Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Ghost runner, and shoe dilemma

Anyone read The Ghost Runner: Epic Journey of the Man They Couldn't Stop? It popped up under my Amazon reads and looks odd, which means it looks good, at least in my eyes.

Other news: Ran eight solid miles Sunday, took yesterday off just 'cause I wanted to. Today: Either 12 miles average pace or 8 miles speedwork.

Guess which one I shall pick?

Normally I'd take the 12 miler; the longer the distance, the better. But I have an urge to push myself fast so probably it will be speedwork. (I love to push myself, love that moment when I can't stand it and want to stop but miraculously keep going. I'm kind of addicted to that moment.)

And yet more news: Shoes. I need new shoes. I've transitioned to a mid-foot strike while running and want something lighter, with less of a heel and a wider toe box. I'm thinking of Nike Flex. I love how they feel on my feet.

Yet they aren't a high end shoe, and this worries me (or am I simply a snob?). I've been running in Asics for five years and have had NO writing related injuries, which given my age and the fact that I've been logging 1200-1600 miles a year, is almost miraculous.

Yet the Asics (Gel Nimbus) has been getting narrower and narrower in the toe with each new model, and my feet feel squished. It's time for something new. I like the Flex more than anything I've tried so far.

I always wear low-end shoes on trails, usually Adidas Kanadia, which is super flexible, has great traction and very little cushioning.

But trails are softer, and the constantly changing terrain means constantly changing foot strike. You don't need a cushioned shoe. Mainly, you need protection from roots and scree and damned good footing, which the Kanadia delivers.

Pavement is a different animal. And I do a lot of summer running on the paved bike trail system, which is why I'm considering Nike Flex. I have over 700 miles on my Asics and they're still going strong, but soon I'll have to replace them. It feels sad to replace them. They've been so good to me.

Usually I go by feel, not features, but I think this time I'll need to try on more options, just to be certain. I see this is my future:

Oh, be still thy heart: Shoes!!!

Shoe shopping at Skinny Raven, my favorite running store in Anchorage. Okay, it's the only running store in Anchorage, but it's still great. What I love is that the running shoe salesperson are mostly hunky young runners, and they spend a lot of time with you, take you seriously and really work hard to find the best shoe. They'll even analyze your gait on the computer (I'm a neutral runner, with almost perfect form, according to the good looking dark-haired dude. When he informed me of this I wanted to say, "Then why the hell can't I run faster?" but I kept my mouth shut.)

I doubt that Skinny Raven carries Nike Flex, of course; they aren't considered a "true" running shoe. The pair I tried on was at Sports Authority because I'm cheap and love a bargain (Sorry, Skinny Raven). Heck, I'd buy my shoes at Costco if they carried them.

Question: What's your financial limit for races? I just saw the Her Tern, a woman's half-marathon co-sponsored by Skinny Raven, and the entry fee is $110 if you register now, $120 after May 1 and $150 race day. Yikes! I won't even spend that much on a marathon. Am I cheap or is this ridiculously expensive, even by Alaska standards?

Happy running and cheapo shoe shopping, everyone.


  1. $110 to suffer? No thanks. I am opposed to paying to run. Did it for years. Now I just shuffle along on my own. After three decades of running I've evolved into that, but I like it. Anyhow, I've always been curious about one thing. If minimalist shoes are the way to go, why is it bad to run in worn out regular shoes?

    1. I wonder the same thing! Also, if minimalist shoes are the best, wouldn't cheap shoes be just as good, if not better, than the expensive cushioning versions?
      Think I'm going to start shuffling along on my own, too, or at least more and more.
      Cheers and happy hiking,

  2. $110 is ridiculously expensive, that's more than I usually pay for a marathon. There's a really fun and mostly fast trail half in North Pole (if you're up for the drive) called Santa Claus Half Marathon that is like $25. Comes with a t-shirt but no medal.

    I'm a neutral runner that needs a wide forefoot too. Have you ever tried Brooks Launch or their Pure series? Both Matt and I have love them. Worth at least trying on at Skinny Raven (and I second the hunky hunky runner salesmen thing, yummy).

    1. Thanks, Karen! I'll check out the North Pole Race (probably has Santa's running across the shirt, no?). I'll give the Brooks Launch a try at Skinny Raven, I've heard good things about them. I tried the Pure but the model I bought (and later returned) was so skimy that I doubt it would have lasted a week on trails. I often veer from pavement to trails so my pavement shoe has to be strong enough to withstand mud, twigs, rocks, water, etc.
      Maybe I will secretly photo some of the yummy salesmen, just for fun.

  3. I wouldn't usually pay that much but if it was a race I really wanted to do I would. I LOVE racing and probably wouldn't run if I didn't race so I have a different perspective.
    BTW I am enjoying the heck out of your book.

    1. That's so funny. We are complete opposites. I love running but hate racing, hee, hee.
      Cheers and glad you're enjoying my book (thanks so much for reading it, too!).