Early Lock Laces Review

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After having a couple of shoe lace issues during my last race, Zoom Through the Zoo, I decided that I needed to hurry up and try out Lock Laces.  Lock Laces is a race sponsor and has a generous race promo for free shipping with 20% of the sale being donated to St. Jude.  They also donated ten pairs of Lock Laces to be raffled off to race participants.  I had been delaying purchasing some laces of my own since I am going on vacation soon and didn’t want to spend the extra money (they are only $8, but I can be a tad frugal at times), but with my shoes coming untied twice during the event, I could wait no longer.

Sponsor #10

Sponsor #10

I ordered three pairs of Lock Laces for my current group of shoes, but I have only added them to one pair of my running shoes.  We shall consider this a controlled group experiment.  I added the laces to my newest running shoes, the Saucony Grid Cohesion 6’s that I was wearing when I ran my latest race.  I chose black for these shoes since that is the color of laces already on the Saucony’s and I only ordered one pair of lime green ones (for my Nike+ Lunarglides).

Packaging for Lock Laces

Packaging for Lock Laces

I do believe that this is the old packaging for Lock Laces, but I didn’t grab a pair from my race stash with the updated packaging.  The new packaging says “Win. Never tie.” across the front, which is a great slogan for their company.

Installation for these is quite simple.  The website gives three steps for installation, but I decided to simplify it even further here.  The following are the steps needed for installation:

  1. Remove your previous laces (obviously)
  2. Lace the Lock Laces cord through eyes of your shoe like normal laces
  3. Put your shoes on your feet
  4. Squeeze the lock and thread the cords through it
  5. Pull the cords tight
  6. Cut off the excess cord at 2-3 inches above your shoe
  7. Insert the cord tips into the clip and close

Installation was quite simple and as long as you know how to lace shoes, you can add Lock Laces to your shoes.

Lock Laces vs standard laces

Lock Laces vs standard laces

Honestly, the aesthetics of Lock Laces take a minute to get used to, simply because they look different to the laces that we are accustomed to.  The clip seemingly floating above your shoe is odd the first time you look down, but after that, it is barely noticeable.  But do they work?  So far, my answer is yes.  My first run with them last Saturday was a four miler and I did not have a single issue with my shoes sliding off of my foot or becoming loose.  I have run in them two other times this week for a total of seven miles, with zero incident.   Also, it is very easy to put your shoes on and off with Lock Laces.  Just loosen the lock and slide the shoe on and off your foot then tighten.  It is that simple.  I know it is still early in the process of using Lock Laces, but my shoes have stayed tight, have been comfortable, and fit my shoes perfectly.  And for a person like me who ties their shoes too tight often, they probably provide a positive health benefit to my feet as well.  I will do a follow-up post in a few months, I’m sure, but as of today, I think that these laces are a must for runners.  Also, with the lack of laces flopping around everywhere and the ease of putting on the shoe, Lock Laces would be perfect for triathletes since the shoe goes on easily and you have no excess of laces to get caught while cycling.

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Platinum Sombrero Sponsor #26

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Today Armpocket signed on as the twenty-sixth sponsor for the Platinum Sombrero 5K.  Armpocket is an arm band that is used while running that, depending on the model you chose, can hold your phone, ID, gels, MP3 player, inhaler, keys, or anything else you may need for a run within reason.  I purchased the I-30 model for myself last summer after being diagnosed for asthma and needed a comfortable way to carry my inhaler.  You can read more about this here.  Armpocket has agreed to donate four of their bands to be raffled off to race participants.  You can like Armpocket on Facebook here.

Sponsor #26

Sponsor #26

50 Half Marathons in 50 States

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Currently running a half marathon in all 50 states is not one of my running goals.  It would be outstanding, and a great way to see the entire country, but it is a significant commitment both financially and in time.  But, just for fun, I thought I would try to list out the fifty races that I would like to run in each state as of today.  This is based on locations I would like to visit, themes of the races, and time of year.  Currently, I have notched one of fifty states, with a second state slated for September, so if I ever decide to do this, it will take some time and dedication.  Some of these race choices were quite arbitrary, but I could not stand leaving a state blank.  Maybe this post will serve as motivation to make it happen.

Alabama: Mercedes-Benz Half – Birmingham, February – great medal, easy trip

Alaska: Mayor’s Half – Anchorage, Saturday closest to Summer Solstice – very cool idea

Arizona: Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Series – Phoenix – January – not many options, chosen because of city

Arkansas: Little Rock Half – Little Rock, March or The Hogeye Half – Fayetteville – April – easy state to complete

California: Big Sur Half -Carmel – Mid-November and/or Disneyland Half – Anaheim – August/September (complete Coast to Coast with WDW Half) – Big Sur simply for locale & medal, Disney in attempt to complete Coast to Coast

Colorado: Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Series – Denver – October – not many options, chosen because of city

Connecticut: ING Hartford Marathon – Hartford – October – not many options, chosen because of city

Delaware: Monster “Mash” Half – Dover – October – Why not?

Florida: WDW Marathon – Lake Buena Vista – Jan 12, 2014 and Key West Half – Key West – January – both on my “must run” list

Georgia: Publix Georgia Half – Atlanta – March – best half in Atlanta

Hawaii: The Hapualua, Hawaii’s Half Marathon – Waikiki Beach – March – any race in Hawaii would be perfect

Idaho: City of Trees Half – Boise – October – not many options, chosen because of city

Illinois: Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Series – Chicago – July – multiple options for Chicago, this is most convenient

Indiana: Dances With Dirt Half – Gnaw Bone – May – trail half, completely different from the rest of the list

Iowa: IMT Des Moines Half – Des Moines – October – not many options, chosen because of city

Kansas: Kansas City Half – Kansas City – October – fast course, good BBQ

Kentucky: Hatfield & McCoy Half – Goody (counts for KY & WV if run twice) – June – very cool idea

Louisiana: Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Series – New Orleans – February – any excuse to go to NOLA

Maine: Maine Half – Portland – October – not many options, chosen because of city

Maryland: Baltimore Running Festival – Baltimore – October – not many options, chosen because of city

Massachusetts: Boston Athletic Association Half – Boston – October – may never qualify for the Boston Marathon, so this is the next best thing

Michigan: Martian Invasion of the Races – Dearborn Heights -April – unique idea

Minnesota: Polar Dash – Minneapolis – January 1 – cool idea, part of a series

Mississippi: Tupelo 14.2 – Tupelo – Sept 1, 2013 – should be state #2

Missouri: Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Series – St. Louis – October – easy trip

Montana: Montana Half – Billings – September – not many options, chosen because of city

Nebraska: Omaha Half Marathon – Omaha – September – not many options, chosen because of city

Nevada: Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Series – Las Vegas – November – Vegas, no further explanation needed

New Hampshire: New Hampshire Half Marathon – Bristol – October – not many options. Update: Smuttynose Rockfest Half – Hampton Beach – October – free lobster roll, clam chowder, & beer on a flat, coastal course (thanks to seneslant for to recommendation)

New Jersey: Superhero Half – Morristown – May – because I am a nerd

New Mexico: Santa Fe to Buffalo Thunder Half Marathon – Santa Fe – Sep – Very scenic with the last 11+ miles being all downhill!

New York: NYC Half – New York City (Manhattan) – March, the Brooklyn or Manhattan Half are also options – I want to run any and all the half marathons in NYC

North Carolina: OBX Half Marathon – Outer Banks – November – great locale

North Dakota: Fargo Half – Fargo – May (actually runs into MN and back) – not many options, chosen because of city

Ohio: Flying Pig Half – Cincinnati – May – cool theme, good medal

Oklahoma: Route 66 Half – Tulsa – November – great medal

Oregon: Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Series – Portland – May – not many options, chosen because of city

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Half – Philadelphia – November – a bridesmaid lives here, really want to visit Philly; the Rock ‘n Roll Half events in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are tempting as well

Rhode Island: Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Series – Providence – September – not many options, chosen because of city

South Carolina: Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon – Myrtle Beach – October – location, primarily

South Dakota: Run Crazy Horse -Rapid City – October – different medal, not many options

Tennessee: I have run the St. Jude Half twice & I am scheduled to run the 4 Bridges Half in Chattanooga & St. Jude again, so Tennessee is covered, but a new race would be the Oak Barrel Half – Lynchburg – April

Texas: Livestrong Austin Half – Austin – February – great cause (even if Lance was a fraud) & several options in Texas

Utah: Dino Half – Vernal – May – dinosaurs are (were) the best, childhood nerd alert

Vermont: RunVermont Half Unplugged – Burlington – April – not many options, but this one seemed to be the best option

Virginia: Marine Corps Historic Half (if you can’t do the full)- Frederickburg (Half), Arlington (Full) – May (Half), October (Full), Yuengling Shamrock Half – Virginia Beach – March – I couldn’t decide between the two of these.

Washington: Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Series – Seattle – June – an excuse to visit Seattle

West Virginia: Morgantown Half – Morgantown – October – run the race, catch a game, burn a couch

Wisconsin: Brewers Mini Marathon – Milwaukee – September – merging baseball & running

Wyoming: Jackson Hole Half – Jackson Hole – September – not many options, chosen because of city

Update: I did not include the District of Columbia in my original post, but since I have decided that Washington, DC should be included as well.  So, here it goes.

Washington, DC: Rock ‘N Roll Marathon Series – Washington, DC, March, limited options, but the course will be good.

Motivation Monday & Some Randomness

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I reblogged a Memorial Day post earlier to shared some facts about the holiday, but this New York Times article does a much better job of capturing the essence of what today truly means.  It is a quick and informative read and it is much better than anything that I could write here.  Also, allow this infographic serve as this week’s Motivation Monday.  No cheesy running image or quote is more motivational than thinking about the brave men and women that proudly serve for our country everyday.  I would like to express a humble thank you to anyone that has ever served our fine country.

Memorial Day Facts

Memorial Day Facts

Yesterday I ran just over five miles, which marks my longest distance since returning from injury.  It felt good to start to stretch out my runs a bit, inching my way back up to the half marathon distance by September 1 for the Tupelo 14.2.  It definitely helped that it wasn’t brutally hot or humid as well yesterday.  From now until the middle of January, there will be no scheduled running hiatuses, so I need to make sure that I train properly and safely.

Not this kind of streaking

Not this kind of streaking

I am going to try to participate in the Runner’s World summer streaking program this year.  The plan is simple, run at least one mile per day, everyday, between Memorial Day and Independence Day.  This means that you will run a total of 39 consecutive days (40 for me) during your streak.  Since this coincides with my half marathon training and I am just coming back from an injury, I almost decided not to push myself to do this.  But working a mile into a workout is easy, and I don’t have to try to run at PR pace for all 39 days.  An easy one or two mile run can facilitate recovery quite nicely.  More info can be found on the Runner’s World website here.

Social Media Streaking Badge

Social Media Streaking Badge

During the next week or so, there should be at least three product reviews coming from me, so be on the lookout.  With my race coming up, some of the race sponsors gave me items to review for the blog, so I have been doing my best of incorporating these items into my training.  I have also purchased several items, some from race sponsors, some from random sources, and I will be sharing this info as well.  I anticipate the reviews to cover Bulu Box, Energybits, and Lock Laces this week.

A quick reminder that on June 1, Kindrunner officially launches, so head offer to their site early and often.  You can sign up for a chance to win running shoes for a year (up to three pairs) for yourself and a running partner on the site.  Also, for every 500 like the Kindrunner Facebook page gets, a pair of shoes will be given away.

Now, I am going to try to work off these BBQ nachos a bit with a quick run and some TRX or a Warrior Dash circuit.

Memorial Day Facts You Should Know

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Here are a couple of pertinent Memorial Day facts, just ignore the typos.

WREG.com

(CNN) — Here’s a look at what you need to know about Memorial Day, a day honoring American soldiers who died serving the country in wars.

This year Memorial Day is May 27, 2013.

Other Facts:
Celebrated on the last Monday in May.

Several towns claim to be the originators of Memorial Day but Congress declared Waterloo, NY, to be the birthplace of the holiday in 1966.

Memorial Day originally honored military personnel who died in the Civil War (1861-1865).

The holiday now honors those who died in any war while serving with the United States.

It is also called Decoration Day.

Timeline:
May 5, 1866 – Residents of Waterloo, New York observe a Memorial Day in honor of all who died during the Civil War. Businesses are closed and soldiers’ graves are decorated.

1868 – General John Alexander Logan officially proclaims May 30, 1868 as Memorial Day in…

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Zoom Through The Zoo

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Last night was the Zoom Through the Zoo event here in Memphis.  The event is quite popular amongst Memphis runners and last night was my first opportunity to participate in the event.  The event is usually held on the Thursday before Memorial Day Weekend, which also means that it is the night before another hugely popular Memphis Zoo event, Zoo Brew, which I also will be attending for the first time this year.  Very odd that Susan and I were zoo members, but did not attend these events last year.  Both events help fund some of the amazing exhibits that the Memphis Zoo produces, and I am on board for anything that helps shine a positive light on Memphis.

The event was scheduled to start at 6:30 pm last night, and being that it is Memphis in late May, that meant there would be heat and humidity.  But all of us racers knew this in advance, and it is something you must deal with for the next few months in the Bluff City.  We did, however, catch a little bit of a break with the weather since the night before the race, the temperature was 90 degrees at 6:30 pm and the humidity was significantly higher.  So we enjoyed our 82 degree race start!

The race brags about its unique course through the zoo and the access that you would not otherwise get, but this may have been a bit of an exaggeration.  You do get to run through the zoo, but at least half of the course is actually through the adjacent Overton Park running trails that are used by several Memphis races.  But, it is a four mile race, and there is only so much useable real estate in the zoo, so unless you are going to cut the field to 200 people, you must utilize other resources.  809 people registered online for the event before last night, and that number swelled to 1509 by the time the race started last night.  With this many people in a confined space, you are going to have issues.  I made the rookie mistake of not forcing myself closer to the front of the line, so I was stuck behind several walkers and it took nearly two miles on the narrow course for me to pass the walkers.  This caused some crazy splits for my race, and my pace time actually went down from mile to mile, with the first mile being my slowest by nearly two minutes!  I also had to tie my shoe twice during the first two miles since I have been lazy and not ordered any Lock Laces yet despite having them agree to donate to St. Jude on my behalf (use promo code KYLEJUDE), but I fixed that problem last night!

The finish line was the zoo entrance and from there, you could find the water stations, post race buffet, and beer garden.  In theory, this was well-organized because you had tabs on your race bib for food and two beers, so entry should go smooth.  The problem is 1,500 people is an overwhelming amount of people, especially in the area in which we were, and when you factor in family members, this just became a huge mess of people.  The food line was easy to get into, but the water and beer lines were not.  They only had one area for bottled water and I was herded away from that, so I fought to get a cup at the water station.  The post race buffet was BBQ, beans, slaw, and brownies, that’s it.  I was a little surprised that there was no fruit to be found.  The beer line was ridiculous, and I decided that I did not need a Budweiser so bad to stand in a line probably 100 deep, so I just left.

You won't see unused beer tabs often for me post race.

You won’t see unused beer tabs often for me post race.

The only race swag was a t-shirt for the event.  The rest of the goodie bag was ads for four upcoming races, the other three in the M-Town Series and one that I have not seen advertised anywhere yet.  But this was not a marathon, so extravagant goodie bags should not be expected, but it was odd that there wasn’t anything from the zoo in there or a Memphis race staple, Chik-Fil-A coupons.

2013 Race Shirt

2013 Race Shirt

Every year the theme of the Zoom Through the Zoo race is based on some major happening at the zoo.  Last year was a dinosaur theme (the year I really should have run the event for the first time) since there was an animontronic dinosaur exhibit here, a few years ago when Memphis first got its pair of panda bears, Le Le and Ya Ya, that was the theme.  This year marks the 20th anniversary of Cat Country at the zoo, so naturally that was the theme and the cheetah was emblazoned upon the shirts.

While it may not be the best race in town, it is a good one, and one that I will run again in the future, it for nothing else, to redeem my finish time of 42:03!  But, on the bright side, this finish is a PR since this is my first 4 miler race!

Platinum Sombrero 5K Sponsors #23, #24, & #25

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I know twenty-five sponsors is a bit extreme for a race of this size, but I wanted to make the Platinum Sombrero 5K as big as possible, and the way to do that, at least to me, was get as many high quality brands as possible on board.  This is, however, a fundraiser to help the children of St. Jude.  The more race participants I get, the more money St. Jude gets!

The twenty-third sponsor is Polar Bottle.  Polar Bottle produces BPA free, plastic water bottles in a wide variety of colors and styles.  The vast majority of the bottles are vacuum insulated, which helps keep you water cold for a significantly longer period of time than traditional water bottles.  The bottles come in 24, 20, or 12 ounce varieties and you can even customize a bottle with you favorite running (or any activity) photo that you want.  You can like Polar Bottle on Facebook here.

Sponsor#23

Sponsor#23

The twenty-fourth sponsor of the race is actually the third compression apparel company to agree to sign on, Zensah.  Zensah offers a wide variety of compression apparel, and boast to have “the world’s most advanced compression apparel.”  Zensah will be donating two pairs of minimalist socks that will be raffled off to two luck race participants.  You can like Zensah on Facebook here.

Sponsor #24

Sponsor #24

The twenty-fifth (yes, twenty-fifth!) sponsor of the Platinum Sombrero 5K is Zola Acai, a company that specializes in healthy fruit juice drinks.  The company started with Acai juice and from there they started to incorporate pomegranate and blueberry into the juice.  Zola also added coconut water to the roster of healthy juices and strive to find the freshest and tastiest fruit juices in the world.  Zola Acai has agreed to donate two cases of their product to be dispersed to race participants.  You can like Zola Acai on Facebook here.

Sponsor #25

Sponsor #25