Successful (Brooks) Launch on the treadmill

Special Delivery

Today’s run (treadmill): 3.3 miles
Last Sunday’s run (street): 4.4 miles

There are few things as delightful to a runner as receiving a pair of running shoes in the mail. Better than that is getting them delivered without even knowing they’re coming. That’s what happened to me a couple of weeks ago, thanks to my daughter, who surprised me with a pair of Brooks Launch 3s for my birthday. I was very touched that she surprised me like that.

The Launch isn’t a shoe that I’d ever considered because it’s not as minimal as my Zantes and Kinvaras. My daughter did some research and decided that the Launches would work for me. They arrived close to my birthday, but were (unfortunately) a half size too small. Although the Launches felt good on my foot, I’ve learned that any snugness in the toe box will result in pain on the road.

We reordered them in my size (11) and they arrived last night. I was going to take them out on the road this morning, but conditions were rainy. There was no way I was going to subject brand new running shoes to rain and muck and decided to try them inside. I was also interested to see how they felt on the treadmill compared to my Kinvara 5s that have been my only indoor running shoes for the past two years.

The Launches fit me well but felt very different than the Kinvaras. They reminded me of the Brooks Adrenalines but were much lighter. The forefoot is also far more flexible. I like the relative stiffness of the Zantes on the road and I’m curious to see how the Launches will run on pavement. The 10 mm drop may also help my plantar fasciitis that has minimized, but has not disappeared.

My first steps on the treadmill felt a little awkward compared to the Kinvaras, probably due to the higher stack height. I got used to them after a while, but it was hard to perceive the responsiveness that is the hallmark of this model. I always try to run negative splits on the treadmill and push my speed on the last mile, mostly to get the run done faster. The Launches had good turnover but I think the Zantes might actually have more pep. Hopefully tomorrow’s weather will let me determine that.

I ended up having a better run than I’d expected. I got my speed out of my comfort range by the time I finished and decided that the Launches will have a regular place in my rotation. Tomorrow morning’s schedule will be very tight so I may not end up going out until late morning. If it’s supposed to get as hot on Saturday as it did today, I may end up trying for a 6:00 AM workout.

Cow-leg running science explained

Leg stomach-ache

Today’s run (street): 3.8 miles

Happy Labor Day. It’s always nice to have a three day weekend, although I keep thinking today is Sunday. It sure felt like a Sunday when I went out this morning, and I appreciated the car-free roads. I almost skipped my run in favor an elliptical session, but my wife encouraged me to get outside and I listened to her. I’m glad I did.

The reason I’d considered forgoing my run was because I woke up with an acute pain in my right calf. According to Dr. Google, this pain was emanating from the Medial Gastrocnemius. I always thought gastro meant stomach, but apparently there’s also a gastro in our leg muscles. It sort of makes sense because cows have multiple stomachs and they also have calves. Science is very logical.

I was a little concerned that the calf pain resulted from wearing my new Kinvaras that are lower and flatter than the Triumphs. I’ve never had trouble transitioning to zero and near-zero drop running shoes, but I was concerned that they might be the culprit. I decided to keep it under four miles today, and if the pain got worse, I’d work them in with even shorter distances.

My first steps off my driveway were pain-free and that was the case throughout the entire run. I continue to like the feel of the shoe. Compared to both the original and the K3, the K5 is equally comfortable. But the K5s are more responsive and have a smoother toe-off.

Hours after the run, my calf feels fine. I don’t know what caused this morning’s soreness, but at least I know it wasn’t the shoes.

End of the road of my favorite street

The long and potholed road

Today’s run (street): 4.6 miles

It felt cool this morning when I stepped outside, and I looked forward to a comfortable running experience. That was a miscalculation. Still, the still-high humidity and some rough road conditions did not prevent me from enjoying my workout. There was plenty of shade throughout most of the run and I wore the new Kinvara 5s for the first time. I’m happy to report that they exceeded expectations.

The long weekend gives me an extra day for a run, so I didn’t feel pressured to extend my distance beyond the 4.6 miles that I covered. I went south to neighborhood #2 for a change of scenery. I’ve always liked to run the long stretch along Elderberry and Ashford Drive. This is a straightaway that seems to go on forever (it’s actually .67 miles) and that lets me zone out for a while. But today I realized that there’s some real problems with that road.

The winters are harsh on Long Island streets and new potholes are always showing up. The town usually repairs them with patches until the roads begin to resemble the surface of the moon. Eventually they resurface the street and the cycle starts again. Elderberry/Ashford has reached lunar territory and I worried about tripping on the broken pavement with every step. Suddenly my favorite road was feeling like a safety hazard.

Most of the broken pavement was on the left side of the street, so I looked forward to a less treacherous experience coming back on the other side. The road back was smoother, but it had some hidden dips. I had a few scary moments when my foot kept going after I expected to reach the pavement. I’ve decided to avoid that section until new blacktop is laid.

I’m planning to do an early Labor Day run tomorrow to complete five consecutive days of running or cross training. If I can get out early, I may get out of the neighborhood and head to the track or the trails.

Kinvara 5s with a side of sausage

Thinking out of the box

Today’s run (street): 3.8 miles

We had early plans this morning so I had to get out early to meet our schedule. Like yesterday, I was tight on time and that caused me to cut my targeted distance short. I didn’t cover five miles as planned, but I ran an interesting route. The run seemed to go by fast. After checking the data, I saw that I’d averaged 20 seconds a mile slower than yesterday.

Today’s route

When we got home I saw that my new Kinvaras had arrived. Over the years I’ve received shoes from manufacturers for review (most recently the Saucony Triumph ISOs) and that’s always fun. However, test models are not necessarily the shoes that I’d buy for myself. The Kinvara 5 definitely seems to meet my needs. In fact, it’s the third version of the Kinvara that I’ve owned, and I was happy to pay for them.

My Kinvara collection

I immediately replaced the K5’s original laces with a pair of “sausage” style. These laces never untie and I use them with most of my running shoes. The Kinvara 5s have a feature called “Pro-Lock” that provides a more secure mid-foot fit and I wondered how that would work with new laces. After trying them on and taking some steps around the living room, I determined that the combination worked.

I plan to use them for the first time tomorrow. I have no expectation that these new shoes will give me more speed or provide a noticeably better running experience than the Triumphs. But from the first time I put put on a Kinvara in 2010, I knew it was the shoe for me. I hope it still is.

Sidewalk running on a busy Friday morning

Hurry home K5s

Today’s run (street): 3.2 miles
Yesterday’s workout (elliptical): 30 minutes

It’s Labor Day weekend and the end of the first week of school. Despite the heat wave we’ve had over the past few days, I know that fall weather will soon be here. I’m pretty excited about that. This morning’s temperature was closer to 70 than 90, but it was still extremely humid when I stepped outside. I patiently waited for a phalanx of buses to go by and then I was off.

I knew it would be humid, so I kept a low effort for the first ten minutes. I’ve been eagerly anticipating the arrival of my Kinvara 5s, but I had to go with the Triumph ISOs today. That turned out to be a good choice because the high volume of traffic forced me onto concrete slab sidewalks a few times. The Triumphs provided a nice cushion from the extra hard surface, but I was still concerned about the possibility of tripping on the uneven sections. Halfway through the run, it seemed like all the school drop-off traffic was finished and it felt a little safer to be on the street.

Along the way, I ran by one of my wife’s friends who was chatting with a neighbor in front of her house. We exchanged quick hellos, but I didn’t have time to stop because I was on a split second schedule. I needed to be showered and dressed in time for a video call that was happening in 30 minutes. I got ready with only seconds to spare and did the call wearing gym shorts. Since my colleagues could only see my top half, that will remain a secret unless they read this post.

I did pretty well today despite the humidity and the fact that I haven’t taken to the Triumphs. My new Kinvaras are due to arrive by 8 PM tomorrow, so I may not get to run in them until Sunday. I think it will be a little cooler on Saturday and plan to cover a little more distance.

Another Kinvara for the ER

This color was $52, the rest were more expensive

This weekend’s runs (street): 8 miles total

This is the last weekend of summer before the kids return to school so we took off for some R&R. Due to that, I was limited in terms of running options. But between today and yesterday, I was able to cover a total of eight miles. The not so good news is that the upper thigh discomfort that I experienced as part of my ruptured disc has come back. It’s not actually painful, but I feel it in every step and it’s affecting my stride.

I’m doing some massage exercise to help deal with it. Fortunately, this discomfort only happens while I’m running. I ran with my Saucony Triumph ISOs today and it was a little better than with my Virratas that have pronounced heel wear on the lateral sides of both shoes. I’ve been researching shoes to replace the Virratas (my main shoe right now) and decided to go with the Kinvara 5.

Thanks to ShoeKicker, I was able to find a pair online for $52 with free shipping. I should see them sometime next week. I adored my original Kinvaras and the K3s have served me well for far longer than I’d deserved. I made the mistake of reading lots of user reviews that planted some doubt about the K5s.

The concern was mostly due to the Pro-Lock feature that the Triumphs also have. The K6 Pro-Lock is supposed to be worse, which is why I elected to get the 5s. I figure that everyone’s foot is different and some people will always be disappointed. Despite some negative posts, most reviews were overwhelmingly positive, I’m hoping mine will be too.