Friday, 2 October 2015

VLM Ballot. Spiderman or Bumblebee

Ha.  Spent 2 and a bit days waiting for either the Spiderman or Bumblebee magazine and look what turned up in my inbox instead.

6th successive rejection.

Gutted.  Absolutely gutted.

I'll put my rejection into the club draw in November and hope to win one of three places but there's a smaller chance in that than the 1 in 15 chance in the regular ballot.

Why dont you run for charity I hear you say?

I'm sorry but I have no inclination to run for charity. I run for me and me alone. Who is going to sponsor me to run a marathon when I've run 5 already before? It just isnt reasonable to beg friends & family for money. Been there, done it and never again.

So what next?
Who knows.  I'm just too pissed off right now.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Product Review: Brooks Glycerin 13

Following the brief 15 mile flirtation with the Ghost 7s, I had a couple of runs out in my now retired Brooks Glycerin 12s.  I really havent been a fan but they have serviced me well.  Well almost.  I've only just managed to squeeze out 300 miles from them which has been awful in comparison to the way the old Glycerin 11s used to hold up.

A Friday afternoon LSR of 13.1m, my longest run since Brighton in April was a test.  If I'm honest, there's now way I should have been running in the 12s as they are well past their sell by date now.  Running the odd 5k or 10k would be manageable but 13.1 miles was a significant test of my resolve.  Next to no cushioning and after 5-6 miles, the shock of every stride could be felt through the achilles and calves.  Not ideal nor recommended.

Having put myself through that run, I took it easy over the weekend and as promised by Lyz at Brooks Running, the new Glycerin 13s arrived part way through Monday, taken in by our ever-so-lovely neighbour, Angela.

And here they are...along with their previous versions...

Left to Right:  Brooks Glycerin 11s, Glycerin 12s and the new Glycerin 13s

I'm not going to get technical.  I dont understand the technical jargon the running shoe manufacturers use when describing what the shoes are made of, what technical changes they've made etc.  Nor do I want to quite frankly.  I'd be accused of being a running geek otherwise.  Cant be having that now, can I?

So, I look for three important things...

1.  General comfort and feel.  I like some cushioning but not too much and its nice to have a spring in your step.

2.  Rubbing and the potential for blisters.  Entirely separate to comfort for me.  I'm prone to blisters by wearing running shoes without support in the right places and this is a major priority for me.

3.  The bling.  My god, they have to be blingy.  I cannot have just a pair of grey running shoes.  They need to be bright and bashful.

The Glycerin 13s  meet the blingy criteria.  I love anything blue, let alone running shoes and we've got a dose of hi-vis yellow in there too.  Perfect.  All that was left to do was take them out for a run and see how I got on.

I ran Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week, a real mix of my running.  Monday was a high tempo speed session, just a little shorter than 10k but at all out 10k pace.  Ran my fastest 5 miles ever (well, when I say ever, the fastest 5 miles recorded on my Garmin connect account!)  Tuesday was a very warm up, run as a recovery run really for 4 miles and then a good 20 minutes of hill reps.  Then Wednesday, I was out with the Plums on the Group 2 run.  Around 18 miles in the space of 3 days would clearly iron out any issues.

The comfort was spot on.  Plenty of room in the toe box, where I'm prone to banging the front of my toes when the shoes are slipping on a long run, causing toenail bruising.  Absolutely none to speak of.  I always ensure my feet are properly in the heel of each shoe before tying the laces.  I leave the laces loose at the toe end and I find that gives me plenty of room as I dont like my laces too tight as I've been prone to cramp in my feet in the past.  Whether that is down to the laces I dont know but since I've loosened them, I've not had it so dont change something if it isnt broken.

The Glycerin 13s feel like they are more substantial under foot.  The cushioning seems much better.  In the first mile in them, I was conscious of my achilles getting used to the shoes but after that, I didnt notice it again in the next 17 miles or so.  A good sign.  There was plenty of support too.  My right foot was over-pronating in the Ghost 7s, which led to my foot blistering badly.  Not such experience in the Glycerin 13s.

After only 18 miles, my first impressions of the Brooks Glycerin 13s are good.  The Glycerin 12s never really compared to the comfort factor of the Glycerin 11s but maybe the Glycerin 13s are now the shoe that the 12s should have been.  I'll report back in another 75-100 miles time and I'll tell you whether I would buy another pair.

You can find the technical info about the Brooks Glycerin 13s here.

I've been struggling to come up with an analogy of my experience with the Ghosts.  I guess its like being in a long-term relationship which began to get a bit stale...and the Ghosts came along like the flirty girl in the office who you chat to at the photocopier and they suggest you go out for a drink.  They look fab but you know it just wont work and the personality, well, it just doesnt cut it.  You go home, find the Mrs has dolled herself up and put Steak and Chips on the table and got a cold beer out of the fridge for you.  Well not quite lol.

Again, I'd like to express my thanks to Lyz @ Brooks Running for helping me out with the Glycerins.  Much appreciated and I hope to be a Brooks customer for many more years to come.

Now I just need to sort out a decent pair of trail shoes in time for cross country season :)

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Update: Post-Brooks Ghost 7 review and Brooks Customer Services

Less than 24 hours after writing my review of the Brooks Ghost 7 running shoes, I'm delighted to be able to tell you that I have good news!

Let me recap.  I picked up a new pair of the Ghost 7s via last week and I had my first run in them on Friday (around 10k), then I ran again on Tuesday (7.5 miles at tempo).  Despite only running approximately 14 miles in the shoes, both feet had begun to blister in my mid-sole region, just below the ball of my foot.

This certainly didnt measure up to my expectations, given my previous experience with the Brooks Glycerin range.

So I fired off an email to Brooks Running customer services and I had no choice but to run in them on the Plumstead Runners Wednesday night run.  I took it easy and swept up the back of group 2 but the discomfort was all too obvious.

Having spoken to Dave, Andy and Gary (and anyone else who would listen about my running shoe woes), I had made my mind up to look at the Hoka One One brand following Dave's persuasion.  However, having checked my emails, I'd received a nice email from Lyz at Brooks.

Lyz told me she was sad to hear that I was disappointed with the Ghost 7s and went on to tell me that the main difference between the Glycerin 11s (which I loved so much) and the Glycerin 12s (which seem to have given me an achilles niggle!)

Once I confirmed my proof of purchase, Lyz sent me this email...

How's that for customer service, eh?  Exemplary.  I wouldnt have expected anything less from such a reputable company.

I'd like to express my huge thanks to Lyz and Brooks for putting me out of my misery so quickly.

Anyhow, the new Brooks Glycerin 13s can be seen here.  I will will follow up with a review of them once I've spent some time in them to see how they fair compared to the 12s.