As I am doing my final prep for my first half marathon of 2015, it occurs to me that this race, the Mississippi Blues Half Marathon, is going to be my coldest half marathon to date. And as I am frantically looking at the weather reports, and considering how much to bundle up, I come across a post from Jeff Galloway’s Facebook page. It is a handy, straightforward chart to refer to for cold weather running. Runner’s World has a nice reference for weather related attire as well. So, enjoy this chart and stay warm out there while pounding the pavement!
Back in college (and in middle school and high school as well), we played an insane amount of NBA Jam. Is was not the most realistic basketball game on the market, but it was a lot of fun. You would play two on two and there were tons of crazy catch phrases like “BOOMSHAKALAKA!!!”, “He’s building himself a house, one brick at a time!”, and “He’s on fire!” Our personal favorite was “Is it the shoes?”, which was a reference to the Spike Lee Nike commercials from the 1980’s.
Anyway, history lesson aside, I have been thinking about my shoes for this weekend’s Country Music Half Marathon. I have been dealing with some toe issues for quite a bit now. Susan is just waiting for my big toe nail to fall off (I will spare you the pictures), and I am just hoping that the toe pain from the WDW Marathon does not come back with any regularity. All of these issues have one thing in common, my shoes. Specifically, my Asics Nimbus 14’s are the culprits. The shoes are very comfortable, but they run small when compared to Brooks and some other shoe manufacturers. I have run three half marathons and a full marathon in these shoes, but there is still plenty of life left in them. I am thinking that I will transition them to my everyday shoe and go back to my Brooks Glycerin 11’s for the Country Music Marathon this weekend. I need a new pair of shoes to wear around normally anyway, and as long as I am not running in them, they fit well.
My Brooks Glycerin 11’s were the shoes that I wore during my fastest two half marathons, and they are showing some wear and tear. I ran in them last night to gauge how my feet felt in them and it went well. Ever since my injury last year, I have been quite gun-shy with my shoes and that is one reason that I had transitioned away from my Brooks.
I will probably get a new pair of the Brooks Glycerin 11’s or 12’s for the Disneyland Half. And I am not ruling out the Asics Nimbus 14’s in the future, I am just going to try a larger pair.
While I was writing this post, I came across an interesting article about Skechers sponsoring Meb Keflezighi, the winner of the Boston Marathon and American running hero. You can read it here.
Susan and I made this for my WDW Marathon race medal since it was my first marathon and we wanted it to stand out. This is very similar to the display I have for my very first half marathon expect Susan and I made this on our own. She did the painting and I cut it and added all of the mounts. We may put Disney World down the right side, but we are very pleased with how it came out.
A couple of weeks ago I was presented with the opportunity to test the FlipBelt out on my runs. I was also given one FlipBelt to giveaway to a lucky blog reader, but more about that in a few moments. What is the FlipBelt exactly? It is advertised as “the world’s best running and fitness belt workout belt.” I cannot with 100% accuracy say that it is the world’s best running belt, but I can say with 100% confidence that it is the best running belt that I have ever tried. Currently, there are eight colors available on their website and five different sizes to help guarantee a perfect fit. I have included the size chart so you can get a better idea about the fit of the belts. As you know, I am a larger runner, so finding a good fit can be a bit of a challenge for me. I went with the extra size option and it fits perfectly. For reference, I wear a size 36 in pants and I have had zero issues with the belt. I chose black because it is a basic color and since the belt would be concealed by my shirt most of the time anyway, I did not need a color that would standout too much.
|*Unisex Size Guide||Belt Circumference Unstretched||**Max Stretch Circumference|
Shipping was lightening fast from the FlipBelt. I ordered my belt on a Tuesday afternoon and it was at my house by Friday of the same week! It is hard to top that, especially since shipping is free inside the United States! I went on a run with the belt on the first day that I got it and I have used it in the bulk of my runs since. In fact, one of my first runs with it was in the Midsouth Championship Half Marathon, and it definitely did not slow me down in that race!
The belt is very comfortable and you barely know that you are wearing it. My first run in it, I had my house key, iPhone, and three GU packs (just to see how it felt) packed into the belt. After five miles of running, nothing had fallen out or shifted into an uncomfortable manner. Furthermore, the belt did not bounce up or slide down once during my run. And that is still true to this day. I have run several times now with some hefty items, and the FlipBelt still stays securely in the place that I place it in.
The belt has slits around it in which you slide your items into it. You can then flip the belt so the slits face your body, thus further securing the items inside the belt. There are no snaps, ties, Velcro, or any of the such fasteners. I have not had any issues with hot spots or chaffing from the belt or stored items as of yet either. This has been true for a 5K that I have run in it as well as a half marathon and a sixteen miler last weekend. The only issue that I have had with the belt is that my iPhone 5, in its Otter Box, is very snug in the belt, which makes it difficult to use during a run without stopping to pull out the phone. Also, when running with your phone, place the screen of your phone so that when you are wearing the belt, the screen will face outwards. This helps with condensation and allows you to use it a little easier as well. And since the belt is a spandex-Lycra blend that is worn close to your body, you might want to invest in two belts unless you want to do laundry a little more frequently than you current belt.
- No bounce
- Stores several items
- No chaffing (as of yet)
- Items stay secure
- Multiple sizes & color options
- Cheaper than several other options out there
- My iPhone with its case fit a little snug into the belt
- I am curious to see what happens with the belt in the extreme heat and humidity of the Memphis summer
The Bottom Line:
I wish that I would have bought this belt months ago. It is very comfortable and performs as advertised every time. I am going to purchase at least one more so that I can wear a FlipBelt on consecutive days without worrying too much about its cleanliness.
The FlipBelt has been kind enough to offer all of my readers a 10% on the FlipBelt by simply using the coupon code RunLrg upon checkout. They have also been kind enough to allow me to give one lucky reader a FlipBelt of their own. You can enter the giveaway here.
I was not paid or compensated in for this post besides being provided one FlipBelt for the review. All opinions and observations are my own, and have not been influenced by an employee of FlipBelt or any other outside sources.
It is that time of year again when my family and friends inquire about what I might possibly want for Christmas. I usually shrug and say “I don’t know.” But, this year, I have decided to actually reflect on some items that I use almost daily and some items that would be more of a luxury. I then decided to throw this into a blog post so there would be a place to refer my loved ones and I thought that it might be a helpful post for other runners out there as well. So, here it goes!
7″ Running Shorts
Runners can never have enough pairs of shorts. I currently own pairs by Under Armour, Nike, and The North Face. All three companies fit virtually the same and perform fairly equally. I prefer the 7″ length because being a bigger guy, the 5″ or shorter length exposes a little bit more skin than I like. The 7″ length gives a nice range of motion for my runs.
XL Tech Shirt
Jut like with the shorts, runners can never have enough running shirts. Nike and Under Armour are my preferred brands simply because they seem to be generously cut.
Under Armour Alter Ego Shirt
Not the compression variety, but rather the loose, graphic tee variety that is for sale. I currently own the Batman version, but there now is a Superman and Captain America variety, and both are on my wishlist.
Brooks Glycerin 11, Size 11.5
I currently own a pair of these shoes and they have been treating me well, so I am going to need a replacement pair eventually. Why not ask for another pair for Christmas? I have the orange pair now, which would be great again, but the blue pair are great as well.
New Balance 1080 V3 ans/or Asics Gel Nimbus 15, Both Size 11.5
I have never worn either pair of these shoes, but both are recommended for supinators, which I am. The color options are not overwhelming, but as any shoe store will tell you, buy your shoes by function, not color.
Pro Compression Marathon Socks and Sleeves, Size L/XL
I own a pair of each, and I love them, so obviously, I need more. Red and blue are the two Pro Compression colors that I currently own. I have a pair of black compression socks from a different company and a pair of neon green sleeves from another company as well.
Brooks L.S.D. Lite Jacket II, Size XL
Why this jacket? Well, it is the highest rated by Runner’s World and that is about all of the knowledge that I have about a running rain jacket. Honestly, I need a light and breathable jacket that does a good job of keeping me dry.
Warm Headgear, Size As Big As It Comes
For my winter runs, I need headgear to wear that keeps my head warm and repels sweat. I currently run in typical beanies and they become consumed with sweat very quickly. The biggest issue is that my head is rather large, 24+ centimeters, so finding a via option is tricky.
As I previously mentioned, I need so new socks to help battle my blister issues. Once I discover that sock, they will be in this slot.
GoPro Hero3+, Black Edition
Do I need this? No. Would the Silver or even the White edition work? Probably. But if I am asking for one, I might as well as for the top in one. I go back and forth on wanting one of these because I do not know how it would work for me during an event, but the idea of wearing this for the WDW Marathon, Spartan Sprint in Tampa, Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder, and several of my local races is quite enticing. This is definitely in the why not ask for it category.
The Flipbelt, Black or Blue, XL
My Armpocket is great, and it has served me well, but I have been having some arm pain after my long runs, so I need to try some new options on these runs. After some research, I think that the Flipbelt will be my first trial.
I need any variety of gear for safe running early in the morning or late at night. Knuckle Lights or a non-chafing vest are what I am thinking here. On colder runs, maybe some reflective sleeves. I will give almost anything a try here.
RoadID Elite Band
I currently refuse to run without my RoadID Elite, but my band is taking a beating, so a couple of new bands would be great. I actually have two name plates, so I could rotate bands very easily. My current band is black, but a red, blue, or orange would be great as well.
If it is a race that you think that I would like, it does not conflict with my schedule, and does not create too much of a traveling conflict, it would probably be welcomed.
Running Gear Repping My Favorite Sports Teams
I have a Braves running shirt, Red Wings shirt, and Braves workout shorts, but I would welcome gear from any of my teams to utilize in races as well as training. Dallas Cowboys, Memphis Grizzlies, Memphis Tigers are a few of the teams that I still need to represent.
Yurbuds Inspire Duro, Ear Size 4
I really need a new pair of headphones for my runs. I love the fit of Yurbuds, even if they do not stay in as well as advertised (they start to have issues after a couple of months of use). I have a random ear hole size of 4, so it is not easy to find these ear buds. The red, black, or cobalt ones all would be welcomed.
All runners need small items like Run Guard/Run Glide, fuels (GU, Chomps, Energybits, ect), Nip Guards, KT Tape, Lock Laces, and similar items. They are little things that runners use, but do not get much attention when compared to the bigger ticket items.
Blister – noun: a small bubble on the skin filled with serum and caused by friction, burning, or other damages
I have been having some issues with blisters on the outside of my big toes, especially on my right foot. I have had some issues in the past, but the current issue is directly correlated with one pair of shoes, my Saucony Triumph 10’s. I at first thought that the issue was because I was trying to break in the shoes, but I now have over 100 miles in the shoes, so they should be sufficiently broken in. When I wear my Brooks Glycerin 11’s, I have no issues. The problem arises after roughly four miles of running, and progressively gets worse from there. The issue has gotten so bad at this point that I do not have a blister on my right big toe, but rather a callus.
Callus – noun: a thickened and hardened part of the skin or soft tissue, especially in an area that has been subjected to friction
My first inclination for the cause of the friction was the type of socks that I was wearing. I have some cotton socks that I wear on occasion, but that is very rare, and honestly, I probably wear them more often with my Brooks. I have completely eliminated that over the past few weeks, and the problem has not subsided.
I have also tried covering up my hotspot with a band-aid, which helped delay the issue, not solve it. I have also started to apply Run Guard to my foot, the inside of the sock, outside of the sock, and interior of my shoe to help eliminate the issue. This has provided some relief, but not much.
I talked to some of the experts over at Kindrunner and they relayed to me that they have received some similar complaints from other customers. They seem to believe that there is a piece of fabric in the toe box that causes the extra friction. After inspecting the shoes further, that seems highly plausible. I was also recommended to try a sock from Feetures, which I will be purchasing sometime this week.
Also, I wear a size 10.5 in my normal shoes, but in running shoes I wear an 11.5. If I continue wearing shoes in the Triumph line, I will probably bump my size up to 12 or go with a wide variety since they are tighter on my foot than the Brooks. This also might be contributing to my issues. I am a supinator, and the selection of shoes available for me is slim. Add in the fact that I am a heavier runner than most, finding a reliable and durable shoe is quite a chore. Hopefully I can work out the issues with the Saucony Triumph. Or maybe this issue will be rectified in the next shoe update.
How do you deal with blisters? Have any certain shoes caused more blisters than others?
As you all know, I am an ambassador for Kindrunner.com. Yesterday I received an email that was sent to all registered users from them that I thought you might be interested in. They are currently offering $10 in Kindness Cash for anyone that registers or updates their information on their site. There is no purchase necessary and it will take about a minute to complete. Simply follow this link, and enter the required information. If you already have a Kindrunner account, just log in prior to submitting this form. If not, simply register for the site and enter the requested information. And then, boom, ten dollars deposited into your account, good to use on any item on their site. It could not be simpler. The deadline for this deal is Friday, August 23, 2013, at 8:00 pm EST. The information that Kindrunner is looking for is your current running shoe, days a week that you run, your favorite race, and your favorite place to run. Very quick and painless. Once again, that link is here.
Full disclosure here, I am a Kindrunner Ambassador, but this is not a paid position, and I am not being compensated for this post. I just wanted to share this opportunity with my readers because we all could use an extra $10 towards our running addiction.
I mentioned that I got a new pair of running shoes a week or so ago, but I never shared much info about the shoes besides what they were, Brooks Glycerin 11. This was the second pair of new shoes that I have bought in about a month span, but I would not consider the purchase of the frivolous variety. Susan would probably disagree. But my rationale was simple, I need to have a minimum of two viable running shoe options at any given time. I rotate my shoes from day to day to help the rubber soles recover from the beating they take. This helps me squeeze every mile possible out of my shoes. I am already at a disadvantage since I am a heavier runner (my own doing, I know) and I supinate severely. If I get 250 miles out of a pair of shoes, I think that I have gotten my money’s worth. And thanks to my new shoe knowledge as well as my Nike+ watch, I can keep a fairly accurate odometer on each pair of my shoes.
I do not have many miles on these shoes yet, nine to be exact, but they are comfortable. I wanted a different pair of shoes to rotate with my Saucony Triumph 10’s so I could subtlety work different muscles in my legs and vary my run, slightly. The Brooks Glycerin 11 has a 12 millimeter heel-to-toe drop versus the 8 milometer drop on the Saucony Triumph 10. I am not going to get into the shoes hurt your feet or you should run in a barefoot shoe or minimalist is the only way to go debate on here. I am just sharing my thought process. Maybe after my marathon in January I will explore some of these other areas, but for now, I am going to not be too radical. But I will say that the 8 milometer drop on the Saucony’s was one of the reasons I went with the Saucony in July over the Brooks. I also had also tried out a pair of the Triumph 10’s in a running event here in Memphis in April, and most of the reports seem to indicate that the Saucony is a little more durable than the Brooks. We shall see. They are slightly more expensive than the Saucony’s were, but the $20 difference did not factor into my thought process in the least.
If my opinions change on the Brooks Glycerin 11 after logging some miles, I will post them here. But for now, I must say that the shoe is light and comfortable. They seem to fit true to my size a little bit better than my Saucony Triumph’s do. Again, that will be tested once I log some significant miles in them. But for now, I am satisfied with the purchase.
As I have stated on a couple of occasions prior, specifically here and here, I am an ambassador for Kindrunner. And since I have previously blogged about what Kindrunner actually is, I will spare you most of the details by giving you the Cliff Notes version to launch this post. Kindrunner is an online market place to buy running shoes as well as other running essentials. Whenever you buy shoes from them, you are given the option to send back your old and worn out shoes that are then donated to one of two charities. In exchange for your old shoes, you get $10 in store credit called Kindness Cash. It is that simple. And since I was in the need for a new pair, or two, of running shoes, I thought I would visit Kindrunner as a neophyte and try the process from start to finish.
Kindrunner has a feature called the Custom Fit Process. Now anyone that has bought a pair of shoes in a specialty shop has certainly experienced the salesman have you go through some rigorous combination of running and walking through the store and on a treadmill, asked numerous questions, and had your try on several pairs of shoes to find the correct pair for yourself. This is a fantastic process to go through, and is vital for new runners. The issue is that several of these stores have limited inventory and finding time to go through this process can be tricky at times. Well, Kindrunner has found a way to bring this process into your living room, or office, or even your car! Just search for the Custom Fit Process tab on their site and begin to enter the required information. You are asked about your current shoes, training pace, weekly mileage, pros and cons of you current shoes, your weight, and so on to get a nice base of information. You also include a picture of the bottom of each (left and right) of your current running shoe along with any pictures of our shoe that you might feel is helpful in assessing your running shoe needs. I kind of threw them an unintentional curveball because I listed my two current pairs of shoes, but uploaded photos from a retired pair. The reason for this was that my retired pair of Nike Vomeros had such a distinct wear pattern that I felt I would get a more accurate shoe assessment from them. You also select a day and time in which one of their experts can contact you and discuss the information that you have submitted.
My phone call was with Kindrunner Patrick and lasted just under fifteen minutes. We discussed my two current shoes, Nike Lunarglide 4 and Saucony Progrid Cohesion 6. We also discussed what led to my injury back in March and the wear pattern on my old Nike Vomeros. Patrick also pointed out that my Lunarglides were not ideal for supinators. Of course, this was news to me because those were the shoes that I was steered towards a few months ago due to my supination by someone who I will no longer listen to. Patrick advised me to be wary of the Lunarglides since it will add pressure to my peroneal tendons and could lead to some IT band issues in the future. These shoes have been since retired. Patrick also pointed out that my wear pattern was much greater on my right shoe than my left shoe, which honestly is something that I should have noticed, but never did. I guess that is why I have had blistering problems only on the big toe of my right foot. This is probably why my right foot was the victim of peroneal tendonitis. We also discussed how it would be wise to continue rotating through two or three pairs of shoes why training for multiple reasons. One is that it allows the rubber in the shoes to recover from the pounding of my runs and another is by having two different shoes, I will work different muscle groups with each shoe. This rotation will also help prolong the life of each pair of shoes. Patrick also confirmed that I should keep buying my running shoes a size larger than my everyday shoes due to the amount your foot swells during runs, especially in the heat of the summer. I was happy to hear that I was doing some things right!
We discussed several pairs of potential shoes, including Saucony Triumph, Brooks Ghost and Glycerin, and Mizuno Wave Rider. I had previously tried the Triumph at a Saucony event at the local Fleet Feet and the projected mileage on it was the greatest of the shoes that we discussed. For these reasons, I chose the Triumph for my next pair of running shoes. I will probably chose one of the others in the near future to replace my Cohesions since they are fading fast. I know this was kind of a boring choice, but with my mileage rapidly increasing, so I needed the safe bet.
I ordered the shoes on Monday afternoon and they were delivered on Wednesday, free of charge. It is hard to argue with that kind of turnaround! As soon as my order was shipped, I was sent two shipping notifications. One was for my shoes that were being delivered. And the second was for the return label of my retired shoes to Soles 4 Souls.
When I opened my package today, I was greeted with an unexpected surprise. I thought the promotion had ended, but I had received some free socks for life! Yep, the first 500 customers of Kindrunner qualify for a free pair of running sock each time that they order shoes from the site! It is just another incentive for me to keep being a Kindrunner! So of course, when I take my new shoes on their maiden voyage tomorrow, I will use the new socks as well.
These may not be as bright as my Lunarglides, but they still are sharp and will catch the eye. My first run cannot come quick enough in these! I will also be adding Lock Laces to them soon as well.
I have been exploring the prospect of using a foam roller so this article was rather well timed.
After reading about the benefits of foam rolling, I decided I would give it a try on my tired legs (and aching shins). WOW. It hurt like the dickens. I don’t embarrass easily, but after a few days of foam rolling at the gym and being near tears from the pain, I decided I needed my own foam roller, so I could stretch out my poor muscles in the privacy of my own home.
I purchased a jFit 18″ foam roller and it was the perfect size. I ordered mine from Amazon, but you can also find them here.
Keep in mind that foam rolling exercises are just that — EXERCISE. Your muscles will feel not only the pressure from the foam roller, but from holding the various positions. Also remember that foam rolling over tight / tense spots on your body will hurt at first. A lot. You
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