atomicules

Push propelled program tinkerer and picture maker.

Something about shoes

Writing about running shoes is a bit different than writing about bicycle tyres because for some crazy reason shoe manufacturers insist on replacing models every year rather than just sticking with a good thing. This means that by the time I get hold of them and have had a chance to use them for a bit they are no longer available for normal retail - which makes a review a bit pointless, hence the "something" title; On the other hand though, the very fact they replace models every year means I'm able to get shoes in the first place - buying last year's model for cheaper (and which is often reviewed better than the model it's been replaced by).

That's about a year of running now although starting off super gently doing Couch to 5k, with an entire month off fairly recently due to knackering my knee (now my other one is giving me grief!) and although mostly running all through winter (because it was really mild) it was with much less distance. So that's meant one pair of shoes has lasted me all this time easily. In theory you are meant to replace every 300 to 500 miles. I haven't kept track of the distance I've done (curses! I've only recently started recording runs), but probably am (was) only hovering around that mark because of what I've said above (500 miles is about 15k a week); I reckon the shoes have still got life left in them.

Nevertheless, I thought the one year mark was a good excuse as any to buy some new shoes.

For my first (old) pair of shoes I went with Nike LunarGlide 6. I can't remember exactly how I arrived at this decision, but it was something along the lines of wanting something super soft and comfy (to encourage me to run), some stability/support because I have wonky limbs and trying to reduce the sheer amount of options by picking one brand to select from: You need to have something to start with. Oh, and of course buying last seasons shoes.

I really have no complaints about those LunarGlides. Beautiful shoes. I think the 7s are a good replacement (although annoyingly impossible to find), but the 8s don't look as good.

After injuring my knee though (can't blame my shoes, probably the dog's fault), I found I really preferred a flatter shoe, i.e. less offset/drop. Since the LunarGlides actually only have a 9.5mm offset (good shoes) I didn't see the point in going for a 8mm offset shoe and so, still in an effort to make choosing easier, I ended up going for some Nike Free RN Distance. Which is a bit strange as it's a completely different type of shoe to the LunarGlides (collapsible heel compared to a plastic clip for one), but so far I really like them. It's a bit difficult to compare to the LunarGlides a year in (which are now (at least I think so) firm in the forefoot), but the Free RN Distances are like running in fluffy slippers: There is plenty of padding there, but not as much support. My achilles, arches and heels can tell the difference (I don't think this is a bad thing though); As far as I can ascertain I'm not a heel striker and only hit my heels when really tired (this doesn't make me a good runner, I'm terrible, it's just the crappy baby-step way I run). Still though, goes to show that stability shoes aren't really so important.

Next shoe though, I'm really tempted for a pair of these (once the next version is out so I can get these cheaper); The Free RN Distance 2 aren't as good as the ones I have and so to stick with the 4mm offset I may have to look beyond Nike; Which is fair enough, as I said, you have to start somewhere.

LINK: Eliud Kipchoge Almost 2hr Marathon

Putting this into context, the longest distance I've run so far (yet to repeat, damn knee) was 11.87 miles, so less than half a marathon, and it took me about the same amount of time; Plus, when I finished I could not immediately launch into another little jog as Eliud did (he doesn't even look that tired). Wow!

Sprints

Since the clocks changed it's been a real struggle to get out for a run in the week, even with working from home. There is only about six hours of daylight to play with and other things need to happen during that time and then there's the weather to contend with. The wife's exercise DVD is proving a good substitute as far as exercise goes (it's hardcore), but I still prefer the outdoors.

So I've decided any running is better than no running and have started doing sprints on the track up to our house. It's about 300m long and has a gradual incline with a kick at the end (last 100m? Or just after halfway?) where it's got even more of an incline. It's not what I'd classify as "uphill", but it is noticeable; Cycling up it when it was icy was "fun".

So far all I can manage is a jog down, sprint up, jog down and sprint up. The first one I can get in 50 secs (did I say it's a MASSIVE hill? I'm old), the second sprint is always 5 secs longer and I'm spent by then - I try to give it my all.

Like most things that are good in life it's over in a few minutes. I'm intrigued to see if this provides any physical benefit and whether I can improve my times and/or add in a third sprint or whether it's purely going to provide mental relief.

French Cyclist Robert Marchand Sets New Record Aged 105

"The French cyclist managed 22.547km (14 miles) at the national velodrome, taking the top spot in a new category - for riders over 105."

Also AMAZING.

LINK: Kajsa Tylen: Cyclist's 32,000-mile ride smashes world record

I'm a bit delayed with mentioning this, but saw it at the time and wanted to. I was well impressed until I got to this bit:

Ms Tylen, who took a year off work...

I kid! I kid! It's amazing. On one bike as well. For reference it's the same amount of miles in one year it took me almost four years to rack up when commuting. I.e: AMAZING.

10k

I tweeted it, but then I sprained my knee a bit and so went back to 5k and wanted to wait until I'd done it again before writing about it in case the first time was a fluke. So today I managed to do it again! Yay! I mean, I suppose I should have been able to do this anyway because of the fitness from cycling, but I'm still pretty happy about this: Up and down hills again, faster than last time (not fast) and my joints felt better about it afterwards. I have no intention of turning into a crazy person, I think 10k is as far as I want to go - Faster though might be fun.

I still don't really enjoy running (cycling, at the right time, could be a pure thrill), but I am happy I can do the mind over matter thing and keep going. Cycling though I didn't really have to concentrate on, but running I really do have to watch my feet so as to not knacker my ankles or knees. I still can't decide whether running more often or less often would be better for me.

On a related note: I have been bicycle "window shopping", but I think the price of a pair of trainers (first pair still look barely worn) will outweigh a completely unnecessary bicycle purchase; Even if I can afford one now I don't need one.

Things have been very busy of late. I have things I want to write about, just struggling to find the time.

c25k

I tweeted about it, but I guess I should write something about it properly as last time we were at five weeks through, the half way point. In the end, the nine week programme took us eleven weeks as we had to repeat a couple of weeks due just to general life interfering with plans.

It really is a good plan though. It worked great from my point of view of someone who was very fit, but liable to break and injure easily running and it worked great from my wife's point of view of someone who last ran when they were at school. We did the time based version so I don't know for sure how far we are running (I could measure it on a map); Time based seems most fair with a discrepancy in leg length - I have to double back in bits as it is so I don't get too far ahead.

I have had some discomfort (probably the right word to use instead of pain), but all that cycling has given me the ability to just get on with it; Weirdly I never really had much leg pain whilst cycling, just lots of it off the bike.

Fifteen hours minimum a week of cycling was probably a bit excessive, but at the same time I don't think one and a half hours of running is really going to cut it as far as staying fit and healthy goes. Ok, it has been nice to have a break, but I'd like to get to three and a half hours of running a week. I'm not sure exactly how to work this in, though. I really like the idea of running every other day and I think it would be best for me to carry on like that; I've not got injured myself yet so why jinx things? Perhaps I could do a thirty minute run with my wife in the morning per current routine and then thirty minutes later the same day? If I make one of those an hour that's three and a half hours a week. That'll do. I don't want to be an athlete, but it would be a shame to lose everything I've gained from cycling.

The Cycling Cap

Goddamn it, I'm not meant to be writing about cycling anymore!

I think, if I'm trying to communicate and explain the enormousness of the sacrifices required for us to have ponies over the past six years, I can explain it by simply saying, "I wanted a cycling cap in all that time of cycling"; Well as soon as it became a thing, which it did pretty quickly. But I couldn't afford one - I was going to say "justify" one, but that was obviously a lie.

I've just bought a cycling cap. It is a very awesome one. I thought, "What the hell, I can wear it even when I'm not cycling; which is still my plan" - I've earnt that; the rules do not apply to me.

It cost just £10.

The New Push

Possibly because I can't be bothered with a re-design of my website, push is going to be used for running*. Hey, if a push-bike is so called because you push the pedals with your feet (well, historically the floor with your feet), I am now pushing the floor directly with my feet so I can't see why it can't work.

When news came that I'd no longer be cycling the directive was "don't get fat". Seeing as how I have struggled to justify the costs associated with cycling when I needed one for work, I didn't think it'd stand much chance as a hobby. Mainly, though, I wanted a break from cycling, so opted for running because my sole expense has been £70 on a pair of last season's running shoes. Decent shoes, mind you; My last experience of significant running was in a pair of non-running shoes and it crippled me for days; The difference in running with proper shoes is amazing - no pain.

Because my years of skateboarding have destroyed my ankles and knees I knew I wanted to ease myself into running and so decided to follow Couch to 5K, even though I'm pretty much the direct opposite of a coach potato. This had the added bonus of my wife deciding to join in with me; As far as I can tell, my wife's motivation mainly seems to be so she can outrun random axe murderers. So far we are five weeks through the programme and it is going brilliantly for both of us. Really can't fault it as a programme; I am itching to do some faster/longer runs, but I'm going to stick to it so as not to wreck myself.

I might actually regain my posture now.

* - Cycling hasn't gone forever, just (hopefully) for a long time

An Apathetic Review of Vittoria Cross XL Pros

It's not because they're not good, it's just because I can't be bothered reviewing them. I intended on doing a review similar to the Vittoria XGs, but these aren't going to get to 1600 miles for a long time. These ones are going to be as per what a normal person is like with bicycle tyres: Fit and then forget.

I mainly got the XLs just because I fancied a change from the XGs and at the time I switched it most certainly wasn't the right time of the year for the XNs (I'm a bit sad I never got to try those). I had hoped that the XLs might be a bit faster on smooth surfaces (roads) because the centre tread pattern is more continuous than the XGs, but I honestly noticed no difference - if anything slightly higher rolling resistance, but that could easily be my imagination as it is hard to compare to a tyre from half a year previously.

And so that's my review: Not really any better or worse than the XGs.

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