Monday, December 31, 2012

On to 2013!!

And so closes another year. Being my boring self, I'm sitting here blogging, eating cereal, and looking over my running log rather than going out, but I seem to recall some famous runner saying that if running isn't the most exciting part of your day, you're doing it wrong. (I feel like maybe that famous runner needs a jar of peanut butter and a spoon, because there are definitely some a lot of days when that is more exciting than running...heck, even the chocolate chips I'm throwing in my cereal bowl are more exciting than my run today). But anyway, that is my excuse and I am sticking to it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The King is (Not) Dead...Long Live the King


My day is made: Brooks will not be discontinuing the Launch!

You can read my review of the Launch here, and my "Please don't discontinue this shoe" letter here.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gear Review: Training on Empty


About a year and a half ago, a post on LetsRun led me to She was Once a Runner, a blog written by an anonymous runner about her college running career, an experience destroyed by a disturbed psyche and an unhealthy environment filled with her toxic coach, teammates, and parents. Quite different from the usual running books you see, like Running with the Buffaloes and Running for the Hansons, but unfortunately a story that proved to be all-too-familiar with many athletes on LetsRun, who all chimed in with their own experiences as they waited eagerly for updates. When the author stopped updating her blog (she did eventually publish the rest of her story on Smashwords), one poster managed to get in touch with her, posting an interview with SWOAR's author on her own blog, Training on Empty. This poster was Lize Brittin, whom those of you up on their running history trivia may recognize as four-time Colorado state cross-country and track champion, Pikes Peak Ascent record holder, and elite mountain runner. However, Brittin also struggled with an eating disorder, one that would eventually end her elite career (and nearly her life). Training on Empty (the name of her book as well as her blog) is the story of both her fight with the disease and how she eventually managed to overcome it.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Quick post today because I'm in the middle of finals, but I saw on LetsRun that a runner at Club XC Championships was struck by a truck and killed after the meet, and I felt the need to write something. Sincerest condolences to Lauren Woodall Roady's family and friends. I am so sorry, and hope that you find some comfort in her memory.

Just puts things in perspective, I guess, and reminds you not to take anything for granted. Stay safe out there, everyone.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Seems to be the cool thing to do...my favorite running shoes

Sneaker Report's list of The 100 Best Running Shoes of All Time has recently been making the rounds across the Twitter-verse, and several people have been weighing in with their opinions on the list, as well as their own personal favorites. Definitely some interesting choices on that list...some I'd agree with, and plenty I most certainly would not agree with, but hey, that's part of the fun of making your own list, right? Pete Larson just posted his list, so I figured, what the hey, I'll play.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Race Report: Philadelphia Marathon 2012


As some of you may know, I spent yesterday in Philly running the marathon (and if you don't know and are here via Google search looking for a course description, skip down a few paragraphs past the fluff...I'll get there). This is the second marathon I've done, and the first that wasn't a complete disaster (brought on by being the first 88 degree day of the spring and terrible pacing for my first marathon). Not somewhere I really expected to be given where I was last year at this time, but my friend Molly, who agreed to coach me, was convinced that my body would be better able to handle the high mileage and long tempos of marathon training than the fast intervals and tight turns of the track at this stage in the game, and considering her propensity for coming back from her own injuries faster than before, I figured I'd listen. So at some point in August, it became time to stop messing around and actually begin marathon training (which meant taking a week off first, but downtime is pretty necessary, you know). And now, about three months and nearly 1300 miles later, here's what I have to show.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Progress, Thanks, Hope

I have been relatively fortunate in that since 1999, I've only really suffered two running-related injuries, despite doing a boatload of stupid stuff, including, but not limited to, jumping from 30 mpw to 70 mpw freshman year, wearing shoes for 2000+ miles before replacing them, pacing 38 miles of Leadville off of 5K training, covering 45 miles of a 24 hour race also off of 5K training (which is where injury #1 came from), etc. However, the second injury, a tendon torn suddenly during a track workout during the summer of '10, was a doozy. Two years ago, I was in the midst of going from doctor to doctor, desperately searching for one who would tell me something other than "Your running is over." A year and a half ago, I finally found a podiatrist willing to operate. Nothing was guaranteed, as few things in life are, but he told me that he'd do what he could to at least allow me to do a bit of jogging pain-free. On 8/1/11, nearly a year after the original injury, I went under the knife. On 9/19/11, I began physical therapy, which originally consisted of nothing but range of motion exercises, because I was pretty much completely unable to move my foot. One year ago tomorrow, on 10/5/11, without telling my physical therapist (do as I say, not as I do!), I went for a "run," which was what I approximated to be about a tenth of a mile, probably at no faster than 15 minute per mile pace. When I got to the bottom of the "hill" in front of the house I was renting (which is less than a 1% grade), I turned around and walked back up, because I didn't have the strength to toe-off to get back up the hill. I was overjoyed to be able to "run," but was filled with uncertainty that I'd ever be "back," fears that haunted me for months and months during the time that I had dubbed my "comeback."

A year later, I've just finished off a 108 mile week, which was my fifth consecutive 100+ mile week and the last week before my taper for the Philly Marathon. My comeback's not done...not by a long shot. I still have places to go and goals to accomplish. But it's huge progress for which I'm infinitely grateful.

So I want to thank all of you who have supported me in any way through these past two years. They've been some of the most trying years of my life, and I appreciate all of you who have stuck with me and encouraged me through my journey back to running. Thank you. It would have been a lonely and most likely impossible road without you.

Finally, I want to offer some hope. It saddens me to know that there are people who still have yet to encounter that one doctor who will finally help, and that there are some who never will, whether because of insurance limitations, or their spirit finally being crushed, or some other reason. Keep fighting.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Other Sandy Victims

With the ING New York City Marathon being cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy, I have seen comments that recreation such as the marathon is inappropriate in the aftermath of Sandy. However, it's not recreation for elite athletes; it's their job. They've already put in their months and months of work, and now they won't see a paycheck for it (and even if NYRR gives them an appearance fee, they'll still only see a fraction of what they may have been counting on). Plus, some may see decreased salaries or appearance money for 2013 because they were banking on having a fast marathon time from 2012. These people only have two or three opportunities to be paid per year. If you did your job faithfully for months, then are told you wouldn't be receiving over half of your 2012 salary and that you'd be taking a pay cut for 2013, you'd be incensed. Toni Reavis states that running is a sport taken up by the top 20%, a figure I find hard to believe. Running is not golf, tennis, or triathlon, all sports which require expensive equipment and are dominated by rich nations. Running is a sport that is often used by Africans to escape poverty, and is a sport in which most elites are living at or below the poverty line. By cancelling their day to work, we have taken away something far more important than "recreation."

And if it's truly about "perceived recreation," then why are the Giants and Knicks continuing to play? I understand that they take up less resources from the city, but they still do require money, food, and blocked roads from spectators, and it is clear that there is an inequality present, where some people are allowed to do their job and others are not. It's admirable that Heat player Dwyane Wade will be donating money to Sandy victims, but you also have to remember that he is in a financial position to do that. Professional runners do not make the kind of money that professional football and basketball players do, and while missing one paycheck for someone making millions may not be a big deal, missing one paycheck for someone who only receives two or three per year can be devastating. Most professional runners are barely making enough money to support themselves, and any opportunity they had to contribute financially may be gone. From Sports Illustrated: "Abdi Abdirahman, a Somalia-born American and four time U.S. Olympian, was planning to donate $10 per mile he ran to Sandy relief, and to ask everyone he knew to do the same, and also to ask his corporate sponsors to contribute. 'Now I can't do that,' he said."

I am not from New York City, and will not speculate as to whether not diverting resources from the marathon is worth the loss of economy, donations, and charity that the marathon would have generated. I trust that the right decision was made by Mayor Bloomberg and NYRR to do what is best for the city. (Though I do believe the call should have been made far earlier, so athletes could have attempted to recoup travel money, and also because hotel rooms being used by runners who already made it into the city aren't doing much good for displaced Sandy victims). However, as I mourn for the city's residents whose futures are in question, I also mourn for the elite athletes who have been thrust into a questionable future of their own. In doing so, we have created a new set of victims, left devastated in Sandy's wake.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

EXCLUSIVE: Pre-New York City Marathon Interview with elite runner Molly Pritz!

Molly Pritz and her crew. Photo courtesy of Brad Hudson

I recently had the opportunity to talk with ASICS America's Molly Pritz about well...not exclusively running, so let's just say I had a chance to interview her. As one of the nation's top runners, she's done quite a few interviews lately, but many of them don't truly capture the essence of Molly (full disclosure: this woman is my best friend, and she's absolutely hilarious, and I wanted to try to show you guys that side of her too. And to be honest, I talk to her multiple times per week, but no one wants to hear those conversations...seriously).

Monday, October 22, 2012

Gear Review: SKORA Form


Over the past couple years, more and more reduced and minimal shoes have hit running store shelves. Big shoe companies have expanded their line to include shoes with reduced profiles. (In my opinion, more variety is usually good, unless a company is axing an awesome shoe in favor of a less awesome shoe, because that's not variety, that's just obnoxious). Additionally, many new companies who solely offer minimalist shoes have entered the market. I may not be a minimalist, but I can appreciate a greater variety of shoes on the market, especially when some of those minimalist shoes are sweet and give me options to wear on days when I just want less shoe. One of the new companies specializing in minimal shoes is SKORA, who offers two models, the Base and the Form. Their premium model is the SKORA Form.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cumulative Fatigue

Huh...turns out cumulative fatigue is real.

Okay, on a more serious note, this month is absolutely crazy for me. Getting hit with midterms, as well as the last hard month of training before my taper. However, I wanted to give you all a quick update of what's on the horizon, because I have a backlog of reviews I need to get to.

On the shoe side, I want to thank all of you who voted for my Kinvara 3 design for the Flotrack contest. I finished sixth! I originally thought that only the top 5 got prizes, so I was like "Great, first loser," but it turns out that it's the top 10! So thanks again for voting, and I'll have a Saucony Kinvara 3 review up, hopefully sooner rather than later. Also, for you minimalists out there, I'm in the process of getting some miles on the SKORA Form, so that review is forthcoming.

Book-wise, I've been doing quite a bit of reading for school, but hey, you can never really learn enough, right? So I have Hansons Marathon Method: A Renegade Path to Your Fastest Marathon currently on order, and am hoping to have a chance to read Lize Brittin's book, Training on Empty, over Thanksgiving break (if not over Thanksgiving, then definitely over Christmas...haven't bought this one yet because I really can't afford another distraction at the moment, heh).

On the miscellaneous side, I'm in the process of writing a review for the Black Diamond Storm headlamp, and have an Aeropress coffee maker on order (yes, caffeine is running-related!).

Thanks to all my loyal readers for your patience!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Gear Review: Brooks Racer ST 5


For some reason, the word "stability" next to a shoe's name sends neutral runners sprinting in the other direction. Runners see a new shoe, ask what type of runner it's meant for, and as soon as they hear the words "stability" or "overpronator," they cast away all thoughts of buying that shoe, terrified that it will overcorrect their stride or force them to run unnaturally. And for good reason (sometimes)...put a neutral runner in the Brooks Beast and you're bound to have problems. But remember, stability in shoes is not black and white, but comes in shades of grey. So what about those so-called "mild stability" shoes, the ones that overlap with more structured neutral shoes? Is there any real reason for neutral runners to stay away, or are we all just brainwashed by myths about foot type and running shoes? Or are there shoes that neutral runners and mild overpronators and possibly even mild supinators can all enjoy? Enter the Brooks Racer ST 5.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Gear Review: Mizuno Wave Universe 4


It's no big secret that I loved the Adidas adiZero PR. The PR was an early attempt at an ultralight flat, taking the sacrifice of cushion and structure in order to save weight to the extreme. At only 3.9oz, the PR was little more than a spike without a spike plate. Coming off of several years of high school and college running, I yearned for the familiar feeling I got from spikes, and the PR was pretty much a spike for the road. I wore that shoe for everything from the 5K to the half-marathon, and if the praise that shoe gets on LetsRun is any indication, I wasn't the only person who loved it. Then, sadly, Adidas discontinued it. Desperate for a replacement, I first tried the ASICS Piranha. The Piranha wasn't bad, I guess...I mean it was still super light and felt ridiculously fast, but for some inexplicable reason, I found myself overpronating noticeably in them, something that never happened in the PR. I eventually gave them away to a friend. Then Mizuno began offering the Mizuno Wave Universe 4 in small sizes (earlier models were only available in men's 8 and larger, I believe). I gave them a try next, and I believe that fans of the adiZero PR may finally have a replacement.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Update: School and Training

So I'm sure you've all figured I've given up on blogging by now. Not true! I have a Mizuno Wave Universe review written up...but I have moved back to school and have no idea where my camera is, and no one wants a review with cell phone pictures. So as soon as I find my camera, I'll have a Universe review up. I also have another shoe on order that I'm sure all of you will judge me for, but whatever, JUDGE AWAY! Other than that, I am officially signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon in November, so that means that marathon training is underway, which takes up a significant chunk of time. It does not, however, take up as much time as grad school, which is also underway. Finally, the school doesn't serve dinner on Friday or Saturday or any meals at all on Sunday, so that means I have to cook which also takes up time (to be fair, cooking takes up much less time than school or running). Also, thanks to anyone who voted for me in the Flotrack contest...the submission period is over but Flotrack hasn't posted the finalists yet, so I have no updates for you as to what's going on there.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Flotrack's Saucony Kinvara 3 contest

So Flotrack is having a Kinvara 3 design contest. So if you like playing with Photoshop, get on that! And if you don't like playing with Photoshop, you should vote for my design! (Actually you should go look at all the entries and vote for the one you like rather than just voting for me without looking at the others, but if you do think mine is cool, I'd certainly appreciate you giving mine a Like or a Tweet!)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Women's Olympic 1500

Women's 2012 Olympic 1500m final Source

Oh boy, here we go again. I hate to be the person who rants all the time, but those of you who know me know that I love watching mid-distance just as much as I love watching distance. Can't run MD for crap, but watching it is fun. You don't have as much time to get into it the way you do a distance race, but they have all the tactics and strategy that distance races have, and they can take on different personalities the same was as distance races. A 100m dash is always fast. That's not to say it's any less exciting, but you know it's going to be fast. A mid-distance race, like a distance race, can involve a furious pace from the gun (a la the men's 2012 Olympic 800 that we just saw, courtesy of David Rudisha), or it can start slow and tactical and end with the kind of dead sprint to the finish that every kicker hopes for (a la the women's 2012 Olympic 1500...more on that later). Plus male mid-distance runners are beautiful and female mid-distance runners have the body I wish I had, but I digress. So, needless to say, I was watching the women's 1500. For those of you who missed it, the 1500 opened in a pedestrian (for them) 75 second jog. The race itself didn't start until the bell lap...which is when Morgan Uceny fell. At the end of the race, former doper Asli Çakır Alptekin emerged as the winner. Fail. Fail fail fail.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Support your athletes, guys!

Lolo Jones finished fourth in the 100m hurdles Source

A few days ago, the New York Times published a scathing article on Lolo Jones. Jones was torn apart for being all style, no substance. Then, when she finished fourth in the 100m hurdles finals, the haters jumped on the opportunity to say "I told you so," pointing to her disappointing finish as proof she was overhyped and overrated. It's really shameful to lose to favorite Sally Pearson, who won in an Olympic record time, you know.

But wait. Can we step back for a second? Jones' "failure" meant that she finished fourth at the Olympics. For now, she is fourth in the world. Sure, this is a sport where there is really only one winner, and where the top three get hardware and glory while fourth gets to pee in a cup, but let me repeat that for you. Fourth in the world. Allow me to quote Allie Kieffer here:

Saturday, August 4, 2012

GALEN RUPP TAKES SILVER MEDAL!

Galen Rupp (silver) and his training partner Mo Farah of Great Britain (gold) Source

RUPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!!!

Full results after the jump.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Molly Pritz 1:10:45 at San Fran Half!

Seeing as track hasn't yet started in London (well, except for the athletes, because for them it started a long time ago), allow me to steer your attention towards the San Francisco Half-Marathon, where Molly Pritz, running for ASICS, went 1:10:45 to shatter the old course record and set herself a new PR...in the middle of marathon training. Which makes it all the more impressive because running marathon pace for 13 miles is a pretty tough thing to do during marathon training. You heard it here first...that girl is going to be the next big thing. Better update later when I'm not at XC camp in the woods with spotty Internet.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Gear Review: Brooks Green Silence


I put off buying the Brooks Green Silence for a long time. The shoe's main selling point is that it's environmentally friendly. Really? I'm all saving the environment and slowing global warming, but I want shoes that are known for their performance, not for saving the planet (although both would be pretty sweet). However, I had some friends who seemed to like them, and then I heard someone compare them to the PureConnect, only with decent durability. Hm, well that was enough to make me order them. Then I got word that they were being discontinued, along with the Launch, and I put off writing the review for a long time. I mean, who wants to read a review about a shoe that's being discontinued at the end of this year? In fact, I almost didn't write it (hence the pictures of the beat-up shoes below). But then I thought about it and realized that it's a pretty cool shoe, and as far as I'm concerned, people deserve a chance to hear about it and try it before it disappears. So on to the review!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Another Contest! (not mine this time though)

Just giving you guys a heads up that Molly Pritz is running a contest on her blog for anyone who can guess her finishing time at the San Francisco Half. If you need something to work with, her stats are here, though keep in mind she's not tapered for this one. Good luck!

Click here for details and to enter!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mezamashii Contest Winners!


I was absolutely blown away by the response to the Mizuno Mezamashii giveaway. All in all, there were 256 entries (minus a few that I'll discuss in the next paragraph) for two spots on the Mezamashii Project. I enjoyed reading about all of your Brilliant Runs, as well as hearing what kind of shoes you guys would want, so thanks to everyone for participating! And of course, thanks to Mizuno for sponsoring the Mezamashii Project!

In case you're all wondering how this worked, I used RANDOM.ORG to generate a random number, then figured out which comment corresponded to that number. Seems fair, and seems to be how all the other blogs do it, so if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me. There were a few deleted comments, and at least one joke comment (thanks a lot, Nicole!), so I had to see if the deleted comments figured into the comment count (they did). Thus, I figured if I landed on one of them I'd just pick another random number. Luckily, this wasn't an issue and I was able to just use the first two numbers I picked.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Mezamashii Project and Free Shoes Giveaway! CONTEST CLOSED

As you may have heard by now, Mizuno is starting up The Mezamashii Project. This is Mizuno's way of reaching out to runners, getting some shoes on people's feet with the confidence that they'll like 'em enough to be repeat customers.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Gear Review: New Balance MT10 (WT10) Minimus Trail


For the first eight years of my running career, I had one trainer (and possibly 1-2 pairs of spikes, depending on what year we're talking about). This meant that I wore whatever road shoes or cross-country spikes I had at the time (which was generally the Nike Pegasus or Nike Zoom Kennedy XC, depending on whether we're talking about trainers or spikes) on trail runs and trail races. As far as I was concerned, trail shoes were just the heavier, stiffer, and more bulked-up version of road shoes. I'm not really an ounce counter, especially when it comes to trainers, but stiffer is really not my thing. Then, in 2007, I walked into a store and saw the New Balance 790, a light, flexible, and low-slung trail racer. I had to have it. The 790 served me well...they got me through 38 miles of the Leadville Trail 100 (as a pacer...and yes, those bad boys stood up well to Hope Pass), 45 miles as part of a relay team for 24 Hours of Boulder (to be fair, my body didn't handle that one as well as I might have liked), numerous shorter trail races, two years of working as a counselor at a high school XC camp, and more trail tempo runs than I can count. Unfortunately, no shoe lasts forever, and by the time I finally decided it was time to replace them, New Balance had discontinued the 790. What's a roadie who occasionally pretends to run trails to do? Enter the New Balance WT10 (women's MT10, also called the Minimus Trail or Minimus 10 Trail).

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Gear Review: Runner's Log by FikesFarm, LLC


One of the things I had drilled into my head in college was that it's crucial to keep a running log. My coach would expect us to mail our logs to him in the summer and to bring our logs into our meetings with him, so he could see how we were handling the training, as well as what kind of supplemental training we were doing on our own. I've tried various logs over the years. My first log was the planner that I had originally intended to use for school assignments (obviously that got used exactly how I had originally planned). That worked until I lost that log. Next, while I still had hopes of finding my planner, I kept everything on the whiteboard outside my room, figuring I'd copy it all over when I found it. Needless to say, I didn't find it, and my roommate eventually erased the "random numbers and jibberish" because people weren't able to leave her messages. Oops. After that, I tried keeping everything in a Word document on my computer (which in retrospect, should have been either a spreadsheet or database, but apparently I'm not that organized). Apparently I didn't feel this was worthy of being backed up, and I lost it when I got hacked (long story, don't ask). I then moved on to various steno books until I was introduced to Athleticore (think DailyMile or RunningAHEAD without the flash). Athleticore is great, but let's face it, it's not 2009 anymore, and a lot of people don't want to deal with loading times and a browser and a log that doesn't have the ability to let you map out a route. People want apps. With the introduction of Runner's Log by FikesFarm, LLC, if you have an iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad, well, now there's an app for that.

Friday, June 8, 2012

An Open Letter to Brooks Re: Launch


Dear Brooks,

It's no secret that the Brooks Launch is my favorite trainer. It's a super simple shoe, no nonsense, no bells and whistles...nothing but function. My friend Andrew recommended it to me a while ago, and while at first, I resisted and bought the Ghost instead because another one of my friends told me it was too soft (and granted, it is pretty soft), I eventually listened to him and realized how right he was. The Launch is a trainer done right. It filled the gap for me when Nike changed the midsole of my beloved Pegasus from Phylon to Cushlon, and may have even eclipsed the Pegs as a shoe that just "works." And man, will I miss it when it's gone.

I'm Still Alive

Life has gotten in the way lately, and I apologize for the sparse updates. I do have three reviews in the pipeline that I'm working on, so stay tuned, and thanks for your patience!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Totally not running related

But in case you guys were wondering what I'm up to. Besides running, obviously. But all the TV shows I was watching are done now (whose names I will not be posting, since no one would ever take me seriously again, with the possible exception of Molly Pritz, who got me hooked on this current lineup), and I ended up busting out the old Smallville DVDs. And apparently I forgot that Smallville episodes are one of those things where you can't just watch one. So here's some new art for ya:

Oliver Queen (Justin Hartley) and Tess Mercer (Cassidy Freeman) of Smallville


Usually when I draw, I have problems drawing women (if you look at my running pictures, I won't even tell you how much longer it took me to draw Rowbury than the guys), but for some reason with this one, it took me at least ten times as long to get Ollie right than it did Tess. His face anyway, God knows I have quite a bit of practice drawing shirtless men. Considering this was the island scene, I was *really* close to going all Castaway and making his head into a volleyball. Still not perfect, but I think they're both recognizable enough.

More after the jump.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Gear Review: Perfectly Simple by ZonePerfect Nutrition Bars


One of my mom's favorite nutrition bars are ZonePerfect bars. Since this means she almost always has a box or two lying around the house, I've eaten quite a few of these bars (and let's face it, their Fudge Graham (previously reviewed), Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, and Peanut Butter Cookie Dough bars are like crack...and I do keep meaning to review the cookie dough ones, but I usually eat them before I remember I'm supposed to take pictures). One of the cool things about ZonePerfect bars is that they're all-natural. The new line of ZonePerfect bars, called Perfectly Simple by ZonePerfect, goes one step further, limiting the number of ingredients to between six and ten, all of which are recognizable and pronounceable.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Gear Review: PowerBar Performance Energy Bar


There are a ton of nutrition bars available today. There are energy bars, protein bars, low-carb bars, meal replacement bars, snack bars, et cetera. In fact, not that long ago, I reviewed a snack bar, the Zone Perfect All-Natural Nutrition Bars. And I really do enjoy Zone Bars (as well as several other kinds of nutrition bars) and eat them fairly frequently, but they're not my bar of choice when it comes to pre-race or pre-workout fueling. When it comes to eating before hard efforts, I've tried a lot of energy bars, and I keep coming back to one: the PowerBar Performance Energy.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Gear Review: Newton Distance


Newton's third law states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. That's a law of physics and occurs no matter what shoe you're using. But what if there was a way to maximize that equal and opposite reaction, such that less of the ground reaction force is wasted, and is instead maximized to propel you into your next stride? The first time I heard of this concept was in 2001, when one of my high school XC teammates announced that she had heard of Nike producing a shoe that was supposed to bounce you into your next stride (for perspective, this girl grew up to be a cyclist and and engineer, so she probably loves gear and technology, but in high school, none of us knew anything about shoes). Unfortunately, the Nike Shox turned out to just have some stupid spring shaped heel made out of EVA and not even be a real running shoe (nothing wrong with EVA, as most shoes use it, but this shoe didn't do what my friend had hoped it would). The next time I heard about it was the infamous Spira shoes, which put actual springs in the forefoot and ignited way more controversy on LetsRun than...well, actually everything ignites controversy on LetsRun, so nevermind. Then a few of my friends started wearing Newton. These were real runners who needed real running shoes; runners who weren't about to settle for gimmicky nonsense. Runners who wanted to do everything to maximize their performance, but weren't about to resort to banned technology (I still have no idea whether those Spiras were actually banned or not). Well, after hearing enough of them rave about these shoes and getting several emails from readers asking if I had tried Newtons, I figured it was time to try out the Newton Distance.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Gear Review: Brooks Mach 13 Spikeless


I miss spikes. So. Much. Don't get me wrong, I love racing flats too, but there is something unmistakably awesome about slipping on a pair of low-slung racers that hug your foot like a glove. Maybe it's nostalgia for NCAA cross-country and track. Or maybe it's the fact that every time I walk into the National Running Center, I'm greeted by a wall of spikes and a pair of Nike Zoom Victory track spikes that stare at me and beg me to bring them home. But seeing as I don't race track anymore, I really can't justify buying a pair of $110 spikes for track workouts...especially when you consider that would mean I'd be doing workouts in spikes that weigh half as much as my racing flats (3.2oz WTF?). Enter the Speed Dragon...aka the Brooks Mach 13 Spikeless!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Guest Blog: Gear Review: Merrell Lithe Glove


Today's post is another guest blog from my minimalist friend Julie, who you may remember as the trail runner who wrote the Saucony Grid Type A4 review. This time, she's got a review of the Merrell Lithe Glove, which is the women's companion to the men's Merrell Sonic Glove. Both shoes are part of the Merrell Barefoot Collection. So this one is for you minimalists who might wish my reviews came from the perspective of someone with a barefoot background!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Guest Blog: How to Stretch Your Hamstrings

Today's guest post comes courtesy of Michelle Zehr of Running Shoe Guru. Running Shoe Guru has some great shoe reviews, and since they have a whole bunch of reviewers with different biomechanics (and probably more money to spend on shoes than I do), they're able to offer a wider variety of reviews than I can alone, so if you're curious about a shoe you don't see on my blog (or if you want another person's opinion of a shoe that is here), check them out! So a big thanks to Michelle for providing this article!

One note before we get started: The stretches described in the article are static stretches, so I wouldn't recommend doing them prior to running. If you do choose to stretch before running, go with something dynamic, like leg swings, since static stretching before running is believed to decrease performance. However, static stretching after running is very good for muscle elongation, which can be useful for preventing imbalances if you are tight in certain areas. Additionally, since your muscles are warm from running, stretching after running makes you less likely to tear something while stretching. Never stretch to the point of pain...you want to feel a gentle stretch, something that you could hold all day if you absolutely had to.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Clothing Comparison (or how drivers react when I wear less clothes)

Yesterday, I wore:
 + 
And drivers were nice to me. They gave me space, they didn't fly by at Mach 12, they stopped at stop signs and waved for me to go, no one honked or cursed at me (although I did get one wolf whistle), etc. Also, the construction workers stopped traffic for me. Huuuge difference from the winter when I was bundled up in lots of clothes and people were mean. I figured it was nice outside and maybe people were happy that the weather was warm.

Today, I wore:

And some ridiculous baggy Brooks singlet that is so old that I can't even find a picture online. Drivers did not move over or slow down for me, I waited forever at stop signs until there were no cars, I got honked at and cursed at (but at least no one threw anything, I guess), etc. It was basically what happened in winter all over again, despite the fact that it was just as warm as yesterday, only sunnier (yesterday saw some light rain), so apparently it wasn't just people being happy about the weather. I hate using girliness to my advantage...but sex sells, and if it keeps me from getting hit by cars, I may have to wear booty shorts with 2" inseams more often...

Alright, random post, sorry. I do have another shoe review, just need to find time to write it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Gear Review: Mizuno Wave Precision 12


When I tested the Mizuno Wave Rider 15, I found myself unconsciously making a list of characteristics I wished the Rider had. I would be running and thinking, "Wow, I'd really like this shoe if it had this, and this, and this," hoping that the next iteration of the Rider would take on at least some of those features. Then I tried the Mizuno Wave Precision 12, and I realized that there was no need for me to make a list of what I hoped to see in the Rider 16. My list had pretty much described the existing Precision.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Gear Review: Mizuno Wave Ronin 4


You know that boy (or girl, substitute if you wish) who keeps trying to get your attention and keeps failing? He asks you out, and you accept to be polite, and then he brings you to a Chinese place, except Chinese food makes you sick. Then a few years later, he tries again, now armed with the knowledge that you like Italian, and he brings you to Fazoli's, which is okay, but not exactly your Italian restaurant of choice. Then the morning of your goal race, there's a knock on the hotel room door, and there he is, holding a bagel, a jar of peanut butter, a Powerbar, an apple, a Sugar-Free Red Bull, and a Powerade Zero. And nevermind that you normally drink a Monster Lo-Carb instead of a Red Bull, because it's so close to perfect that you just melt. (And yes, I eat a lot before races. DON'T JUDGE ME). That's Mizuno for me. The first shoe I was put in was the Alchemy, way back in my senior year of high school, which was just wrong for my biomechanics. The second shoe was the Rider, which wasn't terrible, but not really what I wanted. Well, with the Mizuno Wave Ronin 4, Mizuno has finally won my heart.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Shoe Responsiveness, Defined

It's come to my attention that everyone seems to define "responsiveness" in shoes differently. I throw that term around a lot in my reviews, so it would probably do us all a lot of good if I explained what, exactly, "responsiveness" means to me, so that you would at least know what I'm talking about in my reviews.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Internet Memes

I posted this on Facebook on Wednesday, which was kind of late. By that point, the joke was already pretty old and people were getting pretty sick of it (only in the digital age does a joke get old after two days). So now I'm really late. And I think Flotrack or someone beat me to it. But oh well, I liked mine better. If you can't read it, click for full-size.

All of the pictures came from Google search and none of them are mine. Bottom left is from Running Times, bottom right is from LetsRun, and I don't remember where the other three came from, sorry. If they're yours and you want credit and/or me to take it down, just email me and yell at me.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Gear Review: Brooks Pure Flow


As some of you may know, I've been wearing the Brooks Launch as my daily trainer (with the Brooks PureConnect mixed in there sometimes). Unfortunately, some bad timing on my part had me at the National Running Center needing shoes on the spot with no time to actually ask them to order anything. No Launch in stock in my size meant I had to grab something else. Seeing as I had wanted to try the Brooks PureFlow for a while, I decided to take this opportunity to give them a spin.

Before we start, just to get you up to date, information on the Brooks PureProject can be found here.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Gear Review: The Ultimate Beginner's Running Guide: The Key to Running Inspired


For people new to the sport, running can be somewhat intimidating. As nice as the idea of telling them to "just go run," might be, the truth is people want more information, as evidenced by the growing number of books and websites devoted to beginner runners. The question, of course, becomes which of these books and websites are worth reading, and which are not? When author Ryan Robert contacted me about his book The Ultimate Beginner's Running Guide: The Key to Running Inspired, I admit that I was skeptical. I had no idea who Ryan Robert was, and I was a little worried his book would be yet another beginner book that rehashed all the same tired information that was in every single other beginner book. However, upon reading the book, I was pleasantly surprised.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Random Update

Apparently I've been neglecting this blog lately. The semester has started and I'm back above 70 miles per week, so I'll use that as my excuse. Finally started doubling again this week (thank God!), so we'll see how that goes. Doubling makes hitting bigger volume a lot easier, and generally once my body gets used to it, it helps me recover faster, but the first couple weeks are rough. I didn't want to start until I was averaging about 10 a day in singles though, so that's why I waited until now. My "low mileage" recovery week was 65, so I figured it was time. It's pretty easy for me to add an extra 20-30 miles a week by doubling (not this week though...20 mile jump all at once is more than I want, so I figure I'll only double about three days this week, for about an extra 12). I've gotten lazy about lifting though, so I need to get back on that train at some point. Probably not until after my body re-adapts to double workouts though. I'm just over 25 weeks post-op now (for those of you following along, that was to fix actual injury that lasted longer than like two weeks #2...kind of a doozy, but training is walking that fine line between ideal training and overtraining/injury, and it's inevitable that if you're pushing the limits, you'll probably screw up and push too hard and cross the line at some point...or at least I will hah). For now, everything is still easy mileage, but I really want to get my volume up and be hitting triple digit mileage comfortably before I add in any speedwork. I did start with some short speed workouts a couple weeks ago, but thought better of it and took it out for now.

Other than that, I'm in the process of working out something pretty sweet. (Actually, one of my friends is, and I'm just along to help). Details to come...stay tuned.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials

Got this picture from my friend Aimee's Facebook page. I'm assuming it's her picture?

Thanks for the inspiration. Now go get 'em in London!

Results

Friday, January 13, 2012

Gear Review: Mizuno Breath Thermo Sock


Socks are one of those things that a lot of people, myself included, don't give a whole lot of thought to. For the first eight years of my running, I just ran in whatever cheap cotton socks I could find at Walmart in a 12-pack for $5 bag. The summer after my senior year of college, I worked at a running camp, and one of the guest speakers was a guy from The National Running Center, who gave each of the counselors a pair of technical running socks. Oh my God, my eyes were opened. Socks make a difference after all! Since running socks are kind of expensive, I still wear cheap cotton socks for a lot of my runs. However, there are some days that warrant decent socks. Today, with its roads that were a combination of ice and slush, its 30 mph winds, and its long run on the calendar, was one of those days. For a day like today, the best sock in my sock drawer is the Mizuno Breath Thermo Sock.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2012 Olympic Marathon Team Trials...and another exciting announcement!

First of all, everyone get stoked for the 2012 Olympic Marathon Team Trials! It all goes down this Saturday in Houston, with the men's start at 8:00am and the women's start fifteen minutes later at 8:15am (both CST). Unfortunately, the most important US marathon of the year won't be televised live. Instead, it will be shown on NBC from 3-5pm EST (same day coverage). Seriously, this is the Superbowl, because it picks the best in the nation, and then the top three go on to the Super-Superbowl in London where they face the best in the world. Can anyone imagine what the backlash would be like if the only Superbowl coverage was a two-hour highlight reel shown six hours after it actually took place? Such is the plight of being a fan of this great sport that most of America has no interest in watching.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Gear Review: Brooks Launch


With all the hype about all the new minimalist offerings on the market, it's easy for traditional performance trainers to get lost in the mix. And that's a shame, because there are plenty of people who want a shoe for fast days that don't quite warrant a flat, and who don't care about a few millimeters of foam. Not to mention, there some really solid offerings in that category. One of those performance trainers is the Brooks Launch, a relatively light, well-cushioned, traditional heel-toe drop shoe from Brooks.
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