Saturday Special Edition: Newton Gravity V!

Newton reviewGuys, I was super stoked to receive a pair of the newest version of the Gravity shoe for review back in March from the folks at Newton Running! The Gravity V and its predecessors are mileage trainers made for runners with a neutral gait and can be used in both training and racing situations. I discovered these shoes through some running friends back before I ran one of my first half marathons, and I’ve been a fan ever since, and will be for life! All of my major races have been ran in these shoes, and I wouldn’t consider racing in anything else. The guys at Newton have created a brand of shoes that promotes an overall more natural running stride, with placement of the ever infamous lugs (made with their patented action-reaction IMG_0648technology) under the mid foot to promote striking in this area as opposed to in the heel. This portion of the shoe is what really sets them apart, and is home to one of several different P.O.P, or Point of Power platforms customized to the intended ride of the shoe. These shoes are made for runners of all types and come in a variety of styles and models to fit your needs.

Over the last month or so I’ve put these shoes through a variety of workouts in preparation for the FRESH15 race as well as used them in a more sprinting setting for some CrossFit style workouts with running intervals. I averaged about three runs in them a week during this time. In every setting these shoes performed perfectly! During longer runs, the shoes remained supportive and responsive, no pinching or rubbing my foot in any spots, while staying light and quick during interval running and speedwork. I’ve previously owned and ran in two older models of the Gravity, the most recent being the III. On major change that was made in the shoe was the addition of a fifth lug with release of the Gravity IV, so this was my first experience with this change in this part of the sole. While both other models gave what I would definitely call a responsive ride, IMG_0649from the first run in the Vs I could tell a difference in the responsiveness in cushioning and increased smoothness in ride. I can also say that the sole is also more flexible and feels more cushioned without adding weight to this super light shoe. The color schemes and materials are also fun, as always, and some minor changes to the assembly of the shoe eliminates excessive seams and shifting of the tongue over to one side of the shoe while running. Both of my previous pairs of Gravitys have held up very well, lasting many miles and showing so little signs of wear throughout, and I would suspect the new model will hold up just the same. I can honestly say there’s not a single thing about this shoe that I do not like. Once again I am impressed by the performance of these shoes! If you’re shopping for a new pair of running shoes, or maybe your first pair, go check them out at newtonrunning.com! I promise you won’t be disappointed! -m

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Disclaimer: The awesome folks at Newton Running sent me a pair of these shoes at no charge to me for review. However all opinions contained in the this review are completely mine and based on my personal use of this product alone.

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Saturday Special Edition: SKINS A200 Tights!

Skins review

Happy Saturday, guys! This week I’m featuring a review of some compression tights I received from SKINS over the holidays. You may have seen the long version of these tights featuring the Doughnuts and Deadlifts  logo around the CrossFit or Olympic lifting world. Been eyeing these for a while and wanted to give them a whirl during some running and CrossFit workouts. They certainly did not disappoint!

I chose to try out the women’s A200 3/4 length tights. With our crazy weather here in Texas, I figured that length would be appropriate for most of the year. When placing my order it was easy to determine the size needed, as they provide a sizing chart based on your height and weight on the website. The A200’s out of the box looked even better in person! The come in several different color selections, but I chose to go with the basic black pair. I was impressed with the stitching on all the seams as well as the quality of the reflective accents and logos. If you’ve seen my closet, you know I’m all about some flashy colors, patterns, cool branding, or something like that, so I was pretty pleased with the overall look of these. Truly a compression fit, I found that the sizing was definitely spot on, but not so compressing to the point of discomfort. Score! My usual complaint on compression fit is how overly tight they feel while still refusing to stay put after I start moving around. Length was also perfect, I’m roughly 5’3, and these stop at about mid-calf. A couple other features include a small hidden key pocket and drawstring inside the waistband.

 

During my first outdoor run in these I was happy to discover they did not roll down, move or slide. Stayed breathable, almost like cooler air entering them as I ran, while keeping my muscles warm at the same time. I cannot say enough about the support! Right amount of compression during the entire run. Definite score! In addition, I went through several CrossFit workouts in them. Lots of squatting, bending, jumping, and they still stayed put without any waistband roll! No tugging or adjusting during the workout, it was fantastic! I felt like they were able to stretch and move with me in all the right places. I’m a pretty sweaty creature when I workout, so I definitely encounter issues with tights working themselves down. Normally I catch myself tugging and pulling them up between sets of burpees and such. Not with these!

Because of the fact I’m a sweaty mess after any workout, I knew that these would have to withstand lots of laundry time. After washing, logos and seaming stayed intact, no hint of sweat odor at all! They came out of the wash looking brand new and ready for the next workout.

Ok, so what sets these tights apart from all the rest? I know there are tons of options out there to choose from, so I’ll say this. These A200s truly provide support during a variety of activities, keeping your muscles fresh during the entire workout….while looking good too! I’ll definitely be wearing these through most of this year during all my indoor and outdoor workouts. -m

Disclaimer: The awesome folks at Skins sent me a set of these tights at no charge to me for review. However all opinions contained in the this review are completely mine and based on my personal use of this product alone.

H-town 2014: The Land of Firsts

So many setbacks. So many hurdles. So much doubt.

When I initially entered the lottery for the 2014 Chevron Houston Marathon, I figured what were the odds? Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to do it….but I was scared to death to even try. When I got my acceptance email, I freaked! Now I have to train! Long runs?!? After two half marathons I knew what that distance felt like…but this? Repeatedly approaching 20 miles? Oh dear. But I started, I committed. Financially things were a mess with my husbands job and through trying to budget in new shoes, I purchased some on sale Nikes (I’ve been a dedicated Newton runner for well over a year). Then injury hit. Foot pain that wouldn’t allow me to continue. Got over that. Then illness took the kiddo and myself down. Return of the foot pain and I guess my knee didn’t want the foot to suffer alone. Sprinkle in husband away working and lack of childcare. All in all I lost weeks of training…and only peaked at 14 miles in long runs. Stupid shoes. Hubby left to train for new job. I went back and forth between switching to the half or deferring….couldn’t do it. Common sense lost out and pride won. I was gonna go down fighting. After the preparation I had been able to put in, I couldn’t just not try at all.

The taper felt like a blur but I ran as scheduled. Went back to my old Newtons with new insoles as a last ditch effort to make injury stay away. Tape, ice, rest, repeat. Short runs were always accompanied by soreness but relenting enough to keep me crossing them off my calendar. Several of my running friends listened to all my doubts oh so patiently and gave me fantastic advice. I pressed on.

Race weekend arrived! Husband called an audible and was going to be able to make it home for the road trip to Houston with a couple of my running friends! Loaded up and off we went. Got myself KT taped at the expo and stared at my race bib. Dear Lord, what was I thinking!

Pasta lunch at expo attacked each of our foursome at some point in the weekend, tethering the husband to our hotel room when I left for the start corrals with my buddies. Energy was huge, start line was electric. I’m thinking….I’ll be the last one in out of all these runners. They’ll be closing up the start line behind me. Unplugging the time clock. Please just let me finish! Next thing I know, I’m over the line and hit start on the watch. I consciously dial myself back. Don’t go out fast. Pasta begins to talk at mile two, and at mile three I stop at the portalets. Yep, first time to do THAT during a race. But I feel tons better and click away solidly until 13 miles, only distracted by a burning sensation under my right arm which I inspect. Chafing to the point of bleeding. How nice. Undeterred, I continue running….walking through a few water stops and by one of the medical tents for Vaseline on a stick (which I apply to the inside of both arms while running…yes another first!) Feeling good.

Mentally I got scared at the halfway point. Everything after 14 was unknown…never felt this mileage before. Pressed on. Told my brain to shut up. Used my GU. Hydrated. Approached 20. In one moment I felt sure I’d finish then felt as if I’d slammed into…yep, THE WALL. Injured leg never hurt, but I was aware of increasing pain in my left foot. Mile marker 21. Wall dissolves. I pray prayers of thanksgiving, turn up my playlist and press on.

Mile 23 hurts but it’s just a 5k left. Almost done. I walk a few inclines and stride the downhills. Course swings back into the sea of downtown and I begin to sing to my music out loud. I realize I’ll finish. No stopping now. Foot pounds. One last walk break. Holy moly, mile 25. I’m finishing….it’s a blur. At 1/2 mile to go the spectators are lining the course, cheering, looking for their runners. I see my husband walking towards the finish line. He turns and sees me. I break into a smile, feeling my salt mask crack a bit. I obtain visual contact of the finish. My eyes water. I think of my mom. I think of my 200 pound self. I hear my two running buddies call my name. I pump my fist and sprint for the finish. I’m across.

Then there’s the medal…it encourages the tears from my eyes. This moment can never be taken from me. All my life I’ve doubted my mental toughness, argued with God about do I have what it takes to live this life.

And for the last of my firsts in H-town….I can finally say yes.

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