Banish the Sole and open up the room

One step closer to the trash

Today’s workout (elliptical): 45 minutes

It occurred to me that I could temporarily recover some space in my guest room/office/workout room by folding the Sole and putting it into the corner. Once I did that, I changed the angle of the elliptical so that it faces the television (sort of) instead of sitting perpendicular to it. I never really cared about watching TV on the treadmill, especially in the last six months when the relatively quiet machine started sounding like an out of balance washing machine. But the elliptical is quiet because it’s self powered, but so boring that the TV is an essential distraction.

Instead of using my Karhu Fast2s (shoes I product tested a few years back but never liked for running) I put on the new Sauconys for my elliptical session. Prior to that, I tried on the ASIC Kayanos to compare the fit. There was a very different feel between the two pair and I preferred the Triumphs.

Until I actually run in the Sauconys, I’ll have to judge them on their indoor attributes. The Karhus have a fairly stiff mid-sole while the Triumphs are little more flexible and I liked them better. I would have preferred to run this morning but we have to use the tools we have. I really need to get another treadmill.

SIOR asked me why I’m not using the fitness center at my office and I was embarrassed to say that I’d forgotten it was there. I get into the office early but I usually start focusing on business right away. I need to remember to bring in running gear. I probably won’t do that next week because my schedule is crazy and I’ll be in the city on one of those days. I’ll plan to try it the week after that. I may get out and run at Old Westbury on Sunday because the running club posts are saying it’s clear. I’m curious to see how these Sauconys perform on pavement.

Stacking the deck the wrong way

Karhu Fast 2 – a contributing factor

Today’s run (street): 3.4 miles

This morning’s temperature was a mild 44°, but the winds from the west made it feel much colder. I decided to run with my new Alpine Design half-zip that I hoped would block wind. I was pleased that it did, although I would have been better off had I just worn a couple of shirt layers. I was sweating profusely by the end of my run.

I’d inadvertently stacked the deck against having a good run by choosing the Karhu Fast 2 running shoes that I’d relegated to elliptical duty a while back. When I did a quick run in the Karhu’s the other day they’d felt okay, so I thought I’d give them another try.

Other factors in play were a depleted blood supply (from my doctor’s visit yesterday) and a very large, calorie-laden meal at our friends last night. This included a Guinness stout and my system isn’t used to alcohol. I’ve only had the equivalent of five beers in all of 2011.

My route was through the neighborhood and I didn’t plan to run it fast. I figured 3+ miles would be an easy workout. By mile I realized it would be difficult to get through the entire run but I was determined to do it. The wind didn’t help and I felt hot and very tired. The Karhu’s high platform made it difficult to maintain a fluid stride.

By the time I’d finished, I was surprised by my level of exhaustion. I guess if I’d thought about it I would have chosen different gear and charted an even shorter route. But good runs usually follow bad ones, so I’ll hope for better experiences throughout the week.

Karhu Fast 2’s live up to their name

Today’s run (track intervals)

You know those movies where the mousy librarian takes off her glasses and the leading man suddenly notices how beautiful she is? That was akin to my experience today with the Karhu Fast 2’s that I’d damned with (very) faint praise in my recent review. In testing these shoes I thought I’d done an adequate job of assessing their capabilities, both on long runs as well as short speed bursts and tempos. What I didn’t do – and shame on me for that – was put them to the test on the Tartan track. This morning, along with my daughter (who served as my running partner and coach), I used these Karhus in their natural environment.

Our plan was to run multiple short intervals to help build fast twitch muscles and anaerobic base. After a trip around the track at a moderate pace we headed to a side track that had sand pits on either end. That gave us about 45 meters of useful track length for our short, fast sprints. My daughter and I took turns running on this track beside some high school boys who were practicing their long jumps. We did multiple runs, going in both directions and were pleased with our speeds. My daughter (age 12) was able to match me or come within a second of many of my times.

We followed that first set of runs with another lap around the track and then ran additional sprints on the main oval. Again our speeds were good and I was happy that most of my running (besides the recovery jogs) stayed well below a 6 minute pace. The Karhus really shined today. I finally got the “Fulcrum” concept and ran on my forefoot, practically on my toes, bringing my knees up higher than I would on an aerobic run. The Karhu Fast 2 will be my speed shoe going forward and it even felt good at a sedate pace today. I’m still committed to a lower profile shoe like the Saucony Mirage and Kinvara as a daily trainer but the Karhu is a true sprinter. That made for a great practice today with my favorite running coach and partner.

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.

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.