Step (Way) Back Week, Running Thoughts, and August Summary!


Hi Friends! Well … when I said it had become much easier to disconnect, I wasn’t lying! In fact, I have enjoyed it so much I suddenly find myself very much disconnected on a regular basis … my posts two weeks ago were erratic, and I hadn’t done any since the previous Thursday until just a couple of days ago!

But when I say ‘step back’, I am really just talking about blogging – my running is still on track, as you will see below.

What are my blogging plans?

Well, I don’t know.

Here’s the thing – this was supposed to be posted on Sunday … or Monday … then Tuesday. Wednesday ended up with a different post – which is good because I don’t think this would have made it.

Funny thing – Wednesday’s post eased into one for Thursday and then Friday … and reconnecting through catching up on reading all of your posts and reading comments reminded me how much I love this community.

But at the same time I cannot deny that my relationship with blogging, and writing for the internet in general is evolving … and I really don’t know where it is going. So I will do what I always suggest to others – write when I want to, but never out of obligation.

So here goes!

Running Shoe Lifetimes

This past week seemed to be ‘how long do my shoes last?’ week, as there were great posts by Nicole and one from Cori where she referenced an earlier post about how she determines when to replace her running shoes.

In one comment I noted that my Saturday run of 18.5 miles put my Saucony Virrata 2s up over 1200 miles. They seemed to be doing fine – and I can generally start to feel it on runs or the same day. That tends to be my first indicator. And now that I have been rotating with the much newer Saucony Kinvara 5s (about 300 miles now) I really expected to notice it on my runs – and have been doing about 4:1 Virrata to Kinvara at this point.

But what I noticed was on Sunday. We picked up Danny’s girlfriend at Cornell in the morning and headed to the Destiny USA Mall in Syracuse (apparently it is the 6th largest in the country now) for back to school shopping and some fun. I noticed some tightness while driving in my calves and ankles, but we took Lisa’s car and … well, my 18.5 mile run had concluded after 8:30PM the night before.

We did a ton of walking on Sunday, close to 10 miles according to my S-Health app on my Galaxy Note 3 (yes, still loving this monster!). … and even though I’d walked more in Boston and New York City – I definitely felt it more in my ankles and calves.

My assumption? The Virratas are about done. I am wearing the Kinvaras all week and will rotate the Virratas in on a limited basis next week to see how they feel on shorter runs.

Update: I have worn the Virratas three times since writing this and feel fine. It wasn’t the shoes, apparently … it was me!

How do YOU know when it is ‘time to go’?

Shoe Reviews – Old and Used

Harold had a great post about why he is reviewing ‘last year’s shoes’. His thought:

Just because brands have a newer models to sell, that doesn’t mean the old running shoes, the ones that suddenly become much more affordable are irrelevant to runners?

And it is true – I handed off my Kinvara 4s to my son to use for bang-around shoes once they were ‘done’ as running shoes. But I have looked at them on Amazon and Running Warehouse, and they are now about $60 – but in very limited supply in my size 13.

But the point is, just because the Kinvara 5 arrives doesn’t mean the Kinvara 4 is suddenly of no value. I LOVED the Kinvara 4, and would buy another pair in a second … except that the sales on the Kinvara 5 are starting to ramp up as well.

Shopping for discount shoes often means dealing with older versions, and what you find searching for reviews is stuff that is old and almost always ‘first impressions’. I have talked about my disappointment at how quickly the New Balance Minimus 2 broke down … but have I written a full review? No. What I love that Harold is doing is his 50 mile reviews and longer term looks at shoes. You get not just the first impression, but a solid feel for how things last over time.

I would love to see that become more of a standard practice.

Injured Runner ‘Epidemic’

I mentioned this in a couple of comments, but so many people I know both ‘in real life’ and through blogging and otherwise on the internet have gotten injured that it is astounding. And something that really drove it home over the last week or so is the messages I have gotten from the Wineglass Marathon talking about opening up new entries. I intentionally didn’t sign up this year, but I know THREE people (including Hollie) who have deferred.

Now the Wineglass is a pretty popular marathon, enough that it allows 2000 people for both the full and half marathons, and also a decent size wait-list … and sells out by the spring. So for them to send along this message stunned me:

We have gotten enough Deferrals in that we have been able to open up 100 more slots in the Full Marathon! This is for the Full Marathon only at this time! If you or someone you know would still like to run please go to our web-site and click on Register Now for the Full Marathon! Thank you!

Still want to do the Half? Just opened up 100 Half Marathon entries.

So I was thinking – they already went through a couple of hundred people on wait-lists for each race, THEN they were able to add 100 more. They actually had opened up more slots for the wait list once already right after sign-ups closed.

I didn’t see this either of the last two years I have run the marathon, and it makes me wonder if there actually are more people getting hurt this year, and if so … WHY? What do you think?

Running Thoughts

Hollie had an awesome collection of posts she shared yesterday (she actually has had some great ones of her own this week – check them out if you don’t already follow her). A couple of my faves:

20 Things Every Seasoned Runner Knows (That Every New Runner Learns The Hard Way)
, which included gems such as:
* 12. Even if you’ve been running for years, every once in a while there’s just going to be a run that blows.

Which was my Wednesday theme.

Then there is this one I think many of us can identify with, I know Laura was talking about it this week as she returns from her summer off:

* 13. If you take a few weeks or even a few months off, getting back in the groove of things is going to feel impossible.

And finally something I do very well … but would rather not have to do quite so well – and certainly not so SOON!:

* 14. How to survive running in winter.

Grab a Gal: Why Men Should Run with a Woman
– there were some interesting things there, but one interesting one is about women and pacing:

Women are natural pacers. Studies of marathon runners have revealed that women have even pacing, which is a huge plus in long-distance racing. Biological reasons explain why. Males burn a greater percentage of carbohydrates for fuel, which deplete more quickly, whereas females will use more fat stores that last longer. Men tend to start out fast when the carbs are high and run out of fuel over the long haul. Pairing up with a woman might help even out this tendency, at least mentally.

Which explains why I never reading any blog posts from women about going out too fast! 😉 haha But seriously, the carb vs. fat stores thing is supported in at least one recent study.

But I had to double-check that the author was a woman, because of things like “Women smell better”. I mean, I certainly think that is true as a general rule – but my wife thinks she stinks after we do a long bike ride or whatever … weird.

Either way, I think running with others of either gender is a great thing – and I hope that we can run together if I am ever in your neck of the woods! Speaking of which – I will be in Cary, NC for the week of September 15 – 19 … anyone reading live down there?

August Running Summary

August was a big of a strange month for me. I had a half-marathon I had planned (Catharine Valley) that I decided to skip – and was glad I did because Lisa ended up with the morning off and we had a fantastic time together. The following weekend was a 5k/10k I thought about, but when Lisa’s plans at work shifted, I lost my gusto to get up and do it alone. Oh well – I still kept chugging along with my normal daily runs.

We had a whirlwind Boston college tour weekend, moving Danny’s girlfriend into Cornell, and a busy school shopping weekend. My month at work has been busy, and I ended the month getting into a technical area of exploration that is the deepest research stuff I have been able to do with this project – which is awesome.

Here are my weekly totals for August, by ‘week ending’ date:
– 8/1 & 2 – 24.5
– 8/9 – 54
– 8/16 – 72.57
– 8/23 – 68.55
– 8/30 – 67.5

And since I didn’t run on the 31st (but walked more than 10 miles!) my total for the month is 287.1 miles! I actually managed more than 300 miles in a month last summer … but this is still pretty nuts considering everything else that has been going on! No wonder I am exhausted!

How Did You Feel About Your August? Do You See More Injured Runners Than Usual This Year?

24 thoughts on “Step (Way) Back Week, Running Thoughts, and August Summary!

  1. Not sure about this, but I have a feeling that in the past couple of years, social media has influenced people to take up running, and running long distances (like on FB thinking why is everyone and their mothers/fathers running a marathon?) Combine that with newer runners who may not be in the right shoes, are overconfident or just uninformed about how to build endurance, and have that excited beginner runner romance and I can see where a lot of people might wind up injured. It definitely seems like there is an ever increasing interest in running marathons amongst people who don’t have much of a running history.

    • Interesting, I feel like I almost see the opposite. I run with a very large marathon training program (200+) and every year for at least the last 5 the pace group with the highest injury rate is the fastest, which is generally made up of very experienced runners (the newbie in our pace group is rare, but in the slower groups, frequently more than 1/3 of the runners are training for their first). The program’s director has always theorized that the slower groups, particularly newbies, are more likely to follow the plan, whereas our group, faster and more experienced runners in general, often want higher mileage and more speed, which could lead to more injuries. But your point is probably true on a larger scale since what I see could be skewed because in the program I run with, through a running store, all the newbies get fitted for shoes, are given a schedule never going up by more than 10% a week, never increasing over 2 miles per week on the long run, etc.

      • I am not sure there is any hard and fast rule, really – I have seen people who ‘know better’ get themselves hurt, and also many who were clearly naive and over-zealous.

        But I agree with your point that those who specifically sign up through a comprehensive program are less likely to fail spectacularly … because they are operating inside of fairly safe parameters.

    • I definitely agree with this – there is some sense in social media that running 10k is ‘better’ than 5k, and then the half and of course the ‘full’ is needed to be a ‘real runner’, whatever THAT is … instead of focusing on what works for you. I love running long distances – it is something I just like to do, seeing our mail carrier 3 times on her route today in various parts of town, and so on. But I will never be a ‘miler’ or a 5k lover … so why should the opposite be any different?

  2. Thanks for the shout-out Mike :-).

    I really think that boom in social media and the running community has gotten people to thinking that they are supposed to run “big” miles and always be training for the next marathon or half marathon.

    I know that I fell into that trap and tried to “keep up with the Jones” then found myself injured too often.

    I am old fashioned and more than a little old-school and now that I am finally getting back to my roots and stopped and took a long look around me and at what I was doing wrong.

    That 20/20 hindsight thing and have purposely stopped some of the madness. I am capping my mileage at a level that is comfortable for me, running more consistently than I have in a long time and focusing on the running I enjoy – not the running I “have” to do to train for a particular race or distance.

    I don’t believe that the vast majority of runners with under 2-3 years experience or base building should be attempting a marathon.

    Do the race progression, get a good base built, learn what your body can handle – that is what the first 2-3 years of running or returning to running after a long lay-off should be – learning, having fun with your running and not worrying about Marathon Madness.

    Just because there are runners who have successfully run a marathon or even multiple marathons in their first couple of years of running doesn’t mean it is the best thing for the rest of us. We are all individuals and what works for some probably doesn’t work for the rest of us.

    All thee 16-24 week plans or great and no so great coaches out there that can “prepare” a runner to run a marathon does not mean that a runner should do them. The miles in most marathon training plans get pretty intense over a 4-6 week period, before the taper and having a 10 week base building period for someone who is only running 15-20 miles a week when the program begins – well in my opinion is just not enough of a running base to avoid injury for most people.

    Also just because a runner ran a marathon 20, 10,5 or even a couple of years ago and then went on the couch, gained oooddles of weight and then got back into the running game to lose the weight (I can look in the mirror here) – We might have the mentality of being able to do more than a novice runner, but in reality if you have not run in over 6 months you are starting over physically and need to give our bodies time to get back in condition for the running that we want to do, without pushing it beyond its capabilities.

    Yes, we can do more than we think we can, but then again we have to taper our expectations with reality too.

    Sometimes, actually most of the time, we forget that and want too much too soon and our body is not ready to endure those stresses and the injury bug cycle begins. That’s my story any way.

    How many of the injured runners are doing or attempting to train to race for more than one marathon a year or several half marathons?

    To many I think.

    Running the half or full marathon distances in a race is much different than running them during training. Racing (even if you say you are just running it) takes more out of you – you do push yourself much harder during a race and it takes longer to recover from them than a training run.

    It seems that I read about a lot of bloggers who compete in multiple of both races over the course of a year and then think about doing an ultra somewhere along the way, which makes me wonder when does their body get a chance for some down-time and real recovery?

    Over the past year or so, I have learned the hard way, even though I have been a runner for a very long time that we all have a sweet spot where our bodies like the mileage and training. Yes, we can move beyond that sweet spot, but it takes a lot of hard work and patience – and it does not happen overnight. It takes months if not years to accomplish some things, like building a good running mileage base.

    For many of us it does not mean we can say “Patience, my ass, I just want to run!” It doesn’t work that way and when we do eventually or more often than not…sooner than later, when we do too much too soon, we get injured. Then once you get in the injury cycle, it becomes a very hard cycle to break and to not just rush back into running hard again, because we have such and such a race on our calendar.

    Most running injuries in my opinion come down to wanting to do too much too soon. Unless your foot gets run over by a hay wagon or some other freak accident 😉

    Sorry for the long response, but I know that is what I have done and when I look around the blogosphere/online running communities I am a part of, many others are/have done as well.

    • Don’t be sorry for the long response – or should I say ‘guest post’! haha

      But seriously you make SO MANY great points in there that I don’t even know what to say … except that seriously, you could publish that as a post!

  3. 1200 miles – wow! I tend to replace my shoes (Brooks Pure Flow & Sacouny Kinvaras) once they hit around 470ish miles. I found that whenever I use them for running past that point, my achilles starts bothering me.
    I love getting older versions of shoes on sale! I figure I’ll get the “upgraded” version on sale by the time I wear through the shoes I just bought. Works out well 🙂

    • I think that the ‘last year’s model’ thing works really well, and I need to do that more! Save money that way. And I don’t know how much is that my shoes are lasting compared to my body doesn’t seem to care 🙂

    • Thanks Cori – I like it that I can keep plugging along on shoes. When I started running I would do until the shoes were in really rough shape before replacing … meaning at least a year. And generally it was Lisa who pushed me to replace them …

  4. I don’t know the exact reasons but I’ve also heard the WG races have been not the greatest with customer service, or being the nicest to runners this year (which could be another reason). That being said, I know a lot of people who are injured with unexplainable injuries. It’s frustrating for sure (since I’m obviously one of them).

    Blogging is what you make or break of it. It is (at the end of the day) for you and no one can tell you otherwise.

    • Interesting, I have never heard bad things about Wineglass other than from your experience. If anything what I have heard is the opposite – as it has grown and been featured in more magazines and articles as a ‘great fall BQ race’ or whatever, I have found that the local community has embraced it more. Maybe as it now sells out quickly there are more out-of-state people signing up early and then trying to cancel/defer/whatever it puts more administrative load on the small staff (like, REALLY small). They also help out with so many local races with all of their equipment and resources, I am sure that puts a strain. I will have to bring that up with the local folks and see what their thoughts are …

  5. I love the idea of reviewing old shoes. I can’t get to a good store to try on shoes. I ordered new ds trainers and the more I run with them the more I don’t like them. I am tempted to run with my old shoes but I can feel it in my shins. I think some of the injuries are from not factoring in other that in your life into your running plan. Like a few days ago I wanted to go out for a run but I had walked a lot carrying heavy bags. I decided to stretch and rest instead. I know some people squeeze in that run no matter what. My motto is I have several chronic illnesses, if I want to run I have to take care of myself when I’m not running. This was not a mindset I had pre fibromyalgia.

    • I think that holistic approach is absolutely key – and so easy to forget! No matter how many years I have been doing this I STILL equate ‘non running’ with ‘rest’. Silly, silly me!

  6. Pingback: Peer Pressure Sucks – Even for Runners | Aging Runnah

  7. That is pretty incredible how many spots have opened up for Wineglass. I haven’t noticed an increase in injured runners lately but I do feel like during the “training seasons” I hear a lot more about runners that are injured-which makes sense. i wonder if also having a mild summer after a brutal winter led people to overdo it a bit. Hard to say. Those are so big miles last month! Great job, especially with everything else you have going on! And I know I have said it before but I still can’t believe how many miles you get out of your running shoes!

    • I know last year they had the ability to re-open the wait list, but that was it. Not sure about before that … but it definitely sounds weird!

      You might be right with the combination of cold winter and mild summer – I have never seen so many other runners out than this year!

      Thanks … and no clue about my shoes … I never used to track miles, and still put off replacing them as long as possible. 🙂

  8. I have noticed lots of injuries too–but
    I’m not sure if it’s because I’m reading way more blogs than I used to? BUT-my running partner had had about 5 pretty intense running injuries this year so I think I am picking up on other
    Injuries in a more intense way because I’m listening for clues from other injured runners to help her heal faster.
    I still can’t believe how many miles you get on your shoes!! If I do a shoe review, I tend to wait until I have about 75 ish miles on the pair-that way they have had plenty of time on my feet and I feel I can give a more honest and fair review.
    I have also found certain models of shoes to break down quicker than others-so for example, the ghost 5 felt like it could go forever, vs the ghost 4 didn’t feel great past 300 miles…have you ever noticed that with certain shoes you stick to?

    • Agree with all of it – not sure if I am tuned into things more or what … but that does make sense.

      I am not sure yet about version differences – the second pair of Nike Free 3.0s I had seemed to die sooner, but then again I wore them for my ‘hilly mud marathon’ … so all bets are off!

  9. I was wondering if it was just me or if injuries seemed to be on the rise. To be honest, I’ve no clue what it used to be like since I started running only 18 months ago and started following running blogs about a year ago. Here’s another theory to throw in the mix: maybe people are being smarter about taking care of injuries because of more media coverage about them?

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