A Little Faster 10K – December 3, 2020

Yesterday I ran in the 361 Degree Meraki v1 for the first time and really it wasn’t fair to the shoes. I was tired, it was the day after a hard for me speed workout, a longer than usual Bennie walk and the legs were totally beat-up. Even so, I was pleasantly surprised by how they performed with those limitations on a 5.0 mile recovery run.

This morning, the legs were feeling pretty good, and I was intrigued by the Meraki’s. After walking a couple of miles with Bennie and thinking about it, I decided to go ahead and pull them out again and see how they would do on a run when I am a bit fresher.

361 Degrees Meraki v1

I wasn’t sure about what kind of run I would end up doing, but figured that I would head towards Goodhue Road and see what happened. I started out slow and easy and going down Stevens Hill naturally sped up. The dirt road was a little slimy with the frost coming out, but not icy, but I still didn’t attempt to pick up the pace too much, until I got to the 3/4 mile point where I did purposely go a little faster after a quick pit stop. Then I hit the first mile split.

Faster than I thought it would be by about 30 seconds. Okay, that is mostly downhill, so the next mile would be a better measure, it was a few seconds faster and I didn’t even have to worry about the bad golden retriever which was nice. The third mile which I always slow down on was only a few seconds slower. These splits surprised me because I wasn’t pushing the pace and was just running comfortably.

After a quick pit stop in the woods (TMI), but it happens, I decided to listen to my race playlist for the rest of the run. The music helps me maintain a higher cadence, but when I turned around I found out that I was running against the slight breeze and bright sunshine in my eyes all the way to the end (no hat with a visor), which was both distracting and made running more difficult. Even so, I maintained a little faster pacing through 5.0 miles.

At that point I could tell that I was starting to get tired and when I got back on the dirt section of Tiffany, I really slowed down and didn’t attempt to push through the tired. Which was me, not the shoes.

Needless to say the Meraki’s impressed the hell out of me during this run.

When I was running down Stevens Hill they were a bit slappy in the wet mud, but when I shortened my stride a little, suddenly everything came together. They felt snappy on the flats even with the slime on top of the dirt and when I got to the tar the Meraki’s settled me into a nice pace.

Footprint in the slime of Meraki v1

Grip was great and I even purposely hit a few of the icy wet spots on Tiffany Road to see how they did — I stayed upright and the outsole punched through to the wet tar below the skim ice. In the mud/slime I didn’t slide around at all and felt as though I could have picked it up without any worries of slipping around. They will work nicely for manicured trails, dirt roads and non-caking snow days.

When I looked at the Garmin results and saw an 8:39 pace for the run, I was pretty well shocked. I hadn’t pushed the effort and at this point in my training any pace under 9:00 is fairly fast for me. When I looked, this run was accidentally the fastest 10K for me in 2020.

The best part of the run was no foot pain and forgetting about the Meraki’s, versus thinking about whether my foot is going to start hurting or become uncomfortable.

Like I told Mary, “What a difference running is when you aren’t worried about how the shoes feel on your feet.”

I don’t get excited by new shoes very often, but the Meraki’s felt pretty damn good underfoot. I know they are a 2018 model and are not in production now. So, I looked around at various places at the prices, my size availability and yes, the blue colorway. White or gray are not my favorites and found some blue ones in my size for under $60 shipped, I went back and forth over getting them or not.

At that price point and with the reviews by other runners about the Meraki V2, after a couple hours I decided — why not do it and ordered another pair of the Meraki v1’s in an 8.5. I have wasted more (a lot more) money on too many other shoes this year that didn’t even come close to how good the Meraki v1 feel on my feet.

The biggest thing is that I know inventory for this older model will not last that long and it is better to have one in hand than go “damn I wish that I had gotten them” later on when I want a pair and can’t find them.

I will list it as a present from Bennie. Heheheh he always gets me the best things.

Yeah, white is not the best colorway for running down-back. They will look pretty nasty all too soon.

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