A Surprising Run — September 10, 2021

What I am thinking about this morning?

The rains are over, or so it seems…at least until the next storm rolls through.

I feel almost relieved that I have chosen to do a block of base training until the end of the year. It takes the pressure off me to think that I don’t have to get ready to race and can simply run to work on things that I need to improve upon.

Which is necessary, because I do have a lot I need to work on. I have given lip service to that stuff in the past, but haven’t done the work to actually do it. Now, I don’t have any excuses or fantastic see how great I am without doing the work ideas floating around in my head. It is time to face reality and do the work that I should have been doing right along.

The most significant difference in this base training block compared to others, is that I will do more hill repeats and keep in the 4-6 strides in the middle of an easy run or two during the week. Otherwise, I will follow the Stryd Base Training Plan until the New Year.

Is this what I wanted?

Not really.

As much as I might whine about racing and my struggles with pre-race anxiety, along with not doing enough work and all the other faults I have as a runner. I am finding that I miss racing and the camaraderie of being around other runners.

What would be ideal, would have been getting ready for a bunch of local 5Ks that are scheduled over the next few months, doing my running club’s 10K in October, and have fun seeing everyone again. However, the idea of being around larger groups, even if they are other runners, doesn’t appeal to me all that much with the direction the pandemic appears to be going.

Am I being over-cautious or listening to the wrong “experts”?

Perhaps, then again, I don’t think so.

However, I am going to do what is correct for me. Despite being vaccinated and keeping a low profile, I know that at some point we will all be exposed to some form of COVID-19, get sick and hopefully come out the other side, without too much going sideways.

With the increasing hospitalizations and deaths — those numbers are real. I don’t feel comfortable changing the routine that gotten me through to this point of the pandemic. I believe it is too soon to go back to the way things used to be, based on what I am seeing.

Still, the pandemic won’t be over soon enough for me.

I am up to chapter 5 in “The Practice of Groundedness” and have a feeling that this will be one of those books that I buy the hardcover copy to have on hand when I need a quick tune-up. It is one of those books that I will be re-reading multiple times in the future.

Today I am planning on doing an easy 5.0 miler down to Notta Road and will probably wear my Reebok Energy 2’s. I am feeling better than I have in a while, but still not 100% back to the way that I usually feel, so today’s run will also depend on how I am feeling once I get going.

I initially thought about using the U/A Sonic 3’s to get a better handle on how they do on slightly longer runs. However, they are still wet from yesterday’s walk in the pouring rain and the more I use them the more they seem like they will end up as my primary walking shoes, until the snows come.

What Did I do?

At the last minute, I decided to use the 361 Flames. I wanted to see how they did on an easy run, take a look at the grip on the wet gravel road down-back and wet tar roads. It was a good day to check those things off my “I wonder how they will do list”.

I figured that I would run somewhere around a 9:30 pace for most of the run, and off I went.

There is a major issue with the Flames, they dislike going slow. By the time I got to the bottom of Stevens Hill, I knew that I was far too fast compared to what I planned. However, with the flats coming up, where the muddier section of the road was, I wanted to see how they handled it.

So, I maintained the same effort level and went through that section without any issues. The rest of the run was the same way, I just kept up an even effort level and didn’t attempt to pick up the pace until a little at the end. Even then, I didn’t push that hard.

Although, with how I have felt this week, I decided to make it a shorter run than I originally planned. I was feeling okay, but not as good as I wanted to feel.

Now, an 8:47 pace isn’t that fast by any stretch of the imagination, but when you expected to do your normal 9:30 pace and didn’t really feel like you were working a lot harder — it makes you wonder.

Moreover, not having to deal with irritation, hot spots, or blisters, along with thinking about what shoe surgery I need to do to resolve those kinds of issues are all very good things.

When I looked at the data after the run, my cadence was 172, when I have been between 164 and 166 for a while now. The average heart-rate was still up there at 146, but that is where I have been on other runs, and my average h/r for September is 141, so it isn’t that far off. The weather has been about the same, so that isn’t the difference.

What was the difference?

Unless only wearing bike compression shorts versus my usual compression shorts and a pair of running shorts over them make that big of a difference, the only thing left is the shoes.

Yep, the 361 Flames are helping me get the cadence up to where I want it to be, which in turn gets the pace faster, without a lot of extra effort. Furthermore, when I looked at my average stride length, I am pretty close to 1.08 in the Flames versus 1.01 otherwise.

I am not saying they are the next great thing, but I do seem to run differently in them than I do other shoes in my collection. Time will tell, if it is the shoes or maybe the old guy is getting back in shape.

I wish.

If you can’t tell, I am enjoying running in the 361 Flames. While I want to get a lot more miles in them before I say too many wonderful things about them, they are making a good impression so far.

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