Thursday, May 5, 2011

New Gear Makes Me Feel Good

I guess now's as good a time as any to publish a shoe post. I'm in fairly significant pain this week from my 11 miler on Sunday (got a minor sunburn too), so I stopped by my local running store last night on the way home from work to get some new tires for my mega-wheels...ahem...feet.

These are the first "running shoes" I ever bought. The Saucony Omni Pro Grid 6. This was a great shoe. It was sturdy, it was relatively lightweight, and it was stabilizing for a clydesdale like me. I ran on this shoe for far more miles than I should have, and it held up nicely. It was also my marathon shoe in 2009, so it holds a special place in my heart. In fact, it is now my lawn mowing shoe, as I just didn't want to get rid of them... Once I had squeezed the life out of the above, I upgraded to the Saucony Omni 7. Yeah, I'm a creature of habit.

After the Omni 7 came the (you guessed it) Omni 8. There was a fairly significant re-engineering that went into version 8.0, so the guy at Fleet Feet in Chicago insisted I try them on and do a half mile on the treadmill to make sure I was still convinced I liked the "Omni series." It took about a quarter mile to realize it was the same shoe, only lighter. I was sold pretty quickly. In fact, I bought 2 straight pairs of the Omni 8, since they still had some in my size (10.5), even though the Omni 9 had been introduced already. I also scored them on sale for that same reason. It was the 2 pairs of Omni 8's that carried me through my 1000 mile year in 2010.

Which brings us to last Sunday. Any "Expert" will tell you that you should change out running shoes every 300 to 500 miles. I'm a believer that an "expert" is usually trying to sell you something; in this case, shoes. I can usually do about 500 miles on a pair of shoes, but after that, they're pretty much useless. I'm pretty sure there were a good 600 miles on those shoes I used on Sunday. If the color of the webbing and the weight of the dried salt, dirt, and sweat tell us anything, they had seen better days.

So last night on the way home, I stopped in (baby in hand) and picked up the newest member of the family, the Saucony Omni ProGrid 9. I used them today in my 5 miles at the gym, and let me tell ya folks, they're like running on spring-loaded clouds. I had so over-worn the last pair that I pretty much forgot how nice it is to have new gear. Just look at these puppies:

They've re-engineered them again so they are even lighter than the last version, and I'm loving it. I'm so glad I gave in and bought them now so I have another 4 training runs before the Riverbank Run 25k on 5/14 to break them in and get used to them. Maybe now I'll actually finish the race!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sundays are for Church...

...and final rounds of golf tournaments. And mowing the lawn. And working in the garden. And doing laundry. And for cooking a good dinner.

Sundays are NOT, however, for running 11 miles. We're 2 weeks away from the Fifth Third Riverbank Run (25k) here in GR, and I figured I needed to do a long one this week. I also happened to have a neighbor who was interested in playing golf on Saturday (when I would normally have done my run), so I pushed the run off to Sunday. Bad decision.

Knowing that I had to be at church this morning, I mapped out a 14 mile route home from church and packed a bag. I changed in the car in the parking lot, and off I went through East Grand Rapids, Kentwood, and Cascade. Running mid-day is new for me. I usually do long runs right after waking up in the morning, so having eaten breakfast and being active all morning was a bad way to get going.

Covered 11 miles in 1hr, 50min, which is exactly 10 min/mile. I bailed out on the 14 mile route knowing I didn't have another 3 in me today, and ended up doing this lazy pace for almost 2 hours. The weather was nice, but that's about all that was nice about this run. Oh, well. I'll probably try for another long one next week, but I'll definitely plan on doing it at 6am instead of noon.

Lesson learned.