Tuesday, December 20, 2016

what's that you say? SHOE REVIEW! horray!

as many of you know i've been a long time fan and dedicated runner to new balance.  i have had some issues with their shoes (mainly due to the narrow toe box), but haven't really been proactive in finding an alternative because i really love the shoes so much.  lately tho' i'm getting a little tired of the constant blisters on my middle toes.

sooooooo... i've switched (tentatively) to altras for trail and topo athletic for the road.

let's start with my trail shoes first and then move onto the road shoes...

 the altra superior 2.0 ~ i have had these trail shoes before and for whatever reason they are now only available on closeout. both on the altra website, as well as the secondary sites like zappos, running warehouse, and REI to name a few.

these shoes are fantastic!  they are incredibly light weight, have great tread, are zero drop, have a wide toebox, and hold up well in sloppy conditions.  they only weigh 7.5 ounces which is an additional bonus as i truly hate heavy shoes.  i've recently run in some pretty snowy conditions (4-6 inches) of what i like to call "snowsand" which is like running on a beach of dry sand or possibly imagine running through mounds of slippery sugar.  it was challenging for sure but not at any moment did i feel unsafe or like i would fall.  there is no doubt that i will add ice spikes or screws to my shoes to run once the trails are covered in lots of ice patches, but until then these are doing a great job.

i like to stick with the same companies when i find something i like so i went ahead and bought a pair of road shoes from altra too.  again, the ones i purchased, provision 2.0, were on closeout (likely because they were the 2.0s) making them a really economical purchase, and i was pretty excited to try them out.  i ran in them twice for a total of 8 miles and i was not happy.  the toebox is again nice and roomy, but for whatever reason, my left heel kept slipping no matter how i tied the shoes or how i tried to remedy it.  i returned them and tried the provision 2.5 (maybe the update made a difference?)... no such luck.  the 2.5s were no different than the 2.0s.  my left heel slipped and i didn't even bother to test these on a run.  i just returned them and started a web search for "wide toebox" shoes.

in the meantime, i continued to use my new balance 1500s for indoor runs.  

i finally found a shoe that looked promising... from a brand i've never heard of before... topo athletic

so i purchased the topo athletic fli-lyte.  this shoe is AWESOME! granted i've only run a short 3 miler in them but i LOVE them!  these shoes have a 3mm drop and weigh only 6.7 ounces.  i love the sea foam/tangerine color combo and as a bonus (if you like that sort of thing) they give a second set of laces to change up the look.  my heels don't slip and my toes feel great with the more anatomical shape.  

their mission statement is pretty awesome too.  i can't believe i've never heard of them before.  no matter... they're on my radar now and i'm sticking with them.  bye bye, new balance... onto newer things!

so that's what i think about that.

what are your favorite shoes and why?  have you ever heard of topo athletic?  what are your thoughts about the natural toebox vs standard toeboxes?  how do you feel about zero or low drop shoes?  
tell me your thoughts in the comments!  i'd love to hear them.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

bank of america chicago marathon

welp... i woke up this morning and checked my e-mail before even getting out of bed.  i mean... it's 10° outside with a windchil of -4°.  certainly not inspiring me to get dressed and run outside.  *sigh*

back to the email... so i was reading through my e-mails and i came across THIS!

so exciting!  it will be the largest race with the most amount of people i've ever run.  in 2016 there were 40,523 finishers.  i'm interested to know how they approve people for entry since i got the impression (prior to finding out i got in) that it was difficult to get in.  now... i'm seeing a lot of people got in.  i wonder what the criteria is?  no matter... i'm just excited that i will be running it.  add this to my list of big races for 2017.  no more!

i'm only going to run short races for the rest of 2017.  5Ks and 1/2s... nothing bigger since i've now got THREE big races lined up.  i guess i'll just hold onto the warmth of that knowledge to get through these freezing runs.

Monday, December 12, 2016

don't go jumping the gun now...

is it weird that i'm already freaking out about iceage?  i mean... it's in MAY.

it is approximately 151 days, 9 hours, and some change away.  i've got PLENTY of time to get it together, be fully trained, and ready to go.  right?  yeah... i have lofty goals for this race.  i am really nervous about the winter training season.  winter running is when my body always gets injured somehow, or at least it seems that way.

last saturday,  i ran my long run on the IAT from nordic to horseriders (strava data here).  this is the first portion of the IA 50K race and my favorite part.  the rest of the race is on ski loops that roll and roll and roll... boring, painful, and not fun at all.  so i live to run the first part and i tolerate the last part.  this time i ran it the fastest i've ever ran it except for the race in 2015.  i was about 14 minutes slower overall (actual moving time was much faster than the race), but i felt great the whole time which is the bonus in this story.  my downfall for the race in 2015 was that i went out too fast.  so my plan going into 2017 is to try and temper my pace going out so that i can maintain it on the loops for the duration.  yup, that's my plan and i'm sticking to it.

however in the interim i'm going to focus on short weekly speed runs and long weekend runs for time on my feet.  my main issues with 2015 was that in the loops my hip flexors were freaking out and one of my toes was killing me from bombing the downhills.  i'm going to try and figure out how to avoid the hip thing for 2017.  i am of the impression that it's fully because i killed it on the IAT and didn't leave anything for the loops.

it's been working well so far (since september) and i'm doing some cross-training too which i wasn't really doing before.

this race and my subsequent utah race (in june) are on my mind constantly.  it's usually what i think about while running and i think about them a lot when not running.  if anything i should be mentally prepared for them if not physically.