The Tuesday Kick: Living the running dream

The shoe

Brooks PureCadence

The official description

Less construction, a responsive fit, more support and all of it wrapped in a package designed to help prevent overpronation.

According to Brooks, the “PureCadence gives runners who need more stability the chance to experience the feel of a natural foot strike with a lightweight, breathable shoe.”

We say

Sound familiar? That’s because another runner favoured the PureCadence just a couple of weeks ago  (The Tuesday Kick, April 11, 2012).  Obviously the shoe is finding a market for its light, supportive build.

Who wears it

Self-described “shoe junkie” Michelle Kempton lives in Cow Bay, Nova Scotia, home of the annual Moose Run.  Kempton, 38, is immersed in the running life.  A half-marathoner, who has published in Canadian Running,  she often has speaking engagements at the Running Room, and is the co-founder of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia’s Heart & Sole Running Club.

Kempton volunteers at children’s running clubs and is the co-founder of Girls Gone Gazelle, a non-profit, all-girls running club for pre-teens. Currently she is the race director and co-founder (along with Stacy Juckett Chesnutt) of United by Running, which is launching a new series of three races in Nova Scotia, including an already sold-out five-km women’s only race; a pirate-based marathon in the fall, and a relay race.

For more information, be sure and check out: http://unitedbyrunning.com/index.php

Two months ago, Kempton turned in her power-suit and high-heels for running tights and sneakers. After 14 years as a software programmer, she’d had enough and did something many of us only dream about. She resigned from her sedentary work day for a job that she  loves: running!

Kempton says she’s not fast, never wins races and doesn’t “look” like a runner, but she trains 40 to 50 km weekly and “owns a lot of sneakers.” But whereas most people are training for races, Kempton’s kilometres are to keep her in shape for the running clinics she instructs.

Kempton began running five years ago, dropping 120 pounds in the process (and she attributes most of the weight loss to running).  But she “quickly fell into the trap of feeling that I had to set PBs.”

She ran a 25 minute 5 km and a 52 minute 10 km, times and achieved them on her own with no formal training. “I had to train hard to reach those PBs. I did it with no direction or guidance. At the time, I had no formal training and very few running friends,” Kempton says.

“I didn’t know about tempo runs, hill-repeats, strides or steady runs. All I had was my GPS watch and I’d run, run and run – until I got faster. Imagine if I knew then what I know now!”

But, Kempton says, she’s older and wiser now and runs for different reasons: for enjoyment and to help others.

Why she likes them

Kempton finds a parallel between her early running and her initial experience with shoes.  “I understand the science behind different shoe types now,” she says, “but when I first started running, I didn’t have a sweet clue.”

Incredibly, for her first two years running, she’d lace up a pair of heavy Merrell hiking shoes and pound the pavement in those. She even used them for her first 10 km road race.

Kempton found her first real runners a revelation; she had no idea sneakers could be comfortable and light. She laughs, recalling that she destroyed her first pair within a couple of weeks. Because they were “cute and on sale,” Kempton bought a pair of Nikes at a retail outlet. The inner ankles wore out and when she took them into a local specialty running store where they “skooled” her on kicks, it turns out she’d bought the wrong type for her running style.

“From that point forward, “fashion” wasn’t the primary reason that I picked a shoe – though I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t still important,” Kempton says.

Kempton’s run in everything from Saucony and Asics, to Mizuno, and now declares herself a recent Brooks convert. “The Brooks PureProject has exactly what I needed. A low-profile shoe, some cushion, a wide base and awesome colors. I actually squealed when I first saw the Scuba Dive PureCadence!”

Kempton favours the PureCadence because they offer both function and fashion.  She’d been moving toward a lower profile show over the past year. But describes her first day in the Brooks as “love,” and adds the dozen or so compliments I received from fellow runners helped as well.

“My calves were a bit tired after my first run, but I didn’t have cramping – just fatigue. But in fairness to the shoe, I did teach a learn-to-run and 10K clinics back-to-back that night and probably clocked about 12K on my first run.”

Kempton is now a confirmed Brooks fanatic and counts among her shoes PureFlows for the treadmill, PureCadences for the road and the Green Silence for the track .

Sounds like a dream to us.

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About subthree

A multiple award-winning journalist, I'm currently a contributing editor with both Canadian Running and Canadian Cycling magazines. My articles have appeared in Explore, Canadian Geographic, enRoute, The National Post, The Globe and Mail, and many other magazines and newspapers. Formerly a competitive cross-country mountain biker, I switched to running in 2006. I've run seven marathons, qualifying for Boston five times (and which I've run once). Generally, I've placed or won in my age group in races, in distances ranging from five and 10 kms to half and full marathons. I've also taught spin classes at a number of leading Eastern Canadian gyms. Sub-three was a 2012 #Runchat finalist for Best Overall Blog.
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4 Responses to The Tuesday Kick: Living the running dream

  1. Rebekah says:

    Great post. Love the profile of such an inspiring woman! I had a weird experience with the Cadence’s. My dad bought me some for Christmas because he had some and, like Michelle, absolutely loved them. Admittedly, I logged miles in mine probably too fast, but I got a horrible pain in the top of my left foot that was so bad I couldn’t put on ANY running shoes for a couple of days. I’m not sure what the deal was, but even after the pain went away, if I put on the Cadence again, it would come back. They’re sitting in my closet now. Size 9 if anyone is interested. 🙂

    • subthree says:

      Michelle is doing some pretty amazing things for running in Nova Scotia. The promotion for the three-race series she is directing is pretty amazing, to the point they already sold out the five-km race. Not bad for a first time out.

      Interesting comment about the Brooks since they’ve come up twice for The Tuesday Kick. When I put that piece together, I never ask people what they’re wearing, only if they want to contribute. So it’s not like I’m ever trying to favor a shoe or brand. Maybe you were lacing the shoe too tight?

      Thanks for reading.

  2. merylcook says:

    I have recently started wearing Brooks Pure Grit. I’m currently in MIchelle’s 1/2 marathon class and help out with one of her Learn-to-Runs. I got back into running after being off for 5 years, and started with Michelle’s Learn-to-Run last June. I completed her 5 to 10K clinic in November, just before my 55th birthday!
    I have a wide foot and the front of Pure Grit is nice and roomy. However, I found that on longer runs my feet were tingling and going numb. I have since cut the elastic that goes across the top of the arch about mid-tongue and this seems to be helping. I hope Brooks will consider making a sneaker similar to the Pure series in a wider fit. Ideally I would like to see the whole mid-foot area a bit wider, particularly the elastic. I am a mid-foot runner and would love to find the perfect minimal but wide sneaker with just a bit of support.

    • subthree says:

      Those are great comments about the shoe, Meryl. It’s great to hear such feedback on kicks, so that other people gain insight into how a particular pair might fit and perform, negatively or positively. I hope your running is going well. Thanks for commenting, and for reading.

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