Archive for marathon

Posted in Stuff with tags , , , , , on April 15, 2013 by brianestover

A bomb at the Boston Marathon. Sports, the one event where no matter your religion, nationality, color or particular bent, it’s the one place, at least at the worlds greatest sporting events, where everyone joins together and differences are put aside. When I think of sporting event that do this I think of the World Cup, Pele and billions of people tuned in to watch the final match. People holding their breath on every shot waiting for that magical moment when someone launches a shot across the penalty box just out of reach of the goalie’s outstretched fingertips and puts the ball in the top far corner just inches from striking the cross or side bar and falling harmlessly to the pitch. I think of the Olympics, where people get out of bed or stay up to all hours of the night and day. They do this to watch their favorite sports and athletes. They also do this to watch for obscure sports. It’s the one time in four years where people stop what they are doing to watch events like table tennis, canoeing, ski jumping or curling. I also think of the worlds great marathons, London, Rotterdam, NYC and Boston to name a few. Boston, the Monday Marathon. The marathon is a test not only of the swiftest but of the smartest and the riskiest. Can you take that flyer from 20k to go and make it stick? Do you hide in the pack hoping to launch a move that brings you glory, can you reach deep inside and embrace a new level of pain and suffering to literally go the extra mile before breaking down and falling off the pace? Sometimes that roll of the dice, just sometimes it pays off.

But now that great tradition has been soiled. It’s not just a great Bostonian tradition or American tradition but a great worldwide tradition, it belongs to all of us. Over 90 different countries are represented in Boston, all of the major religions and many of the minor ones. An attack on the marathon is an attack against all of us around the world. It’s designed to rip the fabric that binds people together no matter where you live. Your beliefs may be different, but your belief in the suffering required to do Boston is the same. You may race someone down to the wire, but cross that line and it’s high fives. You each are better than you were because of that race.

Endurance athletes are bound together, it’s literally in our blood. We can look at any race anywhere in the world and instantly sympathize with those on the starting line. We know their toils, their sacrifices, the time spent suffering through the miles. If you meet someone at a race, no matter who they are you have a common bond. This is what we can not let someone take away from us. That shared sense of community that being an endurance athlete brings, that shared sense of community that the biggest sporting events in the world brings. That togetherness knowing that right then, while you are watching the final match in the World Cup, or you are running miles for That race, that someone else, somewhere else is doing the same thing.

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Asics GT-2000

Posted in Product Review with tags , , , , , , on March 29, 2013 by brianestover

I’ve finally started running enough to actually put some miles on shoes to test them out. Recently the ABQ Running Shop was kind enough to send me some shoes to run in. I’ve got a few pair to review. Today’s review will be the GT-2000.

The GT-2000 replaces Asics’s long running string of shoes that started with the 2001 about 2 decades ago. Asics had gotten up to the 2170’s. While not every shoe in that string was a success, the overwhelming majority of those shoes sold well and were the go to shoes for millions of runners. You could go to any race or group run and easily find numerous people wearing a shoe in that succession of shoes. The GT-2000 has impressive pedigree to live up to.

Asics GT-2000

Asics GT-2000

Live up it does. In fact, this shoe surpasses the previous generations of Asics shoes. The first thing you notice is the GT-2000’s are lighter than their predecessors. The claimed weight is 11.4oz but they feel lighter when running in them. The ride is a lower to the ground and the shoe feels more flexible. With the previous editions these shoes always needed three or four runs to feel good and progressively felt better over the first 100 miles before settling into that happy spot. The GT-2000’s felt nimble, sure footed and comfortable in the first mile. If you have higher volume feet, Asics recently has been short changing you on lace length. That’s no longer the case, these shoes tie with enough lace to easily double knot. There is enough room for my wider and higher then normal feet in the front of the shoe. No pinching or constriction. The heel is snug around my narrower then normal heels. I’ve got these laced through the second set of eyelets at the top of the shoe to help snug it against my heel.

There are some carryover features that the previous line of Asics’s were known for. The Guidance Trusstic System, the Impact Guidance System, the Dynamic Doumax Support System and gel pads both heel and forefoot are all carry overs and found in this shoe. The outsole continues using AHAR, their version of high abrasion blown rubber with the DuraSponge blown rubber in the forefoot. They use Solyte in their dual density midsole.

The one thing that didn’t carry over was the ride. The ride of the GT-2000’s is even better then the shoes that came before it. The ride of the 2150’s and 2160’s is stiffer and less nimble. The GT-2000’s run much better. They are more comfortable out of the box, no break in period needed. You notice you are lower, more stable and these shoes are more supple in the way they run. I’ve run in many, many brands of running shoes and none of them ride quite like Asics. None of the recent Asics in the GT-2000’s genetic tree ran this well. It’s a noticeable improvement from the previous models which were already superior to most if not all of the shoes in their category in ride.

The number one thing that holds other shoe companies back from being as good as Asics is the ride of their shoes. There is no sweeter ride, no shoe brand that feels better or is as consistent as you go through their line or go from year to year as Asics. Once other companies figure this out, they may go from being a silver or bronze medalist shoe to a gold medalist shoe. But for now, Asics still stands atop the podium. The GT-2000 may have tightened their grasp on gold.

GT-2000 toe box and heel

GT-2000 toe box and heel

The outsole’s seem to be holding up well on the groomed trials I run on. They are covered with a mix of sand and pebbles, outsoles that are soft tend to wear rather quick. These are holding up great, maybe even better than the Asics 2160’s. I’ve not taken them on the really rough trails yet. Everything I’ve seen and felt while running in these shoes gives me the confidence that they will do well on trails that surround Tucson.

My one complaint is with the laces near the very top of the shoe. The first few times I noticed they fell in a different spot on the lateral aspects of my foot. I’ve got them laced up a bit differently then the promo shot on the Asics shoe page. I’ve got the laces going through the lace holder sewn onto the tongue one eyelet closer to the top. Going around corners I found them to dig into the lateral aspects where the laces come out of the shoes from the last eyelet. The only reason I noticed this is it’s something that has never happened before in any shoe that I can remember. After playing around with the lacing some and with over 100 miles on these shoes, I’ve not noticed this any more. Maybe I’m used to it, maybe I’ve got the laces in their sweet spot. This shoe is so good though that it would take more then this, much more, for me to not end up with a second and third pair. If you enjoyed running in the previous editions such as the 2140’s, 2150’s and 2160’s you will be ecstatic when running in the GT-2000’s. This shoe is a far superior shoe to the shoes it replaces. Asics took a step forward with this shoe and maybe put more distance on the rest of the brands that live in the structured cushioning category.

A look inside the GT-2000s

A look inside the GT-2000s

Consistency and Volume

Posted in Triathlon with tags , , , , , , , on February 4, 2012 by brianestover

This post is about why consistency matters and why overall volume matters for running. I also realize I owe you guys the third installment of It’s Not About the Track. Right now the first two installments of that series are most relevant for triathletes looking to race well this spring and summer.

Why does consistency matter so much? It’s consistency that facilitates the training effect. It’s the day after day training that enables you to improve. Being consistent gives you the ability to do things in training an inconsistent athlete can’t do. If they are brave enough to do it, it will bury them taking them away from being consistent for a few days. If you are consistently running 30 miles per week 5 days per week and you decide to go run an extra 30 minutes one day, it’s that consistency and volume that enables you to range up without dinging yourself too much. If you are running 5 days per week, your improvement will be greater and your ability to do a large workload higher then the athlete who runs 5 days one week, two days the next, then four days, then 3 days. Workload matters. The higher your workload the more you can do. The more you can do, the faster you improve. It’s hard to have a high, consistent workload if you are inconsistent. Consistency is the foundation a high workload is built on. Consistency also breeds volume.

Nick Baldwin

Volume is important because it’s the volume that allows you a greater margin of error in your racing. If you are only running 25 miles per week your run fitness will not match that of someone running 35 miles per week. Your margin of error pacing the bike, no matter how great your bike fitness, is smaller the less volume you consistently average. The worse you pace the bike the more your run suffers regardless of run fitness. The less volume you run, the more your run suffers due to early run pacing errors. You have less room to screw things up with less volume. Or conversely, the more volume you consistently have, the more you can screw things up and still end up with a good result. Even if you pace the bike properly, the more fit of a runner you are, the more likely you are to pull that rabbit out of the hat when you screw up. You can be the best biker out there, but if your run is crap, you will be seeing lots of butts pass you by. Low volume typically yields crappy runs.

To sum things up, consistency allows your workload to be higher. Higher workloads allow you to improve faster. More volume makes you a fitter runner, sooner. A higher volume of weekly running also gives you more room to screw things up in a race and still have a good result.