My Shoe Decision – For Now

When last I published a blog, seemingly ages ago, I was searching for replacement runners for my Saucony Mirage 5’s…RIP fantastic shoes.

To refresh our memory I was looking for a tempo run/long distance shoe with a 4-8mm drop and neutral to mild pronation support. After much research I ventured out one fine afternoon and tried on a number of shoes to try to narrow my choice down.

  1. Saucony Ride 9 – First shoe that I tried on, felt great, snug and responsive but stiffer than I normally wear. Has a 8mm drop and was the second cheapist shoe that I tried
  2. New Balance 880 v6 – Felt great as well, more cushioned and my ankle was wrapped by the collar, however my foot seemed to move around during my short test runs, also a 10mm drop
  3. Nike Pegasus 33 – Too narrow across the whole foot
  4. Brooks Ghost 9 – The best feeling sole hands down when I ran in them but they were too narrow in the forefoot…so sad!
  5. Mizuno Wave Rider 19 – Good fit but it was the most stiff of the bunch due to their construction.
  6. New Balance Vazee Pace 2 – I tried these on at a different store and they felt great but would be better suited as an up tempo/race shoe.

After all of that I selected the Saucony Ride 9‘s due to their fit.

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The Results So Far…

It has been a few weeks since I started running in these and I really notice the stiffness and also the chance in drop from 4mm to 8mm, it doesn’t seem like much but it really alters your running. At first I had a bit of calf pain, sore shins and sore feet in general from the change in striking point however lately it is only my feet that are still a bit sore and even that is going away. I managed to get to a 5 min/k pace on the treadmill the other day so hopefully I am getting accustomed to the shoes.

It is now winter though and I have been wearing my Skechers outside for the few runs in the snow that I have been doing. For consistency I will probably have to buy an additional pair of 9’s for my winter training, assuming that I can completely transition to them and that I like them over long distances. If not I plan on looking at the New Balance Zante 2 which have a lower drop and might be better suited for longer distances.

As they say, stay tuned!

One foot in front of the other

Chris

Wheel of Shoes

So now that my marathon is out of the way, I have retired my two pairs of runners that got me through training and that race. They were the two last pairs of Saucony Mirage 5’s that I could find as unfortunately they are a discontinued model; I seem to be making a habit of this as this is my second set of runners that I had liked to be discontinued.

So now I search for a replacement, honestly a couple of models as I like to rotate my shoes. I might add that I have also retired my speed work shoes and will be looking to replace them as well since I was not overly fond of them.

I have worn a number of different brands of different drops and stability. Stability isn’t really a problem as I have run my fastest races in neutral shoes, however I generally only wear shoes with a drop of 4mm or less. I think, however that I will move up to 8mm as that expands my choices of shoes.

To begin I have moved back to a pair of Skechers Go Run Ride 5’s, I wore a pair of the 3’s for my marathon in Chicago so I had no trepidation of trying them again. They are neutral with a 4mm drop and are very stiff. Upon putting them on they feel cushioning but the stiffness replaces the springiness of energy return of the usual rubber. So far I am undecided after about 4-5 runs of a distance of up to 7km.

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Skechers Go Run Ride 5

I am also looking at different brands that I have never tried before; among them New Balance, Nike and Mizuno. The biggest problem I see now is the price of these runners, they have become really outrageous! I managed to get my Skechers on Amazon for under $100 because they are a unpopular color. From my reckoning the median price point is around $150…that’s pretty steep for something that you will wear for a few months. On the other hand I am running and don’t want a bad or cheap pair and end up injuring myself.

So I will pick up a pair here and there and see what will fit my feet and not cause problems. I don’t start my next marathon training cycle until the new year so I will have time.

I would welcome any suggestions.

Previous runners worn: Vibram 5 fingers. Saucony Vrata, Brooks Cadence 2, Skechers Go Run Ride 3, Skechers Go Run Speed, Merrell road, Saucony Type a5 and a6, Saucony Mirage 5.

One foot in front of the other.

Chris

And then there were 5!

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Here we are, the final week of the taper and 5 days until Nicola and I run the PEI marathon.

Generally our training has gone really well, we managed to run 36k twice and improved our time the second time out due to less walking breaks. We are following the 10:1 principal but of course have been taking extra breaks when we felt like taking them.

We have also included generally 2 large hills during every long run to simulate the finish burn at PEI, the last 5km have 3 hills with the last being significant; however I’m confident that we will have little trouble with them. The course itself is relatively flat with some rolling hills and a general incline during the second half but I believe that we will be able to get into a groove early.

The weather is looking ok at this point, the chance of rain is minimal but it may be somewhat windy, however the direction would see us with a tailwind for more than half of the time so I think we will be fine, we will judge the strength and direction the day of to set a pace.

Instead of a goal finishing time we are shooting for a finishing range, this way there is less pressure and we can enjoy the race more.

Each of us has a massage scheduled for today and we have our carbing meals all set out for the week. I have a very light work schedule this week after working 3 nights last weekend so my main goal is to rest and stay loose.

Hopefully all of these things will lead to a steady, solid run, but honestly I am looking forward to running my first marathon with Nicola, we have run all of ur training runs together aside from just one so we will draw on each others strength and love throughout the day.

I look froward to posting a recap next week to let you know how were fared, talk to you soon!

Chris

Recipe of the Week

Last week Nicola and I tried a vegetarian, fruit recipe called “Watermelon Curry with Black Beans and Paneer” from the recipe book, “The Modern Vegetarian” by Maria Elia. Naturally we didn’t have any Paneer handy so we used tofu. Paneer, by the way, is a form of curdled cheese. We also used Canola oil instead of Grapeseed oil and substituted yellow curry for turmeric.

Ingredients:

  • Watermelon
  • 2 tablespoons Canola oil
  • 1 white onion
  • fresh ginger (6 cm)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 red chilies
  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • 2 teaspoons yellow curry
  • 4 teaspoons coriander
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • pepper
  • 250 g of tofu
  • 400 g of black beans
  • dried coriander (powder)
  • sea salt
  • juice 1-2 limes (not used)

Recipe:

First off I sliced up the watermelon and carved off the outside. I placed about 3/4 of the watermelon into my blender and puréed it. I cut about another 1/3 into chunks to be added later in the cooking process. I ended up with a small chunk of watermelon left over.

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Heating half of the oil in a pan we added the onion, ginger and garlic and cooked over medium heat until softened.

We then added the chilies, lemongrass and spices and cooked it for another minute or so.

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We then added the purée and brought it to a boil, then simmered until it reduced by about 50%. This really is the key step as upon adding the whole amount of watermelon the spices are doused and the acidic nature of the juice comes out.

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The tofu was fried in the rest of the oil then dabbed to remove any excess oil.

After the liquid had reduced we stirred in the beans, tofu and cubed watermelon. The powdered coriander was added and we aded a bit of salt.

Once warmed through we served the liquid with coconut basmati rice that we had prepared in our rice cooker.

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Verdict:

Initially we had reservations about the amount of watermelon juice we would be using and whether the spices would show through. We needn’t have worried, after reduction the spices melded wonderfully with the watermelon and the rice. The dish was truly delicious and we have been enjoying leftovers for a few days. The blending of the fluid and spices only gets better with time.

You need to demonstrate a bit of faith and patience with this recipe, however in the end it will be a nice change of pace meal, especially using the watermelon, which was a first for me.

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Fredericton Craft Beer Festival 2016

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Last night was the 4th annual Fredericton Craft Beer festival grand tasting in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Each year the number of brewers and participants has grown and this year an afternoon session was added to accommodate the interest and to try to limit the congestion of just one session. Also a number of events were held during the week at various local establishments to celebrate the event. I had to work for part of the week so in the end I only attended the tasting.

As per the norm I attended the event with my partner Nicola and my friend Jason; this year our friends Joanna and Rod joined us. We started out with dinner at Vault 29, which was hosting an after party for the the afternoon session and had a warm-up beer to get us in the mood 🙂 There was a live rock-a-billy band playing called the Hypochondriacs who were really good and we left in good spirits for the show.

The convention centre where we attended the event was a short walk away, we had to wait in line for a few minutes to get our tasting glasses and VIP lanyard, then again to access the room but the lines moved quickly and two of our friends were manning the check-in desk…needless to say everyone was in good spirits.

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Ahead of the event, an app had been released cataloging the brewers and their location on the floor so I had flagged some beers that I had wanted to try and a few breweries that we normally can’t access at the start. As usual we had all acquired VIP access which allowed us to start sampling an hour ahead of everyone else and gave us a bigger sampling glass…this year a Belgian inspired design.

I started at Barnone, a brewery from PEI because they are still quite small and we can’t get their beers here. I started out with their award winning Milk Stout and the night went on from there 🙂 Next up were two breweries from Cape Breton; Breton brewing and Big Spruce. I’m a big fan of each and Big Spruce had a special collaboration beer that they made with a local cider company and samples of their recently bottled Imperial Stout aged in old Whisky barrels. I loved the nose but the beer needs some integration to really shine.

Continuing my Stout tour I tried a Milk Stout from North Brewing in Halifax then ran into the best beers of the night from Hammond River which is located about 11/2 hours from Fredericton. Their IPA was excellent but I loved their White Stout…it was flavourful and perfectly balanced. Their Vanilla Porter has also won awards in the past.

Honestly the rest of the night was a mixture of stouts, IPA’s and lagers. Sadly I only had one or two red ales which has seemed to fall to the side of the beer craze. One good sign was that there were a number of sour/Brett/Gose type beers present. Sometimes the latest trends take their time to get to this part of the world so it’s good to see some breweries taking a chance on these types of beers. The most unusual beer that I tried was a purple Maise corn beer from Big Axe (a favourite brewery of mine), which was based on the Peruvian Purple Corn Beer. I have visited Peru and have had their version of the beer and while this version was different it had some of the qualities, I salute them for taking a chance on making something different.

Overall, in my opinion the event was a success, the number of brewers have grown and with two sessions it appears that the demand is there. I sampled 20 different beers over the course of 31/2 hours so some semblance of variety was present. I do lament the lack of any real food options aside from potato chips, there is a lot of beer involved so maybe some finger food would be a smart idea…but of course this takes away from vendor space and probably their are some rules/by-laws/laws to be considered.

Next year I hope to attend a few other events during the week but for now I’m always happy to support this event by attending the grand tasting.

On a happy side note I won a tankard as being the most active person on the events new app which of course will only encourage me to taste a few more suds.

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Until next year!

Chris

 

Upright and smiling

How you enjoy your first marathon.

No Time Like The Present

A couple of weeks have passed and I am still tingling from the experience of running my first full marathon in Vancouver, BC. The long frigid training runs in the middle of one of the harshest winters are just a blurry memory now that I have that medal around my neck.  Here is how it played out: My boyfriend and I arrived in Vancouver a couple of days in advance to get used to the time zone difference of 4 hours.  We deliberately planned on doing nothing those 2 days and we accomplished just that.  We were staying with family so it was a pleasant visit.  We moved to a hotel the night before and stayed the night of just to be close to the finish line.

Friday
We spent the afternoon at the Race Expo/ Wellness event. Wandering around and taking it easy on the legs.

Got my number. Now I have to run. Got my number…

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Let the groove get in

Entirely my pleasure to watch you accomplish and achieve things, no matter what they are.

No Time Like The Present

So there is this little thing I’ve been working on for the last few months.  It involves a ridiculous amount of stupidity, a lot of grit, a pinch of wisdom and a whole lot of devil-may-care.

But before I get to that project I have this other thing that happened.  It involved turning everything I knew upside down, giving it a shake and making a whole new life.  In the space of a few months I ended a long relationship, moved a parent to a care facility, sold the family home in 4 days, moved to my own apartment, battled back from a serious neck injury, lost a few friends, signed up for a marathon, started training and fell in love with an amazing person.  When I do something I tend to go all out.  All of those things might have been difficult to handle by themselves but I gained…

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