Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Asics Piranha SP 2 Review

The last 5 years I've been constantly flipping between Asics and Adidas - I've tried Tiger Paws, Gel Magic Racers, Rockets, AdiZero Pros, AdiZero Manas, AdiZero RCs and they've all lead me to one shoe at this point: the Asics Piranha. (I threw one pair of Nike's in there and they were fine, but not compelling).

I've had my eye on the Piranha's for awhile now but I always thought they looked too light and flimsy (even for me). However a few months ago I decided to give them a try anyways. After one run I was thrilled, but now after 300 miles I'm sold. They've held up great - the rubber wears down but it's still a fine surface to run on, and there's barely any padding to begin with so there's not much to break down. I've never had a shoe feel so much like an extension of my foot. 

At 4.2 oz (size 9) they're definitely the lightest flats I've got. And the flex is great since there's no hard plastic areas for flex control. There's minimal rubber on the bottom so they're not going to win any awards for traction, but I've had no problems whatsoever (disclaimer: I've run in 0 ice or snow during the 300 miles). Also, while the Rocket's tended to have too much stitching that dug into parts of my feet, the Piranha's have a very minimal seaming system which I've never noticed any blisters, cuts, or bruises from. In fact my feet are looking the best they ever have on that front. 

I've been training exclusively in these for a couple months now and while they definitely took another adaptation period (the heel to toe differential is only 4mm) now I don't think I could go back to heavier flats. 300 miles I also haven't detected any signs of shoe malfunction - they're still comfortable, they still have plenty of traction, and besides the stink they still have plenty of miles left in them. The padding is so minimal I think I'll even try tossing them in the washing machine. 

Pros: As light as it gets in the USA @ 4.2 oz, flexible, rubber bottoms (no hard tack), great stitching, lowest heel to toe differential I've seen.

Cons: The even lower than normal heel will take a little extra getting used to.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon

Ran in the Kaiser half for the second year, and had much better results this year. This race was a real wakeup call last year to the fact that I had pretty much just hibernated for the winter and the 1:18ish time I ran (just under 6 pace) gave me something to improve on.

I'm happy to say this year I got a much better start and dropped my time down to 1:14:32 (5:41 pace per mile) which I was pretty psyched about. Ran the race in my Piranha SP 2's and the weather was perfect besides a heavy headwind in the last 3 miles but that's not much to complain about. The race unfolded about as I expected. The plan was to run about 5:40's to give me some buffer towards the end and the splits turned out to be:

10:53 (missed mile 6)
6:36 (3.1)

Next stop: figure out how to break 1:12 (sub 5:30 pace).