Sunday, September 4, 2011

K-Swiss K-Ruuz Shoe Review

I was looking around last year for a new pair of running shoes and came across the new K-Swiss K-Ruuz's. I read several articles about them in the Tri magazines that I get and being that I dabble occasionally in Tri's, I was really interested. I am not your average follow the normal path that others follow kind of guy and I knew there was something about these shoes that intrigued me. I knew that K-Swiss had sponsored people like Mirinda Carfrae and Andreas Raelert to name a few pro triathletes, but other than that, I just knew them as a tennis shoe company that had been around for awhile. Nobody here in Tulsa carries these shoes, so I knew that I would have to take a risk and order them online. I do not like to buy shoes that I have not tried on, but I found a deal at that offered free returns, so I thought, why not. So, this is my review.
I entered in my information to their website and two days later, this appeared on my door step. has awesome two day free shipping and two days later I was the proud owner of a pair of K-Swiss K-Ruuzs.
The box itself is pretty cool. I normally run in New Balance and they have a pretty plain looking brown box, but this actually had colors and I like the K-Swiss logo.
This view of the box made me feel like I was back in grade school and I was buying a new pair of tennis shoes. There is nothing wrong with that as it brought back great memories as child. I like old school!
The shoe itself is an attention getter. It screams, "Look at Me"! The patriotic color pattern is awesome with the three colors of the red, white, and blue perfectly blended together. I remember running the Mother Road Half Marathon last year and when I went through a small town in Kansas, a guy on the sidelines yells out, "It's all about the shoes"!
The main view from the outer side is the blue, which I think was a good choice, versus having the white as the outer.
The white inside is fine, but it definitively is not an attention getter by itself. Put all three together and it works.
The bottom of the shoe continues with the Red, White, and Blue scheme. This is a racing flat through and through. Who needs wimpy gels or cushioning?
This shoe is made to breathe easy, wick away moisture, and transition easy from the bike to the run. Ease and speed is this shoe's mantra.
From the front it looks like a bad dude coming at you. It reminds me of the Ford Raptor that comes at you and looks like something out of a Maximum Overdrive movie.
The front mesh is very breathable and allows for sockless running.
As you can see, this is like wearing a sock with a piece rubber on the bottom. Nothing as serious as Vibrams, but this is built for speed.
Very, very breathable. A lot of daylight comes through this shoe.
My last pair of road running shoes were the Asics Hyper-Speeds. A very good shoe worn by Ryan Hall. They were decent shoes, but the K-Swiss looks better. The Asics were very plain.
The close up of the back of the Asic shoe shows that you are not getting very much under your heel.

In comparison, the K-Swiss has a 20mm heel and 10mm drop from heel to toe. They still have a slight drop and are not like the newer shoes that are having no or very little heel drop. The weight on this is supposed to be at 7.1 oz's. Very light, but that is the way I like it. So, enough talk, time to take them out for a run.
Don't they look nice? So how did they fair?
Well, after 1,300 miles. Yes, that is correct. 1,300 miles in a racing flat. This is my normal running shoe, not just my racing shoe. I train in this shoe all the time. I do not believe in using a lot of cushioning, but that is another blog.
The biggest issue I had was my big toe ended up blowing through the side. I think the rest of the shoe held up fairly well in spite of all the mileage.
The bottom of the shoe ended having part of the black rubber piece on the heel come off. The rest of it, looked fine. This is the left shoe.
This is a closer view of the heel. Even without this piece, it was fine. I don't want the cushioning anyway.
On the right shoe, the front part of the shoe starting digging a groove into it. This is because I tend to pronate a little bit and I definitively put a little bit more pressure on that spot. It still worked fine.
Inside the shoe, it still looked great. I thought that it would not be built solidly enough with the additional breathability that the shoe has. Kudo's to the team for designing the stitching so that it held up to my 1,300 miles of wear.
Amazingly, the K-Swiss sticker inside the shoe was still intact. A little bit peeled, but still there.
The outside of the shoe still looked good. From this side, it still looked OK. You just can't see the hole on the other side where my big toe was sticking out.
Even the little K-Swiss sticker on the side of the shoe was still there. Amazing shoe.

Overall, I really liked this shoe. It has carried me through treadmill speed workouts, training runs, and from 5K's to Marathons. Yes, I have ran Marathons in these. I probably have ran over 20 races in them if I went back and checked. I would recommned this shoe to anyone. Is it for everyone, maybe not? I think if people really dug into the importance of proper footwear selection to maintain full tendon and muscle usage during running, they would check into this shoe and others like it. I would recommend it and I have got great use out of it. A great entry for K-Swiss into the running shoe market.

I guess now, I may have to get a new pair of shoes now or can I get 1,400 miles out them?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Summer Review 2011

Well, it's been awhile since I last posted. Pretty much the entire summer has passed. This summer has been one of challenges and extreme weather. In June we had one day below 90 and we are currently at least over 45 plus days of above 100 degree weather. As I am writing this, it is 105 and we are only a few weeks from Fall. Needless to say, training has been hard to muddle through in these conditions.

The last post I had was the OKC Half Marathon. A couple of weeks after that, I ran the Full Moon 5K and set a new PR of 18:28. That really hurt. I don't have any pictures as we left the camera at home and realized we did not have it on the way to the race. The race had decent weather, but it was kind of muggy and a lot of speedsters came out. I was really happy with the new PR, but I would still like to get under 18. Is it possible?
During the month of June, my legs pretty much felt dead and I did not do any races. This usually does not happen. I still kept running, but did some cycling and swimming. I thought about doing a Tri, but it never happened. We headed back to Illinois around the 4th of July for vacation and on the 4th, we headed to E. Moline, IL for the Firecracker Run. My legs were not expecting much, but the entire family wanted to do it and who could resist. The race has a 5K and 10K option with the same start time. The 5K is really flat and the 10K is really hilly. Of course I opted for the 10K and everyone else did the 5K. I knew I was not going to be able to have a great race, but I still wanted to get under 40. I managed to squeeze in at 39:57. Not a great race, but with dead legs and hills, I was pleased.
Wyatt ended up 3rd in his age group in the 5K and I was 2nd my age group. We both got a neat little trophy and memories that will last.
After the race it was time to relax. After all, we were on vacation. We spent the rest of the time on the farm, doing very little but chilling. Shannon likes driving the 4-wheeler and I was brave enough to join her. It was a good visit and great time to see my mom and family again. It is a very nice place to do nothing.
At the end of July, I did the Chris Brown Duathlon, 5K run, 30K bike, and 5K run. Race time temps were in the low 80's, nice. Nothing like sweating just standing in place. I ran a decent first 5K with a decent bike, but slowed down on the 2nd 5K. I won my age group by close to 5 minutes, so I was pleased with my time. Phillip West was the overall winner, but ended up getting disqualified for taking his bike out of transition early. I am not for sure what that was about, but it was really strange how it all came down.
Yeah, another mug. I know mugs are cheap, but race director's need to really start thinking outside the box for awards. I still appreciate it and I am glad to get it.
Last weekend was the Riverside 5000. A great race put on by Tulsa Runner and good friend, Trani Matthews. The main concept of the race is to have an elite division that races for money and have an open race for the rest of us. Trani tried hard to talk me into doing the elite race as there was money for the top 3 Masters, but once they announced that it was age graded, I stayed in the open. It would have been neat to race in it, but the winning time was 14:51. I would have finished several minutes later, but I would not have been last.

The open race is kind of the opening of the cross country season for the schools and as you can see, I am up front and I think I am the only one able to shave.
Here I am sprinting towards the finish. I ended up 19th overall, but I was the second Master. Everyone else was a lot younger than me that ended up ahead of me. My final time was 18:43 and Trani was 18:35. I have some work to do, but Trani look out, I am gunning for you! LOL.

Hopefully it will not be so long before I post again. I need to write a review on some running shoes, so maybe this weekend I can squeeze it in. In the meantime, I am thinking about switching back to strictly running in preparation to go sub 3 hrs in the Marathon. That would be pretty cool to do, but I don't know if I can just run? This is my first full week just running and it already driving me nuts. I am used to cycling and swimming and not just running. The jury is still out on this.

I should end up around 60 running miles for the week. Not monumental, but decent for the first full week. I may add a double run one day next week. We shall what happens. The lure of triathlon and the Ironman always looms in the background. It is just too bad I am not that great of swimmer. I need to improve on the bike also, but the swim is where the majority of work is needed. I guess there is always Duathlons? For now, I will just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Friday, May 13, 2011

OKC Half Mathon Race Report

Another OKC Marathon has come and gone and I have to say this was the most memorable one for several reasons. First off, I only did the Half Marathon. I know, I know. Throw the popcorn, heave the pop cans, and let the raspberry's fly. I really struggled with not doing the full and felt like a complete wimp for not doing so. So, here are my excuses or reasons why:

1) Easier recovery time to come back and maybe do a Half Ironman or other future races. Sounds like a viable plan.

2) I have been concentrating on short races and have not done many longer runs. That was because of my previous race schedule.

3) I have been running good lately and wanted to PR in the half. Why leave the race disappointed in my Full Marathon time when I could do a good half. Plus, it is a lot less painful.

Whether these are good plans or excuses, let me say that I was so glad that I did not do the Full and here is why.

Just imagine yourself sailing on the high seas with Captain Bligh en-route to find Moby Dick. A storm has blown up and the ship is rocking back and forth, the winds are howling, and it looks like the ship may go down. That is kind of how race day felt. When I got up at 4 am to get ready, the weather was perfect. 54 degrees with light winds. I checked the weather map and it looked like the rain may stay to south of us. After letting the dogs out of the hotel room and loading up the kids, we headed for downtown OKC. We parked in our usual spot. This secret spot is not to be revealed on this blog. I would have to hunt everyone down.

I made it to the corner of the OKC Memorial and got in the port-a-potty and guess what, it started raining. My plan at this point was to stay in the blue port-a-potty portal, hope the rain might pass, and maybe catch a nap, but I decided to brave the elements like a good warrior. As soon as I made it out of the funky, blue water holder, it started to pour rain. Lightning started shortly after and the cold front moved in. Mark Twain once said that everyone complains about the weather, but no one does anything about it. At this point I wanted let the people on the weather channel know how I felt about their great forecast. That language would not be suited for this blog.

We made it over to a Catholic church and found an overhang and tried to stay out of the elements at this point. The front had dropped temps at least 10 degrees and the wind chill felt like I was back in Illinois going around a corner of a building.
I waited my time out and hoped I was not committing some kind of offense against the Pope by using the Church grounds as shelter from the storm. I can honestly say that I never considered just loading back up and heading home. Now, all my family considered that, but I did not. I figured it was only a Half Marathon. That shouldn't be bad.

After waiting around for the start, I ventured out in the rain towards the start line and there was nobody lining up. Now either the race had been canceled or the rapture had just taken place. I was wrong on both accounts. They had moved the start back to 7 AM instead of 6:30, so it was back to an overhang to stay dry. I waited as long as I thought possible and started over to the corral at about 10 minutes till 7. As I started shedding layers of clothes to the Mrs. and headed to the "A" corral, they were just getting ready to shut the gate for the corrals. From that point it was like a Bugs Bunny cartoon to get closer. Excuse me, pardon me, excuse me, pardon me, until I got fairly close to the front. This was one of the longest 10 minutes I ever waited for the race to start. The cold rain was coming down, the wind was blowing, and I was cold. I was ready at this point to set something on fire. The wheelchair racers took off and 5 minutes later it was time for us to go.

I had chosen to wear a singlet and go with the arm panties, in case it warmed up. I can hear laughter from the readers at that thought. Not happening on this day. I had a hard time settling into a good pace. I don't know if it was the weather or watching this guy next me running without a shirt. I figured they would find him later frozen in mid-stride around mile 9.

I saw a local triathlete guy from Tulsa and settled in behind him and realized that he was pacing the 1:30 half group. I went through the first mile in 6:30 and I knew I needed to pick up the pace. In between mile 1 and 2 there are a few hills and that mile was a little slower than planned. Once I got on a flatter section, I sped up. At this point I was dropping sub 6:20 pacing and was really wondering if I was not overdoing it. My tendency is to go out too hard and hang on for dear life. I felt good at this point and decided to go with it. I managed to go through the 10K at around 39:30 and still felt good. The rain was still pounding us and at various points on the course we had a direct wind or a crosswind. It was so nice after the 10K point to turn to the left and head back downtown. I did not have to experience the loneliness of Lake Hefner, let alone the weather. Going out around Hefner always makes me feel like that I have been transported to a remote island and that I am being chased by the local natives. Definitively a creepy part of the race. Glad I wasn't there!

I hit Classen Blvd. and went through the 15K in 59:48. Sub 60 at the Tulsa run will be a piece of cake this year. I started to feel it a little bit in the last 5K, but I was able to maintain a good, solid pace. I knew I just needed to hang on and bring it in strong.

The last portion of the race has some smaller hills, so I kept my cadence up and finally made the turn onto the straight stretch towards home. There were several of us bunched up at that point and some started to take off to sprint towards the finish. I dug down deep and started picking up the pace. I was able to hit some sub 6 minute miles in this last section and when I got close I saw that I was getting close to breaking 1:25. I picked it up a little bit more and finished in a gun time of 1:25 and chip time of 1:24:55. Good enough for 1st in may age group and 28th overall out of over 7,700 runners.

The OKC Marathon is such a special race and the ambiance around it cannot be matched. The reason we run is to remember those who lost their lives during this evil act of terrorism on innocent men, women, and children. Even with the rain, I was glad I did the race and was proud of being a part of something that transcends all human comprehension. This race is ran with the body, but the Spirit is what really comes alive. God bless all the families that were affected on that tragic day.
May God rest their soul.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Spring Fever Tri 2011 Race Report

When I was a kid the old timers at the pool hall used to say, "better late than never". That may be a good saying for getting to church or maybe a funeral, but I am not sure how it really applies in life. As the minutes go by so are the days of our lives. Or was it like sands through an hourglass? This is bringing back a flashback to my youth of being tortured as a child by this giant hourglass and having to endure an hour of television torture. With three channels to choose from and not much else going on, I went outside. What does this have to do with anything? I am not for sure. All I know is that this is my overdue race report. Better to have finally penned my experience than to have forgotten the times that have passed. That saying would not have went over in the pool hall.
I have done this Sprint once before, but I skipped it the last several years due to doing the OKC Marathon. The races are only a few weeks apart and falls about the same time I need to get my last long run in. This year, the Owasso Tri club had several members participating and had built a lot of excitement around it, so I thought what the heck, I will sign up and do it and maybe just do the half at OKC this year.

The race takes place at the Claremore Rec. Center and starts with a 400 meter swim, followed by a 12 mile bike, and a 2 mile run. This is really too short for me as my swim is my weakest link and it would not leave me enough time to make up on the bike and run. I figured I would give it my best shot and see if I could at least land an age group award. I knew my run would be strong, but I really had no expectations for the swim other than get on dry ground.

Here we are discussing some pre-race strategy before the swim. Really we were just watching the other swims ahead of us and thinking, my swim is not that bad after seeing some of the others.
The race starts a swimmer every 10 seconds based upon what you estimate your swim time to be. I put down 8:40 and thought that was being aggressive. I had not really swam that much over the winter and thought I would be somewhere close to that. A lot of people either don't time themselves or they just lie when they put down their swim time as we saw people ahead of us doing side strokes and back strokes to complete their swim. The swim is a snake swim and you have to duck under the ropes after every lane is completed until you finish. It usually ends up as a cluster somewhere as people bunch up sooner or later.
If you look behind me as I am going up the ropes, their is a guy walking. My understanding was that he walked the entire thing, except where he could not touch and then he did the breast stroke. All I know was that I kept kicking him and told him to go around. I would have thought he would have got tired of me kicking him, but maybe he thought it was part of some weird triathlon ritual. Either way, I think he needs to learn to swim.
Finally made it out and time to head to tranistion area in 9:01. A little over the 8:40 mark. Must have been the King Fu kicks I had to use on my opponent in the pool.

Transition this year was in the shed on the tennis courts. The area itself was quite long and it made our times a little slower. I am not the best at getting in and out fast, so I will need to work on this if I am going to get better.
Made it out on the bike and it was time to head for the hills. Immediately after you leave the expo area, you have a huge hill that goes up by the University. Nothing like making you cry for your Momma before you have a chance to dry off.

On the way out to the turnaround, I was flying past people who had faster swims and I made it to the 6 mile turnaround in 14 minutes. I turned around and all I can say it was like being in a wind tunnel. No wonder I was flying on the way out. The bike times started to drop. I was still able to pass others and did not get passed by anyone. My return to the transition took me 22 minutes. It went from 14 to 22. Brutal winds.
Transition number two heads out the other door for a short 2 mile run. I was feeling good going out and knew I had a pretty good clip going. I didn't have my Garmin, but had a stopwatch on and I did not know how fast I was going. When I made the turnaround, it looked like I hit the first mile in 5:40.
This is the fast and furious Eddie James heading out on his run. Eddie rocked the course and represented the Owasso Tri club well.
Here I am heading back into the finish. I knew I was going to be close to have a 12 minute even split and I came across the line in 12:01 for the 2 mile run. Not bad for an old guy.
Here is Eddie's better half, Sharon heading out on the run. She also rocked the course and got an age group award. I need to get an Owasso Tri suit instead of my Tulsa Triathletes one. Nothing against them, just need to update.
After it was all said and done, I managed a 2nd in my age group and finished 23rd overall in 1:00:54. 22nd best bike and 8th best run. I won't mention the swim.

I had a great time and it is always nice to get an award. The weather overall was nice, but a little too breezy for the bike. That is part of the fun of things of racing no matter what the elements throw at you. I am glad I did the race and hopefully represented the club well.

I now I need to figure out what to do next? I am torn between concentrating on running or maybe do some more Tris? I might even do some cycling? Prayerfully I will figure it out soon as race season is definitely upon us. Results can be found here.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Where Do I Start?

It's been about 2 months since I have blogged and a lot has went on. First off, I changed jobs and that adjustment has really taken up a lot of my time. I am still working for the same bank, but just in a new capacity. I have went from the night shift to day shift and it has really thrown my schedule off. Getting up at 5 AM to run really stinks. I am used to having my mornings free after getting the kids on the bus. Now I have fit it in where I can. This is after 6 years of working nights that I have to re-adjust. At least I am able to see my kids at night during the week. There is always a positive side to everything.

Since I have last blogged, I have done several races.
In Feb., I did the Sweetheart double run at Mohawk Park. I ran the 5K and then about 40 mins later, ran the 10K. I wanted to race the 5K hard and make the 10K a nice tempo run, but I know once they fire the gun, that all changes. Here I am running with the Kenyans. Not really.
My plan was to try and break 19 minutes in the 5K. As you can see, I barely made it, 18:58. That was the first time I have ever been under 19 minutes. It was an awesome feeling, but I couldn't rest too long as I had to get ready for the 10K. I took off in the 10K at a nice tempo pace and held on to it to finish in 6th place overall. Not bad for after running the 5K. The results can be found here.
Next up was the Post Oak 25K Trail run. I was on the committee for this race last year and was volunteering both days to help keep the aid stations stocked and was unable to run it. This year it was a really cold day with a low level mist raining on us all day. I took off too hard at the first and was in 2nd place for the first 5 or 6 miles. A couple of guys came up behind me and I settled in with them for several miles. After stopping at a couple aid stations, they dropped me and I ended up in 5th place overall. I was pretty happy with my time as it is a really hard course and challenges you throughout.
One of the challenges of the course is that if you get off the trail, you will pay for it. Towards the end of the race, I caught up to some slower 10K runners and had to go off course to get around them and this is what happens. This is part of trail running whether you like or not. Overall it was a great race. The results can be found here.
Next up I did the St. Patrick's Day 5k, but I have no pictures. This one of my favorite races put on by the best running store in Tulsa, Runnersworld. I am fortunate to be on their race team and was glad to be a part of it. This race benefits the Special Olympics and kind of kicks off the Spring racing season. I ran a really good race and set a new PR, 18:45. Can I get closer to 18? Hmmm. Not bad for an old guy. The results can be found here.

The next day I did the Tall Chief Cove Road Race in Skiatook. Not a running race, but cycling. Cycling is a totally different animal and I have experimented a little with it in the past. This was a very hilly course, but I thought I would try it. I am not the lightest guy and I pay for it on the hills.

As we lined up for the start, one of the race officials walks over and says that one of my teammates has his number pinned on wrong and I need to fix it. No problem, I start to fix it and they start telling everyone to line up. What? I just get the last pin in and they start the race. The peloton ends up taking off up the hill before I can even get going. I end up behind the truck and trying to play catch up. I pass a few people on the hill, but the main group is already turning towards the downhill and my race is over before it starts. Once you get out of the draft on a cycling race, it very hard to get back in. A common phrase talks about getting spit out of the back and that is just what happened to me. Needless to say, I was not happy and headed home as soon as the race was over.
Next up was the Lake McMurtry 25K trail run over by Stillwater. I have done this race at least 5 times and look forward to it every year. It is put on by TATUR and is a great time to enjoy the woods and meet up with old friends.
Here is good friend Aaron Ochoa coming in to the finish. Aaron was going to try and run the first loop with me, but once we got to the gravel road, I left him behind. He is a great runner, but he went out too fast on top of his injury.
All the years we have gone to Lake McMurtry, Julie has never ran the race. She signed up for the 12K with the goal of not finishing last and she smoked that easily. Great job!
I have been fortunate enough to be a part of the Owasso tri club and several of the members came over and ran the race. Here is Sharon James and John Stanfield coming in for the finish.
My overall race went well other than a face plant, getting lost, and cramping a bit after the first loop. My goal was to break 2 hrs., but I managed a 2:01:02. This was good enough for 3rd overall and entitled me to a cool trophy. After the race, it was time to relax, eat, and talk about the day. What a beautiful day and race. Results can be found here.

Next up is the Spring Fever Tri in Claremore tomorrow. 400m pool swim, 12 mile bike, and 2 mile run. I am going to try and get under 1 hr, but I think the swim will decide that. I am not the fastest swimmer, but I can get through it. If this goes well, then I will decide what races to do next. Hopefully, I will do better at blogging after this race.