Monday, January 23, 2012

Pumas on the Humber: First Ride in the Faas 500 Running Shoes

The cliff-side trails hugging the coast south of Coogie Beach, Sydney, Australia are near the top of my list of favourite places to run.  That's followed by running along the beach in Negril, Jamaica before the Reggae Marathon each December.  Recently though I've 'discovered' the trails along the Humber River in central Etobicoke steps from our new home. I can get to them literally running out the back of the property. That was the site of my first ride in the  Puma Faas 500 running shoes and it was fantastic!

With over 30 years of running behind me, I've run in every shoe manufactured and in most of the places I've visited.  I've run in Nike way back when the air bags were first out;  Reebok's without laces:  an air pump to tighten them up; Adidas multiple times; Asics on and off; Mizuno and Brooks of course. I'm not a professional running shoe reviewer so all I can share is my experience in running in them.  These are my second pair of Faas 500 running shoes and they delivered  on everything I liked about the first pair and more.  A fresh layer of snow had fallen the night before my first run in the Puma's.  The snow covered paved trail was covered in lightly packed snow and made the footing a little tricky but it was a great run in the new shoes:
  • I ordered a 1/2 size larger this time to accommodate the running socks.  Good call since it's been so cold recently and these have to get me through the winter in Southern Ontario.
  • The overall design promotes the natural-style forefoot running. I simply don't feel foot fatigue after any length of run.
  • The toe box of these Puma Faas 500's is a little wider than most shoes and accommodates my wide feet nicely.
  • For my first run, I found once again that I was extremely comfortable with a nice balance between flexibility and support. 
  • Since it had snowed, I was concerned about traction in the slippy stuff along the uncleared trails.  I was pleasantly surprised:  the out sole provided a great degree of traction in the snow.  I know these are not 'winter shoes' but the rubber compound seems to stay flexible in the cold.  We'll see how they hold up in -15 degree Celsius temperatures.  
  • A nice surprise: the shoe laces have some elastic in them.  The tighten up very nicely and stay laced up.
  • I ran mid-morning but I'm sure visibility at night will be excellent since there are reflective bands along the sides of the shoes.
I brought my video camera with me for this first run in the Pumas and shot a few videos of the magnificent trail system that hugs the Humber River.  Check out this one and listen to the ducks quacking:   
Running along the Humber River may never top Coogie Beach in Australia or Negril beach before the Reggae Marathon in Jamaica but you just never know...

Until next time...

Races for 2012: 
Goodlife Fitness 1/2 Marathon, May 6
Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront 1/2 Marathon, October 14
Reggae Marathon, December 1

Thursday, January 12, 2012

New running shoe colours for the new year

And then there were 2.  Sally texted me at work yesterday to let me know that the second pair of Puma Faas running shoes I ordered had arrived.  I received the first pair, the Faas 300 running shoes last week and had them out for a couple of runs on the weekend.  These are the Faas 500 running shoes that will be living alongside them.  They replace the Red Faas 500's that were retired after a very, very long run (pardon the pun).

My first run in these will have to wait until the weekend.  First, the weather conditions are miserable today and tomorrow with a nasty rain and snow combination and I don't want the first run to be in these sloppy conditions.  I know, I know...

The second reason is better;  resting to aid recovery of a muscle injury in my left leg.  All should be fine by the weekend.

If my previous experience in Puma's provides any indication, I'm expecting a super ride with both of these new ones.  I think the first long run on the weekend will be on the trails alongside the Humber River.  Next will be new running wear to colour coordinate with the shoes.  So vain!

Until next time...
That RunninGuy

Races for 2012:
Goodlife Fitness 1/2 Marathon, May 6
Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront 1/2 Marathon, October 14
Reggae Marathon, December 1

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Puma Faas 300 Running Shoes Arrived!

Christmas 2011 was a mad blur.  We rushed to have the new apartment in Toronto set up enough so that we could enjoy our first Christmas in the new place.  We had a family get-together to enjoy on Boxing Day.  We celebrated New Year's Eve with friends in St. Catharine at his son's wedding.  Oh, and we unpacked boxes and boxes and boxes...we were the 'Recycling Royals' over the Christmas break.

But even with all that activity, the real excitement for me was placing  my order online with Puma for new running shoes.  Two pairs actually, the Faas 300 and 250 models.  Both are lighter and even flashier than the Puma Faas 500 model I spent much of last year running in. Sally asked me if they were bright enough:  "they are never bright enough" I joked.  She's thrilled the first pair arrived since I've bugged her nearly day with the question, "has the package from Puma arrived yet?"  And yes, the bright red pair of extremely well-worn Puma Faas 500 running shoes have finally and deservingly been retired.

"I just love 'em!".   Here we are 'opening my present' shortly after the box from Puma arrived:

I've already been out in them for a couple of runs.  More about that later.

Until next time...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Puma Faas 500 running shoes that get better with age

I know all the conventions for replacing running shoes:

  • Replace after 500 miles
  • Replace when the tread gets worn out
  • Replace when the mid-sole breaks down
Even after all of that, these Puma 500 Faas running shoes that I got in spring 2011 seem to get better with age.  They took me through the Scotiabank Toronto 1/2 Marathon in October and I figured that was it.  Then in December at the Reggae Marathon in Jamaica I hauled them out again fully expecting to leave them behind.  Heck, I even wore them into the ocean after the Reggae Marathon!  Still not done.

Since then I've finally put socks on in deference to the cold temperatures in Toronto and am still running in them.  And the really cool thing is that I'm still running comfortably and injury-free! 

While these Pumas keep on running, it helps that I'm running in the natural-style, landing lightly on my forefoot with shorter strides.  It's not barefoot running and these are not super-minimalist shoes but I guess that has something to do with it.

And while I'd love to keep running in these bright red Pumas, their days are numbered.  In fact I'm expecting delivery of 2 new Faas running shoes, the Faas 300 and 250 any day now.  Here's a sneak peak at the 300's I'm looking forward to trying out really soon:  

In the meantime, here's another look at the running shoes that keep getting better with age:

Until next time...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 New Year's Resolutions: all about the running!

It's all about the running in 2012.

For the first time in all the years I've been running I feel like a 'runner'.  I know how that sounds given how much running I've done.  And like all good things, it took an injury in 2009 combined with a tough Reggae Marathon that December to force the change.

Looking forward to 2012 I mentioned to Sally on the weekend that I'm actually neutral toward the new year.  Most years I've written down resolutions and things I want to do and that's been great.  For this year though I didn't feel the need to start the year with a tight list.  I can hear my Dad's words ringing in my ear, "Planning?...I just go with the flow".  You know I'll never be able to truly embrace that fully but maybe, just maybe being more flexible will be a good thing.  So for 2012, it's all about the running and some of the things I want to explore:
  • I want to keep running for as long as I can.  That means marathons and certainly ultra marathons are not on the plan.  I know Sally will appreciate that.  Instead I plan more 1/2 marathons and 10K races in 2012.  Easier to train for, just as challenging and they don't leave me drained.  For 2012 I am thinking of the Goodlife Fitness 1/2 Marathon in the spring, the Scotiabank 1/2 Marathon in the fall and the 10K at the Reggae Marathon December 1 in Jamaica.
  • I like running to raise money for the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario.  With all our family members who have succumbed to strokes and heart disease, I'll keep fund raising as long as I can put one foot in front of the other.  So far in 3 years of fund raising, I've topped $10,000.  I plan to continue in 2012.  Details of the Run for Heart Campaign will be out later in 2012.
  • Running has brought our family together and that's been a nice surprise.  Court and I ran the 1/2 Marathon at Reggae Marathon in 2009, Andrew, Court and I (along with Amy) ran the Scotiabank 1/2 Marathon last fall and Andrew, Court, Sulleh ran in the Reggae Marathon last December.  I hope to keep running with them in 2012 and beyond.
  • Now that Sally and I in our new apartment in Toronto, I've got to find a place to hang my wet running gear. It's a BIG apartment but her patience will only go so far.  I'm open to suggestions.
So that's it for 2012.  I figure that should be enough to keep me busy.

Until next time...

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