Kinvara 5 Preview

Better late than never running folks. I’d like to show you a shoe worth drooling over. If you haven’t heard of the Saucony Kinvara – well, you’ve been living under a rock because it’s one of the best shoes out there. Just look, please.

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Wa la the Kinvara 5. Just to give you an enlightened run down. The Kinvara is apart of Saucony’s natural motion series, which is their attempt at minimalist running shoes. What I love about all of the natural shoes is that, they’re minimal, aka 4mm heel to toe offset and under. However, there’s absolutely no sacrifice to cushion. I would classify it as a reduced shoe. Also, when you wear any Kinvara, there’s an immediate desire to go fast. The build of the shoe definitely propels you forward and makes you feel good doing it. The golden rule is, so long as the ride is flat – I’d say it fits the minimalist bill.

Upgrades:

1. The main complaint peeps had with previous iterations is durability because the flex film upper tears easily. Part of the blame should be on the runners who jam their wide foot into a medium width shoe. Come on, they come in wides too you know. The seamless welded upper is still kickin, but there’s more meat too it this time around. Hopefully this lessens the chance of ripage.

2. Progrid to Powergrid. The best cushioning system that Saucony offers period. Which is interesting because the Kinvara is looking more and more like a lighter version of the Cortana with the upgrade in cushioning.

3. I wouldn’t call this an upgrade, but it’s still impressive. The men’s shoe still maintains a weight of 7.7 oz, even with the meatier upper and higher quality midsole foam. How in the world?!

There she is. If any of you have an interest in running in a reduced 4mm heel drop running shoe – here’s your reason to get one. The Kinvara 5 is releasing May 1st this year.

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Doors Opening

This is an update on what’s going on over the past week. No, it won’t be a sally sob story about not being able to run. It’s true. I can’t run, not even the treadmill. Currently it’s a waiting game for me to receive a 3d scan on my foot to REALLY see what the problem is. Doctors were on vacation last week sipping egg nog, so I’ll be opening a box of surprise news very soon.

You may ask…Alec, aren’t you going insane not running? And I would answer, I was. I’ve gotten over the fact that running isn’t possible for me with an injury, and that’s ok. It’s taken a lot of guts, complaining, and letting go to admit it. This is what’s best for my body. I don’t want to risk anymore chances of my heel getting worse too. I think it’s the best decision, even though, I’m still cringing!

Now with the positives! So when one door closes, you open another. In the mean time I’ve picked up the guitar again and learned some new songs via youtube. Yes, it doesn’t “replace” running, but it helps the free time pass productively. I’m enjoying it more than I anticipated too. It gives me a chance to be creative and patient with learning something new. Now here’s the big one. I’ve been hatching ideas in my head lately. I’ve come to the conclusion that a running injury could potentially happen again in the future. The question is, how to avoid it? Yes, taking care of yourself works, but what about an alternative when running isn’t working? Brace yourself. Cycling. There. It’s been said.

Cycling is the alternative because it’s still in the endurance sport realm. If a bad day happens and running doesn’t happen, jump on a bike! It’s a good distraction. The great thing is cycling is something fresh and exciting I know absolutely nothing about. It will give me a chance to learn the ins and outs of the technology, techniques, and nutrition. The bike I have my eye on is the Trek Madone 2.1, feast your eyes:

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Beautiful isn’t it? Now, I haven’t had the opportunity to try it because of the weather, but I have a really good feeling about it. It has an aluminum frame and carbon fiber forks for a smoother ride. Only 20 lbs. So light it might float away.

Have you gone outside? It’s cold! In the negatives here in New England. For training as of the moment, I’ve joined a gym to let off some steam. The stationary bike has been my training partner for the past week. He’s ok…a little quiet. In addition, I’ve been doing regular core work. The good news is it’s getting the job done giving me my daily fill. Thank God for the indoors.

I’m excited I’ll have another option to train come springtime. Something to go fast on and explore. What scares me the most is that I’ll enjoy cycling more than running, but I’ve quickly dismissed that thought. Running is a something I’ve put lot of time and effort into. It won’t be leaving me anytime soon.

Runners that inspire me

I thought of making a list of runners who inspire me to run and to continue pounding ground. These aren’t in any particular order of importance – all equal playing field!

1. Kilian Jornet

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Who is he: Kilian is currently the best endurance runner of this generation. Let me tell you why. I recently read his biography, Run or Die, which is worth a read if you’re only mildly interested in running. Kilian recently ran Matterhorn in 2 hours and 52 minutes and Mont Blanc just under 5 hours – both world records. If you look at the results of the international races skyrunning races in the past 8 years, he has won the majority of them. The man is a 120 lb spanish beast! A little side note, skyrunning is running 2,000 meters above sea level, where is the air you ask? There is none! That’s what makes his mountaineer accomplishments and ultra race wins all the more impressive. I’m not giving him nearly enough credit, but Kilian is a running legend. Did I mention he is sponsored by Salomon? Yeah they’re cool!

Please indulge yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRl0PjiPnyM

Why he inspires me: Kilian has harbored a love of the mountains and being outside since he was a wee tot. I have a similar spiritual connection to being active outside and using the world as my infinite playground. I can relate to Kilian’s long admiration for the outdoors. His running philosophy has pushed me to reinvent myself as a runner. I originally exclusively loved running roads, straight aways, urban places, mostly ordinary running routes. But, after witnessing videos of Kilian’s races and long wilderness runs – I’ve found reasons to tear up the trails for once and be competitive about it. Just because you’re running on rocks, roots, and kissing tree branches doesn’t mean you can’t go FAST!

2. Anton Krupicka

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Who is he: JESUS! No unfortunately he isn’t a running Jesus, although that would be strangely appropriate wouldn’t it? Tony is a well known American ultra runner. He has won the famous Leadville 100 twice, the Miwok 100k, the Rocky Raccoon 100 Miler, and several more. Get this, Tony ran his first marathon when he was twelve. You can conclude he never stopped running since he was hooked. He lives in Boulder, CO where he trains on the never ending Rocky mountain trails. What is astounding is that he trains himself, no strings attached. If I were to compare him to another runner, I’d say Kilian Jornet because they are equally attached to mountain running, however they’re polar opposites in terms of training work ethic and personality. Tony is the most laid back runner you’ll come across who actually win races. He is also a minimalist runner, no shirt and zero drop New Balance shoes!

Check out him cutting shoes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3lhdeLrjZs

Why he inspires me: Tony’s running philosophy is what you call all-natural and hippie-like. For God’s sake, the guy doesn’t even stretch! And not because he’s against it…it’s because he’s lazy. What is that?! It’s too funny. When it comes to training mileage for the week, he has discarded the idea of reaching mileage goals. Usually runners are so anal about mileage and pace that we begin to foam at the mouth because it’s important right? Tony doesn’t care. He likes the idea of tracking his altitude gain only. And pace? Doesn’t exist to him, just get the job done. To the top of the mountain then get to the next summit. This way of thinking is so against the grain that it gets me excited at just the thought. Tony has taught me to ignore the pace on long runs, no matter how eager beaver I am to run 6:15 pace. He put the enjoyment back into running when you’re too focused on numbers and splits.

3. Corey Hahnl

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Who is he: What you say?! Just a guy who likes to run and run competitively at college level cross country and track. Now this isn’t just any guy. Corey has been running since freshmen year of high school. He was number 1 on my high school cross country team, and he ran the mile and 4×800 like a pro. It’s hard being number one and he can attest to that.

Why he inspires me: I met Corey senior year of high school when I decided to join the cross country team. At the time, watching him run was unreal for me, the rookie, because he was blazing fast. I’ll never forget how he influenced our team to run more, upwards to 10 miles plus, which is unheard of for an up and coming like myself. Our coach would scold Corey for “making” the team run more than they should. Although, he was evidence that mileage and hard work…well, works! He’ll shrug off this compliment, but I’ll say it anyway. There are elements that encouraged me to continue running, however, I like to think he inspired me the most to hone my running skill and pursue improvement. I know I know touchy feely! But he’s my bro and favorite dude to run with.

4. Ethan Newberry

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Who is he: The Ginger Runner! Ethan is a running ultra enthusiast, gear junkie, and youtuber. What’s cool is he is a ginger and he has a soul! Make no mistake, Ethan is one funny dude. He is best known for his gear/shoe reviews on youtube where he discusses running stuffs.

Why he inspires me: Ethan isn’t afraid of experimenting with new brands. There are a lot of brand biased runners out there that are married to their favorite model of shoe they swap out every six months, which is fine. However, what if there’s something out there that’s better for you? You’ll never know what’s good until you start trying different running brands. Ethan has also been on the ultra marathon scene since last year. It’s inspiring to watch an average dude do some incredible things on the trails. It gives the message, “Hey I’m not a drop dead amazing running, but I can finish a 62 mile race!” I’d love to run with this guy in the future.

Here’s his youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheGingerRunner

There’s my list folks! Thanks for reading. Just a short update on the running. I ran the treadmill today with no pain after my two week break, which felt Soooo good. Despite my hatred for running stationary, I have to say treadmills are easier on the body and in my case is a good thing. I’m still going ahead with receiving some physical therapy in the coming weeks so this pain goes away and stays away for good.

Trapped, aka, being injured

It’s funny how this blog is dedicated to all the good happy feelings that come packaged with running. Unfortunately, that’s not how it is for me right now. As a runner you never pause to think of the consequences of losing something you practice everyday because it’s always gogogo, don’t stop, and definitely don’t look back. It’s amazing how fast the weekly miles will past you by while goals become more and more of a reality when you’re dead set on achieving them.

A little bit of ugly news. Three weeks ago I did a 22 mile day where I ran 15 in the morning and 7 in the afternoon with friends, which totaled my week to 65. Nothing particularly special, but more than I usually finish in a week’s time. After that week there’s been a constant sharp pain on the inside of my left heel (the tiniest spot too). It’s gotten to the point where I can’t push myself to 3 miles without being in complete intolerable pain. Before you ask, no, I can’t muster the strength to be a masochistic right now! Seriously. It’s like stepping on a lego barefoot every second stride.

The doctor’s report after the x-rays were zero stress fractures, so it’s nothing bone breakingly serious. I asked them what else it could be and…they have no idea. They suggested doing good ol’ P to the T combined with some R&R. My inner runner addict is whispering in my ear saying (psstt ONLY do the R&R because you can start doing me again sooner). I’m still split on what will actually work and get me on the road quickly to train for the Boston Prep next month.

Perhaps other runners can sympathize the struggle of finding another outlet to fill your time when you’re injured. Honestly, nothing fills you up like a good hearty run. And when that’s not present to help you feel good everyday – life becomes really blah and not fun. For me now it’s time to find another something to do in the meantime. Playing guitar sounds productive, right?

My plan is to rest for two weeks straight while icing and stretching as much as possible. We’ll see where that takes me. Hopefully I’ll be back in it to win it very soon!

My history as a runner

This is my first attempt, first post, first mark on creating a special blog. I want to thank you for reading thus far, thank you truly.

It’s unusual to think I was never always the way I am now. In the past, I didn’t considered myself a proclaimed runner by title, but through play as a kid I was probably one of the best “runners” in the neighborhood. I lived in Wilmore, Kentucky in until I was about nine. Wilmore was my playground to express my endless energy through intense physical activity. There was lots that I did over the course of my day – sports, biking, fort building, tree climbing, and even making my daily door bell ringing rounds to all the neighborhood kids. (Sometimes it was only for Nintendo. I’ll admit it!) I remember making great strides in trying to max out the speed on my little red bike by climbing the highest peak on the block and plummeting while pedaling as quickly as possible. Do we all have a need for speed? I must, because that was and still is my instant rush!

My love for speed never tapered, although it did take on other forms. When my family moved to New Hampshire, I loved playing tag on the playground and I made good friends that way. Beyond that there was a period where I played baseball up until high school, which allowed me to test my speed by stealing bases. My favorite part about being on a little league baseball team was the sprint races we had at the end of games. We would start at home base and foot race to first base. It was fun to be competitive with my teammates and see who improved since last race. Baseball was definitely a worth while learning experience for me. I can’t say I was good at it, jeez, I wouldn’t even say average! But it brought me to a realization that there was a world of individual sports to explore like running.

Leading onto senior year was when I found a calling to cross country and track & field. Many times over the course of those three seasons – I knew it was the highlight of my high school career and the beginning of a passion. After every XC race and event, it always struck me in a positively self fulfilling manner. In a good way, it left me craving for more races, runs, and friends.

In college, I had the privilege to join the Rivier University cross country team. Which proved to be a struggled for me at first because Rivier cross country wasn’t a booming program by any stretch. It was more of a running club at best. I feel funny mentioning the pains of being on a small team because my friends will know exactly how wishy washy it was for me. Bitterness was perhaps a word I’d use to describe my feelings towards a lack luster program. However, for the sake of loving to run and the good company of friends – it was worth the wait. Sophomore year we got not one coach, but TWO! Coach Delanoy and Coach Radkewich, who are both amazing coaches. I can’t give them enough gratitude for their patience when training us on the toughest of days. Nick Radkewich, by the way, is an Olympian for US triathlon team during the 2000 summer Olympics. I only say “is” because he once said, “Once an Olympian, always an Olympian.” And he wasn’t anymore right! I was extremely happy to train under these two coaches for three seasons.

Now that’s some instant flash news coverage! I don’t think I’ve used the word “I” to the point of chanting like a monk. AYE AYE AYE!!!

What am I doing now? Despite the world’s constant suggestion to seek higher education…I vetoed that idea and I’m now selling running shoes at a Saucony outlet store. I know I know, retail, don’t gag yourself yet. At this point in life, I’m doing what I know, and that is running. Talking about running all day is fun for me. The customers who are runners appreciate the chat while the *cough* non-believers, aka, non-runners drone out my tech rants.

That’s all for now…