On my many drives from New Jersey to Virginia, I’ve seen Pocomoke River State Park near Pocomoke City and Snow Hill in Worcester County. I’ve always wanted to stop at Pocomoke River State Park, but for whatever reason, weather, timing, it just didn’t work out.
A couple of weeks ago, my legs were feeling restless, so I decided to stop. I was not disappointed!
Pocomoke River State Park is located right off Route 113, just before connecting with Route 13. There are plenty of hiking trails. Plus, if you are looking for camping, they have an electric hookup, camp store, picnic area, nature center, bathhouse, dumping station, swimming pool and even large boat launch. There are several areas to camp, including Shad Landing and Milburn Landing Areas
I went to Shad Landing which is on the south side of the Pocomoke River near Route 113. I didn’t realize there was a whole separate section called Milburn Landing. It’s 25 minute drive between the two sections of Pocomoke River State Park. I can see how they host an 50k ultra race at Pocomoke River State Park.
Located within the 15,000 wooded acres of Pocomoke State Forest has about 15,000 wooded acres. Pocomoke River State Park is famous for its loblolly pine and for its cypress swamps. The Pocomoke River originates in the Great Cypress Swamp in Delaware and flows south 45 miles to the Chesapeake Bay. Cypress Swamp and upland is home to plenty of plant and animal life, including otters and bald eagles, and over 50 species of fish.
Even though it was a beautiful 60 degrees in January, the seasonal things were obviously closed.
I didn’t plan to stop at Pocomoke River State Park, so I didn’t have any ideas of trails. Several trails hike through the Great Cypress Swamp in Delaware and Maryland. Plus, you can hike by the Chesapeake Bay as well as areas of the Pocomoke River.
Here are a few photos from the stop. I was only at Pocomoke River State Park for an hour, but it was a great stop to get out and stretch my legs. I find I’ve struggled to sit still on the 6-hour drive.
Asics has been around the running world for years. The Asics Cumulus, the Asics Nimbus, and the Asics Kayano are all over 20 models old. A few years ago, Asics changed factories and their shoe quality went down. The shoes were narrow and tight and many people went wider and even a full size larger. Shoe size is just shoe size but when you order the same shoe year after year and suddenly you’re a size bigger, it doesn’t do the brand any favors.
My point with that is from about 2015-2019, Asics was not great. In late 2019, they came out with the Asics Nimbus 22 and it was the first shoe in years I was impressed with from Asics.
Asics does win the award of most consistent with their technology. The same Asics Gel from the 1990s is the same Asics gel now.
Now that we have that long introduction about Asics let’s get to the Asics Cumulus 21, also known as the Asics Gel Cumulus 21. Although there is no non-Asics Gel Cumulus 21 and there is no shoe called the “Asics Gel.”
The Gel Cumulus 21 is a lighter, less cushioned version of the Asics Nimbus 22.
Asics Cumulus 21 Quick Facts:
Weight: 9.9 ounces
Heel to Toe Drop: 10 mm
Asics Cumulus 21 Fit:
The fit of the Asics Cumulus 21 is what so many people are curious about! Now, the Asics Cumulus 21 uses a dual-layer mesh. The toe box is wider and the Asics Cumulus 21 fits more true to size than it has in years.
First, Asics Cumulus 21 now uses a dual-layer mesh. While more durable, the engineered jacquard mesh upper doesn’t breathe as well as I hoped.
One thing I wish Asics would remove (from all of their shoes) is the heavy Asics logo. It takes up a lot of space and just seems like unnecessary weight. Many brands have already gone towards screen printing their logos on shoes, so Asics should go that route too. Although the Asics logo doesn’t hinder anything with the fit of the Asics Cumulus 21, it just adds unnecessary weight.
I do appreciate is the higher heel collar in all Asics shoe. The higher internal heel counter and holds the foot in position. My foot feels secure when running in the Asics Cumulus 21.
In running shoes, I typically wear between a 10-11 wide and I find the Asics Cumulus 11 wide to be the best fit. For a while, I couldn’t comfortably fit into the Asics Cumulus, but I can once again.
Asics Cumulus 21 Ride:
Asics, in general, is one of the heavier brands out there. That’s because Asics uses gel in (most) of their shoes and gel is a heavier substance. While the Asics Cumulus 21 is one of their lighter offerings, it’s still heavier compared to the Saucony Ride, Brooks Ghost, or Hoka Clifton. The Cumulus 21 is no different. The following is some of the features for the midsole and outsole of the Cumulus 21.
The staple in most Asics shoes is the silicone-based gel, which absorbs shock. Gel is no better than other cushioning systems, but there is more cushion in the heel. The rear and forefoot gel technology is designed for shock absorption with a Flytefoam, low-density foam, in the midsole.
The midsole is made up of both Flytefoam and Flytefoam propel midsole technology. What is Flytefoam? It’s softer, low-density foams that provide bounciness and responsiveness. Asics introduced Flytefoam into many of their staples shoes to reduce weight but also provide a more responsive ride. With the mixture of foams, I’ve found the Asics Cumulus 21 to provide responsiveness no matter the type of run.
Finally, like many shoes, the Asics Cumulus 21 uses “AHAR,” also known as ASICS High Abrasion Rubber. The rubber makes it great on rainy, wet, or icy days. If it’s icy or snowy, I’m more likely to grab the Asics Cumulus 21.
The Flytefoam Propel Technology, together with the rearfoot and forefoot gel technology, makes the Asics Cumulus 21 the softest and most responsive ride in a long time.
I’ve run a few different types of runs in the Asics Cumulus 21 and I find the best use is as a daily trainer or a shoe I’m standing around or at the gym in. I prefer the durable gel for long days at work or to reduce shock on easy runs. Lately, I’ve used the Asics Gel Cumulus 21 a lot for warmups and cooldowns for workouts and races.
Asics Cumulus 21 Conclusion:
The updated Asics Cumulus 21 is better than it has been in years. It’s exciting to see Asics getting back in the game. The Asics Cumulus 21 fits more comfortably and is a great trainer for someone looking for an everyday shoe for easy runs. It’s one of my favorite shoes to stand around, go to the gym, or even work in (yes, a running shoe that I use a lot for nonrunning). If you’ve run in the Asics Cumulus before, the major changes are the upper and a better fit than previous versions.
The Distance Series is one of my favorite local races in Virginia. Since I grew up in Hampton Roads, I always have both family and friends racing. The Distance Series has three races from January to late March to get ready for the Shamrock Half Marathon. There are 10/15/20 milers in the series or the shorter series 6/10/12.
The last Distance Series race I ran was in 2018, the 15 Miler. It was one of my best races in 2018. Usually, January is dreary and I like to take a short trip out of New Jersey. This winter has been mild, and in fact, the Distance Series was hot. I haven’t run a January race that was 65-70 degrees and humid in a long time (maybe ever). It felt like I was running a late May race! Anyway, I still had an enjoyable time and even with the humidity barely missed my “A” goal of under 1:10.
Dad and I arrived around 8 am picked up our packets and talked to a few friends. I saw good friend Mollie and we decided to warm up together. It was hot and to be honest; my body didn’t feel great. We jogged about 2 miles and then headed to the start.
The Distance Series 10 Miler went off promptly at 9 am. It runs on the Dismal Swamp Trail, which is a boring, flat, trail next to the Dismal Swamp. In the summer, it’s insanely buggy. The last time I ran there was the day before my wedding in 2015, my how time flies.
My A goal was to run a 1:10. Based on my 10k, my VDot indicates I’m in between 1:09-1:10 shape right now. I knew the weather was not ideal, so it was a stretch to run 1:09. I hit the first mile in 7:01. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed, but I evaluated how I was feeling and knew I needed to run conservatively, otherwise it would be a death march to the finish.
I ran the next mile of the Distance Series 10 Miler in 6:57. I felt better about it. For the most part, I was running alone and just lost in my own thoughts. The 6 miler and 10 miler were together until mile 3, so it was tough to know who was running what. I wasn’t running for a place but more to see what kind of fitness I was in.
I crossed the third mile of the Distance Series 10 Miler in 6:57. I felt decent, but my legs were still stiff. I noticed we had a headwind, so I thought, wouldn’t it be nice if the last 5 miles were tailwind…then I realized, did I really want tailwind with how hot it already was?
The next two miles of the Distance Series 10 Miler went by without much note. I was just plugging along. Around mile 4.5, I saw the leaders heading back. I couldn’t tell if it was a tailwind. All I wanted to do was get to mile 5 to find out if it was a tailwind. I crossed mile 5 in 35:10.
As we headed back, I realized it was no wind. The air was a standstill and the humidity was high. I felt like I roasted the last 5 miles of the Distance Series 10 Miler. I just plugged along. Running in the Dismal Swamp can be mentally challenging because there are mile markers by the .25, so you literally count down. It felt like it was dragging.
As I was heading back, I grabbed Gatorade at the two remaining stops. I ran mile 5 in 7:01, followed by 6 in 6:57. The miles felt like they were taking forever; I just wanted to be done. Something happened that I’ve never had happen before and that my leg started to spaz out a little bit. I think I was cramping due to the heat. Once I grabbed Gatorade around mile 7.5-8, it felt better.
The next few miles of the Distance Series 10 Miler were uneventful and I ran a 6:59, 6:58, 6:59. I wanted so badly to be under 1:10, but I realized due to not running in a perfect line and adding almost a 10th of a mile, I wouldn’t be there. I crossed mile 9 at 1:03.15, and I knew I would need to haul butt to be under 1:10.
I felt like I was powering during the last mile of the Distance Series 10 Miler. I passed a few of the six miler races, but I had tunnel vision to the end. I saw the clock ticking 1:09.45 and I knew I was just a little bit off. I didn’t let that dampen my spirits and I still powered to the end. My last 30 seconds was about 6:12 pace. I crossed in 1:10.07.
Distance Series 10 Miler Thoughts:
I’m happy with my effort at the Distance Series 10 Miler. If it was better weather, I would have run under 1:10 but can’t change the weather. My effort was there and I was much more consistent. I didn’t “fly and die,” so I was happy with that. Plus, the last time I ran a 10 miler in October, I ran a 1:15.
As I start training again, I’ve decided to call my next training block: “The Sub 1:25 files”. It has a nice ring, right?
As I mentioned on my 2019 training log, my 2020 running goal is to get back into 1:25 half marathon shape. While this isn’t a PR, it’s a realistic goal for me (since I haven’t done that in nearly two years).
I’m not putting a time limit on whether it happens in the Spring or Fall.
Easy 8 miles
Easy 6 miles
Workout (total miles 12)
Rest+ Travel to VA
Easy 8 miles with 10X20 second strides
Tidewater Distance Series 10 mile race (1:10.07) Total miles 14
Easy 8 miles
This week went well. I decided to drive down and visit my parents for the weekend in Virginia. While I got to see them over the Holidays, I wanted a few more days. Typically January NJ weather is gloomy and dark. This year has been extremely mild so far. I plan to run a few 10-mile races this year and last weekend could be the hottest one!
Wednesday: 3 miles at 10-mile pace (6:58) followed by 8X1 min hard/ 1 min rest
My workout on Wednesday was different than what I’ve done before. One of the main goals of my 2020 season is to do different things. Doing the same workouts, in the same comfort zone, doesn’t help you get faster, so this seemed fun.
The day itself was windy. Funny enough a few days later, I ran 10 miles averaging 6:58 pace. Both were challenging running days but in different ways. After that, I finished with 8X1 min easy/hard, which was mentally and physically challenging. I’m proud of myself for getting it done. Plus, I found $2 on the second portion.
Distance Series 10 Miler: 1:10.07
My “A goal” was to run under 1:10. I wasn’t expecting the humidity to be so high. I can’t remember another time I’ve run a 65-70 degree race in January. I didn’t run in as straight of a line as I could have which ultimately led me to running slightly longer than the 10 miles. Normally I wouldn’t care, but it was the matter of being under 1:10 or not being under 1:10.
Anyway, I ran the race consistently and all of my miles were between 6:55-7:01. I’m happy with my effort for the day.
The original Brooks Ricochet was one of the brand new shoes using the DNA AMP cushioning. Most people know Brooks for their soft cushioning (BioMoGo DNA) in shoes like the Brooks Ghost 12 or Brooks Glycerin 17. A few years ago, Brooks came out with a firmer cushioning called: DNA AMP, which you see in shoes like the Brooks Ricochet 2 or Brooks Levitate 3. Is firmer, better than softer? Only you and your body can decide. There is no best or right cushioning, but whatever feels best to you.
Brooks Ricochet 2 Quick Facts:
Weight: 8.1 Ounces
Heel to Toe Drop:
Brooks Ricochet 2 Fit:
Both the Brooks Ricochet 2 and Brooks Levitate 3 use a stretchy, flat knit upper. The heel collar is much higher than almost every shoe, so it “fits like a glove.” The flat-knit upper ensures you have a lightweight, but a breathable shoe with a sock-like fit.
I don’t love it when brands do this. When Brooks started adding a higher heel collar and heel wrap with the Brooks Levitate 2, it cut me like a dagger. I was bleeding from the run.
The updated suede heel tab seems to do a better job, although not perfect. Typically in running shoes, I wear between a 9.5-11 wide. In the Brooks Ricochet, I found the 10.5 to fit well.
Brooks Ricochet 2 Ride:
As I mentioned, the Brooks Ricochet 2 uses DNA Amp Cushioning. According to Brooks, this provides a light-responsive ride that gives more energy back. It’s lighter than the Brooks Levitate 3 but firmer than the Brooks Ghost 12.
The bottom has an “arrow point pattern outsole.” Together with the DNA, AMP cushioning works to roll from heel to toe quickly and smoothly. The energy return from the DNA Midsole is apparent when running faster. On slower, more comfortable runs, I felt like the shoe was weighing me down, and like a ton of bricks on my foot. With faster long runs and tempo runs, the DNA Amp Midsole responded to my movement and it felt like an energized ride.
For me, the Brooks Ricochet 2 fits best for a long run or tempo run. It feels too cumbersome as an easy road running shoe.
While I believe Brooks did a better job in the update of the Brooks Ricochet 2, I don’t think it’s perfect or “the best shoe ever.” I wish they would get rid of the sock-like upper fit and go towards a regular fitting upper. I’ll continue to use it for longer and faster runs. Between the Biomogo DNA and DNA Amp, I’m personally more of a BioMogo gal and prefer the soft and cushioned Brooks Ghost 12 or Brooks Glycerin 17.
The Brooks Ricochet 2 is a solid daily trainer and can handle mileage. It fits best as a faster effort and energized shoe but can be used as an easy run shoe too. The Brooks Ricochet 2 is not my favorite shoe, nor my least but I’ll keep it around.