Saturday, March 3, 2012

Hey, I put some new shoes on and suddenly everything's right

My new(only worn once)Mizuno Wave Ascends

What a week of wascawy wunning (think Elmer Fudd). Anyway, it was a week of new experiences. My running buddy and confirmed sadistic bastard, Chris Ford, invited me to go with him to a training session at Therapy Works Sports Acceleration, Sports Performance Center AKA - Athletic Republic. It started off in a rather benign manner; chill little warm-up movements in a carpeted room, followed by 10 minutes at an 8:15 pace on a treadmill. Then we crossed the room to a pretty serious-looking treadmill that required going up a small flight of stairs in order to mount. The super-treadmill (my designation) could tilt at least 45 degrees, and could reach speeds of up to 40 mph. In order to get on it, I had to stand next to it, holding a bar, and touch its surface with the near foot until I got the feel for how fast it was going. I then just sort of jumped on and began running for 40 seconds at a time. The trainer stood right next to, and slightly behind, in order to assist in case of a fall.

The machine was at a pretty good angle, and I reckon that the speed was somewhere in the 6:00 - 6:15 pace. I did a series of three or four of those. It seemed easy for the first two rounds, and then it began to suck. Chris thought I was going along pretty well until I bent over and grabbed my knees after the third pass on the machine. It seemed to go on and on for the better part of an hour. By the end, I was just doing 15 second bursts at a 5:15 pace. And for an old, ummm strike that, well-seasoned runner like me, 5:15 on a bit of an incline is pretty much flat out.

Chris, meanwhile, was doing some ridiculous long bursts, including 3 x 2minute sprints at the end. He took a bit of time between the sprints to suck in as much air as he could. He looked a bit like he was hating it (which certainly made me feel better). His session is what I have to look forward to doing in a few weeks should I choose to stay with the program. And I do plan to go forward with it. The running session ended with another 10 minute cool down run which we completed on the roads outside the building. Chris stayed to work a bit more on his core. Since I had begun my day with a mile swim, I figured that my core was fine. I went home, and was out cold by 9 pm.

I had scheduled a run for Thursday with Eric 'Banjo Hawk' Henry and John Hampton Tyson II. We were just planning to do a 5 mile loop on the River Trail after work. As we left the parking lot, I could tell instantly that the run was gonna suck. And it did. For five miles. I just didn't have it in the legs. They really, really hurt and felt leaden. Eric and Jack went as slow as they could stand, and I just trailed along. It may have been the most continuously painful run I have ever done start to finish. The training session had given my muscles a very different type of workout than they were used to, and they were pointing that out to me in an emphatic manner.

The next day, Friday, I figured I had better get out early and do a recovery run. I opted to risk the rain and snow and just go for 2-2.5 mi. outside. I took it slow and easy, and finished the run with minimal difficulty. I wrote my two trail companions from the day before and proposed a Lands End jaunt for Saturday morning. They both readily agreed. So at 9 this morning, we set out on a very muddy Clinton North Shore run. I had on my never before worn, Mizuno Wave Ascends. All the pain I had felt on Thursday had evaporated like money in a Florida home mortgage. I felt just shy of a hundred percent, but better than I had felt in days. The new kicks performed wonderfully - no blisters or irritations. The stability felt great, as did the unreal grip the sole pattern exhibited. I have always liked the look (in particular) and the feel of my Brooks Cascadias. But just from my initial run, I would deem the Mizunos the better shoe for my current needs. Since they are soaking wet, I haven't been able to really tell, but I bet the Ascends are lighter than the Cascadias as well. I feel a bit disloyal, because the Cascadias have, and will continue to serve me well. But my new go-to trail tramplers will be the Mizunos.

Tomorrow I'll be working the Hawks' Pi Day Run. If you want to knock out a seriously fast trail half-marathon, this is your race. I have some super nice runs planned for next week. I also have another training session. And, in all seriousness, I'm thrilled that Chris found this place. It is really amazing. The follow up post to this one will probably be in 9-10 days. So, until then....

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