Shoe Review: Saucony Freedom ISO 2

When the Freedom was released about 19 months ago, it was a game-changer. It was the first shoe to boast a full-length EVERUN midsole. A very responsive, yet still cushioned shoe that became an instant favourite. The updated version dropped this summer and while I was a fan of The Freedom to begin with, I like it even better now.

With the second edition, you still get the full-length EVERUN midsole, but you also get the debut of ISOKNIT. The previous model had an ISOFIT upper which has a sock-like feel and “morphs to the foot for a custom feel”. Those features are maintained with ISOKNIT, and the addition of a performance knit gives you more freedom of movement and makes the shoe more breathable.

One of the most striking changes in the new version of this shoe is the fit. The Freedom ISO 2 has a much more spacious toe-box than the original version. I was a little cramped in the previous model, and typically reserved the shoes for track-workouts. I love the fit of the second edition! While I will still be wearing them on the track, I plan to wear them during other, longer sessions as well.

By the Numbers:

Offset: 4mm (same as previous edition)

Weight: 8.2 oz/232g (8.1 oz/230g)

Price: $199.99

Training Recap June 4-10, 2018

This week I started running with a new training group! The workouts start EARLY, 6:30am and the WU needs to already be completed by then. I am always up early anyhow, and enjoy getting my workouts in at the beginning of the day instead of at night, part of why I joined this group.

Monday: 6km easy to start the week.

Tuesday: Back on the track! 2km warm-up, 800m @4:20-25, 600m @4:20-25, 400m @mile pace, 200m @mile pace, 400m @mile pace, 600m @4:20-25, 800m @4:20-25, 2km cool-down. I also strength/ core.

Wednesday: 5km easy for Global Running Day!

Thursday: Mona Fartlek WO, 2km warm-up, 2×90” @4:20-25, 4×60” @4:20-25, 4×30”@4:20-25, 4×15” @4:20-25, 2x1km@MP, 2km cool-down. I also did a HIIT WO- been a very long time since I’ve done one of these.

Friday: 6km easy, went out to Ashbridges Bay. I also did core.

Saturday: “Long-Run”, 14km out towards the Leslie Street Spit. I also did core.

Sunday: OFF. According to my watch, I walked almost to 18km.

Total Weekly Mileage: 50.1 km

Training Recap May 28-June 3, 2018

This week was pretty relaxed, no workouts, no long-runs, I just did what I felt like. I cannot tell you the last time I did that because it was YEARS ago. I went on 5 runs, at all times of day. It was good, but weird. I don’t plan to continue this way though because when it comes to training I love plans and structure!

Here is how the week went:

Monday: OFF. 

Tuesday: 8km easy, and core. It felt good to get out and stretch the legs after my partial Buffalo Marathon. You can read about that here if you are interested: Training Recap May 21-27 and Surprise Race Recap

Wednesday: 10km easy, a typical out-and-back route along the beach/lakeshore. I also did core.

Thursday: 6km easy, a little rip around the beach to Ashbridges Bay Park. I also did core and strength training.

Friday: OFF. 

Saturday: 10km easy, headed out around 5pm which is late for a Saturday. I was otherwise engaged during the day, but it ended up being a nice time to run. I chose a different route which took me along Dundas. I also did core.

Sunday: 12km easy, it was grey and breezy and kind of west-coast ish. I enjoy that weather.

Total Weekly Mileage: 46km

This week is going to be a big week of NEW. I have been in Toronto for a month now, but what have I been doing? What are my plans for work and training here? I’ll touch on al of that later this week so stay tuned.

Training Recap May 21-27 and Surprise Race Recap

This week was a bit lighter because I was tapering to race. This race was not previously mentioned here or on IG. I did not mention the race leading up to it for a few reasons. One is that I didn’t want any pressure, which can sometimes happen. Another is that I thought my plan was a little out there. It wasn’t just a any race, it was a marathon.

Here is what I did leading up to Sunday’s race:

Monday: OFF. 

Tuesday: WO, 10’ easy, 3km@4:54, 1km@4:30, 3×90”@4:15, 15’ easy. I also did core.

Wednesday: 30’ easy, I also did core.

Thursday: WO, 10’ easy, 5’@4;43, 2×2’@4:14, 3’@4:35, 15’ easy.

Friday: OFF.

Saturday: 20’ easy, this is the earliest run I can ever remember doing, I started before 6am.

Sunday: 5’ easy, Buffalo “Marathon”.

Total Weekly Mileage: 49.1 km

Buffalo Marathon Race Recap

Obviously, 4 runs and a marathon cannot add up to only 49.1km. So how did my mileage end up like that? I did not complete the marathon. But before I get to that, I will start from the beginning. Why did I feel the need to run another marathon just 6-weeks after Boston anyway? Simple answer, because I’m never satisfied, always looking for another goal. Boston was an amazing experience, it was everything I thought it would be an more. However, while I was happy with my result, it was not necessarily what I trained for. I know that it’s not all about the result, but I felt like I had more in me than the time on the clock reflected. I thought I could do another marathon piggy-backing off the great training cycle I had for Boston, and decided to try and do that in Buffalo.

This is a big marathon weekend in Canada, there was also Ottawa and Calgary. I chose Buffalo because it’s closer to Toronto than Ottawa, and also because based on historical weather, it seemed like Buffalo would have cooler weather than Ottawa (spoiler alert: it didn’t). The courses are both know to be pretty flat so either one was fine for that. Anyway, I registered and decided to run another marathon in close proximity to Boston. My time goal was just to do 1-2 minutes faster than Boston, so 3:30ish. The reason I wanted this time was to secure a BQ with a bigger cushion. I didn’t think it would be realistic to ask too much and look for a massive PB, I just wanted a couple extra minutes.

I arrived in Buffalo around noon on Saturday, stopped by the expo for my race kit (most underwhelming expo I have ever seen). My race kit was a shirt and a bib with pins. Following that, I walked down the street to a cafe for lunch and then to my airbnb, which was in a loft over the cafe. I spent the rest of the day relaxing like you do before a marathon, and I was feeling good. I watched my carb intake for 3 days leading up to the event to make sure I was actually “carb-loading”. My pre-race dinner was pasta and bread which I had delivered, so no extra walking! I ate at 5pm and then continued relaxing and Netflix bingeing. I drank a ton of water.

The first problem began when I wanted to go to sleep. There was a large vent over the bed that would activate every 10 or so minutes and it was VERY, VERY loud. Loud enough that it kept waking me up. In addition to that, I felt like I heard 100 sirens, as well as loud people coming and going between midnight and after. My alarm went off at 4:45am, and I began making coffee and oatmeal. I ate almost all the oatmeal, which was better than usual because it’s often hard for me to eat much in the morning before a marathon. I got all my gear on, slathered myself in Glide and sunscreen, and headed out at 5:50am.

My 5-minute easy warm-up took me almost to the start. I waited for a bit and then joined the corral to ensure I would be in the right position. It was good I got in there early because it was absolute chaos. We were shoulder to shoulder, it was all self-managed so there were people in the completely wrong places. There were a lot of people who weren’t even in the corral when the race started. There was a count-down from 5-minutes and then the American national anthem, and then surprise, fireworks! Well the announcer did not warn us about this and it scared me so much I almost cried. Oh the emotional rollercoaster that is the moments leading up to the start of a marathon!

The start was pretty congested, but it didn’t last long luckily. There was water within 300m of the start which I found strange, especially because the next water station was pretty far away. My first 5km were: 4:51, 4:54, 4:54, 4:50, 4:50. It was pretty hot, and I was sweating even before the race started! Still, I felt pretty good aside from a bit of stomach discomfort but I tried to work through it. We were going around residential streets and there were more people out spectating that I thought there would be. It kind of reminded me of the Eugene marathon, the small town vibe and quaint residential streets. Km’s 6-10 were: 4:58, 4:54, 5:02, 5:33, 4:54. Km 9 included a time penalty because I ended up having to stop at a port-o-let. Since I was able to hit pace for km 10 I remained optimistic. I was following my fuel plan perfectly, a gel every 30 minutes.

Km’s 11-15 were: 4:56, 5:01, 5:10 (hill), 5:05, 5:01. This was OKAY, but not great. Things were already beginning to fall apart, as in, my legs were starting to feel tired. This is way, way too early in a marathon to start “feeling” your legs. I tested it out for another km and then I knew it was not my day to run a marathon. I had gone in with the intention of dropping out if things weren’t going according to plan. This was not a big, special goal race, it was a last minute thing and the decision going into it was that there would be no point in forcing it if I was unable to execute. I also didn’t want to complete it just for the sake of it and have to take all the recovery time, this race was purely for time. Since I was not going to hit the appropriate time, there was no reason to complete it. The weather of course was a concern, along with the fact that I had run a challenging marathon 6-weeks earlier.

When I knew for sure that it was not my day, I began to think about when I should drop out. I still wanted to get in a decent Sunday long-run, plus I needed to pull out somewhere convenient, where I wouldn’t be too far from my Airbnb. I decided to run at least half of it and then see how close I could get to my Airbnb on the course. At 22km we were 1 block from my Airbnb, so I pulled over, unpinned my bib, walked the block and went inside. I was shocked at how salty my legs were, it was insane! I have never been so salty before! My legs were also pretty sore and tired, I grabbed a giant bottle of water and put my legs up the wall.

I showered and scrubbed all the salt off, and then relaxed for a while. Eventually, I walked downtown to Public Coffee and Espresso and had a Turmeric Kombucha, Americano, and breakfast bowl with eggs, sweet potato and avocado. This was planned so that when I was done, the brewery would be open. I arrived there for 12-noon when they opened, sat at the bar and wrote this recap over a beer or two.

The short version of how I feel about this is: no harm, no foul. Of course, it would have been amazing to feel great and nail that 3:30 marathon, but today was not the day for that, and it’s okay. If I didn’t try this, I would have been left playing the “what if…” game. I am happy I went out today and tried to run another marathon, even though I only ran 52% of it. As I sat in Public Coffee, I looked up what other marathons were coming up, like I always do after a race. What I learned today is to appreciate what I have already done. There will not be another marathon from these legs until October in Chicago, and I couldn’t be more excited about that.

What does “I can’t” really mean?

The other day, one of my brothers’ colleagues said to me, “I heard you run marathons”. To which I said, “Yes, that’s true”. He then said something like, “How do you do that? I can’t even run 8km without barfing!”

I am confident that any endurance athlete will have a story or 10, about someone asking them, “How do you run a marathon?” or “How do you do a triathlon?” etc. I find this question difficult to answer because it’s pretty simple. You put in time, effort and train for your endurance sport of choice, and then you do it. There is no magic. Regardless of the response, it is typically followed by something like, “I could never do that!”

But how can you know for certain that you CAN’T do something if you never try? You see, the choice of language, “I can’t” cannot be interpreted literally.

It can mean:

“I don’t want to”.

“I have never tried”.

“That seems daunting, I’m scared just thinking about it”.

Etc.

It can also mean:

“I am not trained to..”

“I can’t…TODAY”.

These two statements are true of endurance athletes too, the ability to complete a marathon or triathlon requires training, it’s not just something you up and do on a random afternoon (typically). Even people who are seasoned endurance athletes go through periods of un-fitness, and times where they aren’t prepared to complete long events. Training is hard, there’s no question, it involves prioritizing, organization, and dedication. Just because something doesn’t come easy, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It means it’s going to take time and effort.

Saying you “can’t” is limiting yourself, putting a box around a goal and saying no without ever fighting for it. I believe this can become a self-fulfilling prophecy because if you have it in your head that you are unable to do something, you probably won’t try to do it. Even though it’s more than likely that this goal would be attainable if the necessary effort was put forth. There are very few things someone actually “can’t” do so long as a goal is set, and we give ourselves the time and tools to complete it.

You may have heard of a tool called S.M.A.R.T goals. It can be used for any type of goal, personal, professional, athletic or other.

S: is for specific.

M: is for measurable.

A: is for achievable.

R: is for relevant.

T: is for time bound.

Using SMART goals is helpful because it keeps you accountable. Sometimes the difference between meeting a goal or not is realizing it by saying it or writing it out etc. Sometimes the difference can be the language we use, for example, “I can’t” vs. “I can’t right now” or “I’m working towards…”

Anyone who can was previously someone who couldn’t. The only difference between those who can and those who can’t, is that those who can are willing to try, willing to potentially fail in pursuit of being able to accomplish their goal. We aren’t born with the inherent ability to do many things, let alone run a marathon. Some of us choose to spend our time training in order to run them. So before you say “I can’t” do something, ask yourself, “Have I ever put forth the effort required to meet this goal? Seriously, have I?” If the answer is no, don’t say “I can’t”.

Training Recap May 14-20, 2018

I went into this week feeling anxious since I had 3-days off in a row due to being sick. In the grand scheme of things missing 2 runs is not the end of the world, but any runner will agree, missing 2 runs in a row does not feel good. It was the right call though to rest and get healthy! This week I completed all my runs and nailed a big workout, further evidence the rest was the right decision.

Monday: I ran 10km with my dad, it felt difficult after 3 days off, but that’s to be expected. I also did core and upper body.

Tuesday: My dad and I ran another 10km, different route though. It felt better than the previous day! I also did core.

Wednesday: WO day, first one in a week. It was: 20′ easy, 2×16′ as: 4’@HM, 3′ easy, 1’@10km, 4′ easy, 4’@HM, 20′ easy. It was freaking windy, so that made it a bit harder, and probably coming back from a cold made it hard too, this felt tougher than normal, but I got through it. I hit this in the morning because I had the Saucony Run Your World event in the evening, a 5km downtown during rush-hour. I tested out the new Saucony Ride ISO’s during the run and they felt great!

Thursday: 45′ easy, this was a slog after my double-run day, but I anticipated that and embraced the relaxed pace. I also did core.

Friday: 30′ easy, this was a little shakeout since I had a big WO on deck the next day.

Saturday: This was the largest WO I have done since Boston training, I was a little nervous about it, but am happy to report I executed without any issues. The WO was: 20′ easy, 5km@5:05, 4km@4:56, 3km@4:50, 2km@4:39, 12′ easy. When I woke up it was pouring rain, and I haven’t run in rain or poor weather since Boston. I was not feeling getting soaked, so I checked AccuWeather, saw when the rain was predicted to stop and waited until then to run. I have never done that before, and it’s funny to me that I did since I lived in the PNW for the last 4-years, but hey. I also did upper body and core.

Sunday: 90′ easy, I ran an OG “long-run” route out to Sugar Beach and back. It used to feel like a big accomplishment when I ran this 16km route back in the day. Today it felt like it ended quickly, I must be a marathoner…

Total Weekly Mileage: 87.1km

Training Recap May 7-13, 2018

Last week started with an early wake-up call, 5am, in order to catch my flight from Vancouver to Toronto. Luckily, I checked my email when I awoke to find out the flight had been delayed by 4 hours. I made it to Toronto later that day, and have been there ever since. I had a moderate week of training on deck post-BMO half and was looking forward to it. However, it seemed a combination of not being at home (staying at a friends and then an Airbnb) and not sleeping well wore me down. Shortly after arriving to Toronto I developed a nasty cold preventing me from running at all over the weekend, missing out on a WO and long-run. Not what I wanted, but I have done my best to embrace resting, and plan to get back out there today!

Here is what I did last week…

Monday: OFF. Nothing. Travel day.

Tuesday: 45′ easy, ran around the beach for an out and back, sun was out, beautiful day. I also did core.

Wednesday: Workout day, 20′ easy, 20’@5:30 (actual 5:21), 10’@ 5:20 (actual 5:04), 10’@5:10 (actual 5:00), 10′ easy. Something is off with my Garmin, the pace shows as way slower than it is, and once it laps for the km, the true (faster) pace flashes on the screen. I also did core.

Thursday: 50′ easy, a loop up to Broadview and Dundas and back along the water.

Friday: OFF.

Saturday: Supposed to be a WO, but sick.

Sunday: Supposed to be 100′ easy, but sick.

Total Weekly Mileage: 31km

Training Recap April 30-May 6, 2018

This was my last week in BC. I made sure to run in all my favourite places sinceI won’t be back for a while. It was definitely bittersweet. I ended my week with a race in my favourite city, Vancouver. I signed up pretty last minute, but it was an excellent decision. It was a beautiful day for a half-marathon and a perfect see ya later to the west coast. It’s funny how a half can feel SO short when you have been marathon training for essentially a year and a half. That said, it may not have felt so short if I was racing it instead of pacing a running buddy!

Here’s what I did this week..

Monday: 30′ easy, I ran an out-and-back from work to the ocean in Vic West.

Tuesday: OFF.

Wednesday: Group WO, 20′ easy, 3×5′ (the pace was supposed to be super chill 5:10, but it ended up being between 4:38-4:45) 25′ easy. I thought I was going to be in trouble because of the pace, but it means I’m feeling GOOD so all good. I was also talking the whole time and it felt very comfortable. I also did core.

Thursday: 40′ easy, Jo and I went for a midday run on Dallas rd, definitely my favourite run view in Victoria.

Friday: OFF. I did core.

Saturday: 30′ easy, I tested out my warm-up to the start. I finished it at Bows and Arrows for an americano. I also did core.

Sunday: 10′ easy, BMO half-marathon. I ran my warm-up to the start and then ran with my friend Tay who PB’d!

Total Weekly Mileage: 53.5 km

My next run will be in Toronto!

Training Recap April 23-29

It has been a couple weeks! Last week I did not run, since after a marathon, I get 1-full week off of everything, so no recap about that. This week I did start running again, so I CAN tell you about that.

Monday: I did weights and core.

Tuesday: I ran for 20′ easy, whoohoo! I also did core.

Wednesday: OFF, I spectated at our group WO.

Thursday: I ran for 30′ easy, I also did strength.

Friday: I ran for 35′ easy, and did core.

Saturday: OFF.

Sunday: I ran 45′ easy, did strength and core.

Total Weekly Mileage: 23.6 km

Next week I get to run even more AND do a WO, I feel like it’s been a while! This is my last week running in Victoria, before I head to Vancouver for the weekend and then fly back /move to Toronto.

Boston 2018: Day 3 and 4

In my last post, My First Marathon Monday: Boston 2018 Race Recap I left off at the finish line of the 122nd Boston Marathon. I found my family at the side of the finish, they had been watching from the grandstands, getting soaked by the rain. We hugged, and then I slowly shuffled into the John Hancock tent. There I received my medal and a heat shield. A volunteer handed me by gear check bag and I set up at a table near the back of the tent. I grabbed some hot water to help get warm and began peeling off my soaking wet gear. They had heaters and a volunteer had made a make-shift change tent so we could get into dry clothing.

It was still pouring rain as I left to go find my cheer-squad. There were people walking in every direction trying to find each other and get out of the rain, it was total chaos. Eventually, I found everyone and we began trying to navigate our way back to the Airbnb. The best option was the train, the streets were still a mess and an Uber would have taken way too long to find us. It was only a few stops to go, and then I had a long hot shower while my mom went to pick up pizzas from Regina Pizza. We had spotted this place a few days prior and it always had a long line so we figured it was probably pretty good! After a few slices I moved I went to lay down under a pile of blankets, how good it felt to be warm.

After a while we decided to go down the street to the Ginger Room, a neighbourhood pub with a massive beer-list and food. I had a pineapple and coconut beer with lactose, sounds odd, but it had a nutty flavour and was surprisingly very delicious. There were a few other marathoners there in medals and jackets, and I ended up running into a few people I knew.

On Tuesday, I woke up feeling pretty good, and of course quite sore, those Newton hills! We had to pack up the Airbnb and then I wanted to check out how busy the medal engraving, and jacket embroidery were before heading over to Tracksmith for my commemorative poster. Unsurprisingly, the medal engraving line snaked around the block, and I decided not to wait in it, my priority was the jacket embroidery which had a much smaller line, so we joined it. I was able to go get my poster from Tracksmith while my mom stayed in line.

By then we were all getting pretty hungry and decided to go to Shake Shack. I only tried Shake Shack for the first time in November, when Sky and I ran the Rock’n’Roll Vegas and we really enjoyed it. I went for a cheeseburger and a Shackmeister beer (brewed by Brooklyn Brewing). We didn’t have a whole lot of time left in Boston and wanted to make the most of it, so we stopped for one last coffee at George Howell and then walked back to the Airbnb. My family had an earlier flight so they went to the airport, Sky and I walked to the famous Mike’s Pastry and shared a cannoli. Very good, but I could NOT have eaten a whole one.

We grabbed a Lift to the airport, and parted ways. Once I arrived at my gate, it was a sea of red jackets waiting to board the plane. One of which sat beside me and wanted to  talk about the marathon. From then on out, several other marathoners and other people wanted to chat about the previous day and what we had endured. It was like being a member of a club without ever trying to. I supposed I underestimated the jacket effect. I don’t think you can wear it and go unseen, and I’m not just talking about the colour. It signifies hard-work, dedication and resilience in the wearer, definitely things to be proud of!