Hoka One One came into my life about 2-3 years ago when Jeff showed them to us via social media.  My face looked like the Nile River with a cascade of tears from laughing so hard.  I immediately started calling him Neil Armstrong because they looked like moon boots.  Not long after that Kevin began sporting them.  The raves and reviews permeated every conversation.  I would hear things like:
  • I recover so much faster.
  • I do not feel the pounding on my legs like I do with my other shoes.
The incessant chanting of positive thoughts was thrust into every conversation we had about these ridiculous looking shoes.  Before I knew it Karen purchased a pair after talking to Jeff (I tell you he could convince eskimos that ice was the ideal solution to any problem they had and they would pay for it.  See Rocky Raccoon 50.)  Then the claims from Karen were too hard to ignore but I fought it.  I loved my Brooks Launch, and still do.  EMZ began wearing them and she too lauded over how great her legs felt after running with them.  KC, of the Ironman Chattanooga Challenge, became the next convert and all the sudden I was faced with a tribe of people I respected telling me that the Hoka One One was the shoe to end all shoes.  Not exactly that way but their claims of fast recovery and ability to go longer without issues started to pique my interest. When Rocky Raccoon 50 training started I did not own a pair but after the first week of 50+ miles after not having run 50+ miles in two months combined led me to the decision to get a pair.  I knew that in order to survive the training that RR50 was throwing at me I would need the ability to take as much off of my legs as I possibly could.  I had pairs of compression socks already but that wasn't enough.  I was eating properly after every long run but that wasn't enough.  Convinced that this was the right move I ordered the Mafate.  Soon thereafter I ordered the Stinson.  Let it be known that today I am a Hoka One One convert and here is why.

[caption id="attachment_9278" align="alignright" width="300"]hoka one one - mafate - ultra trail running - review The Hoka One One Mafate 3[/caption]

Hoka One One Mafate

I purchased the Hoka One One Mafate for the specific reason of using them for Rocky Raccoon 50 on February 8.  The Mafate has lugs on them that make them ideal for running trails but I figured I could also use them on the road.  The description on the Hoka One One site says:

The ideal shoe for ULTRA marathon runners looking for a lightweight, stable and performance cushion running shoe that can hammer the down hills and make it easier charging the up hills.

I figured I would have zero issues running the roads and since the training for RR50 involves charging uphills and sprinting downhills I couldn't have found a better shoe than this one correct?  Wrong.  This shoe is tremendous and I absolutely love it but not for the road.  The lugs do as they are intended and grab the road, which is ideal on a trail but not great on concrete.  I felt as if I were pulling my legs up just to get the lugs to release.  Now, this may have all been in my head but it was enough to throw me off as I was running in them.

I put on a total of 33 miles in the Mafate but after the first run I felt sharp pains in my right foot after about 6 miles.  I would keep going and within 0.5-1 mile the pain would go away.  I couldn't figure out exactly what it is about them but when I went back to the Brooks Launch that pain in my foot did not exist.  It had to be the shoes and more specifically using a trail shoe on the road.  In addition to the lugs I had to get used to the heel-toe drop.  The Brooks Launch which I have been using for the past 3 years is a 9.5mm drop while the Hoka One One Mafate 3 is a 4mm drop.  While the shoe looks like a boot and has tons of cushioning it is actually a very minimal shoe in terms of the heel-toe drop and this was something I had to adjust to.

While the foot pain was evident after about 5 miles and last for up to a mile what I did notice was that my legs were not fried.  I have done 4 runs in the Mafate 3 up to this point with the maximum being 12 miles and all the others being recovery runs after longer days or long weekends and my legs did not feel like I assumed I would from the pounding that they were taking.  I was becoming more and more convinced of the magical powers of the Hoka One One.  Despite the frustration of the foot issue I was sold on the shoe as a great long run shoe as well as recovery shoe and purchased the Stinson which is more of a road shoe.

Hoka One One Stinson Tarmac

I was like Ralphie from A Christmas Story when the Hoka One One Stinson showed up at my doorstep. I could not wait to rip open the box and get them on my feet as fast as I possibly could.  I poured over my training plan to try to figure out the best day to wear them and when I figured it out I laid them out like a bride lays out her wedding dress the night before the big day.  They may even have sparkled.  I was excited and when I put them on for the first time I was greeted with the feeling of pillows on my feet.  Could this really be?  Could these shoes that looked like cinder blocks actually weight next to nothing?  They sure felt like it but let's go take them for a test ride. [caption id="attachment_9280" align="alignright" width="300"]hoka one one - stinson -running - review Hoka One One: Time To Fly
Source: Hoka One One[/caption] The Hoka One One slogan is Time To Fly and with the first few steps that is exactly how I felt.  It was December 19th and I had run 174.45 miles since November 25 and was averaging nearly 54 miles over those 3 weeks.  My legs were beginning to get tired and I was starting to get cranky.  On this run I managed to bang out 6 miles at an extremely low HR of 140 bpm with not even the thought of my legs feeling tired.  The shoes were doing what they were intended to do and that was to provide cushioning to my legs and feet.  I felt like I was running on air and felt very fast in comparison to the miles on Monday thru Wednesday of that week.  The best part was that I did not experience any form of stabbing sensation in my feet.  I was getting more and more convinced that these were going to be my long road and recovery run shoes.  I would wear the Hoka One One Mafate 3 on the trails and the Brooks Launch on the treadmill. The Stinson has heel-toe drop of 6mm which is slightly bigger than the Mafate 3 but much less than the Brooks Launch.  Rotating all three shoes through my training would allow me to strengthen my feet and calves from different perspectives and I believe that this is also contributing to my fast recovery.  At this point I have run 23 miles in the Stinson with the longest being 12 miles and each run has felt good to great along with no issues the next day in terms of my legs feeling warn out.

Hoka One One Conclusion

The Hoka One One shoe is for real.  While they may look like clown shoes they do what they are intended to do and that is to provide cushioning.  Heading toward a weekend where I will run 23 miles on the trails in the Mafate 3 and 12 miles on the road in the Stinson I am excited because I know that while my legs will be tired they will not be thrashed as if I were to only wear one type of shoe that has less cushioning. The combination of the different heel-toe drop and the 23mm of cushioning make the Hoka One One a shoe that is ideal for long runs and recovery runs.  Of course, like any other shoe you need to test them to make sure they not only fit you properly but provide the support that you need.  The Mafate is neutral shoe that weight 14.7 oz while the Stinson is also a neutral shoe that weighs 11.9 oz.  The Brooks Launch weigh 9.3 oz but they feel heavier and that is most likely due to the pounding your feet and legs feel on each foot fall thanks to the 'lack' of cushioning in comparison to the Hoka One One line of shoes. In the end I think I have the right combination of shoes for my running.  The difference in weight coupled with the difference in heel-toe drop added to the difference in cushioning between each shoe is allowing me to maximize my recovery while building strength for the ultra run training I am doing.  As a matter of fact I think that the Stinson could be in my changing bag when I race Ironman Chattanooga in September of 2014 because of the comfort of the shoe coupled with the cushioning it will afford my legs after 112 miles of biking.
Published in Product Reviews
Friday, 05 April 2013 14:44

Bestowed Product Review

Disclosure: This is a review for the Bestowed product that was sent to me for free.  I did not pay for this product and was not asked to provide a positive review in exchange for the product. [caption id="attachment_7800" align="alignright" width="300"]Bestowed - Products - Healthy - Review Products Inside Bestowed Package[/caption] If you have read my blog long enough you know that I do not do product reviews very often and when I do them it is usually because I purchased the product on my own and wanted to share my experiences with you.  When the representatives for Bestowed contacted me I was hesitant at first.  I went to the site to dig around to see what this was all about and to find out what I could before accepting.  As is typical with product reviews, Bestowed offered a free product to do as a giveaway.  This is another thing I do not do on this blog......giveaways. After exchanging emails with Bestowed we came to the understanding that I would just pick somebody to receive the monthly package that Bestowed put together for April.  This is the easiest way for me to:
  1. Avoid the hassle that comes with picking numbers, promoting a post constantly and basically prostituting my blog out to the public.
  2. Turn away brands that insist on having a giveaway as part of the review and thus I know that they are not interested in my review but interested in advertising and unless you are paying me I am not going to promote you that way.
Now that we have all of that out of the way let's get into the review of the Bestowed 'product'. This is direct  from the site:

Discover healthy foods you'll love! Join Bestowed and get 5+ amazing nutrition and lifestyle products delivered to your door every month - each one hand picked by celebrity nutritionist and author Heather Bauer.

My first reaction was: what are amazing nutrition and lifestyle products?  Every product these days touts itself as being healthy for you in one way or the other, but I much rather prefer to make my own meals than purchasing something in a box or even going to a restaurant.  I checked out the over 8 pages of Featured Products and figured that even if I only get to enjoy one or two products it would be worth it to review.

When the box came I was interested to see what was included.  At first sight I thought:  Great just a whole bunch of packaged products that probably have yellow dye number 5 in them.  I went through each items ingredients list with a fine toothed comb just hoping to find something that would allow me to say that I would never order from this because of the promotion of products as healthy when they are nothing more than processed junk.

What I found out is that the package contained quite a number of products that I would not only actually use but also where the ingredients list matched the marketing on the front of the package.  I have tried a couple of the items and truly enjoyed them in my cooking.  There is another item that I will not consume because it contains wheat but that is just a personal preference as the other ingredients are more than ok.

Here is how Bestowed works (from their site):

Join and get 5+ healthy (and yummy!) products to try each month - each one hand picked by nutritionist and author Heather Bauer. How it works:
  • Select your membership type (monthly or annual)
  • Our boxes ship to arrive on the 15th of every month
  • Shipping is included in price!
Membership Options:
  • Monthly Membership - $19 billed monthly, cancel any time
  • Annual Membership - $209 billed annually, transfer any time
The pricing is fair as you would probably pay more for the products in the package, if sold on an individual basis.  Plus there is the factor of not liking it if you are trying it for the first time.  That is where the benefit of the Bestowed subscription is best, in my opinion.  You can test out products before you invest in them.  The downside is that it may come with products that you will not consume and would avoid at the store in the first place.  There is a balance there and I find that if you are looking to get healthier that this would be an excellent way to start that process.

Would I Subscribe To Bestowed?

My answer is no.  It is not the $19 price for a monthly package of goods but the notion that I would much prefer to make my own food.  I enjoy being in the kitchen and I have the luxury of cooking when I am hungry because I am a partner in a web design and digital marketing agency, which is a long way of saying I work from home.  The kitchen is my safe haven and I would not give it up for packaged products. That being said Bestowed has opened my eyes to hemp seeds and that is something that I will include regularly into my diet as evidenced by two of the photos below. I incorporated them into my overnight oats and apple pie chia pudding.  I also used the olives in a Brussels Sprouts salad and while good I don't know if I would go out of my way to look for this particular olive brand. Lastly, here is a coupon code for you to use: $5 off their first month with this code: 50FFBESTOWED01 [gallery ids="7804,7803,7793"]

Have You Subscribed To Bestowed?

Would You Subscribe To Bestowed?

Published in Product Reviews

Triathlon Anatomy by Mark Klion,MD and Troy Jacobson Book Review

  [caption id="attachment_7703" align="alignright" width="301"]triathlon - book review - troy jacobson - mark klion Troy Jacobson - Triathlon Coach[/caption] Triathlon Anatomy has a great title and authors.  The lure was cast and the hook went in deep and I purchased as soon as I could based on these two items.  Unfortunately I could not wiggle off the line and finished the book more disappointed than happy to have purchased it.  The book has terrific illustrations and great ideas but there is nothing new in the book that is eye-opening.  Knowing Troy Jacobson from the Spinervals DVD set and reading article he has written I was very excited to read some new insight into the sport of triathlon but that was lacking and was the source of my frustration with the book. If you are new to the sport this book is worth it as you can get terrific insight into what certain exercises should be done and why.  The book is terrific with illustrations as well to showcase what muscles are impacted by a certain workout as well as how it affects each specific sport.  I enjoyed reading this section but after a while the phrase (I am para-phrasing):  This is good to help with swim efficiency while building swim-specific strength and endurance.  The other exercises that are pointed out display how they affect the body for the bike and the run and the same type of catch-phrase is repeated in terms of how it benefits the body for that sport.  I found myself on the plane to and from Puerto Rico flipping the pages faster and faster as I was getting bored and at one point fell asleep mid-sentence. Now, let me say that this book is not all bad.  I think it has its place on a triathlete's book shelf but that triathlete is just getting started.  There is a discussion about triathlon distances, transitions, biomechanics of triathlon and training considerations.  One chapter goes over putting together a customized triathlon training plan and then the exercises and how they benefit triathletes.  All of it makes sense and would be a terrific read for somebody just getting started.  For those that have been involved in the sport and are truly practicing the art of triathlon this book is nothing more than a reminder of what to do but not earth-shattering. Once section that I did find to be beneficial for me was the section titled Stretches for Injury Prevention And Treatment since I am a non-stretcher.  I do my dynamic stretches before my training but when I am finished I am finished.  Essentially the only stretching I do is on Friday's at yoga and I have been fortunate enough to not sustain any injuries but I am going to take the stretches in this book and incorporate them into my evening routine.  Right now I am doing 15 minutes of core work at night so adding in 15 minutes of stretching afterwards means that I am getting in a solid 30 minutes of core/stretching to end the day and relax me before going to bed. I wish there was more good that I could say about this book but it just was not there for me.  As a person who lives the triathlon lifestyle on a daily basis this book was nothing more than a reminder of how and what training workouts benefit a triathlete and why.  For a person who is just getting started in triathlon or has done a Sprint or Olympic and is wondering how far they can go in triathlon this book will enlighten them to the workouts and reason why they should incorporate the workouts into their triathlon training plan.  The preface contains the following sentence which I think may be true for some experienced athletes but if the sport of triathlon is your lifestyle and you aren't dabbling in it then I don't think it makes sense to purchase this book:

The information presented in this book allows both novice and experienced athletes to obtain a better understanding of how the musculoskeletal system functions and responds to triathlon-specific exercises and training.

Have You Read Triathlon Anatomy?  Thoughts?

What Triathlon Books Can You Recommend?

Published in Product Reviews
Monday, 29 August 2011 13:01

Daily Challenge

[caption id="attachment_3787" align="alignright" width="300" caption="MeYou Health"]MeYou_Health_Daily_Challenge_Logo[/caption] Some of you who were at the Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference in June in Boulder, Colorado may have gotten an invite to participate in the Daily Challenge by MeYou Health.  For those of you who did not attend and did not get an invite the Daily Challenge is simple and rewarding. We are all very busy in our lives with work, training, family/friends, bills etc that we sometimes don't see the forest for the trees.  The Daily Challenge allowed those participating to actually stop for a moment, a brief moment, and do something that would help them in their lives.  These tasks were as easy as stretching or walking in place for a minute.  Some were just what the Doctor ordered to get away from life for a moment like resist the urge to look at the news. Every morning I got an email with the challenge and without thinking about it I was able to do it almost immediately and sometimes you felt a little foolish doing it other times you felt great because you knew it was going to improve your outlook for the day.  You were going to start the day off extremely positive because of this one simple task. Imagine, like the Liberty Mutual commercial, how many people you can affect by being a more positive person.  If one person sees you smiling you may have just helped them to smile and it becomes a domino effect from there.  The Daily Challenge is also set up for people like me who are competitive and want to win at tiddly-winks against 3 year olds (can three year olds play tiddly-wink? -- I digress.)  Anyway you accumulate points and you can compare your score to the friends you invite. There is also the social component behind it so that it is not just the people you run into in your daily life, but those that are on Facebook and those that have also joined the Daily Challenge.  I know not everybody wants to have another social network but I enjoyed this one because of the people I invited.  Some people I just knew would do it for fun and others I invited because of personal conversations we had had about making a healthier life for themselves.  The daily gentle reminders to stretch, eat Vitamin C, etc were just little helpful hints to make sure that you treated your body and each day as a special event. I was originally asked to participate for one week and yet it is three weeks later and I'm still doing these little challenges and each day it makes me feel better.  It has helped me keep a positive attitude on the most stressful days and has also helped me see the forest for the trees that life isn't as bad as it seems at that time. I will suggest that you join the Daily Challenge and see what the tasks are and see if they help you see a brighter world. You can read more about the Daily Challenge [HERE]
Published in Product Reviews
Welcome to the first video review at Cook Train Eat Race.  I have decided to put this review into a video format.  While it is not perfect I chose to do it in only one take so that you get my true feelings toward Brad's Raw Chips.  There are a few slip ups in terms of words and pronunciation.  There is a time or two where I close my eyes instead of keeping them open for the camera but being that this is my first video I will take it and hopefully get better each and every time. Watch the video and then enter to win a prize pack worth more than $50.  The winner will get to choose 6 chips or leafy kale of your choice.  Of course there are requirements and they are after the video. Enjoy the video as much as I enjoyed shooting it and enjoyed these chips.   Here are the requirements: 1.  To be entered, they MUST fan us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/bradsrawchips and leave a comment on our wall with a product you would like to try!  They can also say that Cook Train Eat Race sent them to us.  This is worth 1 entry. You can also: 2.  Subscribe to our newsletter at www.bradsrawfoods.com (1 entry) 3.  Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/BradsRawChips (1 entry) 4.  Subscribe to our blog at www.TheWorldOfRaw.blogspot.com (1 entry) 5.  Subscribe to our YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/BradsRawFoods (1 entry) Please be sure to leave one comment for each entry you make for this great product.  At the end of the giveaway (Friday May 27th at 12 CST) I will use Random.org to choose the winner and post on Monday the 30th of May. I had a great time reviewing the product and the people at Brad's Raw Chips are incredible.  I suggest you go out and add these chips to your diet.  

*** Disclaimer:  Outside of receiving the product I was not paid nor was I expected to give a positive review of the product.

Published in Product Reviews
Saturday, 18 December 2010 19:53

Product Review of the Adidas AdiZERO Tempo Shoe

If you are a regular follower of my blog then you know I just bought a pair of Adidas AdiZERO Tempo Shoes.  If you are new, then you can go to my blog post here to read how these are going to get me to Boston.
So today I was finally able to run in these wonderful looking shoes.  Since the shoes became available to me my training has involved time trials for swimming and cycling plus one rest day.  Needless to say I have been itching to put these bad boys to the test and see how they would perform.  Were they as light as they felt?  Would my foot feel stable in them?  I was told they are extremely comparable to my Asics DS and I know how light and stable those are so I was excited to have another shoe that was just so much better looking.
The adidas site provides product information and details which are below:
Product Information
Presenting the ultimate lightweight stability running shoe. The adidas adiZERO™ Tempo is the lightest running shoe in its class, with ground-adapting FORMOTION™ and TORSION® SYSTEM for response. Pure and simple in appearance and function, it gives you everything you need, with nothing you don't. Details Weight: 9.5 oz. (size 9) FORMOTION™ adapts to the ground to ensure the smoothest, most comfortable run possible Air mesh upper for maximum ventilation; Non-slip lining for comfort and performance; adiPRENE®+ in the forefoot maintains propulsion and efficiency TORSION® SYSTEM for midfoot integrity; Pro-moderator medial support device prevents overpronation adiPRENE® under the heel for superior cushioning at impact Blown rubber outsole for lightweight grip and cushion Imported Today's training called for a one hour and fifteen minute run at a pace of 7:46/mile so I knew this would be a great test for the shoe. I put them on for the first time with the idea of running.  When we got out to our local running area I immediately understood what the description of 'air mesh upper for maximum ventilation' meant because my feet were frozen.  It was about 35 degrees at the lake and I was cold.  So in terms of description this was spot on.  It took me about 3 miles before I didn't feel like I was running with cement blocks for toes, but this is not a con one bit.  In a warmer setting there is no doubt in my mind that my feet would not heat up because of the ventilation. In regards to the shoe being lightweight I can say that I barely noticed the shoe.  As a matter of fact the ICE club that I was running with actually felt like I was running without shoes.  It felt so great to be able to cruise through this route without wondering if the shoe was going to be too heavy to maintain that 7:46/mile pace. Just because I didn't feel the shoes on my feet in terms of its weight does not mean that they didn't support my foot.  This shoe felt just as stable as the Asics DS which weighs about 0.7 oz more than the AdiZERO.  The difference in weight was noticeable but not the stability.  Each foot strike was met with a response that almost felt like I was springing forward. The shoe is extremely stylish if you like to introduce yourself at a party with a 'YO.....THE PARTY JUST SHOWED UP' which is my personality.  As a matter of fact during my run a woman on a bike said 'i love your red shoes' as she passed me.  So if you want to be fast and stylish then get these. The Adidas adiZERO is perfect for me and makes me regret not purchasing two from RunOn! so that I could have a training pair and a racing pair. And I just found out that they actually make a pair of shoes called the adiZERO Boston....so I guess I now have two regrets.....except the Boston's don't come in Ruby Red and I like to be the life of the party. So did I hit my training goal you might be wondering.  After all these shoes were everything they were supposed to be but how about performance.  The 1 hour and 15 minute run was done at a pace of 7:42/mile which is 4 seconds per mile faster....yes they worked See you all in Boston in 2012....these shoes are going to get me there.
Disclaimer:  I was not asked or paid to review this shoe by Adidas.  If Adidas would like to send me a pair of size 9 white adiZERO Boston's for review I would be happy to do that for them.
Published in Train