30 August 2013

skechers gorun 2 - road review

i did a 'first feel' review of the skechers gorun 2 a while back, and while my initial impressions were that skechers had a solid pair of shoes on the market my opinion was definitely limited in scope and experience. thanks to an online sale from The Shoe Company, i decided to pick up a pair and give them a real go(run). 

am i ever glad that i did.

this second generation design from skechers intended to promote a more mid-foot (read biomechanically efficient) stride pattern has garnered just about universally positive reviews.  and even though all of the other shoes that are part of my running rotation now are zero-drop (no differential in sole height from heel to toe), i had wanted to test out this 4mm drop shoe for marathon race-day because it could potentially help with the late-stage muscle fatigue that accompanies constant running on the balls of my feet.

i've now logged three runs in the gorun 2 - two easy runs of 10k and one tempo 10k run (which produced a PB for that distance).  these shoes make me completely unaware of the work that i'm putting my feet through - which is fantastic.  check out the video review below:

they will definitely be my kicks of choice on sept. 15 at the erie marathon, where i (once again) hope to finally attain a boston qualifying time.

given my experience with the skechers performance division so far, i've got to say that these guys know first hand what its like to rewrite (their) history.  
remember this lawsuit-worthy footwear?

haters beware!  skechers has moved from the detention room to the dean's list.  the gorun 2 is definitely worth of a five (out of five) footprint rating.


22 August 2013

the inevitable bad workout

i read on dailymile the other day that my friend stan chose (wisely) to bail out of a planned 32k training run at 24.3k.  he attributes it to soreness having raced/paced a 30k on the weekend, plus anticipating a half-marathon this coming sunday.  i read that post with admiration and respect, because i'm not sure that i'd have the wits or courage to call off a planned training run. 

and as it turns out, i didn't.

this morning my coach had on the schedule a 10k tempo run at 4:15/km or faster.  i'd managed to produce a 4:16/km effort for the same run last week, and that was on the heels of an exhausting 9 days working at the Rogers Cup - so i felt like after a comparatively easy week that this should be more than manageable.

however, a couple of factors managed to complicate things.

first, i ran my longest training run of this cycle this past sunday - 39k.

second, it was humid like crazy today, and factoring that in the temperature at 6:30am this morning felt like 26° celsius.  

i went to bed last night thinking "if it's raining in the morning, i'll take an extra day's rest and run on friday instead."  the weather gurus have forecasted friday to be a cooler, much less humid day.

but it wasn't raining when i got up.

so, being the stubborn, 'if i'm supposed to run i'm gonna run' kind of guy that i am, i hit the road with a 4:15/km 10k tempo run in view.

what i got was 10k in 44:38 (4:28/km pace), and sweat-soaked everything.

i'd call that a bad workout.  and with under four weeks until my next race, it's a little deflating.

still, everything that i've read is that just about everyone experiences at least one or two bad workouts in a training cycle, elites included.  the difference between 'joe casual runner' and 'addis ababa joe' is how you well you can put the lacklustre performance behind you and get back on track (without injuring yourself).

i don't plan on doing anything crazy like trying to jam in an extra tempo run this weekend. i'm not dripping that much machismo that i have to prove myself before this week's out.  i will trust my coach, stick with the plan, and believe that this one workout will not define me or my performance on race day.  i know that i've put in many strong workouts during this cycle - pushing myself to go at faster paces than i'd ever trained at before - and that my (short) racing history tells me that i tend to be able to capitalize on a proper taper to produce actual race paces that top my training paces.

bad is bad - but it doesn't mean that i'm in a bad place.  


16 August 2013

the insecurities of winners

no doubt this post will come across as the sour grapes of someone who has never been a 'winner', but is instead a whiner.  as of late i was reminded of the mentality that some people associate with the spirit of competition ... and the pluses and minuses that go along with it.

so one of the tv shows that i follow with regularity is the reality series ink master - not because i'm a tattoo guy (although i will almost certainly get at least one tattoo before i expire) but because i enjoy dave navarro as a host (back from his rockstar: inxs days) and because somehow my kids started watching before i did.  walking past the tv and hearing all of the *bleeped* out profanities, i had to exercise my parental duty and find out just whether or not i needed to censor this programming from my kids' lives.  instead i decided to join them.

this (third) season of ink master has one artist named joshua hibbard, who's easily become the antagonist of the bunch.  he's demonstrated an unapologetic cut-throat style of competition, deciding not to let the best tattooer emerge on top but instead to try to undermine the chances of the other contenders by using devious ploys and mind games.  he's employing the crab-in-the-bucket, survival-of-the-fittest mentality.

a character like joshua makes for great tv ... specifically by getting on everyone's nerves.

contrast that with the most recent viral video offering from (chris) ashton kutcher emerging from last week's teen choice awards:

his acceptance speech is all about keeping it real, working hard, being smart, generous, and creating your own life.  not about keeping the other guy down, measuring yourself relative to the position of others, or having to pretend that your something you're not.

what does any of this have to do with running or racing?

i run because i'm better for it.  i race because it pushes me to train hard, to have goals, to focus on crossing the finish line.  

i don't do it because i want to brag, or belittle others, or show that i can just as good as any kenyan (however impossible that may be).

i don't do it so that i can differentiate 'joggers' from 'runners'.

i don't do it so that my name can appear before your name on the results list.

i don't need you to lose for me to be able to win.

agree or disagree, i'm just going to go ahead with trying to become the best me that i can be.  

and my hope is that you'll strive to do the same for yourself.

ok, i admit to liking this one ... ]