A Serious, Long-Term Relationship With a Running Shoe

The first step is admitting that you have a problem, right? Alright guys. I’m addicted and have been for a few years now. The Saucony Kinvara certainly hasn’t been the only shoe to carry me in the past 2 years but let’s just say it’s been there for me through thick and thin. I bought my first pair in April or May 2011 when I started training for my first marathon. After a short transition period, they quickly became my favorite shoe. And they’ve remained a constant in my shoe rotation ever since.

My Addiction. Illustrated in race pictures….

Chicago Kinvara

First marathon. Kinvaras.

rnr dc

Rock ‘n Roll DC 2012. Kinvaras.

carmel 2012

Carmel, IN Half 2012. Kinvaras.

Bayshore_4

Bayshore Half 2012. Kinvaras.

batavia10

Batavia Half 2012. Kinvaras.

Twin Cities

Twin Cities 2012. Kinvaras.

Boston14Full

Boston Marathon 2013. Kinvara 4s!

Saucony was generous enough to provide me with the newest version of the Kinvara before it’s officially released on May 1st. I received them in the mail 2 weeks before Boston and was anxious to see if they could be my race shoe for the marathon.

So far, the Kinvara 2 had been my favorite version. When they released the Kinvara 3 last year, I quickly realized that I wouldn’t be able to wear them. The 3rd version had a higher ankle rise and it rubbed my achilles raw during a 12 mile run. I have a very short period to break in a fresh pair of Kinvaras because my feet and legs are so accustomed to them. But I knew that it was trouble if they bothered me on a relatively short distance run. [More details if you’re curious about the differences between the Kinvara 2 and 3!]. Luckily, I was able to stockpile a few pairs of Kinvara 2s and track down a few more pairs with the help of Saucony when I could no longer find them online (super nice of them!). I guess you’re truly addicted with a shoe when you have to solicit the aid of the brand to find it…

The Kinvara 2s provided enough cushion and stability for my first marathon and I haven’t ventured too far from them since then. (The other shoes in my rotation lately have been the Saucony Fastwitch 5 and New Balance RC 1600s). Beyond the achilles issue, the Kinvara 3 was much more firm and didn’t respond to the ground the way I was hoping.

But my love affair continues….Loving the Kinvara 4! 

Kinvara 4 Blue

I put about 25 miles on the Kinvara 4s the week leading up to Boston. (I know, I know.  “Never try something new so close to a race”.) But they seriously felt like a glove and I had no issues with the achilles rubbing in the back. The longest run in them before Boston was 12 miles and they felt great. The biggest difference that I can feel between the Kinvara 2 & 4 is the cushioning in the heel (due to the PowerGrid in the new version). The ride seems to be a bit smoother because of it. I pretty much consistently land on the midfoot and there seems to be less “bulk” in the 4s. Overall, they’re super responsive and light as a feather (just as they always have been). If you want more details on the specific changes Saucony made to the shoe, check out their dedicated Kinvara site.

Kinvara 4- Left. Kinvara 2- Right.

2013-05-02 19.04.43

Saucony stripped away a lot of the soft padding from the K2s but I haven’t had any issue with the achilles rubbing on the K4s. The heel is flexible enough that it bends when I flex my foot forward.

I couldn’t help snatching up a pair of the Limited Edition Boston Kinvara 4s before Boston a few weeks ago [SEE?! I AM ADDICTED!] I know they’ll always be a special pair…

kinvara 4 boston

Looking forward to an early Cinco De Mayo celebration and the Kinvara 4 Launch party at Fleet Feet on Friday, May 1st. [If you’re in Chicago and want to attend, be sure to RSVP so they have enough food and drinks for the crowd!]

AND IF I HAVEN’T CONVINCED YOU OF THE SEVERITY OF MY ADDICTION…

I thought I only had a few pairs to donate but after rummaging around in my “shoe closet” (AKA underneath my bed) for a few minutes, I found more than a few pairs to donate to Step Into My Sole….

2013-04-30 15.14.51

-J

Kickin’ in Kinvaras

After a long awaited trip to Fleet Feet, I am finally sporting some new Saucony Kinvaras and I am head over heels happy with them. My ‘coach’ recommended them to me as a nice low profile, lightweight training shoe and he couldn’t have been more right about it. This was my first time buying shoes at Fleet Feet (I had only previously walked through their doors when picking up my race packets for other races I registered for), but I felt extremely confident in the fact that they would know what they’re talking about because of friends’ reviews. The last time I bought a new pair of running shoes was December of 2009 after returning from my study abroad trip to Belgium–I was determined to run my first half marathon the following May after being deprived of some sort of athletic culture and overindulging in Belgian fries and samurai sauce and delicious Belgian brews. My dad bought them for me as a Christmas present and I was all too happy to strap them on and hit the pavement. Since the Indy Mini Marathon last May I have continued to use the Brooks and probably should have bought a new pair months ago. [I’m not sure what their mileage count was but I can tell you from the shin and foot pain I was having, they had to have been long gone for plenty of miles now.] I walked out of Fleet Feet tonight after trying on some Mizunos, New Balance, Pumas, and finally the Saucony’s.

They felt so incredibly light that by the time I got on the treadmill I realized I was more motivated than I had originally planned to be. (Yes, some days I PLAN to be motivated. Others…not so much.) I was thinking that I would do an easy 5 mile at pace, but instead I did a tempo run with my fasted mile being at a 7:30 min/mile pace. I haven’t run that pace in an extremely long time. In fact, I probably can’t even tell you when that last time was! I had no tightness in my hips which is the first place to feel fatigue during an ambitious workout. I’m looking forward to more runs like this one–they’re the ones that keep you going. It’s funny how all of the struggle is relative; Mile 5 was at a 9:00 min/mile pace and it felt to drag on and on and on!

And when I got home I was happy to find my welcome packet to the ACS Team DetermiNATION with a nice training tank tucked inside. Nothing like some nice apparel to get you motivated, right? [Anyone else look forward to collecting race shirts as much as I do?]

I’ve found myself so distracted at work lately, just itching to lace up my shoes and go out there during the day when the sun shines through the office windows. One of these days maybe I’ll go for a run during lunch if time permits. It will sure be nice to run along the lake as the sun sets in a couple of months. 🙂

-J