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, March 9, 2014

Racing - Training - Running and Struggling With it All

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: March 9, 2014

Photo by David Colby-Young

When I started to write this post last week, it was going to be all about how much I hate to train (I don't), then it morphed into whether I am a serious runner (I am) and moved on to what you are reading now...

am I moving in a different direction with the focus of my training?

What in the hell are you talking about Harold?

I know that I am not a great runner by any stretch of the imagination - no big news there.

However, I am good enough to have some minor successes in races from time-to-time, which results in misplaced delusions of grandeur. In other words I start to pay too much attention to thinking that my minor successes can lead to bigger ones, if only I follow such and such plan or if I do this or that.

Unfortunately, there are just a couple of small problems with this or that:
  • I am getting to be an old fart
  • A lack of talent to run fast over long distances

I think most of us want to believe with a lot of hard work and doing the "right" things according to the experts, that some of those delusions of grandeur can become more than wishful thinking.

If Only I...

Over the past few months, I have stressed out a lot over my running and racing, trying to figure out what type of training will work best for me and the secret, but lofty goals that I had set for myself. I spent a lot of time, selecting a training plan, changing it around and attempting to make it so that in training I am able to go faster, harder, further and more mentally focused than I ever have been. That way when it comes time to race, I will be ready to embrace the pain and set those PRs that I so desperately thought that I wanted.

Unfortunately, this is the trap that I fall into each time I get "serious" about my running.

I start to think - "if only I...":
  • read all the experts or coaches great motivational books, blogs or magazine articles
  • find the latest and greatest training plan
  • run more quality miles
  • do more speedwork, at race pace or faster
  • do my recovery runs and easy runs at the "right" paces
  • when I race that put it all on the line and push till I can't - that run till you puke mentality
  • eat clean or whatever the "best" way for runners to eat is being espoused today
  • use supplements to take care of whatever my diet misses
  • if I did what the better runners are doing

and all those other things that us so-called serious runners have to do to improve and become the best runner we can be.

Which is pure bullshit!

Unfortunately, what I am really struggling with is an over-active imagination and difficulty in being able to admit that what I can do as a 56 year-old runner, (with limited talent) is different from what I want it to be.

Actually it sucks that no matter how hard I train, no matter which fantastic training plan I use, no matter if I have a coach or not or who it is, no matter how great I eat, no matter how much I lift weights, do yoga, stretch, read blogs, magazines or watch videos, it will not change who I am and the limitations that I have as a runner.

Get Real

Let's be real - I have to learn to run within those very real limitations that I have, whether I like it or not.

Unfortunately, we all do.


Hell it doesn't mean that I don't want to push myself or not run in anymore races, because I will continue to do both. I take a lot of pride in working hard as a runner and want to do well when I race.

That is not going to change anytime soon, but at the same time my body is making me look at what is fast for me now, how much energy I have to give to running and to be quite honest I am not all that into embracing the pain of racing anymore.

In other words, I am finding that the attitude of racing until I puke or injure myself really is not the direction I want to go anymore. After all I run because I want to, not because I have to.
That Little Voice

Since I partially tore my Achilles in a race last May, I have had this little voice of discontent in the back of my mind and as I have returned to training to race over the past few months, it is getting louder and louder.

When I stopped and really listened to it – I realized that all this busting my ass to train so hard to prepare for a race, was more about my ego and me getting caught up in the idea that we all should want or need to run faster and/or further to be successful runners.
What do I really want

I want to be able to do a weekly 13-15 mile long run, one session of fast intervals (yes I am crazy - I like intervals), finish with between 40-50 miles a week and once in a while run a race at a comfortably hard pace and still be able to run the next day without feeling completely drained.
The reality is that

Thinking about what I want to do as a runner and how I need to train has brought more questions than answers.

  • Do we always need to be the best runner we can possibly be or is it heresy to simply enjoy being a runner?
  • What happens if/when we start questioning the "truths" that seem to be so prevalent in running today?
  • What happens if we question the motives of many of those so-called experts who espouse these lines thinking about running?
  • What do the "experts" say about training to just be a middle of the pack runner? Do I really care?
  • Do I just go into permanent base mileage mode with a weekly speed workout thrown in?
  • How much does getting older affect my attitude towards running and racing, because I know that I am slowing down - no matter how hard I train?
  • Can I stop training to prepare for races and focus more on training to just run, what are the differences?
  • Is running a race at 70-80% effort good enough for me to enjoy the experience, but still be able to satisfy my competitiveness?

They are inconvenient thoughts and questions for those of us that like to train, but are finding out that training to race a race is not the priority it once was.

These are my thoughts, what do you think?

Does anyone else feel this way or am I out left field by myself again?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Pearl Izumi N1 Trail Running Shoes - 200 Mile Review - 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: March 7, 2014

In my 50 mile review of the Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Trail Running Shoes, I gushed about how great they were:
That being said, of all the running shoes that I have run in over the past 10 years, make that 20 years, hell maybe forever, if I had to pick and use/own just one pair of running shoe (no specialty shoes) to do roads, trails, speed work, winter running, or even race – The Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Trails are the running shoes that I would choose – period.
Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Trails at 200 miles.

Bold praise indeed for a pair of shoes, that I had only run 50 miles in, especially since I have run since the 1970's and have run in a few pair of running shoes.

So how did the next 150 miles go?

Pearl Izumi N1 Trails - Right side view at 50 miles - they do look a little more battered at 200 miles than they did in this photo.

I still LOVE the Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Trails there is no doubt. Yesterday I ran 13 road miles without any issues from the shoes, so they are still working fantastically for me and if I had one pair of running shoes that I needed to everything in, these are the shoes I would choose.

Very little wear on the sole. They are trail shoes and I have used them as my primary winter running shoes.

Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Trails - sole view

Which means that they got/get a LOT of road miles in varying conditions, but more time on tar than dirt trails, which meant I was worried would cause more wear than it did.
Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Trails a closer look at the usual wear spots for me - Yes I land on my heals and toe-ff too much

The tread has worked in the variety of winter conditions that I have subjected the N1 Trails to: snowmobile trails, slush, snow, wet, salty/sanded roads or sidewalks and even muddy/sandy road shoulders. Hell they were even comfortable for running on the treadmill, which for a trail shoe, hasn't happened for me in the past.

I really like the way the rock plate doesn't interfere with the shoe's performance, but definitely protects your feet from road debris, the rocks that the roads/side walks up heah have on them after so much sanding and even running on a rocky railroad track bed.

Unfortunately, the trails up heah have been ice and snow-covered, so I have not done any typical trail running in them - yet.


The N1's survived my post-holing on crusted snow without tearing or putting a hole in them. They are a colder shoe (they breathe a little too well for winter-time running) and you need to wear merino wool socks when it is cold out to keep your feet warm in single-digit temps, so they will be fine for three season running (spring, summer, fall) and crazy runners for winter (oh yeah - I guess that describes me pretty well).

Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Trails - uppers. You can see the salt residue from the roads up heah.

I haven't noticed any loose areas, rips/tears, cracks or wear spots in the upper, even though they have been soaked several times in with the nasty shit they put on the roads up heah, which destroyed a lot of running shoes I have used during winters in the past.


Except for the issues that I describe below, these are one of the most comfortable running shoes that I have ever run in.


However, during those 150 miles I did discover a couple of small things that, while they are not big issues, but they did/do affect how I look at the shoes.

Issue #1

The way the tongue is designed it allows sand/grit inside of the shoe. If you look at the where the tongue attaches to the shoe, when it is flexed there is a small gap between the tongue and the upper. Unfortunately, this small gap allows sand and grit to get inside of the shoe, which can be a pain and distracts me when I am running.
N1 Trails where the dirt and grit gets in

A minor issue really, but one that could be easily fixed by gusseting the tongue of the shoe in the update that will eventually happen.

Issue #2

When running on roads with sand or dirt, sometimes a piece of grit/sand gets stuck in between my Achilles/heel and the shoe. I have to stop to remove it, to avoid getting a blister or sore spot.
N1 Trails Rear View

Pearl Izumi N1 Trails where sand/grit get on the front of the tabs and then moves down into the shoe

Issue #3

This only applies to me and my personal preferences. I love LockLaces and put them in all of my running shoes (I am lazy and like the idea of not having to tie/untie my shoes all the time).

Pearl Izumi N1 Trail - Front view

The N1 Trails were extremely comfortable without the LockLaces and I waited until they had over 100 miles on them before I put them in.

Unfortunately, since the I put the LockLaces on these shoes, they are not as comfortable and I am tempted to put the original laces back in.

Pearl Izumi N1 Trails with LockLaces

It isn't that the LockLaces are not working, it is that the shoes seemed to lose that "magical" fit that they had before I put them in. Now my the top of my left foot bothers slightly on a longer runs and the flex point on my right foot rubs the top of my foot slightly. Neither of these things are enough to cause any issues, they are just a little distractions, but I didn't have these distractions before I put the LockLaces in.

The Reality is that

Other than those 3 very minor issues, I LOVE the Pearl Izumi N1 Trails. I can do any kind of run that I do in them - up to and including racing in them at any of the distances that I run.

The Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Trail running shoes are the ones that when I go for a run, I want to wear. If I have a choice of running shoes at the door these are the ones that I want to put on and run in, no matter what kind of run I am doing.

Do I have better running shoes for a particular workout or race - probably, but at the same time none of the other running shoes that I have run in lately felt as comfortable to me when I am running as the N1 Trails do.

I know that when I put them on, that I am not going to worry about my feet hurting for the distances I have run (up to 15 miles), I don't have blisters and they do not get in the way of how I run. The confidence that I have in how these shoes feel on my feet and work for me, go a long way in compensating for benefits that other styles - those more specialty running shoes could bring to the table, but are not as comfortable to me.

In other words, I can put them on and forget about 'em.

Which is the bottom-line for me when it comes to a pair of running shoes - to not have to worry if they are going to work or not, because I know that the N1 Trails do work for me.

Getting back to my original 50 mile praise of the Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Trails statement - I wouldn't change it.

What will the next pair of running shoes be that I buy?
Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Trails

All the signs are pointing to the Pearl Izumi N1 Trails for both road and trail running.

What your experiences with P/I N1 Trails or EM series of running shoes?