Running Shoes I Ran in – 2012

My wife and family think that I have a running shoe fetish! I just have way too many running shoes according to them.

Over the past couple of weeks on Twitter and Facebook @Wise_Running and @KellyOlexa have asked the communities “How many running shoes do you have” and I responded with probably 12-13 depending upon how you count them. It turns out that I have 14 pair of running shoes!

Those questions got me to thinking about it and I am 90% sure that I am done getting new running shoes this year – at least that is my hope! Plus I was planning to do a recap post of the running shoes that I have run in during 2012 and think that this would be a good time to do it

So here are my running shoes that ran in during 2012and my thoughts about them:

1. Mizuno Wave Elixir 7

These are my current daily trainer with 132.8 miles on them so far – that I got through Mizuno’s Mezamashii Project. I have nothing but GREAT things to say about them, they are light, fast, comfortable and let me run the way that I run. I ran the Runner’s World Half Marathon in 1:41:12, in them without any issues whatsoever with my feet. It will be interesting to see what my opinion is after another 200 miles. In case you can’t tell, I like them a lot, but the jury is still out on them

2. Mizuno Wave Ronin 4

My 5K, 10K race and speed work shoes and they have now become my treadmill running shoes (the gym frowns on me wearing my regular outdoor shoes on their treadmill). They are light and fast with enough cushioning that I enjoy running in them a lot.

When I wear them I just want to run fast.

Racing flats don’t tend to get as mcuh use, so they tend to take a while to get miles on them and it will take a while to get them to my 50 mile typical review point, so I am planning to do one on them pretty soon. The only thing I wish is that they were a little wider in the forefoot, my right foot feels like it goes over the edge a little when I am walking or standing in them. However, this doesn’t bother at all when I am running in them. I have run a 5K of 21:26 at Runner’s World and a treadmill 5K of 20:33 last week, so they are a fast shoe for me. Personal purchase.

3. Altra Instinct 1.5

One of my favorite shoes both in the looks and how they feel on my feet department. Unfortunately, it seems that the way that I run (my form) is not conducive to the Altra’s, which really, really sucks! I love the Altra running shoes and the direction that the company is going! When I wear them, my hamstrings start to bother me. I think it has something to do with how I “pawback” when I run in the Instinct’s that over-activates my hamstrings, which leads to extra strain on them. When my hamstrings are fully healed and I get them strengthened with my weight training routine, I plan to start to wear them slowly again, beginning with a mile on the treadmill as a warm-up to my real workout.

This is a shoe that I truly want to work for me, because they are comfortable, last a long time and the people at Altra are fantastic people who really impressed me with their commitment to the running community. I got these as a free media sample while blogging at Runner’s World.

4. Altra Instinct 1.0

When I lost my Nike Free Run+3’s in Minnesota last summer, I needed a new pair of shoes and these were on top of my list of shoes to get, so I went ahead and bought them. I ran for over a 100 miles in them without any issues (other than a blister on my heel) and then suddenly my hamstrings started to really bother me and as I explained above, I am not sure why these shoes would do this to me – Other than my form issues.

I talked with the Altra people who were at Runner’s World Half Festival and they had never heard of anyone with the issues that I am having, in fact it was their experience it was the other way around, that the Altra’s took care of problems that runners were having.

Maybe I just have to let my hamstrings heal completely and then slowly transition into the Altra shoes?  Who knows? I just really want these shoes to work for me.

5. Adidas Vigor

My current trail shoes with 52.6 miles on them. To be honest I got these because they are more protective than the MT110’s I had been using and had beat up the bottom of my feet on Bond Brook trails after just 3.0 miles and that they were pretty inexpensive – around $55.00 at Famous Footwear. They have are a decent trail shoe that protected my feet, had good traction in most instances (on wet or slick rock they are pretty much useless-personal bias there after having fallen a few times when I slipped on those surfaces). Last weekend I went on a 7.6 mile run and got blood blisters under the callouses on the balls of my feet. These blisters didn’t start until I got over 5.0 miles, so I probably wouldn’t use them for much more than a 10K trail run. They have done a good job on the trails that I run, however, if I was going to run further or more often on trails, I would go out and look for a different pair of trail shoes.

6. Skora Base

These are true minimalist running shoes and got them as a free media sample from Skora. I am intrigued by all the minimalist talk and how the shoes work, but at the same time I prefer to have some cushioning between me and the road. I still haven’t decided if I am ready to go minimalist or not. I do plan to do some running in them over the course of the winter, to see if they help strengthen my feet and legs. They have become my go to shoes for just wearing around though, they are extremely comfortable and I like the velcro closure for easy on and off.

7. Adidas Adizero Sonic 3

These are now my primary walking shoe, even though I ran fairly comfortably with the Sonics, getting to 108 miles before I stopped running in them. When it got wet out, the plastic heel cup and the removable insole would slide around just enough to cause blisters on my heels, otherwise they did fine. However, I felt slow in them and just couldn’t seem to pick up my speed with them. With the blister issue and how they felt, I retired them to walking, where they have done fine, but as it gets colder, my feet are getting colder with the more open mesh of the Sonics, so I have a feeling they are going to be relegated to the closet until spring fairly soon. Personal purchase.

8. Nike Free 4.0 v2

This was one of the better shoes that I have run in all year. My second run in them was a half-marathon training run of 13+ miles of which the last 3-5 was in the pouring rain. No blisters, no nothing but letting me run. They were extremely comfortable, but when I got to 300 miles in them, it was almost like a light switch went off, my knees started hurting when I ran in them (which is my sign it is time for a new pair of shoes) and they were exhibiting some strange wear patterns on the heel areas of both feet, but much more pronounced on the right.

The biggest gripe I had about the Nike Free is the rocks that they tend to pick up rocks/pepples, I run a lot on dirt roads, shoulders of the road and even in ditches and when you have to stop and remove rocks from the sole of your after every run and sometimes during a run, this was the main reason I didn’t go with another pair.

I tried one more run in them back in September, but they really bothered my knees after 5 miles, so I knew they were done. You notice that the shoelaces are now gone and I brought them in from outside, where they are waiting to go to charity.

9. Saucony Kinvara 2

I liked the Kinvara 2’s a lot, I ran well in them, but at the 200 mile or so point, my knees started to hurt and the right outside of the forefoot on both shoes was showing excessive wear. The 3’s hadn’t come yet when I needed to replace them. Eventually I would like to try the Kinvara’s again to see if I get a little more mileage out them next time. These have become my lawn shoes and have worked very well in that capacity, although a pair of old trail shoes would be better at times for working around the house :-).

10. Nike Presto Faze

Oldies but goodies, from 2005-2006. When I was searching for new shoes in the spring, these were under my dresser and I had always like running in them, so I figured why not try again. Eventually, when I tried them again this fall my knees definitely hurt just running short distances in them. However, they are definitely tired and I plan to put them out in the give-away pile this weekend.

11. Nike AirFlo

My old racing flats from the late 80’s (no they didn’t get much use did they, since I only raced once in the 25 years before 2012). I did use them for some speed work over the years and have worn them a few times this year, when I wanted to run fast. I always feel like running fast in these shoes and I wore them to a 5K in September and had a 21:48 time. They are starting to get pretty battered looking and there is some dry rot in the sole, so I should probably put them in the give-away pile, but they are a link to my past as a runner and remind me of the “lost years” and what might have been. But for now I have put them to go out to the give-away pile.

12. Saucony ProGrid Propel Plus

These are my winter screw/Solespike running shoes. I have solespikes and screws in the bottoms of these shoes for running when it is icy and nasty out. They don’t get a lot of use, but if I need to walk Bennie or run a race in icy conditions these are what I will use.

13. New Balance MT110

I had high hopes for these shoes, but when it came to running on the trails in them, my feet felt as though some had beat them with a hammer. Maybe I am just wimpy or something, but for me they didn’t provide enough protection for where I run in my mind. Otherwise the grip and traction was fine, unless it was super muddy and they are very, very comfortable. I keep them in the back of the truck in my backpack just in case, I want to go for a sudden run or a change of shoes is necessary. They are a comfortable shoe, that once the Sonics wear out, I will probably go to as my primary walking shoe.

14. Asics Gel Kayano

I bought these back in 2007 and never really like them, they are stiff and heavy and only ran in them once this year. So I put them in the back of whatever is my primary vehicle for just in case or if I have the urge to do a run (I keep a set of old running clothes in my vehicles) – hey you never know when you will have the chance to just run.

Shoes that are Gone

Shoes that I have worn this year, but I no longer have or returned them for a different pair are:

Nike Free Run+3

Probably the nicest looking shoe that I have ever worn – at least in my opinion. I really liked the Free runs quite a bit, even running a 17 miler in them the week before I lost them, when I travelled to Minnesota. However, they had the same problem that the Free 4.0 v2 had as far as having to pick rocks out of the siping in the sole after and sometimes during runs. However, I know that I can run in the Nike Free series without any problems.

Newton Gravity

The Newton’s were a shoe that I really liked a lot and got a great deal on them. However, the right heel counter dug into my right ankle to the point that I still have a scar there. I ran really well in these shoes having over 300 miles on them. However, I had to perform shoe surgery on them, something I haven’t had to do in a long time, which really didn’t impress me. They are a very good shoe, but just not for me.

New Balance MT20

My first foray into minimalist running shoes. I wasn’t prepared for the lack of cushioning or how they fit. I ran a total of 6.1 miles in them, before I returned them.

Asics Blur 7.0

They just didn’t feel right for me at the time, I got them. I ran a couple of times in them and decided that they were not for me and returned them.

The reality is that

I am searching for the “right” running shoes for me and to date I haven’t found them yet. I am impressed by how well I am running in the Mizuno’s, but the jury is still out on if they are the “right” shoe or not – I simply don’t have enough miles on them yet.

This year I have spent a lot of time and money on trying to find that “perfect” shoe for me. Now it is time for me to figure out which shoes I am going to wear most of the time in 2013 and stop experimenting as much. I am looking at running 1 or 2 marathons in 2012 (that is a different post though). I want to have which shoe style I will be running those in by the end of January and right now the Mizuno Elixir’s have the inside track.

However, I did learn that not every shoe is a good shoe for me and that sometimes it is better to either quickly return them for something else or put them in the closet to look at later, instead of just continuing to run in them and risk injuries.

Hopefully, the next year shows a significant decrease in the number/styles of shoes that I have in my shoe rotation. It will be interesting to which shoes I end up running in during 2013 and if my shoe fetish becomes a lot less of an issue. Running in 18 different pairs of shoes over the course of a year, is just way too many, even for me!

Originally written by Harold Shaw and published at “A Veteran Runnah” © 2011-2012, All Rights Reserved. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Harold Shaw and A Veteran Runnah” with appropriate and specific directions or links to the original content.

iSmoothRun Running App Review

I don’t know about you, but since I returned to having a Smartphone in October (an iPhone 4S), it is with me about 90% of the time. Besides being my phone, it has become my camera and a replacement for some of my aging memory. However, I have found that one the biggest things I use my Smartphone for is as a GPS device.

I use my iPhone as my GPS running companion, no I don’t have a GPS watch “yet” (I am working on that). When I had my old iPhone 3G, I whined and complained about how inaccurate the Running GPS Apps were and went back and forth with which one I would use. The problems were that none of them worked the way that I wanted them to.

When I got my 4S, I wanted to find one App and stick with it. Luckily, I figured out which iPhone App I wanted to use within the first week and have been using it since then. This App is:

iSmoothRun

Okay, so what is so special about iSmoothRun?


For me it just works! I think improvements in the hardware from a iPhone 3G to the 4S helps a lot, but the developer of this App has made a LOT of improvements under the hood, to make this the only Running App, I have used with my iPhone since around October 15th.

The features that I like the best are:

The biggest one that I like is that I can post to several different running websites at once, when I am done running. I like several features of the Nike Plus site, but I also like being able to post to Garmin, Daily Mile, Training Peaks, Strava and several others.

This ability to post my running data (see my post on Who’s Running Data is it? for more of my thoughts on this), to several sites at once, means that I am not limited to one website and that if something happens to that site, that I have lost all of my data.

As I have found out it is difficult to sometimes get your running data from one website and then to easily upload that data to a different website.

iSmoothRun lets me decide which site I want to use instead of having to stay someplace, just because all of my data is stored only there, without having to start over. This ability to post to multiple running web sites, is the primary reason that I initially chose to use iSmoothRun as my iPhone Running App.

Accuracy

It is pretty accurate, which is an important attribute to me, the distances are fairly consistent over the same courses. No GPS will be smack dab on every time, but when I was running the Runner’s World Half Marathon, iSmoothRun was either right on the mile marker or very close to it, which boosted my confidence in the App considerably. Although it sort of works on the treadmill, I have found that it is not as close as I would like, but I don’t run on the treadmill all that much and can just take a photo of the treadmill’s final readout if I want proof of what I actually did.

Battery Life

iSmoothRun is very easy on my iPhone’s battery! I have run almost a couple of hours with it on and still had more than 50% of the battery life left.

Cadence

One of the things that I am working on as a runner is increasing my cadence and iSmoothRun keeps track of my cadence during a workout. It also has a metronome feature to help with improving your cadence, but that feature is a little difficult to use, since you have to leave the main screen while running to access it and I am always afraid that I am going to hit a wrong button and screw up my stats, so I tend not to use it as much as I would otherwise.

Voice

I like the Apps ability to tell me when I have passed a predetermined distance (for me usually a mile) and it gives me my total time, distance, pace for the last mile, cadence and overall pace. (I can set it for more or less info), but this is the information that I find beneficial to me when I am running or racing. It gives me a quick how I am doing and I can make adjustments to my run based on that information. Yes many apps do this, but this is a feature if a running App doesn’t have, probably means that I won’t use it.

Cons

There are some things that I am don’t really like about the iSmoothRun App, but deal with because the App is so awesome!

The user interface screen when the App is tracking a run. It is functional but is pretty bland. Until I got used to the where the stop/pause buttons were, it added some time to a few of my runs. When I am running, it would be nice for the stop button to be a different color that I could pick up right away. Also there is no way to lock the screen, so I don’t accidentally do something to mess up the tracking of my run.

I really don’t care about calories or track points when I am running, these in my opinion could be on the summary screen at the end of a run and use this space for other information or controls.

I would rather have the ability to turn off/on the metronome on the main screen, instead of having to find the cog icon in lower right corner and then attempting to switch the metronome to the on position while running – which can be very frustrating. Then having to repeat the procedure to turn it off…well you get the idea of why I don’t use this feature too often.

Actually these cons are relatively minor and haven’t stopped me from using iSmoothRun, they are more things the developers look at differently than I do.

The reality is that

I have used iSmoothRun exclusively since October 7th and have been VERY pleased with its functionality, consistency and the ability to publish my running stats to several different websites at once, to track my training has made it my “goto” iPhone running app.

There are free and Pro versions of the App in the Apple Store – $4.99. I purchased the pro version, when I had my old iPhone 3G and moved it to the 4S without any issues. It actually works a lot better on the 4S.

From what I can see the developers have continued to update the App. Last week there was an update, so the App is continuing to be improved, which is an important consideration when using Apps.

The biggest thing that I like about the iSmoothRun App is the freedom that it gives me from being “held hostage” to a certain site/app because that is where all my past running data is being stored. With iSmoothRun I can post to several different sites and use the one that meets my needs, while not locking me into that site or losing my data if that site goes down. This is very important to me!

Overall a very well done running GPS App for the iPhone, that I use daily.

Be positive, be strong and keep smiling – great things can happen :-).

Disclosure: This is a personal purchase and I have not received any form of compensation to write this review, they are simply my thoughts about something that I use.

Meeting Shalane Flanagan

I was going through my draft posts and found 2 Runner’s World posts that never got published! In the furor of the Runner’s World Festival, returning home, trying to catch-up with everything that I missed and then deciding to switch A Veteran Runnah to a self-hosted blog – I didn’t finish this post.

Bart Yasso called this Harold’s Harem ;-). Yeah right!

Last Friday morning around 11:30 or so along with about 25 other FitFluential Ambassadors, I got to meet a truly inspirational person – Shalane Flanagan – that’s right the Olympian!


Now I try to downplay it a lot when I get to meet someone who is well-known or famous, but meeting Shalane Flanagan was one of those things that was very special. I admit it, I was a little star-struck.  She was at the Runner’s World Half Festival with Nissan, and somehow  the Runner’s World Public Relations staff arranged for us to do a small group session with Shelane (yes we are on a first name, great friends forever – yeah right 🙂 dream on old guy).


Shalane is not the first famous person that I have had the pleasure to meet, but she is one of the humblest and most gracious ladies that I have met, who is a public figure. She sat and talked with us, not down to us and yes there is a big difference.


During the session she answered questions about her Olympic experiences, how it felt to lead the race for the time that she did and how she felt when Kara picked her up at the end (I watched the Olympic Marathon from start to finish and that moment when Kara helped Shalane back up, was one of those moments that is blazed into my memory and choked me up, when it happened), how she had given everything she had that day and the issues that she was having and how deep inside herself she had to go to finish the race.


Shalane discussed her background with us, how her parents made her do more sports than just running and that she used her experiences in swimming to help her relax, during heavy training cycles. She also talked about her issues with race day anxiety that were so bad that it negatively affected her in some of her races in her early career. Which was something that I could really relate to, after dealing with that issue for almost 25 years.


Oh one more thing, when I was on the podium getting my 2nd place age-group plaque, Shalane was on the stage. On my way back down, she stopped me and shook my hand and said “Congratulations Harold”.


Now I would like to imagine that she remembered this old guy, from that meeting on Friday, but with all the people that Shalane was around that day, it was very unlikely that she did, however, it was still VERY cool that Shalane took that moment to congratulate me and actually use my name. :-).

The reality is that Shalane probably heard the announcer say my name and some of the other Runner’s World staff who were more familiar with me, were up on the stage with us, say my name, but I can dream can’t I.

Overall, I would say that “meeting” Shalane Flanagan was one of the highlights of my Runner’s World Festival Weekend! For such an accomplished runner, she was humble, easy to talk with and very gracious to a bunch of strangers. I do want to say thank you to the Runner’s World Staff and the people at Nissan for making it possible for me to meet one Shalane Flanagan. Most of all I want to thank Shalane for being patient for all of the photos and autographs that she signed that morning.

It was also great seeing some of my favorite bloggers in person, during this session.

Michelle and Amanda

 

Swiftwick Socks Review

Swiftwick Logo

I purposely don’t get overly excited about a product when I first see or use it whether I buy it or it comes as a media sample, because I have learned the hard way that how a product feels, looks and works when they are new are sometimes vastly different after a little bit of time goes by.

Perhaps with all the running gear that I have bought or tried over the years, I have become slightly jaded or skeptical, about manufacturer’s claims of greatness or maybe I just getting to be a crotchety old guy. Winking smile

Swiftwick_0681During the Runner’s World Half Festival, in the swag bag there were a pair of Swiftwick Aspire Socks, when I first saw them I thought to myself – just what I need another pair of socks and put them off to the side.

A little later I decided to take a closer look at them and went to the website and did a little looking around. What I saw intrigued me. I like products made in the USA (old-fashioned), a company that supports athletes and the claim that they would not stink – well if that was true, TheWife would appreciate that, because my feet and socks do STINK after running.

Continue reading “Swiftwick Socks Review”

Mizuno Wave Elixir 7–50 Mile Review

IMG_0081I received a pair of Mizuno Wave Elixir 7’s as part of the Mezamashii Project and as a FitFluential Ambassador just over a week ago.

As of today they have 50.8 miles on them. 50 Miles is usually a good point to do have found out things that you like and dislike about a pair of running shoes.

The Elixir’s are promoted as a light-weight supportive trainer, that could also double as a racing shoe for some.

They are not a minimalist or low-drop shoe, like most of the shoes that I have run in this year. They are a traditional running shoe with a 12MM drop, however, comparing how I run in them versus other lower drop shoes, I really don’t notice that much of a difference. The Elixir’s to me feel lower than their published stats.

So how have the Elixir 7’s done for me?

Very, very well, they have the potential be a very special running shoe in my shoe rotation!

Over the course of the week I have run three training course records and even a personal best for 13.1 miles, which surprised me, since I hadn’t started out with the idea of trying to go very fast. I feel that I am running faster in these than I do in other shoes. Also I run quietly in the Elixir’s, I don’t slap the ground with them, which means that I am running more efficiently.

They have done well on the variety of running surfaces that I have used them on so far – tar, dirt roads, non-technical trails and the shoulder of the roads up heah in my area. They don’t accumulate rocks like other shoes have, but I did manage to wedge an acorn in the heel cut-out, so that could be an issue with rocks and stuff getting stuck in there now and again.

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They have provided good traction and protection on  the shoulders/ditches, when I have to get into them pretty quickly as a vehicle flies by, which is an important consideration when there is no place else to go.

Of all the shoes that I have tried this year the Mizuno Wave Elixir 7’s have had the best first 50 miles. The Mizuno Elixir 7’s is that they run the way that I run. I don’t find myself forcing a certain stride or landing style – instead I have been able to focus more on just running and that is what I need right now.

To just run.

I am learning that you have to look beyond a shoe’s published statistics i.e. drop, stack height, etc. and just run in a shoe to see how they work for you.

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If you are looking for a light-weight running shoe, with some motion control features that could double as a race shoe, take a look at the Elixir’s, they might be what you are looking for. So far they have been what I have been looking for.

Thank you Mizuno for selecting me to be a part of your Mezamashii Project, otherwise I would not have had the opportunity to run in the Elixir 7’s and found out how good a shoe they are and how much I am enjoying running in them.

I hope I feel the same way at 300 or more miles.

Disclaimer: I received these shoes as a free media sample and a FitFluential Ambassador participating in Mizuno’s Mezamashii Project. All comments and views about this shoe are my own and I did not receive any other forms of compensation for doing this review.

Mizuno Elixir 7’s are Looking Like Something Special and RunLog 10/8/12

Bright Color PhotoYou know something is up and I know what it is. My running suddenly improved last Friday, my pace is faster by almost 20 (or more) seconds a mile on my training runs on average and I have set 2 training course records:

  • Friday 28 seconds off my Notta Road 5.0 Miler
  • Monday 4 minutes 26 seconds off my Pond Road 10 Miler

The only differences are the weather is cooling down and the Mizuno Elixir 7’s that I was provided for review purposes through Mizuno’s Mezamashii Project. The cooler weather is nice, but it has been that way for a few weeks now and I have run these courses slower in the cooler weather this fall.

No I really attribute a lot of the drop in times to the Elixir’s. The more that I run in them the more impressed I am becoming. They let me run the way that I run, nothing more, nothing less.

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On today’s 10.0 mile run I never really gave more than 80% effort, except coming up Bartlett Hill, I haven’t run this way in a long time (it feels great to just be running again) and the best part is that the minor aches and pains that have plagued me over the past couple of months, don’t seem to be bothering me nearly as much.

Basically, since I started running in the Mizuno’s, I have stopped trying to think so much about how I am running and am focusing more on just running, so far it feels damn good.

NikePlus 10-8-12

I was pleasantly surprised at having a 7:48 mile for mile 7 to 8 being able to run that fast after 7.0 miles well just helped my confidence an awful lot, not to say that I am all that fast, but to do this on a training run – well…

Although Nike+ says 9.9, I actually did the full 10.0 miles according to iSmoothRun, it is the difference between the GPS signal loss and the program’s use of the accelerometer.

This also includes the 20-30 seconds I lost on the last mile when the neighbor’s golden lab came out and wanted to play/run with me Smile. Was a little frustrated, but that is what dogs will do if they are loose, especially when they “know” you.

RunLog 10-8-12

Disclosure: I volunteered to participate in a FitFluential campaign, which resulted in my being selected for the Mizuno Mezamashii Project. Although I received the Mizuno Elixir shoes as a media sample to review, the opinions of this product are my own and I have not received any other compensation as part of this review.

After 4 runs in the Mizuno Elixir 7’s, if Mizuno asked me to send them back, I would offer to buy them and if they refused, I would drive down to the Maine Running Company in Brunswick and buy another pair. That is how impressed I am so far with these shoes. For me they they run like I do and I can’t give a shoe any higher recommendation than I would spend my own money on them.

Mezamashii–First Run Mizuno Wave Elixir 7 Was a Brilliant Run

PA050015I got my Mizuno Wave Elixir 7’s as part of the Mezamashii Project this morning!!!

Yes I took the pictures that I do with new shoes and started thinking about doing my usual first initial impressions post.

However, the Elixir’s beckoned to me to take them out for a run.

So I took them out for a run, instead of writing that post. After running, writing my initial impressions post became a secondary consideration, compared to writing about my first run in the Elixir’s.

WOW!!! was the first word out of my mouth after I finished my Notta Road O/B 5.0 Mile Run. This was a 28 second course record IN MY FIRST RUN IN the Elixir’s. I like using this course as a check to see how shoes perform in a variety of conditions, dirt road, tar, rolling hills and a hill at mile 4.5 that usually kicks my butt. It is also far enough to find out the hot spots or problems that a shoe might give me.

I wasn’t pushing hard at any point in the run (well maybe up the hill). I felt comfortable and in control of my run, which hasn’t always been the case this year. My splits were:

  • 1.0 – 8.05
  • 2.0 – 16:05 (7:59)
  • Notta Road Turnaround 19:59 (3:54)
  • 3.0 – 23:34 (3:34)
  • 4.0 – 31:36 (8:02)
  • 5.0 – 40:04 (8:28) Has Steven’s Hill in this split

The Elixir’s just felt right, were extremely comfortable and best of all no hotspots. My stride was smooth and there was no slapping of my forefoot for either foot when I landed. They are a quiet shoe, which means I am running efficiently in them. I think that I am land a little more on my heel, but I am keeping my stride shorter and it doesn’t feel like I am slamming my heel into the ground/pavement.

They just felt fast and I haven’t had too many shoes that have felt this way over the past year.

Before I got the Elixir’s I had been worried about how they would feel as a 12MM drop shoe versus the zero or 4-6 MM drop that I have been running in most of the year. When I started running the Elixir’s, they felt like a lower drop shoe than they are listed as.

Sometimes a shoe is more than just its measurements and you have to actually run in it to see how it feels for your style of running.

All I can say is that I hope that a lot of my runs are like this in the Elixir’s! I know that one run doesn’t make a great shoe, but they made one hell of a first impression!!!

I guess that this is what the Mezamashii Project is all about – having a BRILLIANT RUN!!!

Now to get to back my initial impression of the Mizuno Elixir 7 post – tomorrow Smile.

Disclosure: I volunteered to participate in a FitFluential campaign, which resulted in my being selected for the Mizuno Mezamashii Project. Although I received the Mizuno Elixir shoes as a media sample to review, the opinions of this product are my own and I have not received any other compensation as part of this review.

Skora Base–Initial Impressions

IMG_0512I was talking with a Skora representative on Twitter last week and was offered the opportunity to review the Skora Base running shoes.

They arrived this morning and I couldn’t wait to try them on (disclaimer: they were provided at no cost to me and what I write about them are my opinions about the shoe).

As TheWife would say they look like “Harold” shoes. The Base are slip-ons, that have a Velcro strap to tighten them if you need to. I really like the looks of the Base and couldn’t wait to try them on.

Before I did, I looked them over very closely and found that the construction and the quality of the fit and materials was all great. When I tried them on they fit like a glove, but with plenty of room in the toe box, which can be a problem with a lot of shoes for me.

I took them on a 3.0 mile walk in the rain Smile.

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The walk went great, they had great grip on wet tar and on wet dirt road with a little slimy mud here and there. The Base were very comfortable while walking and I did change my stride a little, to what felt comfortable for this shoe. My experience is that most shoes will slightly change how you walk and you need to find the “right way” of walking for that shoe. I noticed a while after I got back that my calves were a little tighter than usual.

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Make no mistake about it, the Skora Base are a minimalist running shoe and will require a period of readjustment to being able to use them as your everyday running shoes or even long-walk shoe. I thought where I had been running in zero drop shoes for a while that I wouldn’t need a long transition and planned on doing 1-3 miles in them after my walk.

I got out and started running in them and quickly realized that there was no way, that I was going to even run 1.0 mile in them right off the bat. I ended up doing about a 1/2 mile in them and was glad that I turned around when I did! If I hadn’t my calves would have definitely complained to the management about what I was doing to them.

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So I plan to go very slow and transition correctly to get used to these minimalist shoes.

Unfortunately, this means that I won’t be running very far in them any time soon. So for now, I will use the Skora Base as my primary walking shoes, gradually building up to running more in them by running in them after my primary run and doing a lot of running form work. I have a feeling running in these shoes will strengthen my legs and feet, as well as force me to improve my form.

Also, because of their design, I think that they would make fantastic shoes to use at the gym or during crossfit workouts! When I get used to the shoe, I have a feeling that they will be really good for racing (they are light and have great ground feel).

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Will I ever completely switch over to minimalist shoes for running?

I really don’t know, according to a lot of things that I have read it has a lot of advantages if you can do it, but when I get tired on longer runs my form deteriorates badly and I still need the cushioning provided by more traditional running shoes to keep running comfortably. Time will tell on this one.

Personally, I found them so comfortable, that I am fairly certain that they are the shoes that I will be wearing most of the time for casual wear. They after all – according to TheWife, “Harold” shoes Winking smile.

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JackRabbit Cap Review

A little while ago, I was contacted by Matt from Jack Rabbit Caps, about reviewing one of their hats. I had been to their site previously and their hats looked interesting to me, so I said sure.

FTC Disclaimer – I was provided this product free of charge to review it on my blog and received no other forms of compensation to do this review. My opinions about this product are my own, based upon my experience while I am using this product.

Initial Impressions

The JackRabbit Cap is a great looking hat.

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The burgundy color and while monograming of “A Veteran Runnah” looked fantastic (just wish I could say the same for the model) Winking smile.

The hat was well made, no imperfections, loose threads or blemishes that I could find.

Fit

Initially this concerned me a little, as you can see below the hat is not adjustable. I can’t be accused of having a big head and usually have a tough time wearing hats that do not have an adjustable headband.

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However, after wearing the JackRabbit Cap as my daily hat and during all kinds of runs, that included close encounters with tractor trailers and some pretty windy a few days, the hat never came close to blowing off.

One of the things I noticed and liked was that I wasn’t adjusting the tightness of a running hat 2-3 times a run, like I usually do – I just put it on and wore it. Which allowed me to focus more on the run, instead of how my hat was fitting.

They do make custom sizes XS-XXL  for those who have smaller or bigger noggins.

I did find out from Matt, that they embroider on either side of the hat or the front panel. Plus they are looking at coming out with a high visibility hat in near future. That will be something that I will be really interested in when they do. When I am out running I prefer to wear colors that can be readily seen by others, especially during hunting season, in low-light conditions and when I am running on the roads.

Need to Wash It

This hat is a technical fabric, so it wicked away the moisture very well, but like all my technical fabrics and other hats, TheWife noticed that it got a little ripe after a few runs and suggested that I needed to throw it in with my running laundry (which is done separately from anything else, for some reason or other). The JackRabbit Cap looked and smelled as good as new, even after repeated washings, so I was impressed with that!

The reality is that

I like my hat from JackRabbit Caps a lot!

JackRabbit Caps is a small company that offers “Made In the USA” products and nicely fills a niche in the running accessory marketplace that I think is needed.

Customizable, quality running caps.

Last night during #RunChat there was a discussion about what kind of swag that runners like at races and hats were one of the things mentioned a lot. Hint, hint to you Race directors out there.

When JackRabbit Caps come out with the hi-vis version, I plan to purchase one for myself – I can’t give a product any higher recommendation than that.

Check out the JackRabbit Cap website yourself to see what they have that you might be interested in.

Running in my Newton Gravity’s Again

IMG_0309I have been not happy with my other running shoes and have had too many pairs of running shoes this year that have become closet shoes.

You know the shoes that runners put in the closet and might or might not ever see the light of day again. If they do – it is usually to become something other than running shoes or be thrown in the give-away box after while.

As a result, I have been researching what running shoes I want to try next. Isn’t that the story of my life as a runner – always looking for that “perfect” running shoe?

I found a pair that I really wanted to try and they were one of my Top 5 shoes to look at last February.

Small problem – life got in the way. The truck developed a leak in a transmission line and needed a new brake calipers, so getting a new pair of shoes is out of the question for now – TheWife is understanding, but the budget can only take so much. I had to come up with an alternative plan.

My alternative plan

Look in the closet to see what was still in there, that might be useable for about a month. I “found” my old Newton Gravity’s and thought about them.

Newton StitchesBack in May, I had to perform surgery on my Newton Gravity’s, to stop them from biting into my ankle. Before I could run in them, after the second surgery, TheWife got tired of my whining, washing bloody socks and told me to go get another pair of running shoes – I did.

Last week I got to thinking, the Newton’s only had around 170 miles on them and except for the ankle biting thing, I really liked them. The few times that I ran in them, after “fixing” them, they didn’t bother my ankle. I had thought about adding the Gravity’s back into my shoe rotation before, so I decided that I would try running in them for the week.

Great Decision

Once I started running in them again, I remembered why I liked the Newton Gravity so much. Especially since they were not rubbing my right ankle raw anymore!

By the time I got to the 5th run in them this week, I was running better and just felt comfortable running in them.  The Gravity’s reward me for landing correctly, I can tell when I am not and they just make me feel faster than other shoes I have been running in this year.

I did a video to compare how I run in them versus other shoes and I feel different running in the Newton’s and yes it is better.

It is so great that the Gravity’s are working out this great for me right now. I have over 220 miles on them and while there is some wear on the soles, it isn’t very bad compared to other shoes I have had at this point.

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The wear shows me, that I am still toeing off, instead of lifting. The video show that I am over striding a bit when I pick up my pace. I feel pretty good about my stride and form when I am running in the Gravity’s.

This means when I go running shoe shopping next time, that I am planning to look closely another pair of Newton’s in addition to a couple of other shoes, which I hadn’t been planning to do before this week.

I haven’t decided which style of Newton’s that I will be looking at, but it won’t be the Gravity’s – the open mesh uppers don’t work for me. Running on dirt roads, shoulders and ditches around here, little pebbles find their way in, which can be distracting and painful. Also it is getting closer to cold weather and open mesh uppers don’t work real well during Maine winters Winking smile.

The reality is that

I was very frustrated with the Newton’s back in May, but I am glad that I was able to customize the Gravity’s and also that I kept them! They don’t rub my right ankle raw and have become a very comfortable shoe for me now.

The added advantage to being able to run in the Newton’s is that it gives me a little time to get the budget back to normal and do some more research on which running shoes I should look at next.

Let’s see…it time to fire up the browser and start searching for new running shoes again, maybe this time I will find that elusive “perfect” running shoe…I can dream can’t I.

Could it be the Newton’s or will it be another brand of running shoe – hard to say?

What do you think?

What style of shoe should I be looking at?