Topo Ultra Fly v1 – 50 Mile Review

Another review of the previous version of a running shoe. I figure that a lot of runners buy the older shoes, like I do, once they go on sale.

The Topo Ultra Fly v1 is a shoe that I have wanted to try since it came out. However, I couldn’t justify the full retail price to experiment with sizing and feel, on shoes I had never seen in person.

So I have been waiting for the price point to get down to the $50-70 price range that is a little easier to swallow when experimenting with a shoe I haven’t been able to put my hands on or feet in. Especially, if they do not work as planned for me.

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Rainy Start – Rainy End – MT WK3 D1

This morning we woke up to some badly needed rain, so Bennie and were lucky enough to get out during the worst part of the rain – of course. We still did the whole mile, but got a bit wet walking out there.

By the time we got out for his long walk the rain had stopped, but the humidity was ramping up and the bugs were definitely out and about attempting to draw blood at the least convenient time possible. We survived the walk and both got ready for our runs.

I planned on doing 5.0 and decided that it was time to do the Middle Road Loop for the first time since I strained my hamstring while doing it. Today was supposed to be a nice easy run and I wanted to keep it over 9:20 pace.

Starting out was slower and coming down Philbrick Hill I sped up a little, but kept it just over 9:00. However, the humidity felt pretty much like it was 100%, when I checked Garmin it said 73%, which I think was a bit low. Luckily since I was going slow the humidity didn’t effect me as much as usual.

I was able to maintain a stride and decent going up the hills versus moving into survival shuffle going up them, which surprised me. Since I have been doing that since last year on any kind of hill, so it is encouraging to be able to run up one and keep the head up. Hopefully, it is a good sign moving forward – we will see.

Keeping my easy runs slower is something I am working hard on. Instead of my “easy” runs being in the 8:30 – 8:40 range, I would like to slow them down to 9:20 – 9:40 range – at least. I have to make the easy runs easy, so that when I do my quality workouts that they are a higher quality than they have been before.

Overall, I think it was a nice run, which is how I should see my “easy” runs – they should only be nice.

I did run in the Nike Pegasus 33’s and they felt fine going at the slower pace. No issues with my left Achilles’ tendon and the right hip is feeling a little better. I think that I gotta rotate my running shoes versus primarily running in a single pair.

I need a shave.

Also I used my new Ultimate Direction race belt and I liked it, although I think I might have gotten the med/large one as the small/medium doesn’t have a lot of adjustments left. I did like how it held my phone and how I was able to cinch down my anti-dog spray. I think that I will like the belt just fine, especially if I loose a couple inches off my waist, which is something that I would love to do and maybe wearing this a lot will be a good reminder that I need to.

Good day for a run.

Oh yeah, for Bennie’s 4:00 PM walk, it was raining again and Bennie was not all that thrilled about walking in it again. So we waited about an hour and it stopped long enough to get nice walk in.

Marathon Training – Week 2 6-17-18

Week 2 of my marathon training plan is in the books and again, I ran all the miles. It really is not what I expected when I started this journey towards finishing my second marathon. I figured that with my hamstring strain and how it was feeling before I got started that it would be 50/50 on the elliptical, however, I have been pleasantly surprised that I have been able to run 100% of the plan so far.

How I felt by Sunday’s scheduled rest day.

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Tough 10.0 Miler in the Heat – MT WK 2 D6

This morning was a bit busy and we had to figure out the schedule for the day. Bennie needed his long walk, so we got going on that and while we were walking Bennie figure out how things would take place. After texting, talking on the phone and stuff – things got sorted out.

Mary would do her workout on the elliptical, SD2 would do a run at her house and I would run from the house towards Waterville. She would leave the house after about an hour and a half to let me get my long run in and then we would go to SD2’s to install her air conditioner.

Okay we had all that figured out, all I needed to do after that was run 10 miles. Only one problem, the temps were already in the 80’s and bright sunshine with a slight headwind. Unfortunately, the route I was going to have to take didn’t have a whole lot of shade once I got off Tiffany, so there was a real good chance of me baking pretty badly.

The first 5.0 miles were pretty uneventful, a quick pit stop at 3.0 miles, then a bit quicker as usual going down Goodhue. Lots of traffic on the Middle Road, which meant a lot of time on the dirt shoulders. That always slows me down.

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Good Run Finally – MT WK2 D5

What a beautiful day!

As you can see bright blue sky, but what you can’t see is the low humidity, glorious temps and a nice breeze.

The run was…well the first one since I screwed up my right hamstring, that I didn’t think about it during the run. That was nice.

Starting out I went easy after yesterday’s longish trail run. I wanted to see how everything felt after running lots of hills. My right hip has been complaining a little more than usual since I hurt my right hamstring, maybe something to do with how I have been favoring the leg a little. However, it was not as bad as it has been and I felt strong and got through the first mile pretty well. The next two were very consistent, so I was feeling pretty good about the run.

Coming back up the hills, I had a real stride not just the survival shuffle that I have been plodding up hills with lately. It wasn’t fast paced, but there was the slightest bounce to my step that was different and nice. When I can do Stevens Hill in a mile and keep it right around 9:00 minute pace, without pushing the effort level super high, things are going pretty well.

Then I did pick it up the last mile, but didn’t push the effort too bad and had 8:14 for the last mile.

It was the first run since my hamstring complaining that I felt like I had a real good run. I just hope that there are a lot more of them on the horizon.

Other than the run, it was just another “normal” for me day around the house. Chores and yard work. However, it is Friday night so homemade pizza and a hard cider went down pretty well.

Exploring Quarry Road Trails – MT WK 2 D4

This morning Mary was kind enough to do Bennie’s long walk, while I did a run over at Quarry and then head North to spend time with Dad.

The run over at Quarry Road this morning is hopefully going to be part of my weekly training routine going forward. I really think that running trails a couple of times a week will help strengthen the old body, make me think less about my time and besides I like trail running.

This morning’s run had nothing to do with speed, it was all about running hills and Quarry Road has plenty of itty bitty ones and a few that are more than long enough to get my attention. Also I wanted to explore some of the new trails at an easy pace to see what they have done in the past couple of years.

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Slowing Down – A Good Thing – MT Wk2 Day 3

Thank goodness today was a bit more relaxing than the past few have been!!!

Just the normal Bennie walks, a nice recovery run – well let’s just call it a recovery run, a long nap, mowing up the road and a great supper. Yeah, a nice day.

After a 2.0 mile Bennie walk, I procrastinated just a little. Needless to say I was a bit sore from yesterday’s faster run and trail race. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to get out to do my recovery run, because the longer I waited the warmer it got, I just well was not ready to run yet.

Once I got it through my thick skull that I either had to get my arse in gear or I was going to be miserable in the heat, it was too late. The temps had climbed into the 80’s on our thermometer, with bright sunshine. Not what I consider ideal running weather, but you gotta run in the weather you are given (unless it is really stoopid wether).

I headed out the door.

Yeah, it was in the 80’s.

However, I started out slowly and didn’t push the pace. I focused primarily on keeping the Topo’s quiet by not over-striding and attempting to push backwards with my elbows. I think that I did pretty well on both counts.

Going out wasn’t really bad (once I got going), but coming back the heat started to get to me a lot more. I did slow down especially that last mile.

I did what I wanted – finish a 5.0 mile run, without wrapping my right hamstring and not have anything hurt. So at least it has healed enough that I do not have to put stretch bandage for a recovery run.

I am glad things are slowing down a little.

Experimenting & Quarry Road 3K – MT WK2 D2 – PART 2

Yes, I had to split this post into two different parts, Tuesday was just a busy day and a lot went on or so I explained in Part 1, so without further ado here is part deaux.

Trail Racing is humbling and I heartily recommend that all road runners do at least 2-3 a year to find out how good of a runner you really are, versus just being road ready.

If you haven’t done a trail race lately, go for it.

After deciding that the Sketchers GoTrails were not going to work due to being too “hot” and getting the Lone Peak 2.5’s out of closet to use. I got to wondering how the zero drop would work for me, so I took out the inserts and found them a lot more comfortable. It is amazing how different a pair of running shoe feel with and without the extra inserts. I kind of figured that on the Quarry Road trails that zero drop wouldn’t be as big an issue, like it is on the roads.

With that figured out, I also realized that I haven’t really run in the Altra’s since I brought them back from Saw W’s in New Hampshire, so my first run in them was going to be fittingly – a trail race.

I got to Quarry Road a bit early because I had volunteered to be a part of a science project for one of the other Central Maine Striders, who is a professor at Colby. Like the first time at anything things got a little “interesting”, but it was great to see so many familiar faces and gab a little to catch up on how people were doing.

I got to sign a release, fill out a questionnaire, spit into a tube (getting 1-2 ml of spit is tougher than it sounds), get my finger pricked for a blood sample, heart rate taken – all that guinea pig stuff and then chew some gum. All this was going on while the kiddos race was going on so, I missed that. I do enjoy watching the kids run, they run with such abandon and to think once upon a time we were able to run that way.

There were no pre-race jitters or nerves, trail races do not bother me since my expectations of my performance are much lower. I run trail races – and even though it might be a race and while I work hard, it is more about staying upright, not injuring anything and finishing with a smile than to get a great time.

Even so the start was pretty fast and there were a lot of faster-than-me runners out there. I got behind Julie M, who is another much faster runner and attempted to stay there for the first mile or so, then when we got off the snowshoe trail and back on the main path, she picked it up and I didn’t.

Actually, I have a feeling she kept pretty much the same pace and I slowed down. 🙂

My hamstring was holding on pretty good, but all though little bumps on the main trail were not making it happy – which is part of the reason for slowing down. Like I said at the beginning I was very focused on getting through without injuring anything. The other reason I was slowing down was – I have lost a lot of conditioning over the last month that I haven’t been able to run regularly or add harder workouts to the mix.

I need to train faster to run faster. Which means that to run trail races better, I have to train for trail racing…running roads doesn’t translate as well. While trail running will help me on the roads, so win-win. I gotta get back to my cross country roots.

So I slowed down quite a bit for the rest of the 3K.

Even so I have a feeling that if I had been wearing a heart rate monitor, there were some redlines in there going up some of those bumps. All those “little” bumps sure as hell take it out of your legs and your head. I think I hate that part of the course the most. A big hill you deal with and then bounce down, the constant up/down just the beat the hell out of me.

A few people passed me over the last section, but I kept moving forward and finished without screwing up the hamstring or giving blood to the trail gods. Both good things and I even elevated the breathing/heart rate a bit in a few places too. A good stress test and humbled me by showing how out of shape I really am.

Then once I got my breath, I went back into guinea pig mode, spit into a tube, gave some more blood, got my heart rate measured and all that good stuff. The only bad thing about being a guinea pig is that I could not drink or really cool down until that part was completed. Once it was done the Gatorade sure did taste good and I usually don’t drink that stuff.

However, on a hot night, I knew that I needed more than plain water to help me recover faster.

Oh yeah, the Lone Peak 2.5’s did great, once I started the race, I never thought about my shoes at all, which is all I want. There were a couple of sections on the snowshoe trail they did exactly what I needed to get around some other slower runners, when I got off the main part and got into the squishy stuff. On the rockier main trail they protected the bottoms of my feet nicely, which road shoes usually do not – no foot bruising tonight. My calves and Achilles didn’t bother at all, so for trail running in the summer I have a feeling that they will workout just fine.

That and my feet were not a complete sweaty mess, even with the temps in the 80’s – a very good thing. 🙂

I finished 39/84 and I didn’t see where anyone else who was 60 finished ahead of me in the results, so it was a good effort. One that I was pretty happy with. After all I did put it as an 7.5/10 on the difficulty scale. I know that I am really out of shape for even easy trail running, because it felt as though I did worked pretty damn hard to get even that kind of a time.

As usual Patrick and everyone else who volunteered over at Quarry Road did a fantastic job. Also a big thank you to the Striders who organized the food table, it was great. Alicia the brownie was heavenly and I was good and didn’t take that second one.

Experimenting and Quarry Road 3K – MT Wk2 D2 – Part 1

Tuesdays are for running faster – for me, not you. My fast is different than yours and at this point in my life probably just a bit sower, but that is okay, because I am still out there moving along.

Tuesdays are also the Quarry Road Trail Race day and tonight was the 3K edition.

With that all being said at about 10:15 PMon Monday night I got a text from SD2 that they had somehow made their connecting flight in Atlanta and would be in Portland at 12:228 AM. We had resigned ourselves to the idea that they were not getting home until noon Tuesday and had gotten ready bed.

So I had to switch gears, drive an hour or so to Portland, pick the up at the airport and then drive an hour or so back home. We got home just after 2:00 AM and yes, I was pretty damn exhausted by the time we drove into the yard.

However, life goes on and when you have critters, it means that sleeping in is not much of an option so I was out of bed by 7:00 AM for Bennie’s first walk, ate a light breakfast and then take him out for his long walk down to the old cranberry bog and back (about 2.5 miles).

Yes, I was still pretty darn tired, but I didn’t sit down to rest. I knew that if I did that I would be there for a pretty long while – sleeping.

Since it was “faster” Harold day, I snugged up the elastic wrap around the hamstring a little more than I have been and got ready to go. At the last minute I decided to try an experiment and run in the Skechers GOMeb Razor 2’s to see how they did on dirt and rocks. Continue reading