Running when Descending Stairs is Hard and Sitting Down on the Toilet is Even Harder, Plus a First Look at the New Brooks Transcend

One of my favorite feelings is the soreness and contented tired feeling after intense physical exertion. Tough gym workouts and long runs are my usual source of post-exercise bliss. It’s only a blissful feeling on the day of the exercise; if the soreness and fatigue extends into the next day, it ceases to be satisfying and starts being inconvenient and uncomfortable.

Today I woke up feeling like I was old enough to be Methuselah’s mother: I was so creaky that lowering myself onto the toilet was a real chore.

Rather than wallow in my aches and pains, I resolved to drive them away with a short run on the treadmill. Bracing myself with a hand on each bannister, I limped downstairs. For the uninitiated, this probably does sound like a literal descent into madness — another run less than 24 hours after clocking 21 miles and growing prodigious blisters? Well, the blisters receded quickly as a result of not messing with them. But non-intervention won’t cure sore, lactic acid-laden limbs.

Last week I received my Brooks Transcends. I’m surprised I hadn’t heard the initial buzz about these shoes because I have a lot of love for Brooks running shoes and these are really up my alley. I saw an ad for them and immediately thought, There’s my next marathon shoe. It was as though I’d dreamed them into life: a pumped up version of my beloved Brooks Glycerin 11s, the shoes that helped me not just break 2:00 in the half marathon the first time ever (and the first time I wore the Glycerin 11s for more longer than about 5k at a stretch), but absolutely crush it — my time in that pivotal race was sub-1:55. I generally like cushioning over the long haul. And for recovery days.

Today was certainly a recovery day and a great opportunity to bust out these boat-bottomed behemoths. The sole of the Brooks Transcend under the arch is so wide that I had a hard time standing with the shoes clear of the treadmill belt so it could start. That sole and midsole geometry looks a little weird, but the eye-popping colors keep this shoe from looking like a therapy or geriatric model. Check out the pictures at the bottom of this post to get an idea of what I’m talking about.

Frankly, I don’t really care what the sole looks like since it feels like marshmallowy clouds beneath my feet. For the second mile of my very brief shamble, I eased the treadmill up to 6:40/mile pace and the shoe responded gamely — I didn’t feel weighed down by the Transcend and my turnover rate increased on pace with the belt, unencumbered. The full contact sole felt buttery smooth under foot. I’m accustomed to this type of shoe and this type of feel from Brooks and I love it. The Transcend does feel like a plusher, more cushioned Glycerin 11. I’m eager to see how these feel on a long run.

This morning’s short run purged some, but not all of my soreness. I’m still stiff, but no longer zombie-like. I surprised myself by upping the speed from a modest 8:20/mph after the first mile — what I had thought would be a death march wasn’t so bad after all. Thanks to this morning’s effort, I’ll be feeling worlds better tomorrow and I’ll be able throw myself into a more fun workout.

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