Sunday, March 24, 2013

Belated Brooks Pure Cadence 2 Review

My running life really started with Mizuno Wave Rider 15’s. Before that I had been doing elliptical machine work almost exclusively to get back into shape. When I felt that wasn’t enough, I started running, first on the treadmill then a track my in-laws house. The shoes at the time were some K-Swiss tubes and I knew almost immediately that things weren’t right. I searched and scoured and found the Riders and they seemed like a good fit, so I got them. They were amazing. Truly a great starting shoe.  Over time my mileage increased, my pace increased and my knee pain/foot pain increased. It was time for new shoes. For the first time I went into a running store and consulted someone with real knowledge, not just what them wacky interwebs told me about my shoe choices.  He said the Riders would still work for me if I wanted to stay, but there were other options out there if I wanted to try something else. Well, I love trying new things so bring on the shoes.
He brought out a few boxes of shoes and I tried them on. Some being too cushy, some being too stiff, I had a few that I liked, one still being the Riders, and then he handed me the last box. “If you are willing to try something a bit different, try these out” he said. The box he handed me was the Brooks Pure Cadence 2. He told me that they would be less drop, less cushion, a bit closer to minimal versus where I was. I tried them on and something felt right. So, that was the box I walked out of the store with that day.  Now I have around 150 miles on the shoes and I thought a little review/recap was in order since I am already running in other shoes as well, with more to come. Building a nice little rotation.
So my initial reactions of the shoe were interesting. I have never had the “burrito wrap” tongue before. I liked it. The shoe laces had flares on it which I assume (hope) are there to keep my shoe laces from slipping. I still tuck them under some of the crossed laces just in case. That is probably a relic of the 18 mile long Mizuno laces. The most interesting thing I felt when I put them on was that just standing there, I hated these shoes. They felt odd, like I was standing on a ball. No way these would be comfortable running. Argh, this is why I have massive respect for all you guys working in a running store, cause you know what I want when I don’t. I kneel before you in reverence. Jogging around the store showed it to really flatten out and feel great. The toe box was very spacious, didn’t even know that was a thing, or comfy, until then.
There is a piece on the side of sole about midfoot that seems to be there for a little bit of stability. I was a wee bit anxious about this causing problems running. I was wrong for the most part. Occasionally as I got up over about 10 miles I could start to feel that “bump”. But that was very occasional. My one true gripe was the sock liner. It seems like every run at some point it would get a little folded over and become uncomfortable. Then, after a bit, it would up and vanish like a fart in the wind (thanks Shawshank Redemption). It never created a blister or anything and didn’t make me have to stop, but it was an annoyance to say the least and at worst made me alter my stride a bit to accommodate.
All in all, these were very solid shoes and probably a perfect fit at the time for what I wanted and what direction I was moving with my running. Of course I didn’t stop progressing and now my appetite for new shoes is voracious. But I do think that for a new runner or for someone that is really finding their own this is a great option. As well as someone who likes cushion and support coupled with flex, but doesn’t want to be running around on moon shoes.

Friday, March 1, 2013

4 Stages of Pre-Dawn Runs

5 AM: Alarm buzzes, I mumble unintelligible obscenities and flip the alarm off (err, I mean turn it off as alarms cannot recognize middle fingers).  As I look out the window I see a few things. First, a very marked lack of sunlight. Second, cold. Yes I know you don’t see cold, but trust me, I can see it is as cold as those things in the picture outside. Also, warm blankies. So why in God’s name would I get up and do anything when I don’t need to. The answer is simple, I am bat-shit insane. I am ok with that though. To help me cope with that, and maybe help others understand this affliction I have put together my ‘4 Stages of Pre-Dawn Runs’. They are as follows:

Blind Drowsy Rage

What?!?!?! Why in the hell am I up this early when I don’t need to. Oh you’re kidding me, I actually set this alarm? Why? I wanted to do WHAT? Run? It’s like 20 degrees outside, and dark. Come on, it’s so warm in here, and I am tired, and the kids were up late, and I got to work. Aww man, I got to get up and get clothes on? Yep. That is how early morning runs start. Suffice it to say, it takes a bit of willpower to not take a sledge to the alarm and go back to sleep in that cozy bed. Furthermore, now I gotta pack a bit of food and water in too. Ugh. It’s way too early for these kinds of shenanigans. Alas, I am up now, fine, let’s do this. BUT I AM NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT.

Dark Drowsy Denial

I am not really out here starting my run am I? Jeebus it is cold out. Can I go back to bed and get another hour of sleep? Please? No? Fine. Let’s go. Still not happy about it. Man it is dark out, I hope an equally drowsy driver doesn’t mistake me for a Starbucks and drive right through me. I have no rhythm in my strides, even Elaine is cringing at my awkwardness. Man this street is dark, if I don’t make it out of here alive I hope my family knows I love them. So I have started my run and things are still stiffer than a double shot of cheap whiskey, straight, no chaser. Yet still, onward I trudge. At least very few people are out and about to see me lumber along. Oh, and don’t mind me huffing and puffing with morning breath.

Fine, I am Running Now When Can I Stop?

Seriously? I chose this? It’s cold out. I could be sleeping. I haven’t even had my coffee yet. Did I mention it was cold out? What time is it? How far have I gone? Can I be done now? Well, crap I still have to get home. Well, I guess that means I can’t stop. Oh, and it is still cold out. I bet I look like a big icicle. So, I have gone for a good while and begrudgingly it hasn’t been the end of the world and maybe it is almost ok. I keep looking to see when I will be done, but occasionally a few minutes go by where I don’t even pay attention to the fact that I am running. Just know that I am moving and it doesn’t feel so bad. Is it possible that I chose…wisely?

Wow, that was a hell of a run

Wait, sorry, I haven’t been paying attention for the last 15. How far have I gone? And how long? Well that is faster than my average time. So wait, this was a good run? And did you see that sunrise? That was amazing! Yeah. Fine. Ok. It was TOTALLY worth it. Now I am going to have that awesome sore for the day. That one you knew would remind you that you did something awesome. Who needs coffee now? Ok, fine, it wasn’t that amazing. Regardless. I should totally do this again tomorrow…


And so the cycle goes. The 4 stages set to begin anew tomorrow.