Monday, January 26, 2015

Day 2,948: The shoes I've been looking for?

Was scrolling through the most recent Big Peach Running Co. email and something caught my eye -- the Saucony Zealot Iso.

I just put 500 miles on a pair of Saucony Kinvara 5s. My go-to shoes are the Kinvara's cheaper twin, the Skechers Go Run 3.

Yet the Iso looks very promising, as it is being offered as having "minimum weight and maximum cushioning." It boasts the same 4mm offset as the Kinvara 5 and is slightly heavier with a weight of 8.3 ounces.

The cushioning part of this shoe is what interests me the most. I love running in my Skechers Go Run 2s and the Go Run 3s, but absolutely hate running those lightweight shoes over a rock on the road or in Piedmont Park.

Currently when I'm double-strolling, I'm wearing my old Nike Zoom Air Pegasus 31s (10mm drop, 11 ounces) -- in an attempt to get their maximum mileage (500 miles) out of them but also because of their very sturdy construction -- it is no fun on the feet and legs wearing a lighter shoe like the Kinvara 5 and trying to turn 100 extra pounds of stroller.

So if the Iso's cushioning would help me toward that as well, I would be having my cake and eating it too. This shoe costs $130 -- much more than I normally would pay for a pair of running shoes. But if it lives up to its billing, it would be worth the money.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Day 2,945: 11,000 miles for the streak

Today I tried to wait out the rain but really was unsuccessful. It poured down rain when I was in Piedmont Park, making me wonder if it was really worth it to eke out another mile just to hit another milestone.

But the kiddos were both dry and sleeping and my own running gear seemed to be good enough (it never really is for the rain) and so today I dodged puddles and raindrops for 3.25 miles in 44 degree weather to cross 11,000 miles for the streak.

When I got back, one of the little ones still was asleep -- and slept for an hour after the run, prompting me to wait with the stroller in the garage. I guess real rain is just as good to sleep to as machine-made rain sounds from the baby's white noise machine.

The only drawback of having to wait that long was that my clothes were still soaked and it was still a little chilly outside. Fortunately I found a pair of old but dry T-shirts to change into, one of them was from my first real PR, a 22:49 5K time in the April 1, 1998 April Fool's Day Run in Eugene, Ore.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Day 2,940: Running with the flu

Today I had grand plans for myself. I was going to do a speed work session, starting with the 12 x 400 (400 recovery) and then climbing the ladder each Sunday.

Yet late last night it was pretty clear that I wasn't going to get there. I could barely breathe and my coughing was terrible. I didn't get to sleep until 3 a.m. and when I woke up, I felt terrible.

Normally I would have run just 1 mile and that would be that. But ... my Saucony Kinvara 5s had 497 miles on them and if I could manage three more miles in them I could retire them!

So off I went into Piedmont Park feeling fluish. Early in the run I wasn't sure if I could continue because of gastrointestinal issues but I plodded on and it turned out fine.

I felt hot and cold wearing a long-sleeved technical T-shirt under my cotton 2010 Virginia-Highland Summerfest 5K shirt. It felt like I had a horrible form of hay fever.

But I did it -- and now these great shoes that carried me through marathon training can go to Big Peach Running for donation!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Day 2,939: A perpetual state of training

As I ran down the hill to my house, I could hear drums in the distance. I remembered today was the MLK Day 5K Drum Run, a race that I ran in last year.

That 2014 race was also my first "workout" for what became 11 months of running training for a half marathon and two marathons that I am still burnt out of . 2014 was like being in a perpetual state of training.

I ran 7 miles this morning mainly to round out 30 miles for the week and to pin a tail on my aging Saucony Kinvara 5s (they now have 497 miles on them). During my training, 8 mile runs were the daily norm if I wasn't doing strength or speed intervals, tempo runs or the long run.

Although I haven't been too much of a stickler for weekly miles, 30 miles in a week is significant for me when I'm not in the middle of training. It took me 16 months to run that much between August 2012 and December 2013. If I had my choice, I would try to put up 40 miles in a week since it was a natural springboard to a high intensity training program like last year.

Even though it was 29 degrees out, there still were a lot of people out running when I turned on North Highland Avenue. In the middle of the Summerfest 5K course, I saw a couple of jugs of water and a sign that said "Chattahoochee Road Runners" -- I guess someone was doing a long run.

I followed my "Zion Park rules" and doubled up on technical T-shirts but still brought out my 20-year-old Nike windbreaker for the start of the run. Halfway through, though, the blue jacket was around my waist for the rest of the run.

Wore my ultra-comfortable Brooks Spartan III running pants but also halfway through was wishing I'd just worn shorts, so something to think about even when the mercury gets that low.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Day 2,936: A stone's throw from 11K

Just on a lark this evening I decided to see where I'm at with my consecutive day streak that dates back to Jan. 1, 2007.

So far I've run 10,969.71 miles, meaning sometime this month I likely will cross 11,000 miles. The 3,000 consecutive day mark looms around the time of the Publix Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon in March.

It's kind of weird to just run day in and day out, but it's easier for me to just do it than to stop and try to start running again.

This year I've added some basic exercises like sit-ups and push-ups to my routine. I'm pretty interested in getting a kettlebell after reading this article in Runner's World.

A month has gone by since the Dec. 14 Honolulu Marathon and while physically I feel like my running strength is back, mentally I know that it will be a while before I'm interested in doing any kind of racing.

There's all kinds of reasons. I think the main thing is that the race would have to be novel for me -- like a 10-miler or a half marathon in another city. (I did enter the sweepstakes for a free entry into the New York City marathon but didn't get in).

Other than that I'm content with not spending money and not getting another race T-shirt (this is the first year I'm paring through race shirts for donation, especially technical T-shirts that used to be hard to come by). My dresser is overflowing with race shirts.

But I like the idea of keeping my mileage up, keeping my speed up and then being healthy and ready for the next time I want to don a bib and crawl out to a starting line.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Day 2,932: The 20-degree gear test

When I went to the expo for the Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 25, I wasn't exactly sure what I would do with the race shirt that I received.

Actually it was a technical mock turtleneck, I hear in keeping with the service branch's tradition (I've imagined that they figure if they are giving out a piece of clothing, it might as well be something useful to someone in the armed services). It looked unusually thick and it would be safe to say it is the first ever mock turtleneck I've ever had in my running gear arsenal.

But this winter, it's been extremely helpful, especially on a 20-degree day like this morning. I wore two layers of long-sleeved technical T-shirts underneath and my Brooks Spartan II running pants. It was good enough throughout the entire 5-mile run.

Previously the coldest I've worn it was during 35-degree weather, just wearing a single long-sleeve technical T-shirt underneath.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Day 2,928: Double strollin' on the Silver Comet

HIRAM, Ga. -- Running with a double stroller, what with about 87 extra pounds to lug around, isn't easy.

So I decided to try pushing it along a flat space -- with geocaches -- today on the Silver Comet Trail. 

I last was there in October, biking along the Rockmart section, and have pretty much visited most parts from Cobb County all the way to the Georgia border (and beyond, all the way to Jacksonville, Ala., on the Silver Comet's counterpart, the Chief Ladiga Trail).

There were a bunch of people running or walking along this section of trail. The trailhead has a red caboose in the parking lot, which is the office for the Paulding County Sheriff's Office. They have a little smart car that they drive up and down the trail.

It turned out I didn't get very far -- the little one(s) were asleep on the drive over and the 3-month-old woke up shortly after. I got my minimum for the streak -- 1 mile -- but then it was time to head back to town.

Still, even that short time was worth it!

Time: 9:26 a.m.
Temp: 36 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, long, x2, Brooks Spartan II running pants, Saucony Kinvara 5 shoes.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Year Nine, Day One

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. -- For the first day of my ninth year of my running streak, I found myself not in Atlanta's chilly climate but in proper running (shorts-and-a-T-shirt) weather.

What happened was that I won the second prize in Georgia Tech's Orange Bowl sweepstakes, giving me two lower-level tickets to the New Year's Eve game between the Yellow Jackets and the Mississippi State Bulldogs and two nights in a hotel.

Before the trip I checked to see if there were any races in the area -- I had the choice of running in the Fort Lauderdale Resolution Run 5K.

But thankfully I didn't send in my registration fee, since the bowl game went late and my buddy and I stayed up until 4:30 a.m. playing poker at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Fla. 

Yet routine is routine and at 8:30 a.m. I found myself out on the trail. Without geocaching I probably would have never found this place, but it gave me an excuse to combine finding caches and running.

This stretch was about eight miles, meaning I would have had a 16-mile run in store for me if I decided to do it all! I thought about bringing my CamelBak just for that purpose.

But I decided not to and ran just less than two miles (for about a four-mile run roundtrip) of this greenway trail that ran along a canal. I'm glad I didn't run the whole thing as the sun came out and it started to get hot on my way back.

For this trip, I decided to pack my ultra-light Skechers Go Run 2s. Because of last year's marathon training, I have no less than five pairs of running shoes (the Go Run 2s, a pair of Go Run 3s that I wore in the Honolulu Marathon, a pair of Saucony Kinvara 5s and two pairs of Nike Zoom Air Pegasus 31s) that are active. I'm trying to bring each shoe to 500 miles before I retire them.

Anyway, I ambled along and picked up geocaches on the way up and then ran the section on the way back. The light running shoes were perfect, as the trail was flat concrete sidewalk with thankfully no rocks.

The run included a unique treat -- along the path were a half-dozen baby storks. I'd never seen this before! As the wife said, "Who brings baby storks to the stork?"

Time: 10:01 a.m.
Temp: 73 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Asics blue), shorts, Skechers Go Run 2.