Fitness week recap – 7/8/2019

I’ve decided that I want to try something new in the blog for a few weeks. I’m going to try to do a weekly fitness recap each Sunday night of what I’ve done during the prior week. I’m looking for this to be a way to capture, not just the numbers and stats of my activities, but how it felt.

Week Starting 7/8/2019
 33.7 miles
 78.8 miles
Steps: 117,422
 (59.23 miles –  25.53 walking)

Impression: Had a busy weekend, and so this post slipped my mind last night. However, this week was back to the grind. I built back up to a 33 mile running week, and had my second highest week of biking ever. This was due in part to a nice 30 mile ride on the Paul Bunyan Trail up in the Baxter/Brainerd area.

That ride in particular was significant because for the final 10 miles I pushed hard. Despite being a pretty flat trail, the final miles on the southern end are rolling. I made the choice to see how hard I could push, and managed a sub-19 minute 5 mile segment in this area. It helped me understand more of what a hard bike workout should feel like.

My running this week was good, however the heat continues to suck. I know that heat is going to be an issue at Badger 100K, so I just need to get used to it. This coming week is going to be my final ramp up week, focusing on as much race day simulation as possible.

Shoe review: Saucony Peregrine ISO

Much of my trail running happens in one of two different shoe models, the Brooks Cascadia and the Saucony Peregrine. For years these have been my go-to shoes, racking up 1,147 miles in various Cascadia models, and 525 miles in Peregrines. Despite having a slight issue with one of my last pairs of Peregines (the insole slipped a bit after 300 miles), I still loved the shoe and racked up a ton of miles on it. I also gave the Peregrine ICE shoes a try this last winter, and I’ve still got enough life in them to use them again this season.

My daily road runner is the Saucony Guide ISO, and I LOVE the ISO platform in those shoes, so when I saw that Saucony was bringing the ISO platform to the Peregrine I had to give it a shot. I picked up a pair about 50 miles ago and have been putting them through my standard trails that I train on, including Afton State Park. If you’re looking for the TL;DR… I have never worn a more comfortable trail shoe than the Peregrine ISO. Period. Stop.

When I first slipped in to the Peregrines there was familiarity. It felt like a Guide ISO in many ways, but also like the old Peregrine. However, the Peregrine ISO felt more soft and supple, and my foot felt like it was sliding into a comfortable slipper. The gusseted tongue was soft and comfortable, and because of the way that the lacing overlays are separated, it still felt light and free. The overall fit was great for my foot and I’ve had zero issue with it on any of my runs.

The outsole is nice and aggressive, and after a misstep with removing the strike plate from the last (pre-ISO) model, they brought it back giving solid protection underfoot. There’s a lot of padding on the back of the heel, which might not appeal to some people, but for me it works well. I still feel like I get a solid lock, though perhaps in time it could break down more than I want.

The shoe is also very breathable, due in part to the way the overlays are separate, and not one big piece. The overlays on the toe box are sparse, and it reminds me of an Altra in this area. I do wonder if the sides of the toe box will eventually wear prematurely (similar to what I’ve heard about Altra), but so far they seem to be solid. As for laces, they are the standard Peregrine laces from years past, which work just fine.

Where this shoe really shines for me is in the comfort department. All of Saucony’s ISO shoes have “EVERUN” foam as the topsole, which provides an incredible amount of comfort. It’s one of the reasons I fell in love with their Guide ISO road shoes a few years ago. In a trail shoe, with a soft protective outsole, this comfort shines. I noticed this on one of my first runs in the shoe. I was out for a 20 mile run around Elm Creek with a friend, and I never felt any discomfort in my feet until mile 16. I even remarked about it to my running partner, and how wild it was that it took that long to really feel the miles.

I find this even more impressive because all of this cushioning doesn’t come at the cost of extra weight. Here’s a comparison to a couple of other shoes in size 9.5.

  • 11.05oz Peregrine ISO
  • 12.3oz Books Cascadia 12
  • 10.6oz Saucony Guide ISO

The fact that the Peregrine is over a full ounce less than the Cascadia means a lot on really long runs. Two ounces (one for each foot) might not sound like much, but when you’re running 18+ miles, with 40,000+ footfalls, it adds up fast. One might suggest that the Brooks Caldera could be a better comparison to the Peregrine, so I might give that a shot once my Cascadias are done.

It’s this comfort over the long run that really makes me love this shoe. I’ve taken it out on multiple runs of 18-20 mile distance, and despite any other issues I might have with my body, my feet have never been one. Coming from a traditional shoe like the Cascadia, this was a refreshing change. Saucony really hit a home run, for me, with this shoe, and I highly recommend people give it a try.

Fitness week recap – 7/1/2019

I’ve decided that I want to try something new in the blog for a few weeks. I’m going to try to do a weekly fitness recap each Sunday night of what I’ve done during the prior week. I’m looking for this to be a way to capture, not just the numbers and stats of my activities, but how it felt.

Week Starting 7/1/2019
13.3 miles
25.7 miles
Steps: 78,672
 (38.53 miles –  25.23 walking)

Impression: As I hoped, this week ended up being a nice down week for me. I didn’t run or bike until Thursday, and then just minimal miles. I felt like my body needed a solid rest, and that’s what it got. My runs were short, and my Sunday was more of a hike than a run as Lisa and I explored the river road. Likewise, my bike rides were nice and short as well, with just a couple jaunts for breakfast.

I did end up with a full day on Saturday working the Afton Trail Race, but I was mostly standing in one spot, so it was more just time on feet, than any type of training. I’m looking forward to trying to get back to it next week. I’m less than a month away from the 100K, and I’m feeling pretty darn ready.

Life of adventures

As I’ve gotten into mid-life, I’ve learned more and more about who I am as a person. As I’ve looked back on things I love and enjoy doing and I’ve stared to discover a theme. I like exploration and adventure.

When I was 16 I wanted to get my driver’s license as quickly as possible. I had grown up without a car and I was getting tired of taking the bus everywhere. Plus, I wanted the freedom to go wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted to. Don’t get me wrong, I was an explorer by bus as well. We would go all over the Twin Cities, transferring from bus to bus, all the time. I would explore on my own, riding the bus at a young age. But a car… that was freedom. It took me 3 times to pass my driver’s test, but when I did, the very next day I went for a long drive. I went out to Stillwater and just enjoyed being free and seeing what I wanted to see.

When I got to college and adulthood I would also do a lot of walking. There were times when I would walk for hours, seeing if I could get somewhere on my own two feet. With the arrival of kids my walking became more confined to times when we went for a walk as a family, but when the kids were young, a long drive around the Twin Cities to get them to fall asleep wasn’t unheard of.

After my divorce I was living in Saint Paul for a couple of years, and I would usually park my car after work on Friday and then not drive it again until Monday morning. That meant doing all of my shopping and exploration by foot. It was a great way to clear my head, and I loved the challenge of going farther away without needing a vehicle.

When I moved back to Fridley I got a bike and starting doing a bit more riding. During this time I had also gotten in to running, and eventually trail running, which gave me another outlet for exploration. Most days I would just run my normal routes, but every now and then I would decide to just head a random direction, and figure it out as I went. Trail running also gave this sense of adventure, racing on new trails, or exploring a new park on the weekends.

A couple of years ago my wife and I picked up a small pop-up camping trailer. We discovered that we were spending a lot of money on hotels because we both liked getting out of town on the weekends. This opened up a whole new avenue of exploration as we could set up a home base as just about any campground we could find. It’s led us to explore as many of the Minnesota Sate Parks as possible, even if it’s just for a quick one night getaway.

This year I’ve decided to really pick up more of the biking. My work is in downtown Minneapolis and don’t have parking provided. So this means that I need to either take the train/bus or bike to work. It’s opened up a whole new arena of adventure as I’ve had to figure out bike and bus routes to get me where I need to be, when I need to be there. It’s also slowed my commute down a bit, and allowed me time to look around and relax, instead of stressing in rush hour traffic.

All of this is to say that I’ve discovered that I really love adventures. As I look back on all these different facets of my life, it’s shown me that I’m happiest when I’m exploring and discovering new things. Even in my athletic endeavors I look forward to the journey, and seeing if I can make it to the destination, more than the act of competing. I think that’s a big reason why winter ultra marathons are so fascinating to me, and I’m anxious to try my first one this coming December.

I think a lot of this has to do with one of my key strengths in the StrengthsFinder profile which is Input. The strength of Input means that I’m a cataloger and collector. I like to put things in order and look at the systems around things. I believe that many of my adventuring tendencies are in some ways, an attempt to catalog memories of the world. A way to collect new experiences to my overall store of knowledge.

Knowing this about myself helps me to think about how I want to spend my time. It helps me prioritize what I want to do on weekends, or with my time off. I feel like I’ve really honed in on something that’s important to me, and that’s a great feeling to have. I don’t know that anything drastic will change in my life, as we’ve tended to be rather adventurous anyway, but knowing this gives some great context to the antsy feelings I get frequently. It makes me understand that even a simply bike ride for coffee on a Sunday morning can help scratch that itch that is my love of adventure.

Quick Review: Niterider Sabre 80

A few weeks ago I was on my usual Wednesday night Beer & Bikes ride, and as usual I had my rear tail light flashing on the way down. Even though it was daylight, I find it’s a good practice to be illuminated as much as possible when traveling on busy city streets. When we arrived at the brewery I discovered that my rear light was no longer functioning. I assumed the battery had died prematurely, and since I had a rear helmet light with me, I didn’t worry about it.

However, when I returned home I discovered that my light wouldn’t take a charge, and was basically dead. I’ve had this tail light for a long time, and it’s been used and abused, so I wasn’t very surprised. This led me to start looking at a replacement. I really like the Bontrager lights, but they are a bit more expensive than I want, and plus I had just bought a Niterider mount for my rear rack a week before. As I went through the Niterider catalog, I decided to give the Sabre 80 a shot.

This light is economically priced, and despite putting out only 80 lumens, it seemed plenty bright. I’ve had it for a couple of weeks now have found it to be a solid performer. When I first got the light I had to spend some time figuring out how to get to the correct flashing settings. There are two modes on the light, a solid mode, where you get different brightness levels of a solid light, and a blinking mode. In the blinking mode there are a variety of settings, including a quick flashing setting that is my go-to for visibility and attention getting.

To switch between modes you need to hold the single button down until the mode switches. It takes a good 5-7 seconds of holding the button to get anything to happen, which makes it somewhat un-intuitive. Once you’re in your desired mode you can switch between the different settings with a single button push. The single button operation makes it a breeze to operate, once you understand what the button does.

I came to discover that a fellow Beer & Bikes rider had the same light, and so after being behind him at night, I feel confident that the Sabre 80 is a perfectly acceptable tail light. It’s bright, and has multiple modes, and it’s simple to operate. The battery life is the one weak spot, with only an hour or so at it’s max solid brightness level. However, in the flashing mode that I use I’ve never come close to running out of power. As with any tail light you should plan to recharge it every night that you use it. It’s just a good habit to get in to, so that you’re never left stranded.

For $30 you can’t really go wrong for a nice, simple, bike tail light. The Sabre 80 is a solid performer, and at the price, if you drop it and break it, you won’t feel that bad.