Thursday, December 19, 2013

Gear Review: Brooks PureConnect 3


Never let it be said that Brooks doesn't listen to their customers. There were two issues that people seemed to complain about with the PureConnect: the poor durability caused by a lack of lateral forefoot rubber and the narrow toebox. While the PureConnect 2, which was pretty much the PureConnect with a burrito-upper, was most likely already designed and a done deal by the time these complaints came out, these issues were addressed for the third iteration. The result is the Brooks PureConnect 3, a new shoe that has seen an extensive redesign, yet still shares some of the DNA of its predecessor (no pun intended).

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Gear Review: Mizuno Wave Universe 5


The Mizuno Wave Universe 4 was a cool shoe. Light, responsive, flexible, and fast, it was the closest thing to my beloved Adidas adiZero PR that I could find (the PR was an early ultralight that had been discontinued a while ago). It had one big issue that held it back though, and that was the somewhat sloppy upper, which traded the sleek performance-fit of the PR for a roomy forefoot that seemed more in-line with minimalist shoes allowing for toe-splay than racing flats that prioritized speed. Thankfully, Mizuno has finally realized that women like to run fast too, and now offers both men's and women's specific Universes (women generally have proportionately narrower feet, and though the Universe 4 was finally available in small sizes, they were still men's D width instead of women's B width), and the gender-engineered Mizuno Wave Universe 5 is a winner.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Gear Review: Topo Athletic Train RX


Tony Post is probably best known as the CEO of Vibram during the rise of FiveFingers. However, in his post-Vibram days, Post has founded a new company, Topo Athletic, that does away with the five toe design and instead draws inspiration from the Japanese tabi (aka the ninja shoe) to be the Topo two-toe. They're also coming out with regular non-split toe shoes, but I digress. Topo has different lines for different purposes: the RR for racing, RT for training, and RX for cross-training/lifting (the ST is their regular non-split toe shoe, but I'm not sure of where it fits into the line as of this writing). In a bit of a change of pace from my normal running shoe reviews, because Cait Chock guilted me into lifting more, I'll be reviewing the Topo Athletic Train RX (sometimes called the M-RX for men and W-RX for women).

Monday, November 11, 2013

Gear Review: Tifosi Podium XC


A little while ago, I reviewed the Tifosi Slip. Tifosi fills a niche as a budget-performance sunglass company, with most of their offerings falling between $50 and $80. I've always considered them a great value, bang-for-your-buck company, since they're less than half the price of similar products from companies like Oakley and Smith, yet they're still high quality products (though perhaps not quite as solid feeling as their far more expensive brethren). My parents both wear Tifosi, and I tend to wear the Slip whenever I'm doing something where I want sunglasses but am afraid of breaking my expensive Oakley Flak Jackets (mountain biking comes to mind), or whenever I want something other than the really dark Flak Jacket lenses (replacement Oakley lenses are ridiculously expensive). Today I'll be reviewing the Tifosi Podium XC.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Competitor's 3 Things Every Runner Should Do

Just got a shout-out on Competitor from Cait Chock (first high school girl to run sub-16:00 and former professional runner for Nike, currently working as a running writer/blogger/artist). Well, actually, it was a couple days ago, but I've been swamped lately and just had time to post it now. Check it out here!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Gear Review: PlantFusion protein powder


In a perfect world, we'd get all the protein we needed from real food. And for those of us whose mouths water at the thought of a thick, juicy, medium-rare steak, getting protein from real food probably isn't much of a problem (though I do supplement with whey protein shakes because steak right after workouts tends to not happen nearly as much as I'd like...plus protein shakes are just so convenient). Protein's a little trickier for my vegetarian and vegan friends though, since while animal sources of protein tend to be complete proteins (includes all essential amino acids), plant sources are usually incomplete, and you have to mix and match plant proteins in order to get all of your essential amino acids (for example, beans and rice combine to make a complete protein). There are exceptions, like quinoa, which is considered a complete protein, but even mighty quinoa has a lower Protein Digestability Corrected Amino Acid Score than say, whey and casein (from milk), eggs, and beef. Vegetarians and vegans may turn to soy for protein, but soy is such a controversial food right now that many people want to avoid taking in more than they already do. So what's a vegan to do? Well, if my several of my fellow chiropractic student friends are any indication, PlantFusion may be an option.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Seneca Falls Track Club


Friend of mine asked for some design work. I may have slipped in some Bucknell colors. Ignore the navy blue on black...the background is just a placeholder for now. Somehow it looks like I may have become co-admin for this...it popped up on my Facebook newsfeed the other day (much to my confusion), but you know, Facebook official and all. And it's not really a club, per say, at least not as of now, but in my opinion, "track club" sounded more professional than "running group," which is what the actual head honcho named it, so I took some artistic license with my logo. Anyway, on the off-chance you live near the land of women's rights and wonderful lives, hit me up if you want to run with a bunch of chiropractic students. Should be fun.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Gear Review: AEROBIE AeroPress


How many of you caffeinate before running? Be honest, I won't judge, because I certainly do. I've explained my schedule before...you don't really think I'd be able to run triple digit weeks while still passing my classes without a little help from my roasted rocket fuel? I'm sure there are some people in this world who can pull that off, but I'm a mere mortal, albeit a mortal who likes to partake of some of the gods' Italian roasted ambrosia (and I didn't judge any of you for caffeinating before running, so none of you hardcore coffee geeks who claim that dark roasts destroy the delicate flavor of the beans can judge me!). Anyway, I've tried a few different brewing methods, but one stands above the others as far as coffee quality, ease of use, and value for the money: the AEROBIE AeroPress.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Race Report: Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half-Marathon


A year ago, I was just starting up chiropractic school, and I was in the beginning of the training cycle building up to the Philadelphia Marathon, a race that I felt I had executed well and signaled a successful return from surgery. A year later, I've returned to Philly and run...an okay race. Not bad, but certainly not good...just okay. But it's only a complete failure if you don't take anything away from the experience, so here goes!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Gear Review: Brooks Mach 15 and Mach 15 Spikeless


Early last year, I picked up a nifty little pair of spikeless cross-country flats, the Brooks Mach 13 Spikeless. They were a neat shoe...light, nimble, fun. Sure, they weren't very versatile, but whatever, they were cheap, so it's not like they had to be the only shoes in my closet. So I bought a bunch of them...enough that I completely missed out on the Mach 14 because I was too busy going through a pile of Speed Dragons. By the time I had exhausted my stash, Brooks had moved on to the Mach 14's successor, the Mach 15.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Active Release Techniques (A.R.T.)

In case you've wondered where I've disappeared to, I just finished finals and then almost immediately went to Boston for the lower extremity Active Release Techniques seminar. In case you're not familiar with A.R.T., it is a soft tissue technique that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves by applying tension and getting them moving relative to each other. Many of you have probably heard the term "scar tissue adhesion" being thrown around by your friends who have had body work done. These adherences can limit range of motion, cause muscles to shorten and weaken, cause pain, and entrap nerves. Breaking down these adhesions is a large part of A.R.T. But Dr. Leahy explains it better than I, so check the site for a full explanation.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

I've been a bit of an emotional mess the past couple of days for a number of reasons (non-running related), and reading Molly's post pushed me towards penning one of my own, one from the perspective of someone who was never quite good enough to actually make a career out of running, yet still feels compelled to, well, train like it's my job anyway.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Homecoming Weekend at New York Chiropractic College

This weekend (well, all of last week, really) was homecoming at New York Chiropractic College, and seeing as we have no football team, it was a week for networking, continuing education for alumni, and getting current students thinking about their professional career. So here's the deal: This is my brand-new LinkedIn account. You can also click on the picture below. I want to make a career out of treating athletes...people like you guys. I want to help you squeeze every last bit of performance possible out of your body, and I want to help you keep your body running like a fine-tuned machine so you can keep doing the things you love, whether it's competing at a high level, getting that new PR, finishing your first 5K, or getting back out there after a tough injury. I've been that person who was told that my running was done, yet I just ran 101 miles last week. I want to help you do that too. So I want to network with you.


Second order of business is a question for you. This weekend, I talked to a lot of people about different treatments available for both prehabilitation and rehabilitation for patients (athletes in particular!). Many of them are working off of similar principles, though obviously there are small differences to differentiate each of them. I want to know how important a name is to you. For example, I use both Graston Technique and Active Release Technique (A.R.T.) as part of my prehab. Are you loyal towards a specific technique, or are you eager and willing to try new treatments that are based off of similar principles? Put another way, if you've had Graston work for you in the past, are you more likely to search for Graston providers in your area, or are you more likely to get recommendations for good healthcare providers, and then utilize whatever their treatment of choice (assuming it does the same job, like ConnecTX or FAKTR?). Please let me know in the comments. Thank you!

One final order of business: my friend Brendan maintains a blog that actually talks about what goes on in chiropractic school, if this post piqued your interest and you're curious about that aspect of my life (since this blog tends to focus mainly on running and running gear).

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mizuno Wave Sayonara giveaway winner!


Congratulations Zach! I've emailed you, so please get back to me with your contact information.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Gear Review: Mizuno Wave Sayonara and GIVEAWAY!


Up until now, Mizuno has offered two performance trainers: the neutral Wave Precision and mild stability Wave Elixir. However, with everyday trainers getting lighter and lighter, there was increasing overlap between the 9.9oz Wave Rider and 9.6oz Wave Precision (I'm not sure whether Mizuno felt the 10.1oz Wave Inspire was encroaching on the 8.8oz Wave Elixir or if they just wanted to streamline their line). So instead of slimming down its current performance trainers, Mizuno went back to the drawing board, seeking to create a new neutral performance trainer that still had enough inherent stability as to not disappoint Elixir fans. The new shoe is the Wave Sayonara, a lightweight shoe with a clever name that gives a nod to the old Wave Goodbye racing flat of the early 2000s (interestingly enough, today's Wave Sayonara performance trainer is lighter than yesterday's 8.7oz Wave Goodbye racing flat).

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

FrogFuel giveaway winner! (Also The Ultimate Beginner's Running Guide winner that I forgot to post)

Congratulations to Stephanie Ann for winning the FrogFuel Performance Protein Shot tasting pack giveaway! I've emailed you, so please get back to me with your contact information.



Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Gear Review: FrogFuel Performance Protein Shot and GIVEAWAY!

 

After hard workouts, I generally like to get some protein in my body. Ideally, I'd have some eggs and toast or oatmeal with whey protein, but neither of those are very convenient things to take on-the-go. There are protein shakes, which are nice to bring to class, but if I don't have time to go back to my room and make one, I'm not about to let one of those sit in the sun while I do a track workout (I know some of you like chocolate milk, but that's no good to have out of the fridge either, plus chocolate milk really never appeals to me post-workout). Energy and/or protein bars are great for this, since they're convenient to throw in a bag and bring on-the-go...and now FrogFuel Performance has introduced another option for busy athletes: FrogFuel Performance Protein Shots.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Gear Review: Hansons Marathon Method: A Renegade Path to Your Fastest Marathon


I'm a believer in the theory of cumulative fatigue. So a couple years ago, when a friend asked for some marathon advice, I suggested de-emphasizing the long run, and instead placing a focus on consistent mileage and quality workouts. I told her that I believed that running marathon paced workouts on tired legs would serve her better than having one disproportionate workout per week that required sacrificing the next several days to recovery. Now, she really had no reason to believe me, since at that point, I had run one marathon and it had not gone that well, and all the plans by established coaches like Pete Pfitzinger and Jack Daniels had 20 mile runs in them (I did run a better one later, and trained for that race using the principle of cumulative fatigue). However, I had some ammo: a Running Times article about a method used by two brothers in Michigan who have had success using the principle of cumulative fatigue to train elite distance runners. The result? She PRed and qualified for Boston. Last year, Luke Humphrey, a Hansons athlete, exercise physiologist, and coach at Hansons Coaching Services, wrote Hansons Marathon Method, which detailed the training philosophy used by the Hansons Brooks Original Distance Project.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Life update

My apologies for disappearing the past few weeks. I had finals and was swamped with work, then I was running like crap and avoiding my blog, then I finished up track season and took a downtime, and there's nothing to write about on downtime, sooo...

Anyway, as for my life, it's back to school (honestly, what's with only getting two weeks between semesters?) and back to the road. Track season was fun, but let's face it, I'm no 5K runner. I disagree with everyone who says that marathons are harder than 5Ks, since I'm currently at 50% for good vs. bad marathons, but my good to bad 5K ratio is probably 1:10 or possibly worse, and while I've only run two marathons, I spent 8 years focused on the 5K. Not that marathons are easy, because they're not at all, but the idea that 5Ks are a beginner's distance is a load of crap. The only way you "move up" to a marathon is in distance...the challenge is no lower. So, 5K, you've won this round, but I'll be back. Eventually. For now though, it's road half time! (Well, not quite yet. I'm not about to begin training for a September half yet...I'll do a mini cycle for a mid-summer race, then take a mini-downtime, then gear up for the half.)

So, what are everyone's summer/fall racing plans? 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

GIVEAWAY! The Ultimate Beginner's Running Guide: The Key to Running Inspired


A little while ago, I reviewed The Ultimate Beginner's Running Guide: The Key to Running Inspired by Ryan Robert. When I wrote the review, it was only available digitally, as an e-book. However, it is now available in a print paperback edition, and Robert has generously donated two books to raffle off to readers of The Middle Miles! To enter, check out the giveaway below. Contest ends 5/2/13 at midnight Eastern time, and is open to anyone in the United States, Canada, and Europe.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



For those of you who prefer books digitally, the digital version of The Ultimate Beginner's Running Guide: The Key to Running Inspired has dropped in price to 99 cents and is available on Amazon. The print edition retails for $14.99 (though it's currently available for $13.49) and is also available on Amazon.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Gear Review: Brooks The Wire 2


It has finally stopped snowing here in Antarctica Central New York, and a hopeful runner can almost be tricked into thinking that spring is finally on the way! And with spring, of course, comes outdoor track season (to be fair, that's actually been underway for a couple weeks, but bear with me here, because it finally feels like outdoor season, not indoor...at least until the next snowfall). And what shoe enthusiast can think of track season without thinking of spikes? Not this shoe geek, no sir, I think I've made my love of spikes well known. This track season, my weapon of choice has been the Brooks The Wire 2.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Pray for Boston

I had a blog post planned for today, but there are more important things going on right now.

A race is the culmination of weeks and weeks of work. It's a day to test yourself, to see how your training paid off, and to hopefully revel in the glory of the realization of your goals, making those early morning speed workouts and skipped Friday nights at the bar worth it. It's a day of camaraderie, celebrating your achievement with loved ones and fellow racers, because it would be a lonely road to attempt alone. And for some, it's also a day of sorrow, of broken dreams and failed goals. But it should never be a day of terror. The ancient Greeks halted wars and laid down their weapons for the celebration of athletics. To bring violence to the athletic arena, to violate that beautiful sanctuary by launching an attack against the innocent volunteers and spectators lining the finish line, who selflessly took time out of their day to cheer on a group of athletes, whether they were loved ones or strangers, is beyond abominable. Boston, my heart is broken for you.

Picture courtesy of Running Warehouse

Sunday, March 24, 2013

PRO Compression Contest Winner!

And the winner of the PRO Compression Marathon Sock giveaway is...Julie R! Julie, I have emailed you at the address you provided, so please get in contact with me. Thanks!


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Gear Review: PRO Compression Marathon Socks and GIVEAWAY!


Compression is a pretty hot topic in endurance sports these days. When Paula Radcliffe made her record-setting run in 2003, few people knew what the story behind her knee-high socks. Today, you see nearly as many athletes using compression socks and sleeves as you do athletes who don't, whether it's during activity or for recovery. The medical industry figured out the benefits of compression a while ago, and it makes sense that athletes looking for an edge can take advantage of some of those same benefits. Today, there are even companies that specialize in compression for athletes. One such company is PRO Compression, who offers the PRO Compression Marathon Socks.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Gear Review: SLS3 FXC Compression Socks


Unless you've been living under a rock for the past couple years, you've noticed that compression apparel is no longer only for patients with circulation problems, and that athletes are now embracing the benefits of compression. And who can blame them? Increased venous return sounds good to me. Paula Radcliffe was the first athlete I noticed wearing the now-common knee-high socks, and anyone who somehow missed Paula certainly saw Chris Solinsky, when he wore compression socks during his record setting 10,000m run in 2010. (Btw, if you did somehow miss Paula's 2:15:25, watch it! Now!). Seeing as triathletes seem to love gear and toys (honestly, they probably adopted compression before runners, but since I don't pay all that much attention to the triathlon world, I can't say for sure), many triathlon companies began to offer compression socks and other gear. One such company is SLS3, who offer the SLS3 FXC Compression Sock.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Gear Review: The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition


Go to any bookstore and you're likely to find a bevy of books on nutrition for athletes. Weight loss this, diet that, paleo here, gluten-free there...it's a pretty confusing landscape for someone who wants to tailor their nutrition first and foremost for running performance. Not long ago, Matt Fitzgerald put out the Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance and Racing Weight Quick Start Guide, which were interesting in that they brought a more performance focus to nutrition books, but they were still primarily about "weight loss" rather than "fueling yourself for performance." That all changes with Fitzgerald's new book, The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Comments

Alright guys, I need some input. I've had a serious comment spam problem lately, and I'm deleting over 20 comments worth of spam per day. So I've changed the comments to needing word verification. I hate word verification because I feel like you can never read the words that they want you to copy, but the only other option is only allowing registered users to post, and I've had some good anonymous comments in the past. Comment moderation isn't an option because then I have the exact same issue...weeding through comments to see what's legit and what's spam. We're all busy, and I don't have time for spammers. So I'm going to ask my readers...what say you? Leave it with word verification or change it to registered commenters only? Thanks!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Gear Review: Brooks PureCadence 2


As some of you may know, I do some of my running in the Brooks Racer ST 5 mild stability flat. It's not an overly stable shoe, and gives me a firmer platform and a touch of support for those days when the training is getting to me and my ankles could use the support. With this in mind, the Brooks PureCadence 2 seemed like a reasonable alternative for those days, so when Brooks contacted me to ask if I was interested in reviewing the second iteration PureCadence, I jumped at the opportunity.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Gear Review & Blast from the Past: Nike Zoom Kennedy XC on Running Shoes Guru


Just a little something I did for fun over at Running Shoes Guru. More a reminiscing over my old college cross-country spikes than a true review. If you feel like giving it a vote, feel free to click on the Facebook "Like" button in the post, but no pressure. Check it!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Guest Post: Bikram Yoga by Valerie Johnston of Healthline

Recently, Tracy Rose from Healthline got in touch with me about writing a guest post for my blog. We talked a bit about a topic that might be of interest, and decided to go with something yoga-related since yoga is something that can complement running, but that I know nothing about and can't really do much posting about myself. Well, she's gotten back to me with an article on hot yoga by Valerie Johnston of Healthline. Enjoy, and if you have any questions, you can reach Healthline's Twitter account here!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Gear Review: PureConnect 2 Guest Review at RunBlogger


When Pete over at RunBlogger asks you if you'd like to write a guest review, you don't typically say no. Well, maybe you do if you're like...Running Times, but for most of us, that's a pretty exciting opportunity. So click on over to my Brooks PureConnect2 review, and much thanks to Pete for the opportunity!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Gear Review: Faster than Forty


I first heard about Faster than Forty by Mark Gomes and Rick Miller through the LetsRun message boards. Gomes is the 2011 USATF Masters National 800m Champion, and had been brought up on the board once before, in a post about his "NO RUNNING" program that led him to a 4:38 mile at 41 years old. (Don't worry, Faster than Forty is not about the "NO RUNNING" regimen...that came later and is hinted at briefly in the epilogue, but that's it). I checked out the excerpt on their website and found myself intrigued. So, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, here's the Faster than Forty review!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Gear Review: Brooks PureDrift


A few months ago, I was desperately searching for a new shoe. I had a stack of boxes of Brooks Launch sitting in the back of my closet, along with my emergency hand-crank flashlight and a few bottles of water in case the zombie apocalypse arrives, because, as we all know, the first rule of Zombieland is cardio (that's a YouTube link, so don't click it if you're somewhere where noise is bad). However, they were strictly for emergencies, like sore feet that required familiar shoes...or the zombie apocalypse. A friend of mine had just posted to Twitter that she had just run through her last pair of now-discontinued Nike Skylons, so I knew that, Launch supply or not, I needed something different. There was the Mizuno Wave Precision, but why start to wear that when that's about to be replaced by the Wave Sayonara? There was the Saucony Kinvara, but the upper on that didn't fit me quite as well as that of the Brooks PureConnect. There was...wait. Why not just wear the PureConnect? Which is what I did. Anyway, needless to say, the Launch was saved which made my search moot, but my stint with the PureConnect rekindled my interest in the PureProject (which, Brooks, if that was your intent, well played), so when I heard about the release of the Brooks PureDrift, hey, I wanted them too.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Resolution

I generally avoid making New Year's Resolutions because 1) if I tell myself I'm going to eat healthier or stop procrastinating or whatever, I know I'll break it in a couple of days, and 2) why wait until New Year's to fix things you're doing wrong? That's a lot of pressure...I'd rather start on a Monday, and then if I screw up, I have another chance next week! So I don't believe I've made a New Year's Resolution since elementary school. However, given the phone conversation I had about an hour ago, as well as a suggestion that ended up being posted on Twitter, I think it's time to get back on the Resolution train and be less of a negative headcase about my training. Now obviously, this isn't the best goal, since it's not specific, measurable, or time-bound (though I would argue that it is somewhat attainable and relevant), but seeing as I already have actual running-related goals, I figure it's better to keep this one low-pressure (but hopefully not so low that I just forget about it). My mental game is probably the weakest part of my running, and it's not unusual for me to hear someone say they did a workout like 18 at marathon pace or 20 with the last 10 at marathon pace and for me to freak because there's no way I can do a workout like that and that must mean that my marathon pace is too ambitious (false...my marathon went fine despite the fact that there's no way I'd be able to run either of those workouts untapered and in the middle of marathon training...although mad props to those of you who do).

So, to begin this year of positivity, on to track season! I'm hoping that my store team order comes in soon, because I have a pair of Brooks Wire 2s on order, and track season just isn't track season without spikes! (I actually do have a pair of Nike Zoom Ws from college, but if any of you did something like, say, ran the steeplechase in college, then after your last track meet in spring 2007, threw your still-wet spikes in a non-breathable spike bag, stashed them in the back of your closet, and then didn't really touch them again until last week, well, then you know why I'm really hoping to get my Wires before my first track meet. I already wore them last week for a track workout when the track was icy and flats just weren't going to fly, but the upper was stiff and weird and they smelled like death).

So tell me...do you all make resolutions, or not so much? And if you do, what are your resolutions for 2013?
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