Saucony A6–Real time Review # 3

 

Please note: I am not getting paid for this review, nor have I received any compensation including free gear from Saucony. I’m just a runner.

10/13/14 – Third review – 291KM

Well, I am a little further along from where I said would review again. I continue to rotate through my various shoes, but the last 3 weeks has seen a volume increase on these as the other ones have worn down respectively with one of the other pairs being fully retired. This means, these shoes have seen more long runs closer together.

It is becoming very obvious that they are starting to reach the end of their life cycle.

Specifically;

– The support along the upper is now starting to fold slightly and I have had to adjust the laces at least twice to snug the shoe back up.

– The foam is starting to give way, and the cushioning is not quite as energetic. Certainly, I am feeling the impact more on the long runs then I did.

– The fabric on the inside of the (heel) back of the shoe  has rubbed away and I have had to place duct tape. This caused some blisters while running one day.

However, this shoe is considered a minimal shoe and a racing flat. So, in my humble opinion, at almost 300KM this is still pretty good. I have now purchased another pair of these and I intend to start phasing this pair out and limit the runs to shorter, intensity runs 15K or under.

My primary concern about this shoe when I started out, was whether or not the foam/rubber bottom would hold up against the rural roads. I am very happy to say it has. An unexpected benefit was not having to pick rocks out the soles as I did with the A5s. ( remember those little holes in the soles? )

Overall, I like this shoe a lot and I will continue to purchase. But – I would have liked to see it hold up a little longer and this is why I knocked the durability down to a 4. Tied to that, I knocked performance down too since it impacted my training slightly as the shoe has degraded, especially in the last three weeks. The 2 pairs of A5’s I have been rotating through are at ( or just over )400KM and I am hoping to see this shoe hit that as well.

Here is my rating. I’ll put one more review out at 400K or earlier if the shoe goes out of commission before that.

Scale 1 – 5. 1 being horrible, 5 being simply awesome

Fit – 5

Performance – 4

Durability – 4

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08/24/14 – Second review – 136KM

 

I’ll be honest, at this point, I am very..VERY happy with this shoe. The sole is standing up to the pounding of rural life so far and the upper is much better than the last pair.

I honestly would say, that so far, these shoes are definitely an improvement over the A5.

I am still rotating my two older pairs of A5 and this pair, but at 136K I have enough miles on them to get a feel. I also raced once in them, and they came through with flying colours.

As you’ll recall from my post below, I was concerned mainly about the sole of shoe holding up to the “chip and tar”, dirt road surfaces. There is some sign of wear, however nothing I would not expect with a minimal shoe. ( see pics )

The Upper has been through a few bouts ‘o sweat and water, including one Triathlon so a little collapse is normal. However putting the shoe on, it still fits nicely and there has been no need to adjust laces.

Scale 1 – 5. 1 being horrible, 5 being simply awesome

Fit – 5

Performance – 5

Durability – 5

I’ll review again around 200K..Stay Tuned

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Scale 1 – 5. 1 being horrible, 5 being simply awesome

Fit – 5

Performance – 5

Durability – 5

 

Previous Post

I’ve decided to do a real time, ongoing review of the Saucony A6. Every 50K or so, I’ll  provide an update on the shoe and how it is holding up.

Why? I loved the A5, and I came to the A5 out of necessity.  I want to love the A6, but I am concerned about the wear of the sole as it appears to have reduced for the most part to blown rubber that many companies are using to reduce weight. If you’ve read my review on the Mizuno Evo’s, you’ll understand my concern.

Conditions around my house – Rural Canada, Eastern Ontario. It’s a mix of dirt roads, chip and tar pavement and real pavement.

Purpose – Training and Racing

Number of Pairs – I rotate through 2-3 pairs of road shoes and right now my last couple of pairs of A5’s are reaching the end of their life being around 370K. That is why I brought the A6 into the mix. I also trail run, so some of my longer distance runs are in trail shoes. ( this means reports will probably happen monthly, but accelerate as I move through shoes and flip flop back forth between road and trail )

07/09/14 –  Initial Run

IMG_20140717_074817Initial Impression – shoe feels more durable and a little stiffer. It’s very light and the Upper certainly gives the impression it will last longer. This is line with the current communications going out.

This was a Taper week for me heading into an Trail Ultra on the weekend, so I had a single low mileage run to do on the 9th. I slid these on for the 8K run.

The feel of the shoe was very nice, and actually seemed to fit my foot a little better than the A5. The upper seemed much more in tune with how my foot curves and this meant it relied less on me playing with laces to get the fit correct. The stiffness of the sole made itself known, but it was a good mix and did not take away from the purpose of the minimal feel.

The run, although only 8K, was very comfortable and the ride smooth. Now…all shoes are smooth at the start right? That’s why I am reviewing every 50K.

 

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On completion, I took them off and inspected. They were a little dirty..but all was well.

I am hopeful that nothing was lost and that the A6 will be as good a shoe as the A5.

 

 

 

 

 

So, here is my review. Please understand that this could change as we go along

Scale 1 – 5. 1 being horrible, 5 being simply awesome

Fit – 5

Performance – 5

Durability – 5

See ya soon!! Stay Tuned!

My last race at 39 and turning 40

The last week saw a very important change in my life, I rolled 40 and moved into a new age category. It’s somewhat amusing, because we runners and triathletes measure life against our age categories now. You don’t simply turn 40, you roll your age cat.

2011 Sydenham Fall Trail Run 2 065Last Sunday, I raced my last race as a 39 year old, and took a step closer to breaking the 40 minute barrier for 10K. There is a great little race in Sydenham, Ontario that has us run 8kms on the Cat Trail. This is the second time I have raced it, and I love it. It’s a friendly event run by Derek Spafford. The day saw the sun shining with a Southwest wind helping on the way out, but a slight force to overcome on the way in. Temperature was about 12 degrees. A perfect fall day!!!

I have not been training a lot of speed, rather focussing on my tempo runs so I did not know what to expect. I decided to go out hard and see what I could do. I gave myself a target of 33 mins 30 seconds. I figured this would be reasonable and if I cracked…well I cracked. Regardless, it was a lead in for Cornwall in 2 weeks.

My garmin results are here.

The first 4 K were okay, as I held on pretty close to target and although I dropped above the 4:00 min / km mark on average,  it was really more to do with a couple of sharp grade changes. I was feeling the hills and thankfully they were short. I turned my first 4 k around in about 16 mins 9 seconds. You can see the immediate impact the wind had and it took me a while to recalibrate the power output needed to bring my speed back in line. It was at a cost and my heart rate which was already in Zone 5 went further into the dark area and I felt the tell tale signs starting to play out. It was in this portion, that I gave up two positions to people who were able to push through. Both of them encouraged me to hang tight and fall in behind them. (This is what I really love about our sport…we compete against each other…but help each other at the same time.) Alas, it was not meant to be and I was max’d. I continued to push through the lactic build up and rolled into the finish line completing the race with an official time of 33 mins 17 seconds. Not too bad at all and it snagged me an 11th overall out of 210 people and a second in my age category. I beat my target so I was happy with the outcome.

That was that..my last race in the 39 age cat! Strange feeling…

Yesterday, on Saturday the 22nd, I competed for the first time as a 40 year old and for the first time in an actual swim meet. I went into this with zero expectations because I knew that I was going into a swimmers world…not a runners world…and not a triathletes world. It was something I simply wanted to do.

The first challenge I had was trying to figure out how to seed myself. I had no idea what speed to expect, so I guessed. I entered the 25m, 50m and 100m freestyle and the 25m breaststroke. Turns out, I did much better then what I thought but still got my butt handed to me on a platter.

I had never started off blocks before and luckily, one of the coaches was running people through this for practice so I jumped in and took advantage.

It turns out I was in the first heat, first race of the day. The two ladies that were assigned to go with me were both older then 70, so aside from feeling a little insecure and out of my league, I was feeling very awkward having to race alongside two very nice elderly ladies. One of whom, took the time to come over and introduce herself to me at the starting blocks. Great….she might as well have just brought me cookies and milk.

The timer went off and I launched. I pushed down the lane and finished my 25 meter swim in 16:47 seconds. The 25 meter breast stroke saw a repeat with me finishing it in 23:51 seconds. The 50 meter freestyle saw me collect a time of 39:34 seconds and my final event, the 100 meter freestyle completed with a time of 1 min 27 seconds. Although I placed last in each event, I was very happy with my performance and the experience was very good.

The swim meet was really about me stepping out of my comfort zone. I honestly believe that sometimes doing this is needed to truly improve your self. Training comes in many forms, and sometimes you need to stop being what you are to truly see what you need to do. Does that make sense?

Let me explain it this way. I view myself as a triathlete and honestly may get a little too comfortable with this. I joke all the time, as many do, that we survive the swim and race the bike and run. Yesterday, I was not a triathlete or an Ironman. I was a swimmer and I was able to step into a different world and witnessed what I could achieve if I continued striving for more. I don’t want to simply survive the swim anymore, I want to improve my swim and efficiency. If I could get to 1/3 of the skill that some of the swimmers have,  I would improve myself by almost 50%. I also realised how beautiful swimming truly is when done correctly.  So..to you swimmers..I tip my hat. Thanks for letting me play with you.

Afterwards

Once I got home, I quickly threw my running clothes on and took advantage of the cool fall weather. I launched myself into what was to become a 24 KM run. At about 10K, I decided to make it an LSD run, so I simply enjoyed the day. When I let myself get into these types of runs, I simply melt into my IPOD and the environment around me. I purposely took a route that would take me away from traffic and people. I wanted to be alone and think about things.

Running brings me to a place that I cannot explain, but for me there is a meditative state and the longer I run the happier I become.

Life is good. I’m 40 now, I have great friends, great family and tremendous understanding of who I am and where I fit.

Cheers!

Over and Out;

Corey

October New Mission

I am entering October on a new mission.

I am feeling charged up and pretty darn good. Taking some downtime since Muskoka has really proved beneficial and I honestly believe has made me stronger. My fitness is down slightly, but that’s not a bad thing. I am physically and mentally healed up and that’s the most important thing.

So, whats next?

My target is to finally break the 40 minute barrier at a 10K race on November 5th. My current PB is 41:18, and although I am close…1 min and 18 seconds is a big jump when you talking about breaking the 40 minute barrier.

Nonetheless, it’s a personal target and gives me something to do!.

Today is October 1st, time to get to work. Stay tuned for further updates….

Corey, over and out.

Lessons learned from 2011

In my mind, I have been rewinding  and reflecting the year over and over, trying to sort out the good and bad from 2011.

It’s been a great year, where I physically took myself to places to I had never before believed possible. Here are some of things I learned.

Some Geek stuff…

Periodization and Peak VS Random

In 2011, with Ironman coming in July, I really needed to focus. In Joel Friel’s  book the Triatheletes Training bible, he speaks about this topic. I gave myself over to my coach early on the year ( confusing statement I understand, I’ll explain a little later ) and he had me peaking right at Ironman Lake Placid. It is truly an amazing feeling, being physically so fit, so strong and so ready for the race. Peaking for a race is different then being ready for a race. More often then not, we run races based on fitness and experience and this is especially true with Random training. Continue reading

Muskoka Ironman 70.3 Race Report

Well 2011, you were a heck of a season!

On Sunday, I closed out my season racing the Muskoka 70.3. The race itself, is set in stunning terrain with no limits to finding beautiful scenery. For anyone who has questioned whether they should race this one, I say do it!!…but consider yourself warned! I went into this race thinking I was racing something comparable to Timberman and boy was I wrong. I love a good challenge and I found one.

This was not my “A” race for the season, so basically my plan was to go run on fitness and do a solid race, but not worry too much about the seconds.

We stayed at a resort called HVresortHidden Valley which is walking distance to Deerhurst.

Continue reading

Tomorrow is Race Day

So tomorrow is race day and I am interested to see how it goes. I am definitley hoping that my fitness and drive pull me through, because I have allowed myself to slip into a slow mode since Cornwall.

For anyone that has not been to Muskoka before, it’s a slice of heaven tucked north of Toronto. The view is simply amazing and with the race being at held at one of the premiere resorts in Ontario does not hurt at all. We’re staying at a sister resort just about 1Km down the road so its great. No driving race day means nice and easy!!

We arrived yesterday afternoon around 3:30pm and once we had our stuff, went right to the back deck and had a beer. Okay…maybe two. This is “sign number one” that I am in the beginning of season end mode because I would never have considered this earlier in the season.

I had a flash of fantasy that saw me leaving my life in Eastern Ontario and moving here. Ahhh but the glory of reality came back soon enough.

So whats on the docket for today?

We’re heading out for a swim around 8:00 am this morning, and will probably follow that up with a really small bike ride. Check the bikes in, get our gear, and then chill out all afternoon. A pasta buffet is available at the resort here, so we’ll probably minimize traffic and just eat here.

 

All in all, so far a great weekend and I am really enjoying it.

 

 

Just for fun

My coach recently competed at the Hy-Vee Worlds in the age cat championships.

It’s still very much an unrealised dream of mine to compete at a “Worlds” anything, and given my age ( 40-45 cat), its not going to be easy. I accept that challenge and I also believe that it will happen because I believe I am capable. Cocky? No..not really, I just choose to believe as opposed to accept defeat. (cue – My Body  by Young the Giant)

So back to my coach…by email today, he was talking about how much fun he had. I need to quote him

“…We had lots of fun !  Laurie went hard and came third.  I went strong , but really just enjoyed it as much as you can at 95% instead of 100%, and was smiling and chatting up fans and spectators all the way.   Felt no pain,( except the last 300m uphill at the finish line), and smiled  the whole way.  Very nice way to end the season.

Try it in Muskoka.  Very fun, no pressure….”

Richard is an amazing guy, and when he says he had fun, he means it. I can very clearly see him chatting it up with people as he says he did. From a personality perspective, he is a lost mold and you cannot help but like him. But it’s his last words that strike me…

Continue reading

Back to the Pool–the end of Summer.

This morning I had a choice, I could drive to Cornwall and do the 5K Steeplechase or go to a pool and do drills.

The steeplechase is a 5K race the Cornwall Multisport club puts on and is a lot of fun. The event has wave starts based on your age. This, in theory, levels the playing field and anyone is capable of winning the event. There will of course be two times…the race time and your time based on the wave start.

I woke up to rain this morning and it cemented the deal. Given that Cornwall is 1 hr 30 minutes away…it’s a tough sell to go that far for a 20 “some” minute race in the rain.

So there I was, jumping into the pool and looking around underwater. If I could have sighed…I would have. It did not seem like long ago I had left the pool in utter disgust and burnout from hours of lap swimming.

Living in a Northern Climate, we triathletes have a very narrow window to swim outside (even with a wetsuit). We normally have to wait until mid June to start and begrudgingly accept the reality that by the end of August we’re losing our ability to swim consistently. Oh sure; we will swim outside beyond August, but its hit and miss and the temperature is dropping. It becomes the pool or nothing.

So I grabbed my workout sheet and started reviewing what I was up to for the morning session. It was an upper body workout that involved some basics and then some sprints. Not very long and not very hard, but considering I am within a week of a “B” race….probably perfect. See below; Continue reading

Post Ironman Lake Placid – Where I am and What I have been doing.

Last week my brother suggested I write a blog. I asked who in the world would really care about what I have to say, my travels and or my exploits. The truth is, I don’t actually believe many people do. There is nothing incredibly intriguing about me and I am certainly not the “Worlds Most Interesting Man”. But maybe that is not the point…maybe the Blog should never be about other people reading it. With this in mind, I come back to my blog with a new approach and if by chance you are a stranger… “Welcome!”

Post Ironman

The two days following ironman were marked with pure exhaustion and rest. Monday we drove back after checking out the “Store” and enjoyed the pure elation of knowing what we had done. When I arrived home I slept off and on until Wednesday. My body was tired, not sore and “wrecked”, just tired. Aside from the race, I think the 9 months of training and 12 months of stress leading into it were releasing themselves finally.

I thought I would be “gentle” with myself and allow myself the opportunity to recover. I decided to give myself  a full ……7 days off. Yup..how generous! Okay to be clear, I was not going back into it at pre-ironman levels. It was a gentle ramp up. But it was too much too soon. I started showing signs of body fatigue, which I ignored. My knee started bothering me, I had some shoulder discomfort and I developed a cold. I am not stupid, I preach the basics and I know how important it is to allow proper recovery. But…I ignored it.

S-M-A-R-T

What have I been doing? Continue reading

IronMan Lake Placid 2011 Race report

I admit, that I am a little embarrassed about submitting a race report for Lake Placid almost a month after the event. The truth is, I’ve been struggling with how to combine that day into a quick enough read that would also benefit those who read it. I came to conclusion, that there is no way to do it justice, so all I can do is talk about the day.

I traveled down to Lake Placid with my best friend Dale, who was also doing IMLP for the first time. We were like two kids before Christmas and once we arrived..it was like we had arrived at the North Pole. Coming down over the hill and seeing Mirror Lake was a ” HOLY S*$T Moment!” even though we had see it a few times. This time, it was different

Race Morning

DSC_6792Up at 4:00 am, I was quite fortunate that I had 4 friends with me who had also signed on. Two of them like myself, were doing their first full Ironman. We sat on the front porch of our rented cabins eating our breakfast and nervously chatting about the day and how we felt. The conversation was really just a façade and I am quite sure carried no real intelligent “save the world” talk. We gathered our items together and headed into town knowing our families would be following us later. Into the transition Zone I performed a last minute check on the bike and ensuring that I had air in the tires. Once everything was in check, we headed towards the water still chit chatting about the upcoming event but feeling really excited. The energy was in the air and you could not help but get caught in it.

The Swim – I was quite happy with my swim and came out of the water at 1 hr 14 minutes.

DSC_6887I entered the water about 6:35 to warm up a bit. There was something very surreal about the start of the event that is hard to describe. The excitement was there, but also the uncertainty of the day to come. I decided early on, that I was not going to hide from the swim (as if you could with 2600 + people anyway) and put myself about 10 meters back from the start line. Yes, I would get swam over, but that would happen no matter what for the type of race I wanted to complete. When all the racers took to the water…it was amazing and when the crowd gave us our final cheer…exhilarating. I will not bore you with specifics of the swim. The laps up and down the lake are full of people but you can find your own space if you try. Going into the turns…remember that everyone is funneling into the same narrow corridor…so know that you will get hit and kicked. This is where some of those dreaded sprint drills in the pool from the previous winter pay off. My advice – get through quickly. The second funnel point is the beach landing. Same issue here, it does not matter how much space you had… you will lose that space as people come together to get out of the water. Continue reading