MIzuno Wave Rider 18 Review

This post sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Mizuno. All opinions are my own.

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While, I don’t like to stay loyal to a single shoe or even a brand, I have always relied on Mizuno Wave Riders to get me through marathons. I started out first with the Waverider 15s back in 2012 and ran my first marathon in 3:24. After stocking up on the 15s for thousands of miles, I eventually ran out and upgraded to the 16s. As always I stocked up well enough that I actually never upgraded to the 17s, but my supply was starting to to run low. So when I had an opportunity to test out the Mizuno Waver Rider 18s through Fitfluential, I was okay with bypassing 17s straight to the 18s.

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First, let’s just look at the design, the colors and style. While sometimes I do get attached to a certain color (cough gold waverider 15s cough), I do appreciate how every year, the people at Mizuno mix it up, letting you spice up your running shoes a bit so you never get sick of them, even if you do continue running in virtually the same shoe every year. Although I run about 2500 miles a year and probably go through 6 pairs a years, so I appreciate the color changes and options! So keep it coming!

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Now back to the technical aspect of the shoe. Wave Rider 18 is a neutral shoe, for runners with a neutral stride. 

Neutral runners tend to have the following:

  • A higher arch that does not pronate, or an arch that collapses in very slightly.
  • Runners who usually show wear the outside corner of the heel, and in the center of the forefoot or the outside of the forefoot.
  • Like some cushion but don’t need it
  • Runners who do not need lot of stability features.

The great part about being a neutral runner is that you can pretty much run in any shoe and thus we tend to have less injuries. Great shoes like Wave Riders help us stay that way.

The Mizuno #WaveRider18 incorporates several key Mizuno technologies:

Mizuno Wave Technology® the reason behind a stable and “harmonious” ride from landing to toe-off.
Mizuno’s U4ic midsole, which delivers optimal shock attenuation, resiliency, and responsiveness in a lightweight shoe – weighing in at only 7.8 oz. (Women’s)
Dynamotion Fit™ which helps relive the stress our feet place on footwear – thus eliminating distortion and increasing durability.

Differences between the models

If you’re used to running in the Waver Rider 17s, you’ll notice these shoes are a little more heavy since they are 7.8oz (women size 7) vs. 7.2 oz (women size 7). Besides the weight, I cannot give more feedback. When I compared in with my 17s, I initially thought they were heavier, however, my 16s are 8 oz (women size 7)  vs. the 7.8 oz of the 18s. So technology is getting lighter! For those who complained (and I heard some) the toe box for the 18s is a lot bigger. Also, the shoes although a little lighter, definitely have more cushion for support. The backs of the shoes are also a little stiffer through the whole heel, vs. just half the heel in the 16s. I spent a week going between the 16s and 18s on my 6-8 mile runs and basically noticed little difference in my stride and effort.

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A worry for the future…

As mentioned before, I have noticed that the  18s compared to my 15s and 16s are wider in the toe box, a little more cushion and a little stiffer. Which for now was okay. I only noticed a small amount of difference and it didn’t effect my run too much. However, I am really hoping that Mizuno does not going into an even more cushion direct in the upcoming years. I like the support and yet lightness that Mizunoe Wave Riders offer and hope they stay that way.

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However, in the current time, Mizuno Waver Rider 18s is a great neutral shoe for short, long and everything in between runs. I even use them on easy trails, despite the weird comments I get from the true and proper trail runners.

The Mizuno Wave Rider 18 is on sale now nationwide for $119.00!

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5 Home Gym Essentials

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by LG Electronics. I am also using Amazon affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

5 Home Gym Essentials

As the weather is getting colder, wetter, and snowy, I can no longer enjoy the beautiful long runs on the trails or the roads. Instead, I end up taking my workout inside. While, my living room isn’t yet the dream gym I want it to be, I am slowly working my way there. Let me share with you some of my must haves and wants of the perfect home gym.

Hand Weights – I like to keep a set of 3, 5, and 8 pound dumbells

Workout Videos – Jillian Michaels is my go to favorite. I have her on DVD but you can also access a ton of videos on HULU, Netflix, and YouTube.

Yoga Mat – As much as I love rolling around on my hardwood floors, using a yoga mat is a bit more pleasant for core and weights.

Bike Trainer – This one is on the more pricey side, but it’s the one I have. It’s a more silent fluid model and I love it. Also keeps my roommates from getting too annoyed.

LG OLED TV – I won’t lie, this isn’t the cheapest TV model out there. I also don’t have one yet, but after previewing one last week, I would really love one. This would not only make my dream home gym, this would complete my dream home as well.

What makes this TV so great?

OLED; stands for Organic Light-Emitting Diode which describes the material that creates the unique light source in these next-generation TVs.  OLED TV is a major breakthrough in display technology that offers stunning picture quality, colors that are more accurate than ever before, and more vibrant images that really pop. For those seeking the highest level of contrast and color performance, whether it’s for watching Monday Night Football or your favorite sitcom, no other TV can compete with the unprecedented contrast and stunning color of LG’s OLED TV. Simply put, the best thing in television viewing that the electronics industry has always been looking to find is finally here. Before I get more technical, let me demonstrate the picture quality alone that I got to witness. Even on my iphone photos, you can spot the difference.

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Right TV is LGOLED

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Left TV is LGOLED

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Left TV is LGOLED

The one thing that I really like is that you can truly see the colors including the black background. The concise and true colors would improve my TV experience, especially when I’m doing a three hour trainer ride and trying to watch Lord of the Rings trying my best to forget that I am literally biking on a hamster wheel. Sometimes getting through the mental barrier is the hardest part of an indoor cardio workout. A killer TV, would help over come that obstacle!

The one thing that you’ll notice about this TV is that it’s a little more curvy than a regular LCD and that curve, just like the on in the IMAX theater will improve your viewing experience, no matter what angle you’re watching from. This helps as I’m jumping around my room, or in the corner where my bike trainer has been shunned to.

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LGOLED on the right

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Slightly different angle with the LGOLED on the right. I really wish my camera didn’t blast out some of the colors so you could see the difference even more.

And the TV is so thin, it’s even smaller than a cell phone!

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How does the technology work?

  • By eliminating the needs for a backlight, OLED offers an incomparable picture quality and design potential to conventional LCD(LED) TVs

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The slide above shows how OLED TV just knocks all the other compeittion out with 160 degree viewing angle, and .001 response time.

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We’ve come a long way through the technology of TVs and LG electronics is at the front of their game being the winner of EISA (European Imaging and Sound Association) Award for 3 consecutive years! In 2014-2015, LG is broadening its OLED assortment with FOUR new series and FOUR OLED TVs overall, with 55-, 65- and 77-inch class sizes! With TVs this large with amazing picture quality, one might never have to go to the movie theatres again.

In addition to being a great overall TV, the LG OLED TV is also a smart TV that you can connect to the web via remote or voice activated. That way, I can also use my HULU and Netflix accounts.

With all these great features, you can see why this is at the top of my TV and homegym wish list! So Santa…. can I get this for my birthday which is in 2 weeks? 😉

QOTD – What’s on your home gym wish list? What’s your number 1 essential?

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ASICS GEL-Pursue Review and Giveaway

Did I tell you that I was originally an ASICS girl? Yup, ASICS GT 2000 were my shoe of choice and for a year into my running addiction I went through several pairs because once I commit, I commit. Back then I also only ran on treadmills for 30 minutes and that’s it. Then, I randomly discovered other shoes and realized a monogamous relationship with just one shoe is completely impossible with all the different New England seasons and terrain that I run in. I’m addicted to trying new running shoes like most girls are addicted to a near pair of heels.

So when I had an opportunity to try out the new Gel-Pursue, I was immediately excited.

Out of the box I was immediately surprised and slightly delighted that they have kept their colors simple. I know, I know, I love bright colors as much as the next runner gal, but I prefer to pick them with my clothes vs. my shoes and sometimes my running skirt of choice can clash with my shoes. So there’s a pro and a con to the simple color scheme. Although, it does come with a nice purple and neon accent that matches my running socks!

ASICS Gel Pursue 1

ASICS GEL-Pursue has been awarded “Best Debut Shoe” in the September 2014 Shoe Guide issue of Runner’s World due to its equal parts cushioning and stability in a package that rides slightly lower to the ground. However, I wanted to find out for myself how comfy this shoe is.

First thing I noticed with the GEL Pursue vs. the GT-2000 series was that they removed the medial post for stability turning this into a a neutral shoe. Part of the reason why I stopped running in the GT-2000 series was the realization that I was a neutral running and that the stability post was creating an unnatural gait for me. So I was happy to see it gone. I also read that compared to the Gel-Cumulus and Gel-Nimbus, it has a slightly firmer mid-sole and more responsive ride but I’ve never ran in either of those shoes so I’ll take their word for it.

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So far I’ve been running in these shoes for about 2 weeks ranging in distance from a 3 miler to a 10 miler. However, I haven’t had a chance yet to try them on a “long run” such as a 20 miler because of my triathlon schedule. The extra support was a nice bonus when my calves were tired from a spin class and made the easy runs extra easy on my body. The one down side of having a more supportive shoe was that I found them to be a little bit heavier and warmer than some of my more minimalist shoes. However, I’m happy to report there wasn’t much of a pace difference in my runs.

ASICS Gel Pursue

To Summarize:

The ASICS GEL-Pursue is an overall great shoe for Neutral runners that retails for $110.  I think the extra comfort is great for newer runners and distance runners who like the extra support.

The CONs

There’s only a few cons that I found with these shoes

  • They are not ideal shoes for speedwork as the extra padding made me feel a little clunky
  • At 8.7 oz, I found them a little heavy
  • Lack of color options. From what I saw online these are your only colors for women

The PROs

However, I found that the pros out-weight the cons

  • Impact Guidance System (I.G.S®) ASICS® design philosophy that employs linked componentry to enhance the foot’s natural gait from heel strike to toe-off.
  • FluidRide™ provides the ultimate combination of bounce back and cushioning properties with reduced weight and exceptional durability. So although it’s a little heavier, it works in my favor on the longer runs when I need a little more bounce in my extra miles.
  • Rearfoot and Forefoot GEL® Cushioning Systems – Attenuates shock during impact and toe-off phases, and allows movement in multiple planes as the foot transitions through the gait cycle.
  • Guidance Trusstic System® -This Trusstic System® integrates Guidance Line® construction for enhanced gait efficiency while providing midfoot structural integrity.
  • Guidance Line® Vertical flex groove decouples the tooling along the line of progression for enhanced gait efficiency.
  • Heel Clutching System™ Exoskeletal heel counter provides improved support and creates improved heel fitting environment.
  • Discrete Eyelets – Independently placed eyelets disburse lace tension, creating a customized fitting environment and enhanced upper comfort.

And here’s the good news, anything I love, I usually try to make sure I can get a pair to one of my readers and the folks at ASICs were happy to give one Run To Munch reader a pair. Giveaway will be open until Friday September 19th at midnight and is open to U.S. residents only. Good luck!

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Disclaimer: I received a pair of ASICS GEL-Pursue shoes for the purpose of this review. I was also given a pair to give to one of my readers. All opinions and writing are 100% my own. 

Transitioning into Racing Flats & Skechers GOMeb Speed 2 Review & Giveaway

My evolution of running shoes started with Converse and ended in Skechers GOMeb Speed 2 shoes. How did I ever get here? Why was I ever running in Converse?

Well in college, I was still in my teen angst anarchy RAH RAH RAH phase and everyone knows that the only way you can rage against the man is with a pair of Chuck Taylors. Nevermind the fact that you’re raging against the machine in a brand owned by Nike at that time. Let’s ignore that part altogether.

So when a friend asked me to go for a run on the Charles my senior year of college, I put on the only pair of shoes I had at the time. It didn’t get me very far, but I did make it out the door.

I will not get into an argument about minimalist vs. maximalist shoes since I am not an expert on everyone. However, I know that for me personally, I’ve found great benefits in alternating between racing flats and my more cushy shoes. The cushy shoes, I’ve been using for long runs and marathon racing, while for treadmill and shorter races, I’ve been using my lighter Skechers.

I know, Skechers? Who even knew they had running shoes before Meb won the Boston Marathon this year.

Actually, I have to confess I did. I first got introduced to Skechers when I won 2nd place at the Malden 10K in 2013. So for about a year, I’ve been playing around with these guys as people gave me weird looks when I told them they’re Skechers. I don’t know why, but runners can be so judgmental sometimes.

Skechers Go Run 2

So when I saw Meb win the Boston Marathon in almost the same pair of shoes as I was training in, I felt vindicated at last! If a professional elite runner not only wins a race, but also achieves a life time PR, the first thing you look at are his shoes! Suddenly, my running friends had an interest in what I had to say about Skechers.

Okay to be honest, Meb was actually running in a model that won’t be available until Fall 2014, but he used to run in my shoes.

How did Skechers go from the crazy Spice Girl platform shoes, to Meb? Well, from what I heard. A bunch of smart people from some of the other large running shoe brands had some ideas, but change is always hard to push. Skechers Performance Division on the other hand was looking for a way to become more competitive in the running shoe part of the business, so they took these individuals with their new bright ideas and let them go for it!

So when I had the opportunity to test out the Skechers GoSpeed Meb 2, I couldn’t wait!

When you take them out of the box the first thing you notice is that they are incredibly light.

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I thought the bottoms looked super funny, but I think that’s what keeps them so light and bouncey

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The Good

  • Super light at 5.6 oz while still being supportive
  • Independent circular GOimpulse sensors for a more responsive running experience
  • M-Strike Technology™ promotes a midfoot strike
  • New printed nearly seamless mesh fabric upper – A little cold for me in the winter, but feels great in the hot humid summer
  • Resalyte™ Midsole – Proprietary lightweight injection-molded compound with memory retention helps absorb impact
  • Dupont Hytrel™ Stability plate in midfoot for a supportive and secure run
  • Seamless interior with microfiber lining maximizes comfort
  • 4 mm drop

And they’re just so pretty!

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The Bad

  • They run a half size too big. Not completely a bad, but just be aware when trying to figure out your size. I usually run in a size 7, but it ended up being too big. I then tried a size 6. It fit, but would feel tight once my feet swelled in the heat. Finally I tried a size 6.5 and it fit perfectly! Skechers was kind enough to work with me until we found a size that works for me.
  • Shoe laces kept untying until I triple knotted. I didn’t have this issue on my old pair, so maybe it was just a fluke
  • Nothing else, I absolutely love this shoe. I wouldn’t use it on a trail or gravel road, but a paved road or treadmill feels great!

Transitioning to the GoSpeed & Benefits

The first time I put on minimal shoes, I ran 2 miles before my legs felt awful and my calves wanted to die. Yes, the girl who runs 20 miles on a whim, felt drained by 2 miles.

I actually put the shoes away for about 2 weeks before I tried to give them a second chance. The second time around, it didn’t feel as bad. I got through 2 miles. The next time 3 miles. Since I run both outside and on the treadmill, I kept these for treadmill runs. Eventually, I was running my hour long runs without any problems. I can’t even imagine doing tempo runs in my heavier shoes anymore.

  • Start out slow – My speed was about 30 seconds slower per mile
  • Start out less time – You can do mileage or time. I started with 20 minutes, moved to 30 minutes and now I’m up to two hours with these shoes
  • Alternate shoes – I found that running in flats puts a little more impact on my skeletal mass, so I use other shoes for recovery and trail runs.
  • Racing flats initiate quicker turnover and studies demonstrate that lighter shoes reduce energy costs up to 3 percent! So a marathon that typically takes me 3:30 to do can be cut to 3:24! When seconds mean a PR, I’ll take a few minutes
  • Closer connection to the ground and form. If my running form starts to fall apart, I feel it right away and make sure I correct my running posture.

Overall, as it’s getting hotter and hotter each day in Boston, I’m falling more in love with the shoes.

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And because they’re so awesome, I get to give a pair to one of my readers! Entry will be open until Saturday. Sorry, US residents only.

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What to put in your (Apera) gymbag: Review & Giveaway

It took me a while, well over a year to figure out how to pack my gymbag and what not to pack. Actually, its probably more important to know what not to pack since I have to carry my bag on the train or walking from my house (about 15 minutes) instead of my car bearing the burden.

Now I just needed a bag. While I loved my little gymbag from Old Navy that I got for $11, it took about 2 weeks before it was falling apart. As I get older, I’m learning more and more that you get what you pay for. I guess that bag is meant for people with cars and not people who walk. I then migrated to using those reusable grocery bags. Problem is, they’re really uncomfortable to walk around with and I look like a crazy bag lady! Not cute, not comfortable, not fun.

So when Apera contacted me and offered to send me a bag of my choice in exchange for my views, I figured perfect! I did gasp a little when I saw their retail value, but after using the bag for a few weeks to travel and the gym, I have to confess that just like a well made designer purse, it is worth every dollar! 

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I picked out one of their Performance Duffel Bags in fuchsia. First of all, it’s beautiful, but also since I go from home to gym to everything else between, I needed a bag that can handle it all for the day or for the weekend.

Why I love my Apera Bag

  • It’s super versatile.  I use it for work, for the gym and for weekend traveling. 
  • There are pockets for everything!  I have to confess, I’m a bit of a bag lady because I like to keep everything separate, but since this bag has so many pockets, I can finally get rid of all the gross bags I use. I have a place for my shoes, water bottle, fuel, gum, shower stuff, ipad, book, and so much more that I’ll mention later.
  • It has a washable insert to put your wet/sweaty/muddy clothes or in my case, my stink ass swimsuit as well.
  • It’s easy to clean! Apera makes their bags from an antimicrobial bag that protects the bag and everything I put in it from bacteria and odors.  All I gotta do is wipe it and it’s feeling fresh again.
  • Apera’s bags are also vented to allow for airflow which helps to keep everything in my bag dry and smelly free like my shoes!
  • Apera is charitable. Apera donates one Sprint Pack to the Special Olympics for every three Apera bags they sell.  Any company that promotes charity is good by me!

Let’s take a closer look at the bag, shall we?

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There’s two small compartments on top where I keep my keys, cell, wallet and glasses case. The bag features two vented pockets on each side. I keep my running shoes on one side, while my flipflops go on the other side.Apera Bag (3)

There is a large side pocket on the back that I keep my ipad in. On the inside between snacks, shower stuff, and gym stuff, let’s just say I find a use for each and every one of the pockets.

What I keep in my gym bag

First and most importantly I always pack it the night before because when I pack in the morning I forget crucial things like socks, sports bra and worse of all underwear.

  • Running Clothes – Even if I’m planning on swimming, I still bring them because when you get in the mood, you want to have means to the go!
  • Swimsuit, goggles, cap, and that ear water drying drops – because even though I haven’t swam in months, I like to think when I finally talk myself into it, I’ll be ready
  • Underwear and socks – I always keep extra in case I forget, because I’ve forgotten countless times and it sucked to say the least
  • Running Shoes
  • Flip-flops – While I don’t use at them at my work gym, the Malden Y has so many strands of unknown diseases that I would never risk it and that’s a lot saying for me
  • Shower stuff – Shampoo, shower puff, conditioner, body wash, face scrub, moisturizer. I usually go home stinky and sweaty in the summer, but in the winter I have to put up with the horror of showering at the Y. In addition, I have dry shampoo for when I run at work. Hairbrush that always stays in my gym bag because forgetting that sucks too.
  • SNACKS & Fuel – Nuun, Gu, Kind bars, gum, leftover lunch because I really am always hungry
  • Work stuff – Wallet, glasses, my lunch for the day, a few basic make-up stuff that I never wear but sometimes carry
  • Sweatpants and hoodie – if I workout after work, I don’t really want to change into my office clothes, so I wear my hoodlum outfit home.

See, I wasn’t joking when I said I find a use for every pocket!

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I may still be a secret bag lady, but at least my bag is looking mighty good!

The Performance Duffel sells for $124 but Apera is also running a sweet promotion where all BLUE bags are on sale for 40% off and a duffel bag of any color is also 40% off!

Apera Blue Bags

If you want to learn more about the Performance duffel or any of the other 6 bags Apera sells, check out their website where they also have videos available to give you a better idea of which bag will work best for you.

Giveaway

Apera is giving one lucky Run To Munch reader a Sprint Pack of their own!

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QOTD

1. Do you use a gym bag? I’m currently using the Apera Duffel mentioned above. I’m thinking of buying their backpack for when I start running to work if the snow ever melts.

2. What are your gym bag essentials? Dry shampoo and a facial scrub, everything else I can almost wing it.

Fit Gear for the New Year – Koss Headphones Review

This post is sponsored by Koss and Fitfluential. All opinions are my own.

I haven’t had the greatest start to the new year. I got a sinus/ear infection. I lost my phone and I went through two pairs of headphones within a week. Luckily, Amazon has pretty good customer service, so I was able to get a refund, but I still had a problem. I had no headphones. For 4 out of the 6 days I run, I tend to be on a treadmill. If the weather is bad, the number could be 6 out of the 6 days. Treadmill running without headphones is like trying to cut something with a butter knife. Can you do it? Yea, but it’s so dull, why bother.

Luckily, I think things are turning around! I had a chance to try out some Koss Headphones! The people from Koss sent me two different styles, the fit buds and the fit clips. These headphones are designed by women, for women. Koss’s female designers teamed up with Gold Medalist Dana Torres to create them, with active women in mind. They come in fun colors and are reasonably priced.

Koss In Ear Blue

The Fit buds are 33% smaller than any earbud Koss has ever created. Both the buds and clips are sweat resistant and come in three different sizes of ear cushions included for the perfect fit.

To be honest, I couldn’t get the fit buds to fit into my ears perfectly. I have never been able to fit any type of earbud into my ear. I don’t think it’s them it’s me; because everyone else in my house loved the fit buds. Maybe my ears come from a special alien life force? They did work well enough on my bike trainer, but when I started running, my ears were just too small. Or I like to pretend I’m too fast for ear buds to keep up with me.

Ipad FItbuds

The fit clips; however, I’m obsessed with. After switching to the smallest ear cushion, they fit perfectly into my ear. They even block out some sound so I can focus on my teen dramas and need for speed instead of my own huffing and puffing of the treadmill clunking.

I even took them on my 20 miler to make sure I can wear them during RnR NOLA Marathon! They passed the test.

Ipod SUnday

Who needs a smartphone when you got an Ipod with a 2003 playlist?!

Besides the fit and lovely color, I noticed a few more differences between Koss and my other headphones (Phillips and Sony both around the same price range as these) that I used.

1. I don’t get static shock anymore. I’m not sure if that’s because they’re sweatproof, but my other 2 brands of headphones would static shock me once in a while just to trip me up. Or maybe it’s because I sweat like a beast. Hard running = hard sweating.

2. The wires seemed to be coated to last better. Since I run and hold my phone, I tend to twist the wires in all sorts of directions until the metal wires are poking and breaking through the casing. So far, the headphone wires seemed to be sturdier and holding up.

3. While they still seem to tangle up just like my others; the untangling process seems to be easier and faster then my old headphones. I think it has to do the with wire casing.

I’m officially converted to Koss. The headphones have been added to my nightly ritual where I pack a fresh set of running clothes, my Iphone (Ipod for now), socks and headphones to not forget anything the next morning.

bag check

You can purchase your own Koss Fit Series headphones at Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Kmart, and Sears for $29.99.

What’s your latest and greatest fit gear of 2014 so far? Koss Fit Clip headphones. I love the color and the fit.

What kinda headphones are you currently using? After having a Sony and Phillips (each about $20) break on me in one week, I’m using the Koss fit clips.

#SDPharma – SD Pharmaceuticals Review

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

To be honest, I am not very experienced with taking supplements. I’m also not a doctor, nor a student of medicine beyond my own personal knowledge of what works and doesn’t work for me. I tend to eat a lot of vegetables in my diet and as “balanced” as I think I need to be. Furthermore, my running addiction has made me very lucky in not having to worry too much about fat loss and weight loss, although the thoughts do go through my head like any other western woman. I’m brainwashed like any other.

However, lately, I’ve been wondering about my nutrition for performance and general health while traveling, or when I’m super busy with work and tend to eat the majority of my meals from take out containers at my desk. So when I had the opportunity to test out some supplements from SD Pharmaceuticals with my Fitfluential affiliation, I went for it.

First, I goggled up SD Pharmaceuticals. I haven’t heard of them before so I wanted to research something before consuming it into my body. As someone who relies on her body for majority of my hobbies and passions, I take some interest into what my temple takes in (we can discuss my sugar addiction later).

About SD Pharmaceuticals:

“The Research Team at SD Pharmaceuticals only produces the most sophisticated ingredients and formulas, and those which are clinically validated in human research studies. If there isn’t any solid research behind an ingredient, then SD Pharmaceuticals’ researchers won’t use it! That’s what really distinguishes SD Pharmaceuticals from every other sports supplement company out there. On top of that, SD Pharmaceuticals only uses the most potent forms of every ingredient available, which includes pharmaceutical-grade synthetics and exclusive standardized herbal extracts.”

I was sent the following items:

SD Pharm

Dendrobium 600 – Used to promote the health of the stomach, kidney, and lungs
Diindolylmethane – Used to help maintain healthy hormonal balance in the body and support overall well being
Garcinia Cambogia – Used to support healthy serotonin levels and reduce appetite
Green Coffee Bean – Used to support fat loss, provides healthy antioxidants and reduce weight
Raspberry Ketone – Used to inhibit fat accumulation, increases calorie expenditure, and increases fat breakdown

As mentioned before, I don’t consider fat loss/appetite as my issues. If I wanted to eat less, I would run less. So I did not try those. However, after traveling for 3 weeks and not ever exercising due to heat, pollution and more excuses than I need to list, I might try the some of the fat burning ones.

I looked up each of the supplements in a little more detail. The one thing I noticed for all, is that not a lot is known about the effects on pregnancy or breastfeeding, so had I been either of those, I would not have taken any.

Stacking up the benefits

The company also provided me with a little useful chart that shows how combining the supplements makes them more beneficial for whatever goals you may have.

I decided to stack only Dendrobium & Dim. 

Dendrobium is a member of the orchid plant family. It is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Dendrobium has been used in China for over 1000 years to promote the health of the stomach, kidneys and lungs. In addition to its use as a medicine, it is also used as a powerful strengthening tonic

Den

SD Pharm Den

Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a natural compound formed during the breakdown of plants and the digestion of indole-3-carbinol, from the Brassica genus of plants. (Some of the vegetables of this genus include, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and kale.) Both men and women use DIM to support healthy estrogen metabolism and hormonal balance in the body.

DIM

SD Pharm Dim

Results?

I took one capsule a day after breakfast daily. Overall, I’ve been feeling great and energetic each day while constantly traveling for three weeks (two of them through developing countries). I thought I would feel more tired since my diet has gone worse as I’ve been eating a lot less vegetables and a lot more rice regularly than I normally do. However, some of the highs could be just from the excitement of my vacation. I will continue taking both and see how I feel now that I’ve returned to my daily life of working and responsibilities.

To learn more about the supplements I took or other ones available, visit SDPharmaceuticals website.

Reebok One Cushion Shoe Review & Giveaway

To help me train for the Tufts 10K, Reebok sent me a pair of their new Reebok One Cushion shoe which I’m loving more and more with each run!

The Reebok ONE Cushion is part of a whole new collection Reebok is in the middle of launching that I’m super excited about! I can’t wait to see what else they have in store for the future but first a little bit about the Reebok One Cushion.

Reebok One Cushion

The first thing I noticed about the shoes is that they’re bright (don’t worry, they do have more muted colors but I love me some neon in my life after wearing the black, grey and neutrals to work)! A nice wake up for when it’s cold outside and the sun has barely peaked out yet. They looked a little bulky but they’re actually quite light at 7.7 oz for women and 9.9 for men (similar to my Waverider 16s for reference). The shoe also runs wide enough for those that need it but narrow enough for tiny feet like mine. I wear a size 7 usually and I could have gone down half a size but it wasn’t major deal if I didn’t since my feet tend to swell up a bit after 3 hours of running. My foot first felt loose in the shoe but after I tightened my shoe laces, I was ready to hop, skip and most importantly run!

One Series

The Reebok ONE Cushion is built-in three zones. All of them fused together to get you anywhere and everywhere faster and injury free no matter where or how the foot lands when you run – of heel, middle, toe. The three-foam midsole, decoupled outsole, and stable lateral arch area is designed to maximize comfort and performance. Although the shoe is “cushioned” as the name implies, I found greater flexibility than expected and is perfect for anyone that craves a more natural fit in a neutral trainer. It responded quite well to my unique run like a duck gait cycle instead of trying control it.

reebok One Cushion 3

More specifically Reebok One Cushion is broken down into three functional zones:

  1. The Contact Zone – cushions the foot and absorbs shock upon landing
  2. The Midstance Zone – lightweight foam that encourages a smooth midfoot transition off of the heel
  3. Propulsive Zone – a high-rebound foam that gives runners a high level of responsiveness during toe-off.

Reebok One Zone Function

You would think that with three zones, the shoes might feel funky with one part being too soft, another too hard, until you’re more discontent than Goldy Locks, but it was quite the opposite. All three zones are seamlessly integrated together where you don’t notice any discomfort at all as you run besides a smooth run!

Reebok One Zone Fusion

I found them to work great for my short treadmill speed workouts such as the one I did when I only had 20 minutes to spare in between working:

Tufts 10K trianing

or my longer medium range (8-10 miles outside)

Reebok One Morning Run

The only hiccup I had with the shoes were the shoelaces. They kept untying so I had to triple tie them to make sure they don’t come undone.

Reebok One Cushion 2

Overall it’s a great neutral shoe that has happily joined into my normal shoe rotation program (I use different shoes because I believe it makes my shoes last longer.)

And because I loved the Reebok One Cushion shoes so much, I asked if they would mind giving a pair out to one of my readers, which they kindly agreed to! To enter: visit Reebok One Cushion website to learn even more about the shoe and comment back here on which color you would pick if you won. Additional chances to enter will option up afterwards. Contest will run through midnight on Friday night. U.S. residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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*Disclaimer: I was provided with these running shoes by Reebok, free of charge through my ambassadorship with FitFluential. I was not compensated for this review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own!

Mizuno Wave Sayonara Shoe Review and Treadmill Workout

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

It’s no secret that when it comes to running road races, I’ve been loyal to Mizuno.  I’ve tried others, but nothing felt quite like home (my moving home?) like my Wave Riders.  As I’ve slowly gotten more confident about my running style and form, I’ve been looking into something lighter, smaller, but not exactly a racing flat.  I love my Mizuno Ronins, but those I save mostly for track and 5K sprints.

Boxes of my current rotation
Boxes of my current rotation

Some people collect Christian Louboutins, while I stock up on my Mizunos.  (Although if someone wants to buy me some Christain Louboutins, I probably wouldn’t complain.)

Lately, I’ve been thinking of trying to switch to Mizuno Wave Precisions since they looked smaller and lighter than my Wave Riders; so when I had the opportunity to test out Mizuno’s new shoe Wave Sayanora, “design love-child of the Wave Precision and Wave Elixir” I immediately accepted.  The Wave Precision and Wave Elixir are going to be discontinued with a better and improved model, Sayanoras!

Wave Sayonara Run To Munch

First, they are beautiful! I know that as a serious runner, its awful of me to admit, but I do partially choose my running shoes because of how they look.  I run in the Wave Rider 15s over the 16s purely because I love the colors more, even though the 16s are lighter and better.  Yes guys and gals, I rather match my running skirt than shave a minute of my PR.

Wave Sayonara Run To Munch 2

The shoes weight in at 7.1 (8.1 if you’re a guy) ounces while still keeping a 10mm drop from heel to toe. To put in perspective, the women’s Wave Rider is 8.1 oz and has a 12mm drop.  The heel/toe height is 19/9mm instead of the more traditional 24/12mm heights of the Wave Rider.  Giving you a more neutral shoe with as needed support elements.  Perfect transition to go lighter but not minimalist.  (Its okay if you are into barefoot running but for marathon distance it just doesn’t work for me).

Wave Sayonara Run To Munch Bottom
sorry the bottom is a little dirty because I run first, take photos later

Now the sole to me looks a little funky, but it’s part of the magic.  The U4ic (I know you all love it when I talk shoe jargon dirty to you) midsole delivers optimal shock attenuation, as well as durability, and provides a superior ride that is 30% lighter than AP+. The G3 sole features lightweight, superior traction that keeps you from slipping and sliding; like when it rains every time I try to run outside (it really is always raining on me).  As for that Mizuno Wave Technology we all have come to love (unless you haven’t experienced it yet, because you will love it), it’s still there to provide the perfect balance of lightweight cushioning and stability.

So how did I test ride these babies?

Wave Sayonara Run To Munch 3
18 miles outside, 2 miles on my treadmill inside

It was a Saturday, so of course I couldn’t just take them for a short ride, I took them for the full course in 85 degree weather through the humid roads of metro Boston.  The shoes made me feel like I was flying that I ran the first 10 miles at an 8 minute pace before I noticed I should grab some water to hydrate.  I was going too fast to want to stop!  But the blasting through the heat with no water caught up to me a bit as I grabbed a drink and slowed for the rest of my test ride.  My legs felt light but when my toes hit the pavement, they didn’t recoil in shock as they have in minimalist shoes.

On Monday, I decided to try them out on my other best friend, the treadmill, with one of my favorite workouts.

Progress 10K Workout RunToMunch

Tempo runs are great, but painful.  Intervals are fun but I get bored on the slow part and cut it too short.  So instead, the progressive half mile has been my favorite speed workout lately.  If you want an exact 10K, you only need to do cool off for .2 miles but I prefer a quick warm-up and longer cool off.  Also, I put the pace or MPH for reference in case you’re running on roads or the treadmill.  You can adjust the speed accordingly.

The Wave Sayonara performed just as great on the treadmill as they did on the road.  I almost felt elite as I bounced through my workout on a higher incline.  I use incline instead of speed training to prevent injury to myself but that’s a story for another post.

They will be available in the Mizuno Running Store and everywhere else July 5th and retails for $119.99.

And if you’re looking for some fun inspiration check out this awesome video!

And in case you’re wondering, I’m already planning the outfit around these shoes for my next marathon.

March for Muscles – Designer Whey Review

As someone who runs… well lack of better of words a lot and lifts none (does my garmin watch count as a weight?), I don’t have a lot of muscles.  Intense cardio (tempo runs) tends to be catabolic. The main goal is to break down and burn fat and while the body has no desire to use protein during a run it will try to break down the muscles, not as much for an energy source, but to lighten the load.  A way to prevent that is to try to refuel with protein and carbs after a good workout.

So when I was given an opportunity to try out some Designer Whey products, I jumped right in.  As I get more serious with my running goals and ambitions, I need to take my refueling more seriously

Designer Whey BundleProtein 2Go
I have to confess, getting protein into my diet mid-day can sometimes be a struggle, especially after a workout when my stomach can barely handle water.  On weekends when I am home, I usually make a smoothie; however, weekdays are a struggle.  I am lucky enough that I get to run during lunch and I often re-hydrate with Nuun for electrolytes but I know I need something more substantial for nutrients.  Protein 2Go have been a perfect solution.  There’s three flavors lemonade, mixed berry and tropical orange.  Lemonade has been my favorite, but I like to switch it up between the three.

Designer Whey Protein2Go

Each packet, similar to one of those crystal light packets, is mixed into 16oz or so of water and has about 50 calories and a few essential vitamins as you can see in the nutrition facts below.,

Designer Whey Protein 2Go Nutrition

Shakes
Designer Whey sent a vanilla shake and a chocolate shake and unfortunately I wasn’t a fan of either.  I thought both were very sweet and my palette prefers more mild flavors.  I also felt like I could taste the powderness of the milk or whey or something.  However, I also don’t like milk and that is probably why I’m not a shake type of gal.  When I make my own smoothies or shakes I use coconut or almond milk.  However, they are only 100 calories, 18 grams of protein, and when I was in a hurry and had to drive to meet up for a lunch right after a 20 miler, I refueled with one.  Yes I was going for lunch, but that was 30 minutes away and I needed something in my stomach ASAP because 20 miler hunger don’t care to wait for a waitress, table or service.  I did find that compared to other on the shelf shakes, it was smoother and tastier but not something I would really use regularly.

Designer Whey Shake

Protein Bars
Okay, I found my new addiction and it’s these bars.  They taste like candy and yet I can slowly munch on one all day at my cube.  One bite satisfies my sweet tooth until the next hour.  For those that work at a desk, I’m sure you know the munchy cravings that we battle all day.  And unlike other bars, they don’t have that “whey aftertaste” if you know what I mean.

Designer Whey Protein Bar

Yea, let’s ignore the fact that I am eating literally on my desk.  I know I’m gross.  There’s three flavors triple chocolate crunch, chocolate caramel crunch, & peanut butter crunch.  They all taste great but the chocolate caramel crunch was my favorite.  Each one has 170 calories and has 10 grams of protein.  In my quest to eat a ton a day, I went through the bars pretty fast and I have a feeling Tony might have stolen one or two so I tried to find some in store but had trouble.  Instead, once again Amazon can to my rescue!

Protein Powder
It’s been a cold and brutal winter and I haven’t been craving smoothies to the extent I do in the summer.  However, every once in a while I still crave a cold, protein filled green smoothie.  Designer Whey protein powder comes in seven flavors and I got to try two: white chocolate & french vanilla.  I don’t know how they knew that I would be obsessed with white chocolate, but there was no convincing me to like it.

Designer Whey Protein Powder

My smoothie? Mangoes, lots and lots of mangoes, unsweetened coconut milk, current green in rotation – arugula, & white chocolate protein powder.  Perfect way to tap out a lazy rest day.  Each serving of protein powder only has 100 calories but 18 grams of protein.

If you’d like to try out Designer Whey, you should check out the Designer Whey starter kit. They also have a store locator on their website.  To find out more information about Designer Whey, find them and like/follow them on FacebookTwitter,PinterestYouTubeGoogle+.

Do you ever use protein powder, drinks or bars? What’s your favorite flavor?

Disclaimer:  I was provided Designer Whey for the purpose of a review through FitFluential.  I was not compensated for this post.  All opinions expressed here are 100% my own.