Karhu take two: a better experience indoors

Today’s workout:
Treadmill run: 3.14 miles
Elliptical: 25 minutes

It’s still early in the vacation — more days to go then have passed. We got out today for the first time since the snowstorm hit and had a great afternoon. This morning I took the time to clean out my running area in the guest room. This involved getting rid of a number of items that had been taking up space in an armoire that serves as the repository for my running gear. This cabinet also contains a large collection of technology supplies that I keep on hand in support of our network and computers. I got rid of many obsolete cables and peripherals and reduced my running shoe collection by targeting my ASICS 1130’s for donation. I was able to recover enough space to organize my running shirts, shorts, cold weather gear and socks into different drawers. A much needed exercise completed.

Exercise came in all forms today, before we all headed out I spent close to an hour on an indoor workout, first on the treadmill and then on the elliptical. I wore the Karhu Fast 2’s because I wanted to try them under different conditions. I had found the Karhu’s to be stiff and in conflict with my form when I wore them for a street run last Friday. Today they felt better and I don’t know why. Perhaps it was the treadmill surface versus running on pavement. It may be that I wasn’t physically up for the run on Friday and I assumed it was the shoes. On the treadmill the stiffness did not seem noticeable and the shoes seemed to move far better with my foot than they did last time. I focused on landing on my forefoot and the Karhu’s didn’t impede my form in any way.

I followed the treadmill run with 25 minutes on the elliptical and by the time I finished I felt the way I do after eight miles running on the road. I’m not sure what I’ll do tomorrow for a workout. The thought of another treadmill session is unappealing but with all the snow the roads are narrow and the sidewalks are buried. Hopefully we’ll see the temperatures rise enough to make the streets runnable. I’m not counting on that, but it would be nice.

Post race recovery run

After taking Monday off to recover from Sunday’s race I set out this morning for a short neighborhood run. I have a busy day scheduled so I limited my distance to make enough time for my first appointment. It was still dark when I left the house at 6:45 AM so I wore my headlamp and reflective vest. I’m used to running these streets almost three hours earlier in the morning so it surprised me at first to see cars, recycling trucks and workers at the middle school as I ran past. I wore my ASICS GEL-1130’s that I’d been using as my office running shoes but since Labor Day I haven’t had the time to run in the city so I brought the ASICS home to occasionally trade off with my Brooks GTS-9’s. The two shoes feel similar although the 1130’s feel less stable on the toe-off compared with the Brooks. The difference becomes greater when I’m running longer distances, as I did on Sunday. The Brooks are really good shoes and have never given me a problem regardless of distance or conditions. The ASICS were a good choice for an occasional run (and the price was right) but there’s a difference between $100+ shoes and more economical models.

Before I ran this morning I used the Active Wrap in heat mode on my quads since I was still sore from Sunday despite taking Monday as a rest day. As I made my way around the middle school I was amused to see that orange cones had been set up along the perimeter of one side of the parking lot and along the front driveway. It was like a moment of deja vu as I followed them, just as I had done on Main Street in Falmouth on Sunday morning. It took a few minutes to fall into a comfortable pace and I decided to run whatever distance I could cover within 30 minutes. It turned out to be 3.27 miles that I did at a 9:09 pace. It really does make a difference when you run among others, especially in competition. The first leg of the relay was approximately the same distance as this morning but I ran that segment a half minute faster per mile even with a couple of challenging hills.

After my run I tried a bottle of the EAS Myoplex Vanilla Cream nutrition shake that we got in our goody bags at the race. To be honest I was averse to drinking it because it contained sucralose and I really can’t stand sugar substitutes. However, it tasted fine, although there was a slight medicinal quality to it. I found it convenient compared to having to prepare a recovery breakfast and it helped reduce the time between my run and my shower. I’m not sure if I’ll make a habit of Myoplex but I do have another bottle that I’ll try after my next hard workout. Tomorrow I’m going to try to take advantage of having one more day off this week and do a longer run. After all, my next race is but 31 days away!

Re-committing to my GTS-9’s

I’m interested in running shoes because they are the one thing that separates me from the road, trail, track or treadmill when I run. I own five pairs that I use interchangeably but the alpha pair are my Brooks Adrenalin GTS-9’s. Those who have read this blog over the last year know what a complicated relationship I have with these running shoes. I regretted the purchase as soon as I brought them home and wished I had chosen the other pair I liked: ASICS GEL 2140’s.

I chose the Brooks because, in the store, they felt better than the Saucony and New Balance models that I’d tried on that day. It was a tie between the ASICS and the Brooks and I chose the Brooks because they felt infinitesimally better. When I got home I tried them on again and noticed the tongue position caused discomfort at the top of my feet when the shoes were tightened. I also felt that the shoes lacked the bounce ands spring that defined my Nike Turbulence 13’s. After boxing them up, taking them out and trying them on again and repeating that over the next couple of days, I finally decided to keep them and in the long run that was a good decision. Yes, they still dig into the top of my feet when tightened too hard and they don’t feel as energetic as some of my other shoes but they very quickly undid the damage that my Nike’s were causing me before replacement. The cushioning of the Brooks is appreciated on longer runs and this morning I tightened only to the point of stability. No pain and a very good ride.

The cushioning properties of these shoes have made me think a bit more about moving to a lighter, less protecting pair. I’m a lot lighter myself since I started running last October and I’m intrigued by the minimal style shoes that take mass out of the mid-soles for weights in the 9-10 oz. range as opposed to the 12+ oz. weight of stability shoes like the GTS-9’s. I read a shoe review in this month’s Men’s Journal that covered minimalist running shoes. The top rated shoe was the NB 1225 that happens to be the model my friend CK just bought. He’s had some serious foot problems so I’m surprised that he’d want something so austere but he loves them. Apparently they are the best of breed for light (12 oz.) motion control shoes. Another highlighted pair were the Brooks Ghost 2 that weigh in at 10.8 ounces. I picked one up in a running store once and it felt weightless. I’d like to try that shoe since I am firmly back in the “I like Brooks” camp now.

I covered 2.5 miles at 9:03 this morning. The time flew by and I found myself a bit farther away from the house than I’d planned so I needed to put some effort into the last half mile to meet my schedule. It all worked out fine. Tomorrow I’ll try for 5-6 miles on the street and Sunday I’m running Stillwell Woods with my nephew. It’s been a while since I’ve hit the trails so I’m looking forward to the experience and hoping for cool weather.

Shoe tie, don’t bother me

Last December I poked a little fun at Runner’s World for running this tease on their cover. I shouldn’t have been so quick to judge because I had an un-tying incident during this morning’s run that was distracting and potentially dangerous. Although I love early morning running there are some issues with the darkness on moon-less nights. My headlamp,  a Petzl Tikka Plus, does a good enough job but it doesn’t really throw very far. My concern is that someday I’ll miss seeing a rut in the road or the sidewalk and I’ll turn an ankle (or worse). 

 
The Tikka Plus does have a ratcheting swivel head that allows the user to aim the light but I find that I often need to put my head down in dark areas to properly see the road. The combination of a dark morning and the unraveling of my shoelace put me a little on edge. This is what passes for drama at 4:15 AM! I was reluctant to stop in the middle of a run to tie my laces so once I established that my shoe wasn’t slipping I decided to just bear it the rest of the way. The resulting distance was covered without incident but I was more concerned than usual that I’d trip on my un-tethered laces. Except for the constant whipping from the loose pair against my shin the rest of the run went without incident.
 
The key reason my laces became untied had to do with a recent problem I’m having with my Brooks GTS 9’s. The top of the laces are positioned exactly where my tibia meets the upper tarsal and there are two large nerves that run through there. When I tie my laces too tight it pinches and hurts. I’ve always had this issue with these shoes although the severity of the pinching can vary. This morning I must have tied them too loosely. I don’t have this issue with my other four pairs of running shoes so it may be connected to the design of the Brooks. I have a different pinching issue with my office pair of Asics 1130’s so I wonder if it’s the design of my foot and not the shoes. Either way, when I look for my next pair of everyday trainers, tongue and collar comfort will be an important criteria.

3.5 under 9:00 = :)

After yesterday’s long but unsatisfying run I decided to cut the distance and go for some speed. A person commented on emergingrunner.com that I should be doing tempos and intervals to get my speed up. I agreed with that and made it a point to actively think about my pace as I ran this morning. I went out around 7:00 AM before the sun got too hot and I tried to head off the initial leg pain with some dynamic stretching. I hit the road and felt a little better than I did on Friday but I also felt like I was expending a lot of effort and needed to throttle my speed if I was to complete even a short distance run.

My goal was to run about 30 minutes at a pace similar to my 5K run in May. I didn’t feel the fluidity that I get at times but it was okay and I really liked the feel of the Asics 1130’s I picked for today’s run. I ran in the Brooks yesterday and while I have no complaints about them I think I like the feel of the Asics a little more. Hard to say, both are good. I took some less traveled streets, making up my route as I went along while staying conscious of my 30 minute timing. I wanted today’s run to be low impact so I’d have something left for tomorrow.

As I hit the 26 minute mark I turned east to begin making my way home and stepped up the pace a little. It was beginning to get hot and I picked roads that had a lot of tree cover which really helped the way I felt. I was about a half a mile from home when I noticed an SUV pulling up along side me and saw a woman who had her window down to ask me the location of a street. I actually asked her to speed up because she was throwing off my pace and I carefully recited the series of lefts and rights she would need to follow to get where she wanted to go. It wasn’t until afterward that I realized I was talking fairly well while pushing my speed.

In the end I ran 3.51 miles in 31 minutes for an 8:50 overall pace. I was happy to have broken 9:00 and I was very satisfied with my run. It’s the weekend and back to work on Monday. I’ve put in a lot of miles this vacation week and I’m thinking that it’s time to return my focus on speed.