The Chicago Marathon: A Showdown of Distance Running Titans

October 14th, 2014

Rita Jeptoo won her 4th marathon in a row at Chicago. Photo: Boston Globe

The World Marathon Majors’ penultimate race occurred Sunday in Chicago and, sticking with tradition, finishing times were fast and the competition was fierce. Some of the world’s best runners joined the crowd of 45,000 participants for the annual 26.2 mile journey through downtown Chicago.

As we reported previously in our World Marathon Major preview, the main story behind this year’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon was the showdown between former Olympic track stars Kenenisa Bekele and Eliud Kipchoge. With over a decade of competition against one another on ovals around the world, seeing the two running 26.2 miles on city streets certainly warranted the attention.

Eliud Kipchoge

Eliud Kipchoge defeats his rival Bekele. Photo: ESPN

As in many of the Bekele vs. Kipchoge showdowns of the past, the majority of the race was run with the two tightly bunched up among some of the world’s other great runners. In this case, Sammy Kitwara and Dickson Chumba joined Kenenisa and Eliud for the first 20 miles at 2:04 marathon pace. While Dennis Kimetto’s world record may have been out of reach at that point, Bekele’s past heroics led one to believe that with a fast finish, the course record could still be in jeopardy. However, Bekele’s near invincibility on the track did not transfer over to the road this time and Kipchoge ended up getting the better of his rival, finishing at 2:04:11 in winning time. Kitwara and Chumba also got the better of Bekele with their finishing times of 2:04:28 and 2:04:32 respectively. Chumba’s time was the best third place finishing time ever in a marathon. Bekele held on for fourth place and his second sub 2:06 with a time of 2:05:51.

While most of the media’s attention was given the men’s race, the women’s group had its star power on display as well. Rita Jeptoo came to Chicago with a target on her back and still dominated the event. Her defense of last year’s title was her fourth Marathon Major win in a row, a streak few have ever achieved, and secured her the World Marathon Major title and the $500,000 prize (on top of the $100,000 purse she earned by winning the race). While her time of 2:24:35 is significantly slower than her personal best of 2:18:57 (Boston Marathon, 2014), she showed that she could stay dominant no matter what the racing style is. Her previous wins came in fast races, and to maintain her composure in a tactical race and finish a minute ahead of the rest of the pack shows that has the potential to keep this streak going for a while.

The final stop on the World Marathon Major tour is the TCS New York City Marathon on November 2, 2014. Dennis Kimetto may have taken the World Record from Wilson Kipsang, but a win in New York would assure Kipsang the World Marathon Major title, surely $500,000 is a nice silver lining after losing the record.

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Runner vs. Nature: Mountain Lions

October 10th, 2014

Just like your household kitty, right? Photo: Larry Grayam

You’re running (duh!). And that automatically puts you on a mountain lion’s hit list. Not because these big cats love human snacks, or that they are innately vicious creatures, but rather because they have a mad instinct to chase. Most road runners won’t come across this natural hazard (and I say most because sometimes wild animals end up wandering outside of their natural habitat), but trail runners should be keenly aware that the danger is real. Let’s break it down.

The bad news: You are the intruder. You are running in their territory. This makes you automatically attractive to these predators because they don’t differentiate you from an animal that they normally stalk as prey. And since you’re running, you have already started off on a bad foot.

The good news: Mountain lions tend to go out of their way to avoid human contact. They won’t seek you out for the thrill of attacking a human, they would much rather find a deer for dinner.

Read more…

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The History of the Mizuno Wave Rider

October 9th, 2014

In 1997, the MIZUNO Corporation of America was dissolved and MIZUNO USA, INC. was created in its place. Unless you were in a Mizuno office at the time, chances are you didn’t notice. Yet, changes went beyond just the name on the building as the decisions made during the transition have impacted the design of Mizuno products over the past decade.

Companies like ASICS and Nike were gobbling up sales at running stores around the country by injecting their shoes with ever-more Gel (ASICS) and Air (Nike), always searching to create a softer ride for runners. Mizuno, on the other hand, thought that not all running customers were looking for more and more cushioning in their running shoes. In order to differentiate their product, Mizuno focused their energy on designing a shoe that dispersed the stride’s energy in a way that propelled the runner forward rather than simply cushioning the blow upon impact. The result was a thermoplastic, wave-shaped unit in the midsole of the shoe. Thus, the Mizuno Wave Rider was born.

The signature Wave plate has been present since the Rider's first iteration.

The Wave Design

Inspired by nature’s propulsive forces, Mizuno’s Wave plate acts like a spring, redirecting downward energy into a forward motion. For example, the ocean’s waves gather momentum from winds of varied directions, pushing breakers towards the shore. In the same way, the Mizuno Wave plate was designed to bring together the forces that occur during a foot strike and use that compiled energy in a positive way. In addition to a springy underfoot experience, the Wave plate also has pronation-corrective properties as well. Lateral movement will also be redirected forward by the physics of the shoe, although the Rider is designed for neutral runners. The Wave plate has taken different shapes to accommodate the need for more significant pronation control in shoes like the Inspire and Paradox, for example. While the Wave plate does not create the plush experience of other midsole technologies, the ride of the shoe cannot be found anywhere else.

The Evolution of the Wave Rider

New composite materials were used in the Wave Rider 8.

As you might have suspected, it didn’t take long for the Wave Rider to take off. The unique ride experience of the Wave plate and innovations like AIRmesh and Intercool in the second and fourth editions of the Wave Rider won over customers and inspired others to adopt similar features in shoes across the running industry. The Wave Rider 6 switched the Wave plate from plastic to a composite material, making the shoe lighter, the ride smoother, and the landing softer. These early innovations not only won over the hearts of runners but also caused the editors at Runner’s World magazine to take notice. The Wave Rider 2 won the Editor’s Choice award and the Wave Rider 6 earned Best Update honors.

The 11th version of the Wave Rider first implemented the Dynamotion upper.

Despite the awards, Mizuno was not content letting their flagship shoe become stale. With the Wave Rider 8, Mizuno wagered that the decoupled outsole in their new SmoothRide Engineering design would enhance the Wave plate’s ability to disperse energy while letting the foot naturally spread the shock of each foot strike. This is another Wave Rider technology now imitated across the running industry. Other notable innovations included the Dynamotion upper in the Wave Rider 11 and the Pebax Rnew Wave plate in the Wave Rider 12. Dynamotion and the Pebax Wave correlated with more Runner’s World awards as the Wave Rider 11 won “Best Buy” and the Wave Rider 12 was crowned “Editor’s Choice.”

The Rider 14 offered the plushest model to date.

Innovation is risky, and whether Mizuno was responding to competitors or listening to retailers when looking for ways to update the trusty Rider model, hindsight reveals that the changes made to the Wave Rider 14 did not resonate with consumers. Mizuno changed the upper in efforts to create a more secure fit than before. Unfortunately, “plush” can feel “bulky” and “secure” can mean “constrictive.” So, while the new upper on top of the ride platform may have made for a great shoe, it just wasn’t right for the faithful Wave Rider customer. A few years later, the Mizuno Wave Rider 17 may have gone too far in the other direction. Mizuno stripped the upper of almost all structural overlays and changed the Wave plate from Pebax to polyurethane. While Mizuno did successfully create a shoe that enhances the foot’s ability to move through the gait cycle naturally, the lack of structure didn’t cater to those who worried about its ability to last through the high mileage required of a daily trainer.

The Wave Rider 18

The latest Wave Rider 18 has found a way to build on what the last model did right while fixing the some of the shortcomings. The iconic Runbird logo on the side provides security around the midfoot, while an overlay along the lace eyelets ensures an even fit all the way up the shoe. Additional strapping exists within the upper to allow for a minimalist look while maintaining the structure needed for high mileage training. The Wave plate has returned to the Pebax material that won over many Wave Rider fans in the past, helping make the Wave Rider 18 the lightest shoe in the neutral category for everyday use.

The Wave Rider evolution has delivered one of the most innovative and beloved shoes in the industry. Mizuno’s willingness to take risks with their flagship shoe has paid off with technology that spreads throughout their entire line of running shoes, and their inspiration can be seen beyond the borders of the Mizuno brand.

To find the Mizuno Wave Rider 18 at Running Warehouse, please select the Men’s or Women’s link.

Wave Rider 18 for Men

Wave Rider 18 for Women

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Altra Paradigm Shoe Review

October 7th, 2014

At a Glance

  • 10.2 oz (Men’s size 9.0), 9.2 oz (Women’s size 8.0)
  • 25mm heel, 25mm forefoot
  • Promotes midfoot and forefoot strike due to zero mm heel-to-toe offset
  • Soft, maximum cushioned A-bound midsole keeps your legs feeling less fatigued on longer distance workouts
  • Ample room for toe splay is created through an extra wide toe box shape

Verdict

The Altra Paradigm is best for runners who want to maximize shock absorption but prefer a shoe that makes it easy to focus on an efficient stride over long distances or recovery runs.

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The Running Jargon Cheat Sheet

October 6th, 2014

We’ve all been there. New to the running world and embracing it with open arms… and ears. You try to socialize with a seasoned pro, but as soon as a “fartlek workout” comes up, or perhaps “bonking”, you just nod your head and secretly look up these terms on your carefully hidden iPhone. Runnerspeak can be flat out disconcerting when you’re not hip to the vocab.

Runners have a language of their own, and sometimes it just doesn’t cut it to Google (or Bing!) the word… a dictionary doesn’t often provide great context. Oh, and please don’t use Urban Dictionary. Trust me on this one.

Image via quickmeme

So, for those of you who may need a little “cheat sheet”, or maybe just a quick refresher course on running jargon, check out this short list of 10 words that we’ve compiled.

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Finish Line Friday: Because I Can

October 3rd, 2014

As you probably know, the staff here at Running Warehouse consists largely of runners. We range from recreational runners, who use running as a tool by which to get (and stay) fit to Olympic qualifying competitive runners who are always looking for their next PR. It’s a beautiful spectrum.

Every other Friday, I’m asking one member of our staff: What drives you? What motivates you to be the best runner you can be? What keeps you going when you feel like calling it a day? What gets you to the finish line? Our goal is to help inspire you to keep going, train harder, dig a little deeper and cross the finish line.

Today, Tera will be sharing her personal sources of inspiration.

Tera

Current Position: Retail Manager

Running background:
I began running in middle school doing track in the spring. In high school, I ran on the XC and track team for Campolindo in Moraga, CA. Got a bit burned out after high school and decided to take college off. I did, however, get motivated to jump into the occasional 5k/10k during that time. Post college, I ended up being an assistant coach for a few years and became more and more motivated to run competitively again. Did my first 1/2 marathon at (I think) age 24 and first marathon at 26.

After meeting Erik (who is now my husband) and he was doing ultras, I figured a 50k wouldn’t be much different than a marathon and seemed much more enjoyable on the trails. So I did my first 50k shortly after being married, at the age of 29. After that, I was hooked! I had found my calling and much preferred the trails over the roads and the overall community of the ultra world. Though there is something about running fast and getting a personal best that still has me coming back. The year after I ran my first 100 miler (with my first daughter in utero!) I set a PR in the marathon 2:59 at CIM. Since then, I PR’d again with a 2:57 at the age of 39 (I think and that was after having daughter #2).

Tera and Dusty at the Western States 100 miler, June 2014

What inspires you?
Well, a lot has to do with just pushing myself to see what I’m capable of and not being complacent or settling for less than what I think I’m capable of. I do look up to women that are in their 50’s and still kicking butt, like Meghan Arbogast (ultra runner) and local, Linda Somers Smith. I feel fortunate that I can pull from a ton of inspiration. Here are just a few: I have a father with Parkinson’s, I lost a really good running buddy this year who also happened to be my pacer at Western States in June, I have two really awesome daughters, a great job with great people, a bunch of running partners that are willing to run with me at all times of the day/night, and a supportive husband that constantly keeps me focused and grounded.

All these things, and many more, are what I think about when the going gets tough. If I can’t put one foot in front of the other to just cross a finish line, then I feel like I’m not only letting myself down, but all those people in my life, or those that are no longer here. It’s not just a personal accomplishment, but a whole lot of support from so many people that goes into it. If I can’t make it to the finish line, it’s going to be because I am physically unable, not for a lack of determination.

One silly motivational quote I’ve used lately is “the faster you run, the sooner you’re done”. It works and it’s really true. When you are running 100 miles, it’s really hard to keep the negative thoughts out of your head. It’s pretty much impossible. I usually question why I’m doing this a million times. It’s a really simple answer though, I do it because I can. I’m just fortunate that way I suppose.

Tera Dube

Tera atop Cuesta grade while training

What are you training for now, and what do you refuel with post workout?
My next 100 miler. I’m extremely motivated to master the 100’s, even if it puts me in my grave, ha ha. I know I have more to contribute to this distance and I’m not willing to give up yet. After almost every run I do, I use FLUID recovery (chocolate) with half a frozen banana and rice milk.

Thanks Tera!

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Saucony Triumph ISO | First Look

October 2nd, 2014

Available November 2014 – MSRP $150.00

A new ISOFIT upper, new PWRGRID+ cushioning technology and 3 additional millimeters of midsole foam come together in the Triumph to deliver an improved, premium neutral running shoe.

Updates

  • ISOFIT upper combines a plush sock liner with a flexible internal cage to allow the foot freedom to move as it pleases.
  • PWRGRID+ is a one-piece platform that uses grid shaped cushioning materials to aid in shock absorption and durability while adding 20% more cushioning.

Read more…

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Dennis Kimetto Creates History in the Marathon

October 1st, 2014

Kimetto on the podium with his official record time. Photo: The Telegraph

For the fourth time in six years, the men’s marathon world record has a new owner. Dennis Kimetto followed in the footsteps of the phenomenal athletes before him by blazing through the streets of Berlin and into uncharted territory. While recent trends might indicate that his hold on the record may only be temporary, his time of 2:02:57 gives him the right to claim first under the 2:03 barrier for eternity. Dennis wasn’t the only runner that came prepared for the record assault as second place finisher Emmanuel Mutai also surpassed the previous world record, finishing in 2:03:13.

Read more…

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Nike Zoom Structure 18 | First Look

October 1st, 2014

At a Glance:

  • Weight: Men’s 10.1 oz (size 9.0), Women’s 9.2 oz (size 8.0)
  • Stack Height: 27mm (heel), 18mm (forefoot) – Drop: 9mm
  • Tri-density Dynamic Support adapts to varied levels of overpronation
  • New Zoom Air cushioning dissipates shock in forefoot
  • Flymesh Upper provides exceptional flexibility and durability
  • Competing Shoes: ASICS 2000 3, Saucony Guide 8, Brooks Ravenna 5

Gone are the days when substantial support and speed were impossible to reconcile in running shoe designs. Technology has progressed to the point where many shoes are managing to successfully correct overpronation while staying adaptive and quick. The Nike Structure 18 is an example of a shoe that’s leading the pack due to significant updates to the Dynamic Support, Zoom Air, and Flymesh upper materials. This shoe definitely warrants some attention so let’s take a deeper look.

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Salomon Trail Run Giveaway – September 29, 2014

September 29th, 2014

The heart behind Salomon’s vision as a brand is a pure love and obsession for being outdoors. With the alps as your landscape, it’s difficult not to be inspired by beauty and majesty of nature. In an effort to inspire all athletes, Salomon is calling us to get outside and start an adventure. One way to start an adventure is to enter to win a free pair of Salomon shoes. Sounds awesome? It is!

First off, if you are located in the central coast of California, we would like to personally invite you to join Running Warehouse tonight, September 29, 2014 for a group trail run hosted by our friends at Salomon. The event will begin at 6:00 P.M. at Johnson Ranch trail head. Salomon will be providing demo shoes to take on the trail for a 3 mile run. Our generous friends will also be giving away two pairs of Salomon shoes after the run so please consider stopping by.

For those of you who are unable to make the run, have no fear, we did not forget you! During the hours 9 AM PST – 5 PM PST, you can enter to win a free pair of Salomon shoes by commenting on Facebook and sharing your most epic trail run experience with us.

Contest is now closed.

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