Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wide Feet Problem

Have been taking it easy the past couple of days since the Saturday LSD run during which, I've inflamed extensor (top of foot) and achilles tendonitis (back of ankle) on my right foot as a result of the following combination:
1. Running too fast of a pace (5'30"), 
2. for too long a distance (30K), 
3. with a brand new shoe with narrow fit.
My 2nd pair of Hoka in less than a year. I haven't had any toe-wiggle room issues with my first pair, the Challenger ATR2, which I got a full size larger (US8.5). Had issues with my foot sliding around with too much toe box room when I ran at blistering fast paces (sub 4'30"). That is why I made the conscious  decision to go up only half a size (US8) for the Tracer. It fitted snugly when I tried it at the shop, expecting it the mesh material to loosen up with more mileage. Perhaps I was a bit too ambitious to go on to pilot the shoe on a tempo long run. That's how I ended up inflaming my right foot and had to walk the last couple of KMs back to the starting point on that long run.

Trying out an alternative lacing solution for wide feet. Managed to try out the setup for a short run around the neighborhood this evening, and it felt great! Just can't quite get over the awkward looking lacing configuration. Ah, well whatever works...

Sunday, November 27, 2016

First Impression of the Hoka One One Tracer

Got to put the Tracer through its paces on this fine Saturday morning's long run. The supposed LSD (Long, Slow Distance) run turned out to be a tempo run for most of the distance from our usual starting point at Bulatan Park to the junction to the crocodile farm in Kuala Baram with a full loop distance of approximately 33KMs. One hell of a long run with an average tempo pace of 5'30" per kilometre for the first 26KM. Fast and furious, at least by my standard, for that long of a distance.

The Tracer looks quite stunning on feet, and looks fast even when at standstill. It held quite well through its maiden run, and truly feels like a fast road shoe as it's been made out to be. Very lightweight and responsive, it has that familiar feel with my previous go-to shoes for marathon, namely the Saucony Kinvara 6 and Skechers GoRun4, with similar 4mm heel-to-toe offset. Here's my take on the shoe after a 3-hour plus break-in run:

- Lightweight (pretty unbelievably lightweight for this amount of shoe)
- Smooth transition (Meta-rocker geometry works perfectly, and no noticeable step change feel although the midsole uses 2 distinct materials with different density)
- Decent amount of cushioning (Pro2Lite uses 2 distinct midsole materials - softer for the heel, and firmer for the forefoot) 
- Very good ventilation (a lot of breath-ability with the upper mesh design, aids with cooling and feels like a quick to dry shoe  when getting into wet situations)
- Decent traction and stability (looks like a tall-ish shoe but it's got a cradling bucket seat foot frame inside)
- Comfy padded shoe tongue
- No visible sole wear after a 30+ KM run (really expecting to get more mileage out of this fast road shoe)

- Forefoot cushioning feels a bit too firm (for runs longer than half-marathon distances)
- Narrow toe-box fit (had a bit of rubbing issues on my left pinky toe, and toe splay feels restricted; looking to sort out the hot spot with proper lacing)
- Minor creases starting to appear on the toe-box area at the bending (to be expected, I guess)

This is my 5th pair of running shoe in rotation at the moment. The GoRun4 and K6 looks like they're going to be retired in the near future, given their current condition and wear rate.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Running on cloud nine

First post in more than 5 years, so I'm keeping my 2011 resolution #5 alive. A lot has happened since, priorities change, and so does my outlook on life. Running has become quite a significant part of my life as of late.
2011 was the year that I started running casually, but it was not until a year and a half ago that I began pursuing it with endeavor. Have logged 3 Half Marathons, 3 Full Marathons, 1 Spartan (Super), and a Beach Ultra (50K), since. Going forward, this ranting space of mine will be mainly revolving around running theme. You've guessed it, my first post after a 5-year hiatus is going to be about a shoe, running shoe to be exact. 

This is my 2nd pair of Hoka One One I bought this year during a short trip back to my hometown over the last weekend. A maximal - minimal shoe. Marshmallow oversized midsole with maximum cushioning, but with very low offset (heel-to-toe drop) and responsiveness of a minimal shoe, and unbelievably light weight. 
This model is the Tracer, the least maximal looking of the entire Hoka lineup and looks to be a potential racing shoe. Looking forward to try them out on my next Saturday morning run.