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Monday, July 23, 2012

Shoe Wear Over Time

There is so much talk about proper running form buzzing around, and within, the running community. There's always a new craze every other month. Pose this. Chi that. Minimal this. Barefoot just keeps going round and round.

I'm not here today to talk to you about how to quickly fix your running form. I'd like to provide you some evidence that changes do happen over time, and you don't really need to think much about it.

I'm not a heavy runner. I'm not exactly tiny either. I'm just shy of 6ft in height and weigh about 157-161lbs, depending on where I am in my training. Until this year I've worn a motion control shoe (the NB 850/940 has been my go to trainer). This year I decided that I would try and make the transition to something with a little less motion control, something a little lighter.

So I purchased a pair of New Balance 860v2 and New Balance 880 and made those my go to training shoes with some lighter flatter shoes thrown in for my track workouts. It wasn't without a bit of pain that I've managed to get my feet accustomed to less control, but it took time and lots of preventative work. But there was no change in how I made my legs move. It was not a voluntary shift. Every time I tried to force my legs to move differently, my feet to land differently or my arms to swing differently I would find a new pain somewhere along the chain.

So I resigned myself to stop worrying so much about it. I changed my shoes and hoped that as I continued to run lots I would become more efficient. I had no idea if I had become more efficient or not until I looked at the soles of the most recent batch of shoes I've worn.  I recommend you give them a look and see for yourself how my stride has changed over the last year.

Oldest Pair - New Balance 940

Not so Old Pair - New Balance 940

Newest Pair - New Balance 860v2

2012 Track Season Recap

Wow, it's been a while since I posted on this blog. My last race recap was back in June, after I attempted my first 5000m race on the track. Since then I've been busy working, running and trying to enjoy a rather warm summer in London.  Since I fell so far behind in my race recaps I figure I'll just dump it all on you in one massive post.

Sunday June 10 – RCLDS #3

At this event I ran my first 1500m race of the season. I had already kicked off my season with a 2:02.51 clocking in an 800m race in May, so I knew I had decent wheels, it was a matter of keeping it all together in the last 500m of this race. I went in with a seed time of 4:10 I believe, and what happened after felt very surreal.

After going through 800m in 2:15 (SLOW!), I managed to decimate the final 700m and dropped a 62 second last lap to finish with a 4:07.39! That's just a hair over half a second slower than my lifetime PB I set way back in 2001, when I raced my last track season prior to casting it all aside for years.


Friday June 22 – RCLDS #4: New Balance 1,500m Night

Fast forward nearly two weeks and my favorite race of the year is back. I had such a great time at this race last year ( Read my race recap here ). At this point I don't remember what the heat was like. I do remember it rained, only for my race, but I was moving so zen like that I didn't feel a thing.  I knew based on my previous result that I'd be looking to PB in this race, and I was seeded at 4:07 so IT WAS ON!

I again went through 800m a touch slow, but held on tightly throughout the 3rd lap to position myself perfectly to hunt down the field in the final 300m. I didn't eat up very many competitors, but I managed to post a new PB of 4:06.07. Just a hair above 4:05, and that kind of stung a bit since I had aimed to clock a 4:05 that night.



Friday July 6 – RCLDS #5: Forest City 5k

This was my 2nd 800m race of the year, and after my stellar start to the season in May, I was expecting big things from this race. I was planning on going sub 2:00 in the race, and when I saw my seeded time at 1:58 I realized just how much I had to want this in order to dip below that magic mark.

The race was rather uneventful, and when I crossed the finish line, thinking I had finished 3rd in my heat, I was ecstatic to hear over the loud speaker: "What a stellar finish, and with the top 3 finishers under 2:00!". I nearly lost it, had I actually run under 2:00? Turns out I hadn't. I was 4th and finished with a 2:00.84 clocking.

Sub 2:00 would have to wait a while longer. I then laced up again an hour later and helped pace Leslie to a 9:45 split in her 5000m, and we went through just about perfectly...about 9:43-9:44.



Saturday-Sunday July 14-15 - Athletics Ontario Championships (Ottawa)

I travelled to Ottawa for my first Athletics Ontario Championships EVER with some clubmates. The trip was great, though I found I had too much free time to get stuck in my own head. I had been dealing with a recent flare up with my knee and was worried that I wouldn't be able to make it to the start line, so that kept my mind busy as I whittled away the hours on Saturday.

First up was my favorite event, the 1500m. It was slated to run at 6:30PM in what felt like 1 million degrees and pure sun. I toed the line in the slow heat and was never in contention. I finished second last overall with a 4:14, well off my seasonal best of 4:06. It was time to understand what went wrong (just happy to toe the line, I forgot to race) and move on from it to nail my 800m race the next day.

After a quick dip in the Ottawa river we headed back home at 9PM, had supper at 11PM and I was in bed by 12:30. Back up early the next day, I headed to track focused on nailing that sub 2:00 barrier. I had to redeem myself and I only had one shot to do it, and less than 2 minutes to do it in.

Well, I went for it folks and it paid off. I came down the last 100m feeling pain I don't think I can ever recall feeling before. In the last few metres my knees locked and I slapped the track straight-legged, nearly sending me over board. I waited quite a while for my official result, and for the longest time all I knew was that the guy directly ahead of me was clocked at all came down to how close I was to him.

In the end the result was very satisfying. I had dipped below 2:00! I clocked a 1:59.94, just barely getting it, but getting it nonetheless. It was the perfect cap to a great season of track racing.

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