July 2015: What I am LOVING

5 Things I’m Loving Now

1.  Hoka Challenger ATRs. I needed a new pair of shoes for Zion 100K (April 2015). It was a choice between Pearl Izumi EM N2s and the Hoka Challenger ATR. These two shoes are nothing a like.  I trained in the Nike Terra Kiger’s for Zion. I wore them through the entire training cycle. The Kiger’s were great for shorter distance running and training, but I did not like them for longer training runs, and I was not sure I wanted to get a new pair to wear in Zion. I was averaging 65-70 miles a week, during my peak,  and the Kiger’s were not working well for that amount of running. I chose the Pearl’s and ran Zion in them.  I was not as enthusiastic about the Pearl’s as I was the Kiger’s. So, I bought the Hoka ATR’s, when I got back from Utah. I had a pair of Hoka’s before, and I did not like them. I felt like I was tripping on them and that they were too “moon-shoeish”. The ATR’s have a different feel and I like them. I am getting ready to buy a second pair. Depending on the color you choose, they currently sell for $90.99-$130.

2. Oiselle Roga shortsThis is my second year wearing these shorts, almost exclusively. I just love them. The make them in long, regular or mac. I wear the regulars. They have a 4″ inseam. I am 5′ 10″ and 153 lbs. I wear a size 8. They changed their sizing from last year. They used to sell them in XS, S, M, L. They now sell them in sizes 2-12. I have them in black, midnight, burgundy, violet and hot pink. The only color that I would love to own is “pop”. I may purchase it soon. I like them because the fabric is stretchy and light. They have a wide waist band, with an inner draw string. They sit a bit above the hips. They have one small zipper pocket in the back, easy to store a gel and a car key. The sell for $46.

3. Suunto Ambit2. I have owned this watch now since March 2014. Prior to this Suunto, I had a Garmin for several years. The Garmin is pretty much ‘charge and go’, depending on the model. This took a bit more effort on my part to set it up. I admit that I still do not know all that it can do. If you are in the market for a watch to keep track of more than one discipline and a watch that has a long battery life, check out the Ambit2 review on DC rainmaker. His site does a great job of reviewing gear. You can get the Ambit2 for around $280 without the HR monitor. The Ambit3 was released 9/2014.  Some new features include mobile phone integration such as workout uploading and smartphone notifications.

4. Track Tuesday! Running on the track is a great training compliment to any running surface or distance. I have learned a lot about running,  on the track. It has taught me how to feel my effort. It has taught me how to push myself and still stay composed. It has improved my running form and efficiency. It is also a very measurable workout. There is no guess work. You know the distance. You have a time. Different speeds on the same oval produce different results. There is so much to do on the track! I believe it is a very effective tool. SO much more than just “getting faster”, SO much more. Track can be intimidating, but I bet there is a group at almost every track in your town and mine that would welcome a new runner. Try it!

5. Trail running! I am almost exclusively trail running now. This quote is from an article by Lauren Marie Fleming via Matt Gunn, race director for the Grand Circle Trail Series in Utah and Arizona,  titled, 7 Tips for Fat Hikers And Others Who Don’t Look Like The REI Commercial. Matt suggested modifying Lauren’s use of “hikers” and replace it with “runners”.

The best way to get confident doing something is to do it over and over again. You’ll never be fully comfortable trail running (hiking)-mostly because trail running (hiking) is all about stepping out of your comfort zone, in a good way- you’ll start to trust that you won’t fall off a cliff, be eaten by a bear, bitten by a snake, or sprain your ankle. It’ll get easier, you’ll get more comfortable, and you’ll learn to love the moments of triumph when you stop to catch your breath at the top of a mountain and are greeted by a breathtaking view.

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