I HAVE MOVED

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.

Harold

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Road - 50 Mile Review - Aug 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: August 30, 2014


I have over 50 miles (actually over 70) on my new Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Road running shoes, which means - I get to write about them again.
N1 Road Mileage 8-29-14

Here were my initial impressions from my first run and why I chose to buy the N1 Roads.

While the N1 Roads are still one of Pearl Izumi's flagship running shoes, they are getting long in the tooth, when it comes to the typical life cycle of running shoes.

Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads

In other words they are no longer the newest/greatest thing on the roads anymore. All the marketing hype/multiple blog reviews around them and their "new when first released" Dynamic Offset design has pretty much died away and like most of last year's models are beginning to fade away or overlooked in the anticipation the newest and greatest versions from all the brands that will be coming out over the next 6 months.

What do I think of the Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads after 50 plus miles, without all the hype?

Pricing

Since price is such a big deal for me and many other runners, I decided to put it right up front.

How much did I pay?

I got a fantastic deal at Sierra Trading Post, thanks to a close-out sale and a 35% off discount code.

They were available on the Pearl Izumi site for $115.00 as of 8/28/14.

Prices for this shoe ranged from $63.00 to $120.00 on various sites that checked. If you look around, you can get some really great deals on the Pearl Izumi N1 Roads, in the older colorways.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I paid for these shoes. 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.”

How have they worked out for me?

Through the first 70 plus miles, I have been impressed.

I am not ready to anoint them as the greatest shoe I have ever run in, but they are a damn good pair of running shoes and so far I like them. They have surpassed my expectations - for all the runs that I have put them through:
  • a track workout,
  • a hard treadmill interval workout,
  • a long run,
  • faster-paced runs,
  • recovery runs,
  • runs down-back with Bennie on a rock dirt road

Harold be honest.

The N1 Roads are EXTREMELY comfortable and have done everything I can ask of a new pair of running shoes. I haven't found anything that they do not do well or that I do not like about them yet.

Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads

Something I believe is very important is the N1 Road's flexibility (the ability to be used for different workouts, not how bendable they are), if I feel the need to change a workout, while wearing the N1 Roads I do not feel limited by the shoes, which has not always been my experience with other shoes. I feel confident that no matter what kind of run I am doing (from a recovery run to track speedwork) that I can do it.

The N1 Roads have become my daily trainers and the shoe I want to run in, for any run that isn't related to technical trails or 5K/less races, hell I might even race a 5K in them if there were steeper downhill sections, because they give a little more protection than my GoMeb2's, which says a lot about what I think of them, because I love my GoMeb2's.

Fit

The size 8.5 from Pearl Izumi's EM line fits me about as good as any line of running shoe ever has.

I said this about them in my initial impression post and have not changed my mind:

The 8.5 Mens – N1 Roads fit my feet the way that I want a shoe to fit. Snug in the heel, enough room in the arch area so that it doesn’t feel like I have the laces cinched up tight and plenty of room in the toe box.

They do not bother my tailor's bunionette and my heel doesn't slide/move around - no issues with blisters.

Feel (different from fit)

The N1 Roads are mostly quiet, they have a slight tap, tap, tap sound when running on tar and when my right foot splays out - that right shoe becomes more noisy, which cues me to correct my stride.

While I am mostly a heel striker, the dynamic offset design (whatever that actually is) does not exacerbate my the heel striking (make it more pronounced), like some shoes do and provides a nice heel-to-toe feel/transition that I really, really like.

Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads

The N1 Road's were a little stiff at first, but not N2 Road stiff or motion control shoe stiff and they have loosened up considerably from my first run, to become quite comfortable. However, even with the initial stiffness they did not cause any issues for me.

They are not a soft marshmallow/cushioned style of running shoe and are a lot firmer than my GRR2's. The feel is about the same firmness as my Mizuno Elixir 7's were. They are designed to be a faster shoe, which means they will/should have a firmer ride.

The N1 Roads do not have great ground feel - mmm wait a minute. I don't give a damn about ground feel - I want protection from the road in a lightweight package and these shoes give me what I am looking for - a fast, protective feel.
Sole

The N1 Roads are road shoes, the flat tread design makes no doubt about their purpose.

Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads

They have done a great job on the roads and shoulders that I do most of my runs on, including runs in the rain.

During the winter, I don't enjoy finding the road with my arse, due to flat-bottomed shoes. That means they will probably be a 10 month running shoe, for running outside up heah in Maine and become my primary treadmill and dry day shoes.

However, I have been pleasantly surprised and found them to be VERY comfortable for running down-back on my rocky dirt road runs. The N1 Roads protect my feet better than some trail shoes I have worn down-back, where I primarily run with Bennie, which I definitely didn't expect.

I wouldn't hesitate to wear my N1 Roads over on the Quarry Road trails or other semi-groomed tails - on a dry day, but I wouldn't wear them on the trails at Bond Brook, Messalonskee Stream trail, the trails behind Inland Hospital, or any wet trail that has wet grass or slimy sections, they do not have enough grip.

One of the concerns I had last December when I decided to get the N2 Roads was the perceived durability of the N1's outsole and again I have been pleasantly surprised with how little wear there is on my N1's after 50 miles.

Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads - a little more wear on the forefoot, but about normal for me at this mileage
Upper

I LOVE the looks of the N1 Road's, the design meets my need for bright colors, while at the same time not being overwhelming - hell even TheWife likes their looks.

Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads

The upper is one of the biggest things that I like about the N1's, they are a more minimal upper, that have welded overlays and have enough give that they do not bother my Tailor's Bunionette.

I really believe that Pearl Izumi nailed the uppers.

Availability


The N1 Road's are still available on the Pearl Izumi website and they came out with updated colorways this summer, so they are continuing to support this model.

They are still available on most of the major online retail sites and even on some of the discount sites for the older colorways.

I have heard rumors that PI is going to release version 2, early next year. It will be interesting to see what changes they make, (rumor has it they will be a little more flexible and have a more cushioned feel). Personally, now that I have run a bit in them keeping the N1 Roads pretty much the same would not be a bad thing.
If Bennie Chewed Up These Shoes Today, What Would I Do?

If I needed to go out today and get another pair of running shoes, the N1's would be at the top of the list and it would take a very special shoe for me not to be running in this model.

I guess that pretty much sums up how I feel about the N1 Road's.
The Reality is that

After only 50 miles, I am not ready to say that the N1 Roads are a great shoe, but...I am impressed so far.

All the features that the N1 Trails had (read my 200 mile review) and I loved are present in the N1 Road's. The problem I experienced with letting in too much grit and stuff, which eventually forced me to stop running in the N1 Trails, are not present in the N1's road version. :-)

Pearl Izumi N1 Roads

I like the feel of the N1's over the N2's by a large degree, they are more flexible, not nearly as firm and have a much faster feel to them. While they are not quite as light as my current racing shoes or the same "pop", they have handled speedwork sessions without any issues.

In my mind the N1 Road's are worth taking a second or third look at and with some of the sale prices out there you can get one of Pearl Izumi's flagship shoes at a very decent price, if you don't mind the older colorways. which doesn't bother me at all.

I am looking forward to seeing if I am still running in the Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads what I have to say in my 200 mile review or possibly beyond.

Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Road v1 - 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: August 30, 2014

I have over 50 miles (actually over 70) on my new Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Road running shoes, which means - I get to write about them again.
N1 Road Mileage 8-29-14
N1 Road Mileage 8-29-14
While the N1 Roads are still one of Pearl Izumi's flagship running shoes, they are getting long in the tooth, when it comes to the typical life cycle of running shoes.
Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads
Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads
In other words they are no longer the newest/greatest thing on the roads anymore. All the marketing hype/multiple blog reviews around them and their "new when first released" Dynamic Offset design has pretty much died away and like most of last year's models are beginning to fade away or overlooked in the anticipation the newest and greatest versions from all the brands that will be coming out over the next 6 months.
What do I think of the Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads after 50 plus miles, without all the hype?

Pricing

Since price is such a big deal for me and many other runners, I decided to put it right up front.
How much did I pay?
N1 Road priceI got a fantastic deal at Sierra Trading Post, thanks to a close-out sale and a 35% off discount code.
They were available on the Pearl Izumi site for $115.00 as of 8/28/14.
Prices for this shoe ranged from $63.00 to $120.00 on various sites that checked. If you look around, you can get some really great deals on the Pearl Izumi N1 Roads, in the older colorways.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I paid for these shoes. 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.”

How have they worked out for me?

Through the first 70 plus miles, I have been impressed.
I am not ready to anoint them as the greatest shoe I have ever run in, but they are a damn good pair of running shoes and so far I like them. They have surpassed my expectations - for all the runs that I have put them through:
  • a track workout,
  • a hard treadmill interval workout,
  • a long run,
  • faster-paced runs,
  • recovery runs,
  • runs down-back with Bennie on a rock dirt road
Harold be honest.
The N1 Roads are EXTREMELY comfortable and have done everything I can ask of a new pair of running shoes. I haven't found anything that they do not do well or that I do not like about them yet.
Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads
Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads
Something I believe is very important is the N1 Road's flexibility (the ability to be used for different workouts, not how bendable they are), if I feel the need to change a workout, while wearing the N1 Roads I do not feel limited by the shoes, which has not always been my experience with other shoes. I feel confident that no matter what kind of run I am doing (from a recovery run to track speedwork) that I can do it.
The N1 Roads have become my daily trainers and the shoe I want to run in, for any run that isn't related to technical trails or 5K/less races, hell I might even race a 5K in them if there were steeper downhill sections, because they give a little more protection than my GoMeb2's, which says a lot about what I think of them, because I love my GoMeb2's.

Fit

The size 8.5 from Pearl Izumi's EM line fits me about as good as any line of running shoe ever has.
I said this about them in my initial impression post and have not changed my mind:
The 8.5 Mens – N1 Roads fit my feet the way that I want a shoe to fit. Snug in the heel, enough room in the arch area so that it doesn’t feel like I have the laces cinched up tight and plenty of room in the toe box.
They do not bother my tailor's bunionette and my heel doesn't slide/move around - no issues with blisters.

Feel (different from fit)

The N1 Roads are mostly quiet, they have a slight tap, tap, tap sound when running on tar and when my right foot splays out - that right shoe becomes more noisy, which cues me to correct my stride.
While I am mostly a heel striker, the dynamic offset design (whatever that actually is) does not exacerbate my the heel striking (make it more pronounced), like some shoes do and provides a nice heel-to-toe feel/transition that I really, really like.
Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads
Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads
The N1 Road's were a little stiff at first, but not N2 Road stiff or motion control shoe stiff and they have loosened up considerably from my first run, to become quite comfortable. However, even with the initial stiffness they did not cause any issues for me.
They are not a soft marshmallow/cushioned style of running shoe and are a lot firmer than my GRR2's. The feel is about the same firmness as my Mizuno Elixir 7's were. They are designed to be a faster shoe, which means they will/should have a firmer ride.
The N1 Roads do not have great ground feel - mmm wait a minute. I don't give a damn about ground feel - I want protection from the road in a lightweight package and these shoes give me what I am looking for - a fast, protective feel.

Sole

The N1 Roads are road shoes, the flat tread design makes no doubt about their purpose.
Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads
Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads
They have done a great job on the roads and shoulders that I do most of my runs on, including runs in the rain.
During the winter, I don't enjoy finding the road with my arse, due to flat-bottomed shoes. That means they will probably be a 10 month running shoe, for running outside up heah in Maine and become my primary treadmill and dry day shoes.
However, I have been pleasantly surprised and found them to be VERY comfortable for running down-back on my rocky dirt road runs. The N1 Roads protect my feet better than some trail shoes I have worn down-back, where I primarily run with Bennie, which I definitely didn't expect.
I wouldn't hesitate to wear my N1 Roads over on the Quarry Road trails or other semi-groomed tails - on a dry day,  but I wouldn't wear them on the trails at Bond Brook, Messalonskee Stream trail, the trails behind Inland Hospital, or any wet trail that has wet grass or slimy sections, they do not have enough grip.
One of the concerns I had last December when I decided to get the N2 Roads was the perceived durability of the N1's outsole and again I have been pleasantly surprised with how little wear there is on my N1's after 50 miles.
Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads
Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads - a little more wear on the forefoot, but about normal for me at this mileage

Upper

I LOVE the looks of the N1 Road's, the design meets my need for bright colors, while at the same time not being overwhelming - hell even TheWife likes their looks.
Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads
Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads
The upper is one of the biggest things that I like about the N1's, they are a more minimal upper, that have welded overlays and have enough give that they do not bother my Tailor's Bunionette.
I really believe that Pearl Izumi nailed the uppers.

Availability

The N1 Road's are still available on the Pearl Izumi website and they came out with updated colorways this summer, so they are continuing to support this model.
They are still available on most of the major online retail sites and even on some of the discount sites for the older colorways.
I have heard rumors that PI is going to release version 2, early next year. It will be interesting to see what changes they make, (rumor has it they will be a little more flexible and have a more cushioned feel). Personally, now that I have run a bit in them keeping the N1 Roads pretty much the same would not be a bad thing.

If Bennie Chewed Up These Shoes Today, What Would I Do?

If I needed to go out today and get another pair of running shoes, the N1's would be at the top of the list and it would take a very special shoe for me not to be running in this model.
I guess that pretty much sums up how I feel about the N1 Road's.

The Reality is that

After only 50 miles, I am not ready to say that the N1 Roads are a great shoe, but...I am impressed so far.
All the features that the N1 Trails had (read my 200 mile review)  and I loved are present in the N1 Road's. The problem I experienced with letting in too much grit and stuff, which eventually forced me to stop running in the N1 Trails, are not present in the N1's road version. :-)
Pearl Izumi N1 Roads
Pearl Izumi N1 Roads
I like the feel of the N1's over the N2's by a large degree, they are more flexible, not nearly as firm and have a much faster feel to them. While they are not quite as light as my current racing shoes or the same "pop", they have handled speedwork sessions without any issues.
In my mind the N1 Road's are worth taking a second or third look at and with some of the sale prices out there you can get one of Pearl Izumi's flagship shoes at a very decent price, if  you don't mind the older colorways. which doesn't bother me at all.

I am looking forward to seeing if I am still running in the Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Roads what I have to say in my 200 mile review or possibly beyond.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Why Bother to Review Old Running Shoe Models

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: August 27, 2014



Why in the hell are you still doing reviews on older than dirt running shoes?

You know what I am talking about those running shoes that I write about, which are last year's or older models.
Pearl Izumi Peak II

Although I love the newest and greatest running shoes as much or more than most runners, they are not the shoes that I actually usually get to run in.

Whaddayamean?

You see, I don't work for any running shoe brand (though I do have my favorites), a sporting goods chains, local running store or even have a popular blog where I get a variety of free promotional shoes to review (although I did get free pair of shoes for working a display booth for a brand I like, back in June).

Oh, I have had my chances to do some of this stuff and last year, when I retired, those kind of opportunities disappeared.

Like the majority of runners, I pay for most of my running shoes or get them as gifts for my birthday/Christmas.

Which means many of those newest and greatest running shoes are also budget breakers.

Being retired and on a fixed budget, means that those new shoes costing $160, hell $100 or more for a pair of running shoes is simply more than I am usually willing to spend on new shoes and more than most people want to shell out for a present.

Plus TheWife has a tizzy, when she looks at me paying as much or more than we pay for a week's groceries for a damn pair of running shoes.

Now it isn't like she doesn't understand the need for good running shoes, after all she is a runner too. However, she doesn't see the need to spend that much money, when you can get a pair that will work just fine for a lot less.

So to keep peace around the house and me out of the dog house, I try to keep my running shoe costs under $100 when possible and half that when I can.

Pearl Izumi N1 Roads

Which means like many runners, I wait until a new running shoe, becomes the "sale" or "close-out" shoe, you know that great shoe that everyone loved...

drum roll please --

last year.

Now does this mean that my reviews are dated and useless?

No.

Just because brands have a newer models to sell, that doesn't mean the old running shoes, the ones that suddenly become much more affordable are irrelevant to runners?

I do not think so.

Skechers GoMeb2

Let's get real, a good shoe last year or a couple of years ago, it is probably still a good shoe and will work just fine.

Well, as long as we are not hung up on having to have the newest and greatest, latest running shoes to show off to our running buddies.

Or more importantly in my opinion and depending upon who you read/talk/listen to, whether or not the foam used in shoes today degrades significantly while in storage. That is the issue that concerns me the most about older shoes, do they provide a reasonable level of protection for me or has the foam degraded to a point, where I am just throwing away my money?

I still am not sure of the correct answer or when that point is reached and will continue to search for the answer to that question.

I think that there are many other runners out there who balk at the high prices of new running shoes and still are interested in how the close-out, end of run, old freaking shoes work.

That is why I am still writing reviews on older running shoes, there are runners who are still interested in them, even though they are not being hyped by the brands marketing departments or the more popular blogs.

My Reviews

I write about the "older" shoes that I buy or get.

When I first get them I like to go into the reasons, rationale and research process (which includes a shoes stats) - I went through to get that particular pair of running shoes, then do a 50 mile, 200 mile, 400 mile and why I retired/got rid of it review (which will be something new).

Brooks Green Silence

Also, I am going to stay away from the shoe's statistics or the brand's marketing spiel after the initial review, because once I start running in a pair of shoes, stats and marketing do not really mean rats-ass, what matters is how the shoe works for me.

Newton Energy

My Reviews will focus on:
  • How have they worked out for me?
  • Self-explanatory
  • Harold be honest.
  • What are the good, the bad and the ugly that you learned about these shoes.
  • Are they comfortable?

Fit
  • Do they run big/small?
  • Are they wide enough in the toe box?
  • How does the heel fit (sometimes there is too much emphasis on the toe box?
  • Feel (different from fit)
  • Do they run quiet or slap the road,
  • Is the heel-to-toe transition smooth
  • Do they feel fast or sap my energy,
  • How do they feel at the end of a long run, speed workout, etc.
Sole
  • Are they rock collectors - I hate shoes that weigh more at the end of a run than the beginning because of all the rocks they collect.
  • Are they a 3 season sole and then only good for indoor running in the winter.
  • Are they multipurpose or strictly roads/trails/snow
Wear

  • Do they look like they will last a bit or not
  • Noticeable wear or in unusual places for me

Upper

  • Do thy have sewn on overlays or are they welded, does the shoe bother my tailor's bunionette
  • Is the fabric stretchy or molds well to my feet
  • Is it a good-looking shoe or meh
  • Is it weather proof, breathable

Availability

  • Is the model still readily available or can you find hens teeth quicker
  • Do you have to skulk around eBay to find a pair
  • Do the normal retailers (online or store) still have it in stock,
  • Is it still on the Brand's website?
Pricing

  • How much did I pay?
  • What are the price ranges now?
  • Would I get them again or try their newest version of the same shoes?
This is the most important question.

Brooks Launch

Those are the things that I will be focusing on when I review running shoes in the future.
The reality is that

the shoes I review probably won't be the leading-edge shoes that "A" list run bloggers write about, but they are the shoes that I actually use as my running shoes and I will be writing about them a little longer than just an initial review. Simply because I do not have the volume of shoes to review that others do and need to keep running in them for as long as they are working for me, to keep the wife happy.

If for some reason a brand does give me a pair to review, of course I will make full disclosure about how I got the shoes and the reviews will be done honestly.

Skechers GoMeb2

However, I have a feeling that most of the shoes that end up on these old feet are going to be personal purchases or gifts, which makes things a lot easier for me in many ways.

What do you think?
Where/when do you get most of your running shoes?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Run for the Fallen 5K - Recap 8-24-14

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: August 24, 2014



All things considered, I did better than I thought I did.

Although when I finished the race and looked at my watch, I was a little disappointed with the time and my effort, but when I got to thinking about it while writing this post - I did just fine.

Run for the Fallen Finish Line

There were a LOT of positives to take-away from the race!

Honoring the Fallen - the ringing of the bell after reading the Fallen's name part of the memorial service was very powerful for me. (just a couple of tears were shed).

Making it to the starting line today!!! Yes, I had some serious doubts about whether I would, over the past couple of days and even almost left around 9:30 - due to some frustrations I was having - my problems no one else's.

It was the fastest I have run a 5K this year - 22:33

I had the right on pace first mile - 6:39

Strava Run for the Fallen 5K 8-24-14

I was smart and didn't push through, when my hamstring started to tighten up after the first mile, I pulled back until it stopped barking really loudly.

In other words, I finished the race uninjured.

What did I learn:

  • That the Run for the Fallen 5k - Maine is not just a 5K race it is much more. It is (from my perspective at least), a memorial service that honors the memory of servicemen and women who gave their lives in the service of this Country, and their families, that has a 5K race. That is the order of importance.

    Which is the way things should be.
  • That for some reason driving more than half an hour bothers my hamstring - a lot.
  • That standing around in the hot sun for over an hour (going through registration, getting back in line to get a t-shirt, the speakers, etc.) does dehydrate you more than you think and did affect me during the race.
  • That I am becoming more and more uncomfortable around lots of people and either withdraw to be by myself, away from the crowds. Not a bad thing, but...I miss out on the biggest reason that I go to races - the camaraderie.
  • That when I am in crowds, I do not have a lot of patience with sudden changes to what needs to be done and can react pretty negatively.
  • That race anxiety drains me emotionally, which negatively affects my performance during the race.

Participating in the Run for the Fallen Memorial event, was a great experience. The event/race organizers and volunteers were great and I only have one suggestion, on the race registration/t-shirt distribution needs to organized differently next year, there was a lot of confusion and some frustration about which line we needed to be in and who was supposed to be where.

The race itself was GREAT!

Families of the Fallen were on course - beside/near posters of their deceased family members. It was hard not to be motivated to do your absolute best, while on the course with them out there cheering you on.

The course was mostly flat and fast and the water/support crews out there were enthusiastic.

There is something about seeing Marines in dress blues (even though I am a retired Coastie - the Marines still have the best dress uniform), is impressive and they were lining the start/finish area.

The Run For the Fallen race is a great event and done for the right reasons.

Race Anxiety

The rest of the post is optional reading and only if you want to read about how race anxiety and some of how it affects me. Someone who is usually pretty easy going.

Well that was the good, now for the bad and the ugly (well none of it was ugly...well not too ugly any way).

I had to fight, struggle and push myself to get to the starting line.

What happened?

Friday night I got a little wonky about going to the race. I started reading past years results, the numbers of people and runners they were expecting, which created dark thoughts and some pretty unrealistic, thinking about what I should be doing in the race.

Which meant that I had to keep re-focusing myself back to reality and my actual conditioning versus where I want to be in few months or where I was in April 2013. Unfortunately, those thoughts kept creeping back as soon as I beat them down or had some time where I wasn't busy. It got really bad when I went to bed, I didn't sleep much Friday night.

Then Saturday was more of the same - which meant that I kept thinking about the race most of the day, when I wasn't keeping myself busy. Several times I seriously thought about just bagging the race and how if was feeling this crappy about simply going to a damn race, then it just wasn't worth it.

I helped move some heavy furniture around at SD2's late yesterday afternoon and strained my back/arm a little - which were annoyances, but I thought about how/if I could use them to get me out of going in the morning, without loosing face. Then I tossed and turned all night Saturday versus getting the sleep that I missed on Friday.

I woke up this morning and felt like I got just about half as much sleep as I needed.

Even though I hid it well, I was so nervous about going to Brunswick that I was looking for any reason to not have to go to the race. I almost decided to go with TheWife and Bennie to Oxford to do some book shopping, using any flimsy excuse I could to justify going with her, instead of the race. No pressure, no expectations, not too many people, no race - all good things in my mind at that point.

Instead giving myself more time to think about it, I got in the car and left about 30 minutes before I planned. When I stopped to fill-up and get the paper at the store, everything seemed to go wrong and even the cashier told me that I better just go home and start over.

Great way to start the drive down and I thought about doing just that.

By the time I got to Gardiner, my left hamstring was hurting a lot and when I got to Brunswick, I had to stop at Dunkin Donuts just to walk around and see if I could loosen it up a little, besides an emergency bathroom stop. Yeah, those wonderful GI issues you get when you are stressed out. At that point, I really thought about just getting back on the Interstate and going back North.

I didn't.

At least getting to the race site was easy and parking was a breeze and my leg had loosened up a little.

Now to get my race number, t-shirt and get ready for the race.

Unfortunately, trying to figure out how to register was a real pain in the butt and confusing.

You had to go to a trailer, look at the race participant list, get your race number, then go to registration to get your bib, then get in one of multiple lines that were not well labeled to get your t-shirt.

Now for most people this is a pretty simple thing and no big deal, but for someone who is already stressing out about just being there, any more stressors make it tough.

Another bathroom break.

Then when the volunteers and the announcer started to make make us change lines, move the families in front (which was the right thing to do), but well I almost just left at that point - there was just too much going on.

One of the volunteers started barking out orders for us to go to the back of the other line, which just hit me wrong and I started to respond to him with something pretty negative. Luckily, the woman behind me (whoI had talked with her and her husband) touched my shoulder and gently said, "relax - they are doing the best they can".

It came at the perfect time, I must have had that "deer in the headlight" or "I've had enough" look going on and with everything else going on, I was getting ready to make a total ass of myself.

I quickly shut it down, shut up, calmed down and then she started to just talk to me again - I don't remember what we were talking about, but I know that I would either said some very unnecessary things or simply left in a huff at that point, if she hadn't spoken to me.

We just shifted over to the other line and got our t-shirts (it took about another 15 minutes of waiting in line).

By this point I was still on overload and almost physically ill. I definitely needed to be away from everyone else.

Another bathroom break.

I took the t-shirt back to the car and did a 1.2 mile warm-up, which calmed down my stomach, but my left hammie was still tight and that was worrying me, because there was no way, I would be able to run the way that I wanted to, with it feeling that way and I thought about why bother to run the race, if I couldn't run without pain or possibly screwing up the hamstring even more.

During the ceremonies and speakers portion I stayed over by the starting line - away from the crowds and continued to work on stretching out my hamstring, while listening.

Finally, I got the hamstring loosened up to where it did not feel too bad - which helped me feel better.

Another bathroom break

Coming out of the bathroom there was an announcement that there would be a delay of 10-15 more minutes before the race was going to start.

Big sigh.

More waiting.

Finally, 15 about minutes later, we lined up for the race, that part was fine (no big speeches or anything, just the start after getting things settled), being around other runners doesn't usually bother me, because I know we will be running soon. I just stayed closer to the front of the pack - 3rd row, not as many people up there and I start fast enough that I don't bother other runners behind me.

You do not know the feeling of relief I felt when the race started and I was able to just run.
The reality is that

I really, really came very close to not doing this race.

Even after I got there, I came close to leaving.

It is not easy trying to explain, how something as simple as going to run in a race, which thousands of runners do every weekend without any problems, can be such a difficult thing for me to contend with, even though I want to run in them.

Now you have a better idea of why I don't race more often ;-) and I am a lot better than I used to be - at least now I can make it to the starting line once in a while.

Sometimes I wonder if I am making too big a deal about my battles getting to the starting line. I don't think so, but at the same time I wonder.

Oh well, I did make it to the starting line today and all things considered - I am happy with the results.

The next race will be a little easier - I hope!

How did your latest race go?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Skechers GoMeb 2 after 50 miles

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: August 22, 2014

Skechers GoMeb2
Skechers GoMeb2
Okay, so I have a few more than 50 miles on my Skechers GoMeb 2 racing shoes, yeah that's right racing shoes. You know me - that guy who said back in February that I didn't need racing flats and now have 2 pairs.
However, it took a while to get to 50 miles, due to all of my wonderful injuries this summer. Then once my legs got feeling better and I started training little more seriously for some 5k's, the mileage piled up on my Meb 2's a lot quicker than I expected.
Yeah, this is another one of those reviews of an older running shoe that is nearing the end of its cycle, (so it is not the hottest new running shoe out there, but there are enough of people who are still interested in this racing shoe that the post is still pertinent. I plan to do a post next week on why I think doing reviews of these older shoes is still relevant - at least in my mind  ;-) .
No I am not going to bore you with all the stats that the manufacturer or other sites that sell running shoes can give you.
I am going to focus on how the GoMeb 2's worked for me as an older, recreational runner, who wants to run faster, but ain't no Meb or even really all that good ;-) .
Let's get this out of the way. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this pair of Skechers GoMeb2′s from the local Skechers Performance Division representative after volunteering at the Skechers display booth at the Rail Trail Half Marathon & 5K, at no cost to me.  I was not required to write a positive review or any review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and your experience with the product might be different. 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.”

What are the GoMeb 2's to Me?

I am not an efficient or light enough runner to comfortably run in the more minimal racing flats (even for short-distances) and had been looking basically at what some of the better runners are using for half to full marathon racing flats to be my 5K to 10K  race/speedwork running shoes.
Skechers GoMeb 2
Skechers GoMeb 2
In other words I wanted a pair of racing shoes, that provided more protection/less road feel than the Ekidon's or other similar light-weight racing flats I have tried recently, but at the same had a rockered sole and felt comfortable to me when I ran in them.
  • The Meb 2's are not minimal racing flats, they are longer distance racing shoe, a slight difference, but whatever you want to call them,  they have become my primary racing/speedwork running shoes and they are not flats.
  • The Meb 2's have the rockered Skechers sole unit that I love.
  • The Meb 2's feel comfortable when I run in them.
Which means they are exactly what I was/am looking for.

Fit

Initially, I was worried about this – a lot.
While I tried on this model several times, before I got a pair (after all I was helping other runners try them on at the Skechers Booth at a couple of different events), but I was really concerned about the narrowness of the toe box and how long they seemed to get a good feeling in the toe box. The 7.5 was too narrow and the 8.5 way too long, so the 8.0 is what I ended up with, but they are still a little too long, which causes the fabric in the toe box to fold a little.
Skechers GoMeb2
Skechers GoMeb2
Luckily, that doesn't  bother me when I am running, but feels weird/off a little when I am just walking around in the Meb2's.
One thing that I found was that I can't run without socks (as much as I wanted to), there is a little ridge on the outside of right heel causes a blister and my heels on both feet had small blisters, but as long as I wear socks I don't have any issues. However, I see other runners going sockless in them, so it might be that I just have wimpy feet :-) .
Skechers GoMeb2
Skechers GoMeb2
Something that I look for now in all of my running shoes now is that they do not have sewn in straps/overlays on the upper, which allows the upper to stretch a little more and in my opinion mold more to your foot.
The GoMeb 2's just has welded overlays, which do not bother my feet and have been wide enough that they do not bother my Tailor's Bunionette like so many other shoes do.
Skechers GoMeb2
Skechers GoMeb2
Overall, while I expected the Meb 2's to be very narrow when I first looked at them and not work for me.
However, they surprised the hell out of me and fit my feet nicely.
The GoMeb 2's meet the comfort test, as long as I am running in them. They are not designed for just hanging around in.
They are "gofast" shoes.

Feel

The first time I put them on, I wasn't sure about how they felt, they are much firmer than my GoRun Ride 2's and didn't have that soft, comfortable feel that I had come to associate with Skechers shoes I have worn.
However, they are racing flats and having a marshmallow feel in a pair of flats, is not what you want or need.
Skechers GoMeb2
Skechers GoMeb2
They are comfortable to run in and I have run well on the track, roads and yes, even down back on the dirt road with Bennie. On Tuesdays we have been doing a 2.0 mile or so time trial and as long as I am paying attention to where I am stepping, it is not a problem, (although the stability plate does help protect my feet a little from some of the rocks).
The most important thing about the feel of these shoes is  -  that they do feel fast.

Durability

Really, I do not worry about durability or at least it is not a big deal when it comes to racing shoes. I get them to run fast in and expect to get 150 to 250 qulity miles max out them. After about 60 miles I am starting to see more wear than I did on the GRR2's at the same point, but to be honest I do not care.
Skechers GoMeb2
Skechers
GoMeb2
On a dry night I wouldn't hesitate to use these at the Quarry Road Trail race, rainy day the roads roads they work fine, but I wouldn't run in them over at Bond Brook trails at race speeds, although others might.

How are they working?

While there are a lot of runners who would use the the Meb 2's to race any distance up to a marathon.
For me I am pretty sure that while I could race up to a half marathon in these shoes, I think I my legs would be pretty well beat up if I did.
So for how I run and how much I weigh, weight does matter when it comes to shoe choice in my opinion and yeah I have to loose 10-15 pounds to use these for longer races. For now, I will use them up to a 10K and call it good.
Beyond that distance, I would use a light-weight trainer like the GoRun  or GoRun Ride series, to provide a little more protection to my aging and oft-injured legs.
Is that a concession to aging you are finally admitting to Harold?
Yep, it sure is. I am choosing to have more protection and comfort, than the need for lightness and speed. Especially, since that guy who used to think he was pretty fast, is only a memory.
Where I run downback
Where I run downback
I just recently started to add in speed work to my training and I have done most of it in my GoMeb 2's and they have done everything that I wanted.
On my 2.0 mile time trials down back with Bennie, I am getting into the sub 6:40 pace range for portions of the run and have had a sub 7:00 pace overall on a dirt road that has hills/rocks and doggie distractions.
During track workouts, they do not get in my way, have the right amount of firmness to run fast on a cushioned track and I don't feel beat up afterward.
When I have done road speedwork (you know those tempo or fartlek runs) they feel great and this is where I think the GoMeb's do their best work - fast stuff on the roads. They provide enough protection to be comfortable, but are light enough/have plenty of traction to go fast.

Overall

The GoMeb 2's  my go fast shoes and I can't wait until Sunday to do the Run for the Fallen 5K in Brunswick to see how they do under race conditions. I have a feeling that they will do better than this old body will ;-) .

From my perspective they are a solid racing shoe, that I will use a lot over the next few months. I can't give a running shoe any higher compliment than to say it is one that I will use.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Run Simple - Book 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: August 19, 2014

IMG_20140819_202907_168As someone who has been through a couple of running booms and has seen running go from basically: running shoes, shorts and t-shirt (maybe a painter's cap or some kind of stopwatch), with a notebook to log your runs -- to where it is now.
You know what I mean the:
  • GPS Watches
  • Heart rate monitors
  • Smart phones/apps
  • Fitness Trackers
  • Music/ear phones
  • Compression Gear
  • Hydration Gear
  • Belt pouches
  • Back packs for running
  • Tech Fabrics - socks, shirts, shorts, jackets, etc.
  • Online Training Logs
  • eZines, blogs, forums
  • The Internet and instant answers to all your running questions - information overload
  • Online Coaching
  • Online Shopping
  • Proliferation of high quality treadmills
Then there are so many running shoe choices, figuring out which ones are going to work for you is a whole different post?
I am not a Luddite when it comes to technology or adding/trying new stuff to help me become a better runner, if anything the opposite was the problem for a long while.
Unfortunately, I still get to feeling overwhelmed by all the "stuff" that seems to go along with or becoming a part of running in today's world. So over the past couple of years I have looked to simplify my running where I can.
What do I really need to be happy as a runner?
Obviously not as much as I used to think, but a bit more than just a loin cloth.
I got some Amazon gift cards for my birthday and was looking for some new running books to read.
When I read the reviews for - Run Simple by Duncan Larkin, it intrigued me - a lot.
It seemed like something right up my alley.
Once it came in, I only needed a couple of days to read Run Simple and it actually had more than a  few ideas that I really liked.

Electronic Devices

No, I won't be getting rid of my GPS watch or some other of my electronic devices any time soon - as Larkin tends to suggest. They are one more thing to charge, keep track of and sometimes wait until I get connection from the satellite, all of which can be a pain in the ass -- although I think that I use them differently than some others do.
I find GPS a very valuable tool for tracking my training.  I will even admit I am starting to use the time/interval function on my TomTom GPS watch a little more often, especially when I am doing Fartlek type speed workouts. I find that I can focus on just going when it beeps/buzzes and slow back down when it does it again, then repeat. It eliminates thinking and allows me to focus more on just doing.
Also, immediately knowing the approximate distance and time I have run, without having to drive the course or map it using an online map actually makes my running life easier, especially when I am running on trails or just exploring.
The data I get to review and manipulate after the run (I am a geek after all) in my online training log, can let me spot trends or things I would not have seen otherwise in a PNP log.
However, during my runs outdoor, I find using GPS watches/apps or other electronics for more than getting my mile splits very distracting. I don't want to always be looking down at my wrist or listen for my phone's app, to see if I am doing a certain pace, getting my heart rate or other information about me and my run, that is available through the miracles of technology.
I almost always carry my smart phone with me, but I don't take it out during the run, unless there is some kind of emergency, I am getting a call from a certain ring tone or if I am taking a photo.
When I am running on a treadmill though, I find that the music from my running playlist does help me ease the tedium that is part of running on one.

Race T-Shirts

What Larkin said about just using your race t-shirts for training, finally got me through my brain fog of "why was I attempting to save" the ho-hum race t-shirts that really do not have any special meaning to them other than finishing that race. So you will be seeing me running in more of my race t-shirts than I have been.
Although there are going to be certain Hall of Fame t-shirts that I will wear only on special occasions.

Training Tips

Larkin had quite a few interesting training tips that I really like and have started to incorporate some into my training:
Fast finishes up hills - especially when I run down-back with Bennie. We used to stop at the bottom of the hills, now we are finishing at the top, which is a hell of a lot more challenging and forces me to develop a little more mental toughness.
Just run days - something that I have done for a while, but didn't have a good name for - I like the name "Just Run Days". Run according to how you feel, it isn't  recovery day, but at the same time it is not a speed work day - you just run.
Running to just run, takes away the pressure to hit a certain pace or time.
Track Workouts - As Larkin say says on page 36.
"Your effort on these sessions should be all-out. Hurl yourself down the that track. Push it. Take no prisoners. At the end of the repetition you should be breathing hard and may find yourself bent over with your hands on your knees, panting, and staring at pebbles and ants on the ground."
It might not be the scientific way to do your speedwork or teach you to hit a particular pace, but...it is a lot simpler and will help you get faster, which is what I want when I go to the track - I want to work on going faster. He explains his philosophy a lot better than I can, but I tend to agree with it.
There is a difference in mindset when you do your track workout this way, which fits my personality.
Run Simple has a bunch of other things that I will be adding to my training routines, just because they make sense to me.

The reality is that

In order to run simple, it does not mean that I am going to go prancing down the road clad only in a loin cloth, the neighbors would really know that I have lost it and make some phone calls for someone to come and take me away hahahhehehahahaha (yes that is a part of an old song).
No it means that I am going to think about how or whether technology or other things are enhancing my running and if I can't find a real benefit for adding or keeping something while I am running, I probably won't.
Going forward I will probably always stay a little closer to the more simple end of the keeping things simple spectrum, even in how I use electronic devices or other new developments in running.
The book is a quick read and while I do not agree with everything Larkin recommends, I found a lot of stuff that appeals to me, fits where I am as a runner and the best part was that while reading Run Simple, it did make me stop and think about why I do certain things a certain way.

Larkin has a lot of idea, suggestions, etc., to simplify your running. If you read Run Simple you will see what I mean and maybe probably even find at least a couple that work for you.