Thursday, November 29, 2012

Shoe Review: Adidas Supernova Glide 4

I'm no shoe expert - I'll leave that to RunBlogger. That said - Ken W. on DailyMile suggested I do a show review of a pair I recently bought so I thought I would give it a shot. I've managed to collect quite a pile of shoes over the past couple of years and I know what I like and don't like. Anyway, here goes.

I'll start off by saying something that everyone should hear, whether you've already heard it or you're a new runner and you're hearing it for the first time: shoes cannot make you a faster runner and no matter what you hear, there is no magical shoes...HOWEVER, shoes can hurt you and if you don't have the right shoe for you, it can ruin running for you. If you want living proof, I'm living proof and you can read all about that here (and read the comments too to see how many other people have been through the same thing). With that out of the way, here is my review of the Adidas Supernova Glide 4s.

I've been pretty strictly a Saucony man for the past year or so. After some experimentation I found that the Ride series, particularly the Ride 2s and 3s were the perfect shoe for me. Then Saucony had to go and mess everything up...they changed the heel-to-toe drop on all of their shoes from 12mm to 8mm (or less). I bought and ran in a pair of Ride 5s this past year and it ended up causing me some serious achilles pain. I switched back to my Ride 3s and wah-lah, no pain. You might be thinking "so what's the problem?" The problem is that Ride 3s are becoming increasingly difficult to find because they're discontinued. I've been buying rogue pairs of Ride 3s on eBay for the last 6 months knowing that eventually I was going to need to find an alternative for the future.

I have the greatest blessing a runner could ask for - my brother-in-law works for The Running Room - which is a running-shoe specialty store and not only that, he's a regional I get my shoes at a very nice discount which basically means that I can buy any shoe out there, even the expensive ones, and they don't end up costing me that much (THANK YOU SCOTT!). I was in one of Scott's stores over the Thanksgiving holiday and I presented him with my dilemma and he suggested that I try these Adidas Supernova Glide 4s. I tried them on, they felt good, they are a NEUTRAL shoe and so I bought them.

My first run in them was that night - the temps were chilly (mid-20s) and the surface was a paved road surface. I ran with my brother and we kept a pretty solid pace (around 7:25). We ended up going 6 miles and I was happy with how my legs felt after the run...especially considering this was my first run in these brand-new-off-the-shelf shoes. I didn't have any blisters or even any hot-spots which was also a major plus. Since then I've run on an indoor-track surface, on roads again and today I ran on a crushed-gravel surface. The only test I haven't put these shoes through is a long run. I've done fast running and slow running and so far I've put about 20 miles on these - maybe too few for a good review, but hey, I'm an impatient guy.

- I really like the distribution of the cushioning in the shoe. There is a lot of support towards the heel and progressively less towards the fore-foot. I'm not a heel-striker, but I like having that extra support in the heel area.
- The shoe feels like it has a nice wide base, which contribute to an overall sense of stability.
- Another thing I like about the shoes is that they are extremely comfortable. The tongue of the shoe is nice and thick and the shoes really feel like they're cradling your foot.

- The only con I can think of is that the shoes are a little clunky. Weighing in at 11.3 oz. these are by no means racing shoes. With all the comfort though, it's no surprise these shoes are a little on the clunky side.

So far so good with these shoes - I think they are a worthy replacement for my Ride 3s. I never expected to be running in Adidas, they aren't exactly known for their running shoes, but hey - I'm satisfied.

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Meaningful Race

I just got back last night from a Thanksgiving break of sorts. It was five glorious work-free days spending time with all of my favorite people in the world: my family. In this midst of this break, I ran a race and it turned out to be perhaps one of the most memorable races I will ever run. My brother, sister-in-law and I decided, somewhat on a whim, to run a Thanksgiving Day race. We were looking for something longer than a 5K but shorter than a half-marathon and we ended up choosing a small race in Chisago City, MN called the "Dash 'n Dine Race"; a 5-mile race.

Temperatures on race-morning were PERFECT. Mid-to-upper-40s, mostly cloudy and only a slight breeze. My brother (Tony) and I decided to do a couple of warm-up miles and when we finished those, we realized that we had gone out too early because there was still 30 minutes until the start. After twiddling our thumbs for the next 1/2 hour with nervous stretching and pacing, it was finally time.

I didn't really know to expect as far as a goal-time. I had never run the 5-mile/8K distance and my training over the past month hasn't really been all that focused, I've been concentrating more on weights and injury-prevention than I have on speed or mileage. That said, I had it in my mind that I wanted to come in around 33-33:30 which would have been a 6:36-6:42 mile split. I felt confident that I could achieve that goal.

The race started as all races do: too fast. Through the first mile I was focusing on slowing down to a hold-able pace. There were only a handful a people in front of me through Mile 1 and my brother was way ahead of me by then with another guy running right next to him. About mid-way through Mile 2, I saw the 2nd place guy stop and put his hands on his knees. I thought to myself, "huh, maybe he just started to fast (?) and ran out of gas?" As I drew closer to where he was though, I realized that he was clutching his ankle area and as I approached him I yelled, "hey are you ok?" and he said that his Achilles had popped. I felt bad for him, but only for a second. At that point it was my brother in 1st place and only one person between he and I.

At that point I realized that I had a unique opportunity before me. Tony and I don't get to run too many races together - we've managed to run 3 races this year, but typically it's been about one race per year. We've never had the chance to go 1st and 2nd in any race before and I realized we had that chance in this race. "It might be the only chance we ever get" I thought to myself. Tony had a stranglehold on 1st place so it was up to me...

Around Mile 2 or shortly after the mile 2 mark, I overtook 2nd place. I felt good, but oddly enough it was at that point that I started to doubt whether I could hold the pace I had established. I'm sure this happens to everyone in races; you get to that point there it starts to hurt, but you're only about half-way. This was where it really helped to know that I had a chance to finish 2nd to my brother. I decided that I was going to be damned if I gave up 2nd place, no matter how much it hurt. I shortened up my stride and put my head down. As we hit the mile 4 mark there was a 90 degree turn and so I peeked to see how far ahead I was - my best guess was that I had about a 20-30 second lead on 3rd place. For the last 1/2 mile, the courses for the 5K and 5Mile races joined so I was having to yell to get people to move out of the way. I saw Tony a few hundred yards from the finish and he gave me a high-five and a "Go Adam!". I crossed the finish-line in 31:24 - 2nd place out of 72 finishers in the 5-Mile race.

I suppose there is one caveat to be made. My Garmin measured the course at 4.90 miles, which is within the potential error range for it to have been 5 miles, but more than likely it was closer to the 8K distance of 4.97 miles. Regardless - I consider it an 8K and/or 5M PR, close enough right? Either way, I'm very happy with the time, it absolutely crushed my expectations. Tony got a PR in the race, 29:00 to take home the turkey (literally). It was a pretty disorganized little race, but fun nonetheless. Tony's wife MJ also set a PR in the race and finished in 11th place (2nd overall female). It was a great day all around and a race I will always remember fondly.