My First Race

One of the things I love about running is all the stories I have involving other people.  They go back a long ways for me.  Let me tell you one brief running story from a long time ago.

When I was in elementary school one of the gym teachers marked out a 50 yard dash course for us.  I was the third fastest kid in my school.  I couldn’t tell you what my time was.  The other two in the top three were the strongest kid in the school (number 2), and a girl named Michelle (who was crowned the fastest).

I should back up a little.  Michelle also happened to be the second girl I ever had a crush on.  I thought she was something else… but I was more than a little shy.  I had recently (a few months prior) used my allowance money to go buy a giant chocolate Hershey’s kiss, wrapped it, written a card, and rode my bike in the snow to deliver it to her house as a Chaunukka present.  Fun fact: Chaunukka can actually be spelled more than ten ways in english- but I digress.  

I was not particularly upset about the girl I liked beating me at the time but it’s important to keep in mind for what happened shortly thereafter.  Apparently (as it was told to me) the girl I was crushing on (at the wise old age of 10ish) was at a sleepover playing truth or dare and a friend of hers was dared to kiss me.  And this is where it gets interesting- she traded one of her dares with that friend so that she could kiss me.

So after school (the following Monday) they cornered me on the walk home and told me some version of the story above.  While I really wanted to kiss her I suddenly became very afraid.  I panicked. My response was to bolt.  In that moment I decided to start a second race… with the fastest kid in school.  I took off.  In the process I dropped my backpack and kept going.  My books were useless to me for once.  She gave good chase.  She was on my heels for almost a half a mile- but there were a few differences that I learned about that day.

First, I was afraid and she was not.  Second, a half mile is a lot different than 50 yards.  And lastly I had a different tolerance for physical pain than she did.  In one of my first real experiences with fight or flight I ran back to school, around the school, and through 10 feet of thorny bushes over both our heads to escape through the swamp with mud halfway up my knees where I was able to hop a fence, sneak through someone’s back yard, and take the long way home alone.  I think I actually l lost her at the thorns- but i didn’t need a heart rate monitor to tell you I was pushing over 90% for more than a mile.  

So I I beat my crush the second time we paired up in a race… but I don’t think I could really say I feel like I won that day.

If I were to time travel and give my younger self advice I would tell little me to just kiss the girl and discover you were more of a distance runner some other way.  I would also say, don’t give in to fear, it won’t help.  I think back to that day often.  Michelle, if you’re out there, I owe you one.

Hoka One One, Evo Speedgoat

I’ve run in a lot of shoes.  Owing a running store has its perks when it comes to footwear options. We try the latest and greatest innovations allowing us to talk eloquently and realistic to customers.  Running in a shoe, you learn a lot about it, much like you do when you run with another person. 

I had the pleasure and luxury of testing out the new Hoka One One, Evo Speedgoat.  Before I get into the details, let me just say that I was a Speedgoat fan originally.  My feet are super sensitive to anything tight or restrictive and I appreciate the cushion at this point in my running career. I am retired from racing, but I do like to get out there and humor getting my Strava QOMs back, in true gritty mom fashion.  The trail I chose to test these shoes on was full of all types of terrain; rocks, water, soft dirt and accents and descents.  I like to fully commit to a run while testing shoes to give them an honest chance.  Although your shoes should fit you perfectly in the shop, sometimes you need to run on different terrain to feel the full effects of the technology.

The Evo Speedgoat fits pretty true to size.  The upper wraps around your foot like it was made for you. And the sheer weightlessness of this design makes you feel like you are in nothing at all. The rugged outsole holds your foot placement tight making the next foot-strike efficient.    For my shoe geeks out there, here are the specs:

  • MATRYX® upper textile, featuring high-tensile synthetic fiber strands across the midfoot for unparalleled strength and durability at minimal weight
  • Non-wicking treated fabric optimizes water drainage
  • Breathable vamp provides a comfortable fit with improved forefoot flexibility
  • Gusseted tongue prevents migration across the instep
  • Midsole and outsole feature the same cushion and traction as the Speedgoat 3
  • CMEVA foam midsole absorbs impact points and offers stable footing
  • Vibram® Mega grip high-traction outsole with 5mm lugs
  • Multidirectional lugs for supreme grip on varied terrain

For some, it’s hard to justify spending $160 on a pair of trail shoes that are going to get filthy with dirt and mud.  But you do get what you pay for with this new addition to the trail line up.  All the best concepts collide with this shoe.  They feel like a racing flat but have the benefits of a full cushion shoe.  But like all trail runners, you are not having fun unless you get a little dirty.  I am looking forward to running in the snow with these during the winter months and potentially paring them with some YakTrax.

Happy Trails!

How to Run Commute

First off why? Why would anyone want to run commute? For me the answer is quite simple; time management. I know the idea of running to work or school and then back home again might not sound like your thing but hear me out. By run commuting you can really get some much wanted miles in. Run commuting is a “double day” because you are running twice.

Time Management

Most of us are limited on time. If you are like me and have a full time job, wife and three kids you have probably contemplated quitting running all together because it feels so selfish. Run commuting allows you to save a lot of time and still get the miles you need to feel trained. You will also save time by not spending time driving somewhere to run, meeting others, etc. You will also overlap the time you would be commuting with the time you are running.

Logistics

Yes, logistically running to work or school can be tricky at first but once you get it figured out you will hone in your packing/pre-packing tricks and techniques. For me the solution was finding a good backpack to carry my work clothes, packed lunch and running jacket. I used the Salomon S-Lab Peak 20 as it has a larger volume than a running vest but fits like a running vest. Other brands like Ultimate Direction also make similar packs. The S-Lab Peak 20 is great because it adjusts on the bottom of the pack to the waist, on the top to the shoulders and then a zig-zagged side sinch that pulls the pack close to your back. This is great because it reduces the dreaded back and forth swing of running with a backpack.

The second order of interest would be showing up to work or school clean and showered. Luckily for me I work at a University and I have access to the showers in the fitness locker room. I simply shower, put on my work clothes and stroll into the office. I then reverse the process (minus the shower) when leaving work.

Enjoyment

This really depends on the route you take to get to work from your residence. I am extremely lucky in that I live in Reno Nevada right next to National Forest land that butts up next to my backyard and then almost right next to the University. I have access to over 50 miles of trails right next to my 4 mile straight shot commute. So, if I have time I can simply shoot out into the hills and add bonus miles on endless singletrack between my house and work. If you live in a city you may want to get inspiration from Ricky Gates and try exploring more, or “every single street” in your city. You may find backroads or alleys that you never knew existed.

I also find that run commuting, just like regular commuting is a great time to catch up on podcasts, news or listen to the music. When training you generally want to look at most runs as having a purpose (hills, intervals, long-run) but these commutes can simply be enjoyable miles. I take them slow and even run them in New Balance Minimus 10v1 shoes that I just picked up at the Reno Running Company. For me pace is such that it is great to focus on running efficiently and relaxed.

So give it a shot! I think you will find it is a great tool in not only your training, but also to save time.

Goodr Sunglasses

Have you ever winced at the thought of purchasing a pair of expensive glasses to run in? Or even worse, have you ever lost that pair of those expensive sunglasses and had your day ruined?  I’m sure most of us have lost a pair of our nice sunglasses.  Well Goodr has come up with a solution to the expensive sunglass dilemma.

Goodr is a running specific sunglass company who creates stylish and hip shades at an affordable price. They only have one model of and it resembles the traditional Ray Ban Wayfairer. Although there is only one model, that model does come in many different colors.  Each color has has a creative name for it like “Iced by Yetis”.

While is sounds like they are cheap and you would expect the quality to be the same, the truth is they actually feel and look like a much better quality than you would expect.  I think the most amazing part is that they all come with a polarized lenses.  Polarized lenses are generally only sold on more expensive glasses.

Check them out! You may find yourself buying more than one pair like many of our customers do.

What is a Neck Gaiter?

A neck gaiter is simple piece of synthetic material that is sewn into a tube. Many people refer to them generically as a Buff.  Neck gaiters are one of the most versatile and useful pieces of running equipment you can own.

First off, neck gaiters cost a little less than a beanie would cost and can be used exactly like a beanie plus about 10 other ways.  One of the main reasons runners love neck gaiters is because they are extremely portable.  When you are not wearing a buff you can very easily wrap it around your wrist and it then becomes something to wipe your brow with as you warm up.

Neck Gaiters are useful in both warm and cold temperatures unlike a beanie.  They can also be worn during other sports. They are great to wear under helmets when skiing or cycling. Check our review/preview of the neck gaiter.