Showing posts with label Jackrabbit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jackrabbit. Show all posts

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Hills, heat, humidity and a failure to Triumph

The route
Today's run (Bethpage trail): 5 miles

Yesterday's track workout inspired me to get out for another "destination" run this morning. By that I mean a run outside the confines of my general neighborhood. Since I pushed my efforts on Saturday, I figured today would be best spent running easy on the Bethpage trail.

ISOs: pretty, but not this editor's choice
I decided to try the Saucony Triumph ISOs again to see how they perform now that my stride has begun to normalize. While I was recovering from the disc issue, my left foot would mash up toward the front of my running shoes and the ISOs seemed to do it the most of any of my running shoes. These highly cushioned trainers won the Runner's World Editor's Award and I had high hopes that they would become my primary shoes. I'm concluding that, for my arch type, lower is better. That's why I've reverted back to using my Vitarras even though they have a sizable amount of wear on the out-soles.

The cyclists were out in force this morning with less runners than I usually see on the bike trail. My hope was that I'd feel energized from yesterday's intervals. That wasn't the case, but I said, "What the heck" since I planned for this to be a recovery effort. I cruised along the sparsely populated path and at one point I was passed by a fast moving runner with whom I tried to match strides. No such luck. She quickly disappeared into the distance.

There's usually a lot of fauna on the trail, mostly birds and bunnies. Today I saw an actual jack rabbit crossing the path about 20 feet ahead of me. In silhouette it looked a lot like the eponymous character in the Jackrabbit Sports logo. Although the humidity was supposedly low, it didn't feel that way to me. The temperature was 81° and the sun was baking down. The combination of weather and hills on the north end of the trail did me in and I was ready to throw in the towel once I reached 5 miles.

A towel would have been great to have when I finished. When I looked at the Garmin's stats and saw it report 51% humidity I shook my head. The work week starts again tomorrow, and I hope to get in some type workout before next Friday. I was glad to get away for a couple of non-neighborhood runs this weekend and pleased that I finally worked in a speed workout. As for the Triumphs, I don't think I'll ever be happy with them. That's unfortunate. I could always wear them as weekend casual shoes, but they are a bit too vivid to wear in public unless I'm running.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Yet another shoe buying experience at Jackrabbit Sports

Today's run (street): 2.5 miles at 9:09

Yesterday afternoon I paid a visit to Union Square with my friend KWL for noodles at Republic and a visit to Jackrabbit Sports. KWL is participating in a two day event later this month, running a 10K on one day and cycling 100 miles the next. His New Balance running shoes needed replacing so he thought it would be good to have his gait analyzed to help him choose the right shoe. Jackrabbit's staff are knowledgeable but they can be a bit arrogant. The person who rang up our purchases was downright nasty, enough so that I'd reconsider returning there. The person who helped KWL was fine though and after confirming that my friend is a neutral strider, he provided pairs of Brooks Ghosts, Saucony Triumphs, New Balance 759 and the ASICS Nimbus, along with the ASICS Cumulus pair that he used for gait analysis on the treadmill. KWL ended up choosing the Cumulus and he ran with them last night and gave them a good review this morning.

Today's run was done under extremely humid conditions but without the sun or oppressive heat it wasn't too bad. I continued my focus on form and cadence but today I was unable to keep to under 9:00 per mile. I did wake up feeling more tired than I normally do and worried that I was fighting off a cold. I thought about staying indoors with an elliptical session but I went with the original plan and ran. I wore my Saucony Grid Tangent 4's but they didn't give me much help on performance today. In my conversation with the Jackrabbit salesperson yesterday he mentioned that the Grid Tangents and other light stability shoes don't sell well and a few models of that type (like the Grid Tangents) are no longer sold in their stores. The only shoe in that category that does sell well is the DS Trainer. I don't expect my shoes to do the work to make me a better performer, that's up to me. So far I'm pleased with my progress this week. A little extra effort has gone a long way.

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.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Will Runner's World start covering hedge funds now?

Yesterday morning my friend Sedentary Man handed me a section from the Wall Street Journal and said I'd probably want to read this article entitled "We have ways of helping you buy running shoes." I think that was supposed to be a play on the way German officers would threaten torture in old WWII movies. If that was the case the writer missed her mark because the article described four complex but helpful experiences that led to her being fit with the right running shoes. The writer referred to herself with the royal "we" throughout the article which I found odd but, that aside, I thought she did a good job researching the buying process. She visited four running stores, three in the state of Washington and one in NYC. I recently went through this experience at Jackrabbit so I was curious to see how these other stores performed their evaluations.  

Three out of the four stores performed gait analysis using video and a treadmill. A doctor who was quoted in the story said that the video process is "gimmicky" but I disagree with that. Seeing myself pronate in hi-def convinced me that I needed a moderate stability shoe. One store used a pressure sensitive mat that changed color based on weight distribution. A couple of stores had the writer run barefoot on the treadmill. I thought that was weird because most people heel strike but will never do that when running barefoot so what does it prove?

In the end it seemed like each store did a good job of identifying the right shoe for the writer. I was amused to read that she tried on a pair of "Mizunas" and I'm sure the Mizuno people loved reading that!

This morning I considered my choices for my daily workout: run, strength conditioning, another elliptical session or shoveling the newly fallen (and still falling) snow on our driveway. A look out the window confirmed the report of 3"-8" with 5 inches on the ground at 4:00 AM. I decided that my car could blast through that provided I escape before the town plows come by and deposit 20" of hard pack in front of the driveway.

I decided to stay inside and started with the Lolo core exercises that I found in Runner's World last year. I really like them because they only take 15 minutes but you feel like you've accomplished something when you've finished. I followed that with about 20 minutes of hand weights. I only used 5 and 10 pound weights because I wanted to do lots of reps and start a baseline for arm and upper body conditioning. I left for the train before the snowplows came. Standing on the snowy LIRR platform I was happy to see the train come in and I was glad that I started my day with a different but energizing workout.

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 6, 2010

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it's probably a duck

Despite a relatively busy schedule on Friday I was bound and determined to make the trek to JackRabbit in Union Square at lunchtime. A friend of mine, who is looking for a new pair of shoes for an upcoming marathon, was planning to join me. He was working on a close deadline so he couldn't go. I decided to go anyway and hopped on the F train for the quick trip downtown. I was greeted by the sales staff and mentioned that the Brook's customer service people told me Brooks had sent a shipment of Green Silence shoes to the store. They said that was true but unfortunately the shipment had not yet arrived. They were as curious about the shoe as I was but they set my expectation that it wasn't likely to be a shoe that I would use as a daily trainer.

The Jackrabbit people are the real deal. They understand running and running shoes and we quickly moved to the subject of mid-foot striking. Mark, one of the managers, told me that he was working to transition to that style and he suggested that I try the Brooks Ravenna. This shoe replaces the Axiom and is lighter than the Adrenalin GTS 10. The Ravenna also lacks some of the stability controls of the GTS 10 so it's more of a light trainer. I tried on a pair and they felt good but, understandably, they were not as plush as the new Adrenalins. After that Mark had me try on a pair of neutral cushioned shoes (ASICS Cumulus) and put me on the treadmill to see if I pronated. The reason for using a neutral shoe is to negate any gait correction. Mark captured me on video and much to my surprise I saw that I'm still heel striking (though Mark said I move very quickly off to the toe) and that I pronate to the point where my gait is indistinguishable from that of the AFLAC duck. I clearly need stability shoes so I'm debating whether to just get the GTS 10s or buy the Ravennas which will be a better choice for mid-foot running. I'm coming back next Friday and Mark said he'd put me in some Mizunos and Saucony shoes to compare with the Brooks.

This morning my friend KWL stopped by to pick up some computer gear. We'd planned a run but were concerned about the foot-plus of snow that was predicted by morning. When he arrived there was no snow  whatsoever so we headed out and covered three miles in around 27 minutes. It was a faster pace than I've been running, helped along by KWL's energy. He reminded me a little of how it was to run with AG who was always a slight step ahead  - like a greyhound on a tether. It was a great run and great fun to have a buddy to talk to along the way. It certainly made the time go by fast. We're getting snow now so I'll see what conditions are like by tomorrow morning. I'm prepared to use my snow treads if I have to. That could be kinda fun.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The great mid-foot debate continues

After being told by the salesperson at City Sports that the store wasn't planning to carry the Brooks Green Silence shoe I contacted Brooks to find out where I could find it in NYC. The Green Silence is supposedly in stores this week and I'm curious to try it. With its low heel-to-toe offset and lighter weight I'm curious to see if it's the shoe for me as I adapt to a mid-foot/front foot running style. Brooks told me that Jackrabbit's in Union Square got a shipment so I plan to get down there this week if I can. This new shoe may not be ideal for me, after all it's a light trainer/racer, and it may be too minimal in terms of comfort. After all the anticipation for its launch I need to see for myself.

The current issue of Trail Runner has an article that posits both sides of the heel vs. front foot argument. They offer the fact that a study of elite runners in the 2004 Sapporo Olympics showed that 75% of these athletes land first on their heels when they run. To quote from the article, "There's no [scientific] evidence that heel strikers are injured more, no evidence that mid-foot runners are faster..." The article goes on to recommend that runners should do what feels right. They suggest that if adopting a front foot style is awkward it's probably better to run on your heels. The article did recommend some shoes specifically for mid-foot running: most inov-8 models, Newtons, NB 100s and 840s (The "ChiRunning" shoe) and the La Sportiva Skylite. Remember that this magazine covers trail running which explains why trail shoes are included in this recommendation.

I didn't run this morning because I felt like rest would do more good than exercise. I'm seeing my pulmonologist tomorrow and I don't want to overdo it lest he order me to stop running. I'll get back to it on Thursday after three days rest. I miss the experience but I know rest is the right thing for me this week.

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