Monday, July 27, 2015

Too busy in France, yet still running, whee!

I can't believe it has been almost 4 weeks already since my last post on this blog which I have been trying to keep on a weekly pace so diligently for 8 years... I have to admit that I lost a bit of life balance lately, trying to juggle some time-off, family time, a few real estate projects with work and running and, in the mix, the blogging fell behind. At least those following me on Strava knew that I was still alive and actually kept moving all this time... thankfully! For the 4 weeks I spent in France just following my 129 miles at the Summer Solstice 24-hour, I managed to log 500 kilometers (311 miles), most of them actually during the canicule which hit the country pretty hard this year, another unfortunate proof if needed that our planet is really getting warmer...

While some of my friends enjoyed Western States, Hard Rock, Tahoe Rim Trail and many more events which I followed on line, I ran
  1. 103 miles in the Granville area in Normandy;
  2. 148 miles in and around Paris;
  3. and 60 miles in Haute-Savoie in the Alps (Annecy and Chamonix).
Not quite Le Tour de France, but a great mix of ocean beaches and mountains, not to forget a few days in Paris of course, can't complain!

I already wrote several times about my favorite runs in the Paris and Granville areas in case you have the opportunity to visit. I'll try to post something in August about the two places I ran in the Alps. But I wanted to let you know that, despite my silence, I was still "ultra alive" and I'm actually back to California just in time to race the inaugural Redwood Anvil 20-mile organized by Moongate Racing, in the hills over Oakland this Sunday. Looking forward to reconnecting with many of my Californian running buddies after this busy European trip and experience.

By the way, one note about the shoes I used for these 300 miles. One of my biggest sustainable running advice is to rotate through 2 to 3 different models during each week. Now, I travel with a carry-on, even for 4 weeks abroad, so there is no way I carry more than a pair of running shoes during these trips. I'm a big fan of the minimalist Brooks PureProject series, but the minimal cushioning would have been insufficient to run all these miles. So I packed a brand new pair of my favorite trainers, the Brooks Launch (which, as I found out at the Summer Solstice event, is also Jon Olsen's favorite training shoe. And for those who don't know, Jon won the World 24-hour in 2013 with 172 miles, also setting a new American Record).

When I discovered the Brooks brand upon settling in the US in 1998, I first bought a pair of Trance, then 9 more pairs, following all the updates between the original model to the Trance 8 one. Overall, I ran 9,952 miles in them and, back then, I couldn't imagine switching to something else. But then the Launch appeared and took off, and I was hooked right away. Still some great cushioning for recovery and long training runs, but much lighter and nimbler than the Trance. I'm at 5,400 miles in them and I'm so glad that, under the pressure of the Launch fan club, Brooks decided to continue this model 2 years ago.

Actually, many people ask me how far I run in my shoes, so here is a visual hint below, a lot... After all, it's not because Brooks was generous enough to sponsor me for 6 years (this ended in March) that I should not use them to the fullest, like most customers, right?
And that's what my pair of Launch looked after the 500 kilometers in France:
Compared to a brand new one:
Not too bad, I'm a few hundred miles away a tire rotation...! ;-)

As for 1,129 miles, that's clearly on the high side, yet this pair still provides great spring and cushioning on dusty trails. But I would concede these can be labelled as worn out.
Yes, I'm not as neutral as I would like to be (wear on the outside of the heel), but the asymmetrical wear mainly comes from my foot angle which I don't close even when running fast. Anyway, analysis of my gait wasn't the purpose of the discussion, the point I wanted to make is that you need a great model of training shoes when you can only pack one pair for several weeks. And the Brooks Launch does the perfect job for me!

Again, looking forward to seeing many of you in California over the coming weeks and races. And stay tuned for a few more posts of the coming days and weeks to catch-up!

PS: if you are up to, feel free to leave comments on your own shoe mileage, especially for training shoes (flats are different beasts).

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