Sunday, November 11, 2012

Shill: Saucony Kinvara

Prior to our daughter being born, my exercise of choice was cycling. Several summers back, I found an old (1985, to be exact) Trek touring bike and modded it out, turning it into a poor-mans cyclocross bicycle that was perfect for riding the crushed limestone rails-to-trails paths that snake across the countryside in my state.

Over the course of under three years, I put over 5000 miles on that bike, and would routinely leave the house for 2 hour rides, my favorite being a 30-mile jaunt that I finished in an hour and 20 minutes at my peak.

With a month left in the pregnancy, I started getting the feeling where I didn't want to be too far of a distance away from home (especially in the middle of the countryside), just in case. The bike got parked in the basement, and I dusted off my running shoes.

It wasn't enough to just start running, though, as I'd done that many summers ago and ended up paying for it with some severe shin splints in the fall. Instead, I did a little reading up and decided to rebuild my running technique based on ChiRunning. Having read up on it, I figured a change might be in order, as over time it's supposed to reduce injury and be better for the body in general. After five summers of hardcore tennis playing and some bone spurs in my hip to show for it, I was looking to reduce wear and tear in any way possible.

Saucony tread

Here's a picture of the bottoms of my first pair of minimalist running shoes (Saucony - Kinvara) after almost 600 miles. The outsole is massively compressed, but they're still wearable and even comfortable.

Saucony shoes

Here's the same shoes from above, showing a little bit more wear and tear, including a bunch of dirt and crud that got embedded in the mesh while running off paved paths (about half my mileage). The shoes are crazy light, weighing in at only 12 ounces each (and that's for a size 14 shoe), and have just enough cushion for a large-framed fellow without going full-on barefoot style (which I know my body would not like).

Since I retired the aforementioned pair, I picked up the latest model from Saucony, the Kinvara 3. They've upgraded a few of the things that bugged me (the outer mesh is stronger), while keeping everything great about the shoe.

I'm up to almost 1000 miles run (since I started up again) and haven't been slowed by injury once (with the longest break between runs being 5 days due to sickness). For an old, lanky fellow with a tendency for aches and pains, I consider that a win.

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