Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Cascadias, Ankles, Bees & Tiffany.
That's how I feel about my new shoes. That's right, I found new shoes, and I even like them! So, what exactly are these magical moccasins? Brooks Cascadia. They're dreamy. And they fit! Woohoo!
A little back story: I had the opportunity to wander around the big city a week or so ago, and I dropped into a variety of footwear purveyors. After 7 or 8 stops without any success, I stopped where I should have initially: Maine Running Company. Unfortunately, they didn't have my size: 9, but I decided to try on the 9.5 anyway. Why? I have no idea. I've never ever gone up a size in a pair of shoes. My feet are too tiny to up-size. To my surprise, they actually fit. I took them outside for a quick test run, and they felt great. Again, I've never ever in the history of everything that's happened ever have I ever gone up a 1/2 size. But, they work.
Aside from the magical fit, here's what I like about them: First, they're a neutral shoe. Every other shoe I've ever run in has been a stability shoe. But, if you really think about it: a stability shoe doesn't make much sense in a trail shoe. Flexibility and responsiveness are key, and the extraordinarily stable Merrells I've been running in are neither. I like them, but they're moderately cinder blockish. Secondly, they're fairly light. Lighter shoes make everything better. Third, the traction is wicked tractiony. I used an extremely complex formula to calculate that.
So, yup, new shoes for me!
Uh oh, I think I over liked my new shoes...
The flip side to the story goes back to reason I love my shoes #1. Since these are the first neutral shoes I've had, my legs have taken note. Without the stability, I've been using more and different muscles. Then again, perhaps I shouldn't blame the shoes. I wore them for seven consecutive runs. Might have been a bit too much too soon. Nothing major, but definitely a few noticeable creaks.
Speaking of the actual runs, they've been going really well. A couple short to less short runs throughout the week, mostly shoe testers: trying different terrain, etc. Each run was successful, and I was feeling groovy. I ran with Danny, the tropical storm, on Saturday morning. An hour on the Cathance River trails, and I was beyond soggy. I was cold for the first 5 minutes, but was comfortable once I warmed up. My Moeben sleeves were a good choice. But, as soon as I stopped I was really chilled. About 5 minutes after I finished the run, I was already taking a warm shower. I have no idea how Ian and Emma ran 2 laps of the Bradbury Bruiser course that same morning.
Sunday afternoon, I was able to squeeze in another run on the Cathance trails, and even though it was much shorter, it was much more eventful. D was out on a walk with her parents, so I headed off on my own. Within about 5 minutes, I rolled my left ankle. Not a tendon tearing, bone crushing roll, but a roll nonetheless. I was in need of a bio break, so I was paying more attention to finding the perfect tree than the trail. About 15 minutes later, I was coming to end of the Rapids Trail which was overgrown with pricker bushes and goldenrod. Suddenly, one of the prickers jabbed painfully into my right shin. I couldn't really figure out why this one particular thorn was so painful. I looked down, and there was a bee clinging to my leg. Apparently, the bee had been enjoying his pollination duties, when I came tromping through. Luckily, I'm not allergic to bee stings, but it still hurt a fair amount. I could feel it for the rest of the run.
Monday morning I was barely feeling the effects of either of my mishaps, so I headed to "The Brad" for my planned long run. I ran the Bruiser course without the O Trail and about half the Scuffle course. I was out for almost 2.5 hours. It was a long time to run by myself. I had highs and lows, and it was good practice dealing with the lows. Not fun, but necessary. The lowest of the low...this in my head:
If I can get through that, I can get through anything.