Weekend Recap: The Search for New Trail Shoes

I love weekends… not just because I’m not in front of the computer all day, but more because I just feel a lot more rested and less antsy.

After the race course pre-run last weekend, I decided that I really need a new pair of trail running shoes. The ones I have been using are nice and light, but they don’t give me as much support as I need. Minh and I stopped by three (yes.. THREE) running stores this weekend, and the search for trail running shoes was a failure. All I wanted was to try out the Brooks Cascadia 5 and Avia Stoltz and choose from those two shoes.. is that SO MUCH to ask???

First we went to Road Runner Sports. Minh wanted to try out the Shoe Dog and get a new pair of running shoes (he’s pretty much worn out the ones he has with over three years of “running” and two half marathons). He hates running, but has noticed that his endurance has been slowly declining since he’s stopped.

Checking out his balance and pressure distribution...

Barefoot running on the treadmill..

Getting custom molded insoles made up for his high arches

I tried on a couple of trail shoes that they had there, but unfortunately, they don’t carry Avia (at all) and didn’t have either of the Brooks trail shoes in my size. The shoes I did try on (um..  Nike, Pearl Izumi, and some other brand that has slipped my mind) didn’t work out too well. The Pearl Izumi shoes had the best feel, but still not quite right. Just the fit and the feel of the shoe didn’t work well for me. FAIL #1. Minh came away with a new pair of running shoes…

Saucony ProGrid Paramount 3

… with custom fit insoles. I finally caved and got a HALO visor and some new Yankz! laces for my race shoes.

New YANKZ! laced-in and ready to RACE!

Saturday was a huge debacle in terms of training.. ok.. not THAT huge. Just a misunderstanding between Minh and me regarding what I actually wanted to do and what he thought I wanted to do. I originally wanted to head down to CDM for some open-water swimming and then a couple laps around Back Bay on the bike. What we ended up doing was only biking, straight from the house, up the river to Imperial Hwy and back. When we got to Imperial, we decided to stop in A Runner’s Zone to see if they carried Avia Stoltz (they don’t, but they are one of the few local running stores that even CARRIES Avia shoes).  They only carried 4 different pairs of women’s trail shoes in only 2 brands (New Balance and Inov-8).  FAIL #2. The ride home was tough. My legs started to feel like Jell-O. Probably because I was STARVING and had ZERO energy…. my first BONK in a LONG LONG time.

After we got cleaned up, we headed to Hot Off the Grill (just opened near home) for some cheeseburgers. They weren’t awesome, but weren’t too bad either. The price was good for what it was.

Cheeseburger and fries - nothing to write home about..

After lunch, we headed over to A Snail’s Pace to see if they had any trail shoes. I would have to say that the selection at a Snail’s Pace isn’t as large as Road Runner, but still more than A Runner’s Zone. They carried the Brooks Cascadia 5, but not in my size. FAIL #3. They also had a few Vibram Five Finger “shoes” and actually in my size, so I tried on a pair. I’ve been wanting to try on a pair FOREVER, but REI never carries my size. Now, I can say I’ve tried them on, and the verdict is IN! I don’t like them. Maybe my toes are just long or not “normally” shaped, but my big toe especially felt smashed and squished in the shoe. That, and the fit was still not right. It also seemed like over time, the straps or edges would start to rub and chafe. At least now I can stop thinking about getting a pair since I know I won’t like them. (Not the case for everyone, because my uncle LOVES THEM!!).

We headed back to Minh’s for the afternoon. He wanted to swap parts over from his S-Works HT to his old HardRock. He’s going to sell off the S-Works frame and some extra wheels we had and get himself a Hooligan. He’s finally decided that he’s just going to go ahead and buy it rather than waiting around for a deal to come up. He’s been wanting one for over a year. I had set aside some $$$ already to get him one for Christmas, but he can’t wait. So now what am I supposed to get him???

Hmm.. what skewers to use??? so many to chose from...

While he was working on his bike, I was working on re-evaluating my training schedule from now till the “end of the season”, which is the Silverman Triathlon for me (this year). It’s been tough for me to figure out a training plan that I can stick to that doesn’t make me tired or burned out.. and still allows me time to rest and do other things. I’ve finally got it figured out, at least for now. Once the “season” is over, I’ll be re-evaluating my training plan for 2011 and making my workouts more focused. Essentially, what I’m going to do is actually READ and USE  Joe Friel‘s Triathlete’s Training Bible rather than just skimming it and reading captions.

I also went ahead and ordered a pair of Avia Stoltz from FinishLine. They don’t carry them in-store, but they do have them online. I found a sweet coupon too.. so it came out to just over $100. Hopefully, the come soon and I can try them out before the Xterra Point Mugu Trail Run.

Sunday was another change of plans in the training weekend. I was supposed to meet a friend to run the Back Bay Loop in the morning. He ended up cancelling because he had a late night on Saturday. So rather than driving down to run Back Bay alone (which I could have done), I decided to park the truck next to Mile Square Park and 12 miles (3 laps), using the car as an “aid station”. I ended up doing only two laps, but still made really good time. Cut the run short because my stomach was starting to act up and my knees were just starting to get a little twinge of pain.

The rest of Sunday was pretty relaxed. Closed out the weekend with a home-cooked meel (FINALLY!). Minh and I have been eating out pretty much every night lately, just because it’s fast and easy. It’s been getting a little tiresome though. I had some Sweet Potato Pasta from Pappardelle’s, so I decided to try out one of their recipes. Post and recipe forthcoming, but it turned out GREAT! Way better than eating out.

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