Monday, March 30, 2009


This post is thanks to Matt, check out his blog, "A Guy who Runs", and be sure to look through his past posts as he has a lot of great information. I had emailed him earlier this month and asked about the HADD test (which he had referred to on his blog) and I asked if it was similar to the MAF test? I wanted to try it out but I had failed to find info on it on-line (it may be there but my 30 seconds of looking on Google didn't find it) but I did find info on the MAF test so I took the easy way out and asked about the HADD test. No this is not the start of a trend, I will still continue to drive aimlessly around instead of stopping and I will not ask sales clerks questions and I am sure I will find other ways to not ask for help but for whatever reason on this day my curiosity got to me. He was kind enough to provide me this info and I wanted to make sure I posted and labeled it, so as the spring continues, I could find it again when I am ready to give it a go.

From Matt:
The MAF test and HADD tests are different, but they share the same concept. They both attempt to measure improvement in a static manner.

If I recall correctly, the MAF measures your ability to run 1 mile at an exact hear rate.

The HADD tests measures consistent distances at different heart rates. I think the HADD is more comprehensive as it measures low end and high end heart rates.

You might consider reading Maffetone's book, "The Maffetone Method". It's not really well written, but has some great content in it, and will help you understand low hear rate training better. The tough thing about low hr training is that it takes some serious discipline, and you need some time to do it where you are not racing. It is best done after the Fall season is over.

For the Hadd test, I would suggest the following for you.

Do a .5 mile warm up @ really low speed (I do 1 mile at 6mph)

Then, do 5 intervals at the same distance. Depending on the shape you are in, you can chose the distance. I suggest 1 mile. Adam and I do 1.5 miles, but that can be tough for people not used to running 10 miles on a regular basis.

Considering you are a little older than I, shoot for average hr segments at the following

Each segment you will start below and end above, but it is the average you are shooting for. I don't change speed during each interval. If it is off, it is off, I just use it as feedback for the next time.

You will probably find it tough to nail down the first 2 intervals (getting your hr low enough), but that's what this is all about (patience).

The key thing to remember is that this is a measurement more than a test. You can't change the results any given day by giving more effort. I have talked to people who just can't grasp that concept, and get frustrated. Your results are what they are. You live with them and use them as a benchmark for improvement.

I did do a preliminary run a few weeks back and discovered that on the road, he was right the low HR's were hard to hold. I was able to run the other heart rates but they did take a lot of focus as my tendency was to zone out and to speed up or down 5-10 beats, the 160 HR did cause some stress, imagine that. I only went 3 to 4 minutes at each HR as I was running longer so I just wanted to see what it would be like. I liked his advice to focus on it later in the fall, my thinking is that it would be a nice winter diversion if I don't get to it earlier.

I will plan to post my results when I do it as I do think it's an interesting concept. Thanks once again Matt.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A schedule curve ball?

I had my spring to early summer schedule set in stone or so I thought.

It was to run Chippewa, Stillwater, Swan Lake and Afton, basically a pair of 50k's with a couple of marathons in between spaced about 3-4 weeks apart almost a perfect sequence. Then I was looking around the Marathon Maniacs website and I saw that Maniacs get a discount at a lot of marathons. I skimmed through the list thinking that it was something to remember as I looked to click off future states when what did I see but the Minneapolis Marathon and $1o off. How can I pass up this bargain and even get a jacket which looks to be cool, yes I do like the schwag. Otherwise I have to explain to folks that I pay money to run these events but when they see the shirts or other things they can see it is well worth the entry price and I can see that they are tempted to sign up as well.

And then you add in the fact that occasionally I can get convinced to do something stupid and this might be the perfect storm, money off, a jacket, it doesn't look like it will conflict with a soccer tournament and 2 marathons in a week who can ask for more. Last year I ran two marathons 6 days apart and it didn't kill me or cause significant injury so maybe it's my destiny to do it again and this year there would be 7 days so it's an entirely different situation.

So today when I run longer I will just need to work my way through it, oh decisions, decisions.............

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I finally decided that maybe I should go in and see a doctor, what for, well when I ran Pscyho Wyco back in February I fell numerous times and on more than one occasion my hand hit fairly hard. The day after I figured it was just a bruise, a week after I was surprised it still hurt but my fingers worked and my wrist seemed ok, I just couldn't lift anything heavy, squeeze things or put weight on it like doing push-ups or move it in certain directions quickly. It was a weird injury that didn't really seem to be too serious except that after a month it was about the same, so I was puzzled, so after 5 weeks and still the same, I decided to head in and get it checked out.

But before I explain the results, I should explain that this is a record time for me to go in and see a Doctor, I normally procrastinate it for even longer, usually a year or more. I have always used the philosophy that if I can move it and nothing is at odd angles it will heal on it's own. I probably wouldn't recommend this approach to anyone as it has led to some interesting ricochets meaning additional injuries as I favored the injured area. I could write way too many stories of me ignoring injuries and then having other issues but I have always been unwilling to go in to see a Doctor for fear that they would tell me to take time off (and yes a few have so I did the right thing and found a different Doctor). I think in this way I am like most runners. The nice part about this injury it's just a hand which is probably why I went in as it bugged me enough in other areas and they couldn't tell me anything that would affect my running.

Good news and no surprise, nothing was broken. He said I had sprained a ligament in my hand and that it would take probably up to 8-12 weeks before it was healed. So all I had to do was not re-injure it and all would go well.

So since today was such a beautiful day I decided to head out for a run, what a grand day temps in the mid 40's, rain, a perfect day for running in the rain again splashing through puddles, slipping and sliding my way around. I decided to run along the river bottoms entering at Cedar Avenue. I do love spring, no snakes yet, no bugs, cool temps but I can run in shorts, I wish it would last for months and months. What fun.

All was going well, my legs felt great, until I hit one of the raised wooden bridges that span the marshlands. What happened, well, I hit the bridge at full speed (which isn't that fast) and the next thing I know, my feet are sliding out from under me and I am going horizontal until I land on my hip and my hand as my feet and legs go into the marsh. It was exactly how I fell at Psycho Wyco, as again I thought to myself safe, except the hand hurt right away but hey no odd angles, nothing to worry about. Don't know if I re-injured the hand or not, time will tell, but I did find it ironic that the day after I went in to see the Doctor I wipe out and land right on it. What if I had waited longer, my guess is I wouldn't have had an issue at all as I am sure I wouldn't have fallen and landed on it and all would be well. Guess this is a gentle reminder to not go in until it's serious or at least affects my running.........

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Running in the rain....

Friday turned into a delightful and beautiful day, work wasn't great but all of my crisis's were finally managed and the weekend was here. If I doubted why I have always quit when I have been a manager in the past, I now remember the why fairly clearly. Enough on work as what I really needed was to get a run in for stress relief as well as for training purposes. I saw it was raining as I left work and I smiled. You see, unlike some folks, I love running in the rain. Preferably, I can get started before it rains hard but anytime I am out in the rain, I have a blast.

On Friday, I got to Lebanon Hills around 5:30 and oddly enough no one else was there. It was raining fairly hard and it was a bit cold as the temp was only around 40F. I got myself ready and headed out on the trails. It was muddy and my Rucky Chucky's seemed to do pretty well in the mud, there were still some icy sections and the RC's seemed to do ok on it as well, too bad I didn't have them in Kansas. Although this mud was nothing compared to that and as I thought a bit more about Kansas the main problem there wasn't just the mud but it was all the mud on the hills with all of the sharp turns. Lebanon Hills has very few 90 to 180 degree turns. So I was able to just slosh my way along taking in the sights of a nice cold spring rain and watching as the snow was melting away and life was coming back to the woods. Soon the leaves will appear and the trails will once again be enclosed in the shade and seclusion of the trees and the brush so it was nice to look around and see things that will soon disappear. I do so love jumping into the puddles as I run as it brings back long gone memories.

I have come to appreciate and enjoy rain as it means it isn't snowing, it won't be too hot and usually it isn't too cold and if it is windy well, I am on the trails where the wind is reduced by the trees. Through the years I have run in the rain many, many times and I have come to really enjoy it especially when you add in trails as it always provides me a nice quiet time to soak everything in and it seems to cleanse my mind. It allows me to remember what's important in life and after a nice run in the rain, I seem ready to face whatever else comes along. So as the song says bring on the rain.

Jo Dee Messina, Bring on the Rain
(billy montana/helen darling)

Another day has almost come and gone
Can't imagine what else could go wrong
Sometimes I'd like to hide away somewhere and lock the door
A single battle lost but not the war ('cause)

Tomorrow's another day
And I'm thirsty anyway
So bring on the rain

It's almost like the hard times circle 'round
A couple drops and they all start coming down
Yeah, I might feel defeated,
And I might hang my head
I might be barely breathing - but I'm not dead (no)

Tomorrow's another day
And I'm thirsty anyway
So bring on the rain

No I'm not gonna let it get me down
I'm not gonna cry
And I'm not gonna lose any sleep tonight ('cause)

Tomorrow's another day
And I am not afraid
So bring on the rain

Tomorrow's another day
And I'm thirsty anyway
So bring on the rain

(Bring on, bring on the rain)
No, not gonna let it get me down
I'm not gonna cry
So bring on the rain
(Bring on, bring on the rain)
(Bring on the rain, Bring on the rain)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Choosing states to run in?

A while back Steve Q. asked a question concerning which states were harder to find marathons in. It's an interesting question as he did identify one of them in Delaware, although there are 3 marathons listed for Delaware from

April 25, 2009 - Triple Crown Trail Marathon - Newark
May 17, 2009 - Delaware Marathon - Wilmington
September 6, 2009 - Trail Dawgs Stumpy's Marathon - Newark

Another problematic state appears to be - Rhode Island with 2 marathons

May 3, 2009 - Cox Sports Cox Sports Providence Marathon - Providence
October 18, 2009 - Amica Insurance Breakers Marathon - Newport

And another is Alabama with 3 marathons but the good news is that I like to run trail marathons and/or 50k's more than road marathons and many states have these as well which adds a few more possibilities. That said, I think that my real problem isn't figuring out which marathon to run but simply resolving the dates as you coordinate around work, life and the event itself and then you have the financial side of it which has to be worked into the formula.

Long term I am not sure how I will get through all of the states but I am pretty sure to make it achievable I will need to run one on Saturday and then another on Sunday. So as I look outward, I will be looking for that combo in adjacent states. Now this does come with a minor issue, and that is can I ran marathons on back to back days? I think I can, especially if one of the two is off road. When I did the marathons last summer on opposite weekends, I came through mostly ok on the physical side and I think it had a lot to do with the fact that one was on fireroads and single track and the other gravel and asphalt plus I didn't push myself too hard so I think with a little common sense it will be ok. Right now I don't see doing that in 09 as I have other priorities but I think if I can do the planning this year for future back to backs, then maybe I will do my first set in 2010. I think what I will start doing is posting the potential events for areas of the country that I have been looking at as it's kind of an interesting process to try and pick off 3 or 4 states in a couple of weekends.

So my focus for 2009 will continue to be on 3 things:

1. Weight
2. 4 more states
3. A 50 mile event

The weight hopefully will start resolving itself as I continue to get into a consistent habit of 4 to 5 days of running a week which is helped by daylight and sunshine. All things get easier for me as spring begins and the snow melts.

As to 4 states for the year, 1 is done, 1 is in the queue which leaves 2 more. Not sure if the timing and finances will align as the 50 may need to trump the extra states so my current plan is to wait and see how things work out and if I have to chose between the 50 and 2 states, I will make the decision when I need to.

Speaking of that, the last thing, is the 50, it will probably be either Superior and/or Surf the Murph with a slight chance of Glacial. I am still not 100% committed to doing my first 50 but I am about 95% of the way there, you see, I have doubts whether I can do it, mostly because of cutoffs and a bit because of fear, you know, the fact that it's just 19 more miles beyond a 50k.

So as I move towards Chippewa, I am pretty much going to just wait and see how things come together and then I will go from there.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Useless running info and race PRs

Last week when I didn't get a run in I decided to catch up on emails and blogs, which led me to think through a whole bunch of different things. One email that caught my attention was from Matt M. and it was his normal reminder about the million mile contest and so figured I may as well join the contest and enter my mileage. What's with me and groups lately, anyway, in order to enter my mileage I needed to know my mileage per month going back to January 1997. So that required me to go ahead and add up my mileage by month which ultimately led me down a fun statistical journey where I noticed a few useless trends and figured I may as well go ahead and post them.
  • Current total mileage (since December 1991) - 15,815 miles as of today
  • 2009 YTD mileage - 244 miles
  • Highest mileage year - 2008 - 1350 miles
  • 2nd highest mileage year - 1997 - 1305 miles
  • Yearly average miles - 962 miles
  • Lowest mileage year - 2003 - 441 miles
  • Best 5 year period (1993-1998) - 1131 miles
  • Worst 5 year period (2001-2005) - 698 miles
  • Year with the most high mileage months - 5 months in 2008
  • Years with other high mileage months - 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000
  • Month with the highest total - 151 miles - September of 1995
  • Month with the lowest total - 91 miles - December of 1996
  • Highest average month - September - 103.35 miles
  • 2nd highest average month - April - 93.53 miles
  • 3rd highest average month - August - 93.53 miles
  • Lowest average month - November - 62.06 miles
  • 2nd lowest average month - December - 62.88 miles
  • 3rd lowest average month - July - 63.06 miles
Best high mileage month & year & miles
  • January - 1998 - 113
  • February - 1997 - 105
  • March - 1997 - 145
  • April - 2008 - 146
  • May - 1994 - 124
  • June - 2008 - 126
  • July - 2008 - 139
  • August - 2000 - 137
  • September - 1995 - 151
  • October - 2008 - 133
  • November - 2008 - 130
  • December - 1996 - 91
How does this relate to anything, my guess is it probably doesn't but it was interesting to pull the info together and since I was compiling fairly useless statistical info, I figured I might as well add up a few more so I went back through my race times and decided to post my best times. I am thinking that by posting these times, it just might do two things. First remind me of how long ago I was in better shape (faster but not fast) and then motivate me to get back as I still believe I can beat all of my previous times which is an advantage of not running until my 30's and not setting overly fast PR's. If it turns out that PR's aren't in my future, it will give me something else to work on which should help me move up from the very back of the pack so that in my longer races the cutoff's will be just a bit further away.

Distance PR's
1 mi - 06:02 - 07/30/95 - Run for the Gold (only timed mile I have ever done)
5k - 20:48 - 10/17/94 - Grand Tour (Total of 7 5k's)
4 miler - 27:54 - 07/22/96 - Run for the Gold
(# of 4 milers - 4)
8k - 35:40 - 07/04/97 - AV 4th of July (# of 8k's - 10)
10k - 44:38 - 04/30/94 Get in Gear (# of 10k's - 8)
15k - 01:13:35 - 09/10/95 - JJ Days (# of 15k's - 1)
20k - 01:48:20 - 04/09/94 - Rochester (# of 20k's - 1)
1/2 marathon - 01:44:59 - 05/10/97 - New Prague (# of 1/2 Marathons - 20)
25k - 02:09:49 - 09/07/97 - City of Lakes (# of 25k's - 5)
20 miler - 03:48:00 - 09/12/98 - Ready 2 Rock (# of 20 milers - 1)
Marathon - 04:02:33 - 06/19/93 - Grandmas & TCM - 10/08/95 (# of Marathons - 31)
50k - 07:44:10 - 07/05/08 - Afton 50k (# of 50k's - 4)

Notice how most of PR's were in the mid 90's. I would like to say it was age that caught up to me but in my case it was injuries (two knee surgeries 99 & 03) which led to some weight gain followed by a loss of motivation to run shorter distances and to work hard and I quit being consistent in my training.

So in 2009, my plan is to add back in some shorter distance races or at least add speed workouts and to still continue to run the longer distances. May or may not go together but it is what I want and need to do.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Training plan thoughts - a day or so later

As I was thinking more about my training plan and what I wanted to do, I re-read the comment from Matt concerning training and I think he has a great point so as I pondered the run today, what did I do? I went out tonight and got in 4 miles, I would have preferred a longer run but considering the temp was around 15F and there was a nice brisk 17+ mph westerly wind, gusting to 30 mph (windchill ~ -5F or colder depending on gusts) and sleet which thankfully turned to snow, I am happy that I did what I did as it actually turned out to be kind of fun. Not great miles but miles on a day where last week I would have looked outside and said no.

On a different but related note, I saw this post from someone on the ultra list giving advice to someone on doing their first 50, it looks like a great place to start if you want info on Ultrarunning training information. The first two links I have used before but the third one was new (to me) and seemed to have a lot of useful information.

Kevin Sayres' is still a good place to start reading.

"UltraRunning" magazine has regular nutrition articles:

Another Web site to distract me:

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A training plan is needed?

Have you ever had those days where you didn't feel like running?

Well, I have had quite a few recently. On a couple of the days I haven't been sure what was going on as I just didn't feel very well and my body just seemed to be in a quasi shut down mode. Then you add in the days when work stresses me out and consumes my time and keeps my focus off of running and then you add in the winter, darkness, cold blues and it's easy for me to get off track.

My running issues are I think exacerbated by the lack of a training program (ok, I actually think the weather has as much to do with my issues but I still should be following a training program at least if I am serious about wanting to improve this year). If I had a training program that I was committed to versus my normal ad hoc panic program then maybe I would get my body out the door on those low motivation days. What's my normal ad hoc panic program, it goes like this, oh "blank", Chippewa is in 7 weeks, I need to get in some long runs. So that leads me to map out a long run schedule and then I simply write down 5 miles for Tuesday and Thursday.

Lately, I have been running 9-13 miles with Karyn on Saturday on the Big River Regional Trail and then I have planned on running long on Sunday (which hasn't happened like I have wanted, maybe because of the malaise). The runs with Karyn have worked out real well and to top them off we have seen Bald Eagles and last weekend we also saw a Golden Eagle. Those birds are so cool.

I think, a training program would help me get a focus and the lack of one has a lot to do with the fact that I have had no consistent midweek runs and definitely most of my runs have no planned purpose. I think I am also hampered by the lack of a routine as I keep thinking the night before I will run before work, then morning comes and I think I will run at lunch, then lunch happens or doesn't so I think I will run after work, then I get home and it just hasn't happened. So it's time I figure out a training plan and actually commit to it. One thing that doesn't help is my trails are now ice covered thanks to some melt and refreeze and are real hard to run on and the bike paths are mostly clear but asphalt which is hard and seems to take a bit out of my legs plus I have to deal with seeing people, cars and things. Can I say spoiled by trails.

So to get me onto a schedule, I looked around and eventually I went to the Santa Clarita Runners page and clicked on their handy dandy ultra training schedule link and then accessed their ultra training calculator and I put in the date for Chippewa and selected 50k for my distance and out popped my schedule which of course I immediately wanted to modify. The plan is a basic 5 day a week running plan with a midweek longish run (up to 10) and a long run on Saturday (build to 24) followed by a longish run on Sunday (usually 10).

To follow this plan, I will need to resolve the Wednesday mileage as I do have to manage work and church and a 10 mile run would take me more time than I might have (in my case pretty close to 2 hours) but otherwise it looks to be doable. Hey the way I look at it, even if I cut back the 10 on Wednesday to 5 to 7, I would still be way ahead of where I am today. I have already been trying to do is build up the two longer runs on Saturday and Sunday so at least that is in line with their plan.

So now all I need to is follow the plan and I am there, a PR at Chippewa or at least a little less pain. After Chippewa, I want to add in some hill training, run a couple of marathons and then shoot for a PR at Afton. So for the moment, my plan is to follow the plan and try and get some consistency and hope that spring comes soon to help me out.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Marathon and Beyond......

One of my favorite running magazines is Marathon and Beyond.

If you aren't familiar with it check it out, although I should warn you that it's really more of a book of stories than a traditional magazine. It also has no offensive ads, no super thin models on the cover, no quick fix info on diet or any other simplistic articles but it has great stories and information along with some regular columns and such that I simply look forward to reading. I should clarify that I have NFI (no financial interest), these are just my thoughts on a great read.

When I first discovered the magazine back in 97, I immediately subscribed (and do to this day) and loved it so much that I ordered the two or three back issues I had missed and I have proceeded to keep every copy with no intent of ever parting with them. I like to go back at some point each year and reread many of the past issues and each time I have done this it was like reminiscing with old friends.

The following I took directly from their website and it really highlights some of the things that I like about the magazine (hopefully they would be ok with me doing this).

Marathon & Beyond (M&B) is a 12-year-old, bimonthly magazine tailored specifically for marathoners and ultrarunners. It is edited and published by former Runner's World executive editor Richard Benyo and former FootNotes coeditor and Human Kinetics editor Jan Colarusso Seeley.

Marathon & Beyond is designed to provide practical advice on running or preparing to run marathons and ultradistances. M&B includes complete training programs; easy-to-apply, cutting- edge scientific information; insightful examinations of the personal side of longer distance running; profiles of major marathons and ultramarathons; and regular columns focusing on specific aspects of running. The magazine also provides readers with a forum for sharing ideas, insights, questions, experiences, and concerns. M&B reaffirms the spirit of community, tradition, and collective experience. Marathoners, ultramarathoners, and those who want to become marathoners or ultramarathoners will enjoy the presentation of the important and useful information contained in each issue.

Marathon & Beyond (200 pages per issue) offers a number of regular features:
  • My Most Unforgettable Marathon (or Ultramarathon)— accomplished runners describe their most memorable race and share what they learned
  • Marathon Profile—a "soup to nuts" profile: race history, what to expect on the course, what sights to see (and avoid) in the race city, where to stay, course record holders, and additional information about the race
  • On the Road—noted running scribes share observations and opinions about long-distance running. Columnists have included Kathrine Switzer, Roger Robinson, Scott Douglas, Joe LeMay, Barry Lewis, Ellen Curtain, Joe Henderson, and the department currently features Don Kardong.
  • Joe's Journal—column by Joe Henderson, running writer guru and author of over two dozen books
  • On the Mark—our panel of experts answers readers' running questions
  • In addition you will find at least a dozen full-length feature stories in each issue and about once per year an issue will contain a special section—a cluster of articles on one particular topic. Past special sections have covered such topics as Death Valley, The Search for the Perfect Marathon, Western States 100, Masters Running, Sports Medicine, and the Antarctica Marathon
To give you a quick example in their current issue there's a story about the "10 classic mistakes even experienced marathoners make", written by Kevin Polin. I have made all 10 mistakes along with a whole bunch more. In case you are wondering about his list I went ahead and added it in (along with my rationalizations for my committing the errors) but you will need to pick up the March/April issue to get his info on each one.

1. Setting an incorrect time goal or no goal at all

How do you know it's incorrect unless you try? If you have no goal, how is that a
problem? Have you never heard of stop and smell the roses, run for fun, enjoy the day?

2. Failing to incorporate goal pace runs into a training plan

Have you never heard of marathon race day magic, ok, just because it never has worked for me doesn't mean it doesn't exist. You have to believe.

3. Trying something new on race day

Have you no sense of adventure, what if it works?

4. Emphasizing the number of training miles rather than the quality of the training miles

Good advice but, I need to make my mileage goal and running quality miles might cause other issues like taking away my traditional excuses.

5. Slowing down in the race during tough periods

Ok, this sounds like the tough get going mindset, so I went back and looked at his comment and it's more about not panicking as everyone knows there are bad stretches and if you don't freak they may just go away along with the fact that once you give in it's real hard to get it back. Good advice if not taken to collapse.

6. Starting the race too fast

See number 1 and number 2

7. Not building an aerobic base

Having a base can be overrated, see number 4

8. Getting injured

Define injured?

9. Not resting enough

Define rest?

10. Making mistakes with sports drinks/gel usage during a race

Ok, guilty but it's not like I thought I was making a mistake, I just found out later it was when it left the body.

So if you haven't seen Marathon and Beyond, find it and enjoy a really great magazine, as it's a gem that stands the test of time and it's written by folks who love running for runners who love running and it clearly shows in each issue.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Running Shoes.......

I have been in search of the perfect running shoe ever since I bought my first real pair of running shoes back in 92. They were a pair of Asics Gel Ultra's. I still remember how comfortable they were and how soft the cushioning was, like running on marshmallows and boy did I feel fast in them.

I bought them from Perry at his original Run N Fun store in Apple Valley. I have been buying items at Run N Fun ever since. Why because Perry treated me like a customer and didn't appear to judge me because I wasn't a 140 lb runner but simply a guy looking to start a running program. Perry took the time to talk to me and he made me feel welcome. I had my little girl with me (yes the one who is about to graduate from college who was six at the time) and he chatted with her and even gave her a head band to keep her occupied as he patiently helped me, the bottom line, good customer service is almost always appreciated. I had previously stopped by GBS and Marathon Sports and felt so out of place. I had walked in and looked around and then left without talking to anyone outside of getting some odd glances. It was probably more my insecurity about being where I didn't belong than the young sales clerks who I remember just looking at me funny.

Back to running shoes, I just bought my 67th pair, they were a pair of North Face Rucky Chucky's. I bought them from were I have bought 3 pairs of trail shoes over the last year or so. I have been buying trail shoes online as many of the local running stores usually only sale 1 or 2 brands and they usually are the tweener types, you know like the Asics Gel 2140 trail and every time I do, I feel guilty.

Through the years, I have many favorite shoes, usually they start out good and work their way to mediocre. Occaisionally they start out mediocre and work their way to good. Not that I track my shoes (ok I do, along with a whole bunch of mostly useless information and stats) anyway, here are my top favorites by mileage:
  1. Vasque Velocty - 535 miles
  2. Saucony Jazz 5000 - 504 miles
  3. Asics 2110 - 490 miles
  4. Saucony Jazz 4000 - 460 miles
I have had many other shoes, some that flat didn't work out like the following (I should add that these were all great shoes, they just didn't work for me):
  1. Adidas Supernova - caused heel issues
  2. Nike Air Max Triax - major achilles issue
  3. Asics 2040 - caused arch blisters on any run > 5 miles
  4. New Balance 853 - rubbed the top of my foot causing blisters
And I have tried quite a few different brands, most were road shoes but lately I have been buying pretty much trail shoes:
  1. New Balance
  2. Saucony
  3. Asics
  4. Adidas
  5. Mizuno
  6. North Face
  7. Montrail
  8. Vasque
  9. Brooks
  10. Nike
If you want to know who I have shown the most brand loyalty below are the stats and I can explain the why fairly quickly about the top two. I have a Saucony foot (narrow heel, wide forefoot) which is a big reason they are the number one but I used to try to only buy shoes made in the USA. Which had me going back and forth between New Balance and Saucony. I am pretty sure that they are all made overseas now.
  • Brooks - 1
  • North Face - 1
  • Vasque - 2
  • Adidas - 3
  • Mizuno - 3
  • Montrail - 3
  • Nike - 4
  • Asics - 11
  • New Balance - 14
  • Saucony - 25
So today what am I running in, first I should say I am working on retiring two pairs fairly soon (otherwise I may have more explaining to do to my wife :-) so here is what I am running in:
  1. North Face Rucky Chucky (brand new)
  2. Montrail Continental Divide (100 to 200 miles left)
  3. Vasque Mercury (almost done)
  4. Asics 2120 (about shot)
  5. New Balance 767 (100 miles left)
I do like having two to three pairs in my rotation and running trails has changed things a bit as do I have two pairs of trail shoes and two pairs of road shoes, I am still working on that but I always want two options for any race that is getting close. How do I know how many miles on my shoes, if it isn't obvious I do track my shoes fairly closely and I do work to rotate out my road shoes between 300-400 miles and trail shoes between 400-500 miles. This formula has kept me from injuries for the most part but I can say that when I feel pain for more than one or two runs, my answer is to switch shoes.

Finally which ones have been my all time favs, all of my high mileage shoes would make the list and here are a few others that might bring back some memories.
  • Saucony Grid Sensation
  • Saucony Grid Omni
  • Saucony Grid 8000
  • New Balance 851
  • New Balance 700
  • Mizuno Alchemy
So what has caused me to wear so many different shoes, I have changed (compensation for injuries, weight, shoe size going from a 10 1/2 to a 13, etc...), the running shoes have changed (marketing..........). I have shopped at TC Running (I still think of them as Run N Fun West), Start Line, Gear, Marathon Sports, Runners Edge, GBS and probably a few other stores over the years. I was always willing to try what they sold as I figured that I should try other brands to see if they worked better. My thinking was that maybe the shoes could get me to a sub 20 5k, sub 4 hour marathon, they never did but it was fun to see the difference they could make. Maybe now it's my shoes that have slowed me down, it couldn't be my training or my age, could it?

I do have to admit that I love reading about shoes, I like switching them around, I like seeing how they work the trails with me, how they work on roads, how they work on ice, in rain, how they drain, how hot are they in the summer or cold in the winter and so many other things that I know I will continue the journey until maybe just maybe, I will find the perfect shoe for me.


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