Missing In Action: A Long Overdue Update

Wow, has it really been three months since I posted anything here? For shame! Okay, actually, I don’t feel any shame. I’ve been doing stuff, staying fit, starting a new strength based program, keeping up with Daily Mile, playing soccer, and learning that running in and of itself is not exactly the be-all-end-all for me. *Shields face with arms to protect against onslaught of stones*

I’ve said it before, and I’m saying it again now. I like sprinting (running and otherwise) and I like running within a bigger pursuit (i.e. soccer, football, chasing down a dream, etc.). I may eventually revisit running for its own sake. And I certainly don’t have anything against anyone who pursues running with a passion. That’s awesome. I’m always in your corner if you’re pursuing something with a passion. Well, as long as you’re not hurting people. Anyway, so running just isn’t currently my game. No biggie. Running is still part of a lot of stuff I do.

So if I’m not running, what’s the point of keeping this blog around? For one thing, nothing says I can’t or won’t run again soon. Second, while I started this blog based around running, it was more the ‘like water’ that mattered. In that sense, there is no need to discontinue or take down this blog. I am always pursuing a ‘like water’ approach in life – be it running, trading, lifting, or anything else.

Oh, and I still love my Kinvaras. Seriously, one of the best shoes I’ve ever owned. Period.

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Gear Head: Saucony ProGrid Kinvara

A Shoe In

Wiley

A couple posts into this and I’m doing a product review? Hell yeah I am. As my running has progressed, I’ve felt my current shoes weren’t keeping up with my goals and expectations. With the sea of running footwear choices, I was confident that with some research and some testing I could find something that can help me reach my current running goals. I think I found just such a shoe and it is the Saucony ProGrid Kinvara.

The Grand Plan

When my wife and I decided to start running in early 2011, I sat down and mapped out exactly what I wanted to do and exactly how I wanted to … okay, that’s a lie. All I did was look up the proposed Couch to 5k training schedule and we started training from it. I already had some decent, low-wear New Balance shoes I could use for running. In hindsight, I’m really glad I went this route rather than run out and plunk down $100-150 on a new pair of running shoes. I’m certain I would have sought the highest tech style shoe with max stability or max cushioning or even as much of both I could find. More tech is better. And I would have been very wrong. I think I may have also had much more pain and injury potential had I gone that route. I say injury potential because I think I would have just kept pushing through, trying to tough it out as I kept assuming that my pains were natural and expected. Again, I am happy to say it didn’t happen that way.

After running for a couple of months, I felt I had a much better understanding of several things. First, I understood how I ran. My stride, foot strike, foot placement, leg motion, arm movement, breathing, all kinds of physiological stuff. I had also become aware of my body and how it relates to running – at 6’2″ and 200-lbs, I’m no giant but tall enough to know I have different tendencies than someone who’s 5’7″ and weighs 160-lbs. I also had a good grasp on what I did and didn’t like about my shoe. Additionally, I formed a much clearer picture of the type of running I wanted to do, the form I wanted, and the performance I wanted to achieve. Plus, through much online research and getting feedback from several friends over at the DailyMile, I had a much better idea of the type of running shoes that are currently available. Time to get gritty.

Get Your Motor Running

Having a good idea of the primary candidates, I took my happy ass over to Fleet Feet and started auditioning some shoes. I was looking for something pretty scaled back. Bordering on minimal. Something lightweight with a low heel. Originally, I really thought I was going to go the VFF route, but after some previous testing, decided if it is to be so, now is not the time. Contrary to my typical mentality, I was definitely heading more towards the ‘less is more’ philosophy, but just wasn’t getting the vibe I needed from the VFF’s. Nike has always been good to me, so I tried the LunarGlide+ 2 and Free Run+. Both felt nice, but, again, I wasn’t getting the our-eyes-met-from-across-the-room type vibe I wanted. Next was a shoe that didn’t make my shortlist because I hadn’t come across it, and that is the Asics Speedstar 5. Quite honestly, I was hoping these would be the ones. There’s no way around it, I really dug the way these looked. Just slick as shit. They felt pretty good when I ran in them too. The fit was snug, but more of a cradling than a strangling. Speedstar, you are very much on my mind at this point, but I want to keep looking. Next up was the Saucony ProGrid Kinvara. This is a highly revered shoe on DM and gets high marks on most review sites. It wasn’t the most shy looking of things, but it did feel pretty nice. Got a pretty good vibe when I did a test run too. Another short-lister. Finally, I tried the Brooks Ravenna 2. Again, a shoe well received by many at DM and on other sites. And I see why. It had a good fit and road tested well for me.

So there it was, my top three: Speedstar 5, Kinvara, and Ravenna 2.

Drumroll Please …

Drumroll

Well, crap. That’s pretty anti-climactic, isn’t it? I already wrote in the first paragraph it was the Kinvara that went home with me. *sigh* Oh well. Here’s the breakdown on the final three:

  1. Saucony ProGrid Kinvara – Effortless fit and an integrated run. When I road tested these, it didn’t feel like I was running in good shoes, it felt like I was running with better feet. This was the only shoe I wanted to put back on just to get to wear it again. And I liked the other ones. Excellent room in the toe box. Just the right amount of stability, support, cushion, and minimalism. They may not be very shy looking, but it also turns out I really dig how they look.
  2. Brooks Ravenna 2 – A really great shoe. Nothing really dissuasive to say about it. Felt good, road tested well, looked decent (if a bit traditional). It wasn’t hollerin’ out my name, but I really did like the overall experience with the Ravenna 2.
  3. Asics Speedster 5 – I wanted this shoe. Period. If I was buying just on how it looked, this is what I would have taken home. In the end, the snugness of this shoe concerned me. I have a wide foot so it doesn’t take much for the average shoe to feel too tight. And I was looking for a shoe I could run 10-20 miles every week. A cramped toe box probably wouldn’t be very conducive to that aim. I felt like I was one of Cinderella’s step-sisters trying to justify an ill-fitting shoe.

So there ya have it. That was my first running specific shoe buying experience. I’m pretty sure the sales guy was ready for my to HTFU, but whatever. Actually, considering how many runners come in there, he probably gets people a lot pickier than me who try on 17 different shoes 5 or 6 times per visit. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

Be sure to take a minute or two to read about the late-night run these shoes inspired. Oh, and here’s a pic of my new redonkulously awesome kicks:

Saucony Kinvara

I assume you can hear the choir too, right?

This One Goes Out To The Ones Who Got Me Here

If you’re like me you’re probably thinking, “Holy crap, this is gonna be a long post.” Possibly. Probably. Maybe not. I think I’m gonna actually try to keep it short and sweet. We’ll see. Either way, this post goes out to the ones who got me here – to a revitalized passion for health and fitness.

And The Winner Is …

This one was easy. My wife rocks my freakin’ world every single day. Period. And it was a little over a year ago when she started her journey to reclaim her body and her health. We’d talked before about the importance of falling in love with the journey, the process, more than the destination. It’s very easy to talk about that type of stuff. Implementation is very different. But she promised me this time was different. I believed her. I’ve always believed her and believed in her. And she meant it. Over the last 13+ months she has eaten better, exercised, take better care of herself, achieved previously unimagined fitness goals, and steadily shed unwanted weight. She’s the baddest of bad-asses. For years I relied on not having to take care of me because I didn’t have to. It’s pretty easy for me to eat when and what I want with little impact on my weight or body condition. But when she started bringing so freakin’ work, well, there’s only one thing I could do – join the battle. My efforts pale compared to hers, especially in consistency. But we do have different objectives, so it works out. The bottom line is that I love her commitment to building a more complete her.

The Runners Up …

So I’m lolly-gagging around on bookface one day and saw a friend’s post. Some junk about ran blah blah blah posted via Daily Mile. Hmm. Wtf is Daily Mile? Fine, I’m a sucker for links from friends, so I clicked. I poked around a little, checked out some profiles, some posts, some comments, okay, enough already, where the hell do I sign up, there is way to much positive motivation going on here for me to ignore and walk away from. Did a search and found a whopping ONE other FB friend on DM. One? Seriously? Okay, whatever. So big shout-outs to David and Jennifer for hipping me to the glory of the Daily Mile.

The I’m Honored To Mention …

I’ve basically abandoned Facebook . I just don’t have time. You know, with life, work, all the physical activities and hanging out on DM for 37 hours every day it just doesn’t make sense to try to squeeze in time for FB. There are just too many awesome DM’ers actively in the stream to justify passively surfing somewhere else. Here is a small, partial, and growing list of Daily Miler’s (in no particular order, so stop pushing) who constantly share amazing personal and physical goals, accomplishments, and motivation: Alicyn H., Bill K., Carol B., Magda R., Oksana, Norman M., Deloris C., Chanthana, Amber M., Melodie P., The Una Runner, Barbara H., Mark C., Ray J., Jeremy F., Jenny J., Taryn C., Melinda M., Peter A., Sarat, Justen R., and Mike N. Seriously, this is just a glimpse into the greatness you’ll find on DM. These people do their thing every day. Running, walking, weights, hiking, biking, swimming, boxing, core, P90X, and on and on and on. If you can’t find something to do or someone to motivate, you ain’t tryin’. And huge, mega props go out to Ben W. and Kelly K. Why these two specifically? Cuz Daily Mile came out of their brains. I love their brains.

On Your Mark! Get Set! GO!

So there it is in the proverbial nutshell. A big, fat-ass (no, the irony isn’t lost on me) thanks to everyone who has helped me get reacquainted with one of the coolest things I’ve ever come across – moving and pushing my mind and body to higher levels of kick-assery. I quite literally would not be where I am or on the path I’m on without the support I receive. Now, get the hell out of here and go do something! Seriously. Go. Don’t make me get a switch off the tree.