Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Too Young to Run?

A few weekends ago I was in Boise for the City of Trees Half Marathon.  There, a local girl, Emma Strommen was about to take on one of her numerous half-marathon finishes. She ended up running a 2:17 at the tender age of seven.  Then about a week or so ago a 6 year old ran a half marathon in slightly over 3 hours (2:47 for those scoring at home, or even if you are alone.)  Then this past weekend at the Javelina Jundred in Arizona, not only did Colby Wentlandt, age 12 run his THIRD 100 mile race, (finishing juuuuust under the wire in 29:49) but a young girl named Teegan Redden finished the 100k.  Teegan is 8.


As with every time a young person does something of tremendous difficulty, the two sides come out with ideas of how young is too young to push their limits. My definitive, all-encompassing answer to this which will settle all bets is:

It depends.

That is not a cop out.  It really and truly depends on too many factors to adequately address the over-arching question without hedging the answer so much that one needn't bother opening their mouth. I mean, is it that much worse to have kids running long distances at age 10 or have them playing in sports that force them to be on constant travel teams when they are the same age.  How about gymnastics? A sport so tough on the female body that it suppresses them actually going through puberty because of restrictions on diet, weight etc.  That's better? But every Olympics, for a solid week, we are subjected to yet another assortment of high flying pixies who are only hoping they don't slip and fall at the wrong time and become a meme.  Right, McKayla?
What I found most telling about this last instance was hearing the usual boo birds coming out of the woodwork who were, once again, far removed from the actual incident. (In a seemingly unrelated but hang-with-me-a-second note, if you are a football fan, you saw how last weekend Dez Bryant of the Cowboys was given all sorts of hell for a seeming tirade in front of his QB, Tony Romo.  Well, film just released show that not only was Bryant not being a prima donna, he was actually all kinds of excited and positive. Yet, people no where near the situation had no problem voicing their opinions.  See how I brought that back around?  Thanks for sticking with me.) However, I was there and with ample time on my hands, I decided to watch and observe.

As there are differing opinions on whether this kind of running is good for the physical health of a young developing child,  I decided to focus on the other parts I could observe. I was most curious if these runners looked like they wanted to be out there doing this.  In other words, were they being pushed to do this by parents who were living their dreams through their children (and oft-heard lament.) Obviously they were going to be receiving all kinds of accolades and positive reinforcement from the impressed runners there so seeing if they were just happy when they passed through the masses would not be enough.

Credit: Caleb Wilson fortclinch100.com
As luck would have it, I was positioned in a place, writing on my laptop, that allowed me to be in direct view of both Teegan and Colby when they came in from their respective loops. After the cheers from the crowd, both were quickly out of view and being tended to by their crew or loved ones. They seemed content, relaxed and happy. There were zero signs of lack of desire, no external pressing from their families to push forward and just a general, underlying ease about them both.

Obviously this is hardly a double blind study by a certified social psychologist but I have a pretty firm grasp on human behavior. These kids were absolutely stoked to be out here doing this. They were being taken care of well, they were enjoying pushing their limits and they had obviously done the training necessary to complete these tasks. If they are doing harm to their bodies, it truly hasn't shown. It can't possibly be any more harmful than being fat and lazy. I heard one person say that allowing them to run was "woefully irresponsible, bordering on child abuse." Ironically, the person saying this is, let's say, overweight. I wonder if being overweight is more or less woefully irresponsible than allowing children to push their boundaries.

I posted something the other day on Facebook about how the vast majority of people have no problem being vehemently in favor for or against something of which they have little to no understanding of.  This confuses me to no end. This instance of young children running is a perfect example. I do not have the answer as to what is too young. I also know enough not to impose my wants/desires on others, especially when I am no where near involved enough with each circumstance to know the specifics.

Remember, there was a time not too long ago when women were considered too frail by many to be able to run longer than 800 meters around the track. Women didn't run a marathon in the Olympics until 1984. NINETEEN FRICKING EIGHTY-FOUR. Citing one study over another saying this may damage developing bodies is hogwash. There are plenty of studies that say I should have no knees after doing 52 Marathons in 52 weekends (or 202 miles straight. Or 350 miles in one week.) Look at the picture above. These kids were happy. These kids are healthy. These kids are hopefully the fit ones who will be taking care of our old butts in the future.

So, when is it too young to run? I will tell you. In the womb. 

There you just have to swim.

Javelina Jundred Pacing/Crewing Recap

How does a runner who has never really crewed for someone, and for the most part, runs rather unprepared, help someone else taking on their very first 100 miler?

Very nervously.

Thus was my task for helping my friend Shannon take on the Javelina Jundred this past weekend in fountain Hills, AZ. I had originally planned on running this race back in 2007 before life intervened.  Then I thought about running the 100k this year and crewing Shannon for her final laps.  But I realized if I was going to run the race the way I wanted to, I wouldn’t really have the energy to pace her the way she would need to be paced.  So, instead, I decided to solely be there for support. Given Shannon as crewed me for two of my hardest running feats, the Pacific Coast 350 and the Dane to Davenport, I owed her this much at least. Not in an obligatory sense; but rather in how you pay back a friend, if at all possible for doing something un-pay-back-able.

The logistics of this race were rather simple.  Runners would complete ~15.5 mile loops, changing directions each loop with one final 10ish mile loop to finish the day. Pacers could begin running with runners after 60 miles or whenever it got dark, whichever came first. My plan was to join Shannon for those last 40 miles and get her in under the cutoff time of thirty hours. She didn’t care if that meant 29:59:59; all she cared to do was finish.

The day started early as Shannon had to be out at the starting line around 5 a.m. to get everything into place for the 6 a.m. start. As parking at the starting line was very limited, this meant I had to drop her off, drive back to a shuttle and take the shuttle to a certain point.  From there, we would hike ¼ of a mile to the starting line.

Differentiate your tent with a Snake Staff from Goodwill

Having done all this, I met Shannon at our tent where we had dropped off most of her provisions the night before. She was resting on the cot in the tent and trying to stay calm. These tents seemed like a good idea when they were rented but in hindsight, simply having a chair with some covering much closer to the start/fnish would have ben much better in the long run.  Or during a long run (Nice , pin, Dane.)

 After a few minutes we ventured out the start where the carnival nature of the race was in full swing.  Javelina Jundred is known for its costumed runners and today was no different. I can’t imagine running a 100 miler in costume if only because I wouldn’t want to deal with the possibility of chafing.

The masses.
Before too long, the festivities, or what some people call a “race”, were underway.

Now, I simply had to go back to the hotel and kill some time. Shannon had no need for me to be there for the end of the first loop so the plan was for me to meet her at the end of the second loop. After going back to the hotel, sleeping and gathering my gear, I headed back out to the race. Unfortunately, the wait for the shuttle took forever. Then we didn’t actually go the same way we had earlier in the morning.

This delay caused me to miss Shannon at the end of the second loop.  Pacer/Crew Fail.  Fortunately, some people next to Shannon took care of her and sent her out on her way. When I got there less than 5 minutes later, they informed me of what had happened.  I dropped my bag and took off onto the course.  I found her just a bit down the trail and walked with her for a bit talking and trying to keep her cool. I wish I had brought a bucket of ice water to pour over her head. The sun was high in the sky, and it was warm, even if predictably so.  I heard that one of the aid stations had run out of both water and ice which is pretty unforgivable for a race that has been running for more than a few years and the weather was not a surprise.

Some of the top runners had already dropped and as I made my way back to the start/finish, I saw more than a few others dropping for various reasons. I walked with one here and there and tried to offer help where I could.  I took some used cups from runners heading out on the loop and returned them to the trash cans at the beginning. I was being as full-service as I could to help as many as possible.  Now the question remained would Shannon get back for her next loop before the sun would down and if she did, would she want me to run 55 miles with her instead of just 40.

I wrote all of the above sitting at a table at the start/finish.  I then put the computer away and got ready to run in case Shannon needed me.  Plus, writing can wait.  My runner should not have to do so again.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

HITS Oklahoma City Half Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 8; 24th Edition 
1 mile skied, 2750 meters swam, 48 miles biked and 355.5 miles run in 2013 races
Race: HITS Oklahoma City Half Marathon
Place: Oklahoma City, OK
Miles from home: 1922 miles
Weather: 30-40s; cool; sunny

Some complained about the cold. I relished in the fact that I might actually not be covered in sweat by the second mile of a race for the first time since I could even remember.  But I wasn't expecting it to be so darn dark.


I spent the day before the race participating in a group run at the Red Coyote Running and Fitness store in Oklahoma City. Serendipitously, I had met the owners of the store at a book signing five years ago in Southern California at another running store. Jon and Burke have since moved around (including a brief stay in Portland) until starting their own store which has received massive acclaim. A normal Thursday run was scheduled at the store but word got around to many more interested souls and the numbers swelled.  On an absolutely beautiful night, I got to see old friends like Olympic Trials Qualifier Camille Herron and make many new ones as well.  Running is such a small world we often shared the same friends without even knowing it.

The next day at the packet pickup, the beautiful weather from the day before turned into cold and rainy ugliness. As I said many times, water and paper products do not mix well so my book signing at this outdoor expo was short-lived.  I soon found myself out of the outdoors and trying to warm myself up with some hot cocoa. The next morning promised to be dry as a bone even if it was a bit chiller than most of those in the Sooner State seem to be prepared for.

Race Morning:

My host for the weekend, Katie, who won the Prairie Fire Marathon the previous weekend, had me down to the starting area far earlier than I prefer but since I prefer to be there about 10 seconds before the race starts, that is not saying much. Katie was doing the half marathon on this day and the marathon the next day.  I thought about doing the same until I remembered that I had no desire to do that.

What I found so stunning was how, even on this night/morning of a full moon, with the sky completely devoid of clouds, how absolutely pitch black it was just seconds before the starting gun went off at 7 a.m. I guess my Julbo sunglasses would just stay on my head until later in the race.

First 5k: 6:40, 7:19, 6:35

I knew this race was going to both start and end with a series of hills. Some complained about them which always befuddles me.  If you want to run a completely flat course, then go run it. No one is holding a gun to your head. When you sign up for a race with hills, well you know it has hills so start training for them. Having said that, I was definitely inwardly grumbling, especially when the race started by immediately going uphill.  At least it will end on a downhill, I thought.

Immediately one runner shot out to the front with a pack of three falling behind him.  I fell a little behind this threesome and waited for others to join me.  No one did. Within less than a mile, the first big dip and then upward climb were behind us and the four runners in front of me were all but invisible in the murky ink that was this morning.  The lights of police cars at the intersections were so blinding I actually thought I might slide my sunglasses back on after removing them only minutes before.

Soon, all I could see was the one runner in front of me and no one else. As we made another climb up and over an overpass the road felt a little slippery. Remember those "Bridge Freezes Before Road" signs? Well, I now can unequivocally state it is very much true.  As I slip-slided my way across Route 235 I could only hope my Karhu racing flats would be able to keep me from ice skating to the other side.

The sun was finally peaking up over my shoulder and the inkiness went to pale darkness.

To mile 6: 6:58, 6:47, 6:38

As we began a jog through a small neighborhood section I took a glance behind me and saw no one.  Up ahead I could see the one runner in front of me but he quickly slipped out of view. I asked one of the volunteers how close the next runner was behind me and he said  "I've read your book. Don't worry!"

I found that to be both flattering and entirely quizzical.

On another straightaway I ran past a couple out for a morning stroll with their dog. I nodded in polite conversation.  As I went by them the man asked me "What race is this?"  I have often been asked by spectators what race I am running or what mile this is or what pace am I going at and I am curious if they expect me to stop and have a chat. I am going to pretend I look so good that they don't realize I am not at conversation pace, especially with someone who is not yards behind me heading the opposite direction.

"Too far," was my only reply.  They laughed at least.

Luckily the next section took me under Route 235 so there was no slipperies to contend with.  A nice long stretch had me now seeing the runner in front of me and he was losing ground. Also, way in front of him I saw what was 3rd place.  I had little to no chance of catching him, I assumed.  But one only knows what can happen when they leg the distance.

Turning onto the 6th mile, the Capitol Building lay right down the street.  It was a fantastically beautiful morning.  I turned my head and looked at where I just came from and saw a runner like 30 yards behind.

The morning just got crappy and/or exciting.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

City of Trees Half Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 8; 23rd Edition 
1 mile skied, 2750 meters swam, 48 miles biked and 342.4 miles run in 2013 races
Race: City of Trees Half Marathon
Place: Boise, ID
Miles from home: 410 miles
Weather: 40s; cool; sunny

When I finished my Dane to Davenport and took on the Quad Cities Marathon, I was quite spent.  I flew home the next day and did not run.  The day after that I did no exercise at all.  After that, a break of all of two days, I started running again.  Slowly, deliberately. I was participating in the Oregon Half just five days after the Quad Cities Marathon and was expecting to slog along like a slug. I did far better than expected. 

The next week I was supposed to be in Rapid City but the horrible snowstorm there caused the cancellation of the race.  Instead, I stayed in Portland and had an awesome run with Bill Rodgers. It was quite a joy.

When the weekend ended, I realized that I had run every day since my two day hiatus and was feeling fairly spry. As I geared up for the City of Trees Half I thought I might be able to bust out a decent 1:26 or so even though I had run a very high for me 70 miles per week for the past two weeks. Finally, the day of the packet pickup, I would take a "break" from running - by sitting and talking to runners for 9 straight hours. Not an ideal way to rest but a wonderful way to meet new people, like my new friend Paige.  Paige and I share a love for the Chicago Bears. Me, because I have followed them my whole life; her, because her cousin plays for them.

But soon, the expo ended and I was on my way to a firehouse in Boise to scream at the uber-exciting Penn State-Michigan game with my host for the weekend. Then it was time for some dinner. Finally, long past the time I should have slept, I turned out the lights.

Race Morning:

I can only say that I am inexplicably happy the race started at 9 a.m.  Otherwise, I would not have made it.  I plain and simply did not want to get out of bed. If I didn't already have to be out of the bed to drive home that day anyway, I might have slept until noon. I finally drug my carcass out of the sack and headed to the starting line.

One of the many extremely nice things about this race are the little touches. First off, having ample amount of parking not only right across the street from the start/finish but all around the area was a nice touch. Usually I am fortunate enough to have lodging close enough that this is not a problem.  However, I had to drive a bit to the race and my usual wake-up-ten-minutes-before-the-start routine wasn't going to cut it this time. So to have this parking nearby was a treat.

With the temperature a crisp 39 degrees but not a cloud in the sky, I knew it was going to be some good running weather. I wouldn't mind some cloud cover but oh well.

First Three Miles: 6:24, 7:15, 7:53

The race profile (and my Timex Run Trainer) show that we gradually went uphill for these first 3 miles but if so, it was imperceptible. A group of 5 guys shout out of the blocks and so separated themselves from all of us.  A few other runners fell in line in little packs and then there was me. I knew the change in elevation to about 3,000 feet would add a little challenge to my now-sea-level lungs but the first mile felt great.  I moved my way up until I was now just a few dozen yards behind the lead pack of five.  Maybe I would have a good day after all.

I felt a slowing in the next mile and the top female slid past me. I was surprised by the time at the next marker and assumed the 3rd mile would make up for the difference.  But it was even further "off" if you will. Maybe I was just going to run slow today and this was going to be nothing more than a hard (not very-hard) workout.

Somewhere in between the 2nd and 3rd miles, a runner passed me just booking.  He ended up barely taking second place which makes me wonder what he could have done if he had not seemingly started so far back. One of the many things I like about longer distance road racing is all the thoughts that can go through your head.  You don't get that in a 400 meter.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Kenyans Aren't Fast

Well, at least not in the way most people think.

In the history of American road running there have been less than 20 men who have run under 2:10 for the marathon. However, in just one month, October of 2011, 32 men from one part of Kenya all went under that barrier.

Please read those two sentences again.

I am not bemoaning that Americans are not as fast as other nations in the marathon because, for the most part, they actually are. I am trying to point out a large fallacy that not only non-runners (expected) but also runners (who should know better) continue to parrot. The fallacy is that Kenyans are all fast. In the vein that every square is a rhombus, but every rhombus is not a square, it is not Kenyans which dominate the running world.

It is one tribe.

The 32 men I mentioned above all hail from the Kalenjin tribe. A minority tribe in Kenya, barely consisting of roughly 10% of the population, pumps out nearly every great marathoner runner of note these days.

Sunday's Chicago Marathon winner is from that tribe. The top 5 men and 3 of top 5 women at the Berlin Marathon two weeks ago were from that tribe. Basically, if you are winning any major marathon of note in today's age, you are from the Kalenjin tribe. I am not here to explain how this is possible or why it happens. In fact, few people can even credibly take a stab at its exact reason and they often disagree. (David Epstein's, The Sports Gene, which I have not had a chance to read yet, examines this tribe in particular.)

In my book, 138,336 Feet to Pure Bliss, I talk about how each decade or so one particular race or area of the world seems to be the best at running marathons and people retroactively try to say why. Explanations for the Finns, Korean, British, American and now African dominance always crop up after the fact. They all seem to be wrong.

However, I find it irksome, and a bit racist, to hear from many that Kenyans win all the races. While the Sub-Saharan countries are indeed producing most of the guys standing the tallest on the podiums these days, it is far too dismissive to simply state the Kenyans are winning. Instead, we should be focusing on some of the amazing things these select few runners are doing.

For example, Chicago's winner, Dennis Kimetto ran a 2:03:45, breaking the previous record set last year of 2:04:38. That's almost an entire damn minute! And oh yeah, he really didn't start running until 2010, spending all his time as a farmer, tending corn and cattle in Kenya. His time was the 4th fastest time ever run on a record-eligible course. 


Now, it would be wonderful if we knew why this is happening and it is great for the sport to debate the reasons. However, chances are great that the reason many never been known for certain and within the next few years perhaps the Mexicans or the French or the Pacific Islanders will become the dominant race at the races.

In the meantime, I think it is time to change those running shirts to say:  "In my dreams, I am a Kalenjin."

Monday, October 7, 2013

White Out at Crazy Horse / Run With Bill Rodgers

This past weekend I was supposed to participate in the Crazy Horse Half Marathon. A few hours before I was supposed to leave I got a notice from Delta about my connecting flight from Minneapolis to Rapid City.  It had been moved from that evening to the next morning. Well, that isn't good. As you now know, South Dakota and surrounding regions were absolutely crushed by record snowfall.  I had to make the executive decision based on experience from oodles of traveling to cancel my trip altogether.

It ends up I probably could have never even gotten to Rapid City by any other means than sled dog. The race was eventually canceled but not due to a lack of trying by the race organizers. Many of those organizers still do not have power today. Rough day all around.

When I went to show support on the race's Facebook page the vast majority of the comments were supportive. Some, however, irked me tremendously.  I do know that one bad comment doesn't undo 10 good ones but I often wonder if people think before they type. Well, actually, I know they don't and the problem with an off the cuff comment in the written form is that it stays there forever, always and perpetually making the same dumb/rude/ignorant statement.

Which leads me to a plea I have made often to runners. Sure, we cannot know all the inner workings of a race and where the money goes and how volunteers are used, etc. I am not expecting runners to know what it takes years of working in and around the industry to grasp.  However, most runners should at least volunteer at a few races. Behind the scenes they will see how it is virtually impossible to honor some of their request for refunds, course changes and any other last minute issues. They will become much more sympathetic to the problems of being a race director and realize there are few people who want the race to go off without a hitch more than those involved with putting it on.

So, staying home, I decided to go for a run and enjoy some of the most beautiful weather Portland has seen in weeks.  The remnants of the typhoon had passed and the fall weather was beautiful.  Lo and behold, I ran into my friend and one of the greatest marathoners ever, Bill Rodgers.

As I had not expect to be in Portland this weekend, I had completely forgotten he would be in town to promote the local marathon.  He asked me if I was going to be in town the next day and if I wanted to go for a run.  My answer centered around something about a bear and what it does in the woods.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Oregon Half Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 8; 22nd Edition 
1 mile skied, 2750 meters swam, 48 miles biked and 329.3 miles run in 2013 races
Race: Oregon Half Marathon
Place: Banks, OR
Miles from home: 30 miles
Weather: 50s; cool; heavy rain

As much as I did not want to run the Quad Cities Marathon last week because of being so exhausted, I could not have been more unperturbed about running the Oregon Half Marathon. There was no pressure to perform and any finish at all would be icing on the cake.  I knew I wanted to use the race as a hard training run to try and flush my legs of the previous week's long run from Dane to Davenport and then the marathon itself but refused to put any particular time or place goals on myself.

The locally run and organized race put on by Uberthon people had their hands full, however. The remnants of a tropical storm of some nature had made its way to Oregon and was dumping massive amounts of rain on the area. The rainfall was so heavy that it broke Oregon's September records for the amounts of rain even though it barely rained at all for two weeks out of the month.  That's a lot of precipitation, folks.

That precipitation also made it impossible for me to do a book signing at either the expo or post-race as had originally been discussed with the guys putting on the race.  They told me to just show up and enjoy the day.  I planned to do that as best as possible.

Race Morning:

The rain did not abate as I picked up my bestie Shannon who was using the marathon as yet another long run for her preparation for her first 100 miler in a month. My frontwheel drive Crossfire does not like rainy roads, especially in absolute pitch blackness. So getting to the buses took a smidgen longer than expected and after parking we found we were some of the last runners to get there. Shannon went to her bus and I to mine where, in the back, I had a seat to myself. I tried to catch some shut eye but the people across the aisle must have been having hot flashes because they kept their window open the whole ride up with the spray coming in.

What the Ubermarathon people did that was tres magnifique was keeping the buses at the start line all the way until the race was about to start. In addition, there were plenty of bathrooms up there as well. I didn't leave my seat until about 4 minutes before the race began I walked out, saw a few people I knew, wished them luck and lined up.

First 3 miles: 6:18, 6:18, 6:45

Because the race would enter a rather narrow path about 2 miles into the race, the organizers decided to start runners in little 30-second waves. I do not think that it was necessary as the first portion, run on regular-width roads, would allow for the weeding out of people going out too fast.  But it wasn't bad thing.  the only thing that affected me was that even though I did not start until the second wave of runners, I was recorded as going out with the first wave. No biggie in the grand scheme of things but if it happened to others I can see some potential for complaints.  I guess I just got to close to the starter arch or something. As you will see later, those seconds wouldn't matter much.

The race started by going immediately up a steep but short hill.  The rain was coming down and thee wind was blowing. I was glad I was only doing 13 miles in this slop and felt bad for Shannon having to slog through double that distance.

I missed the first mile marker and had no idea what pace I was running.  It felt fastish, especially since after the first uphill, the next 1.5 miles or so was the steepest downhill of the course. I passed the first aid station and laughed saying "I am just going to absorb liquid through the skin."  It is a falsehood to think you don't need hydration just because you are covered in water (which is why I tell people on hot race days to put the water in them, not on them.)  However, with only 90 minutes or so of work today I knew I would not need much.

Passing the second mile marker I took the average of my first two miles and was pleased.  One runner who had been on my heels passed me right before the third mile.  His pass, however, was far from decisive. Bad move.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Karhu Steady3 Review

Full Disclosure: Karhu is my shoe sponsor.

Even More Disclosure: if you know anything about me you will now I say it how it is.  So, if these shoes sucked, well, I might put it in the most diplomatic way possible, but I would tell you they suck.  Or I would probably not write a review. Fortunately, they far from suck. They are also resilient.  More on that in a bit.

(And if you stick around to the end of this review, I have a 15% off code for you to use! Erinomaista! That is Finnish for Excellent.  Or at least I think it is.)

I am a heel striker.  I won't say proudly because there is no pride in doing something which comes naturally. However, it is how I run and it has given me zero problems over 146 marathons and a few other running adventures. The Steady is a shoe built for those who strike as such so I thought I would give it a try. Granted it is engineered for everyday stability training and I am not one who normally needs a "stability" shoe, but it couldn't hurt to give it a go.

First run impressions were that it ran very smooth. In fact, even though a surprise rain shower soaked me and the shoes, they didn't feel that heavy.  Part of that has to do with the fact that they only run 8.9 ounces to begin with but another is the highly breathable mesh upper that really makes the shoe so much more airy. (Check out this video from my man Jordan for a quick tutorial on The Steady and The Fluid which I reviewed here.)

While, the Steady provides support through the medial midfoot for runners who require more guidance and may pronate a bit, I did not feel like it was pushing me over, even though I do not overpronate.  In fact, it was such a nice cushioned ride I couldn't believe the shoe weighed as little as it did.  I was eager to give them another run later on that day.  This first run had contained a few small rises, all on pavement for about 9 miles.  I planned on a shorter, faster run, some on it on dirt with twists and turns through nearby Laurelhurst Park in the evening. Then, my stupidity kicked in.

I set the Steady3 next to my fireplace.  Too close to my fireplace.  Whoops.

Now the question began, how can I possibly review a shoe that I have damaged.  One run is not nearly good enough to give ample feedback to people.  Then I realized that perhaps the damage was only cosmetic and the only way to find out was to give them a go. Well, I am unsure if it was my imagination but I think the damage went a little deeper than the surface.  It felt like I had definitely damaged the shoe. Then I had to stop at a stoplight which really bothers me for no rational reason and I lost my train of thought.  I then had to jump over an enormous puddle and around some branches strewn on the ground from the monsoon we have been having in Portland.

Next thing I knew I was in Laurelhurst Park.  I run this park when I want a nice safe and easy run where I can add one mile loops as I feel fit.  Since my Dane to Davenport ended I have run this repeatedly as I haven't had much pop in my legs.  Every time I have run it, however, I have run it faster than the previous time.  I could tell that I was going to be close to keeping that streak alive here so I really focused in on my stride, my arm swing, my breathing and where my feet were falling.

My Feet! They are in burnt shoes! I had absolutely forgotten about the shoes.  If I really concentrated I think I could feel where I had done the damage but maybe I was thinking too much.

So, I thought lets give them another run.  Obviously I do not want to run in shoes which are going to be harmful (because of my stupidity) so too many more runs would be counter-productive.  But a run up nearby Mt. Tabor, which would be completely different than either of the other two runs, would really give me more feedback. On a sidenote, I could not believe it had been nearly two months since I ran this route up Mt. Tabor (about a mile from my loft.) That gives you an idea of how much I travel, I guess.

The Steady performed admirably.  However, I did notice that they were a little less "grippy" than I would like to be but that could have been a combination of the fact that the pavement was slick from rain and that I only had about 18 miles on the treads. Perhaps I had not sufficiently scuffed them up yet.  Or maybe shoes are always a little slippy on wet pavement and I never cared when I wasn't being ultra-sensitive to how they fit and wore.
Will I make the Steady part of my must-have arsenal? Well, as I mentioned, I don't overpronate so the need for a shoe that helps correct that is not high on my list. I do, however, think they are a darn good shoe. I will also use them as part of my rotating Karhu collection as I begin my post-Dane to Davenport ramp-up in speed. Even with the burnt outside (chicks dig scars, right?) I think the shoes will suit me just fine.

In addition, as promised, if you use the code "SEEDANERUN" on Karhu's website, Karhu will automatically knock off 15% whopping percent from your purchase. Treat yourself today!