Monday, October 21, 2013

Big and Scary...

This won't be a wordy post. It says it all on my fundraising page..  My Father-in-Law is an absolutely wonderful person. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. I am going to run a marathon. For him. And I am going to fundraise for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. For him. And I would appreciate any dollar you can donated. For him, and everyone else who has, or who loves someone who has, Parkinson's.

Please donate here if you are able.

I will blog a-plenty as training ramps up in late November. Together, we will fight Parkinson's!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Running in the Inov-8 Road-X-Treme 118...

I have no idea why it's taken so long to write this review. Maybe it's because, given my recent pickiness with shoes, I'm worried I'll share a review with you all and then immediately regret it. I'm not sure. 

After my nagging dissatisfaction with my New Balance Minimus Zeroes, I wanted to try another shoe. I'm desperate for that mythical 'perfect' shoe. And in the meantime, I barrel through 'absolutely not's, 'meh's, and 'just not quite it's. 

I told you about my most recent (and final) visit to the local running/tri store that resulted in the disastrously squishy Altras. So I decided to try out Optimal Run's personal footwear recommendation service. You fill out a fairly detailed form. They return a video recommendation for you based on your wants/needs/goals/problems/etc. Even my vague "I don't like them, but I don't exactly know why" form elicited a detailed recommendation. (Seriously, check them out here).  They suggested I try the Merrell Road Glove Dash 2 or the Inov-8 Road X Treme 118.  I found a store where I could try on the Merrell. There was just a bit too much underfoot for my tastes... though they may be ideal for a marathon. I'd love to try them sometime, but I ultimately pulled the trigger on the Inov-8s. 

Inov-8 Road-X-Treme 118 (product page)

The first, immediate drawback to Inov-8 is the lack of color choices. In the Road-X-Treme, there are no options. At all. Each model comes in one color. Luckily, these are fun, and not black. I can't do boring shoes. 

At 4.2 oz, with a mesh liner and breathable uppers, these shoes are light. They feature the fold-over style tongue, giving you a one-piece upper. The soles have good flexibility, especially toward the front of the foot. They also feature high-grip rubber in certain spots. The toe box is wide though not squared off. The heel box is snug but not narrow.

Immediate impressions were that these shoes are light, no-fuss no-muss putting them on, and great groundfeel. 

So, time to run! I have now taken my 118s through long runs, short runs, a bit of crosstraining, a half marathon, dry conditions, sand, gravel, and wet leaves. They are light and responsive. The connection to the ground is perhaps a teeny bit less than the Minimus Zero, but nothing that would cause complaint. You still have fantastic groundfeel. I can feel and am aware of both my footstrike and what my foot is striking. I haven't had any problem with the laces coming undone once double-knotted, which is fantastic! The Zero required that I tuck my laces into themselves or else they would slowly come undone. 

The toe box is plenty roomy. My middle toe is actually the longest toe on my foot.. makes peep-toe heels ugly and running shoes problematic. I've had no problems in the 118s. No epic blister emerged after my most recent Half. I do occasionally feel that my toes are starting to go numb. I chalk this up to the lacing and tongue system. I would love to try a shoe like the Skora where the laces are offset to the side. The tops of my feet are quite high, and I do feel that it can be tricky to lace the 118s without feeling and being aware of the laces pressing into the top of my foot. I'm hoping a new lacing pattern will fix this issue. The good news is the toe box is plenty wide enough to wiggle my toes and get the numb feeling to go away without having to stop.  The heel is not super snug, but I have never felt any slippage. 

When I first saw this shoe, I was extremely concerned about grip. I run in rain and snow, never the treadmill. I run on leaves, sand, gravel, whatever the sidewalk may throw at me. The Minimus Zero had done well in weather, but would have poor traction in sand or gravel on the sidewalk. I have not yet had the opportunity to try the 118s in weather, but have run on wet leaves, sand and gravel on a sidewalk, and even a brief portion of dirt trail in my last Half. Don't let the soles deceive you... these shoes did not slip! I feel much more secure in the 118s than I ever did in the Zero. I hope to try them in rain soon, though I suspect I may need to find a better shoe for snow/icy conditions.

Overall, I am highly impressed with the Road-X-Treme 118. Light, zero-drop, responsive, roomy toe box, secure laces. I've comfortably run everything from a fast mile to a half marathon in them. I wear a 7.5 in regular shoes/heels/etc. and wear an 8.5 in the 118.