Tag Archives: Review

Oh trainers where art thou?

Am I the only person that gets an emotional attachment to their running trainers?  Surely not!  It was in May this year that I had to force myself to admit defeat and walk through the front door of my local Sweatshop to buy a new pair of trainers.  I felt like I was betraying my old faithfuls, the trainers that had performed so unbelievable well for such a long time.  But alas the time had inevitable come when even my old faithfuls had begun to fall apart at the seams and duct tape just couldn’t repair them.  When I thought about it, my current Brooks trainers had been going strong for 2 years now.

I returned home and took my old faithfuls off for the very last time; it was a teary moment.  As I gently put them away, I was amazed to see they were being put to rest with all my other trainers.   Had I really kept them all, was I a running hoarder?  I stood there looking at these trainers, realising I could track the years going all the way back to 2011.

These are my trainers:

Jan 2011 – Mar 2012

Asics Gel Nimbus 12

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Asics Gel Nimbus 12

Not entirely sure when I bought these but I believe it was early in the year. They lasted me 1 year, 2 months.  Very hard to say how many kilometres I covered in these as I didn’t really document my runs back then.  I moved to London in Aug 2011 and I know I started to run around Richmond Park as well as along Embankment during my lunch hours.  I think it is therefore reasonable to suspect these trainers covered about 400km in the 14 months I had them.  I remember thinking how unique they looked because the laces were at an angle towards the inside of the trainer, presumable to match the contours of the foot.  They were quite a rigid pair of trainers and they certainly felt as if they gave me plenty of support to the ankle.

Briefly brought out of retirement in 2016 when I realised by Brooks Ravenna 5s were about to split open.  Went for a 15 mile run in them and then retired them again as soon as I was home.  They should have stayed retired.  It was only when I wrote this that I realised how old they were.

 

Mar 2012 – 29 Jul 2013

Asics GT-1000 – 100km ultra

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Asics GT-1000

As my running started to progress I bought these in March 2012 and had to quickly break them in for my first ultra in May.  They lasted me 1 year 4 months and I would say a rough distance covered in these trainers was around 500kms.  Although I found these trainers incredibly comfortable, the main thing against them was that they were too lightweight and didn’t feel like they were durable enough.  Given the distances I was running these were just not giving me the support I needed.  They would have been a fantastic trainer for distances up to 5km.

Having said that, these did me proud getting me through my first 100km ultra marathon.  The fact that I had a massive blister at the end of the race was not the fault of the trainers, but more to do with the fact that I had run through so much mud that my feet were soaking.  I had to retire these soon after my ultra, but we will never forget the emotional and very painful 22 hour journey we had together from London to Brighton.

 

29 Jul 2013 – 10 Feb 2014

Asics Gel-DS Trainer 17

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Asics Gel-DS Trainer 17

Having learnt my lesson on my previous trainers I bought these on the 29 Jul 2013 for £90.00.  I spoke to the staff at Sweatshop, had my gait analysed and discussed how far I was running.  After trying on a few recommended pairs, I went for these mostly because they felt comfortable and my loyalty to Asics. Even though they only lasted me about 7 months, I managed to cover around 550kms.  An average of 16.4p per km.  I felt as if the gel cushioning gave out far too quickly, resulting in me getting knee problems and shin splints.  I have been running off and on since I was 11 years old.  As I have grown older I have learnt that when I start to get shin splints, it is a strong indications that my trainers have worn out.  As soon as I change my trainers my shin splints disappear again.  Another thing that was troubling me slightly with these trainers was that the stitching on the side was starting to rub the inside edge of my foot.

 

10 Feb 2014 – 23 May 2016

Brooks Ravenna 5

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Brooks Ravenna 5

I bought these on the 10 Feb 2014 for £105.00 from a Sweatshop in Teddington.  I had always bought ASICS for as long as I can remember, however when I was in Sweatshop they didn’t have any ASICS that I liked or were in my size.  The staff recommended I try Brooks as they thought they would be ideal for my gait and the distances I was covering.  I must admit I was slightly apprehensive about changing brands, but given the minor issues I was having with my last pair of ASICS, I took the plunge and went for the Brooks.  I now know these were the best trainers I have ever had as they lasted me 2 years, 3 months!!! They also covered a staggering 1,400km and the only reason I had to stop wearing them was because the sides were torn and falling apart.  They were so reliable that I called them my ‘old faithfuls’.  Looking at the stats they have been a bargain working out at 7.5p per km.

 

23 May 2016 – Current

Brooks Ravenna 6

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Brooks Ravenna 6

After the performance of my last Brooks trainers, I went into Sweatshop in Windsor on the 23 May 2016 and automatically asked to see what Brooks they had.  I tried on a pair of Ravennas, Ghosts and Glycerin trainers.  After some debate with the shop assistance, some jumping around, jogging on the spot, ankle flexes and various other silly manoeuvres more akin to a Monty Python sketch, I chose the Ravennas.  Only after I chose them was I informed they were on offer at just £75.00.  I am now hoping the updated model last just as long as their predecessors.

 

 

Book Review: 26 Miles to the Moon

Not the kind of book that I usually read, however a number of my running friends had read 26 Miles to the Moon by Andrew Males and they had all given it a good account.  Word of mouth always goes a long way in my mind, so I picked up a copy and began reading.

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It took me about a week to read this book, which is usually a good indication on how much I am enjoying the story.  Such was my enjoyment that I even read a few chapters whilst sat on the bike in the gym.  Thankfully the gym was empty otherwise I may have received some pretty disapproving looks!

The book quickly develops and you soon start to build up an attachment to the lead character, Jon Dunn, especially when he is being lead astray by the mischievous Summer! Before you realise it the story has developed and moved to New York, where marathon training begins.  I suppose this is where I find myself being a little disappointed. As a runner I was rather hoping the story would go into more detail with the mental and physical side of preparations that a marathon would incur.  Instead more emphasis was placed on developing the relationship between Jon and Summer.

Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed reading this story, it is a page turner and the fact I read this whilst on an exercise bike is testament to this. It has a certain amount of adventure, some cracking humour that actually made me laugh out aloud, a villainous ice maiden, a visionary risk taker and of course your Mr average who could easily be you or I.

This is certainly a feel good book, which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. The author not only knows about the highs and unbelievable lows or running a marathon, he also knows in detail the route of the New York marathon.  Something that can only be achieved if you have been there, bled, hobbled, cried, doubted yourself, persevered, celebrated, worn the T-shirt and praised the medal!

Is this a runners book? I would say not quite.  It certainly has running in it and the author obviously knows about running marathons.  Does that actually make a difference?  Not at all.  This is a great read by this first time author.

I now find myself quietly anticipating his next book.

2015 Review

It’s remarkable how quickly the years go by and 2015 is no exception.  Only seems like yesterday that we moved into our new house and I was starting my new job.  But what about those New Year Resolutions that I set, how well or poorly have I done?

1.  Get away with the family on at least one holiday and three short breaks.  This was number one because it was the most important to me and we managed to achieve this target.

a.  North Wales.  We managed to get away for a Long weekend in January in Deganwy, Conwy, North Wales.

b.  St Leonards.  A long weekend in May on the South Coast.

c.  Aldeburgh, Suffolk.  A lovely midweek break in December before the Christmas week was due to begin

d.  Vouliagmeni, Greece.  The family holiday in July was to a baking hot Athens.

2.  Complete ten races at any distance.  I didn’t too badly at this as I managed to get six races completed.  I did interpret this resolution a little differently as I realised getting away to run races was not easy.  I did discover virtual races from my online running twitter community.  You sign up to a race, run the distance when you can, submit your evidence and then receive your medal in the post.  As well as being able to run in your own time, the other added bonus is that between 10-20% of the entry fee goes to charity.

My running highlights included the real race of ‘Hell Down South’ a 10 miles cross country race, the POW Virtual Half Marathon in September and the Poppy Challenge in November.  I was also happy at breaking my 5k PB, although I can’t seem to be able to break the sub 20 minutes.  The down side of the year was having a serious knee incident that required x-rays, MRIs and numerous appointments with my orthopaedic consultant.  After nearly 12 weeks I was finally given the all clear to start training again, with no real answers of what was wrong with my knee in the first place!

If I look at my overall stats for 2015 they look like:

a.  Running:  510km

b.  Cycling:  1311km

If I had thought about it in January I might have set a target of completing 2015km in 2015, in the end I was only actually 194km short!

3.  Read ten books.  I failed quite miserably on this target.  I managed to read five books in total, mostly on holiday.  This is quite embarrassing really.  Just shows we do not devote enough time reading anymore.

a.  Born to Run – Christopher McDougall

b.  Under The Eagle – Simon Scarrow

c.  The Eagle’s Conquest – Simon Scarrow

d.  When The Eagle Hunts – Simon Scarrow

e.  The Eagle and The Wolves – Simon Scarrow

4.  Study and pass my Education Course.  Thankfully I did complete this and I now have a Post Graduate Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership.  This did come with the unexpected bonus of giving me the post nominals PGDip.  If I can find the time and the finances I may complete my remaining 2 years of study and get my MBA. As with everything it is finding the time and prioritising what is most important.

5.  Publish a post on my Blog on average once a week.  This was somewhat ambitious and I knew that at the time I wrote it, which is why I listed it as the last of my resolutions.  Unfortunately finding the time to write and publish a worthwhile blog is not easy, maybe little  should be the subject of a few more blogs!  Whether writing blogs makes it onto my 2016 list I am not sure, if it does then I will have to be a bit more realistic and make it a more achievable target.

So looking back not too bad, I managed to live up to two resolutions, made a good attempt at another two and failed on the fifth!  Need to ensure for 2016 that I am a little more realistic on what I put down, but then they wouldn’t be resolutions if they were simple to do!