Sunday, June 30, 2013

Shoe Review: The Mizuno Wave Sayonara

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Mizuno.

You will have to wait one day after the fourth of July, but on July 5th you can declare your "Independence" from your heavy every day training shoe and pick up a pair of the Mizuno Wave Sayonara!

   Light and fast, the Men's Sayonara I tested weighs 8.1 ounces with a 10mm drop. (Heel/Toe 19/9) What I really like about them was the way my foot "sat" in them. There was the perfect amount of support without the bulky feel. There was also plenty of cushioning without the added weight as well. The Mizuno G3 Blown rubber sole is flexible and provides great traction as well.
Soles with Soul! (and Traction too!)
 The first run I did in the Wave Sayonara was a 3 mile road training run with my group from the gym. The Sayonara felt great right out of the box and my feet felt well supported and were not moving around inside the shoe at all. The sizing on these shoes are true, so I would not recommend going up a half size. I wear a size 11 and the the Sayonara I got in that size fit perfectly.
  The next day was speed work and the Wave Sayonara really shined here. We ran a Fartlek along the local Greenway with 2mins @ 7:15 pace with 2 mins recovery X 8. Even with the hammer down, my feet felt well supported and cushioned and best of all, I felt fast!
  I ran several more runs at distances of 3-5 miles at 3/4 effort and the Sayonara gave me a smooth, comfortable ride each time.
  The final test was the long run. I was interested in seeing if there were any "hot spots" that would develop on my feet over the course of a two hour run. I took the Sayonara out for a 12 miler in the North Carolina heat and humidity to see how they would hold up.
   I sweat. A lot. On a long run in the summer months I sweat enough to soak my socks and shoes clear through! This summer has gotten off to a hot start here in NC and the humidity has been awful. I was happy to find after 12 tough road miles in 80+ degrees and 90% humidity that my feet felt fine. My socks and the shoes were quite moist, but my feet were blister free and there were no hot spots. The upper mesh remained comfortable with no pinching or rubbing, and the tongue held it's ground the entire run. There were a couple of nice hill climbs on this run too, and the Sayonara's flex, support and traction on the front end of the shoe during the climb really stood out.    
Drying out and cooling off after the long run!
   This was my first experience running in Mizuno and I must say I was quite impressed! The Wave Sayonara is a great all around every day trainer that I would recommend to anyone. My Mezamashii experience was definitely eye opening!

Learn More about Mizuno Shoes and the Mezamashii Experience at

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Book Review: Got to Live, 923 Days to Remember by Jay Danek

“Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.”
John Green, The Fault in Our Stars 

Reeling from the sudden and unexpected death of his father on 9-23-2008, Jay Danek could have sat there and  let it continue to consume him. Instead, after the initial darkness, depression and anger, Jay decided to get up and get moving. "Got to Live" chronicles Jay's remarkable journey from this dark place to an inspirational 923 day run streak to honor his father's memory. Having previously not run a step, he discovers the healing power of running and his inner ultra runner is revealed.

    This book is a joy to read. Well written, it takes you along with Jay from his humble start, gaining his physical, emotional and spiritual footing in the McDowell Mountains to completing 100 mile ultra  races. While it normally takes me forever to finish a book, I tore through this book in only several sittings. That speaks volumes to this book's readability!
  Ultra runners will have many head nodding moments while reading this book, but you do not have to run a hundred miles to draw inspiration from Jay's tale of hard work, persistence and dedication.
  I strongly urge you to pick up a copy of "Got to Live". This is a very powerful book. Break out that beach chair, get a cold drink ( also a good idea to have a box of tissues) and treat yourself to some inspirational summer reading. Just be sure to get that run in first!

Buy "Got to Live" online: "Got to Live" on Amazon
Learn more about Jay:

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The 12 Hour Treadmill Challenge


         Oddly enough, the idea for the 12 hour treadmill challenge came to me while I was running on a trail. Often referred to as the "Dreadmill" for it's mind numbing, boredom inducing repetition, it is often a last resort for most of us. Even on the best of days, I would only last about an hour on one without losing my mind. So as I ran along the trail that day I wondered if it would be possible for me to last 12 hours on a treadmill. If I could somehow recalibrate my brain to endure a 12 hour treadmill run, then a 1 hour run would feel like a piece of cake right? It was right around this point I began to question my own sanity.
  But the idea stayed with me. I began to think about what it would take to pull this off. If I tied it in with  a fundraiser and publicized it, that would put enough pressure on me not only to start it, but to finish it as well! I took the idea to my bosses at the gym, who had grown accustomed to my ultra running madness and always asked me every Monday what type of crazy running event I participated in over the weekend. They too questioned my sanity, but gave their approval. The next choice was to decide what charity to do this whole thing for. The choice was easy for me. The National MS Society. My friend Jen has MS, as well as some other folks that I know from the gym. Charity, check. Gym approval, check.  Date: Saturday, June 15th, 7am-7pm 
  Holy S**t!
   I worked social media pretty hard in the days up to the event, and also put up signs throughout the gym. The local chapter of the MS Society posted about it on their Facebook page as well. No turning back now!
  I got to the gym at 6:45am and was let in early to set up. I had a table, poster and some MS information that my friend Jen provided for me. Under the table was my cooler with hummus wraps, a few diet cokes and some fruit. I had some potato chips, raisins and peanuts and a generous supply of GenerationUCAN. Three water bottles, Nuun hydration tablets and some extra shorts, shoes and shirts. I also had my phone and Walkman W, which were both fully charged.

 I watched the clock strike 7am, and pressed the start button.

  As far as goals, it was mainly to survive 12 hours without breaking down physically or mentally. Physically, I knew it was not going to be a problem. It was the mental part that worried me. My main focus was to stay in the moment and take things an hour at a time. I would be doing a run/walk approach, as I was fearful I would go out too fast early and crash hard. I settled in, and focused on getting in about 4 miles in an hour. That would put me close to my mileage goal of 50 miles, which I thought was reasonable.
  The first few hours cruised by, the gym was busy and I was getting some good donations. I felt good, and was surprised that I was not bored. Lots of friends were stopping by to chat, so that made time go by. I was taking a GenerationUCAN shake every 90 minutes and keeping up with my hydration. I was also making a concentrated effort not to turn and look at the clock on the wall, which was a mere 5 feet away. Stay on the grind. Stay on the grind.

    12pm. 5 hours down! I was now starting to take in a bit of solid food, my homemade hummus wraps, which I must say were quite tasty! I had brought four pairs of shoes and the bulk of the miles so far had been in my Saucony Kinvara 4's. I was sticking to my goal of 4 miles in an hour too.

Grinding it out!

As the afternoon wore on, the gym began to empty out. My friend Tim, who has already ran 20 miles that morning, came down from Raleigh to join me for a few miles. Jen's husband Mark came by too, and the three of us ran and talked for a bit.
  Tim and Mark had left, and I guess it was around 4pm or so when I looked around the cardio deck at the gym and realized I was the only one there. I was still feeling pretty good, hydration and nutrition were good, although my pace had dropped slightly. My feet were a little sore, but I kept changing the grade on the treadmill to  alter my foot strike. I had switched to my Montrail Rouge and had broken out a diet coke to treat myself. Damn it tasted good! I was still doing quite well mentally, much to my surprise! Staying focused on an hour at a time and a mile at a time was working well so far. I kept grinding away. When I started to get tired, someone would come by and donate and thank me for what I was doing, which was a HUGE boost.
  5PM  Two hours to go!
 Several people had trickled into the cardio deck and were getting their workouts in. I was at a point now where I knew I could make it. Right after this revelation both my phone and Walkman died. Thank God the treadmill had a TV!
  6PM The final hour. I was still in the Montrail Rouges, and despite bringing nine different shirts, I had only changed shirts one time. I also had only taken three pee breaks, dashing downstairs to void then running back up before the machine reset. The treadmill did reset on me three times while I was running, but luckily I was able to scribble down the mileage each time so as to not loose track.
 Before I knew it, the announcement came over that the gym would be closing in 15 minutes. Home stretch!
    The gym was empty as the clock struck 7pm. I hit the stop button. I had made it! Mind and body intact! (well, for the most part!)
Total mileage:  46.25

 I gathered up my gear and staggered to the car. 12 hours on the treadmill had seriously messed with my proprioception! I got home, took a glorious shower and ate some dinner. My friend Tom, who owns the local Italian restaurant, was kind enough to stop by the gym with a order of linguine with garlic, oil and grilled veggies. I destroyed the pasta, slipped on my ProCompression socks, then promptly passed out.
  I had met the challenge and broke through some mental boundaries, but the best feeling was handing the donations over to Jen on Monday and getting a hug!
Thanks to everyone who stopped by to offer encouragement, ran a bit with me, donated onsite or online and kept me on the path for 12 hours!

12 Hours, 46.25 miles completed
Over $350.00 dollars raised on site
Please consider donating! Here is a link to my friend Jen's MS Fundraiser Page. Please note "Treadmill Challenge" when you donate!
Equipment used:
Freemotion Incline Trainer

Saucony Kinvara 4
Montrail Rouge
Salomon Speedcross 3
Innov8 F Lite 195


Brooks shorts, Runworx Tech shirt, Klean Athlete Tech shirt

GenerationUCAN Packets (Lemonade)
Corn tortillas with homemade hummus
Peanuts and raisins
Potato chips

Nuun Hydration tablets Citrus Fruit Flavor
Diet Coke 
 Media Distraction:
Sony Walkman W
Cell Phone
Thanks to MTV for airing a "Ridiculousness" marathon that kept me laughing and entertained!



Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Road Trippin'

I was out in Bristol Virginia this past Saturday for a Salomon Shoe Demo/Trail Run put on by my friend Jennifer. I had not been out to the Bristol area before and as I am always looking for new places to run trail, this was a great excuse to hit the road!

  I drove out to Virginia on Friday, in some serious rain! Once I got into Va. from North Carolina the weather cleared up and by 4pm I was sitting at the hotel looking at a clear blue sky. I went into town to check things out and find the park where we would be running the next day. Jennifer had already marked the trail, so I ended up exploring about a mile of the six mile course. I had forgotten how much Virginians love their long ascents!  The trail was nice and muddy and looked like it was going to be fun to run on  and a great testing ground for trail shoes!

  Saturday morning I got up and headed to the park to meet Jennifer and help set up. The run was starting at 10am and it was going to be quite humid. The Salomon rep was there and I was going to be trying out a pair of the SpeedCross 3, which had what Jennifer described as a "Gnarly" tread, which would be great to test along the rolling, muddy single trail sections of the trail.
  The trail was awesome! Some great hills with nice downhill sections to bomb down. The SpeedCross gave me plenty of traction and felt super comfortable. Here is some video of me running along the single track section:

After the run we went back to the Mountain Sports Store for refreshments and food. It was awesome to meet the local trail runners and talk about the upcoming Iron Mountain  50 miler I will be running on Labor day weekend in Damascus, Va.!
 I got home early evening on Saturday, after a much more uneventful ride home. I was rather impressed with the Salomon  Speedcross 3, so I gave in and got myself a pair!


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Black Mountain Monster 24 Hour

 June first I ran the Black Mountain Monster, a 24 hour run along the trails and grounds of Montreat College in Black Mountain, NC.

The course was a 5K loop, consisting of a mix of single track, grassy field and a half mile of pavement. Some nice rolling hills thrown in there as well. I originally had planned to go out to Black Mountain on Friday night, but I wound up staying in town Friday to help work the GenerationUCAN booth at the Raleigh Ironman Expo. So, we left at the ass crack of dawn on Saturday morning. The 24 hour individual run had a very user friendly start time of 10am, so that certainly helped as far as making the four hour drive on the same day as the race.
 We arrived around 8:30am and set up our little staging area in "tent city" where the start/finish line was. My friend Hannah accompanied me on the trip to help crew for me and maybe run a few loops to keep me company as well. We noticed we were one of the only people not to have a canopy or tent. I seemed to recall the forecast was calling for a chance of rain, but not until Sunday, so we should be fine, right?
 We could feel it getting warm already at 9am, so I knew it would be a long day (and night). At 9:30am I had my Generation UCAN shake, some Klean Electrolytes and got ready for the start. My friends Andy, Beth and Kelly were also running the 24, so I would at least be able to see some familiar faces along the way.
 True to form, the race started and I immediately went out too fast on the first loop, jacked my heart rate up and became a sweaty mess. Only 23 hours and 30 minutes to go, you *&^%$% idiot!
  Lap number 2 was slower, and I was already struggling to find a rhythm. The first six hours were just a struggle for me. Nothing was in sync. When my heart rate was good, my legs were tired. When my legs felt good, my breathing was crappy. The heat was taking it's toll and I knew that would have a bigger effect further on into the night.
Perking up!

  Things finally seemed to get better by late afternoon, when a nice breeze had picked up. I was getting in some good laps, walking the hills and running the downhills and flats. I was doing good with hydration, keeping my hand held full and drinking often. I had changed into a dry shirt, switched out of my Altra Lone Peak 1.5 and into my Saucony Kinvara 4 and stayed on the grind. It was slow going. I kept thinking about that old Aerosmith song "Chip away at the Stone". That phrase became my mantra of the day.

 I finally hit the 50K mark after about eight hours. Ughhhh.  I was taking a lot of breaks at the start/finish area, mainly to grab a UCAN shake or a bit of Hummus, fill my water bottle and towel off a bit.
  Hannah had joined me for several laps at this point, and that was a huge boost. Now it was getting dark, so Hannah took a break to get some sleep. I put on my headlamp and headed back out. I was walking quite a bit at this point, but I was still moving, tacking on the miles. I knew I would not beat my PR of 86 miles at Hinson Lake 24 from last year, so I set my sights on 100K. Things were going okay thru the early part of the night, then around 1:30am somewhere near my 50 mile mark, it began to rain. Just a few drops at first, then it picked up to a steady rain. I immediately thought of Hannah, who can sleep rather soundly, laying out there in the field, along with my gear, getting soaking wet.
  I picked up the pace and rumbled into the start/finish area to find Hannah already evacuating herself and the gear to a spot underneath a canopy where the musicians had played earlier in the day. While not completely soaked, pretty much all my gear was depressingly moist. I hung out under the shelter waiting to see if this rain was going away. It did stop, only to pick back up  minutes later. I was three laps away from 100K, but I was done. 17 laps, 85K, 52+ miles.
 We schlepped our gear up the hill to the car and decided rather then try to drive back home at 3am, we would grab a nap in the car and head out first thing in the morning. What followed was three hours of restless rotation, trying to find a comfortable spot in the car. By 6am I had enough, and we drove into town to get gas and grab a cup of coffee before the trip home.
  Several of the local police officers were in the convenience store drinking coffee when we strolled in. We looked rough! It probably looked like we has just come off a Meth bender. I am surprised we were not held for questioning!
Coffee Please!
  The ride back home was an endurance challenge in itself, but we made it home safe and sound. Although I was somewhat disappointed not to get more miles in, I didn't get injured and I learned a few things. There are worse ways to spend a day.  I will be back at the Black Mountain Monster Next year, shooting for 100K and beyond!

My Endurance Hummus Recipe:
1 15oz can of Chick Peas, drained and rinsed
Juice of a Lemon
2-3 Garlic Cloves, minced
3 Tbls. Tahini
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
Place first 5 ingredients food processor and pulse to blend. Then with machine running, add small amounts of water until desired consistency  is achieved.
You can also add in half an Avocado in final stage of blending.
Sprinkle with Paprika or ground cumin.

I usually spread this on corn tortillas and keep them in my pack for a quick snack along the trail!   

Monday, June 3, 2013

Meet my friends at

If you are into running, and like me, especially trail running, you are more than likely into the environment, being green and helping others.  My friends over at share these very beliefs and more and are ready to show the world at their new site !

  I am excited to be working with these folks as a Kindrunner Ambassador. Here is a little info about them: 

They have just officially launched their site today so be sure to swing by! The first 500 customers to buy a pair of shoes from will receive free socks for the rest of their life!

Here are a few things that make Kindrunner so unique:

    -Confident Runner Pricing – An option presented upon checkout which rewards those who know exactly what they are looking for. This option waives the Free Return Shipping but offers the shoe at a below retail price. Shipping of product to customer is still free, as is the return shipping of donated shoes for Kindness Cash Rewards Program.
    -Free 3 Way Shipping – Free shipping of your order to you, free shipping of any returns for any reason, free shipping of your donated shoes back to us for re-purposing with Soles 4 Souls or The More Foundation Group.
    -Kindness Cash Rewards Program – This is what turns your old shoes into credit towards new ones or any product on our website. KCR are available to the customer after any footwear purchase (the idea behind this is to replace your old shoes with new ones, and keep the old ones out of the garbage, landfills, or ones closet… thus why it is available after footwear purchase). Upon receipt of their footwear order, customers have the option to place their old shoes into the KindRunner shipping box and place the pre-paid return label on the box for shipment back to us.  Upon receipt of the label, we will scan the bar code and place the KCR onto the customers account for future use.  Each return label (whether it contain one pair or 4 pairs of shoes) is worth $10 KCR per new shoes purchased (5 pairs purchased on that order, you can earn up to $50 KCR) or credits towards future purchase. The KCR can be used to purchase ANYTHING that kindrunner sells and will never expire.
    --Expert Product Reviews – Some of you may have seen some of these on our youtube page, Each and every product we carry will come with an expert product review video on the same page that the product is listed on.  These videos are done by individuals who have worked in the running industry for a number of years either as shoe reps, store owners, or expert shoe fitters at one of the oldest running stores in the nation. We bring the knowledge of your neighborhood specialty run shop to the comforts of your own home!
    -Easy 365 returns – A customer has 365 days to return any product, so long as it is in its original packaging and in its original condition.  If you are injured and unable to use the shoe, if your doctor wants you in a different model because of orthotics, no worries… no questions asked!

So instead of feeling guilty about that next running shoe purchase, buy a pair through kindrunner! Get expert advice, free shipping, send in your old shoes for Kindness Cash Rewards and feel good knowing you are helping people and the environment!
 Now THAT is pretty cool isn't it?