December
10
Posted on 10-12-2012
Filed Under (Gear) by Anne

As usual, the holidays are sneaking up fast. Before you know it, you’ll be attending one holiday party after the next, eating and drinking a lot more than usual. Running is a great way to stay in shape both mentally and physically during the chaotic season. Typically, running is a very affordable sport since you really don’t need anything but a good pair of sneakers to get started. However, if you have people asking you what’s on your wish list these days, here are a few ideas for some fun things that will make your running even better.

A GPS Watch. For more serious runners and those that are starting to look into racing, a GPS watch can be an awesome addition to your runs. It lets you know how your pace is looking and allows you to store your run info on your computer so you can see how you’re progressing against your goals.

Sneakers. You should be changing your sneakers every few months depending on how often you run, so if you’re due for a new pair in the near future, add these to your wish list. You can go to the store and figure out the exact pair you want and then pass along the model number to whoever is gifting you them.

New Workout Clothes. When you start getting into more advanced workout clothes that do a good job of keeping you warm or cool and help with wicking sweat away, the tab can really add up. These brand name items are typically expensive so the holidays may be a good time for you to splurge on some nice stuff that you wouldn’t otherwise have room for in your budget.

You can enjoy a nice Christmas morning run with some of these gifts before indulging in a big holiday meal!

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April
09
Posted on 09-04-2012
Filed Under (Gear) by Brian

A few weeks ago, I returned to the office after a vacation on the beach and found a package sitting on my desk. I practically jumped out of my shoes when I opened the box to find this:

My love of the Saucony Kinvara has been well documented. I regularly run in two pairs of the Kinvara and simply wear a pair of the Kinvara 2 around everyday. I didn’t even know they were working on the Kinvara 3, but here it is!

The first thing I noticed about the Kinvara 3 when I slid the shoes on was a generally sleeker look. Although my measurements tell me there’s no change in the width of the shoe, the midfoot area looks thinner (and therefore faster). There’s still plenty of room in the toebox for my toes to spread out (and absorb shock) on impact.

The biggest change from the Kinvara 2 is the additon of Flexfilm to the upper. Where the Kinvaras 1 and 2 had a “plasticy” feel over the shoes’ breathable mesh upper, the Kinvara 3 uses Flexfilm (a lightweight, highly dynamic flexible film) to secure and stabilize the foot. This is accomplished with an awesome looking pattern that had one of my track and field athletes offering to purchase the shoes off my feet. While the new technology appears to reduce the amount of material on the shoes, the weight has remained the same at 7.7 ounces (based on a men’s size 9). The new upper design will eliminate a small flaw in the Kinvaras 1 and 2 where the “plasticy material” would occasionally tear under high stress.

I’ve put about 40 miles on these shoes since they arrived and I absolutely love them. The look alone gives me a mental edge of feeling faster and they have the same comfortable feel that I’ve loved about the Kinvara over the last 2 years.

The Kinvara 3 will be available on April 26th.

***Disclaimer: The shoes were complimentary, but the opinions are solely mine.  I’m not saying they’re the perfect shoe for everyone, but I absolutely love them.  If I didn’t, I’d tell you that.***

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March
12
Posted on 12-03-2012
Filed Under (Gear) by Brian

Today’s guest post is written by my friend Rachel.

Andrew Weil, M.D., a world-renowned pioneer in the field of integrative medicine with a Harvard education and a lifetime of practicing natural and preventive medicine, now has healing-oriented shoes! His Orthaheel products are designed to provide a supportive walking shoe that will help align your body while you walk your way to health. His Spring 2012 collection features AMS (Aided Motion System) orthotic technology, great styles and fresh colors.

Tips from Dr. Weil

Here are the top 5 ways to proactively lighten your mood through the simple act of walking effectively:

1. Exercise Daily. The goal is to get physical activity every day, which will result in optimal results for both mind and body. Aside from physical body improvements, regular exercise also prevents and relieves mood problems. Dr. Weil recommends daily walking as the best exercise for most people to obtain optimal benefit.

2. Get Outside, Connect with Nature. Insufficient contact with nature predisposes us to depression. Take advantage of regular walks outside – city parks, gardens and forest hikes. Seek out beautiful, natural environments to walk in to lift your spirits.

3. Laugh! Walk With a Friend. If you are sad or lack social connection, spend time with people who make you laugh and join them for a walk outside. Avoid Facebook, cell phones or email as your only means of connecting.

4. Meditative Walk, Repeat a Mantra. Mantra repetition is portable, convenient and easy to implement anywhere at any time, especially while walking! This type of repetition can also make the time pass quickly if you find it hard to stay motivated. Select an appropriate word or phrase that can be used as a tool to interrupt negative thinking and depressive rumination. According to this LA weekly article using CBD oil and find a quiet place to walk, as silence refreshes the spirit, reduces anxiety and makes it easier to be mindful.

5. Focus on Breath. If mantra repetition doesn’t work for you, focus on your breath while on a meditative walk and when you are stuck on troubling thoughts. Practice the 4-7-8 breathing technique to control anxiety. (Inhale for 4, hold for 7, and exhale for 8.)

You can also get your cbd oils here and get a natural remedy to anxiety, depression, insomnia, chronic pain and many more conditions that this product is amazing at alleviating.

I received a sample sandal from the fashion-meets-function shoe line from America’s leading wellness doctor. The line is set to inspire easier movement, greater endurance and enhanced energy. He collaborated with Phillip J. Vasyli, Australian podiatrist and founder of the award-winning Orthaheel® technology.

Because the shoes have AMS (Aided Motion System) orthotic technology, the inside of the shoe rounds up to aid in your foot’s arch. AMS ensures optimum comfort from the ground up, counteracting the daily grind of walking on hard, flat, unnatural surfaces. If you think back to how our ancestors learned to walk, the ground beneath them was not paved or black-toppped. Rather it was dirt, sand or gravel, something that curved with the arch of the foot rather than flattening the bottom of the foot.

“By allowing your foot to function the way it was designed to, the Weil Integrative Footwear line helps restore your freedom to move with ease,” said Dr. Weil, of the Dr. Weil Integrative footwear line. “Walking is what the body is designed to do and our goal is to promote movement with comfort and style.”

The pair I have is a leather flip flop with some studs and cutouts on top for decoration. They are stylish and comfortable. I like that the black leather has a distressed look, and the piece between the toes is a heavy nylon fabric, not pleather. I eased into wearing them, as suggested. First around the house a few times after work. Then while running some shopping errands around town. I didn’t have to do much easing. They were comfy and cute.

But the kicker – the day I KNEW I loved them – was the weekend I had a Gala on Friday night. After dancing in high heels for hours, literally, the balls of my feet were achy. My toes hurt as I crawled into bed. After removing all my layers of eye makeup, it was the last thing I thought about before drifting off to sleep. Then, Saturday morning, I had to wake up and be mom-on-the-go bright and early in the morning, and wearing these shoes massaged the balls of my feet and made them feels SO MUCH BETTER! They weren’t just comfy, they were healing. I was even able to do my shopping while walking around the Saturday Morning Market (it’s Florida, it doesn’t feel like winter here.)

I recently received a flyer in the mail from a local department store. They have some cute leather sandals with very similar styles. But they were completely flat on the inside. They didn’t have any of the added benefits of the Orthaheels. And on the inside of the strap of the Orthaheels, which you can’t see in this photo, there is a little sliver of elastic to help the shoe move with you too! The only drawback I have seen is that the woodgrain pattern inside the bottom of the heel is rubbing off after only wearing them for 2 months.

You can watch a video of why they work the way they do here:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/Pnf7Rp4ILiU[/youtube]

The line includes stylish, leather flip flops and sandals for both men and women; as well as soft, supple moccasins and premium slip-resistant lace-up walking shoes for women. Hand-sewn stitching, full-grain leather and premium suede uppers are fashionable details seeded in comfort and functionality. All styles include built-in Aided Motion System technology: Tri-Planar Motion Control EVA orthotic footbed and 1st Ray Flexor Zone.

While promoting a healthy lifestyle, the Weil Integrative Footwear collection also promotes a healthy world! The shoes are eco-inspired, incorporating eco-friendly materials including water-based adhesives and some recycled rubber, and are packaged in recycled cardboard boxes and tissue paper.

Dr. Weil donates all of his after-tax profits from sales of Weil Integrative Footwear products directly to the Weil Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting integrative medicine through training, education and research.

So, no more excuses! Get out there and start walking! If you think you can’t find the time for exercise, here are simple ways to get at least 30mins of walking in per day, depending on your lifestyle:

City Dwellers: Walk an extra five blocks to get to the next subway station closer to your destination. Or walk an extra five blocks in any direction to find a new lunch outlet.

Career Focused: Take your 2pm conference call outside during a walk.

Parents: Walk your kids to school in the morning, if they’ll let you.. .or at least part of the way so you don’t embarrass them. (Bonus: Vitamin D boost if it’s sunny!)

Shoppers: Park in the last row. (Bonus: Quick and easy parking spot. Instead of wasting that time and gas searching the lot, spend that time walking!) or walk to a nearby store instead of driving. (Bonus: bicep and core workout carrying your purchase home!)

Yogis: Walk to the studio in these 3rd chakra color flip flops. (Bonus: Get a good warm up for improved stretching and muscle tone!)

The footwear collection ranges in price from $89.95 to $129.95 and is available at Dillard’s and select retailers across North America. For more information and to view informative videos on the health benefits of walking and the Weil Integrative Footwear collection, please visit www.weilbeing.com. Or view the whole collection for men and women at orthaheelusa.com.

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December
02
Posted on 02-12-2011
Filed Under (Gear) by Brian

They're like bionic feet.

For the last year and a half, I’ve been on a minimalist kick. I’m not a hard core barefoot runner, but I do believe that a whole lot of padding in the heel of my shoe isn’t helping me a lot and I’ve noticed that running requires a little bit less effort now that I’ve been running almost exclusively in minimalist shoes for over a year.

While I’ve yet to attempt a run in toe shoes, I’ve always been intrigued by the concept of toe socks. So, I obtained a pair of Injinji lightweight toe socks and took them out for a few runs. Like the Cabbage Patch Kid I got for my 7th birthday, my Injinji socks came with a little instruction memo.

Yes, I had a Cabbage Patch Kid.

Actually, I had two: Bernard Travis and Hannibal Victor, which sounds suspiciously like Hannibal Lecter but the thing never tried to kill me or eat me. Cut me some slack. I have an older sister.

In any case, the little memo that came with the socks let me know that the best way to get a feel for the toesocks was to simply get out and about with them. To quote the memo, “your first time wearing Injinji Toesocks may feel a little funny, due to unfamiliarity with the unique fabric-between-the-toes sensation. However, after a few wears and washes, you’ll soon find that they come to feel like a second skin.”

With that advice in hand, I slipped on the toe socks for the first time…or at least I tried to. I was first introduced to Bonnie Consolo by my high school Spanish teacher. She was born without arms and with the absence of hands, she accomplished many tasks such as peeling vegetables and playing the guitar using her very dextrous feet. I’m no Bonnie Consolo. The human hand is a wondrous thing. It is a precision instrument. We often take for granted the amount of control we have over our hands and how effortless it is to quickly and seamlessly slip on a glove. The feet, are more of a blunt instrument that we pound into the ground over and over day after day for our entire lives. It’s a little hard to get those toes going in new directions.

After a minute or two of wrangling, I was able to get the toesocks on my feet and you know what? They felt a little funny. I went for a run and after a little while I forgot I was wearing them. A high knit count makes the lightweight performance toesocks durable despite their ultra-thin fiber construction. They’re composed of Coolmax, Nylon and Lycra so they remain dry throughout the run and retain their 5 toe shape through all the punishment I dish out on the road and in the laundry.

One huge advantage of toesocks is that they position the toes in a more anatomically correct position and prevent skin on skin friction that causes blisters. I was lucky enough to be born anatomically correct, I suppose (thanks mom & dad) and I’ve never had any problems with toe blisters in the past. So, I can’t really speak for the toesocks’ effectiveness in that regard. I will say that the precision stitching in the heel, the arch support and the dual welt band at the ankle do a phenomenal job of keeping the socks in place. There’s no bunching and no slippage at all.

The best thing I can say about these socks is that I really do forget I’m wearing them and I’m not sure I could say anything better about a sock. I mean, who really wants to think about their socks after they’ve put them on? “Second skin” is certainly a perfect description for the fit. The worst thing I can say is that it takes a while to put them on. Fortunately, I’m not so busy that I can’t spare an extra minute to pamper my feet. I suppose they do deserve it after all.

***Disclaimer: The Injinji Toesocks were complimentary, but the opinions expressed are all mine. ***

 

 

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November
06
Posted on 06-11-2011
Filed Under (Gear) by Brian

Did you know that the typical running shoe has a 10-12 mm drop? Do you even know what that means? It means that the shoe places the runner’s heel 10-12 mm higher than his or her forefoot. That’s all about to change, though.

Recently Saucony has discovered that an 8 mm drop allows runners to adjust their stride in order to land mid-foot without sacrificing cushioning or stability. A mid-foot strike greatly reduces impact when compared with a heel strike. At 8 mm, a runner’s ankles, calves, knees, quads and hamstrings are in better alignment allow these joints and muscles to better absorb the impact of the road.

Check out the following video, which introduces the new shoe geometry:

[youtube]BehpU8DguG0[/youtube]

Is this the perfect marriage of minimalism with cushioning/stability technology? Time will tell, but you can decide for yourself by heading over to Saucony’s Facebook page where you can enter to win a pair of Saucony 8 mm running shoes. Hurry because the offer end on November 8th.

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October
27
Posted on 27-10-2011
Filed Under (Gear) by Brian

Headsweats Race HatI’m not a big fan of wearing hats. I’ve always found them to be itchy and I hate the way they trap so much heat. They say 45% of body heat is lost through your head and I say, “good riddance!” The cooler you can make me while I’m running, the faster I can run.

As most of you know, however, I’m a bald man with a strong family history of skin cancer and I live in St. Petersburg, Florida -the sunniest city in the United States (according to the Chamber of Commerce). If I value my long term health, or at least the unblemished, shiny finish on my dome, then wearing a hat while I’m running is a necessity.

For years, I’ve been wearing hats of various technical fabrics. Some were solid and thin, others were thicker and made of a tight knit mesh. They’ve served their purpose and I’ve yet to develop a single blemish on my head. I thought I’d reached the pinnacle of running hat technology and I was satisfied to go on running wearing these same hats for the rest of my life.

Then, someone suggested I check out Headsweats hats. When my new Headsweats Race Hat arrived, I immediately knew it was different. I was struck by its feather light weight and I couldn’t wait to take it for a spin. After some adjustments to the sizing during cross country practice that day, I quickly forgot the hat was there. Not only is it lightweight, but the airflow through the shell kept me cool and dry. My other hats take hours to dry after a long run, but this hat remains pretty dry the whole way and it’s completely dry minutes after I remove it.

Me and my new favorite hat!The Race Hat is made of 100% Coolmax polyester fabric. It weighs less than 2 oz. The plastic rear buckle is secure, but easily released with one hand. The adjustable strap is durable and very easily tightened with one hand while wearing the hat. Loosening the fit can quickly be done with two hands while wearing the hat – or even with one hand and some focus.

The interior of the Race Hat features a thin Coolmax terry headband. This not only keeps sweat from dripping into my eyes, but virtually eliminates the itchiness I’ve felt with other hats. Just looking at this hat, I would never have believed that it would be so much better than anything else I’ve ever worn, but I’m not exaggerating when I say that I haven’t worn any of my other hats since this one arrived.

Yes, that’s a little gross but because the Headsweats Race Hat wicks moisture away so rapidly, it doesn’t smell bad. It’s easy to wash too. I can refresh it with a gentle soaking in my bathroom sink, then hang it on the shower curtain and it’s dry in less than an hour. For a more thorough washing, I just throw it in the washer with the delicates and then let it dry on the drying rack.

At $20, the Race Hat is a bargain. It comes in a variety of colors and it’s highly customizable for all you coaches and race directors out there. I wholeheartedly recommend it for anyone who regularly runs or performs any physical activity in a hat.

Editor’s Notes:

1) The “45% of heat lost through the head” myth has been debunked. It was originally based on an army experiment where subjects in arctic suits spent time in cold weather. 45% of their body heat was lost though their heads because it was the only body part that was exposed.

2) St. Petersburg is the sunniest city in the United States only according to the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce. Actual research shows that Phoenix, AZ is the sunniest major city in the United States, though nearby Tampa, FL is #11!

***Disclaimer: The Race Hat was complimentary, but the opinions are solely mine.***

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September
12
Posted on 12-09-2011
Filed Under (Gear) by Brian

As a Saucony ProGrid Kinvara groupie (I did actually sleep with my Kinvaras during the Florida Keys Ragnar Relay), I was quite excited when the Hattori was released. The Hattori is Saucony’s most minimalist shoe and an answer to Vibram’s FiveFingers. Unlike the FiveFingers, the Hattori fits more like a slipper (or mitten) than a glove. There are no individual holes for each toe and that makes finding a good fit quite a bit easier.

The shoes are fastened with two velcro straps – one secured over the ankle and the other behind. I’ve found the one behind the ankle tends to be loose. Perhaps my ankles are just bony, but its loose fit always makes me a bit nervous when I set out for a run. I know now that my nerves are unfounded as the front strap provides the snug fit I need.

Inside, the shoes feel surprisingly cushy. They really do feel like a familiar pair of slippers and I wouldn’t mind wearing them around the house all day. The hard impact cushioning placed strategically on the bottom of the shoe makes me a louder runner than I am in the Kinvaras but it does prevent the shoes from wearing out too quickly.

How minimalist are they? I’ll say this: The first time I ran barefoot on the beach, I was surprised to find a few blisters on the bottoms of my feet. The first time I ran in the Hattoris, I found blisters in the exact same spots. They give a true feel of the terrain without the pain one sometimes encounters. If I step on a sharp rock barefoot, my foot adjusts but it hurts. If I step on a sharp rock in the Hattoris, my foot adjusts and it doesn’t hurt.

The main negative I’ve encountered is the tendency for the Hattoris to rub the back of my heel raw. For whatever reason, this happens primarily on my right foot and only when I wear socks. I think it’s best not to wear socks with them. They are, after all supposed to bring you closer to the barefoot running experience. The only reason I’ve worn socks with them is because I was afraid of smelling them up. I have, however, found them remarkably easy to wash. During a run in the Chicago suburbs this summer, I was forced into a muddy ditch by an approaching car. When I got back to my hotel, I ran the Hattoris under the bathtub faucet to wash the mud away. Because of their aqua sock like construction, this worked like a charm. I set them on the balcony in the sun and they were dry and looking almost new in less than 3 hours.

Overall, the Saucony Hattori has a little less stability than I like. If you truly like the barefoot experience, then I think you’ll love the Hattori. There are certainly days that I like to slip them on and let my legs churn through a fast run, but I don’t think I’ll be breaking up with the Kinvara anytime soon!

***Disclaimer: The shoes were complimentary, but the opinions are solely mine.***

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May
31
Posted on 31-05-2011
Filed Under (Gear) by Brian
Saucony ProGrid Mirage

The Saucony ProGrid Mirage

When Saucony first told me they were introducing a minimalist stability shoe, I was intrigued, but skeptical. After all, a minimalist stability shoe just seems like an oxymoron. My first pair of running shoes were stability shoes (Adidas Supernova 9) and I made my way up through the Supernova family to the Supernova Sequence II. Then, Saucony sent me the Kinvara and I was hooked.

So, although I had been comfortably running in a neutral minimalist shoe for several months, I still wanted to see what they could do with the stability category. At first, I was a little disappointed. The Mirage seemed stiff and clumpy compared to the Kinvara, but I thought I wasn’t being fair comparing apples (a neutral shoe) to oranges (a stability shoe) so I grabbed the Supernova Sequence from the closet and slipped those on.

The difference was immediately obvious. Compared to the other stability shoe, the Mirage was simply awesome. It was lighter, sleeker and far more comfortable. My mid foot landing felt more natural in the Mirage compared to the Supernova Sequence. Where the Mirage had felt stiff compared to the Kinvara, it was downright flexible compared to the Supernova Sequence.

As time went by, I found myself reaching for the Mirage more and more. It’s my go to shoe for days when I strength train after a run and for the most part, it hits the pavement every other day when I’m not wearing the Kinvara. Though I still think the thought of a minimalist stability shoe is an oxymoron, the Mirage is definitely my favorite stability shoe.

***Disclaimer: The shoes were complimentary, but the opinions are solely mine.***

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December
28
Posted on 28-12-2010
Filed Under (Gear) by Brian

Saucony sent over this epic run jacket a couple months ago, but it took a while for the Florida weather to get cold enough to try it out.  After a couple of night runs in Florida, it’s gotten a lot of use on my holiday trip to St. Louis.

While the incredible visibility of this jacket usually gets top billing, my favorite thing about it is the amount of control it gives me over my core temperature.  Made from 100% woven polyester with a durable water repellent (DWR) coating, the Epic jacket is very light and when paired with a thin base layer is quite warm down to at least 20 degrees.  I’ve yet to test it at a lower temperature, but with a thicker base layer or the addition of a middle layer, I’m certain this jacket makes a superb outer layer even in sub zero conditions.   Small adjustments using the zipper result in fine control over air flow.  This is exceptionally handy when switching from running into a head wind to running with a tail wind.

I won’t lie.  The bright orange color is hard to miss and I took a little flak from my run buddies the first time I showed up to our regular Wednesday evening run wearing this jacket.  I was the one laughing, however, when they had to slip their reflective vests on over their jackets.  With reflective piping down the sleeves, along the zipper, and on mesh panels on the shoulders and back hem, this jacket just about completely replaces the need for any other reflective clothing while running at night.

As an added bonus, the jacket includes an LED light that fits snugly into a slot pocket on the sleeve.  The LED light operates in both steady and blinking mode.  It’s not quite bright enough to light your way along a dark road, but it does make you a heck of a lot more visible to anyone else sharing that road.  The coolest thing about the LED light?  It plugs into any standard USB port to recharge!  Of course, it lasts so long that I haven’t had to use that feature yet.

Saucony’s line of ViZi-PRO gear is a great addition to the gear bag of any runner who runs at night.  I’m very excited about having this jacket and the ViZi-PRO Drylete long sleeved sport top with me on the Ragnar Relay next week.  You can also get ViZi-PRO gloves, arm warmers, tights, tops, hats, headbands and shoes.  My only request is ViZi-PRO shorts.  We Floridians have to run half naked in the dark during the summer!

***Disclaimer: The jacket was complimentary, but the opinions are solely mine.  I sure do like it.  If I didn’t, I’d tell you that.***

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October
20
Posted on 20-10-2010
Filed Under (Gear) by Brian

I spoke briefly of my foray into barefoot running back in March.  Actually, it was one of my most popular posts.  Clearly the somewhat controversial topic motivates people to comment.  In any case, I haven’t really given up on the minimalist concept.  I’ve done all of my barefoot runs on the beach.  I live about 20 minutes from the beach and though some people would kill for that kind of proximity, it’s just not practical for me to waste 40 minutes round trip in commuting to the place I’m going to run on a regular basis.

All of my usual “out the front door” running routes are primarily pavement.  As a sort of compromise, I’ve been training a lot in my racing shoes.  Those of you who have my official Topps trading card (I jest) will know that I raced in the Saucony Grid Fastwitch 3 last year and have now upgraded to the Saucony Grid Fastwitch 4.  The 3 is a delightful shade of orange, but the 4 is bright yellow with black tiger stripes.  Richie was quite fond of them when I debuted them at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and kept referring to me as “Mr. Saucony” and making tiger claw motions pre-race.

As a result of my great experiences with my Saucony racing shoes, I had been toying with the idea of phasing my 5 pairs of Adidas Supernova Sequence training shoes out with something by Saucony.  I was also looking for something lighter and thinner at the bottom.  I really like the way my racing shoes allow me to feel the road while still feeling soft.

Shortly after the Race for the Cure, I received an out of the blue email from the Saucony PR people with a press release about the ProGrid Kinvara, which recently won the “Gear of the Year” award from outside magazine.  Delighted, to hear about it, I asked them to send me a pair and it arrived a week later:

Saucony ProGrid Kinvara

At first look, they’re pretty sleek.  They sit obviously lower to the ground than the traditional training shoe.  I wanted the bright orange, but it wasn’t available.  The black and red is still pretty cool, though.  It is a training shoe after all.  I should really show restraint and save the bright colors for race day.

The first thing I noticed when I slid the shoes on is the roominess of the toe box.  This is very important to me.  In my many miles of running, I’ve never experienced black or lost toenails and I’d really like to keep it that way.  Freedom for my toes is a must.

I took the shoes out for an easy 6 mile spin.  I felt a little floppy for the first mile or so.  I think that was because this is my first pair of neutral cushioned shoes and I’m used to a little more rigid support.  After about a quarter mile or so, I got into a good rhythm.  My right foot felt great, but my left ankle had an itchy, bordering on painful feeling.  It kept getting worse so I figured maybe I had laced the left shoe a little too tight.  I stopped after about a mile to retie the laces and that’s when I noticed a giant mosquito bite on the outside of my left ankle.  I can’t really fault the shoe for that.

After a few miles, even the mosquito bite stopped bothering me and I floated along rather easily.  In the end, it was a pretty comfortable 6 miles.  The second run was a scheduled 4 miler with Meredith, Scott and Britt.  After about a quarter mile, Meredith and Scott had to pee so they picked up the pace.  We quickly dropped Britt and sped through the first mile and half to the bathroom at about 8 min/mile pace.  After the bathroom break, we slowed the pace down a bit, but the initial warm-up had my adrenaline pumping and I was chomping at the bit to let loose.  The shoes felt great.  My leg turnover was rapid and everything felt pretty effortless.  In the last mile, I thought about speeding ahead, but held back.  Finally, I was so giddy that I couldn’t help but speed up.  Scott stayed with me and we averaged 6:45 min/mile pace over the last half mile.  I finished wanting to run another two miles.

I’m especially impressed with the shoes’ traction.  I accelerated through some sharp corners and the shoes held the ground firmly.  It was like they were sticky in the corners and springy the rest of the time.  I’m really excited to be trying these out, but I’m also a little wary as to how they’ll affect my body over the long term.  We shall see, but so far so good!

***Disclaimer: The shoes were complimentary, but the opinions are solely mine.  I’m not saying they’re the perfect shoe for everyone, but I sure do like them.  If I didn’t, I’d tell you that.***

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