After the Storm & 361 Pacer 2 Initial Run

Last night was a wild night and I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep. Not with the wind sounding like a freight train most of the night (which meant 40-50+ mph winds) and rain hammering against the bedroom window. Always in the back of my mind wondering when we were going to lose power. We never did, but that was one of the worst rainstorms I have ridden out in a while and being very thankful it wasn’t snow. The temps were in the mid to high 50s, which is pretty weird for the first of December.

Along the rock wall was a lot of water and over at SD2’s her moat was back. So we got a lot of water overnight and the area did have a bunch of power outages all around us, so we were fortunate not lose our’s. However, it was still raining and blowing pretty hard this morning, so both of Bennie’s walks were abbreviated affairs and my running adventures were delayed until this after when the rain had gone from heavy downpour to something a bit more bearable.

My daughter had gotten me a couple of pairs of running shoes for Christmas and the first ones had come in yesterday. Yeah, I know I am a more than a little spoilt, but whenever she asks me what I want for a present I usually have a strange pair of on clearance running shoes that I wouldn’t normally buy for myself ready for her to order for me, but from her as a present they are okay. This time I got lucky and found two pair of 361 Degree shoes within our agreed upon price range.

So the ones I got first were the 361 Degrees Pacer 2. A go faster shoe, but more of a longer distance racer at the weight they are and not their top of the line race day shoe, which meant that I wanted to see what they would do in a faster workout – of course. However, with the storm and rain, I was a bit leery of doing a faster workout for the first run in a new pair of shoes.

I figured that I could take them out for a mile warm-up lap and see how they felt on the wet road. Every pair of running shoes have their best stride/way to run in them and surprisingly these felt great underfoot within the first hundred yards. They had an almost perfect balance of firmness and cushion, pretty much what I have been looking for.

Firm enough to have good pop, but not harsh feeling (like the Zephyrs) and cushioned enough to be comfortable, but not feel like a mattress strapped to my feet (like the Clifton 6). The Pacer 2s did feel a little snugger than I am used to in the forefoot, but not anything uncomfortable. The heel hold was perfect for my skinny heels and didn’t rub the Achilles at all. They reminded me a little of a better fitting Hyperspeed 5 or Mizuno Hitogami v2s, with a little more snap to them.

As I was getting back to the start, the mailman was coming up to the house and waved me down. He had two packages and the mail. I guess he figured that if he handed it off to me, he wouldn’t have to go up the driveway and deal with the rain as much. I didn’t mind because one of the packages was the other pair of shoes – 361 Degrees Meraki v1.

This pause did give me a chance for a quick pit stop and time to think about what kind of run I was going to do in the Pacer 2s. I figured that with the weather being so crappy, that I would just do my Pepin Test course and call it good.

Of course when I got back out to run, it had started to rain heavier again and by the time I got up to the top of the hill, the wind had picked back up to over 20 mph in my face. Which meant that all the way out was going to be into the wind and rain. Not something I was totally thrilled with. So at the last minute I decided to do 200m repeats with the wind more at my back and an added benefit would be that I wouldn’t have to come back up Philbrick Hill — a good thing on a crappy weather day.

I ended up doing 9x200s in the 0:50 to 0:52 second range, with the last one a little faster. No the speeds were not earth shattering and probably the wind at my back helped a little. However, it was offset by the rain and wet roads, so to me that was a wash.

The biggest things that I noted about the faster paced 200s was how easy it was to get up to speed and hold it when I got there. The Pacer 2s disappeared on my feet and I didn’t think about the shoes other than to think about how good they felt — a HUGE difference from most of my No-Track Tuesday’s this year. Since for most of them I ended up with very sore feet.

Running fast in the Pacer 2s was comfortable and easy to do, but often I find that go faster shoes don’t do as well when it comes to running at slower paces. This was not the case with the Pacer 2s. On the recovery portions of the intervals and warm-up portions of the run the shoes were comfortable.

No foot pain after running fast for me is a huge deal, especially in crappy conditions. The wet road grip was outstanding, the feel was what I have been looking for and I ran well at faster or slower speeds. After running in so many different pair of running shoes over the past several years, it takes a lot for me to go Wow about a new pair of running shoes. The Pacer 2s accomplished that when I finished the workout this afternoon.

Yes, they made me say “WOW!”.

They certainly performed beyond my expectations for the first run in them and definitely better than the stats or other reviews I have read would lead me to believe.

Now to get more 50 or so miles on the 361 Degrees Pacer 2s and see how they feel at that point. I am excited about the possibilities that this pair of shoes might bring to my running rotation and am ever hopeful that I will someday find my Goldilocks running shoes. Right now I have a couple of contenders with the Cloudflyers and Pacer 2s, who knows where the Meraki v1 will fit into the equation — if at all.

Strange how things work out sometimes.

However, the most important thing was that we did was get through the storm without anything more than some big puddles in the yard and a few limbs from trees down. Otherwise things were in good shape and now we are just waiting to see what the storm this weekend brings to us.

A better ending to the day than the beginning that is for sure.

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