Monday, November 24, 2014

Review: Nike Zoom Wildhorse 2

Nike Zoom Wildhorse 2
I don’t like Nike.  I’ve never owned a pair of their running shoes and had no intentions on buying them, ever.  When I began coming back from knee surgery, my typical array of shoes just weren’t cutting it.  My gait had changed, my stride length had changed, and shoes that I had STACKS of sitting in my room, no longer felt comfortable and some were even causing pain.  My IT band was flaring up (unrelated to shoes), and I was just having a hard time getting out the door knowing that each run was going to hurt.  I spent hours just looking at the running shoe store website trying to figure out what might make my legs more comfortable.  Then I saw the Nike Zoom Wildhorse 2s.  Why the F not?  I needed something new, just to get over a mental barrier.  I hated purchasing them, I hated seeing the large swoosh on the shoe box, and I actually felt a bit embarrassed the first time I wore them in public.  But how did they pan out?

9.3oz for size 9
Heel 22mm, Toe 18mm
Sizing:  True to size for me.  Grabbed a 10.5 (half size up) for normal swell and fit perfectly with a                   thumbs width of gap. 

Described as a low profile shoe with a lightweight seamless upper, the description matches the product.  It’s a really good looking shoe and though I hate to admit it, the quality is really top notch and I was very impressed with the build. 


There’s a “Zoom Air Unit” in the midsole.  I thought the cushioning in this shoe was that perfect middle ground of being able to feel the trail while having enough cushioning to keep your feet happy for 20-30 miles.  More efficient runners could easily extend this out to 50 milers and be very happy. 

The upper fits like a glove.  I want the shoe to feel like an extension of my foot and simply forget I’m even wearing them and that’s what the Wildhorse 2 did.

Traction.  Rocks, roots and trail are no problem in this.  There’s enough traction and protection for the trails in the Northeast, which means it’s more than enough for anywhere else.  I hate when reviewers criticize a shoe like this for not “gripping on wet rock” or “snow or mud.”  General purpose trail shoes are not meant to grip in extreme conditions, that’s why there are plenty of “extreme” grip shoes on the market. 

Toebox:  Wider than most shoes, but more narrow compared to say the Altra line. 


Only one and it’s not a problem with the shoe per say.  Nike introduced the Wildhorse 2 and the Terra Kiger 2 and they’re very similar.  If trail shoes were ranked on a scale from 1-10 and a something like Vibrams were at 1 and a shoe like the Brooks Cascadia was at 10, the Wildhorse and Kiger are proably a 5 and a 6.  Perfect middle ground, they’re great shoes.  But they’re right next to each other to the point where there’s not a LOT to differentiate them.  (There are of course differences, just hear me out)  I would like to see either a third trail shoe from Nike closer to the 4 (a really stripped down trail that is basically a Lunar Racer with a bit of traction) or something closer to the 7.  (the Wildhorse with a couple more mm of cushion, a rockplate and a toe bumper). 

I’ve run in the the Pearl Izumi N1 and N2 trail shoes, Salomon Sense, Mantras, Ultras, Speedcross; La Sportiva Vertical Ks and Helios; and more and if I had to pick one shoe to put on my feet right now and wear for a trail run and race, I’d pick the Nike Wildhorse 2.   It’s a fantastic shoe that I hate to admit to loving.  


Friday, November 21, 2014

Catching up

Here’s the rundown: 
5/15/14:  Surgery for my torn meniscus.  I had a “repair” done, which is much different than a shave or trim, which happens in 90% of meniscus operations.  The people who get those done are back running in 4 weeks, off crutches in just a few days, but lost part of their shock absorber.  I was able to keep 100% of my meniscus, but spent 8 weeks on crutches.  The first 6 weeks of that my knee was in brace, with weight bearing not introduced until almost 6 weeks.  I spent every single day rehabbing, multiple times a day most of the time.  I didn’t think going to Physical Therapy was helping as they weren’t pushing me hard enough so I stopped that after a little while.  All my “rehab” work was done at home and then I started at the gym on the stationary bike as soon as I could get my knee to bend enough to complete a full cycle/spin.  I’d pedal for 20 mins, then do all my stretches and strengthening.  Every day. 

7/18/14:  64 days post surgery, I took to the track and decided to “run” the straights and then walk the curves.  The running portion was just as fast as my walking.  It took me 48 mins and 58 seconds to complete a 5k.  Took a few days off of running, continued my exercises and added in swimming, my next 5k time was 38:01, including running 2 full laps.  27:04, then 25:32.  Then I started running 4 miles, then 5 miles.  I started trail running. 

I was coming home from runs with my repaired knee feeling wonderful.  Eventually I started to have a flare up in my good leg of my IT band, a result of over compensating for the weak leg.  (thus why it was feeling great, it wasn’t working very hard!) 

I switched training styles and worked very hard on strengthening my muscles around it but it’s still there, but instead of bothering me at 3 miles into a run, it’s out past 14 miles that it starts to get bothersome.  I’ll just keep working on it.

10/26/14:  Less than 24 weeks post srgery and I decided to enter a 20k trail race to gauge how my leg would do on seriously difficult terrain at race speed.  The course was brutal, and made worse by the fact that every rock and root was covered by leaves.  I ended up winning and gained a bit of confidence. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

0-2 Weeks Post Surgery

The First Week:

May 15-  Surgery

I was immediately on crutches and was pretty much stuck on the couch for the first couple days.  I was able to crutch around, but there’s a lingering amount of pain and for me, nausea from the pain pills.  You aren’t allowed to take your brace off, and you aren’t allowed to get it wet, so in order to take a shower I had to have my wife remove my clothes, tape a plastic trash bag around it and help me in.  She then had to help me get my clothes back on and back to the couch I went. 

I started immediately on the prescribed pain meds to stay ahead of the pain and it worked fine.  I never went over a 3-4 on the pain scale and was very comfortable.  I stopped taking my pain meds on the 4th day as the nausea was too much and was making it so I couldn’t enjoy my time with my family.  Other than that the first week was very uneventful:  Crutches, brace on all the time (including sleep), pain was very manageable. 

Week 2:

 I saw the doc after one week and was switched into a different brace.  This one could be unlocked and you are able to hinge your knee to 90 degrees, good for the future.  I was tasked with starting physical therapy beginning the next week.  The goal this week was to continue to stay off the leg as much as possible and to exercise my quadriceps by doing “quad sets” in the sitting position along with ankle pumps to keep blood flowing down the leg to prevent blood clots.  

Meniscus Repair Surgery and Associated Recovery

I tore my meniscus in February and didn’t know it.  I knew my knee was bothering me, as reported in the entries listed below, but not the extent or exact nature.  I know it occurred when I was out on a 20 mile run in the middle of a snowstorm and I jumped from the street over a snowbank, landing awkwardly on the targeted sidewalk.  I remember feeling a “tweak” but not really a pop and it being a 5 out of 10 on the pain scale.  I had to limp/walk home the remaining 4 miles.  (Still got my 20 miles in!)  I wasn’t concerned because the next day I ran, pain free, a 12 mile medium pace planned route.  Then, over the next 6 weeks, I experienced pain first only at 14 miles, then only when I got to 12 miles, then 10, then…  to the point I couldn’t run more than a quarter mile without the pain.  I rested for a while and sought out an orthopedic who advised me to take 6 weeks off then give it another try.  In that 6 weeks I was allowed any activity that didn’t cause pain:  road biking and swimming became my new hobbies.  I swam in the early morning and biked after work and during the weekends, maintaining a good fitness level.  I had an appointment with the doc after 6 weeks, so the day before I went out for a run, hoping to get 4 miles in.  I was cruising through 2, thoughts of being able to make the races I had planned on the calendar were going through my mind, “How long is it until Sleepy Hollow?  How many days of training can I get in before Washington?”.  Hit the 2 mile mark and turned around.  At 2.2 miles, the same pain at the same level came immediately back.  I had to walk back the 1.8 to my house and go home and pout.  The next day the doctor ordered a MRI, which was inconclusive but hinted at a possible tear, but based on location and symptoms it was only going to be a tear, or plica syndrome.  Since no tear was visible, plica seemed the culprit.  When surgery came around, the plan was to go in, shave the plica down, crutches for 3-4 days, back to full running within 4 weeks.  I was put under and when I woke up from the surgery was informed he found a tear and was able to “repair” it.  I had researched every option prior so I knew that meant a minimum of 6 weeks on crutches, but I never found any hard timelines or good information about returning to running after a tear that is repaired, only info on a tear that is trimmed.  I decided to get some info down on the web in hopes that someone getting a repair has some info to go off of.  I’ll try and break it down week by week and we’ll see how long it takes to get me back to running 60-70 miles per week as that was my full mileage prior to the injury.  Here goes.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


I've been injured since the Colchester Half Marathon.  I had been nursing a knee injury, but I could tell it was getting worse and worse and I don't know why I kept running on it.  Well, actually, I do.  Same as everyone else.  You're at the peak of fitness, and you don't want to lose what you've gained.  Anyways, other than a few runs here and there, I haven't been able to put any actual efforts together.  A couple miles on a Monday, too much pain the next couple days, a couple miles on a Thursday.
I did get out for a 7.5 mile run with Darrin on the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail.  We ascended to Mt Tom's summit via the B17, then ran across and back on the MM Trail, eventually heading down the ski slopes back to the auto road.  We took turns filming on a GoPro and I put together this quick video:

Monday, February 24, 2014

Week of 2/17/14

Mon (7.7 miles)-  Ran 3.2 after work just to get in some junk miles, then headed over to meet Darrin for another snowshoe run around the riverfront in Hartford.  Did a bridge to bridge run, some postholing on the East Hartford side while most of the Hartford side was about 6-8 inches deep.
Tue (9.8 miles)-  Another snow storm, so my "long run" was cut very short.  My face was covered in ice and snow and it was starting to get painful.
Wed (8.6 miles)- East 4 immediately after work in the pouring rain.  Soaked.  Then I met up with Jack, who runs the Pearl Izumi team that I am on, at Fleet Feet for a 4.6 mile run on pure ice.  I was only wearing trail shoes and I really should have had on ice spikes, so it made for quite the adventure.
Thu (8.1 miles)- 3 on the mill in the morning, and 5.1 around Bloomfield in the afternoon.
Fri (2 miles)-  East 2 on the mill just to stretch the legs before racing tomorrow.
Sat (14.1 miles)- 1 mile warmup then the Colchester Half Marathon.  Report below. 
Sun (0 miles)- I hit the scheduled miles for the week and my knee is pretty much wrecked, so I took a zero and worked the whole day.

I like to keep my mileage typically between 60-70 miles, so it's a little tough to stop at a certain mileage and consider that "done" for the week, but so be it.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do the next 3 weeks leading up to the marathon, my knee is really bothering me and I'm not sure how much rest to give it, or at what expense.  Less miles but run everyday?  Run the miles but no workouts?  Just take a week off?  I don't know.  I'm going to run tonight with Beat City and see how it feels.  If it's bothering me the whole time I think I'm going to have to take a few days off. 

50.3 miles