A moment of gratitude

As the LA Marathon approaches its impossible not to reflect on the journey that led me to this point!  I have been vocal about saying that this is the best season of Marathon training that I’ve ever have.  I have Team NutriBullet to thank for that, but before more than just thank the whole group (which I do), I also want to thank individuals!

Eddie Jasmine

Jasmine Diaz – My loving and encouraging wife.  I wouldn’t be able to take on this commitment to Team Nutribullet if it wasn’t for her understanding and support!  I know its not always easy for me to be out on Saturday Mornings when we may want to make other plans, but she understand my passion and goals and always has my back!

Thank you Jasmine for being the best wife a guy could ever have!

John LaPointe – It was John who reached out to me to be a pace group leader for Team NutriBullet.  I started running with John back in 2012 to train for the Malibu Half Marathon.  It was that group that allowed me to rediscover the joy of running.  This experience, however, has taken it to another level.  John served as the Running Coach for Team NutriBullet and has been responsible for instilling the principals of proper running form!

Thank you for everything John!  I’m glad to call you a friend!

Kenton – Kenton is a dynamic person, he’s the life force behind Team NutriBullet whether its up close and personal or behind the scenes! When you really find out all that Kenton does for NutriBullet, its amazing that he’s able to take care of all of the runners, but he’s always there for us!  Not only does he do it all with a smile on his face, but with an amazing energy that infects everyone!

Thank you Kenton for all that you do!

Sarah Lefkowitz – Sarah, Team NutriBullet’s registered dietitian, is not only helping to make sure that all of the runners are getting optimal nutrition for our demanding training schedule, she is training with Team NutriBullet as well!  I have had the pleasure of leading the 10 min/mile group for 2 weeks, picking her brain and soaking up her nutrition advice!  It is her NutriBullet recipes that have fueled me on my runs, allowing me to push past my “limits”

Sarah, thank you for keeping us fueled for success!

Monique – Monique is our trainer and responsible for making sure that our bodies are strong enough to both keep up with the toll of the Marathon training, but also perform at its very best!  She helps in a variety of fitness areas including strength training, core strength, endurance, injury prevention, and more.  Though I have not taken advantage of her weekly sessions I have really taken to the idea of core strength and have been planking almost daily.  All of the yoga sessions I have attended have been so dynamic that honestly I wish I attended more.  The real proof is in the pudding and for those that really need and seek her help, she has been heaven sent!

Thank you Monique for molding our team into lean mean running machines!

Jeremy – The guy behind the scenes handling the production and making sure we all look good!  Its all fun and games until you’re caught on camera acting a fool!

Thank you Jeremy for capturing the entire experience!

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My 8 Minute Pace Group Members – David, Luis, Laura, Freddy, Marko, and Peter.  Its easy to lead a group like this!  This group has changed a bit since training first started.  However, down the stretch we have had our core members to count on!  The conversations on our runs have been great!

  • David – you were the first motivated one to join the 8 minute group!  You were committed to run a BQ and I was committed to get you there!  You rep ARC hard but also represent Team Nutribullet well!  I wish you all the best and hope you achieve your goals!
  • Luis – I think I approached you about running with the 8 minute group and you were more than willing and motivated for the challenge!  You’re not only a strong runner, but a great RD as well!  You are definitely a more capable runner than you give yourself credit for!  I hope the LA Marathon is a confidence builder for you; I see you doing big things!
  • Laura – It was great having you with the 8 minute group!  You have such a strong running background with such elite company and you have been generous about sharing all of the things you’ve learned!  You’ve also come up with some great discussion topics during our runs to keep things fun and free.  I hope your injuries are behind you and kill it at the LA Marathon!
  • Freddy – The famous runner who has graced us with his presence and his big heart!  Your pictures are the stuff of legend!  It has been my pleasure to get to know you better as a runner and as a person!  Thanks for letting me carpool with you, and thanks for running with the 8 minute group even though some of the rest of us had a hard time staying on pace!
  • Marko – Thanks for bringing your energy to the 8 minute group!  You’re always up for a challenge and sometimes that meant leaving the rest of us in the dust when someone faster is up ahead (usually Peter).  Even still its great to see your enthusiasm for running and your confidence.  Its amazing that you’re so swift on your feet at 200+ pounds!  Hope that epic fartlek run doesn’t bite us on Sunday!
  • Peter – You’re the Team NutriBullet Veteran along with Freddy and a few others.  You are also an incredible runner and sup-athlete.  It was running laps around Hazeltine park with you that really boosted my confidence at the peak of our training!  Thanks for all of the advice and motivation.  I’d wish you luck, but you don’t need it!  Go kill it!

Crispin and Cynthia – I’ve been following all of your feats and accomplishments with LASP and it’s definitely been a motivator for me to step it up with my own running.  Having the both of you run with the 8 minute pace group, if only for one Saturday, was inspirational.  I wish you all much success with “The Speed Project” and thank you again for your motivation and support!

TNB Group Pic 2

To all of the Team NutriBullet Runners – You guys have been nothing short of an inspiration to me!  All of you with so many different stories, and goals.  You’ve over come so much to get to this point.  I’m proud of you all and want to see each of you cross that finish line proudly Sunday at the LA Marathon!  After the culmination of all our training, its time to execute on race day!

Happy Running!

-Eddie D

My running shoe history

Unless you run barefoot, a pair of running shoes is arguably the single most essential item for a runner.  Through the years running shoes change, and often times its difficult to replace a shoe that you loved.  Sometimes its quite the opposite, you cant wait to retire a pair of shoes and replace them with something better!  Sometimes you simply need shoes for different types of runs.

Since I’m tapering for the LA Marathon, I’m trying to stop making myself crazy by obsessing over ever detail of my upcoming race!  I decided to review my running shoe history and track the progression I’ve made since I started running.

Non Running Shoes – Nike AF 1’s / Fila Grant Hills: When I had to train in High School before joining the military, it was probably one of these shoes that were definitely not made for running.  Hey, I didn’t know any better!!!

Nike-Air-Force-1-Black-White-Black Fila Grant Hill Original

Military Running Shoes – New Balance Boot Camp Trainers: Standard issue “go fasters” not sure of the model. I can’t really tell if they made my feet hurt or not, because, lets face it, everything hurt during Boot Camp!

NB Basic Training

Now here are the shoes that I actually purchased willingly for running purposes…

Asics Gel Cumulus VII: I know I purchased lots of different shoes while in the Marine Corps but these are the only ones I can remember aside from the boot camp shoes.  I continued to use these for a little while after I got out of the marines.  I had no idea about how to pick running shoes when I bought these but had heard a lot about the Asics Gel.  I actually loved this shoes and tried hard to find them again after I got out but never did.  Definitely made my feet feel great after many miles of running in them, but the newer model changed so much that it was essentially a totally different shoe!  I’m pretty sure these shoes were promoting heel striking so they’re not something I would wear now!

Asics Gel Cumulus VIIMy Brooks Phase – Brooks Infiniti, Brooks Infiniti 2, Brooks Axiom 3: The first time I stepped foot into a specialty running store it was The Starting Line in Venice.  I wanted another pair like the Asics Gel Cumulus but since they were so old and outdated I had to be recommended something else.  The salesman had me try on at least 6 different pairs of shoes, asking me which one felt the best, while looking at me run down the road in each shoe and telling me that I over-pronate.  He recommended the Brooks Infiniti which were the most expensive at over $120.  I wasn’t sure, but I took his expert advice and bought them.  I ran my first Half Marathon in them (’09 Surf City), and then picked up another pair at the expo which I used to run the ’09 LA Marathon.  The thing about the Brooks Infiniti, though they had great cushioning and pronation control, they were very heavy (about 13+ oz).  I wore the Brooks Infiniti 2 for my next full before picking up the Brooks Axiom in an attempt to go lighter.  Aside from them being lighter, I never really liked the feel or the ride of the Axiom that much. As a result I didn’t run any races in them, but they stayed in my rotation for a little while before I finally retired them for good.

Brooks Infiniti 1 Brooks Infiniti 2 Brooks Axiom

My Mizuno Phase – Wave Elixir 4, Wave Elixir 3, Wave Inspire 4, Wave Ronin 2: I first fell in love with Mizuno Shoes during a fun run at Runnergy in Sherman Oaks.  Mizuno was there for shoe testing and I tried a pair of the Elixir 4’s, I picked them up and started using them for my speedwork around the time I was still running in the Infiniti 2’s.  I loved them so much that I wanted another pair.  I couldn’t find the 4’s but I did find the Elixir 3’s on the discount rack in Roadrunner Sports.  After a little while I loved them more then the 4’s (better fit) and I ran the 2010 LA Marathon in them as well.  I rotated between the 2 during the 2010 Ragnar Relay.  What I loved about the Elixirs were how low to the ground and light they were.  I had never run in a shoe quite like that and I was running faster as a result.  However, the lightness of the shoes took their toll and I needed another pair with more cushion to rotate them out with.  When I picked up the Elixir 3’s I also picked up the Wave Inspire 4’s.  These were supposed to by my “every day trainers” but after 2 runs I realized they weren’t going to work.  They simply hurt my feet and did not find their way to my permanent shoe rotation.  Even though I got them for dirt cheap they were still a waste of money!  I discovered the Wave Ronin 2 the same way I discovered the Elixirs, during a Mizuno Test Run at Runnergy.  These shoes were even lighter and lower the the ground than the Elixir and just looked fast.  For such a low profile shoe, I put a lot of training miles on these puppies!  I ran the 2011 Pasadena Marathon in the Ronin’s and thought for sure they were my secret weapon to qualify for Boston.  Well, 2 things messed that up: a hilly course and improper training!

Mizuno Wave Elixir 4 Mizuno Wave Elixir 3 Mizuno Wave Inspire 4 Mizuno Wave Ronin 2

Nike Pegasus Bowerman 25: I won these shoes in a Nike + contest.  I thought I was going to get the new Nike Lunar Glides (remember those?) but I was sent the Pegasus instead.  I thought these shoes were big and bulky, but they didn’t annoy me like the Wave Inspire so they found a place in my rotation.  I used these shoes for trail runs, in-climate weather runs, and recovery runs when my feet and legs were sore.

Nike Pegasus 25

K Swiss Blade Light Run: Another shoe I discovered during a fun run/test run at Runnergy.  I actually really enjoyed these shoes they were fast yet cushioned and had a smooth ride.  The one gripe at the time was the exposed foam, but now that’s something that is becoming more and more common place in an attempt to make shoes lighter.  The only reason I didn’t run a race in this shoes is because the Ronin’s were much lighter and I thought I could PR in them, though I ran some 20 milers in the Blades and felt great!  These shoes also had an 8 mm heel to toe drop which was the lowest I’ve run in at any point up til then.

K Swiss Blade Light Run

My Saucony Phase – Kinvara 2, Fastwitch 5, Kinvara 3: I started hearing a lot about Saucony shoes, specifically the Kinvaras for a while.  The first time I heard about the Original Kinvara’s I thought they were too “minimal” for me.  Since I started making the transition to lighter more low profile shoes I finally decided to try the Kinvara 2’s when I found them on sale online.  Yes, I purchased these shoes without having tried them on and was pretty certain I was going to love them, and when I got them they didn’t disappoint!  When I first started training in the Kinvaras my Ronin’s and Blades were nearing the end of life, but I was rotating them.  While the Kinvara’s felt great there was a transition to be made to this reduced running shoe.  I was making the transition to running on my midfoot/forefoot and my calves were adjusting in a major way.  Once I was fully adjusted, it was on.  I picked up another pair and wore them for the 2012 Malibu Half Marathon.  I picked up a pair of the Saucony Fastwitch 5 on a whim during a trip to the Saucony Outlet in Camarillo.  I was actually looking for another pair of Kinvaras but they didn’t have my size, so I picked up the Fastwitch instead.  With a 4 mm drop, light weight, and stiffer ride they were great for speed work and tempo runs.  I ran the Rose Bowl Half Marathon in them and they held up pretty well through the mixed terrain.  Even still, I enjoyed running in the Kinvara much more so when the time came for another pair I picked up the Kinvara 3 instead.  I recently ran the Ventura Marathon in them, finishing with my second fastest time.

Sacuony Kinvara 2 Red Sacony Kinvara 2 Saucony Fastwitch 5 Saucony Kinvara 3

Going Minimus – New Balance Minimus M3090v2, New Balance Minimus MR20v2: I almost wasn’t going to “Go Minimus”, I actually was content in “Staying Kinvara”, but I am glad that I have discovered the New Balance Minimus line of shoes!  I have already reviewed both of these shoes in detail on this blog so I won’t go into too much detail.  I received the Minimus M3090v2 as a Christmas gift and the Minimus MR20v2 as a birthday gift 2 weeks later.  A natural progression from the Kinvaras.

New Balance Minimus m3090v2 New Balance MR20V2Brooks Pure Drift: This is my first pair of Brooks since the Axioms and my first pair in their “Pure Project” line.  Early this past week I learned that I won a $100 gift card from Brooks Running.  Since I’m not currently wearing any of their shoes I decided to try something from their Pure line which I have been very intrigued about.  I chose the Pure Drift because it was the lightest and most “minimal” of the choices.  I figure, if it doesn’t work out for longer runs its super light so I can use it for speed.  But if it does work out for longer runs then all the better!  I’ve read some very mixed reviews about this shoe, and while I have yet to run in them they were extremely comfortable and fit perfectly when I tried them on.  It’s also worth noting that I may be the demographic that Brooks was going for when they designed this shoe.  I’m a light weight runner looking to run fast!

Brooks Pure Drift

So now you’ve taken a look at my running shoe history whether you’ve actually read all of this or just looked at the eye candy 😉  Go ahead recommend some shoes for me to try!  Merrell, Altra, Newton, Vibram?  Something else form the brands I’ve mentioned above, or something else all-together?!  I’d love to hear what you think!

Happy Running!

Eddie D

Strategic Focus or Taper Madness?

The LA Marathon weekend is 2 Weeks away and if reality has not kicked in for runners, it will very soon!  For me, this LA Marathon is about taking the next step!  I have, during the past few months, stepped up my efforts in training and nutrition in an attempt to finally get over the hurdle and qualify for The Boston Marathon.

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A Boston Qualifier has been a target of mine since I finished my first Marathon in 2009, although back then it didn’t quite seem possible!  In 2010 it was something I was striving for, and when I completed The Philadelphia Marathon only 2 minutes shy of this goal it was a full on obsession!  I came way shy in my BQ attempt when I ran The Pasadena Marathon in 2011.  To be honest, although I was telling myself I wanted to qualify for Boston I was not training like a runner who really wanted to qualify for Boston.

Boston Marathon 2014 Qualifying Times

My training schedule was a mess, with holes all over and no consistency whatsoever.  I thought I’d make it because I had some speed, but I didn’t respect what it really takes to reach that goal! There were other factors as well including a Vitamin D deficiency that I didn’t know about until before the 2012 Malibu Half Marathon.

Ventura Marathon Official Pic2

Fast forward to 2013, I ran my first marathon in 2 years at The Ventura Marathon.  At the time I needed to run a 3:05, a tall order for sure, but I was up for the task.  I didn’t have a Garmin during my training only a stop watch, which was both good and bad.  Good: I learned how run by feel!  Bad: Running by feel concept didn’t work during the race when I got swept up with Half Marathoners and went out too fast.  Despite my horrible execution on race strategy, I still managed to run a 3:16 which gave me a lot of confidence for not having run a marathon in 2 years!

EddieBridge4

There are a lot of factors in play that, I hope will lead to me reaching my goal at the 2014 LA Marathon.  I’ve posted about my experience with Team NutriBullet, and while I won’t get into all of those details again, I will say it is this training experience and change of mindset that has put me in the position to reach my goals.  Training, proper running form, proper nutrition, in addition to a smart / balanced training strategy has all paid off in a big way!

TNB Group Pic3

The final part of the puzzle is race strategy, and this is where I have been obsessing a bit!  (Okay, maybe a lot!)  Since I attribute my “blow up” at the Ventura Marathon to poor race strategy, I refused to let that be the case once again!  I have a Garmin now, so that should help me from going out “Too fast”, but what about after?  Do I just wing it from there?  No, I refuse to leave it to chance for my big race!  I just had to break down the miles, not to mention I’m also taking a college math class so I’ve been manipulating numbers for weeks!

The rough plan: Run the 1st 3 miles at 7:30 pace; the next 3 miles at 7:15 pace; the bulk of my miles at 7:00 pace, and the final 4+ miles at 6:45 pace if I’m feeling good!  I broke it down and it puts me under 3:05 (about 3:04:36), and if I cant run 6:45 for the final 4+?  I’d still come in about 3:07, still sub 3:10.

So then the question is, can I actually execute this plan?  According to my training its feasible!  I’ve been able to hold a 6:30 pace pretty well on my tempo runs so the 7 min/mile pace should be very manageable.  7:30 for the early miles is slower, but not that slow, it averages out pretty nicely after running all of them 7 minute miles.  (Does it sound like I’m obsessing?)

LAM Course Map

So then there’s the part about negative splits.  According to my plan I’ll run the first half at about 1:33:15 and my second half at about 1:31:21 (Obviously numbers are never exact)  a 2 minute negative split is not a huge stretch right?  After all I have run a lot of progressive paced runs during my training to prepare for just that!  As I continue to crunch these numbers it may be easy to second guess myself, or try to alter the strategy.  I mean even as I type this I was thinking of ways to modify the plan.  With 2 weeks left is this just another form of Taper Madness, or is it the type of Strategic Focus that I’ve been missing for my previous races.

To be honest my training has been very solid and focused, my mileage has been the highest, and most consistent that it has been since, ever? And once again the x-factor is my nutrition!  All of my previous marathon successes have come despite my training shortcomings, now its time to see what I can do when I’m doing things the right way!  Who knows maybe writing all this in my blog will get it all out my system.  Yep, then I can move onto obsessing about other things, like the the race day weather! 😉

LAM Weather Forecast!

Happy Running!

Team NutriBullet – The Final Stretch!

With three weeks left until the Asics LA Marathon, I’m literally in the final stretch of my training with Team NutriBullet!  If you missed my previous posts and am unfamiliar with Team NutriBullet, you can read about my training here and here!

TNB Group Pic 2

Team NutriBullet!

This Saturday morning was Team Nutribullet’s final long run before the LA Marathon.  We ran from Joes gym to Marina Del Rey and back one of our rare long runs that did not include a tribal run or loops around a park.  It served as a dress rehearsal of sorts for the LA Marathon.  We were all wearing our Team NutriBullet gear, we stayed in our groups and ran our paces.  I had the honor of “leading” the 8 minute pace group!  I say “leading” because at this point in our training we are pretty much a well oiled machine!  We stayed together and hit our target pace for most of the run, though some nagging pains forced a couple of runners to fall back a bit.

TNB 8 Min Pace Group2

All Smiles Halfway Through 20 Miles

I had the honor and pleasure of running with 2 sub-elite athletes and members of the Los Angeles Speed Project (LASP) Crispin Lazarit and Cynthia V Zarate, who were both original Team NutriBullet Members!  For our groups final 20 miler this was a great opportunity to pick their brains and get some great marathon advice from 2 runners who have both qualified for Boston many times.  For me, personally, it was a huge boost of motivation to run with them and I just felt the positive energy and good vibes!  As happy as we all were to run with them, they were both very gracious in joining our group and running those miles with us!

Eddie Luis Freddy David Josue Laura

This 20 miler was the culmination of a training program that started in December and will bring us all to the starting line of the LA Marathon as stronger, healthier runners!  As I’ve mentioned in my previous posts about Team NutriBullet, we have lots of expertise at our disposal, from dietitians and nutritionists, to strength and fitness trainers to running coaches.  All of this, to impart wisdom to all of our teams runners, to help us all to be more balanced as athletes.  In short, all of these areas are important, proper diet, strength and core training, and running form all make for a much more successful running experience when applied!

TNB 8 Min Pace Group

8 Min Group w/ Coach John LaPointe

When I was asked to be a member of Team NutriBullet, I was also asked to be a pace group leader, which was a great honor for me, and not an opportunity I took lightly!  I was asked to pace the 8 minute group, which was a bit nerve racking in the beginning since I didn’t know how many runners would actually be in my group!  For the first 2 group runs there really wasn’t a set established 8 minute group, but slowly the group came together!  Looking at what it is now, all of the runners are exactly where they need to be! Being able to keep a conversational at a specific pace is one tell tale sign that its the right pace for a long run!  As much fun as I’ve had pacing the 8 minute group throughout this training program I have been willing to do what has been asked of me!  Some weeks this meant running as a “tribe” during the first few miles of our long run!  This “tribal run” helped to unite the group and give runners in different pace groups, who would not otherwise have the opportunity to run together or strike up a conversation to do just that!

TNB Tribal Run

Tribal Run

I have also had the pleasure of leading the 10 minute pace group for 2 weeks due to necessity by the group.  I’ll be honest, in a small way I dreaded my first run with the 10 minute group because I thought it would be much too slow for me, but something happened, I settled in and enjoyed it!  Actually, I enjoyed it a whole lot!!  So much so, that when I was asked to pace the 10 minute group again the next week I was happy to take the task!  I have learned that every pace group brings their own energy!  Their own goals, and their own experiences!  When I went back to running with the 8 minute group it was bitter sweet!  I was thrilled to re-join my 8 minute group, but sad to leave the 10 minute runners as well!  I almost wished both groups would run at a happy medium pace, but that wasn’t realistic for anyone involved!

TNB 10 Min Pace Group

10 Min Pace Group

So what’s next?  It’s time to taper and rest up for the LA Marathon!  We still have a few group runs left before March 9th, but the core of our training is complete!  I am extremely proud of everyone who has trained with our group, and am hopeful that everyone will reach their goals!  Whether its a first marathon, a PR attempt or a BQ attempt I believe everyone is now in a better position to achieve what they are set out for!  For those runners dealing with nagging injuries, now is the time to heal up and get healthy for race day!  I am thrilled to share my LA Marathon experience with this group, and when I wear that Team NutriBullet logo on my chest and back I will be representing the entire group proudly!

There are so many great people in Team Nutribullet so in my next point I will try to share about some of these amazing individuals!

Happy Running!

~Eddie

CamelBack Arc Quick Grip Review

CamelBack Arc Quick Grip

Its no secret that runners need to hydrate.  Sometimes drinking enough water before a run is sufficient, but for long runs, or runs in the heat, carrying water can become a necessity!  In my years of running I’ve had a love/hate relationship with different types of water bottles and hydration packs designed for runners.  While I was in the Marine Corps, I often used a Camelback Hydration Pack similar to this to stay hydrated on hikes and long runs.  I’ve also used a camel back hydration belt with a single bottle.  The Hydration Pack worked pretty well, though it added a lot of extra weight to my back, it was pretty evenly distributed.  The belt with the single bottle, not so much.  I liked that I didn’t have to carry a bottle in my hand, but the belt moved around much too much (causing chafing) and the bottle would move around and dig into my back (not pleasant).

Carrying a bottle in hand has always been a “last resort” option.  First, I don’t like having extra weight in one hand.  Second, I don’t like having to grip something while running, this often times causes some cramping or discomfort in my hand.

This brings me to the Camelback Arc Quick Grip.  I won this bottle in a twitter contest from @runchat.  You can read all about it in my #RunChatHunt Blog Post.  I was excited about winning this prize because, aside from my previous reservations about carrying a water bottle, this one in particular looked like it would change my mind and make for a great running experience.  Did it?  Read on to find out!

Impressions:

The Camelback Arc Quick Grip is a lightweight bottle made to fit snug on the hand during running.  It’s essentially a Camelback Arc water bottle with a “Quick Grip” accessory attached.  So, the bottle can be easily attached to a Camelback belt if that is your preference.  For me the “Quick Grip” attachment is the best feature.  The reason I feel this way is because I can slip it on my hand, let my hand relax and it will still be secure.

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The fabric on the bottle attachment that “grips” your hand is actually breathable and moisture wicking, so no need to worry if your hand sweats during the run.  There is also a strip of fabric which can be pulled to tighten the grip, as well as a quick release hidden under the pouch to loosen it up again.  Finally, there is a pouch on the outside of the grip which can be used to store keys, id cards/credit cards, gels/gu, shot blocks/gu chomps, and other small items of your choice.  There are 2 pockets on the pouch, 1 which can be velcroed closed, and one that can’t.  There is also a little tab on the pocket with a small reflective strip.

As for the bottle itself, it is a 10 oz bottle which is a standard Camelback Arc form factor.  As I mentioned, this can fit in other Camelback accessories including various belts.  The top of the bottle has a locking mechanism which keeps the water in, though even if the lock is open, the “spout” of the bottle will only release water if it is bit.  Think of the spouts on the end of the tubes on Camelback Packs, but on a bottle.  It is quite simple and not messy at all to get water during a run, though it does get a bit tricky when the bottle is very low.

Likes: There is a lot to like about this bottle, so much so that I have actually considered carrying this in my hand during a Marathon.

  1. Lightweight – The light weight means no arm fatigue during running.  This also allows for natural arm and hand motion, keeping running form in tact.
  2. Comfortable – The grip is extremely comfortable on the hand and can be adjusted as well.
  3. Built in storage – This makes it easy to bring some essentials along during a run.
  4. Secure – The locking mechanism on the lock keeps the water in, the secure spout allows you to drink without making a mess!
  5. Compatible – Can be used with different Camelback accessories.
  6. Quality materials – The quality of the bottle and pouch doesn’t feel cheap at all.

Dislikes: My dislikes are mostly areas where I feel the Camelback Arc Quick Grip can be improved, but doesn’t outweigh my positive impressions.

  1. Small bottle – The bottle being small contributes to its light weight, but it also limits how much water you can carry to 10 oz.  This is not much during long runs, unless you are able to re-fill along the way.
  2. Small pouch – While the pouch is big enough to carry many essentials, it is much too small to carry a modern day mobile phone, iPhone or Android.
  3. Reflective? – The pouch only had a tiny strip of reflective material; could use more.

Final Thoughts:

The Camelback Arc Quick Grip is a great bottle for runners who don’t mind holding something in their hand.  While some runners may prefer to wear belts or hydration packs, they are not for everyone.  I love that this bottle doesn’t restrict my range of motion in anyway and doesn’t weigh me down.  The pouch is an added bonus but the real selling point is how comfortable it is.  I can run miles with this bottle and completely forget its on my hand.  While 10 oz of water isn’t much on, lets say a 16 miler, its perfect for shorter and middle distance runs and on long run routes where there is ample opportunity for a refill.  If you’re going for a longer run on trails especially in hotter weather, you may want something more substantial though.

Happy Running! 🙂

New Balance Minimus Road 20v2 Review

Less than a month ago I got my first pair of New Balance Minimus shoes, the “ionix” 3090v2.  After 75 miles of different runs of varying distances and surfaces including road, trails, and even track, I was sold!  I knew I’d need at least one more pair of shoes for my rotation during my Marathon training, so once again I looked at the New Balance Minimus line.  Next up, the Minimus Road 20v2.

First Impressions – The minimus road 20v2 is not a lot of shoe, the minimal overlays, super low to the ground soles and  4mm drop all scream minimalist running.  The 20v2 handily beats the 3090v2 in the weight category, 5.6 oz!  Yikes!  I must warn that with all minimal and reduced running shoes there is an adjustment period.  Running in such a shoe can put added stress on your feet, calves and achilles  if you’re not used to running in them.  This is because minimalist shoes tend to promote a more forefoot/midfoot strike.  I experienced that transition period with my first pair of Kinvaras and a couple of Newton test runs.

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A Caution on Minimus Shoes – Though the 20v2 are very different structurally from the 3090v2’s there are similar elements that create the “Minimus” experience.  While these are both very light, flexible, low profile  shoes designed to promote forefoot running, they are also not as much “shoe” as your traditional Neutral Cushioned Trainer.  With both I’d advise a gradual transition if it is your first time moving into this category.  Added stress on the foot, calf and Achilles, is a real thing!  Buying a reduced or minimal shoe will not fix all of your gait problems over night.  The great benefit is combining proper and efficient running principals (Proper body alignment, a balanced mid-foot strike, and avoiding over-striding among others) with shoes that promote this running style.  A heavy shoe with a large padded heel is the complete opposite of what you want to run in if you want to improve your running mechanics and efficiency.

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Fit and Comfort – The toe box on this shoe is very roomy and allows for natural toe splay.  It’s also less round and pointy shaped as other shoes, and more shaped like your actual foot.  I also felt secure in the heel as well.  One thing I’d say about the 20v2’s in particular is they seem to run a bit larger.  I usually buy my running shoes a full size larger than my casual shoes, but in this case a half size larger would have sufficed.  Still, I don’t mind the extra roominess and at no point did I feel that my foot was slipping around.  This is because the actual foot bed is pretty narrow in comparison to other shoes.  Speaking of the foot bed, its extremely minimalist and without a sock liner at all.  It also has a sort of microfiber or suede feel to it which is good if you want to run barefoot in them.

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One of the elements of this shoe that helps the foot feel both secure and comfortable is very subtle.  The lacing system used on the 20v2 is just the slightest bit asymmetrical.  I’ve noticed some more aggressive lacing systems and tongue designs with some other Minimus models as well.  This one is a bit less in your face, and although I don’t know quite why such a small thing works well, it just does!  On a related note, the laces themselves, stay tight better than most shoes I’ve used.  Seriously I don’t have to worry about a double knot, when I pull the laces tight, they just feel secure!  Not sure what it is, but they do feel a little more “stretchier” than other laces.

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Build and Construction – The soles of this shoe is also very different than the “ionix” 3090v2.  The 20v2 uses an ACTEVA™ LITE midsole and Vibram® outsole.  I don’t know the exact stack height (both shoes are 4mm drop.  But the 20v2 gets the runner very low to the ground.  I must admit, when I saw these shoes with my own eyes I thought “What have I gotten myself into?” and “Maybe I’ve bitten off more than I can chew”.  Well, I’ll get to that later, but I assure you that as mimimal as these shoes are, they do provide protection!

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The Material on the upper of this shoe is an interesting choice.  The mesh on the “ionix” 3090v2 feels durable yet very breathable.  The upper on the 20v2 does feel durable, but not so much on the breathable.  I wonder how this will affect me during longer runs and runs in hot weather, but so far it hasn’t been an issue.

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Running in the Minimus 20v2 – My first run in the Minimus 20v2’s was very similar to my first run in the “ionix” 3090v2.  I ran my local bike path route which allowed me to open up and run fast.  Oh yes, running fast in these shoes is definitely NOT a problem.  As I cautioned, wearing these shoes demands utilizing proper running form.  It was easier to stay on my mid-foot/fore-foot with the super light weight, low profile and flexibility of this shoe.  My foot did not take a pounding as I feared, the Vibram outsole did a great job of protecting me where it mattered!

My second run in the 20v2’s was speedwork on the track!  I immediately thought these shoes would be great for track workouts.  I noticed that the track runs in the 3090v2’s caused some extra wear on the “ionix” outsole.  I hoped the Vibram soles would fare much better.  I had no problem running fast splits in these shoes.  I was able to hug the curves of the track well and open up in the straight away.  Yes, the Vibram soles held up well after a 6×800 track session!

My third run I decided to take advantage of the comfortable foot bed and go sock-less.  I was concerned early on just walking barefoot because there were some spots on the bottom of the lacing that didn’t feel so comfortable and rubbed on my foot a bit.  It wasn’t a big problem during the run but I did notice some marks on that part of my foot after the run.  I also ran some hills during this run, just to mix it up a bit.  Definitely felt good on the uphills though a particular steep downhill felt a bit “out of control” My foot was slipping a little and I couldn’t control my foot landing as well.

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Final Thoughts –  The New Balance Minimus 20v2 is a great addition to my running rotation.  They promote the more efficient style of running that I’m gravitating to, and are a great shoe for faster workouts, tempo runs, fartleks, and track workouts.  I will likely limit their use to “shorter” runs in this training cycle. I may try to go up to 9 miles in them but that would be the most for now.  I still need to get used to the super low profile and 5.6 oz is the lightest shoes I’ve ever owned or run in.

While there’s a lot to like about this shoe, I wish they had a more breathable upper, and it’s not completely comfortable to run sock-less in due to some minor irritation near the bottom of the lacing system.  Like any shoe this light it remains to be seen how durable they will be for me and how many miles I can get out of them, but I am hoping rotating them and limiting their use will help them last longer.

Happy Running!

Running the LA Marathon to Support Veterans – Why I need your support!

A new year is upon us and with that goals and resolutions.  Most people make resolutions on things they want to accomplish, and how they will better themselves.  It’s reasonable that people focus on self improvement (heck, I have my own goals as well) but what about helping others?

Early last month I posted about how I was running the 2014 LA Marathon to help raise money in support of Military Veterans.  Since then I have received plenty of support, kind words and donations.  My ultimate goal is to raise $2014 (2014 in 2014).  But I also want to raise awareness for the cause.

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Brenai Foundation has been working hard to support Military Veterans.  Founder Keaver Brenai started the organization because of her own experience as a Military Family member.

From the Brenai Foundation Website:

BRENAI FOUNDATION™ Linking Our Troops Through Music is a nationwide project bridging our Veterans with military focused employers, transition housing, and music therapy tools for Veteran children.

We provide critical information services to Veterans and their families. Life after deployment transitional assistance, separation guidance for children and families, as well as linking disabled and low-income Vets to resources to secure their quality of life. Our team is well equipped with military Veterans, military children, educators, and others ready to help with a passion for service.

I, myself am a military veteran (Marine Corps), and know how difficult transition to civilian life can be.  I was fortunate that I was granted an opportunity shortly after I got out, but many don’t have it that easy.  I have many friends and family members who have struggled after getting out of the military to find good paying jobs to support their families.  Disabled Vets have it even tougher, and while there are some extra benefits for their disability, most of them continue to struggle.

Why should our Military Veterans suffer after giving so much of themselves to support our country?  Brenai Foundation is doing the hard work to make a change.  Instead of just talking about the problem they are taking action!

To reach this goal of 2014 in 2014, I am upping the ante and stepping up MY efforts as well!  In addition to Running the 2014 LA Marathon:

  1. I will commit to running 2014 total miles in 2014.
  2. I will shave my head and facial hair “Boot Camp Style” when I reach my goal of $2014
  3. I will have special giveaways!

Stay tuned for more details on all of this including a current “before” picture of me with all of my hair!

I’m also open to suggestions!  I am very committed to helping this charity and willing to work for it (including doing some crazy things!)

Check out my fundraising page! If you are inclined to do so, please give what you can and donate to this wonderful charity!! – http://www.crowdrise.com/2014forveterans/fundraiser/Eddied80

Once again, to learn more about Brenai Foundation visit their website: http://Brenai.com

Thanks,

Eddie