Showing posts with label Brooks GTS 10. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brooks GTS 10. Show all posts

Saturday, December 20, 2014

New life for some old gear

Aging like fine wine
Today's run (street): 4.3 miles

I was recently in SA Elite looking at their holiday sale items. They had ASICS running vests for 20% off, but the price still seemed high for a jacket without any sleeves. Since then, I read a piece on winter running that mentioned the benefit of keeping your core warm on very cold days. A warm core helps keep your extremities and the rest of your body warm.

I didn't buy a running vest, but with this morning's wind chill, it felt like 28° outside. Rather than put on two long sleeve layers, I put on an acrylic fleece Sports Illustrated promo vest that I had from my Time Inc. days. The vest is lightweight and has a mesh liner inside. After a decade using it to keep warm in my office, it had a new use.

After choosing the vest, I needed to pick the shoes I'd wear on today's run. I'm no longer concerned that the Kayanos are causing my sciatica, but I decided to go back to my Sauconys to see how they felt on a run. The appropriation of the vest as running gear inspired me to pull my ancient Brooks Adrenalin GTS 10s out of the closet and use them instead. The 10s probably have 1,000 miles on them, but they are still viable.

I've always worn my Adrenalins when dealing with minor injuries because they seem to correct whatever problem is plaguing me. My shoe size has increased in recent years and the toe box is too tight for longer distances. If they were a half size bigger I'd put them into the rotation. The soreness in my glutes was there when I started, but it wasn't as pronounced as it was at the beginning of yesterday's run. I was hoping for a further reduction in the pain once I began to warm up.

Some mild discomfort remained throughout the run. Surprisingly enough, I found the pain to be a good distraction from the boredom of my neighborhood roads. I decided to be cautious and keep the run under five miles today. I may go further tomorrow. I'm out of the office until January 5th so I'll have a lot more days to run during the week. I'm really hoping to be free of this soreness by the time me and my buddies do the LIRRC Hangover run on January 1.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The downside of minimal running shoes

Minimal shoe with maximal wear
Today's run (street) 4.1 miles

I was looking at the latest Runner's World shoe guide and noticed that the average weight of running shoes has begun to rise. The recent minimalism movement prompted most running shoe companies to develop lighter, lower and more flexible shoes to meet the new demand. I was an early adopter, switching from my heavier Brooks Adrenalins to the then-groundbreaking Saucony Kinvara. I went even more minimal with the Hattori and a pre-production pair of Brooks Pure Drifts.

The pendulum has swung the other way and new companies like Hoka are building market share with 12+ ounce ultra-cushioned models. These trainers remind me of 70's era platform shoes and I wonder about their stability. I like to stay as close to the ground as I can when I run. The downside to staying in the minimalist camp is that, when you buy less shoe, you'll likely wear it out faster than a conventional model.

I just noticed that my year old Saucony Vittaras (now with 425 miles on them) are starting to show some serious heel wear. These are low platform running shoes, with a 4mm drop and are very lightweight because the out-soles are mostly soft EVA with a small amount of carbon rubber. I love the shoes, but I'm concerned that this wear will lead to a shift in the way that the shoes land. That could affect my stride and possibly lead to injury. I'll need to replace them soon, but I'm not going to move to the Hokas.

I ended up working from home today which allowed me to get in a rare Thursday morning run. I didn't get out as early as I should have, and it was 80° and very humid by the time I set out. I could tell from the start that this would not be a performance run. Although the air was thick, I had no trouble breathing. I didn't feel weighed down, but I couldn't generate the will to push very hard.

With hurricane Arthur making its way up the east coast, I'm not sure what my options will be for running on Friday. I can always use the treadmill, but the machine (like my Virratas) is wearing out quickly. Since the treadmill is my wife's running method of choice, I don't want to contribute to its demise. With such a limited window for running, I may be forced to use it.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Of all my running shoes, these were the best

GTS-10: like chicken soup for the sole
Today's run (street): 2.5 miles

My feet have been bothering me lately and I'm not sure what to do about it. My wife suggested that my tendency to switch shoes, rather than sticking to one pair, may be causing the issues. She may be right. The question is which pair to use? I've struggled to find my perfect running shoe and I haven't been too successful. But is the act of trying different models undermining the process?

I've tried a lot of shoes in the three-plus years since I've been running. Most were fine, some awful and a few great. But the great shoes also had their flaws. My two pair of Brooks Adrenaline's have never disappointed (I retired the GTS-9's after 700 miles, still using the GTS-10's), but they are old school in design, with a high platform and ramp angle. I run with the GTS-10's for recovery or if I detect a knee problem. A few runs in them seems to correct any issue.

The original Kinvaras were my second great model. They felt like the perfect shoe from the first time I tried them on and maintained that feel, almost to the end. But something happened and my last few runs resulted in knee pain that coincided with last year's Half Marathon. I'm hoping the new Kinvara 3's are sufficiently improved to ward that off after I've covered a few hundred miles in them.

Surprisingly, the best shoes, day in and day out, have been my Saucony Hattori's, a shoe so minimal it lacks a mid sole. But they are incredibly runnable, comfortable and responsive. The downside is that the uppers are ripping after 300 miles. I can still wear them, but time is running out. My second pair of Hattori's, that should feel and perform identically, don't fit correctly on my left foot and I've given up on them after 67 miles. It makes me wary of getting a replacement pair for my good Hattori's.

Right now I'm really pleased with the Spira Stingers, but I am experiencing this foot pain. I really don't think it's coming from these shoes and I'll run with them exclusively until Sunday. If my foot problems improve, I'll credit the Spiras. If they don't, I'll do a few runs in the GTS-10's and hope for a quick recovery.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A return to the Hattori's

Today's run (street): 2.5 miles

Super minimalist ninja
Hattori Hanz┼Ź was a famous ninja and samurai who lived in 16th century Japan. I'm guessing that his sword skills were the inspiration behind Saucony's Hattori super minimalist running shoes. I've put about 250 miles on mine since I've got them and I've come to love their purposeful simplicity.

For the last three weeks I've been running in either my Saucony Mirages or Brooks GTS-10's in an attempt to clear up a minor pain I've had near my right Achilles. I figured that the greater cushioning and stability control on these shoes (compared to the Hattori's) would help my healing. It  must not be the shoes because the pain remains, although it always goes away after a few minutes of running.

Since Sunday is race day, I thought I'd end my taper with a run in the Hattori's. It's a different experience going back to a shoe 1/3 the weight of the Brooks. I worried that my layoff from these shoes would cause me some calf pain when I returned to them, but I had no problems today. I ran okay but I'm nowhere near my late September peak. I think the Hattori's provided some benefit over the heavier shoes this morning since I ran 30 seconds per mile faster than yesterday. However, that pace was still far off my target for the 10K. I guess I should reset my expectations for this race and defer my focus on performance until the following weekend when I run the Long Beach Turkey Trot.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Now it's all about Cow Harbor

Sunday's run (street): 3.4 miles

I knew I'd get out for a run yesterday, it just took me a little longer than usual to get going. At around 10:00 AM, my wife ordered me out before half the day was gone. I complied and headed upstairs to change.

The weather was cool when I started and though it was sunny, I stayed dry and comfortable for the first couple of miles. I had run for over an hour on Saturday so I took it easy and focused on my form and stride. I thought about my vertical alignment and lifting my knees instead of worrying about my pace. The route that I chose was a variation from my usual morning run with almost a mile added to the end.

 I wore my Brooks Adrenalines to help protect my Achilles tendon that has been feeling sore of late. Even though it was mid-morning, the streets were quiet and I wondered if people were staying home because of 9/11. I thought about that as I was passing the neighborhood elementary school, where half a dozen soccer games were being played at the same time. I guess that's where everyone was.

No need for crew length running socks this year
It was a good run and the right distance to start my taper for Cow Harbor on Saturday. It's going to be a full and busy week in the office, capped off by a Friday night drive to Northport to pick up my race number. This year I'll be better prepared for the crowds and the lack of parking. I see that the race organizers have changed from old style tracking units to bib tags. At least I won't have to worry about the chip band cutting into my ankle like last year.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Perceived effort high plus "impossible" obstacles

Today's run (street): 4 miles

More ow, than ouch!
I've been fortunate to avoid injuries that prevent my running, but lately I've experienced some painful tweaks in my knee, shin and Achilles tendon. These tweaks are mild and happily intermittent, but they make me wonder what's behind them. I was reading an article on Runblogger (a very nice running site) about Achilles problems and, while I don't think I have "Hagland's structure", I wondered if running in the Hattori's is creating my Achilles issue. I began to think about running in a different shoe.

At the recent Dirty Sock 10K run, Paul mentioned that he trains in heavier cushioned shoes and races in lighter shoes. Right now he's running in Saucony Mirages, a shoe I occasionally use for training and racing. The Mirage is a luxury ride compared to the Hattori's, but it's still low and relatively flat. I decided to dust off my Brooks GTS 10's, a terrific shoe that I'd shelved for running due to their built-up platform.

Chicken soup for the foot
I went out purposely slow on this humid morning and intended to keep it that way. I know that an easy run should follow a hard run and yesterday's speed work was just that. The Brooks felt really good and I cruised along for a couple of miles but picked up the pace after the second mile. By the time I reached 3.25 miles I was feeling a little fatigued. I thought about the idea of running to perceived effort versus a time goal. Over the next quarter mile I perceived plenty of effort as I approached the hilliest part of my route.

When I crested the highest section I took off fast and finished my run breathing hard and sweating heavily. I knew I'd probably pushed too hard and possibly invited further injury. My Achilles felt slightly sore and my right knee felt tender. But overall, I think I'm okay. My perceived effort certainly exceeded my performance metrics, but so what? As long as my injuries got no worse and my training advanced, I feel that I'm going in the right direction.

We're getting close to the end of summer so, today, the Emerging Runner family held our "Impossible Obstacle Course" in the backyard. Due to the effects of hurricane Irene that landed lots of branches and leaves in the pool, we didn't include a swimming portion. The event consisted of activities like soccer ball dribbling, basketball shooting, hockey stick bowling (don't ask), a lacrosse throw and some running.  It was a nice second workout and we all had fun. Best of all, my knee and Achilles felt fine, both during and after.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happily, not all treadmill runs are the same

Today's run (treadmill): 2.41 miles

Despite the inherent lack of variables of the process, not all treadmill runs are the same. Yesterday's run was very different from today's. For one thing, I wore my Brooks Adrenaline's instead of the Karhu's and realized how much the right shoes matter when running on the treadmill. Second, I had no issues with fatigue this morning and I jumped into a faster pace from the beginning. The biggest difference between today and yesterday is that today I felt like I was running. Not running in the treadmill sense, where your are physically and mentally constrained within an area no wider than a 22" tread and no longer than the safety cord allows. I was able to focus on my form and actually pictured the streets in my neighborhood as I ran along. If nothing else, it helped pass the time. For me, anything that speeds me through a treadmill run is a good thing.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Back on the Karhu Fast 2's

Karhu Fast 2 -- I wish they ran as good as they look
Today's run (treadmill): 2.3 miles

I didn't want to deal with dark and icy roads this morning so last night I set up my gear for a treadmill workout. As much as I prefer running outdoors I do appreciate the time that I save in the morning by staying inside. I would usually choose my Saucony Kinvaras for the treadmill but the soles were caked with grime -- a combination of road salt, sand and mud. I wore the Kinvaras on Saturday after the snow plows and the residue from the street made them unsuitable for the tread belt. I decided to give the Karhu Fast 2's another chance. I was curious to see if I liked them any better after a few week's layoff.

I was tired this morning and needed my alarm to wake me up. I knew from my energy level that today would be a maintenance run and nothing more. I started slower that usual, around 6 mph, and gradually built my speed to 7 (an 8:34 pace). The Karhu's did fine but they just don't feel ideal for my stride. It may just be the height of the mid sole. Its "fulcrum" feature also may not well with my mid foot landing style. That didn't mean the shoes failed to perform, in fact they took everything I threw at them. It was really about the feel compared to my Kinvaras and GTS-10's that move more naturally with my foot. I had a decent run this morning and I managed through the treadmill experience despite the combination of boredom and terror that comes with that. I may treat myself to the elliptical tomorrow depending on the weather.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Running shoes: Less is more (and more are coming soon)

An interesting line of minimalist shoes coming soon from Merrell

Today's run (street): 3.85 miles

I'm really loving the blog Minimalist Running Shoes where they review some of the lesser known brands and models on this eponymous site. Like the shoes they cover, the site is simple, with a handy method of rating the shoes against a number of criteria. I just read about Merrell's upcoming (for 2011) line of "barefoot" running shoes: the Trial, True and Tough Glove models. There are also woman's versions called Pace, Power and Pure. There are many minimalist shoes on the market or coming in 2011 and this conflicts me greatly. I already own seven pairs of running shoes (plus a few pair of retired trainers) and it's hard to justify another purchase.

I've been fortunate to acquire a number of these pairs through the review process so that's another channel to pursue. I love the Saucony Kinvaras that have helped me transition to a more neutral, mid foot, style of running and the smart thing would be to buy another pair after my current ones wear out. However, if I do that I won't have the opportunity to try the Merrell's, the New Balance Minimus, the Brooks Green Silence and a bunch of other minimalist models that sound compelling. Borrowing from that old cliche: so many running shoes, so little time.

This morning I went for my third run with the Karhu Fast 2 Fulcrum Rides. My plan was to go out normally and adjust my pace with the conditions. I started out well and the shoes were fine, although I do wish the differential between the heel and front foot was smaller. The mid-sole is chunky and that helps with impact with a mid-foot strike but I've become used to a lower riding shoe. I ran in my Brooks on the treadmill yesterday and while that has a fairly built up heel, the GTS 10 feels more stable. I enjoyed the run for the first few miles. It helped to be back on the street in the cold (but not frigid) air. I did need to be careful in some spots where snow, ice and slush remained on the road. I stayed hyper alert for cars and trucks on those narrow sections but happily there were no close calls.

By the end of the third mile I began to tire and worried that I may be getting sick. The anniversary of last year's illness and the multiple times I've caught the flu during the last week of the year make me a little paranoid. I finished just shy of four miles. I'm mildly concerned that I've lost a little base conditioning over the last few weeks but I'm certain it's related to other factors. My hope is to do at least one more long distance run before I return to the office next week. In the meantime I've been focusing more on getting in a few extra daily miles during this week.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Minimalist running shoes, one year later

Mizuno Wave Universe 3
Around this time last year I was reading about two models of running shoes from Brooks that were due to hit stores in early spring of 2010. These shoes, the Brooks Green Silence and the Adrenalin GTS 10, were interesting to me for different reasons. The Green Silence was the first of many shoes since marketed as "minimally constructed", a niche that was created (or helped along) through the popularity of Christopher McDougall's book "Born to Run." I was intrigued by the concept of running in the mid-foot style and Brooks played up the small difference between the heel and forefoot height of this shoe. The flatter plane facilitates front, rather than heel striking. Brooks also played up the Green Silence's environmental friendliness through its heavy use of recycled materials, soy based dyes and water based adhesives. I was hooked and counted the days until the Green Silence shipped to stores.

Brooks Green Silence
Besides the Green Silence I was also interested in the GTS 10, the successor to the GTS 9's that I had worn and appreciated for their comfort and durability. When I visited Jackrabbit Sports to try the Green Silence I was dissuaded by the salesperson who said they lacked the structure I needed. I was then steered first to the Brooks Ravennas (that I didn't like) and then to the GTS 10's (that I bought). All was well with the GTS 10's until Saucony sent me a pair of Kinvaras. I started off running shorter distances (5 miles or less) with these shoes but slowly worked up to longer length runs. I expected to have soreness due to less cushioning and lack of stability control. However, I've never had a problem with these shoes and they are now my go-to trainers and racing shoes.


NB Minimus

Brooks has just launched the GTS 11's that are supposed to be even better than the 10's but, surprisingly, I'm not that interested. The higher heel of conventionally constructed shoes don't feel as good as they did prior to my running in the Kinvaras. I think that when my Saucony's wear out I'll either replace them with another pair, try the Green Silence or go super minimal with the Mizuno Wave Universe (3.8 oz. per shoe). Saucony just announced the Mirage, sort of a Kinvara for people who need stability and New Balance will soon have the Minimus based on the Vibram Five Fingers. So many choices now. I like this type of problem.


The Saucony Kinvara - my go-to shoe


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Treadmill taper run

Today's run (treadmill): 2.4 miles

The twin furies of wind and rain forced me to stay inside this morning. I didn't mind too much. It's been months since I've run indoors and I was almost looking forward to a change of pace. One thing I did like was the reduction in time between waking and running. This is usually 10-15 minutes for outside runs because of all the extra safety gear and complexities of getting out the door. This morning it was simply shorts, shirt, socks, shoes, run.

Every time I use it, I say the same thing. I really dislike the treadmill. It scares me and it's hard. I don't like my running surface dictating my speed and if I stumble I know I'll find myself unceremoniously swept off the tread. But we bought our treadmill for a reason and that reason includes always having the option to run, even on miserable days like today.

I started slowly because the treadmill felt fast, even at a moderate speed. Each quarter mile I increased my speed by .1 MPH so that by the time I'd finished my run I was pacing in the low 9:00 range. Although my overall pace averaged in the mid 9's it felt like a hard workout. I only ran about 23 minutes in total and I enjoyed the extra time finishing my coffee while watching the local news. I wore my Brooks on today's run and didn't love them as much as I had prior to my using the Kinvara's. I'm planning to run with the Saucony's on Sunday for the 10K. After all, they're my PR shoes at that distance. Tomorrow I'll stay indoors again for a final intensity workout on the elliptical. I've never run two races on consecutive weekends before. I'm curious to see how that goes.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Kinvaras as a daily trainer?

These cool Kinvaras are becoming my everyday shoe
The transition to fall weather makes me happy. Although it will take some time to adjust my running gear so that I don't go out under-dressed like yesterday, I still welcome the change. This morning the temperature where I live is 51 degrees, perfect for a run but quite chilly when standing on the train platform. I always wish for this weather when enduring the heat of summer or the frigid cold in January. I'll enjoy it as long as I can.

I wore my Saucony Kinvaras during yesterday's run and I've started to really appreciate them. Lightweight but not insubstantial, they are minimally constructed but still reasonably supportive. The Kinvara is a neutral shoe and I thought I'd have trouble with it because I pronate when I run. I've had some 8+ mile runs with them without experiencing any problems with my knees or legs and that brings me to question the idea of stability shoe engineering. I suspect that because the drop off between heel and forefoot of the Kinvara is only 4mm, compared to 12mm, (common for standard trainers) the shoe facilitates a more natural mid-foot landing. This would logically neutralize the effects of pronation. I continue to rotate through my other pairs and still consider my Brooks GTS 10's my everyday shoe, but the Kinvaras are forcing me to rethink that these days. If I do move primarily to the Kinvaras I'll need to consider their durability and the thermal properties of the barely-there uppers compared with the Brooks' more substantial build. After all, it's getting colder out there these days.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pre-hurricane run

Today's run (street): 4 miles at 9:20

I'm out of the office today and that allowed me a little more time to run this morning. We're back to seeing temperatures in the high 90's after a string of cooler days but, happily, it was still below 80 degrees when I went out at 7:00 AM this morning. If I had more time to run I would have liked to go out for 5 miles or longer. I'm hoping that the Labor Day long weekend will provide the opportunity for a few longer distance runs but hurricane Earl may get in the way of those plans.

My route around the neighborhood was similar to my daily course but I ran a little longer today and there was enough light to see without a headlamp. I saw many neighbors out walking or riding bikes and had to remind myself that it was the middle of the work week and not a Saturday morning. Although it was 77 degrees and rising, I didn't feel at all uncomfortable during my run.

I wore my Saucony Kinvaras as a change from the Brooks and I'm beginning to favor them over most of my other running shoes. Still, on runs greater than 6 miles, I'm concerned that the Kinvaras will provide enough protection for my feet. I'm still dealing with the effects of the Dirty Sock race from two weeks ago that left my feet swollen and the tip of my left-middle toe black. I've been primarily wearing the Brooks since then and that's helped my foot to recover. The Saucony's uppers are gossamer thin and the toe box has enough volume as not to create further problems on shorter runs like today's so I'm now rotating them with the Adrenalins.

I want to get in a few long runs between Friday and Monday but with the storms coming through I'm not sure that will be possible. I don't mind running in a little rain but I'm going to stay indoors if I see "Hurricane Warning"scroll across the bottom of my TV this week.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Weekend ending run in the Brooks GTS 10's

Brooks GTS 10
Today's run (street): 5.44 miles at 9:11 per mile

It's been a good week for running and today was no different. After yesterday's trail run at Stillwell Woods I was ready to return to the street and spend some time in the neighborhood. I've felt tired over the past few days so I planned to take it easy today and do my distance at a reasonable pace. After running in the Saucony's on my the last few outings I returned to my Brooks GTS 10's that provide a more cushioned ride. That's no dig on the Grid Tangent 4's which are still extremely comfortable (and fast) or the Kinvaras that are minimally designed shoes that trade some cushioning for far less weight. Each pair of shoes I own has a specific purpose and I cycle through them all.

I set out for a quick loop around the northeast part of the neighborhood before heading south toward neighborhood #3 that's adjacent to the industrial park. Upon reaching the park I did the main loop to get in some hill work. It's not a steep incline but it goes on for a while before rewarding the runner with a nice downhill segment. Coming out of the park, I turned left into neighborhood #3 and ran through those streets before I headed back to my neighborhood to complete my 5.4 mile route. I didn't push hard throughout the run but I threw in a few speedy tempos that helped me maintain an overall pace that was closer to nine minutes than 9:30. The Brooks are great shoes because they are so comfortable and stable while still providing an energetic response. I've had some slight knee soreness and every time I run with the Brooks my knee feels a little better. I had the same experience with the GTS 9's. Brooks makes great shoes. I'm going to rest tomorrow since it's going to be a day of meetings and travel. I'll resume my running on Tuesday morning when I return to Cambridge for my Memorial Drive run.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New posting on Runner's Tech Review - ATAYNE

Today's workout: Rest day

Runner's Tech Review is back with a new posting about ATAYNE's technical shirts. We've been testing these high quality shirts made out of 100% recycled materials since December. With their great feel and cool looks they've certainly found a place within our running clothes collections.

I wasn't feeling great this morning when I got up and quickly decided to rest instead of run. The weather may have contributed to a headache and although it wasn't yet raining, I knew it would start soon. I needed rest and figured not running may be more beneficial than an actual workout today. Tomorrow I plan to be back to the street. I'm going to run in my Brooks GTS 10's to see if it's the lightweight Sauconys that have been helping my performance or if I'm just getting faster. I'm betting it's the shoes.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Return to Jackrabbit

Today's run (street): 2.4 miles at 9:24 per mile

Yesterday I headed over to Union Square with my friend CK for lunch and a visit to Jackrabbit Sports. CK was in need of a new pair of running shoes. The NB 1225's he was using were a year old and had a lot of mileage. He was never very happy with these shoes, mostly because of their wide toe box that can make the forefoot feel unstable. I showed him the Brooks Adrenalines that I wear and really like. He tried on a pair and initially said he felt "flat-footed" but after a few minutes he said they felt very comfortable. I could tell CK was ambivalent about the shoes and I encouraged him to try other pairs. He selected a pair of Saucouny Guide 3's and loved the fit and the energy return that he thought was better than the GTS-10's. CK bought the Guides and I picked up an Amphipod water bottle that is form fitted for carrying while running and has a strap that secures it to your hand. I'll probably use it on Friday during my Central Park run. I could have used it last weekend when temperatures were close to 90.

This morning I headed out again for my run and was surprised by how cool it was compared to Tuesday. I actually felt cold having dressed for warmer temperatures. It took a few minutes to get comfortable but once I did it felt pleasant because there was little humidity in the air. My pace felt much brisker than yesterday's and while it was still a leisurely 9:25 average per mile that was :15 per mile faster than the day before. If not for my time constraints I would have added more miles. I returned home fresh and wishing I had more time to run. I guess it's always to finish wanting more.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Road test - the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 10

Today's big decision was whether to do this morning's run inside or out. I try to do my week's longest runs on Saturdays and Sundays because I have more time and flexibility on those days. I just purchased a new pair of Brooks GTS 10's and had only run a few miles with them on the treadmill. The experience was fine but 25 minutes on a flat moving surface is far different from how I plan to use these shoes. I was curious to see how the 10's felt after a longer run. While I knew I could do that on the treadmill, I also wanted to know how they performed on the road. Mark, the salesperson at Jackrabbit who sold me the shoes, said I have 14 days to evaluate them but he asked that I do it on the treadmill in case I need to take them back. I finally decided that I couldn't properly evaluate the shoes unless I tried them under the conditions where I'll primarily use them so I went outside for my run.

It was about 33 degrees with a little wind coming from the northwest. I dressed for the a longer run, meaning less layers and enduring the chill until my body heat rose. I was able to wear the 10's tighter because the tongue does not bite into my instep (as happens on the 9's) and as I set out I appreciated way the shoes wrapped my foot and returned energy with each step. I regretted that I didn't wear wool socks and my feet were a little cold for the first mile but that can't be blamed on the shoes. I was pleased that the "high arch" was a non-issue. I stopped noticing that soon after I'd started. I stretched my route around many different streets and noticed that the 10's felt similar to the 9's when I was maintaining my normal cadence. When I accelerated for some tempo runs they really felt fast, almost like a light trainer or racing shoe. At 11.1 ounces they are definitely not racing flats but the bounce and stability are a great improvement over the 9's.

I ran a total of 4.5 miles which was more than a mile longer than my last long run. Prior to my pneumonia I typically ran five or more miles on each weekend day so I'll call that progress. By the time I reached the last part of my run I knew these shoes were keepers. They felt like they fit my feet perfectly and provided a great combination of cushioning, stability and response. The tongue and collar of the shoe is an improvement over the prior version and the subtle changes to the heel (articulated edges that move independently for a smoother transition) and multi-density materials that make up the medial post allow for less jarring correction of a pronating foot. But geek talk aside, it's a great feeling shoe that really performs on the road.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Of course I chose the Brooks!

Yesterday, before I even left for Jackrabbit,  I'd already decided to buy the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 10's. Even my wife weighed in on the decision, she wrote me a note in the morning that said "You should get the Brooks!"  I tried them on at the store and ran for a few minutes on the treadmill to confirm the fit. The arch supports in the 10 are more pronounced than in the 9's and that concerned me somewhat. I wasn't completely comfortable standing in the 10's but when  I started running they felt fine. When I got home I compared the fit between the 9's and the 10's and felt that the toe box of the 10 was narrower but not problematic. In comparison it made the 9 feel a little unstable up front, something I hadn't noticed before. The tongue placement and thickness on the 10 seems to be an improvement over the 9 as well. I was able to tighten the shoe well without feeling sharp pressure on my instep. The only concern had was with the arch support, I could really feel it, and I hoped it would not begin to hurt on longer mileage runs.

I had a late start to the morning today because my son accompanied me to work today and we caught a later train. I hopped on the treadmill at 4:45 AM and ran about 25 minutes with the new shoes. My initial impression of the 10's was very positive: good mid foot wrap, good stability at the front, excellent transition off the heel. The higher arch was noticeable but not bothersome. The only other observation was that the fit at the heel was looser than I'd have liked. There was some slight slippage but not enough to consider it unstable. I can probably control that better by experimenting with the lacing. Overall the shoes performed well through the run and I appreciated the energy return off the front. That was my initial complaint about the 9's, that they didn't provide much bounce. I've grown to appreciate the 9's but it's nice to have that zip in the 10's.

This weekend I hope to put them to the test on the road, aiming for 4 or 5 miles as I go into my last two weekends of training for my trail race. I'll be curious to see how my feet feel after 40+ minutes of running in the new shoes. I have two weeks to evaluate the GTS 10's but I'm hoping to determine quickly that they're keepers.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Decision day - Mizuno versus Brooks

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 10
If all goes according to plan I'll be heading back to Jackrabbit at lunch today to get my next pair of running shoes. I've been fortunate to have had a great experience with my Brooks GTS 9's and I've carefully studied the running shoe landscape to determine what's the best shoe to replace them. I've done enough due diligence in business to know that all this analysis can reduce the risk of making a bad purchasing decision but not fully eliminate it.

Mizuno Wave Inspire 6
Consider the two candidates left in the race: the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 10 and the Mizuno Wave Inspire 6. Both are highly regarded stability shoes. The Brooks is supposed to be the best in its class and an improvement over the GTS 9 that I've really liked. The Mizuno provides a very energetic response and gets good play in the Runner's World shoe forum. It's considered a fast stability shoe, more minimal than the Brooks. I've run with the Mizunos and liked them. I've only tried on the GTS 10's but I thought they felt great. I've read that the 10's have a higher arch than the 9's which concerns me because my arches fall right between flat and normal. I don't want a shoe that feels superb in the store but creates a problem when the runs go longer.

My affinity for Brooks does give some bias toward the Adrenalines but I've been intrigued by the Mizuno's as well. This is a lot of agonizing for a $100 purchase from a store that will take them back if I'm not completely satisfied. I've spent hours pouring over reviews and trying on running shoes to get to this point, yet when I go shopping for a suit that costs five times that much I invest a fraction of that time. Why is that? Why do you think!?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Chia fueled run

Yesterday's trip to Jackrabbit did not result in the purchase of a new pair of shoes as I'd expected. I was accompanied by my friend FS who was interested to see if the store carried her shoe of choice, the Brooks Addiction (unfortunately not). She is running a half marathon in late March and now would be the time to start breaking in a new pair. As soon as I saw Mark I knew I wouldn't be going home with any shoes on Friday. The snow had delayed the Brooks shipment and he was out of the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 10's that I was ready to buy.

You may recall that I tried the Brooks Ravennas a week ago but, despite their lighter weight and responsiveness, I wasn't convinced they were the shoes for me. I tried them on the treadmill on Friday and validated that doubt. While the shoes performed okay at speed the Ravenna's fairly narrow forefoot required me to move up a half size to allow for adequate room in the toe box. That was fine but the heel volume prevented the snug fit I want in an everyday training shoe. I just didn't feel like the shoe fit my foot that well. Mark had me try a pair of Mizuno Wave Inspire 6's and they felt great when I ran with them. I need to decide whether the Mizunos are the shoe for me or if I should follow my instincts and get the Brooks GTS 10's. I'll go back next week and try them both again. I asked Mark if I should be looking at higher end shoes (like the Brooks Trance 9) and he said it's absolutely unnecessary to spend more to get a top notch shoe. Honesty like that will make me a return customer.


Today I took a trip to a local mega-vitamin store in search of Chia energy bars. They had what I was looking for but they priced the product too high (I'd comparison shopped online) so I didn't buy a whole box as planned. I did buy one bar just to try it and I also bought  a bag of ground Chia so I could experiment with that. When I got home I mixed 1 1/2 teaspoons of the ground Chia with 10 oz. of coconut water and drank it down. I was pleasantly surprised by the taste and the lack of grittiness in the mix. I then headed upstairs and ran 5K on the treadmill. Although the room was warm and my choice of running shirt too heavy I had a great run. Unlike most longer runs on the treadmill that devolve into boredom and exhaustion I was almost as fresh at the end as I was when I started. I only ended at 3.14 miles because I'm still recovering from pneumonia and didn't want to push past my limits. Was it the Chia that provided the energy to get through the run so easily? Or was it the coconut water? Maybe it was neither, just a combination of good timing and decent rest. Either way I'm intrigued. More experimentation to come!
 

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