Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 Racing Season: Medved Feast of Burden 5 Miler & Don Curran Memorial 5K, Rochester, NY, November 23 & December 9, 2017

The year is quickly ending and I cannot seem to find the time to get my final race reviews done, so I am combining these last two races into one post.  They both happen to be road races, something I really haven't done much of the last few years, but which accounted for 3 of my 7 races this year.  In fact, with Killington really being a mountain race, this year's racing ended up being, 3 trail, 3 road, and 1 mountain, (albeit, really trail.)  

I don't think I've done this much road racing since probably 2011.  But, as the Fall went on, I realized, while I was running less for the year, and shorter runs when I did go out, my times were coming down post summer racing season, so, I thought, I'll get into a Turkey Trot for Thanksgiving.

The race ended up being the inaugural Medved Feast of Burden that began at Blue Cross Arena in downtown Rochester, NY and ran into the campus of the University of Rochester.  My middle son came to run the race with me, and we were met with probably the coldest day of the Fall, (at that point), but dry conditions. 

A fun t-shirt for Turkey Day

The course was fairly flat other than a couple of natural rises as we crossed the river and wove through the campus.  I got to see a couple of friends I had met when I first moved here and had been running with a local group.  It was good to catch up.  

Overall, I had a great race and was able to power it home, coming in at 43:27.  That was good enough for 112th out of 291 and 4th in my age group.  My son powered through and did a good job overall, especially since he hadn't really been running much and it had been a while since he raced.

After this, I thought, I'd like to get in one more race, on my upcoming vacation in early December, and first thought I'd run a trail race, but realized the timing conflicted with other plans that day to see "A Christmas Carol" at the local playhouse in Rochester.  That meant I had to go searching for another race and I finally found one, the first in a winter series of road races put on by the Greater Rochester Track Club, the Don Curran Memorial 5K.  Once again my son accompanied my to a cold race start in another section of the city.  This crowd looked like an older more established road racing crowd.  

After the race, happy to be done as it was cold!
The course was once again very flat.  It was a simple out and back and everyone seemed excited and happy to simply be racing in the cold winter air.  I wasn't looking for anything near a PR, but knew if I ran well, I could probably do something between 26-28 minutes based on the 5 mile results I mentioned up top.  At the same time, my right knee hadn't been quite right since the race on Thanksgiving Day, so I didn't push full out at the end, but still had a good race, getting 26:35 and ending up 89/152 and 9th in my age group.  My son once again pushed through well on basically no training!  Oh to be young again!

Sorry for the quick and short reviews, but just wanted to get these out there for the record!  Looking forward to 2018!  Thank you to all my readers and to BibRave.com, Sportland Tea, and The Ginger People for another great year!  Appreciate your support!!! Enjoy!!!




Thursday, December 14, 2017

2017 Racing Season: Mendon Trail Run 10K, Mendon Ponds Park, Honeoye Falls, NY, November 4, 2017




As many of you know, since we moved to Western New York State, my favorite place to run has become Mendon Ponds Park and it's trails.  I actually learned of these trails back in 2011 when we were staying with my sister who lives nearby to them.  The eskers back in the woods reminded me of the esker trail I use to run when I first took up trail running in the early 2000's back in North Eastern Massachusetts.  

Mendon Ponds Park in Honeoye Falls was also the location for my race prior to this one back in August, so this was a two in a row for me at my favorite locale.  In addition, I did this race last year and returned this year, but instead of doing the 20K like in 2016, I chose to do the 10K.  I did this for two reasons.  First, because I haven't really had the time recently to train for 20K and beyond, though I did manage two half marathons over the Summer, but even more importantly, since I have been running shorter...I've been running faster and I wanted to see how I would do.


Waiting for the race to start!!!

It was a cool day, and we started off behind the Stewart Lodge as usual but many of us, having raced other events here, started running the wrong way when we got over near the water and had to self-correct!  The course sends you up the grassy lawn towards the road, which has a high bank up to it, and then after crossing the road, out onto the trails.  The first section has a little uphill with a few things to watch for foot placement.  It then rolls down and back up and out onto a section of grass before it loops back into the woods and down to a low point before starting back up.  

Yeah, this course, with it's eskers, is a roller coaster.  Nothing's too hard to handle, though a couple are short and steep and will have you pushing, in terms of hills.  Having raced up Killington Mountain in Vermont back in August, any hill I come into contact with now has to be measured against 1500 ft in 1.2 miles with grades over 50%...so while Mendon will keep you honest, you're not going to be eating your lungs at any point unless you weren't smart enough to properly pace in the early miles.

After I hit the aid station, I knew I just had a couple more miles or so to go and was able to push on well, but as we were going through the last section of woods, while I had been very observant with my footwork all day, somehow I caught what must have been the smallest root in the trails and went down.  As I went down, I just let it happen.  I remember rolling and seeing my feet over my head as I crashed on my right hand side.  I sprung right up as fellow runners asked if I was okay, I said yes, and then got right back it, deciding if anything was hurt or bleeding, it could wait until after I got through this last half mile.  My adrenaline kicked in, and after getting out of the woods and any more tripping hazards, I sprinted the last grassy section and finished 22nd out of 66 for the day in 1:03:53.  (The course has an estimated 800-1000 ft of climb per 10K loop and you can race 10K, 20K, 30K, or 50K.)

Thanks to BibRave, The Ginger People, and Sportland Tea for their continued support as I race and run!!! Praise God for another good race and for no real major injury 1/2 mile out from the finish line.

Come on out and race in Mendon Ponds Park, you'll really enjoy it!!!




























Tuesday, December 5, 2017

2017 Racing Season: A Midsummer Night's Madness Trail Half Marathon, Mendon Ponds Park, Honeoye Falls, NY, August 26, 2017

Nice color for the shirt from a great summertime race.
I know this is a little late for a race review from August, but I've been a bit busy this fall.  The "A Midsummer Night's Madness Trail Half Marathon & Relay," took place just a week after I raced up Killington Mountain in Vermont. (Under Armour Vertical Challenge, Killington, VT)

Though the race was a "play" on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, I really didn't see anything too Shakespearean about it, other than that both, the play and the race, took place in the woods in the summer...well, I guess that's the point, huh?

The start of the race at Stewart's Lodge.  A lot of local trail and road races start from here in Mendon Ponds Park.

I hadn't originally planned on doing the vertical challenge, it wasn't even on the radar, when I signed up for this half.  Therefore, when I came into it on August 26, 2017 after having had such a great race in Killington, I wasn't really sure what to expect.  I knew it could potentially be hot, though it wasn't too bad, and that it would be hilly as the park has several tough rolling hills that have a tendency to build upon one another as times goes by to start to break a runner.  Nothing terrible, especially compared to the week before, but off and on continual for the whole course.  

As the race directions were being given out to what was going to be a 3 leaf clover type race course, a snake wandered through our area and got rattled up by all the people moving about on the grass.  I am not  fan of snakes...so I kept moving away, missing the directions, and the snake seemed to keep heading my direction.  Finally someone picked it up and moved it away and we took off.  Fortunately, I was able to get an idea what was going on, and we started off on our first leaf.
Looking down through the woods at the pond we would pass a few times during the race.

 

This section of the race course I had not been on before, so it was mostly all new trails for me, including another nice esker hidden in the wood with a good up and downhill.  (This is why the trails are so hilly and seem so high as there seem to be no end to the amount of eskers hidden in the woods as Mendon Ponds Park.)  As we came down off the esker and got closer to crossing the finish line for the first time, we went through a pretty good section of mud where I was able to stay upright but as I ran through it, definitely was all over the place, probably doing damage to several parts of my body in the process and making my shoes a nice color of brown.  They still have dirt in some sections of the upper I think even in December.  The final hill up to the finish line, which we ran up on each of the 3 loops, was a nice little digger that hurt.

After crossing the line for the first time, I went out on the second loop, which was the loop I knew the best, being the main one several races use and that I train on often during the year.  This is a pleasant area of the park, lots of woods, lots of esker-type hills, a few tough ones set deep in the woods, and a little peak of sunshine every now and then.

As I went up this slight incline during the race, Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven started playing on my iPod.

I ran fairly well through the first two loops, but as I started the third loop, I could feel the tiredness starting to creep into my running.  This loop also probably had the most sun exposure.  It was here that I walked a bit more, but still had something left in the tank when it came time to push for the finish line.  In the end, this being a trail race, I was less than a minute per mile slower than my road half in Portland, Maine back in July.  I figured that was pretty good and it was as two races back to back really set me up well for late Fall racing in November and December.


I will admit to a bit of walking through this section!

The finish line is drawing closer...at least I hope!

My time was faster than I thought, so for the second time on two straight race days, my wife missed me finishing because I thought I would be slower!  I guess I underestimated myself!  Glad I finished faster, but we have to figure this out so that someday her and the kids arrive in time!!!  A great race overall, and Medved did a good and consistent job as always! 


They might have missed the finish, but we still got a pic!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Product Review: Luvo Healthy Meals---Several More Varieties including Power Bowls!!!

An old standby, Chicken Chile Verde, with a newbie, Hawaiian Un-Fried Rice


Disclaimer: I received a Luvo gift card to get free Healthy Frozen Meals from Luvo Inc to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews.

All during this week, as I am off on vacation, I will be writing several posts, including an on-going everyday as I try several new and old favorites of the Luvo Healthy Meals line.  Luvo makes some great meals as I have reviewed before, Luvo Product Review #2 and Luvo Product Review #1.

Today, Monday, December 4, 2018: Chicken Chile Verde w/Black Beans & Polenta, as well as Vegan Hawaiian Un-Fried Rice from Luvo's Planted Power Bowl line. 

First, an old favorite, my very first meal I had from Luvo, the Chicken Chile Verde: Definitely a bit spicy as you take that first bite.  The beans cook up very nice, and the chicken is so tender.  The sauce really brings the flavors together and the polenta comes out just right.

Just as good as the first time back in Spring of 2016.  This dish is a must if you are buying a lot of Luvo Meals!!!

The whole meal is just 300 calories and includes a whooping 25g of protein.  Filling enough for a meal by itself.  But, since I did run this morning and haven't had lunch yet...'

My second dish is the Vegan Hawaiian Un-Fried Rice w/ Forbidden Rice®, Shiitake Mushrooms, Pineapple, and Cashews.  This appears to be a newer dish for Luvo and is called a "Planted Power Bowl."  Here's how the website describes them:

"Our Luvo Planted Bowls offer delicious recipes with at least two full servings of veggies, organic whole grain rice from Lotus Foods and plant proteins – in a convenient paperboard bowl."

Let's see how they taste:  Yum!  There's a hint of sweetness from the pineapple.  The rice is just the right consistency, now too firm, not too soft.  Not spicy at all.  The pineapple really is what I am getting as the shining ingredient here giving just the right taste to a very healthy Vegan bowl that is Non-GMO, non-dairy, vegetarian, and gluten free as well.  It also packs in 10g of protein at 360 calories.  Once again, filling enough for a small meal, or combined with the entree above, a larger healthy meal for less than 700 calories post run.




That's some good rice right there!!!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017: Tandoori-Inspired Spiced Chicken w/Mango, Brown Jasmine Rice, Broccoli & Cauliflower as well as a Vegan Mighty Masala & Greens w/Brown Jasmine Rice, Green Garbanzos, Cabbage & Kale.

First, once again, an old favorite from Spring of 2016, the Tandoor-Inspired Spiced Chicken.  I remember this as a good old fashioned curry dish:  Chicken, broccoli, cauliflower all come out nice and tender.  Little spice in this dish as you'd expect.  Rice is nice as well, came out much better than when I made it back in 2016.  A little stuck to the bag, but it's not mushy this time.  If you like curry and/or Indian food, this is a nice little dish at 270 calories and with 19g of protein!



Today's Lunch seems like a good combo!!!

Alright, for my second dish, it' time to try another new one, another Planted Power Bowl, this time of Mighty Masala & Greens:  I have to admit I was a bit concerned when I took this out to give it a stir at the 25 minute point and it was still frozen in the middle, but it seems to have finished and cooked up fine.  Ooohhh...some spice in that first bite.  The box actually says: Vegan/A Little Spice.  Good to know.  Tasty.  Good mix of flavors with the spice and even of the mix of textures with rice, garbanzos and kale.  I like it.  Definitely a nice healthy meal or side dish.  Weighs in at just 300 calories and with 11g of protein.  Vegan, dairy free, Non-GMO, Vegetarian, just like yesterday.  If you like your greens with a little spice, this is a keeper!!!


Mighty Masala is very tasty with a little kick!!!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017:  Today I ran 4.8 miles and crossed a major milestone, 7500 miles from 2/12/09-12/6/17!  Woohoo!  So, although I did have a couple of sweets afterwards, I am going to be good at lunch and eat...vegetarian.  Today's Luvo dishes: Roasted Cauliflower Mac & Cheese w/brown rice noodles in a creamy sauce w/panko style topping and Kale Ricota Ravioli w/Whole Wheat Pasta in a Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce topped w/Mozzarella.



Wednesday's lunch tops out at 570 calories and 23g protein, while being totally vegetarian.
First, a repeat from my last testing with Luvo, Roasted Cauliflower Mac & Cheese:  This was still frozen at the half way point when I took it out to take off the film, so hoping it warmed up good the second half of the time.  So, here's the thing with this dish...I like it, I like the taste, but it never seems to cook up like I'd expect.  The noodles always seem soft and some stick to the bowl.  Stirring it helps, but the dish, (so you know), always seems to come out a bit soft.  I suppose some mac & cheeses are like that, or maybe I'm overcooking it?  Anyway, it tastes really good, so no problem there.  340 calories and 11g protein.


Love the Luvo take on mac & cheese, just not sure if I'm overcooking it a bit?

Today's second dish, Vegetarian Kale Ricotta Ravioli:  I love kale, but whole wheat pasta...not always my favorite.  Often not too tasty.  So how did this fare?  The sauce is definitely tasty and the whole wheat pasta is pretty good, not cardboard tasting like some I have had over the years. A good vegetarian option.  The sauce is what makes this dish.  The ravioli is good, solid and filling.  Another healthy option at 230 calories and 12g protein.



The fire roasted sauce makes this dish a hit!

Thursday, December 7, 2017: No running today as it is a rest day since race day is two days off.  Today's lunch tops out at 690 calories and 28g of protein from 2 Luvo meals.  The first one will be Chicken Enchiladas w/Black Beans & Brown Jasmine Rice.  The second will be Great Karma Coconut Curry w/Brown Jasmine Rice, Garbanzos, & Butternut Squash.



Thurdsay's lunch is a Indian/Mexican Combo...this should be interesting!

First, the Chicken Enchiladas:  They kind of fell apart as I slid them out of the pouch, but not sure that's really too big a concern as I am going to cut them up to eat them anyway!  Rice is good, black beans are as well.  There's a little spice to the dish, but not too strong.  The enchiladas themselves are filling with tasty chicken inside like you would get at a nice Mexican restaurant.  Very good overall and would probably satisfy many people as a small meal of 360 calories and 18g of protein.



They fell apart a little bit, but these enchiladas are solidly good Mexican fare that are low cal!

Second, Great Karma Coconut Curry: This one is described as having a little spice!  Not too bad really in the spice department.  Nice rice dish.  Again, this is a "Planted Power Bowl," so it is Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy Free, Vegetarian, Non-GMO.  It has 330 calories and 10g of protein.  Nice filling dish on it's own or as a side dish to something else.  1 full cup of veggie and 16g of whole grains.  Curry is not overpowering but just enough to give some Indian taste to this bowl.



Tasty and filling Indian dish!

Friday, December 8, 2017: Chicken & Corn Chowder w/White Chicken, Kale, Sweet Potato & White Beans in a Savory Dijon-Herb Base and also the Red Wine Braised Beef & Polenta w/Brussel Sprouts, Butternut Squash &Cranberries.  I did try both of these in the Spring of this year, so nothing new here, but we will still give them another review and let you know how they stack up.


Friday's Lunch!!!


First, the Chicken & Corn Chowder:  There's a bit of sweetness, lots of greens (kale), and some nice sized bites of chicken. The chowder is creamy, but not overly so or too rich.  Chicken is nice and tender. A nice small meal or even appetizer if you've just had a long run and are waiting for dinner to cook.  It's 300 calories for the bowl and there are 15g of protein.

Second, the Braised Beef & Polenta:  This plated a lot easier than I remember it doing so last time.  It definitely seems like it fills the plate as there is a lot of sauce, but it is actually only 250 calories and includes 17g of protein!  The beef, (which is from cattle raised w/out antibiotics), is so tender. The squash and cranberries make the dish taste so yummy.  The polenta is just the right firmness.  The brussel sprouts came out better than last time in the Spring.  Overall a very tasty and filling dish.  Nice one for a Winter night!

Whoops!  I got so into tasting and eating I forgot to take picks of the finished dishes today!!!  Sorry!


An 11th Meal Bonus!!! Thursday, December 14, 2017: Chicken in BBQ Sauce w/White Chicken, Milled Grits, & Collard Greens:  So good, I ordered 2, had one yesterday and now the second one today.  Also reviewed at: Luvo Product Review #1.


I like this one a lot, had it 2 days in a row!!!'
  

The chicken is yet again, nice and tender with a tangy BBQ sauce.  The collard greens, with a little corn, pair well and take to the sauce delightfully.  The grits are a nice easy side dish that is tasty by itself or mixes well with the sauce like the greens.  Overall a nice meal for 20g of protein and 280 calories!!!

Get 10% off Luvo now at http://luvoinc.com/ by using code "BIBCHAT".  Enjoy!!!










Monday, November 27, 2017

Product Review: BOCO Gear BibRave 360° Visor

The BOCO Gear BibRave 360° Visor

Disclaimer: I received a BOCO Gear 360° Visor  as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews.



During the warmer months, I will often turn to a couple of old visors I have for running.  They aren't high quality gear. Instead, they are the type of visor you pick up when you travel and visit places like Cape Cod or the zoo.  That said, there are some great gear companies out there that do make running specific visors, including BOCO Gear out of Boulder, Colorado.  

Recently BibRave Pros got to try out BOCO Gear by either selecting a hat or visor.  I opted for the visor as I really do prefer this since it allows for more airflow on your head while still reducing sun glare without the need for sunglasses.  The BOCO Gear 360° Visor is very comfortable to wear.  It has no straps that you have to adjust, but is one size fits all with a "soft brushed elastic back for comfort and fit."  That means ease of use and no hair getting stuck in velcro.  The front inside portion of the hat has an internal wicking sweatband for those hot days and is one again, very soft and comfortable.

Very soft inside sweatband is comfortable and wicks away sweat.  One piece elastic headband makes for an easy fit.

The bill of the visor is curved and has a black underside to reduce glare.  They really have thought out every component for such a simple but elegant and important little piece of gear for warm weather running.  I have really enjoyed running in the BOCO Gear BibRave version of the 360° Visor.  Now, it is also Moose Approved!!!  Enjoy!

Moose Approves the BOCO Gear BibRave 360° Visor

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Product Review: Health Warrior Chia Bars & Coloring Book


It's the Happy Health Warrior Face looking to help you re-energize and de-stress w/healthy food & coloring!!!

Disclaimer: I received two boxes of Health Warrior Chia Bars and their new Health Warrior Coloring Book as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews.

Chchch...chia!!!  If you lived through the 1980's, you know the theme song and the commerical, the wacky idea of owning your own chia pet...okay, yeah...it was kind of weird!!!  But chia as superfood, something that's been steadily growing the last several years even in the mainstream, is a much better idea.  

Health Warrior Chia bars come in a variety of flavors and I recently had the opportunity to try two of those, Apple Cinnamon and Dark Chocolate.  For those of you who might have or chose to restrict certain elements in your diet, Health Warrior Chia Bars are gluten free, dairy free, soy free, and vegan.


Health Warrior Chia Bars are small enough to easily pack for snacks at work!!!

Health Warrior Chia Bars are also...(drum roll please)...HEALTHY!!!  Ok, so I've stated the obvious.  But, according to their own website, chia seeds, the number one ingredient in the bars are:

"Full of nutrients you need like omega-3s and fiber. Ounce for ounce chia has more protein than an egg, more omega 3s than salmon, more fiber than flax, more calcium than milk, and more magnesium than broccoli."

In particular, the box my bars came in notes: "1 ounce of chia contains as much omega-3 as 4 filets of salmon, as much protein as 1.2 eggs, and as much fiber as 1.2 ounces of flax seed."  (Note, they don't mention the magnesium, but both bars I tried had 8% of the daily requirements.)


Health Warrior Apple Cinnamon Chia Bar

So what about the actual product experience?  While I was surprised at first with how small the bars are, after initially eating two as a snack at 100 calories each, I felt satisfied and energized.  It was then that I remembered that chia seeds absorb water to make you feel more full, up to 10x their weight according to Health Warrior.  Their small size also allows for ease of transport whether at work, school, or play, and also allows them to be a very quick snack.

Taste?  The dark chocolate was very good as expected, but what surprised me was the apple cinnamon.  Often apple cinnamon products don't always taste good or settle well for me because the flavor just gets overpowering and I end up with indigestion.  However, not only do both these flavors taste great, they have settled well for me each time I've eaten them, which is just as important to me in a sports bar.

The only thing to note, which is true of any product with chia, is that sometimes the seeds will seek to hide in your teeth and you may have to play with them to get them out (or floss).  If you are at work, this is just a heads up as it is really easy to not realize you have them stuck in your teeth as you talk with fellow employees or customers!!! 


Health Warrior Dark Chocolate Chia Bar

Finally, Health Warrior also recently came up with a humorous marathon training coloring book.  While I haven't had the time to actually color in it, (I'm busy building a special project for a Christmas present that takes much of my free time when not at work, running, or spending time with my wife and 6 kids), I did flip through it and look forward to coloring in it alongside my younger children when they break out their own coloring books during Christmas break, which I am sure they will.  You can get our own free coloring book at http://healthwarrior.link/colorbookbr.

In conclusion, these are great bars as a pre or post run snack, as well as any other time, and the coloring book is a fun addition!!!  Enjoy!

















Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Product Review: BUFF® Thermonet Hat & BUFF®


The BUFF® Arrowhead ThermoNet Hat (R) and BUFF® (L) are lightweight but plenty warm for late Fall running.

Disclaimer: I received a BUFF® Arrowhead ThermoNet Hat and BUFF® as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews.

The hat fits snug which keeps you warmer.
Just in time for late Fall and Winter, BUFF® strikes again with their ThermoNet line of products that are perfect for the time of the year we are in now...late Fall and early winter.  I got to try out to well designed pieces of gear this time, a hat and a BUFF®.  Both are lightweight, with 70% recycled material that is fast drying and made of soft Primaloft yarn.

When I first received them this Fall, we were still going through some warm days, so the first thing I noticed was that these are too much on a warm day in the 50's and higher.

But this weekend, as I raced a 10K on the trails in the 40's, my ThermoNet Hat was perfect.  Nice and snug, warm, lightweight, and sporty!!! 


Getting ready to change my shoes and pull off the pullover as I prepare to run the Mendon Trail Race in my BUFF® Hat.

The information of the ThermoNet line is that it is 4X warmer than Microfiber.  I would guess part of that is that the Primaloft yarn seems to me a tighter weave such that less cold air is getting in even while the BUFF® or hat is managing the sweat moisture against your head or neck.  The other part is that while wicking away the moisture, the fabric traps the heat inside to keep you warm.  Keep the cold air out, keep the hot air in, minus the moisture. Sounds like a plan to me.  The weather condition rating for these is cool on a scale of cold-cool-warm-hot.  Personally, I would probably wear these in conditions 45F or less.

Right now if you go to www.buffusa.com you can save 20% off your entire order when you purchase at least 1 ThermoNet product and use code BIBRAVETHERMONET20.  This code expires 11/21/17.










Monday, October 16, 2017

Product Review: OOFOS Pink Project OOriginal Sandals

OOFOS Project Pink OOriginal Sandals are the only flip flops I will wear.
 Disclaimer: I received a pair of Men's OOriginal Project Pink Sandals to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews.

As some of you may know, I have been battling a case of Plantar Fasciitis off and on for about a year.  One of the things which has helped I discovered this Summer through a product test: OOFOS.  (OOFOS OOahh Sport Slide Review)  Between running and retail work, I am on my feet a lot during the week, and these shoes have really aided in recovery and healing for my feet.

Therefore, I was really excited when the opportunity came to test a product from their Pink Project line.  Not only did I already love the sandals, but, as with many of you, I have known both family and friends that have battled breast cancer. OOFOS gives $10 for every pair of sandals they sell in their Pink Project line, (year round, not just October!), to breast cancer research at Dana-Farber.


OOFOS and my RUBZ ball are used every day to keep my feet going for both work and pleasure.

I may have written this elsewhere before, I cannot remember, but I don't really enjoy wearing flip flops like so many in this generation.  I prefer to go barefoot.  However, because of this year long battle with PF and my discovery of OOFOS, I've changed my mind, but only in regards to OOFOS sandals.  (I wish they made a shoe for retail work!)  The foam in OOFOS sandals absorbs 37% more shock than traditional footwear foam which means that it takes pressure off already sore feet.  Since the pain in our feet often affects our knees, hips, and low back...guess what...relief, just like pain, adds up...in this case to reduced physical stress on the body.  The shoes are active recovery for your feet, meaning that while they take some of the pressure off, they also use a natural foot motion which makes your legs and feet still activate as you walk.  

The foam is closed cell, meaning you can get them wet without worrying about it ruining the shoe or causing bacteria because the water will drip off, not be absorbed.  While the shoes do have an arch, it's not a "hard" arch like in some sandals, again allowing your feet to have room to move more naturally.  They are machine washable and usually will last 6 mos - 1 year depending upon wear, body style, and foot strike.


OOFOS Sandals and toe socks could be a rockin' style for going out on the town!!!

OOFOS have been a lifesaver for me, and I do truly wear one or both of my pairs almost every day at some point.  Often I will even wear them while I drive to work, only taking them off just before I start, so that my feet can have the rest that they need before I start an 8 hour shift in which I will be on my feet usually 85%+ of the time.

If you haven't tried OOFOS yet, I would definitely give them a try.  If you have sore feet, they are a must.  If you know another runner and are wondering about Christmas gifts...this would be a great idea that they would thank you for over and over.

Enjoy!

Oh, and P.S. A friend of mine, Lobbie, while he couldn't quite get his large..."feet" fully into my sandals, did appreciate being able to use them enough to navigate around on the ocean floor, taking the pressure off his sore claws as he dodged traps and predators off the New England coast...remember, they are closed cell foam.  He loved them...so I guess that they are Lobster Approved!



Thursday, August 24, 2017

Product Review: Under Armour Horizon RTT Trail Shoes

The Under Armour Horizon RTT


Disclaimer: I received a pair of Under Armour Horizon RTT to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews.

The new Under Armour Horizon RTTs are one of the companies first forays into the trail running scene and parallel their inaugural trail running series that includes stops in Oregon, Vermont, and Colorado. (See my review of the Vermont Weekend here: Vermont Vert Challenge.)  

I circulated the RTTs into my shoe lineup and was able to get out in them for a few runs before this review.  Though they do not have a lot of miles on them at this point, I have noticed a few things already both pro and con that you might want to consider.

Color and design.  I am not a big fan of the colors on the shoes I demoed.  Black, while it might not show the dirt as much, is way too hot to run in if you are on any trail outside of the woods.  White shows way too much dirt.  The venting on the top surface, though there appears to be quite a bit, doesn't actually breathe well and makes my feet hot even on short runs.



While there seems like a lot of ventilation on the shoe, it does not actually breathe very well.

The gusseted tongue is a great addition, but I would love one more hole for the shoelaces on the collar in order to tie them tighter as I do with my other trail shoes.  Finally, the word "Charged" on the outside of both shoes is already starting to peel off.



The word "Charged" started peeling off on just my second run.


Durability and stability.  The RTTs have what seems like some pretty solid lugs on the bottom for trail running.  Though they might wear quickly on the roads, they should hold up pretty good on the trails.  That's not a guarantee by any means, and I could be totally wrong.

The shoe is probably a more neutral foot shoe.  I need a bit more stability in my shoes and could definitely feel a lack of support on my right foot the longer I wore them.  I also did not find them comfortable to just wear around as I do with some of my trainers because of the lack of support and because they got too hot as I noted earlier.



The tread on the Horizon RTTs does seem to be pretty solid for trail running.


Conclusion.  I think these might be a good trainer for a neutral stride trail runner who wants some good traction.  If, however, you are looking for something with a bit more support or for a shoe that breathes well, this might not be the best fit.  I see them fitting into my line-up more on colder days when I am concerned about my feet getting colder on a short trail run, or possibly as a good shoe to strap snowshoes on in the wintertime.  

I think that they are a fair first attempt by Under Armour into trail running and I look forward to seeing improvements in the future.  Enjoy!



Hanging out in my Under Armour Horizon RTTs the day after the Under Armour Vertical Challenge in Killington, Vermont.

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