A Very, Very Good Day – RunLog 5-21-18

This was the story of two run, yeah I ran twice today, but it was one of those days I thought it was going to be necessary and it was. After yesterday’s faster run, today was going to be a nice recovery run(s). However, this afternoon Mary had an appointment with her doctor and let’s be honest I was pretty nervous about it.

So I was going to do the Tiffany 10K route pretty comfortably – no pushing the pace.

I don’t know what is going on with all the traffic down-back today, but it seemed like there was way more vehicles than usual going through – in both directions and even Tiffany was pretty busy. I know my definition of busy is different than someone from an urban area, but these are back country roads. Continue reading

A Cut-Back Week – Week In Review 5-20-18

Spring is definitely in the air, my allergies are kicking in gear pretty good, the hummingbirds are back and the lawn has been mowed more than it should be for this time of year. The weather has been mostly good for running, it is so nice to be outside.

My favorite photo from the week is actually from this morning – the apple trees are in bloom.

Sometimes you just get very lucky.

With my running last week that is pretty much the case, because last Monday I was not sure if I would be getting any miles in at all during the week. My hamstring was barking pretty loudly, but for a change I was smart about resting and foam rolling the crap out of my hamstring.

It worked!

I made it to Wednesday’s Acupuncture appointment and everything came together enough that by Thursday I was running fairly normally.

Phew!!!!

Hamstrings and I go way baaack to my days as a sprinter in high school (I wasn’t too bad), but the Hammies never really liked some of those cold-arse spring days in Maine back in the 70’s and would complain quite loudly about running all out in those conditions. It seems like most springs, I have to contend with them doing more than their share of complaining and I thought that I was in for a rough go of it this year too.

So yeah, maybe I m getting smarter and wiser as I get to be an old fart. Naw, just more likely – lucky this time. ๐Ÿ™‚

The rest of the week went pretty well for running and while I did not get in 30 miles, I got in 26 more miles than I expected – so I think it was a VERY good week.

I even had a 2018 course record for my test course by a minute, without pushing the effort too level too much on Sunday. I took a couple of days off in a row, then I got back to running with short easier runs on Tuesday and Wednesday. A longish run on Thursday with a 7.0 miler on Thursday where I learned a lot about the Liberty’s and another 5.0 in them on Friday that really solidified my feelings about them. Then I had a quick 4.0 that I mentioned on my test course.

So I was very pleased with how well my running went this week, when it could have been a complete disaster.

Now to get whatever is going on with that right hip taken care of again, same thing as last fall, so I gotta be thinking about what worked to “cure it”.

Running Shoes

I have been working on a small project to get my running shoe photos into Apple’s silo – it is a slow laborious process = yes it is a pain in the arse, but I am getting there and it brought back more than a few memories of shoes that I liked or shoes that I should have given more of a chance.

Last week it was a pretty short rotation Zealot 3’s, Liberty’s, Road Hawk’s and Razor 2 of which I am going to talk about the Liberty’s and Razor 2’s

If things do not change too much, I am not sure that the Liberty’s will make it to a 50 mile review. The Liberty’s are a very good to great running shoe for the right runner, but unfortunately I might not be the right runner.

I only have 25 miles on them, but I am finding that while I can run decently in them they feel heavy at 10.3 ounces (I know that is fairly light, but…the more I run in them the heavier they seem to feel), are pretty stiff (the full length outsole I believe is most of the culprit) and they bother my forefeet too much to run completely comfortably in them. Which I really think it has something to do with the bootie construction of the ISO Fit. So I have put them under the dresser for a week or two to see how things go without running in them for a while.

I was very meechy about running in the Razor 2’s, because the ankle collar area was very uncomfortable (too high and stiff) when I was walking in them or on some of the little jogs I do at times with Bennie.

Finally, I just needed to know whether they were going to blister my ankle area or not. So Sunday I ran in them and while I had an excellent run – there was never that disappear on my feet feeling that I look for in a pair of running shoes. The ankle collar was noticeable, not a discomfort or thank goodness biting my ankles to form the dreaded blister, but more a distraction.

Which makes me wonder why Skechers’ have running shoe models with the ankle collar/well so high, especially since they are designed so that you can remove the insole, which in turn makes the ankle collar come up even higher on your ankles. I had the same issue with the GoRun Ride 7’s and wore a hole in the right ankle well because it came up too high on my feet – even with the insole inside the shoe.

Even so, I will say that the Razor 2 is an amazing running shoe and other than that ankle distraction, I loved the feel of them on the road and will continue to run in them as long as I don’t get blisters on my ankles. If I do get those darned blisters, it might come down to doing shoe surgery on the ankle wells. I have scissors and know how to use them.

I also had been looking at D2 getting me a pair of running shoes for Father’s Day (I know a very unique present for me) and then got to thinking about the shoes that actually have worked for me this year. Then while I was wandering around eBay, I found a pair of GRR7’s on sale for a fantastic price. I ran well in the GRR7’s until I wore the hole through to the plastic heel cup (which was partially my fault I have a feeling) and decided to see if they are part of the solution at that price. I hate the gray colorway, but at this point I want the shoe, the colorway is secondary. That is what I hate about great sales, they suck you in.

The reality is that

I had 26 more miles than I originally thought that I would when the week started, so it turned out to be a very good week running wise. Also I learned a lot more about some shoes that I have in the house and there are some that might go away and others that surprised me with how they did feel when I finally ran in them.

So yes, it was a pretty darn good week.

First Run Skechers GOMeb Razor 2 – RunLog 5-20-18

I finally ran in the Skechers GOMeb Razor 2’s that Sam at Road, Trail, Run was nice enough to give me a few weeks ago. I have put off running in them because I was pretty sure they were going to be a bad pair of ankle biters and I really hate blisters.

The stiffer collar around the around the shoe didn’t give me confidence that I wouldn’t end up with a least a couple blisters under the outside portions of my ankles. I have run a couple of short runs with Bennie in them and even started a run and then turned around and got a different pair of running shoes on, because I didn’t like the way the shoes felt around my ankles.

So today after I decided to run in the Razor 2’s, it was with more than a little trepidation that started the run in them. However, I needed to know one way or another – if the Razor 2’s were going to work for me or not. Continue reading

A Quick 5.0 Miler – RunLog 5-19-18

This morning was beautiful running weather, just a little bit of a breeze so I definitely wanted to get a nice 5.0 miler in. After yesterday’s 7.0 miler, I didn’t want to make the same mistake I made last Saturday by doing a hilly run to abuse the Hamstring anymore than I have to.

So I drove into Waterville and ran the flattest course I could from Planet Fitness.

As a result of that 7.0 miler yesterday, I did want to check out how the change of insoles to thicker ones would work in the Liberty’s. I was having issues with how my forefeet feel after running in them and after looking at the stock insoles, I changed them to a different pair that I have.

Up to about 3.0 miles everything was going great, no issues with the shoes. Unfortunately, once I got between 3-4 miles I started to notice my left forefoot a little, nothing serious, but just enough to know it was not as comfortable as it could be, but a lot better than yesterday. The good part is that it didn’t get any worse, but the bad part was that the right foot started to get a bit uncomfortable also towards the end of the run.

I think I am going to give the Liberty’s a few days off to see if whatever is going on with them and my feet can feel better after a short respite from one another.

Getting to the actual running.

Well when my first mile is my slowest mile, I usually am having a decent run. I wasn’t pushing hard, after the first mile, but I was just a little on the other side of comfortable running. A nice second mile that was mostly downhill and then a little slower on the flat Silver Street segment.

Once I got back to Violette Street, I did slow down some, that is a long-arse climb back up to First Rangeway and if I do not focus on keeping your stride going, I tend to slow down the further up the hill I get.

Coming back down JFK I did pick the pace back up to the finish.

Not the fastest 5.0 miles I have ever done, but it was still a nice confidence builder. Even with the Liberty’s not disappearing on my feet like I would like, I still managed to have a nice pace for most of the run. My right hamstring didn’t bother at all, so that is really good news.

Overall a pretty good run.

Oh yeah, Bennie and I walked down-back this morning and I was really glad that I had this shirt on. The blackflies were horrible!!! The shirt provided just enough protection that I didn’t have to look like I had something wrong with me swatting at the air, instead I just look like something out of a horror movie. At least I was not getting bit by the little arseholes with wings.

Goodhue O/B = Nice Run – RunLog 5-18-18

The first run since that little hamstring flare-up that it didn’t talk dirty to me at all on the run. Phew!!!! I will keep things conservative for another week as far as the speed and hills go, but it seems like I dodged one this time.

It was also a gorgeous day for a run, if a bit breezy from the North.

This morning’s run was done on the Saucony Liberty ISO’s and I am still deciding whether I like them or not. I have the consistency thing figured out and while I love the heel cup, during this 7.0 mile run my forefeet just felt really tired at the end. I don’t know if it was the combination of the bootie slightly pushing the metatarsals together, the firmness underfoot or what.

All I know is that my forefoot on both feet feel more beat up than usual, a lot like when I ran in the Forza 3’s. I did read where the insole on the Liberty’s is different, so maybe I will find a better one and try that on my next run in them.

Well let’s get to the run.

Looking back up Tiffany Road from Goodhue. All downhill, with a nice breeze at my back.

I planned on 6.0 miles and ended up doing 7.0 miles. Although looking at the Strava graph of the run, I probably should have stopped at 6.0 miles. ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh well, I will call it a 6.0 mile run, with a 1.0 mile cool-down. Sounds about right.

Starting out I purposely went fairly slow the first mile or so, just to get a feel for how the leg was feeling and I wanted to give myself time to warm-up.The first 3.0 miles were against a pretty decent breeze 10+mph, which did slow me down a bit once I got past Wildwood and was going uphill, against the wind.

Which is always fun.

However, coming back it was nice going downhill and the wind at my back. So that was a little quicker. I still maintained the same stride and effort levels as going out. I purposely did not attempt to really pickup the pace or lengthen out my stride today – trying to keep things healing nicely.

Although I did struggle with keeping my left foot from becoming uncomfortable by working hard to keep the foot straighter and not land on the outside edge. I think that this is where the Liberty’s are too firm and maybe a bit stiff for me on longer runs, is that they do bother when I allow myself to land without thinking about how I am landing – which seems to be more towards the outside of my forefoot, when I am keeping my stride length shorter.

Oh well.

The other thing is that these are the first shoe that I have ever run in that have two distinct personalities. On tar they have a nice lively feel, but when I am running on dirt roads (like down-back) or the soft side road shoulders they felt way too firm and no bounce to them. They act almost like different shoes depending on the surface.

Strange.

Once I got back to Stevens Hill, things just went downhill or should I say uphill and I think that the brain had told the body we were only going to do 6.0 miles today and adding in that last mile was not something the brain or body were really into this morning. When both are pretty much unwilling, it just turns into a slog and you just push yourself to finish.

Overall, a good run where I learned more about how I feel about running in the Saucony Liberty ISO’s and after 4 runs and 20 miles, I am thinking that they are not really part of the solution. I will get them to 50 miles and figure it out from there. I have other shoes in the rotation that I like better right now. However, it might just be as simple as getting a bit higher quality insole in there and seeing how that works.

Great day for running though.

Attacked By An Apple Tree – RunLog 5-17-18

I really feel kind of foolish, how else do you feel when you are viciously attacked by the apple tree in your yard, while mowing the lawn and the damn apple tree wins the battle.

Damnit I know where there is a chainsaw and I know how use it. Hehehee

Anyway, this is what happens when you are thinking about how good your run was and how well the shoe worked during the morning and don’t pay attention to what is around you and run your noggin into the low hanging apple tree branch. It did slow me down for a minute and then I got back to mowing the rest of the lawn. I didn’t notice the bleeding part (just the headache) until after I got done. I guess it was a good thing I had the hat on though, no blood dripped into my face. That might have scared a few people. ๐Ÿ™‚

Naw, just Harold being Harold – again.

Well that must have been a pretty good run to be thinking about it while mowing the lawn. Actually it was, I went into Waterville to run since I didn’t want the added stress of running on hills for the hamstring and found a mostly flattish course. I started off slowly to let the hamstring warm up and then just ran comfortably.

Luckily I got to put 5.0 more miles in the book.

I certainly didn’t set any speed records and whenever I started to run “normally for me” I had to cut it out and get back to the shorter steps and quicker cadence. The hamstring ain’t ready for that Harold running style yet and probably I would be smarter to adopt this style of running and get good at it. Unfortunately, when I don’t focus on how I am running I tend to revert back to my regular style and maintaining anything different fatigues me mentally.

However, I did well today and actually ran more with a form much closer to what Chi Running recommends and it worked quite well at keeping the hamstring much happier.

I did run in the Asics Road Hawk FF and was very happy with them. They really remind me of a higher drop and not quite as smooth/quiet Pearl Izumi N1 v1 as far as their firmness, but with a little more pop. Which means that more than likely I can run quite well in them and from other reviews of them, if I can handle the firmness they should last quite a while.

Other than being attacked by the apple tree, it was a pretty good day and I am recovering nicely and the wound was not all that bad. Just messy looking after I took the hat off. ๐Ÿ™‚

Another day of Harold being Harold.

Running on the Rail Trail – RunLog 5-16-18

This morning I got to run on the Rail Trail down in Augusta. It is one of my favorite places to run in the area and after yesterday’s 2.0 miles, I wanted to see how the hamstring felt today.

No problems.

When I got down there, they were working on the new trailhead and the trail extension down to the lower parking lot, so it was a little bit of an adventure getting over to the trail.

The guy on the bobcat got out and talked with me for a second and showed me how to get through the area – guess I must have looked lost. It was more I didn’t want to get run over by the dump trucks that were playing around when I was heading over to the trail from the truck. The photo is after I got through running and things had settled down a lot. ๐Ÿ™‚

I did my pre-run warm-up, which I think does help get the body ready to run. Today I focused on keeping my feet straight and then after the first mile worked on increasing the cadence from yesterday. However, I did purposely keep the stride length shorter, which seems to not bother the hamstring as much.

Speaking of the hamstring, it did really well and loosened up a lot by the end of the second mile, but I kept things conservative. While my splits were faster each mile, I didn’t push and kept my stride very controlled. When I got done, I really thought about doing another mile or two, but I decided to be smart and just stopped.

I ran in the Saucony Liberty ISO and the small change I made to double-up through the last lace loop worked nicely. Since I made that change, the Liberty’s have had a more consistent fit and I am liking them quite a bit.

The photo below is why I like the Rail Trail so much.

Why Do I Still Do Running Shoe Reviews

Yesterday another runner in a Facebook group I am a member of made an off-hand observation/suggestion/feedback/comment about reviewing running shoes to me, after I shared my Saucony Zealot ISO 3 review there. Which got me to thinking about why I am still writing running shoe reviews on my blog and if they serve any purpose.

Let’s get real, my background as runner does not make me an expert on running shoes or running in general. I am not a certified coach, have not worked in the running industry, designed running shoes or was an running insider of any sort.

I am a never-was runner, who never accomplished anything grand or special as a runner, other than I am still running all these years later. My best times are very pedestrian and certainly not of any consequence in the grand scheme of things.

My biggest claim to fame is that I have made just about every mistake that a runner can make and worn a lot of running shoes while making those mistakes. As a result of those experiences and shall we say learning opportunities, I have a bit of knowledge of how to make running shoes more my own – you know, beyond how they come in the box. Continue reading

Surprise 2.0 Miler – RunLog 5-15-18

Yeah, I didn’t think that I would run until later this week, if at all. After Saturday’s shortened run due to my right hamstring complaining way too much, I decided to take a few days off and let my hamstring stop complaining.

Sunday was a really easy day and I forced myself to to rest – well actually I mowed the lawn, but otherwise I behaved myself and the hamstring while it was not real thrilled about the lawn mowing, it didn’t complain that much.

Monday, actually was easier on the hamstring than Sunday, I just played carpenter for the day and created a new critter seed/food cabinet from two free kitchen cabinets that one of the neighbors conveniently left at the end of their drive way with a “free” sign on them. I even did a mile on the elliptical without any issues.

Today was a long walk down-back with Bennie and Mary where we fought the black flies and the blackflies kicked our arses. Once we made it back, I got on the elliptical and did 6.0 miles at a sub 5:00 minute pace, without any discomfort at all.

So that was very encouraging!!!

Based on that I really wanted to go for a run later in the day for my second workout after 4:00 PM. I did my pre-run warm-ups and when I started I almost shut it right down. There was still a lot of tightness in the hamstring, but that was all it was – tightness. I kept it slow and decided to keep going figured that I could stop at any point where it started to get tighter or sore in anyway.

While I was running, I really focused on keeping my stride short, feet straight and running slow. It worked, I was able to get through 2.0 miles without any issues. However, towards the end of the run my right hamstring started to feel tired. When that feeling started, I knew that I wasn’t going to do more than the 2.0 miles.

Not a long run, but it was a good run and it gives me confidence that the hamstring is doing a LOT better. I will continue to be conservative on what I do and if it starts to feel more than simply being tight, I will shut it down and walk it back. Just have to be careful and listen closely to how much that hamstring complains to me.