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Monday, September 29, 2014

Altra One 2 Shoe Review

In my excitement of running in the "knock out" aka the Altra One 2 I didn't want to run the risk of a premature shoe review, So I wanted to wait until I had a few more miles on the asphalt in them-the wait is over.

The "Knock Out" is an awesome shoe for the price tipping the scales at 5.9oz, that's right 5.9oz-the One 2 will quickly have a cult like following.  For more of the technical running shoe geek stuff visit Altra Running.

If your in the market for a light weight shoe peep the "Knock Out"
I've had these kicks for two weeks and I'm having a hard time not running in them or wearing them around town.  

I wore them last week during a visit to Sound Runner in Brandford Ct. and the associate who was helping me was fascinated by them and asked if he could try them on-I agreed to share a little awesome sauce with him.  

Slipper like feeling 

Once he slipped his foot in them he could not believe how light and flexible the "knock out" felt.  I've got to to be honest I didn't find the shoe attractive at first, similar to Herman Miller's Aeron chair that was initially met with resistance, but after a while it developed a cult following in silicone valley.

The shoe is growing on me, light weight and cushioned makes it a "knock out".

Slight wear on the outer edge that came from an attempt to break my fall during my run.
A look at the under carriage reveals deep flex grooves and a mixture of exposed Eva and high abrasion rubber. 

I've taken theses kicks on several training runs, from an easy mile to 16 miles today on an asphalt trail today and the shoe performs well.

The Asymmetrical laces stayed tied during the run 
The One 2 is not all perfumed lilies and roses there are a few thorns and sour spots in the mix as with any shoe on the market.

All purpose trainer that can go the distance 5k-Marathon
The sizing of this show is certainly an area of opportunity, you'll need to go up anywhere from a 1/2 to a full size in the shoe-which would be frustrating if purchased online because they don't run true to size. 

Comfortable Shoe
Altra's foot shaped toe box will allow your toes to relax inside and will accommodate varied volumed foot types.

I will walk these dogs in October at the Marine Corps Marathon 

The "knock out" seems have a steep drop in the toe box which causes your toes to hit the top of the shoe.  

A slight tweak to the heel cup, eliminating some of the extra foam and include something with a bit more support.  Finally additional high abrasion rubber on the sole in strategic spots on the next version and "knock out" will continue to grow in popularity.  


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Beware of the Fall Fein Runner

All summer they've told you and anyone else who would listen that they were either running or thinking about running and when they finished running they posted it so you were aware of their running exploits-sounds utterly familiar?

On road returning from RnRPhilly
If I didn't know any better I'd think this blogger was describing me, both hands up I'm guilty as pegged. At the height of the bell curve I sounded the alarm to announce daily updates, as I slide down the other side I've become protective of the investment  I made during the summer.

Tea and FREE WiFi
With 6miles on tap today, I laced up peeked my head out the door for a gauge of the temperature so I'd know what to wear-ok I'm going to need a  lite jacket and singlet.  My throat was scratchy eyes glazed and head felt congested-not sick just blah blahs. 

Ok where am I supposed to be looking
I dipped back in the house for a jacket and now it's drizzling, no problem it's just an EZ 6miles I'll be finished before it rains.  

Really is that what you want to do? Huh? Who said that? Is what, I want to do?  Do you really want to sacrifice all your summer training investment for an EZ 6mi in the rain and risk getting sick?  Ohio, I hear Ya, but what's the alternative-The Dreadmill".  No not "The Dreadmill".

Ohio don't want no treadmill
Learning to handle running withdrawals is critical towards the downward slide of your training cycle. Chasing that runners high like fein is bad idea.

Looking for my next fix, 6mi and running doesn't seem like it's the buzz I need curb my running addiction.  A few more miles will give me that euphoric feeling I'm craving.

Not my 1st Choice but I got it done
As the miles wane at the end of my fall training cycle the blah blahs start to creep in.  Itching for more miles reflecting on summer runs in the heat the dreadmill wasn't the runcrack high I was feigning.  I wanted something more but, was reminded of Meb's column in the September's issue of Competitor Magazine.  "When we're healthy and feeling good, we always want to do more.  It's hard to hold back.  But it's important to remind ourselves to conserve our energy and stay healty".

Kara Goucher recent blog: The Return was the confirmation, icing on the cake a sweet ending and reminder to stay focused healthy positive and seek inspiration from others.


Altra One 2 Initial Impression... "The Asphalt Kicker"

In the battle for prominence in the asphalt jungle running shoe manufacturers are sleeping in the labs cooking up the next best thing in running shoe technology.  

Altra One "Asphalt Kicker"
From U4ric, RMat, Freshfoam, Lunarlon, BioMogo to Boost everyone has their own special blend to serve the addiction of Sneakerholics and Running Shoe Geeks around the world.

Slipper lite weight cushioned racing shoe  

Last weekend I was in Philly for the RnR Half Marathon and stopped by the Altra Booth and to my surprise they had the One 2, so I had to try them on, wow what a feeling.

The One 2 packed a knockout punch once I laced them up and  walked around in them I knew I would use them for my shake out run.

RnRPhilly Results
Lite weight, extremely flexible surprisingly cushioned were my initial thoughts-oh and the NY Knicks colors kicked asphalt.

The One 2 reminds me of a retro roadster with its low profile asymmetrical lacing system the shoe is built for speed.

Based on the reasonable price point the above picture might not be an accurate portrayal of the Altra One 2 and the one below may not tell the whole story either.

Hyperbole aside the Altra One 2 is stacking up to be true contender in the "asphalt jungle".  

My recent review of the Paradigm stirred conversation within the ultrarunning committee as folks aligned themselves with their favorite brand, it ultimately got the attention of Golden Harper the Founder of Altra-which was not my intent. -(visit Paradigm The Hoka Killa to view his comments).

I'll racking up some addional miles in the "knock out" before doing a full review.  In the Wild West of the blogsphere, I tip my ten gallon hat to Golden Harper and the folks at Altra for the job they do to engage their "Tribe" and those who may be on the fence.  Well done!!


Monday, September 22, 2014

RnR Philly Recap... Deena Kastor Feeds The Dream

Deena Kastor put a walloping on the World Masters Half-Marathon Record on Sunday and in route, Deena also set three more Masters world records at 15k, 10miles and 20k see competitor.com for details.  While I didn't shatter any world records this weekend I did set a PB at 1:41:48 with an avg pace of 7:48.

What makes her accomplishment so delious is she did so at 41, an age when most pros hang up their racing kicks.  Kastor story "feeds the dream"-specifically my BQ quest.  

Photo competitor.com
While I was playing tourists snapping pics head tilted in amazement I met a fellow runner who offered to take a picture of me standing in front of this plane.  

I noticed he was proudly rocking on a BAA cap so I asked him if he ever ran the race and he said yes.  Wow, what was that like?  It was an amazing experience, I chimed in with I'm trying to qualify for Boston. "Yeah I got tired of trying to qualify and finally ran with a charity".  

Hey did he totally miss me from this shot?
No judgement internal conversation or further discussion about qualifying for Boston, he took two pics and we drifted into the remainder of our day.

Tom's a Beast he did the Remix Challenge Bling Bling..
Philly was my first time experiencing an RnR event so I planned on making the most of it, spending time at the expo catching up with some FB Friends and connecting with the vendors.

Lesa from Sole2Sole asked me to say Merle from Sweaty Bands
Some of the usual sneaker brand suspects were in attendance Brooks, Hoka, Altra, Newton and then there was a Swedish newcomer to the U.S. market Salming Running-of course I tried a pair on lite weight bright "No Nonsense Running".  Ok I'm intrigued looking forward to learning more about them in the weeks to come.

Salming Running No Nonsense Running
With the hype of race day on the back burner my attention is turned to Hartford, will I BQ?  Should I just hang up my Huaka's?  No!! Yeah I'm human thoughts come but I don't spend  time entertaining negativity, instead I focus on the goal putting in work and feeding the dream with inspirational stories like Deena Kastor record breaking accomplishment.

At the  writing of this entry I filled up on a scene from The Pursuit of Happyness when Will and his son were on the rooftop.  "Hey dad I'm going Pro, look dad I'm going Pro... Ahhh I don't you'll probably be about as good as I was, that's kinda how it works and I was below avg".  

Black Men Run is running group that promotes a healthy lifestyle
Then Will shoots set shot that goes over the hoop and finishes telling his son: "So you'll probably end up somewhere around there you'll excel at a lot of things just not this, so I don't want you out here all day shooting this ball around".  Will passes the ball to his son and he bounces it a few times then throws it off to the side and starts packing it up in a plastic grocery bag.

There's dead silence as Will is standing there looking at the disappointment in his sons eyes which he deposited.  I can't help but think what was going through his mind, his heart that caused him to changed his message in that brief moment.

With a gentle word he grabs his son's gaze, "hey... Don't ever let someone tell you can't do something, not even me.  Alright? You got a dream, you've got to protect it.  People can't do something themselves they want to tell you, you can't do it.

 I'll leave you today with these words: "You want something go get period"!


Friday, September 19, 2014

Run After Your Passion!!!

So Ambitious by Jay Z and Pharrell with the sneaker references, determination  and if you can believe it you can achieve it cliche speaks to me-specifically "There's few writers in my cypher so they made lighter, my type of dreams seem dumb they said wise up, how many guys you see making it from here".  

I can't help it I'm a Sneakerholic runner and aspiring writer who grew up Brooklyn.  No, I don't want to be a rapper-not that there's anything wrong with that.  Lol.

Feed Your Dreams!!! 
And despite the recent launch of my GRIND Tees, my passion is not in tees.  So you may ask yourself where does his passion rest and why launch the GRIND Tees.  Both are fair questions.  Running and writing are helping to crystallize my passion, purpose and vision for the next half of my life.  

Photo Credit Henry w L
I've always had a hungry and thirst for knowledge and a strong desire to add value to the lives of others.  Through the process I remain teachable which allows me I receive from others, life is a two way street.

Fall is coming but, Don't stop the GRIND!!!

Running down your dreams, chasing your passion all in pursuit of finding your purpose.  Does it sound exhausting?  I guess it depends on the individual and what drives them.  Wouldn't life be grand if we all came with an instructional manual and a personal road map, it would eliminate the mystery.  

Since we don't we have a tremendous opportunity to be abnormal and create a path envision dream beyond this world and allow our purpose to ignite our passion and drive us toward our magnificent obsession. 

It all starts with an idea a single thought that you can seem get out of head and the more you think about it grows into an experience.  

Autumn Sunset (Lavender & Orange)
You can't help but feed the dream with nutrition that will help it grow stronger within you daily.  I'm encouraged by simple creative expressions that tap into the unlimited potential that resides in each of us.  

Saponified Oils of Olive, Coconut, Palm and Castor; Shea and Cocoa Butters. Scented with Lavender & Orange Essential Oils
For those days when I have to wash away my tears fears and brush myself off after falling, I feed off the amazing examples of those who are constantly on their GRIND like the owner of Komfort-Zone who creates these elegant bars of art.

Run strong, run daily, run often walk if you must or crawl, but what ever you don't don't stop pursuing your passion.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Paradigm The Hoka Killa?

It's no secret that I'm a Hoka fan, I'm also fond of Brooks, Mizuno, Newtons, Adidas, Saucony, NorthFace Ultra Trail and after today's run in my New Balance Foam Fresh NB will find a place in my rotation.  Now that's not to say I'm not a fan of Altra kicks, at least not yet.  What I admire about the brand was the courage to step into a market with some existing heavy hitters and carve out a niche and grow a huge following in the process.

Paradigm Altra

Who doesn't love to root for the underdog?  On the strength of their accomplishments and my conversation with an Altra rep where I gave them my word, that I would check out the brand-I picked up a pair Paradigm's earlier in the week. 

My first run in the shoes where an easy 3miles that included some hills.  My second and final run in the Paradigm's was a 10mi run on the track.  Now is that enough time to give a review? Yes or No? Where ever you land on this issue, I think we can all agree that some features will remain constant.  What I discovered about myself during this review is, I'm a plug and play runner, I want to take a pair of kicks out of the box lace them up and go period.

I applaud Altra for the shape and concept of a wider toe box for those runners who need extra space for their toes to splay and play.  With somewhat of a narrow foot my feet spent more time playing in the shoe instead of assisting me on the run. 

The Paradigm offers a ton of cushioning in the mid sole with a zero drop.  I found the shoe stiff and laborious to run in.  The strategic high abrasion rubber on the sole will certainly add to the longevity of the shoe.

There's a ton of shoe underfoot and it felt clunky by the end of my runs my feet were hurting because the shoe wasn't flexible despite the flex grooves in the sole. Perhaps a heavier runner will have more success in persuading the Paradigm to cooperate on the their runs. 

Wear testers at Runner's World found the shoe stiff and wished it was more flexible, they felt it would be best suited for bigger runners who prefer lots of cushioning.

Altra Paradigm

I liked the feel of the heel counter and tongue.  The lacing system was missing that extra eyelet, which would have been helpful to keep my feet from inching forward especially on the down hills.  

The absence of the additional eyelet forced me to tighten the forefoot more than I typically would just to lock my foot in place and when I did there was ton fabric bunching in the front.

I like the colors of the Paradigm but couldn't stop thinking about bozo the clown when I looked down at my feet.  Definitely not eye shoe candy.

Altra Paradigm

So is Paradigm the Hoka Killer? Not in my opinion.  Should Hoka be concerned?  Absolutely!  With some tweaks to the mid sole and upper I may make the Paradigm shift to Altra.  The chefs in the Hoka kitchen are brewing some delicious soles these days leaving you craving for more miles.  


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sole Searching... 50 Post Milestone...

The quest for perfect shoe fit color scheme can lead you scour through mountains of clearance boxes in brick and mortar establishments looking for your favorite shoe that is now extinct or you may prefer to ride the wave on mobile phone to preserve a piece of herstory.

I'm oh too familiar with the hunt and the cool thing about it is there's no need to get decked out in full camouflage gear to score-that is of course, unless that's how you roll.

Just finishing a workout @ the YMCA

I did some "sole searching" for the blog, but I wasn't looking for a new pair of sneaks.  "Surprised ain'tcha"  50 post deep into "Runr4Lyfe" I wanted to step back to see where how far I've traveled and try and figure out where I'd like to go, the trail has been organic til this point.  And as I prepare for #RNRPhilly this weekend this would be the perfect time to reflect.

It's just not running gear... Now if could Swim in open water I'd do a TRI Iron Man

"Feedback is the Breakfast if Champions" is a a quote often attributed to Ken Blanchard who's a best selling author speaker and management expert and I'm a firm believe and practitioner of his philosophy.  Hungry for a meal I went to Facebook for feedback and you gals/guys filled my belly.  

Unlike these supposed two slices that I had for lunch, after careful examination it was determined by panel of NY Pizza experts-(Tiffane, Jowel, Jovita, Sarah, Vincent, Rasheema and Yusef) that this was one slice cut in half.

Kiddie Slice

Thank you Annette, Jowel, Colette, Yvonne, Derrick, and Var for leaving comments I sincerely appreciate you stepping on the breaks during your hectic schedules to make a pit stop on my post to share suggestions tips likes etc. good meal no integestion.

Inspired by the latest Mizuno ad

The support and generosity of spirit by way of "link love" and counsel from seasoned bloggers like Peter @ Runblogger.com, Sam @samwinebaum, Steve @Runbulldogrun.com and Bill @ Billblunderbuss is humbling and amazing-"You Guys Awesome Freaking Trail Blazers"!!

Runners represent a diverse group of people that cover the full spectrum from the elite to that person starting a C25k there's a runner in each of us and what I've discovered is if nothing else runners are supportive, yes we are!

Shout out to Running Shoe Geeks, National Black Marathoners Association  Black Men Run, 20/20 Club Instagram, Twitter and FaceBook Followers your comments help provide fuel for the journey.  I can't forget my Google+ peeps thanks for traveling these first 50 post with me and if you're enjoying the ride please like and share the love.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Wait... Can You Say PR? Training Pays Dividends...

The news of my daughter teaching abroad in Malaysia for a year came as a random text message, because this seems to be the perfered means of communication nowadays.  I was excited, I was shocked, I was proud and I had a lot of questions, the first of which was who was she going with and when was she leaving.

Grace-that's my daughter's name, said it won't be until September 12, 2014, I'm in Pittsburgh now and we'll be traveling to Barbados to visit Grand Daddy.  Children are notorious for sharing only snippets of story leaving you to peel back the onion to get to the heart of the matter.  

Who's we, Grace?  Chloe and Darius, oh I didn't mention that we were going?  No you didn't mention your brother and sister were traveling. Oh yeah, I think Aunt Yvonne and Harriett are going to meet us in Barbados; I already had the itinerary but it was fun just having her fill in the blanks for me.

My Dad is getting up there in age so this visit was especially meaningful for them, when I was growing up I met my mother's mother once during a visit to Barbados by that time my other Grandparents had passed away.  I wasn't able to make the trip this time around but I'm planning on going after the Marine Corps Marathon in October.

From the looks of the pictures they had a blast, spending time on the beach, around the island and laughing at home with their Grandfather-the only regrets were those pesky mosqitous bites.

Giving thought to the end of their caraibean adventure, meant that Chloe would return to work, Darius would head back to school and Grace would be going to Malaysia.  Talking about this awesome opportunity is one thing, getting in the car to head to the JFK is a different level.  I'm a Man, I'm her father, I've gotta be able to maintain my composure in public; that means no crying-which I was able to do successfully.  

But I'm getting ahead of myself, let me put it in reverse to where I'm sitting in traffic on the Merritt Parkway and I don't think I'm going to make the departure in time.  I was under the impression Grace's flight was leaving at 9pm and that would mean she would have to check in 2hrs before departure.  I was tempted to get off the highway and go home but I stayed on the highway, got on the phone with Grace and started pealing back the onion.  

What airline are you traveling with, Emirates was her responce.  I called 411 for their number, gave them a call and discovered that her flight was at 11pm instead of 9pm-this gave me a nice cushion so I didn't have to drive like a maniac.  Sure the thought of my Half Marathon in the morning crossed my mind, but I wasn't going to let that stop me from seeing Grace off.

I set my alarm for 5:30am and got up at 5:45 and was out the door to fuel up at Dunkin by 6:00am.  I made it in time to register, warm up with a lite jog and stretch.  All systems were a go, bio break, watch, foot pod, music, pace band and glasses-wait I don't need my glasses so I hightailed it back to the car to put them away.  

It was a good day for a run.  The first mile in I had to make a pit stop, being a dude at a time like this has its advantages.  I didn't loose too much time and quickly settled back into my pace.  

At the 8th mile it hit me that my little girl was on a flight around the world to a foriegn country where she didn't speak the language.  At that moment I felt a liquid discharge rolled down my face, I can neither deny or confirm if it was a tear. 

I ran my on race my own pace with the exception for a brief moment on mile 11 when I felt a little competitive and wanted to step on the gas, after all I felt strong and still had fuel in the tank.  I eased off the gas and fell back into a comfortable pace and finished the race strong.  On less than 6hrs of sleep I set a PR saving 6min off my previous time, hard work, strentgh and core training pays huge dividends.