Last night, I just couldn't take it anymore - I had to get new shoes! With the final tally on my good ol' Glycerins at 693km, I was feeling the aches long after the runs. I took the family for supper, and then headed to Sports 4 which has become my favorite place for shoes in Ottawa.
I was originally thinking of getting another pair of Brooks, but after wearing them for about 3yrs, I was curious to compare. Don't get me wrong - I love my Brooks shoes. But I haven't found "the ones" for me yet. All I knew is that after wearing neutral shoes for so long, I needed a different type of shoe.
A quick analysis showed a bit of pronation, and given my size, I was recommended a shoe with light motion control. I tried the Brooks Infinity (*very* nice, but with a price), Asics 2130, and Saucony ProGrid Guide. The Infinity's went on first, and it was like I was on a cloud! (I had forgotten what padding in a shoe felt like.) And they had a cool rocker sole on the front which would help with stride turnover. The only thing with them (other than the big price tag) was that the toebox felt just a wee bit narrow. I tried the Saucony's next, and they felt about the same, but had a roomier toebox. The material on them felt more "airy" too. The Asics didn't work for me this time at all - they felt sloppy on my foot, and not comfortable at all.
The end result - I bought the Saucony ProGrid Guides. And I saved enough on them that I was able to buy a new bottle of TriSwim shampoo too! Once again, I was very happy with the service at the store and knew I had made a good purchase.
With new shoes in hand, I went to work prepared to test them out on the pathways! Peter and I had discussed a modest 10k run along the Rideau Canal to Dow's Lake, but he's still fighting a stomach bug. Steve filled in for him, saying he had a hard run last night, and wanted an "easy" 6-8km jaunt. We headed out, new shoes bolted on, knowing I was in for a good workout today. Steve's "easy" pace is about 5min30/km, if not faster (yeah, it was faster).
Short aside: I get Troy Jacobsen's email notices periodically. I got one today from the Spinervals dude talking about staying out of the "grey zone" when training. This effort level is good for off-season base training, but in-season, it does nothing too helpful to neither recovery nor performance. I remembered reading this in "The Triathlete's Training Bible" and it made me question just where that zone is. And today, I didn't want to be in it.
Steve was looking rather comfortable at our near 5min/km pace, and after about 3km of this, my body was letting me know of its displeasure. Steve offered to slow down, but I realized that this is where I should be running my "tempo" runs at. I was "caveman" today since I forgot my HR at home, but I was sure that I was Z4 for the majority of the run (low Z5 on hills and windy sections). I never really felt any lactate build up, which surprised me given the intensity I was at. I also noticed that this pace forced me to fix my running form, being more balanced on the quads and hamstrings. Over the last 1500m or so, I shut up and just focused - I wanted to close off the roughly 8k side-by-side with Steve. And I certainly did just that.
Every time I run with Steve, I'm reminded of what it is I can do. I told him "You often forget just what you are capable of." But the more I think of it, I don't think I forget - I think I fail to believe what I'm capable of. This run was great for me today - the shoes, the experience of a real Z4 intensity run, and the renewed belief of...well...me and my ability.
I hope to carry that through to this weekend's long run - now up to about 19km. And with the new shoes, even as comfortable as they are, I'd better remember some blister remedies just in case.
Oh yeah, and that damned water bottle. :P