Tag: running shoes

Black or Blue?

Early mornings, a work meeting in the burbs, cold morning runs, and not getting enough sleep have all left me drained this week. Getting out of my warm and cozy bed felt like torture this morning and I was quite thankful that my training plan only called for a short 4 mile recovery run with minimal speed work. I’m pretty sure anything longer would have been a mental struggle.

Thankfully today is Friday (yay!) and even though I have a somewhat busy weekend ahead of me, I’m looking forward to unwinding, unplugging, and relaxing :).

Anyway, I’m going to keep today’s post short and sweet and ask all of you guys for advice. My new Adrenaline 12′s came in the mail earlier this week and I can’t decide which color shoelace to use.

What do you guys think?

Black or blue? 

Have a great weekend!

Running Q&A {11-06-2012}

Happy Tuesday guys! I’m going to start things off by saying please go out and vote today. This isn’t a political blog and I’m not going to sit here and make you read all about my political beliefs but please vote today. It WILL make a difference.

I’ve received a few running questions via e-mail/comment in the last week or so and I thought it might be helpful to address them in a post. If my answers don’t do it for you or you have other questions (running or non-running related) don’t hesitate to e-mail me at runningthewindycity[at]yahoo.com!

How often do you buy new shoes?
Unlike many runners I don’t have a set number of miles that I log on each pair of shoes, I just wait until one day when I go out for a run and my shoes feel broken down. It’s pretty crazy because it will seem like they broke down overnight. Depending on how much I’m running and if I’m training for anything, I’d say this happens about every 3 months– more if I’m running higher mileage weeks and less if I’m not. I also don’t rotate shoes like many other runners. I keep one pair as my main shoes and one pair as back-ups (this may change this winter though– more on that later if it does).

What do you do with your old shoes?
Generally I hang on to my old shoes until I hear of a shoe donation event (remember Give Your Sole?) and then I scrounge around my apartment for my 10 pairs and donate them. Unfortunately I haven’t found a running store in the Chicago area that regularly does shoe donation but I’m always looking for more options. If you know of one or better options please let me know by leaving a comment or shooting me an e-mail.

Have you ever thrown out a pair of running shoes?
Not to my knowledge. I still have a zillion pairs at my mom’s house and when I was living at home she would often take my old running shoes and use them as ”yard shoes” (mowing the lawn etc.).

How do you only take 1/4 of a gel at a time without getting sticky?
First I’m going to say that I’m far from an expert on fueling during runs. In fact, I only started using gels about 3 weeks ago (I ran my other marathons on a mix of shot bloks and dried fruit).I also have a sensitive stomach and have been too afraid to pound an entire gel at a time. So here’s what I do, after I open the gel and take 1/4 of it, I smooth out the top so that there is no more gel left in it. Then I fold the packet over and place the gel in a tight pocket in either my running jacket or my running tights. Last Sunday I wore my lululemon aphrodite pants that have a small key pocket right over the hip, it was the perfect size to hold my gel. Sometimes my hands get a little sticky but smoothing out the top of the gel seems to help prevent too much stickiness.


What do you wear when it’s cold and you go out for a run in the morning?
Honestly it depends on how cold it is. If the weather is in the 20′s or 30′s I layer up with a long sleeved shirt tech shirt and sometimes an under armour shirt as well. I will also wear a running jacket, tights, socks, gloves (sometimes two pairs), and something over my head/ears like a headband or a hat. If it’s a bit warmer I may wear a short sleeved shirt under my jacket and crops. It all depends! I will suggest that if you’re running in the dark that you wear reflective gear and if it’s not well lit you consider a blinking light and/or headlamp.

I actually wrote a post on winter running gear last year and you can read it here and there were some great discussions on this post about running in the dark.

Now it’s your turn: what do you do with old running shoes? What do you wear running in the morning?

Three Aces {Brunch}

Three Aces is a great bar in the Little Italy section of Chicago. Ian and I used to go there all the time because they always had great beer on draft, their food is good, and we love the ambiance. Well earlier this week I was randomly reading the Red Eye (which I rarely do anymore) and saw that Three Aces had started offering a delicious brunch. I knew we had to try it.

Well today was the day. After some coffee and a cereal snack (Three Aces unfortunately does not open until 11:30 and if I am up before 9 I surely can’t wait that long to eat!), we headed over.

I rarely ever indulge with a morning cocktail but so many of their breakfast drinks sounded good and after a hard work I figured I earned it ;)

I honestly forget the name of the cocktail that I picked but it was their brunch version of a dark and stormy. In addition to the normal ingredients it also had pineapple juice and banana liquor. It was really tasty!

We had heard that everything was fairly small and sharable so we started with an order of cinnamon roll monkey bread with stout glaze.

It was fabulous. So good and not too sweet (although the small portion really helped with that!) and the glaze actually tasted like stout! Yum!

For my main I made a mistake and ordered the Fried Scrapple.

In my naivety I thought that Three Aces was just calling the breakfast “fried scrapple”, I had no idea that fried scrapple was actually fried pork scraps! Normally I would have explained the situation and asked the waitress for something in its place but I was starting to feel sicker and I wasn’t all that hungry (my appetites been off) so I just moved them off my plate and enjoyed the smoked egg and toast with fig jam.

Ian ordered the egg sandwich and loved it. It was served on a house made english muffin and he said it was really doughy. Yum!

Overall (besides the scrapple mix up) I really liked their brunch and we’ll most likely go back!

After brunch, we headed over to Fleet Feet so I could pick up some new running shoes. Ever since my injury, I’ve wondered if my heel fracture had anything to do with the Brooks Ravenna 2′s that I had purchased about three weeks prior to when I started feeling pain (I wrote more about the shoes when I purchased them here). While my new shoes were my second pair of Ravennas and I had done great with the first pair, when I went to my sports podiatrist following my injury she noted how unsupportive and broken down they seemed. After three weeks? Hmmm… Well today I learned that Brooks changed the heel area of the Ravenna in the second model so that it was less supportive. Wonderful right?

Anyway, I knew right after my heel fracture that I would need to get a shoe fitting when I started to run again and that I was most likely going to need to switch from the Ravennas and possibly even from Brooks so I went into the store today with an open mind and ready to try anything.

And guess what? After trying on Nikes, Asics, and Adidas, I was put back in the Adrenaline (model 12). Apparently, my ankles were slightly misaligned in the Ravennas causing me to overpronate and that was most likely due to the low arch and lack of extra heel support. The Adrenaline 12′s felt great (and supportive!) and even though I did not like their previous model, they worked well for me and I never suffered any injuries. After everything I’ve gone through the past 7 weeks, I’d rather be safe than sorry.


I was hoping to get a run or swim in this afternoon but when we got home I was feeling miserable and when I took my temperature I had a slight fever. No bueno. So instead of lacing up my new shoes and heading out, I popped some Tylenol, changed into sweats, and hit the couch to watch some Felicity. It was totally worth it, about an hour and a half later my chills are gone, my appetites back, and my headache is gone. Whew!

Resting is on the agenda for tonight, do you have any exciting weekend plans?

I’m a Brooks Girl: Running Shoes

Whats the worst part about buying running shoes on a Saturday before a long run?

Having to wait until Tuesday to try them out!

If you remember, last Saturday I briefly mentioned stopping by Hanson’s Running store and buying new shoes. Well, this morning, I finally pulled them on, laced them up, and took them for a 5 mile run on the treadmill.

Verdict? I like them so far, but I really need to go for a run outside to see how they handle the road. I was really in need of a new pair, so I’m sure anything will feel better than the shoes I’ve been wearing!

In terms of replacing shoes, most stores and sources will quote that running shoes need to be replaced every 200-300 miles. Runner’s World actually gives the biggest range I’ve seen and says that some shoes may last as long as 500 miles. [Aside: Amen to that! If I had to replace running shoes every 200 miles, I'd be buying new shoes almost every two months. Crazy $$!]

(image source)

I generally just wait until my shoes give and then I know it’s time for a replacement pair. Usually this happens gradually, I’ll feel less and less padding on each run until one day I’ll go out for a run and really “feel the pavement”. At that point it is definitely time for a new pair of shoes.

I’m a simplist when it comes to running shoes. I find a model and stick with it until it no longer work for me. I’m also pretty stubborn about shoe brands. The only time I’ve run a long distance race wearing a shoe not produced by Brooks, I lost a toenail. That situation was gross enough to scare me away from other brands and send me running to the nearest store to buy a pair of Brooks. So many other people swear by Mizuno, or Asics though, it just goes to show you how every runner is different!

(image source)

But finding the right pair of running shoes can be really difficult, do you buy stability shoes, motion control shoes, cushioned shoes, or a minamilist type? Does your foot or stride change over time? What about inter-brand variability?

Honestly, the best thing you can do is go to a store and ask for them to fit you with a shoe. Most running stores will have a treadmill or a short track and they will ask you to run while they watch your stride. More advanced stores may also be able to look at your footprint and identify which part of your foot strikes the ground first. Either way, this should help you find a good running shoe. I’d also recommend having them re-evaluate you every year or every two years to see if your stride (and therefore ideal shoe) has changed.

(image source)

For example, until last summer, I’d been running in stability shoes for so long, I couldn’t remember why they were initially suggested (my guess is that it has something to do with the fact that I had knee surgery in high school). My go-to stability shoe was the Brooks Adrenaline, and I’m pretty sure I have gone through at least 5 pairs and 3 new models. 

However, last summer I was lucky enough to purchase a Groupon for a running evaluation. When I got the results back I was informed that it was totally unnecessary for me to be running in a stability shoe and that a neutral shoe would be a better fit. Finding out this information coincided with the release of the Brooks Adrenaline 11, which I didn’t really like, so I decided to make the jump to a neutral shoe and I’ve been running in the Brooks Ravenna ever since.

So here is my new pair of shoes:

My first instinct was that they were pretty ugly, I tend to prefer lighter colored running shoes and these are a dark dark gray. They’re drastically darker than my last pair.

(image source)

But knowing that you’re not supposed to buy shoes based on appearance alone, I sucked it up and bought them anyway. I’m glad I did. They were awesome on the treadmill and their appearance is even starting to grow on me, especially the inner lining. Running nerd alert!

Anyway, to wrap it up, having a good shoe is very important for successful running and there is no perfect shoe that will work for all runners. So, it is always best to go to a running store, get fitted, and make an informed decision :) . Also, for some more general shoe care tips, check out this article.

If you’re a runner, what kind of shoe do you wear? If not, are you particular about any particular brand for athletic gear, clothes, shoes, etc?

Trip Success

After an english muffin with jam and butter courtesy of the motel’s “continental breakfast”, Ian and I hit the road ready to brave the bad weather. Apparently our hotel was in a snow vortex, and after driving three miles on the highway, the snowstorm completely stopped. Finally! The roads weren’t ideal but the visability was a thousand times better than last night. I’m really glad we ended up crashing at a motel last night instead of trying to finish out the drive!

We drove for an hour and a half and then stopped to pick up water, coffee, and a banana and to let Sonic run around the car and use his litter box. After the little creature was tired out, we completed the last leg of the trip. Whew, safe and sound in Michigan. It only took us how long?  ;)

We also ended up stopping for lunch on the road because we were both huuungry. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any “healthy” options and ended up eating at Wendy’s. I’m fairly anti-fast food plus I’m a pescatarian so it was difficult finding something healthy and filling for lunch. I settled on the Baja salad without the chili. I figured the guacamole would help keep me full (it did).

It was okay, actually better than expected, and the guacamole was surprisingly good. It wasn’t a complete loss, but I wish we could have found something better.

Because we lost so much time en route, the afternoon was spent running errands like finding new wiper blades, a quick grocery trip, and buying new running shoes and a spibelt.

I’ve been to running stores in Chicago but I just can’t find one that I love as much as Hansons so I always wait until I come home to buy new shoes :)

We also took my mom out to dinner at a Japanese grill & sushi bar called Katana.

I have an 18 mile run in the morning (given it isn’t too cold or snowy), so I was more than ready to carbo-load with some sushi :P

I started with a spicy seaweed salad. I liked it but not as much as a normal seaweed salad.

Then, Ian and I split some sushi rolls.

From left to right:

  • Rice Krispy- tuna, avocado, spicy creamy sauce, & scallions rolled in tempura flakes
  • Tattoo- spicy yellowtail, avocado, pickled radish, moochie paste with smelt roe
  • Spicy Salmon (back)- inside out roll with spicy creamy sauce

Even though we all had full bellies, after dinner, we haaad to go to one of our favorite Michigan spots, TCBY. I had a small pistachio cone with sprinkles. I didn’t take a picture but it looked a lot like this.

Well, I’m off to relax, I’m beat and have a busy day tomorrow including an 18 miler, a Michigan basketball game, and then a drive back to Chi-town.

Have a wonderful Saturday night!

What did you do this weekend?