all on the other side of midnight.
Coach Bennie, my secret weapon

Sunday, December 21, 2014

What I Learned in 2014 about my Running

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: December 21, 2014

This has been a year where I learned a lot about who I am both as a person and as a runner. I learned some painful lessons and I learned some things that I believe I will carry with me for a long, long time.

Let’s get right to it.

I love running with Bennie

Back in May, I decided that I would start to run with our Jack Russell Terrier - Bennie.

Coach Bennie has pushed me, forced me and pulled me to run more, run faster and smile more than I can remember at any time in my running. He is a pain in the ass to run with, but at the same time, I can't imagine running without him.

I am a shoe geek.

Yeah this is not news and I already knew this, but…well this year just proved it more than any other. I fit in quite well with the Running Shoe Geek Facebook Group and while I may not have had the most shoes, I think I more than upheld the ideals of being a member of the Group.

I owned and ran in more than 20 different pair of running shoes. No I didn’t like all of them, some I hated, some were meh and some did well by me. However, there were none that just stood out and made me go - I LOVE these shoes, you can read all about it here. Which means that I am still searching for the running shoes that work best for me.

Will I find the shoes that I love in 2015 - I sure as hell hope so, but sometimes I think that the search is part of the fun. However, due to some decisions and things that I have finally figured out, I think that finding them is closer than it has been.

I am not an élite athlete

That is not news to anyone, especially me.

No, I don’t have delusions of grandeur or unrealistic expectations of my running or my ability to run. As much as I would love to run like I did when I was in my 20’s or better - I will never run that fast or far ever again. I am what I am - an old fart, just trying to keep running the best I can.

Nowadays, I usually end up somewhere between 6:40 to 7:20 per mile pace, for a 5K to 10K. It all depends on the course, weather and my current injury status (which seems to always be something I am fighting/battling/rehabbing or healing).

I do know and accept that where I place in a race depends more on who else shows up, than how fast I am. Although I do attempt to compete in my age group and open categories, age and accumulated injuries do affect what I am able to do.

Could I get faster, sure we can all get a little faster, but I would have to get a coach, change some of my lifestyle, do strength work - basically become a professional runner, without the ability or paycheck. :-).

That is not reality and I know that the clock is running against me - that being closer to 60 than 50 thing. At this point the drive for faster is not as overriding a goal as just keeping what I got, without getting injured as often.

I am more of 5K to 10K runner

I also realize that I am one of those runners who quickly gets slower as the distance increases.

It is a combo of my not liking to run fast for long distances (the long hurt just doesn’t appeal to me - never has) and my body just doesn’t hold up that well to higher mileage training.

Which means that I need to focus on my strengths and not worry about that always wanting to run longer thing or needing to continue to chase that BQ dream from my childhood.
I am a heel striker

Since 2011, I have attempted to refine, ah hell...change how I run and to become more of a midfoot striker.

Like many others, I got caught up in the “Born to Run” hoopla, minimalism, you can run better: Natural Running, Pose Method, Chi Running and all those other methodologies that emphasize how to run right, land with less stress to the body, don’t heel strike and promise or at least lead me to believe that their “methods”, will make me faster and run with fewer injuries.

Heel striking on 1/15/12, but a few pounds lighter now ;-)

During those years, I worked hard at doing the “right” things, which resulted in some improvement to my mechanics. Yeah, I know that I run a bit more efficiently than I did in 2011, but when it comes down to it, all the advice, book learning and video “instruction” of/by today’s “experts” didn’t change anything all that much.

Yep, I still heel strike.

No huge changes there and yes, I still get injured, at about the same rate as I did before I attempted to change how I run with all the “help” of the experts.

So, unless things change dramatically, I am just going to focus on running, putting in good miles and not worry about my form, mechanics or where my foot lands when I run.

Which means that when I choose a running shoe, it needs to be able to handle a runner who heel strikes, has smooth heel-to-toe transition, is quiet and doesn’t get in the way of how I run. I have a feeling that a couple of my old running shoe brands will be seeing more of me again.

I love the online running community

Let me clarify that a little.

Yep, I love most of the online running community. A very small minority out there piss me off, with their holier than thou attitude, super competitive cut throatiness or general negativity that seems to permeate their comments and participation in our community - but hey that is real life too, so I am not surprised to find them here. Luckily they are few and far between, but are a pain-in the ass when you find them or should I say they find you.

I know that am not a big deal, big wheel or anything else and do not want to be. I am very comfortable with the small niche I am settling into. I am simply Harold, a guy from Central Maine who loves to run and shares way too much of what he is doing with his running online.

Does this mean I am going to share less - no. It is my blog and I share what I want on social media - that is my choice, if someone chooses to read it - that is their choice.

However, I will not get sucked into the negativity or deal with the trolls that pounce on so many others. I have learned the hard way, not to feed them and delete anything they say from my blog and quickly block them on my social media sites.

Social media is great as long as you know your limits, are honest in what you are sharing, act respectfully to others and remember that whatever you write is there forever - you will be fine.

I am much more comfortable with my social media presence, since I hit re-set again in September.
The reality is that

I have learned a lot about me as a runner, where I want my running and participation in the online running community to go in the future.

Hell, I still want to run fast or at least as fast as I can for as long as I can.

It also means that instead of focusing on the running movement/idea or bandwagon of the moment, I will look at it, see if it fits where I want to go, but keep moving forward in my own way.

I am officially off the need to change my running form bandwagon and instead am just focusing on running the way that I run - for better or for worse. I have feeling that my body will figure out what I am supposed to do, in the most efficient way it can. If not, well I will just keep on putting one foot in front of the other and I ain't going to worry too much about it either way.

Oh I plan to keep searching for that elusive “super” shoe and will probably try way too many between now and 2016, but that is part of the fun of being a running shoe geek, but at least I have narrowed what I am looking for a little more. We will see.

Sometimes...I wonder what I could do if I remained uninjured and could run pain-free for 6 months or so - it ain’t happening, so dreaming or thinking about it, won’t do a damn bit of good, but still…I wonder and honestly it would be nice if it ever happened.

However, coach Bennie will be there and continue to ensure that I keep running and if he has anything to do with it - improving.

Yep, I have learned a lot this year and thank you for taking the time to read my meandering thoughts.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Coach Bennie is Running Me Like a Dog

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: December 14, 2014

Coach Bennie is a tough - old school, no-nonsense coach, who doesn't believe in rest, running easy or any of the other modern-day approaches to running.

Coach Bennie looking up towards Steven's Hill - Hill work time

Coach Bennie's coaching philosophy in a nutshell:
  • You gotta run as much as you can, as fast as you can, as much as you can.
  • Rest Days - those are for wimps - get your ass out there and run
  • Go easy - yeah get warmed up and then balls to the walls - then repeat until you can't
  • If a vehicle passes you - pick up the pace to see if you can catch it. Do this for every single-one.
  • Weight training - pull or drag something behind you - no fancy gear here
  • Breathing - its over-rated, just frigging run
  • Long Runs - it is run until you drop, then walk a little, then run like hell again, but nothing more than 6-13 miles a day total, multiple runs a day are fine.
  • Don't worry about the GPS or time - just run fast, slow down, then run fast again, until you are tired - look at what you did after your nap
  • Plan - what plan you run until I get tired, have to pee or poop then we start in again, until we get home. Then we do that every single day.
How fast - as fast as your fat ass will go down the road, don't worry, I can keep up with you - no problem. Why do you think I pull on the leash so hard all the time, you are just so damn slow. I have to keep motivating you to run faster. If I wasn't there you would slack off and run way too slow.

I said come on - you need to get your ass moving old man.

Nasty Weather - Just freaking go run, it ain't a big deal. Besides if I can run naked out there in winter, you sure as hell can put all those extra skins on, that you need to be outside. If you fall on your ass, I will bark at you and tell you to get up and get it moving again.

Rest - when we get home eat something, then I can cuddle up in your lap and we can take a nap, eat a little more, take another nap and go for a walk.

Stop worrying so much about distance or time. 

You will get there when we get there, where ever there is. Remember it is okay to stop and sniff something, look around, lift up a leg or even stop and drop, those things are a necessary part of life and will help you feel better.

Always remember - life is good or as good as you make it.

Pretty simple right?

This has been my training plan for a few months now - Coach Bennie style.

I have a feeling that might not be the training schedule that most modern coaches would recommend, have any sane runner do and most would ask what in the hell I am doing, but Coach Bennie swears by it.

He tells me that all these modern methods and crap is just that - crap and I should just worry about running like he does. He says that we are over thinking something that we should just be doing.

The thing is, I can't really argue with Coach Bennie, since we really started working together at the end of July, it seems like I have run more and with less injuries than I have for a long time.

Who knows maybe Coach Bennie's training methods aren't so odd after all and maybe he is on to something. Then again this modified high intensity training program, will probably catch up with me at some point, but until then I will keep following his coaching methods and see where it leads me.

Hey guy - I am really trying to get my rest before our next run - don't bother me

I just wish that I could take as many naps as he does and not get TheWife on my case about all those Honey-Doo's that are left around for me to work on. Ahhhhhh Coach Bennie I am jealous of your lifestyle - no wonder you are so damn fast.

Sometimes, I wonder how much we over-think our running and what would happen if we just ran, had fun with our running and didn't worry so much about how far, how fast or how much. This was originally meant as a sarcastic/funny look at how my running over the last few months, since I started running with Bennie, but the more I wrote, the more I got to thinking about how well my running has been, since I began running so much with him.

Makes me wonder - yes it does.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Year of Running 2014

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: December 8, 2014

Amanda over at Miss Zippy does her Year of Running every year and I have added my two cents worth into for a couple of years now. This post is how I kick off my end of year reflections, which culminates in my 2014 in review post.

Without further ado, here is my contribution to the:

Year of Running 2014

It’s that time again–time to look back at how your year of running has gone. I’ve done this post the past three years and each year, the response has grown, so I’m excited to get it rolling again. How you play along:

1. Grab my button - done

2. Answer the following questions - done

3. Link in at the bottom - done

Best race experience? 

Hands down, it would have to be the Thomas College Terrier 5K, which is the first long distance race I have ever won out-right. It was exciting to be in the lead from about a quarter-mile into the race - to the finish. It was a race that forced me to think strategically versus just going as hard as I could.

Thomas College Terrier 5K - coming into the finish

Best run? 

Any of my runs with Bennie.

Bennie Bean - my running partner

Yes, he is pain-in-the-ass to run with at times and I have kissed dirt because of him, but I wouldn't trade him for any other running partner. Bennie pulls (not pushes) me to do more running than I would otherwise and his runs are almost always a Fartlek run. 

He doesn't whine or complain, he just runs, always has that doggy grin during our runs and is just about always ready to go for more. Bennie has been the one constant in my running this year and made me much more consistent than I ever have been.

Best new piece of gear? I could talk about a particular pair of running shoes, but to this point no particular pair of shoes has WOW'ed me into thinking they are the greatest thing since whatever it was last time. I have been unimpressed with my GPS gear, headphones, etc. and while I love my iPhone and MacBook Pro I don't run in or with them - they are accessories, so that pretty much leaves me with clothes or outerwear.

I would have to say my Saucony running mittens that I got last week at TJ Maxx. I have looked for a pair of running mittens, since my Moss Brown Gore-tex mitten shells wore out a few years ago (I bought them in 1982 - so I got my money's worth out of them). The Saucony mittens have done everything I wanted or expected from them.

Best piece of running advice you received? 

Probably the one that I keep ignoring at worst and do sporadically at best - do strength, stretching and mobility work. I am horrible at doing any of those three consistently.

Most inspirational runner?

Meb - enough said.

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be? 

Acceptance of who I am.

Now it’s your turn!

Brooks Cascadia 8 - 50 Mile Review

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: December 8, 2014

Hey, a shoe made it to 50 miles - do the happy dance!!!! Yeah, it seems like it has been a while since a pair of running shoes actually made it to the 50 mile review, but sometimes that is how things workout.

Brooks Cascadia 8's 12-9-14 with Joey in the background

The Brooks Cascadia 8’s did it.

Yes, this is last year’s model and the Cascadia 9 has been out for a while.

However, Cascadia model line is one that I have wanted to run in for several years. Ever since I first saw them at the old (now closed) Eastern Mountain Sports store in Augusta. Unfortunately, while I tried them on more than a few times and always looked at them when I go to an EMS, I never got around to getting a pair, which is something that I am learning was a mistake.

How much did I pay?

I bought them at Sierra Trading post

You can still get the Cascadia 8’s in many of the online stores with prices ranging from $60-$110.

The Cascadia 9’s are available with a list price of $120 on the Brooks Running site, but you can find them cheaper with discount codes or sales going on now. Last time I looked EMS still carried the Cascadia line.

How have they worked out for me?

They have surprised me.

For some reason or other, I haven’t had much luck with Brooks Running shoes over the years. It seems that I just haven’t found the model/style in their running shoe line that works well for me - until now (maybe, possibly or is that hopefully).

Usually the biggest negative about trail shoes is when you run on the roads with them - to be blunt they suck and are uncomfortable to run any longer distance in them on roads. However, this is not the case with the Cascadia 8’s, they are as comfortable to run on roads as they are the trails for me.

They are smooth and quiet to run in, which to be honest I didn’t expect.

Brooks Cascadia 8 in snow

So far I have also run in some pretty nasty conditions and they have handled the nastiness with aplomb and no issues. When I ran in crusty snow, they didn't come apart or rip at all (which some of my trail shoes have), while running in snow, slush, sleet, single track with rocks, mud and wet leaves, they do fine. Deep mud they aren't great, but they get you through, but they don't do well on ice without some help (which normal for almost all running shoes without studs/spikes embedded in them).

So far so good.


For consistent measurement purposes, I am a size 7 on the Brannock Foot measuring device and when you add-on a thumb’s width, it usually puts me in an 8.0 to an 8.5 running shoe. Below is a photo of the Cascadia 8’s and my thumb showing where my right big toe is inside the toe box to show how it actually fits my foot.

Brooks Cascadia 8's - the thumb test

The length is where it is supposed to be and the toe box is wide enough that, I am not having any issues with my right foot hurting during a run, due to a narrow toe box (which I thought might be an issue), due to the taper there and the overlays on the upper.

One thing that I am struggling with is getting the right fit for the top of my foot - to the laces. When I snug up the laces too much, I can feel pressure on top of my feet and when I leave them too loose my foot doesn’t feel secure in the shoes. It is a minor issue, but one that might become more of one on a double-digit run, but I finally seemed to have gotten it right this past weekend - finally.

The heel cup feels good and my heel isn’t bobbing around in there, in other words I feel well-locked down in the heel area - a must for me.

The size is where I want it to be.

Feel (different from fit)

I compare all shoes to how quiet the Skechers GoRun Ride 2’s were for me and while the Cascadia’s are trail shoes, I have been amazed at how quietly I run in them. They are probably the quietest trail shoes that I have ever run.

The Cascadia 8’s feel cushioned, but not marshmallowy or sloppy. I like how they feel when I am running on the roads as well and on the trails they feel protective - more like riding around in a Jeep Grand Cherokee versus the old Jeep CJ-7. It is almost a luxurious ride and you tend to just go over crap, instead of feeling like you have to avoid it.

Brooks Cascadia 8's

The Cascadia 8's are heavier than other shoes that I normally run in and are definitely not a a “fast” shoe, that I would use for dry roads, speedwork or racing. However, they worked well during a race where we had 12” of snow the night before and the roads were a mess, racing flats that day would have been a bad idea for me - I don’t enjoy my butt hitting the ground. They kept me upright and I was able to keep up an 8:00 minute pace in conditions that I would normally be slower in.

I have a feeling that due to the weight, that I might be a little more tired towards the end of a long run, but at the same time it should also strengthen me for the spring when I switch back to lighter shoes.

I have always liked the looks of the outsole of the Cascadia line, it was always one of the things that drew me towards it - it just seemed like it would work well for me. Now that I have run in them in some pretty crappy conditions, I like the outsole a lot.

The ability run smoothly and quietly on tar and then be able to trust that you have at least a chance of getting good grip in whatever nastiness is in front of you, mud, single-track, rocks, snow, slush provides a lot of confidence for me as a runner.

Brooks Cascadia 8's outsole

I run a lot with a spastic Jack Russell Terrier. Actually he is my running partner, but one who is easily distracted (I had someone describe him as ADHD on crack). So knowing that I will have good traction in just about any condition, except ice - is important and allows us to run on days that in the past we would have just walked.

Having a rock plate and plenty of sole between me and the road, means that there is not a lot of road feel, but as I have said in the past. I really don’t give a shit about road feel and care more about my running shoes being protective. Which the Cascadia 8’s definitely are.

One thing about running in the winter in Maine is that the cold weather can negatively affect the midsole material on some shoes. The single digit temperature days that I have run in the Cascadia's, the midsole did not get so hard that it felt like I was running on boards. Definitely a good thing.

After 50 miles there is no noticeable wear on the outsole.

Initially, I was worried by the amount of sewing and overlays on the upper and how it would affect my Tailor’s Bunionette - so far there haven’t been any issues with it. Also, I am finding that my feet do not get cold in them and the wind just doesn’t blow through and cause my feet to freeze. However, this good thing in the winter, might not be so great on a hot summer day when your feet are hot and sweaty on a trail run.

Brooks Cascadia 8's - Uppers

The stock laces just were not for me - the brownish color didn't match the Black/Red/Yellow colorway of the shoe, so I put in a brighter color set of laces, which helps the looks of the Cascadia's in my opinion.

However, I did have some issues with the top of shoe - finding/getting the right feeling of snugness, while not feeling overly tight and distracting me during a run. It was only a distraction, but it takes away that put ‘em and forget ‘em feeling that I want/expect from a shoe. It seems to have resolved, but it took longer than usual to get it right.

The one thing that I do not like is that the tongue itself is a little too short, I find myself thinking too much about where the laces are when I am tying the shoes. If am not careful the lace will slide over the end of the tongue and I have to stop to re-tie the shoes again, to avert what could be an issue later on.

Brooks Cascadia 8's - Uppers

While the Black and Red colorway is pretty conservative for me, it still is a great looking running shoe and does look good in jeans or around town. Style is not obviously my strong point or something that I worry about too much, but for some runners it is a consideration and these do look good.
If Bennie Chewed Up These Shoes Today, What Would I Do?

To be honest, I think that I would go ahead and re-order a pair of Cascadia 8’s in a heartbeat, especially if I was able to find the same bargain that I did last time. They have worked well for me and I like running in them.

The Reality is that

In the winter, my trail shoes become my primary running shoes for running outside. This means they have to be able to run well on tar, trails (single track, groomed, etc.), snowmobile trails, different types of snow, mud, slushy roads, in extremely cold weather and do all the distances I run. It doesn’t mean that they have to be light-weight or a “fast” shoe, but they do have to be comfortable and able to run in different conditions.

So far the Cascadia 8's have done this with no problem.

They are comfortable, have great traction, run quietly despite being trails shoes and give me a lot of confidence that I will remain upright and able to keep moving forward - when I am running in a variety of terrains and/or nasty conditions (tar, dirt roads, single-track trails, mud, snow, etc.).

Although I only have just over 50 miles on these shoes, the more I run in them, the more I like to run in them. The Cascadia 8’s may not be a “fast” shoe, but they have performed well in the winter conditions that I actually got them for.

The bottom line is that they are good shoe, that seem to be bomb-proof. It will be interesting to see my observations in my 200 miles review, because I have a feeling there will be one.

Brooks Cascadia 8's

From what I could see from the Brooks website there are not a lot changes between the Cascadia 8 and the Cascadia 9, so I would think that the differences between running in the two, wouldn't be that big of a deal.

Disclosure of Material Connection: These shoes are a personal purchase from Sierra Trading Post. The opinions I have expressed are my own and your experiences with this product might be different from mine. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Shoes I have Run In - 2014

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: December 3, 2014

2014 was supposed to have been the year where I reduced the number of running shoe that I brought home, had delivered or otherwise added to the hoard of running shoes that already existed around these heah parts.

Just a few of the shoes I have laying around the house and yes Bennie was going "What are you doing now?"

I still have a couple of pair in my gym locker, but these are all the running shoes that are lying around the house now. Although, I am pretty sure that I could have come up with a few more if I had really looked. Over the past year, I have traded, given away, thrown away lots of shoes, otherwise the pile would have been a lot bigger.

The bad thing is, even though I had to put these all away after the photo, I "only" found 3 pair that I wanted to get rid of - a runner's problems.
What would have been a good year?

It would have been a stunning success if I had gotten the number of new running shoes to under 10 for the year.

I failed —— miserably.

Now that you know that I failed, how bad was it?

2014 Running Shoes

I listed the shoes I have run in during 2014 by the number of miles that I have run in them as of today:
  • Pearl Izumi N2 Road - 1/18/14 — 340.3
  • Pearl Izumi N1 Trails - 1/13/14 — 264.3
  • Pearl Izumi N1 Roads 8/16/14 — 214.1
  • Skechers GoRun Ride 2 - 5/19/14 — 184.4
  • Pearl Izumi N2 Road - 12/26/13 — 179.5 in 2014 - 213.6 total
  • *Skechers GoMeb2 6/28/14 — 104.3 **Free media sample
  • Brooks Launch 4/9/14 — 101.4
  • Newton Energy 3/26/14 - 89.4
  • Pearl Izumi Peak II 7/21/14 — 69.4
  • *Brooks Cascadia 8 - 11/1/14 — 40.1
  • *Saucony Zealot - 11/171/14 — 34.4
  • *Pearl Izumi N2 Tri - 10/28/14 — 31.0
  • Skechers GoBionic Trails 6/18/14 — 30.6
  • Brooks Green Silence 5/2/14 — 22.2
  • *Puma Wear-Test 1 - 11/17/14 — 16.4 ***Wear-test
  • *Puma Mobium Elite V2 - 11-28-14 — 11.7
  • *Newton Energy NR - 11/17/14 — 7.3
  • Skechers GoRun Ride 2 - 9/26/13 — 5.1 in 2014 - 431.0 total
  • New Balance 1010 v1 - 10/9/13 — 5.1 in 2014 - 24.4 total
  • Skechers GoRun Ride 3 4/6/14 - 4.1
  • Skechers GoBionic - 1.0
  • Scott MK4 - .25 - 1/18/14

*Still In Use
**Free shoe provided by the brand
***Wear Test Sample

FYI - the date after the shoe name is when I started running in them.

I have run in and owned 22 pair of running shoes, so far in 2014. As you can see some worked a lot better than others for me ;-).
Brand Breakdown

What was the brand that I ran in the most:
Shoe Brand Summary
These Stats Mean What?

Pretty simple - it means that I ran primarily in Pearl Izumi running shoes in 2014 and the totals would have been even higher if the N2 Tri's were better cold weather shoes.

It also meant that unfortunately, I was not able to run as successfully in Skechers line-up this year as I did in 2013, even though I had in the same number of running shoes as Pearl Izumi. The update from the GoRunRide2 to the GRR3 did not work for me and I struggled to find other styles in the Skechers' line that I could run well in.

It also meant that I struggled to find another brand of shoes that I was happy running in, beyond the Pearl Izumi EM line.

Okay Harold, if the Pearl Izumi EM line worked so great for you, why did you keep searching?


I am a tinkerer, I enjoy experimenting and trying new things, ideas and designs. I have accepted that this is just a part of who I am. Which means that I will probably always be looking at and trying - new to me shoes.


Last spring, the N1 Trails 1/13/14 (which I loved) and N2 Roads 12/26/14, both were letting in too much grit, sand and small pebbles into the shoes and it was driving me nuts. That was the biggest reason, why in the spring I looked around for a replacement for the Pearl's and I thought that I needed a "faster" shoe than the N2 Roads for speedwork.

Then this fall, I made a shoe trade with another runner, had a return credit for TheWife's birthday present and was also accepted as a wear-tester for Puma, all of which resulted in running shoes that were not Pearl Izumi.

It just seemed that even though I could have easily opted for another pair of N2 Roads or N1 Trails, I got better deals or wanted to try something slightly different, with different brands.

In other words, lots of excuses. :-)


Now what does this mean running shoes and me in 2015?

Pearl Izumi - I know their EM line works well for me and I really want to give the N2 Road v2 a long look, since the two pair of N2's did so well for me in 2014, especially as a mileage eating shoe.

I was happy with the N1 Roads, but at the same time they are lacking the "pop" that I would look for in a 5K to 10K racing flat and they didn't have enough cushioning for me to go longer than that, so I don't see me getting another pair of them. Even so, I have a feeling there will be at least a couple of pair of Pearls on my feet next year, besides the N2 Tri's which have already been squirreled away for the spring.

Skechers - They are coming out with a bunch of updates to their GoRun line that seem to be very good updates, but there will be corresponding price increases for some of the style, which may take them into the same price-points as other brands, as they move into the specialty running stores. Which takes away some of the appeal of the Skechers brand.

Skechers GoRun Ride 2's

Also I have heard rumors that they are continuing to decrease the amount of the "bump" in the sole, which for me set it apart from other brands and was a big reason that I chose to run in the GoRun series in the past. So I am not sure about how much I will be in Skechers this coming year, but they will get a close look.

Brooks - I will probably have a lot of miles on the Brooks Cascadia's by the end of winter (they are my outside winter/crappy weather running shoes) and I plan on running a little more on trails this coming year.

Brooks Cascadia 8's

As much as I am liking the Cascadia's, I have struggled with liking the fit or feel of their road shoes - they just haven't felt right for me. So I can see me getting another pair of Brooks Cascadia's, but not their roadies.

Newton - I struggle with Newton's, I like them, I hate them, I love them. I run well in Newton's, Newton's hurt my feet and are expensive - although other brands are catching up quickly in this department. However, I always seem to run well in them.

Newton Energy NR

I really do not know what to make of Newton's. Are they over-priced and over-hyped or are they the answer to my running woes - who to hell knows? I still haven't figured it out and will probably try yet another pair again this year after the Energy's wear out.

Saucony - I really like the new ISO-Fit and improved multi-purpose outsoles on the Zealot/Triumph and would still be running in the Zealot's if they were a size smaller, but they are not.

Saucony Zealot

I have run well in Saucony in the past and the changes that they are making to their lines intrigues me and I will be keeping a close eye on their updates. I can see me getting a few pair of their shoes this year.

Puma - I hadn't run in any of their shoes since the 1980's, when during the fall a solicitation came around looking for wear-testers. I looked closely at their product lines and decided to apply to be a wear-tester on a whim. I was accepted, but due to my foot size not being what they are looking for-I don't anticipate doing a lot with them.

Puma Mobium Elite V2

However, during my research of Puma Running's products, their Mobium line really intrigued me. The design of Mobium was different, sometimes I am a sucker for different and whether I do much with the Wear-test program, I decided that I wanted to try the Mobium's - so I got a pair for an early Christmas present. So far I really like them.

I can see me running a lot of miles the Puma Running brand, which includes the FAAS line, which is a solid running shoe line in its own right, during 2015
The reality is that

I am a running shoe geek and I want to try all the new, old and in between running shoes, but know that I can't :-). Even though I know that I didn't meet my goal of reducing my new shoe total to under 10 for the year, I had a lot of fun researching which shoes I wanted to try, experimenting (running in) a bunch of different running shoes and have learned that I have certain style of running shoe that I run in better than I do others.

You would think with those 5 brands that I will have enough shoes to drool over, but there are also some other shoes I really want to get on my feet: Adidas Adios Boost, Mizuno Hitogami/Sayonara and who knows what other interesting shoes will come my way by either a trade, great deal or other opportunity.

I have a feeling that my goal (or should I say TheWife's goal for me) of staying under 10 running shoes in 2015 will fail again - hopefully not as badly as it did in 2014, but at least I have fun and learn a lot about all the shoes that are out there.

After all, running shoes are my biggest vice.

Viva le running shoes.

How about you? How many running shoes, did you run in this year

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Champions 12th Annual Turkey Trot 2014- My 5K Race Recap

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: November 27, 2014

Ah what a way to start Thanksgiving a 5K race, after getting 12 or so inches of snow, the night before.

I took this photo after I got home from the race

Yes, my Ranger has 10" of clearance and it was moving snow, so we got a good 12" inches. However, I didn't need to shovel or snow blow to get out, just put it in 4WD hi and drove right down the drive and through the plow crest at the end of the drive way.

The amount of snow isn't really a big deal, it was that it was a wet/heavy snow, that had ice and slush under it, which made it pretty miserable to drive and run on.

Driving was slow and the I-95 was a mess still, a lot of ice and crap was still on the road and I kept it in 4WD and didn't drive over 50 mph all the way to Waterville. I would rather go slow than end up 50 yards in the pucker brush waiting for a tow truck or worse.

I got to Champions - no problems, but when I went for my warm-up run, down Armory Road, this is what the race course looked like and I had just met the plows.

Looking towards the 4-way stop - we would be taking the left

Looking back towards Eagle Rental, the bump we would be going back up

Looking down the start - yep the parking lot was as "interesting" as it looked

No the roads were not "that" bad and we all have run in worse, but with the conditions it changed my goals for the race to:

Finish without injuring myself.
Run hard, but not stupid hard.


It was a combined 10K/5K start and there were quite a few runners for the conditions this morning...once we got to Olympia there was this clown out in the parking lot, doing donuts in his car. He rolled down his window and apologized.

Only in Maine. :-)

Champions Turkey Trot 5K/10K Start - Photo courtesy of Carrie Davis

When we got to the 5K turn off on Armory Road, only one runner from the lead pack turned - which put me in 2nd place - surprise, surprise.

I wore my Brooks Cascadia's and while screw shoes would have been better, they worked well on everything but the icy sections. So I had to move from what looked like clear pavement (it was a lot of black ice) into the snow/slush areas to get good grip. However, the runner ahead of me was flying...he had me by a minute or more at 4 way stop and by the time I was getting close to the 5K turn-around I couldn't see him.

Unfortunately, the 5K turnaround wasn't marked and he missed it and kept running. Even though I knew where it was supposed to be, I went quite a ways beyond it and didn't turn until I looked down at my GPS watch and saw it was already at 1.7, so I slowed down, talked to the volunteer back at the water station and headed back towards the finish. The other runner was way out of sight, so I couldn't holler and tell him to turn around.

Strava Stats - Champions Turkey Trot 5K Race - Yeah the course ended up a little long for me ;-)

I didn't try to push any harder on the way back, I just maintained a steady pace and figured that the guy was going to turn-around and catch me any way. He was a LOT faster runner than I am. He must have run further up the road than I thought he would, because I never saw him again, until after we finished.

Yeah, I came across the finish line before anyone else in the 5K.

I also knew that I was not the fastest runner today in the 5K race. I had finished first because he had missed the turnaround, not because I was faster, which made me feel bad for him. I told Lisa and Carrie what had happened and that he should be the winner and that I should have finished 2nd. However, the guy was very gracious and declined to take 1st, even though he should have won the race easily.

He just finished running cross-country for a college team and was home for the holiday. So I know he is a helluva lot faster than I am.

Unfortunately, I couldn't stick around for the awards ceremony (I had 2 driveways to clean-out), but I did get my t-shirt, that Lisa and Carrie had kidded with me about when I registered late on Monday :-).

Champions Turkey Trot T-Shirt

Although I didn't set the course on fire or set any PR's, I was very happy with my steady pace, in the tough conditions. So I accomplished both of my goals, no new injuries (although the hammie didn't like the icy spots and those sudden slips) and I didn't run stooopid.

I really enjoyed the race and it had that feeling of be an old-style race. Pretty low-key, no fancy chip timing , big prizes packages or anything. Just a lot of smiles on the finishers faces, some fruit and stuff in the lobby and a lot of camaraderie.

It was good to see a lot of familiar faces, that I haven't seen for a while and get to talk with them. I would have liked to have stuck around, but I will get to yak with a lot people at Champions and while I was there, Patrick asked if I was interested in starting up the Nooners group at the Alfond Youth Center again, in a week or two. Of course I said yes and am really looking forward to it.

So thank you to Lisa and Carrie for organizing and putting on the race and all the race volunteers who stood around in some pretty nasty conditions to help a bunch of crazy runners, run in nasty conditions. The only suggestion that I would have is that at the turn-around having an orange cone in the road to let the runners know where to turn :-).

I know that I had fun today, not because I got the t-shirt, but because of everyone that I got to see and that I overcame the conditions to have a decent race.