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.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Mizuno Ronin 4 - 200 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: January 13, 2015

Ungh yeah, you are reading that correctly this is a 200 mile review on a shoe that I bought on October 6, 2012 (that is right - 2012).

Mizuno Ronin 4's

Two and half years to get a pair of running shoes to 200 miles. Harold, you usually do that in 2-3 months or less, especially if you like them.

What in the hell happened?

Long Story

It is a long story, but it has a lot to do with my development as a runner over the last few years and how I have finally accepted the runner that I am.

My last run in the Ronin's before a few weeks ago was on 3/18/13 and before that it was only a few times in 2013.

Almost two years ago
- it doesn't seem possible, but true. In the past I had called the Ronin 4's my magic running shoes, because I always seemed to run fast in them. Unfortunately, they were also about a half-size too small, which caused them to be fussy about which socks I could wear and if things were not "just" so, my right foot and that Tailor's Bunionette would bother me after 4-5 miles.

That, along with my big push to change my running form.

Yeah that phase I and many other runners went through during 2011-2013, when we were was reading so many or was that too many books and blogs that were pushing a particular running style and more minimal/zero drop shoes as the only way to run "injury-free" and be a better runner.

It may be for some. I know that I bought in "hook, line and sinker".

Which meant that suddenly my Ronin's and Elixir's "were not the right running shoes for me". After all they were much more traditional running shoes and allowed/encouraged me to run more on my heels - not the proper way to run according to all the stuff I was reading.

Despite or was that in spite of the fact that I had run extremely well in both at the Runner's World Half Festival in October 2012 and in training after that.

I believe the straw that broke the camel's back, was the photos and a video from the 2013 Central Maine Striders January Thaw Race, where it showed that I was definitely heel striking...badly. After that I really focused on wanting to change my gait/running style.

Photo by David Colby Young at 2013 January Thaw - Shows my great heel first landing stride

Which meant that the Ronin 4's languished in my closet. I even gave them to SD1, who wore them as knock-around the house shoes and even worked in the garden in them. Finally, even she moved on to different shoes.

In May of 2013, when I was training in zero drop shoes exclusively and racing in very light-weight racing flats (Ekidon's), I partially tore my Achilles during a 5K race. I don't know if the attempted change of gait and training in zero drop shoes contributed to the injury or not, but it happened while I was doing it, so it did raise a lot of questions in my mind.

Since that injury I have looked closely at my running and what kind of running shoes that I run in with and from a different perspective. As part of what I learned - I now know that I do not like running in very minimal running shoes or extremely light-weight racing flats and zero drop shoes tend to bother my Achilles more than more traditional running shoes.

Changing their running style might work for some runners, but it didn't for me and now I am just going to focus on running - the way that I run.

Thomas College Terrier 5K - 10-26-14 Finish -- Not a whole lot of change in my stride.

Fast forward to the end of 2014

Now that I have figured out that changing my form/gait didn't happen and that while I have periods in a run where I might run with a mid-foot style, for the most part I land on my heels and need shoes that will handle both of those styles well. Plus I have learned that I want a little more protection when I run faster than what the super light-weight racing flats provide.

A concession to my age, maybe, but I just don't like running in minimally cushioned running shoes at this point in my life.

Hair-Brained Idea

Just before Christmas, I got the hair-brained idea to try the Ronin's again, after all they were just sitting in the back of the front closet - taking up space.

Especially, since I have moved more towards lighter-weight trainers/long distance style racing shoes (7-10 oz), higher drop (6-10mm), with about 20mm stack heights (give or take a little in either direction) for my faster workouts/racing. Which pretty much describes the Ronin's.

So why not, go ahead and see whether they were still my "magic" shoes.

Mizuno Ronin 4

This is what I said on 12/10/14 (go to the link) after my first run in them again - a very good treadmill session:

Maybe some of the magic was still in them.

That is the story of why I stopped running in the Ronin 4's that were working well for me a few years ago and why I started running in them again recently.


How much did I pay?

I bought them at the then Maine Running Company in Brunswick at full price - I believe it was $105.00 plus tax, no discounts. Back when Seth was in Brunswick.

Mizuno discontinued the Ronin line, so you cannot get updates past the Ronin 5 from Mizuno and they are not available on the Mizuno website. You have to rely on retailers like Amazon, 6PM, Ebay, etc. to find them and it seems that each day they are getting more difficult to find and there is not a much of a discount despite them being discontinued.

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 Ronin 4's and my thumb showing where my right big toe is inside the toe box to show how it actually fits my foot.
Mizuno Ronin 4's - less than a thumb's width

They are about a half-size too small and the fairly narrow toe box bothers my Tailor's bunionette if I am using the wrong socks - they are very finicky about which socks work and which ones do not. The upper is such that I have to wear socks or get raw spots/blisters.
Feel (different from fit)

I compare all shoes to how quiet the Skechers GoRun Ride 2’s were for me and when I started to run in the Ronin's again, I was a little slappy on the forefoot, but now that I have run in them a few times they are much quieter, not GRR2 quiet, but quiet enough that I am pretty sure that I am running efficiently in them.

Mizuno Ronin 4's

The Ronin 4's are a light-weight trainer/racing shoe that for me feel firm, but comfortable. I just know that I am supposed to run fast when I have these shoes on, whether that is just a mindset or the shoes - it doesn't matter. All I know is that I feel fast when I run in the Ronin's and have run some very fast for me times.

I still run fast in them and I have a feeling that my next 5K or race will be run in those shoes (unless the weather totally sucks).

I have always liked the looks of the outsole of the Ronin line, it is a road shoe that can do dirt roads or easy trails as long as they are dry. It feels flexible, but at the same time has a very nice snap to it that makes them a faster shoe than I would have expected from a higher drop shoe.

Mizuno Ronin 4's

For 200 miles and all the other wear they have had, I am very impressed with how well the sole has held up and that they still feel very fast and comfortable to run in.

The upper on the Ronin 4 has a lot of sewn on overlays, which I find irritate the Tailor's Bunionette on my right foot on any shoe that doesn't have a very wide toe box. The Ronin 5's have a better upper and if I can find a pair of 8.5's in the 5's I will chase after them.

Mizuno Ronin 4's

I can't run sockless in them for long distances, because there are a few places that really irritate and if I ran too long sockless, those areas would blister or rub the skin away.

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

To be honest, I think that I would go ahead and attempt to find another pair of Ronin 4's or 5's if Bennie decided to chew these up. They have worked well for me and I like running fast in them.

The Reality is that

Looking back with 20/20 hindsight, I sort of wish that I had not gone down the gotta change my form/minimalist/zero drop rabbit hole. Even though I learned a lot and met some great people, I also learned that I don't run that way and probably never will.

When I look at my old and more recent running photos and videos (when I am not aware I am being photographed or videoed), I am a heel striker. Not a bad thing, just the way that I run - too many years of muscle memory and not enough motivation to actually make the change.

Mizuno Ronin 4's

Between the Skechers GoRun line (which do not meet my personal definition of minimal running shoes) and the Ronin's I have found a running shoe rotation that I believe will serve me well, well at least as long as I can still find the Ronin's. By then I will have found a nice shoe to replace them.

I do like my Ronin 4's and plan to keep my eyes out for size 8.5 or even 9.0's in the 4's or 5's, that I can squirrel away and delay the day when I have to find their eventual replacement as my race day shoe up to the half marathon.

The Ronin 4's may not be the perfect running shoes, but for me the pair that I have were a magic shoe, that still have some remnants of magic left.

If you happen to have an old pair of Ronin 4 or 5's lying around in your closet and want to get rid of them in a size 8.0 or 8.5 - let's talk.

I just had to learn how I actually run, to have a better appreciation for the Ronin 4's - too bad I am a day late and a dollar short - yet again.

How about you do you have an old pair of magic shoes in your closet that still have some life left in them?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Today, I run for pure, absolute joy

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: January 12, 2015

I saw this quote last night and it made me stop and think - for a long while.

“Today, I run for pure, absolute joy.” ― Lopez Lomong

When was the last time that we really did that?

I don't know about you, but it is has been a while for me and it was more than likely a run with Bennie.

It seems that over the last few years running has become more about:
  • how far
  • how fast
  • specific training
  • every run having a goal and having to meet that goal
  • what kind of graphs am I making
  • what are my splits
  • can I catch and pass that guy/gal
  • why does my foot, knee, hamstring or whatever hurt
  • can I run through whatever hurts
  • what part of the training cycle am I in
  • what race am I preparing for
  • which shoes do I wear
  • and so on

Are these bits and pieces, the sum of my running and what I want my running to be or are they the artificial stuff I have added to my running?

Is this the stuff that I really want or need to be the focus of my running as a middle of the pack runner, who does not make my living running?

Are these things what I really think about when I run or do I think more like this:

“The thoughts that occur to me while I’m running are like clouds in the sky. Clouds of all different sizes. They come and they go, while the sky remains the same sky always. The clouds are mere guests in the sky that pass away and vanish, leaving behind the sky.” ― Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

Most of the time, I do not remember what I think about when I run, because I think about so many things and the more I think about it, what Murakami says is true.

Lately - it seems when I am done with my run, instead of focusing on what I accomplished, what I saw or enjoyed, I immediately plug my watch into my computer, look at the stats, focus on what I didn't do or need to do better/differently, how I, my electronics, clothes and shoes performed. 

You know looking at the run as simply a part of a training plan that I either did or did not meet the goals of the run and attempting to immediately figure out what I can do to improve by either training differently or getting more/better gear.

Go back and read many of my daily running log entries, what is missing?

I think you know the answer.

What happened to enjoying the run, because I got to run.

Oh, I know that I still want to improve my times and be competitive in races, but at the same time by focusing so much on what I need to do on each run as a part of that day's training run goal or plan, the gear I am using, etc. - am I missing the most important part of running?

The simple answer is yes.

Which means that I have a choice
do things differently


continue down this road that I am on

For me I need to do some thing differently.

I think I will start by trying an experiment this week and maybe longer if I am liking the results...put away the GPS devices. Which means no splits, no graphs, no auto-adding to 4-5 online runlogs, no automatic mileage down to 2 decimal points and all the groovy data points/information that our GPS devices give us.

I will go back to just using my Timex and spreadsheet log for the next week or so.

Will this be enough to recapture the joys of simply running?

I do not know if this change will make a difference or if I will react like an addict and withdrawal problems of not being able to see the data about my runs that I have accustomed to.

We will see, until then I leave you with this quote.

“For every runner who tours the world running marathons, there are thousands who run to hear the leaves and listen to the rain, and look to the day when it is suddenly as easy as a bird in flight.” ― George Sheehan

Today, I will go out and attempt to find the joy in my runs again.

How about you, do you enjoy your runs or do you think of running as training for something or and means to an end.

Thank you for reading and being patient with a cantankerous old fart’s blathering and babbling on about the changes that I am going through and think about as I get older and the fun that I am having as a part of this process.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Reading A Lot and Thinking Training For This Old Fart

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: January 4, 2015

Over the past few years I have read a lot of books on running and training. You know the popular ones by: Hudson, McMillan, Fitzgerald, Abshire, Romanov, Dreyer, Jurek, Wilk and many more.

Not all of the books that I have read are just laying around the house, I read a lot on my Kindle and have given away a lot of the ones that didn't work for me.

Yeah, some of the better running and books on training to be a better runner of this era.

I have even been reading and re-reading some of the older more obscure texts from authors that you don't hear so much about anymore: Lydiard, Cerutty, Fixx, Parker and others.

Some "older" authors

I have a feeling that the answers to my training questions and the direction I will go as a 57-year-old runner are more in these books.

What Does it Mean?

What does all this reading and research mean to an aging 57-year-old runner, who is still trying to improve as a runner?

That I have learned a LOT about running, training theory and planning over the past few years.

That I have tried many of the things in these books, things I have learned from online running sites, blogs and nothing has really felt "right" for me.

I seem to always keep coming back to Lydiard. I will say that Hudson's book was close, but there were from my perspective as an old middle of the pack runner that I...well let's just say it wasn't the direction this old fool plans to go.

What is Improvement to me?

Sure, I am like every other runner out there whether they are élite or middle of the packers, we all want run faster, farther, possibly be competitive in our age group and not get injured.

The other thing is that I run for reasons than just competition (even if it is mostly with myself) - I run because I love to run and I believe it makes me a better person when I do run. I know that my wife believes that I am a LOT easier to live with when I am running more.

Yes, getting to be an old fart is the reason for some of the physical changes that I am encountering and enduring - just the way it is, we all decline physically as we age, all we can hope to do is slow the decline.

Yes, I am pretty realistic about this fact of life and I know that I have to do things differently because of my age, which includes the dreaded word cross-train (I have always lifted weights a little and consider that a part of being a runner and it is not cross-training to me).

I know that I am nothing special as a runner, that my best times are far in the rear view mirror and the biggest problem with my running is me and the mistakes that I make with my training - I know that.

However, a quickly growing second fact is the negativity that is put in aging runnah's heads by others.

I know that I am seeing (or at least now noticing) more and more articles, comments and things that attempt to limit or discourage older runners from even attempting to see if they can do more running.
Oh, the words take the guise of cross-training is better for you, junk miles are horrible, "you'll ruin your knees", you will not improve unless you are running x pace for x miles or you gotta at HIT, etc., to be a better runner.

Which I imagine goes together with the latest scientific research and the vast amount of experience that many of these authors, coaches and journalists, have coaching and training old farts who were/are not and will never be élite athletes and have different motivations for continuing to run than they are used to.

Yes, there is a bit of sarcasm in that statement, because does what worked for élite runners, always work the same for those of us who are not and will never be at that level?

Honestly, I do not believe it does.

Maybe I have had too many dreams of sugar plums and put together too many model airplanes when I was younger, but why are so many “experts” recommending that older runners limit their running, especially their "easy" running. I thought that the current research showed that running does not damage (you put in the body part) things, as the medical and other people previously thought/believed?

There is so much of a negative focus on what older runners can no longer do, compared to when they were younger or in comparison to today's younger runners, that there is a media bias, to what they believe we should be doing versus the things that we still actually can do - if we let ourselves go for it.

Or maybe I am just one of those damned "baby boomers", who expects that the aging process will be different for him than it has been for past generations. Maybe so, but I do have other expectations for my life as I age, than sitting in my easy chair watching life go by and fading away to die.

However, my observations are just based on my own personal opinions and biases...Like "they" say "opinions are like assholes, everyone has one".


None of the modern training programs, I have looked at really fit the direction, I want to take my running. They have some great workouts, that I will add to my training routine, some other ideas and methods that are common sense additions to any runner's training plan, but they all seem to be lacking something for me.

A guiding philosophy on and about running and a belief that we can keep running at higher levels than we thought possible even as we age. However, that we still have to do the work, but maybe at different intensities or distances than in the past and add in more rest. 

But I am still looking for a philosophy that doesn't limit us needlessly.

I know that I am never going to be a champion runner, I have the wrong mentality (honestly, I don’t give a shit enough, to be that committed to competing at the highest levels and I am unwilling to go too far into the hurt locker - that even an above average age group runner needs to do to be successful in larger races).

However, I do know that I can be a better runner than I am now, maybe not that much faster (since age and injuries have taken too much of my speed), but smarter and better prepared for my runs or races and what I want to accomplish in them.

Yeah, I have done a lot of reading, weighing the different ideas, and putting the jumbled puzzle pieces together in my mind.

To find what works for me.

What Am I Going To Do

To be honest, I am an experiment of one and I tend to do things differently than someone else might.

Limiting my running and adding more cross training doesn’t feel right to me.

I am no expert, so don’t do as I do or even listen to what I am saying, but I love to run and run for reasons more than simply competing against other runners, myself or the clock.

So I plan to keep running 6-7 days a week with Bennie for as long as we can and take time off when I feel that I need it, versus some keeping to an artificial schedule, that may or may not work/be right for me.

This means that I am going off on my own, ignoring the advice and recommendations of today's experts who are basing their ideas on their experiences, the scientific research that has been done and the recommendations to run less as I get older.

In other words, I am going to run more according to how I feel and listen to my experience as a runner. It is a direction that I have moved in for a couple of years and the more research I do, it seems to be the best direction for me.

Although I will still have an over-arching plan and idea of what workouts I need to do, to successfully meet the goals that I have set this year. The daily plan is going to be very much in pencil, versus being set in stone, which I never have been able to follow for more than a couple of weeks.

That means I will probably follow a lot of what Lydiard, a little of what Cerutty, Shapiro and others say in their books as I develop my training plan/routine.

Their ideas, philosophies and recommendations resonate with me and seem right for the way that I want to run.

Yeah - lots of hills ;-). Which is good, because where I live there is no problem finding hills.

Although I will probably keep my weekly treadmill intervals during the winter, more because I enjoy doing them, because they really don’t fit into either Lydiard's or Cerutty's methods.
The reality is that

The newer books and today's authors have some great workouts and ideas on fitness for runners that I will blend into my training plan, but some of the subtle negativity/attitudes towards older runners and recommendations that some authors seem have in their writings for this old fart to run less and cross-train more are limiting to me. I will pass-on them since they are not the direction I want to go.

I will close with something that Cerutty said in his book Athletics: How to Become A Champion:

In conclusion, and to repeat, the belief, adamant in my teachings, is that the athlete must be developed in the end, so that he be entirely self-reliant, self-dependent, able to know instinctively and understand his nature, personality, trends and his requirements in exercise and training, from day-to-day, month-to-month.

I would like to think that I am finally heading down this road to being much more self-reliant, but still willing to listening to others and adding in ideas that will work for me, after too many years of going from the "next" hot training idea/plans, to the next one. The constant belief that the perfect plan is out there for me to find, when in reality, it is already there inside of me, waiting patiently for me to start using it.

After all I am an experiment of one and the mistakes I make, will be the mistakes I make.

Getting old is not easy, but we can do more than others think we can and often more than we think we can.

Did you notice that I changed the name of my blog back to Aging Runnah II, it just seemed right and like Popeye said "I am, what I am".

What do you think?