Thursday, March 15, 2012

Minimus Zeroes in Austin Texas

It's been a while. I was out of town and when I got back, our internet was down. I had the good fortune of being sent to Austin to the SXSW Interactive conference. I was excited to see Austin and there was a great bunch of people from work there. The conference didn't stimulated me like I hoped it would and I don't really like clubby parties but it was worth going to get to know folks from our other offices and meet with a few old friends that used to work in Chicago. I was especially excited about doing some running in warmer weather.

An Instagram of the Capital Building in Austin.
An impressive building that looks brown in the day and white at night.

A shot of a closed-down store near my hotel in Austin

On Saturday, I was so bummed. I had to run in the hotel gym because it was raining and cold in Austin. It was warmer in Chicago at that point! The treadmill was really low quality and didn't feel substantial enough. I was dehydrated and my shinsplints were in full force. I forced out 2 miles and then called it a day. My colleague Paul and I were both wearing our New Balance MR00's in red. I was hoping that the matching shoes was going to freak him out more but he played it cool. My laces came loose toward the end of the run. What's with laces that untie themselves? Haven't running shoe companies moved past that yet? The zeroes performed as they have in my other treadmill runs. They felt comfortable and forced me into better form.

On Sunday, I woke with a terrible migraine. I haven't felt really well one day since starting to take Terbinafine. It's a medicine that I am taking to make sure that I have no microbial infection as my toenail hopefully grows back. The stuff is nasty enough that I have to take liver panels to make sure it's not doing something bad to me. I took some painkillers, blackened the room and slept off the migraine. When I woke, I had a desire to run the cloudy feeling off. I decided to hit Lady Bird Lake Trail. It's a reservoir off of the Colorado River. If you want to go on a nice long run, you can use bridges to cross over and loop around.

Lady Bird Lake Trail map
You can check out my route on DailyMile. I had to run about 1.5 miles to Lady Bird Lake. I ran from the hotel down Lavaca Street about 1.5 miles before finding a way down to the Lady Bird Trail. It is really lovely and it made me fall in love with Austin. The fact that the weather transformed from cold and rainy to warm and sunny was a big factor too. The trail was mostly fine gravel but there were some muddy patches prtially covered with mulch. There were other runners out but it was fairly quiet. It was easy to forget that you were running right in the middle of the City. Even though I didn't eat breakfast and hadn't been feeling great, I found my stride and just floated along. On DailyMile I referred to it as "epic". I have been so frustrated running 2 miles because of the shinsplints and all the water I drank the previous day must have paid off because my shins were so much better. It was a pleasure to run longer. I ran about 3 miles on the trail before taking the 1.5 mile Lavaca Street hill all the way back to the hotel. I was definitely starting to feel it at the end and running strides to beat the traffic lights didn't help.

My DailyMile route.
Even the restrooms are cool on Lady Bird Trail

On Monday, I ran later in the day. The weather got pretty hot and I was desperate to explore the trail a little more. This time, when I got to the trail, I turned right instead of left. It was much busier with walkers and runners. My legs were very tired but I managed another 6 mile run. I knew I'd be paying for it in the coming days but I couldn't pass up this opportunity to experience running in Austin. Even with heavy legs and a slow pace, I really enjoyed the run. It made me see the light at the end of the tunnel with this comeback. It was my first run in the heat. I forgot to take my hydration pack and that was a mistake. When I got back to the hotel, I was really worn out.

Since then, I have taken a few days off to let my poor legs recover. It was too much running for where I was in my recovery plan but it was a sacifice I made to have the experience. No regrets. I just need to go back to being smart.

New Balance Minimus Road Zero

So, what about the New Balance Road Zeroes? As some of you know, I just got a pair of MR00's. You can check out my visit to New Balance Chicago here. After multiple treadmill runs and a couple of 6 milers on varying surfaces, I am starting to form an opinion. Overall, I really like them but there is room for improvement. They are a handsome shoe – a real head turner. The weight is fantastic. It's easy to forget how much weight plays into minimalism. The midsole feels thin – more than I thought it would. At first that concerned me because I like protection but as soon as I realized how much this shoe forces me to run with better form, I forgot all about it. The outsole doesn't cover the entire bottom of the shoe. It was adequate for the surfaces I was running on. I'd be curious to see how the sole wears in general. The traction was great on the road and gravel. A few times when I ran over mud, I felt a slight skid. That's understandable. It's not a trail shoe at all and shouldn't be expected to perform that way. The upper is really light and airy. It's snug and I like the taco tongue because it doesn't add pressure or rubbing points to the top of the foot. I wish there was a recess for the achilles because it is high and I have had some light rubbing in that area – nothing too bad. The insole is soft and fleace-like. It is so much more comfortable than my MT and MR 10's are with bare feet. On Monday when it was pretty hot, I hoped that the material would dry a little more quickly. I ended up with a blister on the top of my right little toe near the nail bed. I suspect that it may have been caused my moisture and the toe box. At times, the toe box does feel a little too tight. It's very generous compared to a regular running shoe but it is noticeably less accommodating than my MT10's for example. Maybe they wanted to streamline the front for aesthetics – I don't know. I just think they should think about this more. The comfort overall is fantastic and I haven't had any other issues – not even the slightest hotspot. My main point of frustration with the shoe overall was that the fine gravel was getting into the shoe and under my feet. There has got to be a way to tighten the seal around the foot to avoid this. I know that it's a shoe designed for the road but a fine gravel trail shouldn't be a stretch for a road shoe. I'll let you know if I have any other updates on them. Obviously this is my point of view based on my feet. Shoes are different for everyone.

It's good to be back in Chicago with my family! Hope you are all well.

POST UPDATE 03/17/2012
I don't want people to think that the Zeroes don't have a lot of toe room in the toe box. I make it sound like the toes are squeezed together. They aren't. It's probably a more roomy toe box than most things you have experienced. There is just something about the way that they contoured around the little toe that makes them feel tighter at that point than the MT10's. This is based on my foot shape of course. Just wanted to clarify to be fair.


  1. You will be proud, your ramblings have made another 40ish person go for a run everyday for a week!! (on a treadmill, too many meth heads where I was staying).

  2. Nice work my friend. Running in New Zealand sounds ideal. One day... one day.

  3. I'm still bitter that you bought red, damn it. ;)


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