Running bargains, get them while they last

Friday run: note the runner on right side of picture

Today’s run (Bethpage bike trail): 5.2 miles
Yesterday (street): 3.2 miles

I got out early on Friday before my day started and covered my minimum distance for a run (5K). When I stepped outside, I noticed the scent of spring in the air. The temperature was 59° with a steady breeze that energized me from the start. It seemed quiet for a Friday, perhaps because I went out early. No recycling trucks or buses, just me, the road and a surprising number of people out walking. I also saw a runner (see picture) who decided that the middle of the road was a smart place to run.

Today’s route

This morning the weather was cooler, high 30’s according to News12, and I dressed for it. I wanted to cover five miles and headed over to the Runsketeer rendezvous point on Haypath Road. My route plan was to start at Haypath and run to Washington Ave. as my turnaround point. I had plenty of company on the bike trail, including some people walking with large dogs. I was careful to leave a lot of room each time that I passed by.

Later in the day we went to the Gallery at Westbury and saw (as I’d predicted), that the SA Elite store was closing. This used to be my favorite place for running clothes and shoes. In the beginning it was a beautiful store with most of its merchandise related to running. I’ve bought a lot of shoes and running clothes there over the last few years.

My bargain jackets

I ended up buying a duplicate of my dog-bitten ASICS rain jacket (discounted to $13!!) and a high reflectivity ASICS jacket for $23. We also got some old-school Onitsuka Tigers for my son for $30, a yoga mat for my daughter and a couple of shirts. The whole thing came to less than $100. There’s still a lot of merchandise, so I recommend a visit soon. They say the store will close when there’s nothing left to sell.

One last  thing – I want to give a big shout-out to Runsketeer SIOR for running a great 15K race on a very hilly course in King’s Park this morning.

Holiday run by any name

All clear on the local roads

Today’s run (street): 3.6 miles

Happy Columbus Day. Or as some people are calling it, “Indigenous People Day.” I know there’s controversy around that. What’s really important is that I had the day off. Between my working from home Friday, the weekend and then today’s run, I was able to string together four consecutive workouts for the first time in weeks.

The good thing about running a lot is that your body gets used to it and it’s easy to get into rhythm. I liked the experience of running on a weekday morning without squadrons of parents swarming the roads to drop off their kids at school. No buses either, and even the garbage trucks were silent. The time went by fairly quickly and I ended up covering more ground than I’d planned.

Later in the day we stopped into Trader Joe’s at the Gallery at Wesbury Plaza. While there, we walked over to SA Elite. This is basically a running discount store and a great place to find bargains if you time your visit right. Today I looked at ASICS running vests that were on sale for about $20. It was a really good price, but I didn’t like the way the collar fit, so I took a pass.

Purple-y purchase

My wife was luckier and found a pair of ASICS Kayano 20’s for a great price. Her GT-2160s have at least 700 miles on them and I’ve been after her to retire them. I have a pair of Kayano 20’s that I use for recovery runs and love them. I think she’ll appreciate this new pair just as much.

High visibility bargain

Orange you glad I bought this

Today’s run (street): 4.25 miles

I spent an awful lot of time talking myself into running this morning. If I’d just headed out early, before all the heat, sun and humidity, I would have been a lot more comfortable. By the time I was ready to go, we were hit with a deluge of rain. I had another cup of coffee while I waited out the storm. Once the skies were clear, I was able to go out. But by then, I just didn’t feel like running.

Somehow I managed to make my way out the door. I planned to keep it simple and follow my one-mile loop as many times as I could stand it. As it happened, I could only stand it once. I changed my route and followed Jericho Turnpike west, going past restaurants and shopping centers before cutting back into the neighborhood. By the way, if you’re looking for a bargain, Rare 650 is offering a steak special for two – only $99.99!

Speaking of bargains, I found a better one at SA Elite this afternoon. It’s my favorite running store, full of great discounted running clothes and shoes. For some reason there’s never many customers and every time we go there I expect to see that it closed. My wife found a hi-viz ASICS packable running jacket for $16. Although I have a decent running raincoat, it’s a size medium and a bit snug. It functions better as a waterproof windbreaker and I always keep it in my work backpack. I ended up buying the ASICS jacket in orange  — size large.

I was glad that I managed to talk myself out the door this morning. Even though it’s been a low mileage week, I felt good about all my efforts This is going to be a busy work week and I’m hoping to fit in another mid week workout. And if it rains, I’m covered.

Running without gravity

Can’t resist (’cause there’s no resistance)

Today’s workout (elliptical): 36 minutes

After yesterday’s difficult run, I was worried how my leg and hamstring would feel in the morning. I’d violated my doctor’s no-hills rule and expected at least some soreness. Surprisingly enough, I felt great. That encouraged me to consider another run today. Mrs. ER debated the merits of doing that and suggested that I use the elliptical. I agreed and had a decent, pain-free session that didn’t produce any post-workout soreness.

Today is my birthday and while I generally don’t like to make a big deal of it, I do like our family tradition of celebrating with a nice lunch. I’m not talking kindai maguro at Le Bernardin. More like Japanese Pan Udon at Noodle & Company. It was a nice simple meal on a beautiful day.

After lunch, we stopped by SA Elite because I’ve been looking for a pair of lightweight track pants to replace my six year old C9’s that were ugly when I bought them and have not improved with age. There were few options that fit the bill (or my size) so I ended up taking a pass. I’m participating in a test of “running machines” – hybrid fitness equipment that supposedly provides a “zero gravity” running effect. I wanted new track pants so I wouldn’t have to wear shorts in an office environment.

I’ll be curious to see how close these machines come to simulating real running. I’m really hopeful that it will provide that experience while providing protection for my current disc injury. I won’t be able to provide many details until the results of the testing have been published, but I will report on whether it’s helping with my recovery.

An early run and another SA Elite bargain

Can’t resist SAE markdowns

Today’s run (street): 5.3 miles

This has been a very full day. So full in fact, that I can barely recall the details of this morning’s run. My wife and son had planned an early venture into the city while my daughter and I had other plans. I headed out for a neighborhood run before 7:00 AM with a target of covering at least 5 miles.

What I can remember about my workout was the ideal weather for a July run – overcast sky, relatively cool temperature and moderate humidity. I try to do at least one run outside of my neighborhood every weekend. Due to time constraints, I had to settle for my local roads. I criss-crossed a number of different streets to keep things interesting and threw in some fartleks every mile because the cool conditions were so energizing.

At one point in the day, I stopped into SA Elite which was near the place where we had lunch. I can’t resist a good bargain and found a lightweight Brooks long sleeve running shirt with an appealing old school graphic. It was $25 with discounts applied. I know I’ll get a lot of use out of it.

It was a great day and another good weekend of running. I may try to do a treadmill run Tuesday morning to get back into at least a 4 x per week running schedule. That would help me get closer to my weekly targeted volume.

SA Elite bargains: Cascadia, coat and curry

Trifecta

My new schedule doesn’t provide much flexibility for running during the week, so I considered using my Monday rest day for my first workout of the week. I’ll admit that I’ve taken it easy since the half marathon, running only three times last week for a total of 12 miles. That was due primarily to a lack of time in my work schedule, plus a couple of days that I’d planned for recovery.

The weather this morning was sunny and cool and I felt like getting outside. Despite having limited running time, I decided to walk around the neighborhood. It’s a different experience walking roads that I usually run, and a little strange to be “the walker” when the occasional runner passes by. But when you walk, you notice details you never see on a run. You can also appreciate the smell of the spring air a lot more when you aren’t focusing on using oxygen for fuel. I ended up covering about three miles. Very pleasant.

We didn’t have a very Memorial Day themed holiday today, although we almost got caught in the middle of the Westbury parade. Our destination was The Gallery at Westbury Plaza on Old Country Road. This shopping center had four places of interest: SA Elite (for me), The Paper Source (for Mrs. ER and the kids), Trader Joe’s and Noodles & Company.

I’ve been wanting to return to SA Elite, a Sports Authority specialty store that only carries adult running clothes, shoes and gear. My Brooks GTS-10’s, that had a 600 mile career as my primary running shoe and perhaps another 800 miles as my weekend casual shoes, were due for replacement. I went looking for a shoe bargain, like the one I got on my Saucony Virratas last year.

As soon I walked in, I spotted a very nice Brooks running raincoat, but it was priced at $85. A lightweight coat like this is my white whale, and I’ve been looking a long time for a replacement for my ASICS rain jacket that has a broken zipper. Whenever I look at these jackets, they always seem to be too expensive, in weird remainder-type colors or either size small or XXL. I soon found an ASICS packable jacket priced at $40 but discounted to $29.95. This jacket had a hood (bonus), was available in my size, and looked good. Sold!

Next, I headed to the shoe section, first to the clearance section where I found a pair of Brooks Cascadia 7’s priced at $39.99. They were a half size too large, but that would have been okay for wearing as a casual shoe. Unfortunately the Cascadia 7’s were the color of vivid green camouflage and Mrs. ER rejected them for anything but running. After trying on a pair of well-priced ASICS Nimbus-14’s that didn’t fit as well as I’d hoped, I spotted a pair of Cascadia 8’s in conservative blue and grey. $47.97 and my size. Ring ’em up!

After that, we headed next to Noodles & Company, where we could all have the genre of food we wanted as long as it was noodles. Or soup. Or salad. I had the Bangkok curry noodles. Fantastic. This is my new favorite place.

This was a great long weekend, with perfect weather. I’m not a fan of shopping, but today was really great. Now that I have the Cascadias, I’m definitely thinking trails next weekend.

Elite sale yields bargain Virrata

New running shoe day. Guess which ones are mine.

Today’s run (street): 3.4 miles

So far so good on the training front. This morning I went out with expectations of matching my recent pace range and I managed to do that. When I first entered time and distance into the pace calculator, I thought I’d missed the mark. I quickly realized I’d entered the time incorrectly, adding in an extra minute. It turned out that I’d actually exceeded my target and ran today’s distance four seconds per mile faster than yesterday’s.

I assign two factors to these recent gains: a constant focus on pace (via perceived effort, not watching the Garmin’s display) and the continued recruitment of fast twitch fibers in my leg muscles. In other words, I’m thinking about running fast and building fitness. Runners come closest to their potential when racing and an active focus on speed while training does the same thing, to a lesser degree. That’s why I’m not yet achieving sub-9 training runs, but I’m getting closer.

The family went out for a “Next to the last Friday before school starts” lunch and afterward we swung by the Gallery at Westbury Plaza. I wanted to check out Sports Authority’s new SA Elite store that only sells adult size sports apparel and running shoes. I had no intention of buying anything, but they were having a sale, so I checked out the deals.

I’ve been looking for a lightweight running raincoat for a while. My venerable ASICS rain jacket committed zippercide last year and I’ve been on a quest to replace it. SA Elite was light on raincoat options, but they had some genuine bargains in their shoe section.

The store was running a sale, and this was no bottom of the barrel clearance. I did a double-take when I saw a pair of Saucony Virratas priced at $79 with a label next to it saying 20% off as marked. The best price I’ve seen on the web for these shoes has been $78 plus shipping. I asked for a pair in hi-viz yellow, but they only had my size in black. I was disappointed, but I tried them on the treadmill and liked the way they fit.

At the same time, my wife found a pair of ASICS Nimbus-14’s that fit her well and were priced amazingly low with the included discount. I’ve been on her to replace her GEL-2160’s that probably have more than 2,000 running miles on them. I’m serious, you should see them.

I’m thinking about doing a long base run this weekend and a shorter speed workout on the other day. I’m pleased with my progress and excited to be runnning in shoes with less than 500 miles on them. I hope the Virratas feel as good on the road as they did on the treadmill today.