Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Altra Torin 2.5 review

I've procrastinated writing a review of one of the most comfortable pair of trainers I've ever owned, and the best pair of Altra's I have run in: the Torin 2.5. It's good I'm getting around to writing this review now, since the 3.0 is expected to be released in the next couple of months - long enough to get a lifecycle out of a pair purchased today.

The Torin 2.5 is a good daily trainer kind of shoe. It's relatively light and relatively cushioned - for my taste, just about right. I would be happy to wear them for a trail ultra if grip wasn't too big an issue, and would definitely wear them for a marathon or half. I have worn them for shorter distances - 10Ks and 5Ks -- but they have drawbacks at those races. The foam is not very springy - it's relatively dead - so you really don't get the kind of energy return bounce you are looking for in those quicker races. The ultimate upgrade for the Torin would be to use the EGO foam in the new Escalantes - it would allow this shoe to excel at the quicker stufff.

The shoe is pretty ugly looking. Altra is doing better in making the foot shaped shoe look less like a clown shoe and more like a regular running shoe. They've done a great job with their latest versions of shoes like the Instinct, Lone Peak and Escalante on the design front. Hopefully the Torin 3.0 looks a little more socially acceptable! (The black/red version is the better looking colorway, better than the blue/yellow, below)

Now, picking it apart in detail...

The upper: I love the construction on this shoe. Most of it is some sort of nylon material with varying degrees over plastic overlays. Some think it is too tight and not breathable enough, but it is great for me. I get enough support that my feet aren't sliding around, but I don't find it overly hot (and I do get pretty warm in the feet during my runs). There's a little bit of mesh on the upper that perhaps provides some ventilation. Maybe I'll be singing a different tune during the summer, but I haven't had a problem. More support than the Instinct 4.0 here, which feels too loose to me. The shoe laces up very well - not hot spots or puckering like I saw on the Instincts current and past.

The midsole: Absolute comfort. I don't find it too mushy or too hard - it is just right. My foot, which on the right has suffered from vague and annoying pain due to either too much or too little cush over the last couple of years - is happy and pain free. My feet don't feel "tired" at all - they've nailed it here. For comparison, it is significantly firmer the Escalante, slightly firmer than the Lone Peak 3.0, softer than the Instinct. 

The outsole: The weakest part of the shoe. I suffered excessive wear on the outside heels of both shoes. Yes, I tend to do my share of heel striking but land midfoot most of the time. I had to retire my shoes at around 150 miles because the black rubber was totally gone. Hopefully this was unusual wear, based on running on some rougher surface. But still, it doesn't look like this is a shoe that will have much life after 200 miles. Altra has consistently had quality issues like this, but is making progress. Hopefully the Torin 3.0 addresses this problem

Monday, March 6, 2017

Running after laparoscopic abdominal surgery

I like posting on the blog to help out someone now or in the future who might have the need for some past experience I've had, if not my wisdom.

The following is a journal of my return to activity from walking to running following my laproscopic right hemicolectomy.

I hope this post is of interest/use to someone coming back from similar surgery. Please check with your doctor about these things and remember the internet can't be sued for malpractice. And don't do anything if you feel any pain or discomfort - err on the side of caution. And this is no worse than listening to letsrun.com message boards.

I had surgery on Thursday February 2nd. You can see that day was the last time I cleared 1000 steps in a day for the next four days.

My surgeon gave me permission to start walking immediately, with no restrictions on the amount except for the amount of fatigue I felt. He asked I refrain from using aerobic equipment at the gym for two weeks post-surgery, and running for six weeks post surgery. Weightlifting is also not recommended. The worry is that excess straining from too much abdominal impact could create post-surgical hernias at the wound sites.

Honestly, not running for an extended period was the least of my worries when I went in for surgery. I was lucky to have an uncomplicated surgery and no need for post-surgical treatment, so after surgery, I did start counting the days till I could return to exercise activities. 

After four days of near total rest, I started to move around the house (and take walks outside. On day 5 - Tuesday February 7 - I hit 1342 steps. By day 9 - Saturday February 11th - I passed 5000 steps in a day.

By day 14, I was getting eager to do more and more. At day 16 after surgery - I felt strong enough to hit 10000+ steps -- my pre-surgery normal step goal.

The following week, on day 21 after my surgery and after my 3 week post-op visit, I returned to the gym. I started on the treadmill at a moderate pace (3.5 mph) and a 10% incline to get my HR up to aerobic training levels. I felt a little soreness during one session on day 22, slowed it down, but felt fine the next day (day 23). That day, I did a fast walk with a couple of little light jogs over 1.5 miles on day 24 and felt fine the following morning, returning to the gym for the following six days.  

I made it over a month without running! On March 4th, the 30th day, I returned to light outdoor running at a pace of around 10 min/mi, with no discomfort. I returned to running about 12 days sooner than recommended, but the amount of force I exerted on my abdominal muscles using the elliptical machine felt greater than the impact from gentle running. Perhaps not smart, certainly extremely impatient, but judging from this other post which says jogging is generally ok after four weeks, another says two to three weeks of no activity that causes straining, pulling, pushing or jumping after laproscopic abdominal surgery, so not completely out of line.

I plan on keeping my effort light through week six just to make sure, but am confident that my insides are holding up fine.