Showing posts with label Mirage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mirage. Show all posts

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cold and wind can't keep a winter runner down

Today's run (street): 4.5 miles

Conditions were dry, cold and windy this morning but that didn't dissuade me from going out for a run. I far prefer 25° plus wind chills over 80° with high humidity. The trick is to bundle up enough to make the first mile bearable, without becoming overheated by the third. I wore my new half-zip over a long sleeved tech shirt and my new CS running pants below. These pants do a very good job of blocking wind.

I wore my Saucony Mirages that felt 100% better than the Karhu Fast 2's that I wore on yesterday's run. The Mirage's low stack height and minimal ramp angle enable a natural mid-foot fall. This is very different from the Karhu's thick mid-sole that seems to get in the way of leg extension. It's as if the road is an inch higher when your foot hits the ground -- both jarring and disconcerting.

The chilly air was energizing and the wind at my back helped to propel me. Head-on, the wind felt uncomfortable, especially where my glasses touched my face. Fortunately my route didn't have too many roads that faced west so it wasn't really an issue. My strength had improved from yesterday and my run was mostly pleasant. I had enough strength coming up on my last mile to pick up the pace considerably.

After yesterday's tough going, I'd expected today's run to be better. It turned out to be a lot better and I was pleased with my performance overall. If the rain holds off tomorrow I may go for a trail run with a friend. If not, I may spend some quality time on the elliptical machine.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Looking for my winter running shoe

Perhaps I need some (new) balance in my running
After trying on the Kinvara 2's only to realize it wasn't the shoe for me, I'm back to rethinking my winter footwear. I really loved my original Kinvaras. In fact, I'd still be running in them except that I wore out the Kinvara's mid-sole to the point where I began experiencing knee pain. That breakdown coincided with the timing of my half marathon that I ran while injured.

Green Silence - an opportunity lost
A couple of years ago I anticipated Brook's launch of the Green Silence, their first "minimal" shoe not made specifically for racing. I couldn't wait for them to go on sale. I ended up being dissuaded by the salesperson at Jackrabbit who steered me toward the Brooks GTS 10's, a great shoe but it rides too high. I ended up switching to the Saucony Kinvaras midway through 2010.

The Hattori - great except on really cold days

The Mirage - a really good shoe but the fit is narrow

Earlier this year I tested the Saucony Mirage, a Kinvara-like shoe with some stability features. It's a great shoe and I've put in a few hundred miles in them, but the toe width is a bit narrow. I was hoping that Brook's new Pure Project line would provide a shoe that met my needs. I tried on the Pure Connect and really disliked the fit that was narrow and very tight in the arch. The other models weren't much better so I decided to look elsewhere.

After looking at many reviews, I am thinking that the New Balance Minimus MR00 may be a "good fit" for me. My hope was to find a minimal, zero-drop, road shoe that will give me a little more insulation that the Hattori's for winter running. Given that the MR00's aren't due in stores until March, I may need to get through most of winter in the Mirages on cold days and the Hattori's on more moderate days and races.

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.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Time for some needed rest

Today's run (street): 2.5 miles

This morning I went out for my last run prior to Sunday's race. I wore my Mirages to acclimate to their feel, although the trail surface at the race will be different than pavement. I'll admit that I liked the luxury of this minimal, yet well cushioned, shoe. It's a nice change from the harder ride of the Hattori's.

It's often recommended that runners leave their watches at home and run by feel. I bring my Garmin because I have an irrational need to capture the metrics of every run but I rarely look at the display for anything except elapsed time. I purposely ignored my watch this morning and only checked it at the end when I pulled up by my house and hit the stop button. I saw that I'd averaged 9:14 per mile, which made sense based upon the effort I had made.

I'm still battling the feeling of tiredness and, although I was happy to have run 15 seconds per mile better than my July average, the fatigue was noticeable. Along the way I encountered both a car and a walker at the same intersection -- unusual because I rarely see either at 4:00 AM. That woke me up a bit. I'm done with running until the race, although I may do some less strenuous activities between now and then. Rest, I believe, will be the best thing to do before I line up for the Dirty Sock 10K on Sunday morning.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dirty fun on Father's Day

Mirages on the trail: great performance from a road shoe
Today's run (Stillwell Woods): 4.15 miles

Happy Father's Day! It's great to be able to celebrate the day with my family and not face an early morning commute tomorrow. Vacation week awaits. The only downside is that I've been suffering with a sinus headache since yesterday morning. It's the the kind of pain that doesn't really respond to analgesics like ibuprofen and the only relief I've had since it started has been a clear head for an hour or so after my runs. I made a trip to the drug store and picked up some decongestant with pseudoephedrine -- the good stuff you get from behind the counter. Even with that, plus a short nap and some headache medicine, I'm still feeling some pain and pressure.

It's been over a month since I've hit the trails so I headed to Stillwell Woods this morning for a change of scenery and surface. It was still below 70° when I started out among a large contingent of mountain bikers who were readying their equipment while I ran by. The shade of the woods kept the air fairly cool and I ran well. Not especially fast, but with good form. I wore my Mirages because the course I chose was not especially technical and I wanted a shoe that was low to the ground to help me maintain my forward foot stride.

The Mirages did really well with that and they even handled the sandy, scree laden hills that I ascended a couple of times. The sections I ran without tree cover revealed that the heat was rising but it still felt less humid than yesterday. Through the run, I was passed a couple of times by bikers. They gave fair warning and politely thanked me for moving to the side.

The recent wet weather has produced an abundance of grass and plant growth. This was most apparent on the dirt path that rings the open field, connecting my route back to its starting point. In winter and fall this trail is clear and open but this morning I literally had to run it by feel because of the high grass on each side overgrew it. It wasn't a problem but I checked for ticks afterward.

After two loops around my route I headed back to the trail head and noticed the parking area was thick with cars. Today was the end of the kiddie soccer season and people were aggressively swooping in to park wherever they could find room. A woman in an SUV saw me and clearly understood that I needed a few minutes to recover from my heated run. She politely said, "If it's okay I'll take your spot when you're ready to leave. Take you time." I quickly gave her the spot and then spent 20 minutes working my way to the exit. It was quite a circus, complete with tents and a bounce castle.

My run at Stillwell was great for a couple of reasons. First, I felt really good on my run and enjoyed the feel of the trail underfoot. Second, my more upright, mid-foot stride felt easier and I was better able to appreciate the beauty of the woods as I ran through them. I even got a respite from my headache while the endorphins rushed in, affirming the reason why we runners love to run. Hours later, I'm happy to have this pseudoephedrine to get me through the rest of this sinus pain!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spring vacation kickoff run

Today's run (street): 3.6 miles

My spring vacation starts today and with weather reports calling for afternoon rain I thought it best to go out early. I woke up after a decent night's sleep with a mild cough. It's just another phase in this annoying cold that I've been suffering since Monday. Knowing that I had busy days ahead, including some travel, I decided early on to ignore this cold as much as I could. I worked long days, went out at night and ran or elliptical-ed every morning. This seems to have worked. After a cup of coffee my cough seemed to recede and I made my way outside.

It's still cold for mid-April and I dressed for my run appropriately. I've noticed that over the last few weeks my Saturday runs have been so-so but my Sunday runs have been good. I'm not sure why but anticipating that this morning I aimed low - three or four miles tops. I wore the new Mirages that continue to feel great. In terms of comfort I still prefer the Kinvaras but I like the way these new shoes move with my foot and land me ahead of my arch. Without really trying I maintained a mid-9 pace that felt easy and fluid. I'm hoping I'll have a window on Sunday to cover 8 or more miles but the rain may interfere with that plan. Since I'm on vacation I'll have numerous opportunities to run long distances. The half marathon looms large -- two weeks and a day from now.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Breaking the rules on race day?

Mirage, Kinvara, Fast 2 - decisions, decisions
I really want to go for a run today but one must rest before race day. I cheated a little this morning and put on my Karhu Fast 2's that AG and I are reviewing on Runner's Tech Review. I wanted to reinforce my impressions by doing a few fast strides on the treadmill. We'll be posting the review next week and I wanted one final impression. I also wanted to compare the shoe with the new Saucony Mirages. I'll reserve comment on the Karhu's for now.

I couldn't resist following my Karhu sprint with a similar session with the Mirages. I think I'm in love. While I appreciated the feel of the Mirages out of the box it wasn't until I stepped on the treadmill and hit the 8 MPH button that I totally understood what Saucony did with the design of these shoes. I love the Kinvaras but the Mirage is an improvement on that platform. I'll stop the effusive praise for now as I still haven't put the shoe to pavement, but I'm feeling optimistic about its potential.

This morning's experience has me rethinking which shoe I should wear on race day. On one hand, it would be a great opportunity to try the Karhu's in competition and determine if the Fast 2 lives up to its name.  I've assumed to this point that I'd wear the venerable Kinvaras that I consider the finest running shoes I've ever worn. Despite the unwritten rule that you should never compete in new shoes I'm seriously tempted to race the Marie Mazzola 5K in the Mirages. It's a short enough distance that it probably doesn't matter. Smart money is on the Mirages but we'll see what makes sense tomorrow morning.

Finally - I'm rooting for my friend FS who is racing tomorrow morning in the NYRR Scotland 10K in Central Park. With luck we'll both have decent weather as we line up for our respective starts.

Friday, April 8, 2011

First look: Saucony ProGrid Mirage

I noticed a box sitting on the front steps when I got home last night and was excited to see my review pair of Saucony Mirages had arrived. I brought them inside and opened the package, not really knowing what to expect. The Mirage is Saucony's most minimal stability trainer and a close relation to my beloved Kinvaras.

The shoes, in jet black with bright red mid-soles, were far different from the Kinvara in look and feel. While the Kinvara is a super light shoe with a very minimal upper, the Mirage feels beefier with a more conventional upper and more structure on the medial side for stability. This combination adds weight to the shoe (7.7 oz for Kinvara vs 9.6 oz for the Mirage). Still, this shoe is under 10 oz making it almost 1 oz  lighter than the ASICS DS Trainer 16 that is considered the standard for light stability shoes.

After trying on the Mirage and comparing it to the Kinvara, I noticed a significant difference in the way the Mirage held my foot. The new shoe felt more substantial, less minimal, with gentle upward bend at the front that provided a feel of forward motion and a natural mid-foot fall. I have not run in these shoes so I don't have a sense of them in action but the initial reaction is promising. I'm not going to wear the Mirages on my race on Sunday but I will plan to use them for my half marathon.

A full review of the Mirages will be posted on Runner's Tech Review after I've had a chance to evaluate them. In the meantime, Check Runner's Tech Review next week to see our evaluation of the new Karhu Fast 2_Rides.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Is the Saucony Mirage for real?

Today's run (street): 3.1 miles

My experience with running in a more minimal shoe has been good and I credit the Saucony Kinvaras for that. When I started wearing these shoes I had concerns that a less constructed neutral running shoe would cause me some problems. Before the Kinvaras I had been running in the Brooks Adrenalins as a daily trainer and I didn't expect that to change. As it happened, the Kinvaras caused no issues with their lack of stability features and as a low arch pronator I'm questioning the need for stability control. The need for guidance support may come with runs longer than mine that top out at around 11 miles.

I'm still keenly interested in minimal running shoes so I asked the folks at Saucony whether I could review the new Hattori, a super light, zero drop minimal racer/trainer. There are a limited supply of these shoes for testing so Saucony graciously offered a pair of the new Mirages, the fraternal twin to the Kinvara. The Mirage has some stability features and a little more structured upper. If the fit of the Mirage is close to the Kinvara I will wear the Mirages during my half marathon. It might be a perfect combination for the 13.1 mile distance. I'll document my experience and review it on Runner's Tech Review.

Men's ProGrid Mirage
Quick summary of the Mirage (per Saucony):
  • The perfect light trainer for a slight overpronator
  • Lightweight with great responsiveness
  • Allows the foot to move through the gait cycle unrestricted
  • Hydrator collar lining
  • Memory Foam Heel Pods
  • EVA Sockliner
  • HRC Strobel Board
  • Heel ProGrid LITE
  • High Abrasion EVA (EVA+)
  • Supportive Arc
  • Blown rubber
  • XT-900™
Men: 8.9 oz
Women: 7.9 oz

I'm not going to comment too much about my run this morning except to say that it was difficult and my performance was terrible. A friend on the running blogsphere (and a person who ran the Dirty Sock 10K in about half the time as me) commented that blood donation can have a real effect on performance for two weeks after the donation. I'll accept that at face value and not dwell on today's workout. I'm hoping for significant improvement tomorrow but I'll settle for a mediocre run.

blogger templates | Webtalks