I Can Dream – Yeah It’s About Running Shoes

Of all the things that I can dream about, on this blog I try to keep things more or less focused on running, with a little technology thrown in once in a while. However, the true focus for me seems to come down to finding that mythological great running shoe for me.

I am not an industry insider, I am one of those damn consumers who usually pays for my running shoes – unless I get lucky once in a while.

Let’s be honest, my perfect pair of running shoes is not the same running shoe that is perfect for you, it is not the running shoe that I might have worn when I was a spry youngster and sure as hell ain’t the same shoes that Kipchoge, Linden or other professional runners would love.

My Unicorn shoe is all about the needs of a 60 year old guy, who has been running pretty regularly since the Fall of 1971, still thinks he has something left in the tank to surprise some of the youngsters and wants to run for many more years. Continue reading

Still Learning More – Week in Review 4/29/18

Yeah, I got rid of some more old running shoes, found out the Forza 3’s are not the answer, loving being back in the GRR7’s – although they are going to blister my left heel sooner than later, had my first ice cream in a couple of months and while thing were relatively quiet, it seemed like I never got caught up all week.

Favorite Photo this week:

Down-back is runnable again – yeah, yippee and all that other falderal.

Yeah, the Forza 3’s didn’t work for me as my long/recovery run shoes and have turned into my primary walking shoes, so it is not a complete waste. However, when I tried the Hoka Bondi 5’s and Newton Gravity 5’s from the back of the garage neither one cut the mustard and have gone to running shoe heaven, err GoodWill. Continue reading

Skechers Forza 3 – 50 Mile Review

A semi new shoe review for a change. Yes, they are the Forza 3, but they are the Houston marathon special edition and I bought them for a very reasonable price from Running Warehouse.

Unfortunately, they are a running shoe that doesn’t work for me, just the way it works sometimes. However, due to too many factors that do not work for me, they are a shoe that I don’t look forward to running in.

I have run treadmill workouts, double-digit long runs, medium distance runs outside in the rain, dirt roads and sand/salt mixtures on the side of the roads (a present from sanding the roads last winter). So I have a pretty good idea of how the Forza 3’s work for me on a variety of conditions and runs.

The Short Version

The Forza 3’s are a pair of running shoes that I can run in, but don’t look forward to using and as a result of my experiences in them have decided that they make better walking shoes than running shoes for me.

The Rest of the Story

There are three primary reasons for this:

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Welcome Back the GRR7’s – RunLog 4/26/18

And then the rains came, it was just a bit wet out there this morning. However, it is a sign of Spring and it is not the white evil stuff, that also brings cold and an over abundance of clothes. However, the rains were enough that Bennie was not interested in walking outside any longer than he had to and I decided that the treadmill would be a bit kinder than the driving rain.

Plus I really did want to see if the changes that I made to the GoRun Ride 7’s had made enough of a difference that I would be able to run in them again, without worrying about whether they would blister my left heel and right outer ankle or not.

So I got on the treadmill at Planet Fitness and started out at 7.1 mph, I increased it a bit every couple of miles and had a really strong kick at the end. So the run was my typical treadmill run, get warmed-up, run, think about stopping at 3.0 miles, play tricks on myself to get through 5.0 and with only a mile left, start increasing the pace to under 8.00’s by the time I get to 5.75. Then go for a good kick at the end.

Yeah, a pretty typical treadmill run.

How did the GRR7’s do?

Drumroll please….

Fantastic!!!!

The heels felt locked in the entire run and the right ankle was not rubbing against the ankle well as a distraction. I don’t believe that the wear in the heel cup is going to be a big deal, now that everything is locked down. They didn’t bother at all during the run and had that cushioned ride/feel that I really love, but when I wanted to step up the pace a bit, the shoe firmed up nicely.

Welcome the GRR7’s back as my primary longer run/recovery shoes and yes, I am ecstatic about it.

It is amazing how such a small thing like changing the laces does for the runnability of a pair of shoes — at least in this instance it was very significant.

The true test will be next Tuesday when I go out and do a double-digit run and see how things feel then, but now I am excited about the possibilities again.

Good treadmill run and even better news about the GRR7’s.

A Busy Rest Day – RunLog 4-25-18

I took yesterday as a rest day, after my 10+ miler on Tuesday, falling and bruising my body as well as my ego, along with having a 15 day running streak going…well it was just time for a day off. I don’t do well at streaking too long and this is about as many days in a row as I usually get to before I start feeling stale, sore or grumpy.

Needless to say I still wanted to go for a run, so I had to play that game, well I can do it later most of the day.

However, I was good and even though I was sorely tempted when Mary went out for her run (before the rain started), instead I opted to clean out the old garden plastic that we had been storing under the house over the years. Five lawn and leaf bags later I got all of that plastic ready to take to the transfer station.

It was one of those nasty/dirty jobs that you procrastinate doing, so needless to say, I really would have rather run, but this had been on my todo list for a while and needed to get done.

We did go up to Waterville to do errands, so that occupied a good part of the afternoon, which made things a little easier as far as me avoiding running.

In the late afternoon, I usually get on the elliptical for a bit, but if I am going to take a rest day, I try to make it a real rest day and not do any workouts, so I needed to keep myself occupied.

Which got me to thinking about and looking at my Forza 3’s and GRR7’s to see what it is that is making them less than my ideal running shoes and what I have done to improve them for me.

Forza 3’s

Even though I had a really nice 10+ miler in the Forza 3’s Tuesday, I just don’t feel entirely comfortable running in them there always seems to be something going on that makes me think about my feet when I wear them for a run.

With the stock insole in them (it is the same one as the GRR7’s), the Forza 3’s are fairly firm, which is not a bad thing for a light support style of shoe, but I tend to prefer a more cushioned feel. I did replace the stock insole with a thicker one before my long run and that seemed to help quite a bit with how they felt during the run.

The size 8.5 fit is a bit too long and the shoe feels well a little sloppy unless I really snug down on the laces. In the photo above, I will have to snug them down a bit more, which will bring the eyelets too close together. Probably an 8.0 would be a better fit for me in this model, maybe even an 7.5.

For some reason the loop style lacing holes, when I replaced the laces with a different pair (I dislike flat laces and prefer the more rounded ones), it seemed to allow them to keep snugging up the laces each time I put them on. Then I wouldn’t realize how tight the laces had gotten until I was out on a run, which bothered the top of my feet. So I replaced the regular laces with LockLaces this afternoon to see if I get a more consistent fit.

The other thing that I finally figured out was that the heel flare is fairly wide and angled in from the outsole. I am hitting my other leg when I stride a bit more than I have in a long time in the Forza 3’s

Part of the blame is that duck-footed stride of mine, but it after the 9th or 10th time of me clipping the Forza’s heel against my other leg, it does get a bit tiresome. I knew that it was happening, but didn’t notice how much until I saw the tell-tale streaks on the inside of each leg after running down back last week and then during the long run the other day when I got more tired it became more of an issue. No real solution for this, with the way I run other than to keep my feet straighter when running.

The photo above is after I wiped my feet on my boot cleaner, the pebbles are mostly out, but during the long run the heel section was caked with sand, grit and pebbles that wouldn’t clear unless I dragged, stamped my feet on the tar.

For me the outsole design is a pebble magnet, which when I looked at the bottom of the Forza 3’s after I fell on Tuesday, were fairly well coated with embedded pebbles. So I tend to think when with the pebble build-up in the outsole after 10 miles, combined with hitting the sand on corner may have contributed (no it was not the only factor) to the lack of traction, which resulted in that crash and burn.

Unfortunately, it is just the way it is that there is a lot of sand, dirt roads, sandy road shoulders and bit of mud where I run.

While I have run fairly well in the Forza 3’s, there are an accumulation of little things that make them a shoe I can run in versus a shoe I want to run in – which is a big difference. Hopefully, with the changes I am making, it will make them a more comfortable for me to run in and something that I want to run in.

GoRun Ride 7

The GRR7’s have been my favorite running shoes this year, but experienced significant wear on the heel of the left foot and right ankle well at just under a 150 miles.

Enough that I was afraid of blistering from both spots, so I stopped running in them with less than 150 miles on them. However, I believe that I have solved the riddle of why those issues occurred.

When I got the GRR7’s I put LockLaces in, however I did not use the last lace slot, which I now know was a mistake with these shoes. By not using that last slot, my heel slipped too much and prematurely wore a hole in the heel cup. So to solve that I tried lacing through the last hole with the LockLaces, unfortunately, that made the shoes too tight feeling when putting them on and uncomfortable to wear for a long periods of time.

Since that did not work, I decided that I would put in regular laces and see if that worked. Just wearing them around the house they feel a lot more comfortable and I noticed that my heels felt a lot more locked down.

As for the ankle wear, it was one of those things that I wrote about shortly after getting them and while the rubbing on my ankle never caused a blister, the high sidewall was something that was a slight distraction when running in the GoRun Ride 7’s. My solution is to put a thicker insole in and see if it lifted my ankle up off the ankle well enough or not. It almost worked, so I took a pair of scissors and cleaned up the area around the wear spot and it feels a lot better.

Now that I have made these changes I want to see if the GRR7’s can be run in again. If I can run in them again, that would be fantastic, because they are a great shoe to run in.

The reality is that

While I didn’t run yesterday, I think that I have positively done some things that will help me run better in the shoes that I have in the house. I really hope that those things work, especially for the GRR7’s, which is a shoe that I really loved until I wore the hole in the heel cup and felt that I had to stop running in them.

Please don’t take all the negative things that I have written about the Forza 3 or Ride 7’s as anything other than things that I need to improve for them to work better for me. My body is weird and most runners will not have nearly the issues that I have had in either model. The fact that I want to fix things shows that I do like running in them, instead of me just putting them in the back of the garage to eventually go away.

It is pretty amazing to me how much difference a different shoe laces and/or a pair of insoles can make to the fit and feel to my of running shoes.

A pretty good rest day if I say so myself.

A Bit Battered, But 10 In the Books – RunLog 4-24-18

Tuesdays are my long run days and when I get to bitch because the weather is just too damn nice…well then I just can’t bitch can I? Hehehehe

The short summary is that I had a great run through 7.0 miles, when the heat got me a little the rest of the way and then I auditioned for America’s Funniest Videos as I attempted to start my kick turning into the home stretch at Thomas College. No serious damage, just some road rash and soreness from old body meeting hard asphalt. One of those where you look around to see how many people were clapping at your ability to look absolutely stoopid – although I will live to run again of that I am sure. ;-). Just the ego may have been permanently damaged (not really).

Yeah, the weather was absolutely gorgeous, 57* bright sunshine and a 6 mph breeze out of the South, which meant that it was my first run of 2018 that I got to run in shorts and a t-shirt — nice!!! Mary suggested that I run to Waterville to take advantage of the tailwind versus the headwind going to Augusta would have entailed. Great suggestion and since she is a lot smarter than I am, I took it.

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First Real Day of Spring – RunLog 4-23-18

The routine was a little different this morning, I had to take Dad up to Bangor for an appointment this afternoon, so instead of the long morning walk with Bennie and then running, Mary offered to do it alone and told me to go for my run…otherwise I probably wouldn’t get it in. Thanks to such an understanding wife :-).

I ran down back and while a few places are still wet, it is now runnable, which is a good thing. It gives me a few more options to get in my runs – always a good thing. However, this morning the first couple of miles just didn’t feel comfortable, I was going by effort (not looking at my watch) and when I looked at the splits after I finished I saw they were down in the 8:30 pace range – about 30 seconds per mile faster than I wanted and I attributed it to the wind being in my face hehehe.

Of course coming back on this course, I slowed down quite a bit coming back up the two hills on Blake and Philbrick. I maintained a consistent effort, but hills and I have a love hate relationship at this point in my running career. I can run them well if I have to during a race, but I hate to train on them. So guess what I am going to do more hill repeats over the coming months – Sucker for punishment aren’t I!!!

Once I got back on the tar I did pick up the pace a little, without going overboard on the effort. However, I did meet Bennie and Mary coming back down the road and I wanted to see how a short little run with Bennie would be.

He loved the idea and showed off by never letting go of the leash. Like he was running me, not the other way around. Just this less than half a mile jaunt with Bennie, showed me why I stopped running with him. In that short time, with him pulling the leash to the right my right him started to bother even more than usual and would have gone to a full-blown – this sucks pretty quickly if we had gone too much further.

So I got my definititive answer on whether running with Bennie was something that bothered my hip or not – it does. Which means that I will not be doing any longer running with Bennie. That sucks, because he enjoys it so much, but IF I want to keep running as pain-free and injury-free as possible, running with him is not an option for me.

At least I found out and will not be wondering if I made the correct choice when I stopped running with him.

The Little Things – Week In Review 4-22-18

Sometimes a busy week is a good week, let’s see actually running in a 5K race, watching Boston, getting in the most miles in a week this year, getting some new to me racing shoes, starting to get stuff started outside and wearing shorts while running most of the time made for the first real week of spring, even though the temps were still below average and the winds above.

My favorite photo from the week:

To those of you who ran Boston on Monday, you have my utmost respect and I still wish that I had been there with you out in the elements running that race. It would have meant that I accomplished something that I started wanting back in 1969.

Now it is time to do more than think or dream about Boston. If the body can get through my usual April or May wipeout, I do see me starting to train to finish one of those damn things called a marathon as a first step towards getting there. Not training for a BQ or anything else this year, just a marathon finish. It is an idea that needs to have resolution and this is the best year to get started on the journey to finish what I started dreaming of so long ago.

My 5K race went better than I expected, no issues with pre-race crap, no injuries during the race and my time was closer to the top of my predicted range than I expected.

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Recovery Run on A Beautiful Spring Day – RunLog 4-22-18

Sometimes the day after a race, you find out that there are parts of your body that just plain old hurt, because you pushed harder than you should have. Well this morning I got up and the ball of my left foot was a little tender and the hamstrings were complaining a little, but the massive amounts of hurt that I sort of expected were not there.

Which is a very good sign or a very bad one, depending on which way you look at it. If I had hurt a lot, it would mean that I really laid it on the line yesterday and gave a hard effort. So either I am in better shape than I thought or I wimped out yesterday. I think that I will take the positive view and hope that I am in better shape than I thought. 🙂 hehehe

At least the snow is starting to leave the yard

Today I planned for something easy on the comfort scale, but I wanted to do 5.0 or so.

I figured that down-back would have dried up for the most part without rain for a few days and with all the wind that we have been having. I was mostly correct and was able to run around the muddier spots in the dirt road for the most part.

It was really nice to see the sun and although the wind was chilly going out, coming back it was at my back and even though I was much slower the last 2.0 miles, I still felt pretty good. It was interesting seeing what has happened over the winter down on Tiffany and a family was out picking up trash with their children. The mom wished me a happy Earth Day, before I could say it to her.

Then I came on 3 riders and their horses, they were just going slowly, so I passed them. I’ve know one of them for several years and she asked where my running partner was. I just said we are both getting older now and he doesn’t run so good with me anymore. I ran backwards for a bit, while we talked.

Yeah, today wasn’t about anything other than getting out the door, getting the miles in and running down to Notta Road. I am tired from yesterday’s race and the little bit of yard work that I did in the afternoon. Overall, a very nice recovery run.