I like to run. I've learned that it really isn't about where you're going, it's about the getting there - the how, the why, the who with. This blog is just a little repository for my thoughts along the way; the setbacks, the lessons learned, and the occasional triumph.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Comps!

I love racing comps! I had musings about buying myself a pair of honest-to-goodness racing comps late last year. But despite my multi-pair running shoe collection, I never caved in and bought a pair. Somehow they seemed like one extravagance too many. My girlfriend, though, took note and got me a pair for Christmas. The perfect gift!

(Well, she tried to. Turns out the manufacture’s supply is thin at the end of the year, and the model that the shoe store ordered for her didn’t fit – nor the 2 larger sizes of the same shoe that we re-ordered. We then traded out for a “light-weight trainer” which the shoe store pushed on me while telling me that I’d never find a racing comp to fit my wide foot. Then I did just that: I found a racing comp – a true RC – that fit my foot. So, I took the trainers back to the store and kept the RCs I’d found on my own. Hey, it was an ordeal, but the end result was a success!)

They are a beautiful pair of bright orange and blue, New Balance 152s. It’s my first ever pair of real Comps. They weigh 5.5ozs, easily less than half the weight of my NB768 trainers, which I’ve always trained and raced in, until now. Last year, I wore my 790 trail shoes on a few of my tempo runs and speed workouts. Those are about 8ozs each, but I could feel a major difference in the ease of my stride over the heavier 768s. It made me super curious about how a pair of true comps would feel during a race.

I still haven’t had a race to test them out in. (I would have worn then at the Shamrock Shuffle, but 3” of snow talked me out of even going to the event.) I have done a couple of workouts in them though, to test them out and break ‘em in a little. Monday I went for a long, 10-mile tempo run and wore the comps to see how they’d do. Amazing. Seriously, I felt light as a feather. I wasn’t running for a specific pace, just running to feel, and aiming for that “comfortably hard” zone. I was shocked when my first mile clocked at 7:20. I didn’t want to do that the whole way, so I eased off a little, but still clocked easy 7:30s for the next 5 miles.

After my turnaround, I had to run back into a 12mph wind. I also started to tire a little, and my splits dropped back to 7:50s for the last few miles. But still a great work out. Far better than any other long tempo run I’ve done. It would have been a PR for the 8K distance, the 10K, and if I’d been able to hold just an 8 minute pace for 3 more miles, it would have been a half-marathon PR for me as well.

Maybe the light-weight shoe is mostly a psychological boost, but if that’s all it is, then it’s a really good one. They aren’t everyday shoes, by any stretch. They’re only for races, or maybe the occasional speed workout, but I’m in love with them already, I think. They’ll get their first race test at the end of this month in the Ravenswood Run 5K. I can hardly wait!

1 comment:

Chris said...

You'd be surprised...Racing flats/comps can be an everyday shoe...it takes time, but you can adjust your stride and mechanics so they are just the natural shoe for you. I even go barefoot on grassy trails in the summer. My Mizuno Revolvers are not quite full comps, but they come close. And my NB790s are a good trail flat. I've run ultras in various racing flats (probably 6-8oz shoes)! If you read some of the POSE or ChiRunning techniques, they both suggest minimalist shoes. I suppose they might not work for everyone, but most people don't give them a real try. Glad you like the NB 152s.