Friday, September 13, 2013

Feeling Burnt Out

Being in the midst of training for the Chicago Marathon, I am now in the constant state of flux. Between training, family, household chores and managing a running club,  I just feel so burned out most of the time. Lately when it comes time to hit the pavement or trails I been kind of sluggish in the ambition department. Funny thing though, on those days when I feel the worst mentally and physically, I've been turning out pretty good runs. Which makes me think, on those days you don't feel like getting out there, you could be missing one heck of a run.  In fact, thinking back, I have achieved a couple PR's while I was sick, or tired, or just not feeling mentally prepared.  I recall those PR races where I was standing at the starting line and thinking "I just want to make it to the finish, goals are out the window".  Those are the runs where it is like a perfect storm of emotions, like disappointment and anger, maybe fear of the first DNF come together and form an energy; guiding you through until the end. Those runs seem to re-invigorate my soul, and make me look forward to running again. To me this is what running is all about. Get out and go.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

My New Favorite Shoe: Mizuno Wave Sayonara

Beast Mode On:
Well just surpassed 350 miles in my Mizuno Wave Sayonaras. First impression, man these look awesome. Upon further examination of the shoe I felt a little skeptical on the durability aspect when I received them as they were the lightest trainer I have used to date.  

First Run:
Release the Kraken!  These shoes are meant to go fast.  The are light, feel open, and have a low to the ground connected feeling.  I ran a 6 miler as my first run in this shoe, and never looked back.  

About My Training:
I am currently training for the 2013 BOA Chicago Marathon.  I have put the Sayonaras through the paces.  I have done just about every single run of my Chicago Marathon training in this shoe.  From easy runs, speed work, and tempo runs; to the epic long runs that define training.  I am not fast, nor am I slow.  I am your average runner for my age.  Speed work is usually intervals in the low to mid 7's totaling around 7-9 miles once a week.  Tempo work is usually 7:30-8:00 pace for around 10 miles once a week.  My long runs have progressed from 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 20 milers done at about 8:30 pace once a week. Based on that I don't believe that I was easy on this set of shoes. So you can see that I am dedicated to running a Marathon not just to finish, but to finish strong.

Compared To Previous Shoes:
So far I have not had a single issue with the shoes causing any aches or pains.  My legs feel good except for normal fatigue.  The Sayonaras are wearing as well as any of the other shoes that I have owned by Mizuno. I have been a Mizuno customer since day 1.  I have trained for all of my previous 7 marathons, and numerous half marathons in Mizunos.  From the Wave Creations, Riders, and Precisions, to the current Sayonaras. These are my favorite shoe since the Wave Rider 13's. These shoes do a few things very well.  First, they breath like a champ, During the summer months my feet get hot yes, but very seldom do my shoes get squishy like the heavier trainers in the past.  Secondly, I have run in these things wet, and as long as you have good socks, no issues.  They did not feel heavy when they go wet either, as they did not seem to hold a lot of moisture. Lastly, they protect and cushion your foot very well.  The Sayonaras have a built in wave plate that extends to where the mid-sole starts and the U4ic mid-sole picks up. This wave technology helps to disperse energy as you land.  I like to think that I run pretty light on my feet and in control, and feel the Sayonaras offer a very sufficient amount of protection.  I have run on gravel, dirt, and step on the occasional stick, and have not felt any discomfort. 

Expected Mileage:
I will get 400 to possibly 450+, unless the shoes cushioning system the (wave plate and or U4ic midsole breaks down, but so far so good.  I would say for 350 miles wear and tear is totally normal.  See Photos.  There are some rips or tears developing up towards the toes on the big toe side of both shoes, I do believe that is just from catching them on the other shoe in transition. I think that because the outsides don't have those same rips or tears.  The X-10 rubber sole is holding up superbly.  See the photos attached.

This shoe is a fantastic shoe if you are a neutral runner, with a good mid-foot or fore foot strike.  I am 6'1" and around 170 lbs.  My comfortable pace is around 8:50 and my speed pace is around 7:00.  Given that info you can develop your own thoughts.  like if your 6'4" and a heavy set heel striker, this may not be your cup of tea.  That being said this is a shoe that needs some consideration when looking into a lightweight, neutral performance trainer.  

Specs and features from Mizuno:
  • Light, low to the ground, versatile–the Wave Sayonara makes everyday a Go Fast day.
  • U4ic midsole provides resiliency and a smooth ride at a fraction of the weight of traditional midsoles.
  • G3 SOLE has lightweight, superior traction, creating a pure connection to the ground.
  • Upper design provides exceptional forefoot hold and assurance at toe-off.
  • Weight 8.1oz mens, 7.1 oz womens.
  • Retail $119.00
Here is what mine look like with 350 miles. All different surfaces.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Dear Lululemon Athletica Oak Brook, Illinois/I Run Because _____5K

My wife and I and about 8 other people in our running club had the opportunity to run the I Run Because ____ 5K. If you never heard of it is a small race, 350 participants. This race is hosted, and of course sponsored by Lululemon.  We all had high hopes that this would be a great race, especially since it was free. I guess I should say free for some. This race had no entrance fee, and today that is really tough to come by, especially since most of us know that running is the most expensive free sport out there.

Before I go any further, I would like to take the time to thank all of the volunteers who helped organize the actual race, and who showed up to cheer on the runners.  I understand that one person does not represent all of you.

To elaborate on the free aspect of this race, because it was really only free to some people. The entrance was free, but for my wife it wasn't.  She received an emotional stabbing at packet pickup at the Oak Brook location.  Let me explain.  When we arrived to pick up the packets, we had to wait since they were a few minutes behind schedule.  We thought that's fine it a free race we are getting what we paid for.  We decided to casually mill around and look at the merchandise they had to offer.  It was at this time that my wife was given unsolicited advice on product.  A sales clerk came up to her and saw what she was looking at and was told that the product she needed was "product X for big gir
ls".  I was not with her when this happened.  I was in the men's area having a conversation with a nice female sales clerk who was soliciting feedback from me on product. When my wife told me about what had just happened.  So I wanted to see the girl who said it to her.  My wife pointed out the girl who gave her the unsolicited advice. At this point I could have said something, but I know that it would have not been productive.  I had one look and said lets leave, of course without buying anything. Which is the best way to make a point. We had our numbers for the race so we left.
Since then in talking to others we have been directed to many articles about Lululemon's marketing practices.  Problem is we really have no beef with who a company decides to market to.  If that is how they make money and that business model works for them, then more power to them.  We believe that if your target customer is a size 00 through size whatever is your business.  You are a private business and you can focus on your demographic. We feel it is Lululemon's practice of making non or potential customers know and feel who their current market is, and that it is not people like my wife, and that is what disgusted us.
What that sales clerk did not stop and think about was that this beautiful person who she thought was "bigger" has a husband, and her husband will stand by his wife. Her husband has a running club, and belongs to many other groups in the Chicago area. Word of mouth.
I believe if Lululemon wanted to grow their business, they would grow their base through customer service. If you treat a person who may not be your customer well, one day they may be in your demographic or better yet your customer. That is good customer service, and good moral value. You know what they say about people remembering good customer service and bad service?  If  you give someone exceptional customer service they may tell someone.  You give someone bad customer service they will let the world know 5 times over.
The unfortunate part is that I am a target customer for Lululemon, and guess what.  I will never wear a Lululemon product because what I feel it stands for. They did not directly say or offend me, but their employee offended my wife.  I feel that if you have any self esteem issues, don't walk through Lululemon's door. It's as if some of the employees despise people unlike them. That is how I feel. This one girl in particular did a real nice job alienating any future potential customers they might have in us. Her pretentious attitude sealed the deal. That is too bad because there was a really nice girl that was helping me, she was very nice.  She even inquired how I thought they could make their product better. This goes back to the "good service and bad service". I received good service, my wife bad service.  I stand by my wife, and know begins the telling the whole world about bad service.
After searching "Lululemon Customer Service" on Google we realize we are not the only ones who feel like that.  I know that we will not put them out of business, I just feel that I hope they do something about harming other peoples feeling in hiring better people. With that said I am very grateful for the many choices of athletic wear I have to choose from. I am getting off my soap box.  That is all.

Unintended Consequence

I am thinking that the design of this shoe may have helped me in one area. In the previous shoes, Mizuno Wave Riders, and Wave Precision, where the front of the shoe was angled up, it seemed like I was always having an issue with sore toes on my right foot (dominant leg) after speed work. The reason for the soreness was when I push off of my mid-foot/toes, my toes grab into the shoe. I am a "gripper". With the Mizuno Wave Sayonara the shoe is flatter up front and not angled up and it seems like the gripping is not as extreme due to the shape of the shoe. Just a thought.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Mission Accomplished

Had a great run this morning with the crew from the Western Cook Running Club.  We rounded out week 8 of Chicago Marathon Training with 15 miles this morning.  I chose to run in the share tested Mizuno Wave Sayonara's. My thoughts.... So far so good.  Originally, I thought that I would be doing speed sessions, tempo, and easy runs in this shoe, due to the more minimal design i.e. lighter materials, sleeker look. I am happy to report my 15 mile run was great in these shoes. Needless to say they have become my daily driver, and a real workhorse. I am very happy thus far with these shoes.  Everything is still looking good, durability wise.  I will say I've run the gauntlet in these shoes now.  Speed Work, Long Runs, Tempos, and easy.  I've run treadmill, pavement, limestone, gravel, and dirt.  I've run in them wet, and when it was 95°F.  I personally will call it how I see it, and this is a great shoe.  I will definitely own another pair soon.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Mizuno Wave Sayanora Test Shoes

I was lucky enough to be chosen for the Mizuno Wave Sayanora Share Testing.

You don't get a second chance to make a first impression.  Well after running in the Sayanora's, I will disagree with the previous statement.

I received my box, and opened them with great anticipation.  Upon opening the box and investigating the shoes for a few moments I had some initial concerns. Those concerns have been addressed after a couple runs.

First when I pulled them out I noticed they were unlike any other Mizuno running shoe I have ever owned.  First, the toe was not angled up. This looked more like a throwback shoe, being very flat looking.

Second, looking at the bottom of the shoe I noticed that the treads did not appear to be as beefy as a Wave Rider, or a Wave Precision.

Third, the fabric overlays on the shoe were awesome looking, and more minimal. Thinking about all of these initial concerns I came to a conclusion.  These are a serious running shoe.

I love that they are very lightweight (Sayanora Pure Flow 2's LOL).  When I slipped these on for a run, I walked in them on a concrete floor, and felt as if they might be too thin.
I headed out for a quick road run . 100% hard surface. I have to say all of my concerns vanished when I started running in them. As thin as they seem, they provided more than adequate protection from stepping on rocks and debris.  I now feel as if this shoe can be a daily driver for shorter runs, and speed work.  This shoe will be in my rotation for my training for the 2013 Chicago Marathon. So I will provide more info as I log the miles.

Things I noticed during my run:
As flat as they seem, they still offered great support for my arches (which are normal).
They seem to breath as well if not better than the precision.  Lighter weight materials?
The minimal sole as compared to the precision's protected my feet when I landed on small rocks and other debris.
The flat profile, in conjunction with the reduced weight from a precision made them feel fast.  They were faster and felt comfortable to go fast.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Sometimes you really have to wonder about life. Especially when you are having a really rough day, and things are just looking down, then someone or something steps into your life and helps you to recapture your outlook to add a piece of perspective. Lately this has happened to me a lot.  No matter how much this happens to me, I am grateful for those things, and those people who help you to see clearly. Life is truly a gift, relax and enjoy it while you can, don't waste it.