Author Archives: Michael Lucas

Brooks PureCadence 4 Review

Just when you thought this shoe couldn’t get any better, leave it to the fine folks at Brooks to figure out a way to improve the Pure Cadence. I introduce to you the Brooks PureCadence 4:

Cadence 4 B

After the success of the completely revamped PureCadence 3, the 4th edition updates with only a few changes to the upper. The outsole and the tread stay exactly the same so if you liked the traction, pronation control, and cushioned feel underfoot of the Cadence 3, then you’ll dig the 4 too. Because of this, I’m not going to get into the technical features of the outsole in this review. If you didn’t get a chance to try the Cadence 3 and want to know some of the technical features of the outsole, please refer to my review of the PureCadence 3 HERE.

While creating these updates, the team at Brooks was inspired by the Japanese word, “Takumi,” which means, each detail crafted with intension. This is reflected in the simple and plush design of the new upper. The first thing you’ll notice when you put the shoe on is the traditional lacing system. In the previous editions, Brooks experimented with attached tongue overlays and offset lacing systems with spiral, locking laces.  If that was too much jargon, just refer to the picture of the Cadence 2 and 3 below:

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In the Cadence 4 pictured below, you’ll see that they’ve reverted back to a traditional lacing system where the tongue is only attached to the toe box. This is the area with the most change, so naturally there will be some negative points worth discussing here. If you wear low cut socks, the top of the the tongue may rub a blister into the front ankle. I have NOT experienced this personally, but I can see how this could happen given its thin design. Solution, wear performance socks that fit properly.

Cadence 4 A

I’ve also read that the tongue slips to the side now. I have not experienced this either and I believe that’s due to two features; the combination of the NAV band and the new laces. For those that aren’t familiar, the NAV band is the flexible strap that wraps over the instep to comfortably secure the foot (and tongue) in place. Also, the spiral laces of the previous models have been replaced with some sort of stretch lace that locks down when pulled. I’ve never seen laces that do this. The only way I can describe the material is like a combination between a bungee chord lace and a soft microfiber t-shirt.  Weird, right? No….. Magical.

The next feature that you might notice is the plush material around the heel cup. It’s as if there’s two soft, custom fitted pillows on both sides of the heel cradling your achilles while also filling any empty space. This is especially useful for runners with a narrow heel that often experience slippage. I’ve had experience with my heels slipping in some of the previous Cadence models and it hasn’t happened in this one. The rest of the upper feels a lot like the Cadence 3; seamless, light (8.8oz) but durable, and super comfortable.

Cadence 4 C

If I had to describe the Cadence 4 in one word it would be, PLUSH. The simple updates gently cradle the feet in soft, form-fitting and moisture wicking materials. This, combined with the guidance features of the outsole, make the shoe really feel like a part of your foot. Great for heel strikers, forefoot-foot landers, and everyone in between, Brooks nails it with this update! Please feel free to post any questions or comments below. Thanks!

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Another Year Running

I covered approximately 1,209 miles in 2014 and participated in 13 races overall, 3 of which were Marathons. I also snagged Personal Records at the 8k, 10k, 1/2 Marathon, and Full Marathon distances.  The most remarkable stat is that I did this without getting injured (knocks on particle board). I only hope my training in 2015 brings similar results.

With ’14 behind it’s time to plan ahead.  Already on the race schedule is my first Ultra Marathon.  For those of you not familiar, an Ultra Marathon is defined as any distance farther than 26.2 miles.  You could run a 30 mile long run and technically, you’ve ran an ultra marathon. With that said, I feel that most Ultra runners consider 50-100 miles to be the defining distance. The Ultra Marathon on my schedule is the Delirium 24 hour Ultra in February. A race in which participants run laps around a 1.7 mile looped trail through the wood and whoever runs the most laps/miles in the 24 hour period, wins. If you run 85 miles you receive a finisher’s medal.  If you run 100 miles you receive a belt buckle. If you run 120-140 miles, well……..there’s a good chance you won the damn thing.

With only 1 month to go, there’s really little time for training.  I hope that the base I’ve built in the past few months will carry over into this. Also on the schedule this month is the Charleston Marathon. I was offered a spot as a pacer for the 4 hour finishing group and decided that 1) It will be a great training run for Delirium and 2) Pacing is one of the most rewarding accomplishments you can achieve as a runner. You have a chance to run with and guide your friends and neighbors in your running community to the finish and help them achieve their own personal goals. There’s probably no better feeling!

With the weight of these two race on my shoulders, January has to be a strong month both mentally, and physically.  With such little time to prepare It’s time to get serious so I’ve decided to give up booze for a month. That’s right, no shots with friends after the Carolina Panther’s first playoff win since 2005. No refreshing IPA’s after a long night of pouring them for strangers, and no hearty porter after a long, cold, rainy run.

Oh Beer, I shall miss thee.

After more than 13 years of getting to know you so well, I think it might be time for a break.  I know this comes as a surprise and I promise, it’s not you….. it’s me.  I just need to gather my thoughts and think clearly for once.  I really need to focus on my goals and I just can’t do that with you in my life right now.  Simply put, we just have too much fun together.  I know you’ll wait for me. You’re so patient. We’ve had so many good times together and I know we’ll have more, we just have to put them on hold for a few weeks.  I do trust you and appreciate you understanding our dilemma…  Also, you should know I’ve been talking to you’re sister, N-A beer and we’ve kind of hit it off. She’s not nearly as fun as you, but she helps me make more responsible decisions. I hope you respect this and I’ll catch up with you at Tatar’s Superbowl party in a month. I know you’ll be there.

Cheers,

-Drinker with a Running problem.


Brooks T7 Racer Shoe Review

If the shoe fits…..buy it…..over and over again.  This has been my experience with the Brooks T7 Racer for the past four years. Amidst another plentiful race season, I feel it necessary to share my experience with this shoe.  From my first 5k to this year’s NYC Marathon, the T7 goes the distance for me. Perfect for racing and/or tempo runs or track sessions.  Don’t expect high mileage from these, expect speed.

***Disclaimer*** I have a slender frame that has been referred to as sinewy. With a height of 5ft 11inches and a weight of only 144 pounds, my shoes don’t take much of a beating.  Because of my stride and my weight, I can get away with running a full marathon in this shoe but for normal to heavier runners, I think the shoe would be more suitable for 5k-Half Marathon distances.

When you try the shoe on for the first time, you’ll notice a few things.  The first thing you’ll notice is that the shoe is TIGHT.  It’s snug in the toe box, it hugs the arch, and it has a strong heal counter that locks your foot in place. This will probably turn a lot of runners away but hear me out.  My feet aren’t wide and they’re not narrow either. They’re average width with a normal arch and I run on my forefoot so my toes tend to spread out more.  The shoe still works great with the snug fit because of the flexibility of the upper. After only one or two runs, the shoes break in nicely. When I run fast, I don’t like a lot of movement in my shoes.  Too much movement equals blisters for me.  

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The next thing you’ll notice when you try this shoe on is the significant heel-to-toe drop. It is extremely noticeable when you’re just standing or walking in the shoes, but because you’ll be running in them, that won’t matter. I know that drop is pretty large considering most minimal shoes these days are moving toward flatter, lower drops that will “supposedly” encourage less heal striking.  I say “supposedly” because I land mostly on my forefoot and this shoe works great for running on your toes.  In fact, the flatter forefoot gives a nice feel for the road underneath and encourages a faster turnover.  Also, if you tend to revert to a mid-foot or light heal strike when your calfs get tired on longer runs, there is still plenty of cushion underneath.

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The third thing you might notice is the extremely lightweight feel. Weighing in at only 6.4 Oz’s, the T7 is built for one thing. Speed. The upper is made from a lightweight nylon material with synthetic cloth overlays that are sewed in for structure and durability. An offset lacing system with paper thin laces pulls the upper from both sides of the shoe ensuring a snug fit, especially in the arch.  The shoe is marketed as a high-arch shoe, but I found it to be very adaptable.  What I mean by this is that most of the arch support doesn’t come from the sole, but rather from the flexible sidewall of the nylon/cloth upper. This means that the arch fit will depend on how tight you lace the shoe.  Furthermore, the upper is practically seamless with smooth, soft fit all the way around.

IMG_1846

Another reason the shoe is so light weight is due to the lack of rubber tread.  The bottom of the shoe has only two rubber tread pieces on the heel and very dense EVA foam covering the rest of the surface of the sole.  This tread grips really nicely to to all types of road surfaces and works well in wet conditions too. Actually, better than some rubber treads.  You might think that the lack of tread will make the shoe wear faster, which I’m sure it does for heavier runners, but in my experience the cushion in the sole becomes compressed before the tread wears out.  Because of this, you won’t get a lot of miles out of this shoe but keep in mind, it’s not built for that.  The T7 Racer is a run specific shoe that should be used during races or faster training runs. Simply put, it’s my weapon of choice when I want to run fast.  And if for some reason I show up to a group run wearing these, just think of it as a friendly challenge….

Please feel free to post any questions or comments.  As far as sizing goes, I normally wear a size 9 in Brooks PureProject shoes but have to go up to a 9.5 in this model.  The shoe is unisex so women should size down 1 full to 1.5 size smaller.  For example, if you normally wear a women’s size 8 try on a men’s 6.5 or 7.

 


Determination Proclamation

Investment.

Most people probably think of money when they here that word.  I think of miles.

You get out what you put in.

For me and my NYC Marathon training partner Victor, this was sort of our motto while training.  We could always be doing more.  We ran grueling bleacher workouts and hit the track once every week.  Mile repeats one minute faster than our goal pace (more like 1.5min faster for Vic). We added long run after long run and stacked up the miles all summer long. Our goal was to use our finishing time in NYC to qualify for the Boston Marathon.  We had to run this Marathon in less than 3 hrs and 5 minutes to qualify.  We were prepared for anything.  Even 20-30mph swirling winds with gust up to 40mph weren’t going to stop us, right?

Wrong.

We were zapped around miles 14/15 and we recorded terrible times considering our training and preparation.  Never have we been more prepared for a race, only to fall terribly short of our goal. For me it was a personal worst time for 26.2 miles. Yeah…We could blame it on the wind. We could blame it on the hills. We could blame it on so many factors, but everyone knows what excuses are like…

donkey-hole

This isn’t a pity piece, so if you’re feeling sorry, don’t. We’ve been through that. This is a proclamation piece. A proclamation of determination for all runners chasing their individual goals.  Whether it’s finishing a race in a certain time, or simply finishing a race.

Stay. Determined.

Running is determination and determination is fire.  Use that fire through the training, through the injuries, through the pain, through the constant investment your body and your mind make. If you stay determined through these obstacles, you will complete your goal.

It’s really that simple.

That way didn’t get you the results you were looking for? Go back to the drawing board and try something different. Come back with an intensity no one has ever seen from you before. Light that fire under your ass and carry it with you everywhere you go. Eat, sleep and breathe with it burning. Let everyone see it in your eyes….And when you’re ready to get that return on your investment, unleash the inferno and burn your goal to the mother F-ing ground.

MAN-ON-FIRE_1437098c

Now pick another goal….

Repeat.


Running for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society

The first marathon I ran was the 2011 Chicago Marathon and I ran it for my favorite charity, the Make-A-Wish Foundation. I learned a few things about fundraising for charity that first go round, the most important being that its not easy. But neither is running a marathon. So when I decided to run this year’s NYC Marathon for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, I knew the challenges that were ahead of me.

It’s overcoming those challenges that makes the whole experience so much more meaningful. The realization alone, that the challenges I will face are microscopic compared to those of the folks I’m raising money for, is enough motivation to get me through the hardest training run. The added weight of involving all the people that have joined the campaign by donating, will get me to the finish.  Hopefully in BQ time. Sub 3hrs 5 minutes.

While searching the list of charities available for the NYC Marathon, I was saddened to see that my favorite charity, The Make-A-Wish Foundation, was not on the list. After days of browsing through different charities, I saw the link to LLS. I’d recently volunteer-bartended a LLS fundraiser for my 10 year old sister Alex, who’s classmate is in remission. The family thanked and praised LLS so much for helping them through the tragedy and that struck me on a very personal level. I also realized that a lot of the children that were seeing their wishes come true by the Make-A-Wish Foundation had blood cancers, so in a way, I was still helping them too.

There are few charities as organized as the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. If you’re involved in your running community then you’ve most likely heard of Team in Training or TNT, as they go by (because the alternative was Tit). If you haven’t heard of them, it’s a program created by LLS that offers marathon training assistance in exchange for fundraising. They set you up with a local (or remote) coach that sends you training plans and tips to help you through your training. Although I believe it’s a great program, it’s not for me. I feel that its geared more toward beginners working for their first marathon goal. However, the attention to detail and the highly organized fundraising platform that they use is for me and definitely went into consideration when choosing.

After choosing, LLS, Weeks went by and I had no idea how I was going to approach the fundraising this time around. Although I love supporting charities, I genuinely hate asking people for money. So when I saw that a guy on Kickstarter was raising money to make potato salad, it inspired me (fyi: he’s raised over $50,000…..to make potato salad).  I knew right away I was going to somehow have to piggyback on his campaign.

So I decided to start a war with him. I would boycott of Potato Salad until my goal of $1500 is reached. Check out my LLS fundraising page here, Michael’s LLS Fundraising Page, and my facebook page here, Michael’s Facebook Page to see some of my antics.

It’s been just over a week since I started this campaign and I reached just over 50% of my goal last night.  The campaign is moving faster than I ever thought possible and it’s all been through social media.  With so much time still left, I know we will reach $1500 and hopefully even exceed that!  With that said, I want to personally thank the followers of this blog who have donated already and ask those who haven’t for any contribution.  Join the fight against blood cancers by donating to LLS and/or make the symbolic gesture with joining my boycott of potato salad! With your help.

Just click on this link to join the fight 🙂

***BLOG SPECIAL**** If you donate today I will personally and randomly shout your full name at a water station volunteer along the marathon course!

Thank you all!

-Michael


MayDay Marathon 2014

As expected, the great folks at OnShore Racing threw an aMayzing Marathon and Half Marathon here in Charleston on May 1st.  To say the course is scenic is an understatement.  Some think that this course, Running the full 26.2 from Isle of Palms to Sullivans to Downtown Charleston and then out to Folly Beach is the best Marathon course in Charleston.  I have to agree with them.

Logistically, this point-to-point race would be a nightmare for most race directors but Rocky and Virginia knew exactly what to do when they thought up this unconventional race last year.  Just run the course open.  So that’s what they did.  They created a guerrilla race that runs on mostly sidewalks and with/against traffic. This RAYOR race, or Run At Your Own Risk Race, is like no other in Charleston and THAT is the appeal.  There are no over priced entry fees, the Half costs just as much as the Full, and most of the $30 goes right back to you in the post race party!!! Oh yeah, you also get receive a sweet tech-t and a badass, handcrafted medal. It’s all about the run man!  Seriously, this race couldn’t be any better! But don’t take my word for it, just watch the video below and see for yourself!

Vimeo Click Here: MayDay Marathon 2014

Feeling inspired now? Want more info? Registration is already open for next year’s race and you can check out all future OnShore Racing’s Quixotic Running events by clicking on the link below:

OnShore Racing

Oh yeah, My race report:

I dropped out after the first 13.1 so I could become the official Videographer… and because my legs were shot.   Big congrats to all those who suffered to the end!

Happy Healing,

-Michael

 

 

 


10 Running Songs That Won’t Make Your Ears Bleed….

Tired of hearing “Don’t Stop Believing” at races? How about the ole hit, “Move’s like Jagger”?

The last time I heard “Eye of the Tiger” during a race I had to physically force myself NOT to run into oncoming traffic….. And when I say I had to physically force myself,  I mean that I had to avoid the traffic by reaching down with both my hands and grabbing my ankles to slow myself to a stop, then dig a hole in the ground, bury my head in it like an Ostrich while humming the theme music to Captain Planet in a failed attempt to attract some dirty-ass underground earth insects into my goodassmusic loving ears to help compost my migraine prone brain into earthworm shit that would hopefully one day sprout a flower that inspires a  Radiohead/Roots collaboration album on which every single song matches the rhythm of 180 beats per minute…

AAAHHHHHHH!

After the bleeding stopped, I thought it would be a good idea to make a playlist of 10 of my favorite running songs (in order from warm-up to cool-down) to help those poor folks like me that are in desperate need of something different…

 

WARNING: if you like running to Kelly Clarkson’s, “Stronger”, you WILL NOT like running to the following songs….and I wish you the worst.

 

#1  Reckoner by Radiohead

This beautifully layered tune will ease you into your running experience while painting a landscape of the highs…and lows that are soon to follow…

 

 

#2 Wide Eyes by Local Natives

If the lyrics alone aren’t enough to move you, the drums most definitely will.

 

 

#3 Tribal War by Damian Marley and Nas

Speaking of drums…

 

 

#4 No Cars Go by Arcade Fire

Go to your happy place… look out for cars….

 

 

#5 All Alone by Gorillaz

As you should be…Because running partners that listen to headphones don’t really get it…

 

 

#6 Something Good by Alt-J (∆)

My new favorite band…anything from their album, An Awesome Wave, is run worthy…..and life worthy.

 

 

#7 Get Down On It, Kool and the Gang

The first song I heard after Eye of the Unmentionable, and it was so funky and refreshing to my damaged ears. It healed me.

 

 

#8 Velvet Snow, Kings of Leon

Almost there, pick up the pace with this little throwback.

 

 

#9 Wolf Like Me, TV on the Radio

The best running song of all time. Seriously.  “My mind has changed my body’s frame but God I like it, My heart’s aflame my body’s strained but God I like it.” If this song doesn’t get you to the end of your run,  you should probably start hitch hiking….unless you’re a wearing yoga pants…then call a cab…scratch that, the cabbie will probably be a creeper too…just walk home.

 

 

#10 Om Nashi Me, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Nothing like a little hippaddie dippaddie zen music to help increase that runner’s high you have by now, Enjoy my friends.

 

One day I will direct a race that plays all of these awesome running songs on repeat for your listening and running pleasure…

and also in hopes that all of the Van Halen “Jump” fans out there do just that……jump…..

off a frickin cliff.

 

-Michael