Sunday, April 12, 2009

Boston Bound Shoes

Now that the physical evidence from the “flu attack” is almost all gone and the psychological damage is too after the “treadmill incident that nobody saw”, it’s time to move beyond sickness recovery phase and start making plans for Boston.

It is obvious that as runners, we need relatively little "gear" to perform well in our sport. Some would even argue that the simpler (or less-equpped) the runner, the better the racer. However, even the simplest runner knows that he won’t get very far very fast if he’s not wearing the right shoes. Now, I realize that I haven’t talked about my shoes much. That’s because I haven’t had much shoe drama in a very long time. I’ve been using a combination of Asics 2130/2140 for longer runs since last summer and a pair of Saucony ProGrid Triumphs for tempo runs and longer races. (I also have a pair of Pearl Izumi racing flats that use for short races and track work). This symphony of shoes has worked well for me in training but all simultaneously passed the 300 mile mark late last month. This made me somewhat hesitant to use any of them for the actual marathon. What to do? Which to use? Old or new? These had been questions that I’ve been tossing around in my mind before I got sick

In my defense, I had been preparing for such a scenario. Because I found a nice pair of New Balance 1223s (which carried me to my first BQ in 2007) on sale a couple months back, I grabbed it figuring to either run Boston in them or just train with them through the summer. However, once I took them for a test long run and then a tempo run, I found out that the toe box was tight and the heel support did not fit me the right way. My Achilles and knees definitely complained each time. But since I thought I was imagining things since both runs occurred as part of a tough 50+ mile week, I took them out for a spin again a couple of days ago, and the same thing happened again! This was a big bummer because I had such success with them the first time around when I ran over 500+ miles before I literally forced myself to retire them for good. Panic struck when I finally accepted that the NB 1223 Boston Marathon Shoe plan had to be restructured. So after getting off work an hour early Friday afternoon, I laid my old/new 1223s on the side of the curb, thanked them for their past services and headed over to the new JackRabbit store on 85th and 3rd to conduct new interviews for the position.

To make the long story short, I found there a knowledgeable staff who ran me through a full comprehensive gait analysis and watched me try out about ten pairs of shoes on video before helping me pick out the right candidate for the position. So after 45 minutes of intense examination and scrutiny, both the sales person and I came to the conclusion that these new kicks will not only carry me far and fast in Boston, but complements my running rebel personality as well.
For those who haven’t met, these are the new Brooks Defyance 2 running shoes, which came into the market in December of 2008. Since I’m not that familiar with Brooks as I’ve never worn them before, I’ll spare you my cursory introduction and direct you to a video detailing some of its features (if you're interested). What I like most of the shoe is that it is lighter and less stable than any of the other marathon shoes I’ve ever used (Apparently, I was told during my gait analysis that I really do have a very efficient gait and don’t overpronate as much as I think which means that extra stability is not warranted. This was somewhat surprising to hear since I’ve always categorized myself as an overpronator.) Also, it has a bit wider toe box while maintaining a well-cushioned and snug midfoot and ankle fit. I think I’m going to enjoy running in Defyance!

Because yesterday was just all nasty and rainy, I didn’t get to test it out, but today is a perfectly beautiful and sunny day so I’m dying to try them out on my last weekend 10-12 miler. I can hardly wait.

24 comments:

Jeff Tse said...

Jackrabbit will love the PR.

Michelle said...

Hey I told you on FB I run in the Brooks Defyance too!! I was evaluated at Jackrabbit and they suggested them to me. I really do love them. They were comfy from the moment I put them on. Granted, I am no where near the runner you are, but I think you will love them too!!!!

joyRuN said...

Perfect timing on this post. My shoes are getting flat, & I'm 3 weeks out of my marathon. Glad I'm not too late to break in a new pair!

Cowboy Hazel said...

I'd be scared to switch to a new shoe so close to the marathon. I bought two of the same a little after the beginning of my training and figured out that will put them right around 300 miles for the race. Good luck with the new pair, though, hopefully my comments don't jinx them.

Mike G said...

I'd like to hear more about how these work for you. I've been thinking of getting a pair of Brooks Defyance for a while. Only thing is I'm a bit worried I'll like them too much and mothball my 4 pairs of (admittedly tired) Shox. But Nike gets enough money - I'm ready to support an independent.

I'm especially curious about how they hold up because you know how some running shoes fade fast - Mizuno I'm looking at you.

D10 said...

I love my Brooks! I have gone through 4 pairs now and have had no trouble with them. Hope you enoy them as much as I do.

Running and living said...

I had a similar shoe drama a couple of weeks ago. I found an OK pair, but I am still searching. I am glad that everything is coming together so nicely for you as we get closer to the race. Ana-Maria

Marci said...

Glad to read you are feeling better. I can relate to your last few posts. Congrats on the new kicks!

The Happy Runner said...

I luuuuuuuurve my Brooks! I hope yours work out well!

Susan said...

Yay for new shoes! I love my Brooks (Adrenaline!), and I hope you do too!

Ms. V. said...

I just really like the name.

TokyoRacer said...

Hi. I found your blog from Julianne's.
I wore Asics for two marathons and my forefoot area got very sore after 30k. A Brooks rep came to Tokyo and ran with my club and I told him about that. He said that Asics shoes tend to be soft in that area, they deliberately make them feel "cushiony." He said that Brooks emphasizes firmer support and I should try the Ghost. I did (at Napa Valley last month, 3:09:58) and they were great. I am going with Brooks from now on (although I am also intrigued with Newtons, but probably not for marathons).
Have a great race!
Bob

Jess said...

I used to run in the Defyance! I switched to the Adrenalines after I needed some extra stability, but I still keep pairs of Defyance around for shorter runs. I don't stray away from Brooks because I love the wider toe box and the narrower heel...fits my foot perfectly. Hope you like them, and glad to hear you are feeling better!

Run For Life said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Run For Life said...

I've always wanted to get a video gait analysis done just to double check my choices. Good decision on grabbing a new pair, hope the christening run went smoothly!

J said...

Hope the new shoes worked well for the run!

NY Wolve said...

Good luck on the new shoes! I just switched from Asics 2130/40 to the Brooks Trance. The new 2140 produced large blisters on my heel and Achilles pain, but I also chalked it up to not being broken in. My first replacement was New Balance 767. Not so good.
But the Brooks Trance is like a dream. (Haven;t tried the Defyance yet.) The Trance is light, stable and very comfortable -- and no blisters or heel pain; a revelation after struggling for awhile in 2140's.
I hope you like yours as much as I like mine. Good Luck!

Spike said...

break in those new shoes and have a great race, only 1 week away! And, just so you don't feel so bad, I've also gone off a treadmill. So I know exactly how you feel!

Jamie said...

Can't wait to hear how the brooks work out for you! I too need to head to the local running store and check out some new kicks.

M*J*C said...

YAYYYY!!!! You "sound" great today, so happy to read that everything is falling into place! You are going rock Boston!!!!

aron said...

glad you found some awesome shoes!!!! they will be ready to rock it in one week!

X-Country2 said...

The orange is pretty cute, which for me is about 75% of how I decide on shoes. :o)

Nitmos said...

You're three timing your shoes?

Hope they don't find out about each other. Do you store them in seperate closests?

lindsay said...

love the new shoes. hope the inaugural run goes/went well. i mean with this economy you'd think they'd be doing all they can to get the job done so they don't get fired too.

glad the sickness is gone!

 
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