Posts Tagged ‘New Balance’

Well just at the point I was considering giving up running, I get sent these from the lovely people at new balance… New Balance Vazee Coast

As you can see, they include a certain amount of ‘knitting’. The sort of main fabric they are made from… which looks great… but maybe that’s the point. They look and feel more like fashion trainers to me.  I have been for a short run in them (and I hope I don’t regret saying this) but I don’t particularly like them for running. I would run for the bus in them, sure, and if I was late getting my kids to school like this morning.

I still like them, I do. But more to go with my jeans than with my shorts, I think. On a night out maybe… if that ever happens again… but not to one of those places that says “No jeans. No trainers.” … obviously because they’d say, “Oi! No!  You’re  wearing jeans AND trainers” …and who could argue with that logic?!

As you may have noticed, the word ‘running’ has crept back into my blogging vocabulary.

🙂

It has… eventually… but not after getting worse first. I shall fill you in.

You see, in addition to the pulled hamstring in the dads’ race at sports day… I then, after eventual (well… partial) recovery, played a game of tennis and ( to give you the shortened version) I managed to pop my quad! Have I told you this before? * checks previous blog post* Nope, I haven’t. Well there was an audible ‘pop!’ and I couldn’t walk. It was shortly followed by a repeat of the hamstring pull and subsequent melancholy for a few weeks with me complaining of getting old and falling apart.

I resolved to ‘control what I could control’ and took to doing some weights and core work, together with taking some protein supplement (after many days of extensive internet research) to aid muscle recovery. It felt like it was working, albeit slowly.

A holiday to Wales came at the right time, and I was able to go out for a short morning run on most days, which I slowly lengthened….

…and…cue the photos…

And who could blame me for going out each day when this was the view in the morning… (filter included to help provide a sense of the feeling I got while looking out at it)…


I even managed Wepre parkrun on the journey there… Laps around a field it is not…


…and even the wetter weather closer to home hasn’t stopped me heading out…

 

Some of the recent weight gain has started to shift, and things are generally a bit more positive again. Though my ankle keeps reminding me I’m still not exactly the picture of prime physical perfection. Obviously… if it wasn’t for the ankle though… I’d be on the cover of a men’s fitness magazine 😉

This Sunday will see me and my boy head out on a 5k run organised by the company ‘Decathlon’ as part of their free race series. I really don’t know what to expect. The free T-shirt and goodie bag got my son to say he wanted to do it… about 3 months ago. When I reminded him yesterday though, he didn’t seem so keen :-/

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Well that was an eventful weekend.

Warning: This is a long(ish) one.

I will get on to the review part of this post in just a second so please don’t get put off by the next paragraph – it’s not as depressing at it may at first sound. 

(I’ll include side headings in this post so you can skip to the bits you came here for if you like. I won’t take offence)

PERSONAL

So, a little personal news.  I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that my Grandmother (‘Granny’ to me) had had a stroke.  Up until that point she was living independently at her own home at the age of 92. She recovered partially from that stroke and she was able to see and talk to my dad and his brothers over the next few days… but while still in hospital she suffered another stroke and never regained consciousness, dying on Saturday morning. We will all miss her and her random Christmas presents (though, I have to admit they were actually disappointingly very appropriate just recently) but we are grateful for her full and active life.  

She didn’t even read my blog while she was here so I’m doubtful she’ll see this next bit now… but… ‘Goodbye Granny’.

TENNIS 

At the point I heard the news, I was dropping child 1 (aged 9) at his 10:00am tennis coaching. I parked up at the club and then helped out there for a couple of hours. I then was due to play in a match an hour later so after a quick lunch, I then served at my child for half an hour while he attempted to return them.

The mixed doubles match I was in started at 1pm and all seemed to be going well. Child 1 was in the clubhouse listening to the football match on the radio and… …and then I noticed play had stopped on the adjacent court. One of our men had got injured two games in and couldn’t continue. As it was so early in the match, our opponents graciously allowed a substitution to take place. Step up Child 1.

So after two hours of coaching that morning he then very much steps up to the mark and plays the ten remaining games of the first match… then 12 games in the second match and a further 12 in the third – helping his partner to win just enough games for our club to win overall. Nice one, son.

ASHBY 20 (pre-race)

So although nearly 5 hours of tennis is not normal preparation the day before a 20 mile road race, there was a part of me that was happy not to expect too much of myself at this event. I would try to run the whole way round, take it slow from the start, NOT run a half marathon PB by over five minutes and then slow massively in the final few miles (like last year!); I would enjoy it. Secretly, I would have loved a time below 3 hours but I accepted that this was unlikely as it would mean averaging 9 minute miles for the whole 20, and it’s officially ‘undulating’. Anything around 3:10:00 and I’d be happy.

My hard-working wife had decided to come along with with the kids too so they would drop me at race HQ and then camp out on the course somewhere to offer support…

NEW BALANCE LITE PACKABLE 

  
This was THE perfect jacket for the start line today. There was no rain but it was cold and it kept the wind chill right off while doing that thing where you hang around and decide whether you can really be bothered enough to queue for the portaloos. A much more stylish alternative to the 1980s Karate Kid bad man look courtesy of an adapted bin bag…
  
  
  
I wore it for the first 4 miles, packed it into its own pocket and carried it for the next two and then chucked it at my family when I passed them at mile 6. It was so light though that it flew over their heads and onto a random person’s drive. Sorry about that, random person. In a moment of instant payback though, I wasn’t looking where I was going and ran straight into a traffic cone. The pain in my toe thankfully only lasted for about a mile.

Now I think I’ve said, I like the jacket. It’s proper light, so portable and so functional BUT  there’s this thing…

…the zip.

 It works and everything…very smooth…well made, etc…

…but it’s on the wrong side isn’t it?

My other jackets…

   
    
   

…always with the moveable zippy bit on the left (as I look at it when wearing).

Then there’s the New Balance Lite Packable… zipper on the right.

  
This should not be a tricky thing for a moderately intelligent human being, you would think. But can my brain get around this?… no. It’s like one of those trick bikes that steers the wrong way at a fair. Have you seen them? No matter. They exist, and it’s like that. My brain just cannot do the switch. It has been the undoing of me…. or not, as the case may be.

Just thought – Do women’s jackets zip the other way? This is officially a men’s one… 

 
…see.

So there you go, anyway…

Summary = Great jacket. Weird brain-boggling zip.

Disclaimer: This is not the most important thing in the world.

ASHBY 20 REVIEW (cntd)

I’ve done plenty of 6 mile runs recently and some of them at faster than 9 minute miles so keeping this going to mile 10 seemed straight-forward.
When I got to half-marathon distance at just under the 2-hour mark, I partly thought, “Well done. That’s sticking to the pacing plan.” And another part of me thought, “mmm… I was here last year about 8 minutes earlier and still finished the whole race at 3 hours 4 mins”.

The plan then became to try and keep steady pace until mile 17 and then do maths.

At mile 17 I did maths. All I needed to do was a parkrun distance in 26 mins to break the 3-hour mark. This might be tough, but do-able!

Then something strange happened.

Something that has never happened before towards the end of a race.

I started overtaking people instead of getting overtaken.

That was a weird feeling.

My breathing got a bit strained and loud but I kept going to the end where I could see my lovely family waiting and cheering me on.
There was a little sprint finish which resulted in me just nipping over the line with 18 seconds to spare! I could have taken it easy! (I could have looked a darn sight better in the race-photos too – shocking!)

I even got a £5 spot prize when I picked up my goody bag, just like last year. And just like last year it went straight to the Rainbows charity pot at the cricket pavilion area where I received a decent sports massage.

I didn’t even get cramp. That’s a first too! I think I’m a fan of this pacing lark.
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My heart looks like it enjoyed it.

Many thanks to the organisers, volunteers, locals, supporters and other runners for making this an absolutely cracking event. It’s a perfect spring marathon build-up event…But I’m not doing a marathon this year, so I can also say it’s just a brilliant event in its own right. And instead of a medal at the end (which doesn’t keep you warm) you get a hoodie (which does).

  

This weekend it is the Ashby20 – a twenty mile road race against a Gorilla.

I’m not quite sure what the whole gorilla thing is about to be honest. I guess it’s just a little side show.

 

The Ashby20 – Because nobody lokes the last 6 miles of a marathon, anyway.

 
I did this race last year in preparation for my Huddersfield marathon because it too has a few hills. I can’t remember much about it actually – MY REVIEW IS LINKED HERE – so I might read it again myself before the weekend. Or I could just read part 2 of this post (but that’s some kind of weird existential stuff going on there as I won’t have written it until after I’ve done it). 

Mmmm… Now I have just read the initial review and I don’t think I’m in anywhere near the same kind of shape. Sunday could be interesting :-/

I would probably be even more interesting if I was playing in a competitive tennis match on Saturaday – tomorrow – the day before this twenty miler.

So… tomorrow, Saturday, the day before the Ashby20 I shall be playing in a competitive tennis match – approximately three hours in a league match at my local club :-/

This could have a couple of unexpected (though because I am identifying them, they are possibly a little bit expected) advantages:

1) I won’t set off like a mad thing like I normally do at the beginning of races.

2) I’ll have a fairly reasonable pre-prepared excuse for when it all goes a bit belly-up! Yay – that’s what it’s all about folks – “Go hard…or at least have a reasonable excuse lined up“.

Because of this hightened level of physical activity this weekend I’ve been eating super-healthily   ‘carb loading’ (and we all know that that basically means beer and doughnuts).  Sunday really could be very interesting.

It’s not that I haven’t done any training for this, by the way. I ran a lot of miles last week, I’ll have you know. I seemed to do a lot of 6 to 10 mile runs as part of a challenge to win a swanky new running watch. I completed the challenge but didn’t win the watch. 

My disappointment at this was lifted slightly when the lovely people behind the PR for New Balance sent me a snazzy Lite Packable Jacket to try. 

   
Here is the official New Balance link to the Lite Packable Jacket.

Now at no point does it explain why the word ‘lite‘ is used in place of ‘light‘ because it is proper light.

It has been constructed by sewing together the wings of ten thousand butterflies using the thread of a silkworm…and it weighs about the same… 99 grammes by my reckoning.

 That’s less the weight of the flour required by Delia Smith to make 2 large pancakes before even adding the milk and egg.  That’s right – I eat pancakes even after pancake day!

Not only that, it also folds neatly into itself so that you can have that special ‘crumpled’ look when you eventually want to wear it again… 

 
Seriously though, this is so packable and so light that I wouldn’t think twice about taking it with me on a long run and tucking it into a running belt.  It will definitely be coming with me to the Ashby20 on Sunday and while everyone else is there keeping warm at the start line in their black bin-liners with holes cut out for the head and neck like some kind of evil 1980s karate henchman, I shall be ready to strut my stuff on the catwalk of running style with my Lite (light) Packable offering. Oh yes.

Have a good weekend folks. I’ll (eventually) get round to part 2 some time soon after.

It’s been a while. I’ve been too busy eating cashew nuts, mince pies and chocolates… often at the same time.

So here’s a little catch up on various goings on…

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, I received an email from the lovely people at New Balance, informing me that they had some new kit and had a few items for some lucky running folk to test.

This included the fantastic looking (though pricey!) winter running jacket (the Beacon) pictured below.

   
 
Unfortunately I was not one of the lucky runners to get to try this out for myself as I was too slow. They didn’t check up on my 5k PB or anything (I don’t think), I just mean that by the time I’d responded to the mailing they had all been snapped up.

I don’t know if the email responder was just feeling very Christmassy or what, but basically said (and I paraphrase here…), “Sorry we don’t have any jackets left for you to try. Here’s some trainers instead. Which would you like?”.

A couple of days later, these arrived for me. 

 
A pair of 1080 v5 running shoes. 

Well thank you very much 🙂 and Happy Christmas, New Balance PR people.

These retail at £110 on the New Balance website but I dare say they might be cheaper elsewhere (I hope that sentence hasn’t resulted in me being removed from their virtual Christmas card list).

I then noticed this post on Twitter from Laura at lazygirlrunning… 

 
She then asked… (and I responded)

 
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And if I’m to take her word for it… 
 

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So… How could I compete with that?!

Well… Like this… 
 

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…and this…

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A few days later, I decided to take them for a proper test run.

Now it just so happens that some days I start work late and finish early – to let me still do the school runs,  but the kids had finished school and my hard-working wife was also off work so I thought this would be an ideal opportunity to do a run commute to work.

It was a great idea. I allowed plenty of time, I took a lightweight bag and I hit the road. 12.7 miles later (this is why I don’t regularly run commute) I arrived at work in fine form and was set for the day.

The shoes were super comfy, cool, and roomy. I have quite wide feet and these come in a wide fitting so there wasn’t a hint of blistering despite this being their first proper run out (I’d worn them around the house for a few days just to look swanky, of course), and naturally they do look pretty swanky.

So running to work, all be it a fairly long way, was a great idea…

…running home on the other hand…

…well…

…I made it…

…but it was certainly no negative split!

Now, on the downside, I’ve found the 1080 v5 is great in the dry, including track (canal path) running but they feel  quite slippy on wet tarmac, I found.

Also, in scientific tests, they’re rubbish at cooking…

  
Despite this, they would be my shoe of choice at home currently for a long run as they are wonderfully cushioned and feel like they could really take some big mileage without problem.

They don’t, in themselves make me any stronger or fitter unfortunately, so that big mileage… well that’s up to me.

I’ve signed up for a twenty-miler and an open-water triathlon in 2016. I might also do the Wolf-Run that never quite materialised for my brother’s 40th birthday. Apart from that, there’s plenty of parkruns to be had. My 5k time was reducing nicely, in line with some necessary weight-loss. I ran a hard parkrun yesterday though and was about 90 seconds slower than my PB. Christmas nibbles are to blame for that…or more precisely…me eating lots of them.
I’ve decided against officially ‘doing Janathon‘ this year. You know, that ‘exercise every day in January, blog every day in January’ thing. I have been so useless at regular blogging, that I’d probably only manage one post a week at most. I might try for that, anyway. Good luck to you if you’re doing Janathon proper this year.

Best wishes for 2016.
Run well…even if you don’t run.

Ok. So as it turned out, that New Balance prize (for writing about my rubbish runs) I was expecting – the ‘head to toe’ New Balance kit (which clearly was near enough a guarantee of a onesie), turned out to actually be ‘neck to toe’ (admittedly a less well-known english phrase) and included shorts, two running tops…  

…and a shiny new pair of Fresh Foam Zante running shoes…

  

So I’m not complaining! To be honest, if I take that little step back and take a deep breath, I would probably even go so far as to admit that, as a whole, this collection of kit is probably more practical than a onesie would have been, anyway.

I know I will have upset some people by making that statement, but please, we are all different, with different needs, wants and expectations. Please respect my views on this matter, even if your own may differ.  Thank you.

My best kit is now no longer that purchased from my local charity shop. No offense intended by that either, it has been great quality and served me well. But this stuff is super light, quick-dry, comfortable, and the shorts come with (and this is obviously important) a well placed zip-up pocket large enough for my phone, positioned so as not to bounce around too much during my regular* super-speedy interval sessions.

*(Once a year is still regular)

Furthermore the tops have this weird thumb thing…look…
  

I don’t personally find that my long sleeves on shirts automatically roll themselves up my arm without this design addition. Perhaps because generally the rest of my arms are bigger than my wrists. BUT I have seen that this is definitely a ‘runner’ thing so if I need a little hole in a shirt for my thumb to make me aBitMoreOfaRunner then so be it. Bring it on.

Now the shoes. They are super light. On first wear I’m wasn’t sure I would want to wear them for really long runs… I feel like I want a shoe that weighs approximately 20% of my own body weight in order to trust that it won’t collapse in on itself after two strides. But I’m looking forward to doing speed work (it’s all relative) in them. They have ‘5k PB’ written all over them!*

*(they actually have ‘fresh foam’ written all over them**)

**(not really ‘all over them’ so much as ‘on the heel’…and maybe inside a bit)

This time next week Junethon begins. Daily exercise and blogging = daily randomness. Can’t see me lasting the month, but I’ll enjoy giving it a go again.

No. Not a typo.

If there has been any progress at all, it has been very weak.

It seems that in order to lose the 10kg I want to before I will allow myself to enter the Nottingham marathon, my body has decided it would be easier if I first gained a bit of unnecessary weight first. Hmmmm.

I blame my children.  Well one child in particular. My son. It was his birthday, you see and he wanted me to eat loads of bbq food – two types of sausage, chicken, burgers, steak, spare ribs ( + the usual extras) all in one sitting.  And then he didn’t want all that cake and those crisps hanging around for too long afterwards, of course.

I’m obviously being very unfair to him there. It’s not his fault. He didn’t buy all the food. He didn’t choose to be born.

It’s clearly my wife’s fault.
But all blame aside. I’ve not been very well this week either. Just colded up, not breathing well, sleepy, sore throat, etc.

I’ve not done parkrun for ages for various reasons but I think I’ll give it a miss this morning too. I’m supposed to be playing in a tennis match this afternoon and it is my son’s school’s 5k run this weekend too. I think those activities might do me in enough on their own.

It’s amazing how little I have run since the marathon, actually. An element of ‘post-marathon blues’ is there, I’m sure and I’ve got out of routine.

Here are a few things that might help with motivation though:

1) Juneathon is coming up again! If you are uninitiated then click the link and have a look.  Basically, it’s an activity/blogging challenge requiring some form of activity (and activity reporting) each day in June. 

2) Bounts. I came across this fairly recently. It’s a website/app that links to various fitness apps/gadgets and awards you points based on the exercise you do. When you reach a certain number of points you can trade them in for various £5 gift vouchers in their ‘shop’. In addition to the points, for every activity you do, you get a credit to spin the reward wheel – and in doing so have a slim chance of gaining extra prizes.  It’s totally free (unless you want to pay to get extra points per exercise) and if you exercise regularly anyway, it is essentially something for nothing.

They are doing a bit of a reboot of systems at the moment so if the website is down then just try again in a day or two.

(If you do sign up however, use the code ‘avery1132‘ and we’ll both get a few extra points!)

3) Do you remember that rubbish run I did a little while back? …which was followed up a few weeks later by another rubbish run ? Well those lovely people at New Balance decided they liked it as part of their #UseYourRun campaign and so have informed me that I have won ‘head to toe’ New Balance gear. Nice eh?

Of course, I don’t know what ‘head to toe’ entails. Possibly it’s a New Balance  onesie, I have no idea, except I know it does include their new ‘fresh foam’ running shoes.  I shall let you know when it arrives and let you know what it’s like.

So there you have it – my weakly weekly update.

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At 94kg I am a bit further away from my 82kg marathon-entering weight. 

(This isn’t going to turn into a weight-loss blog, I’m just doing this at the end for a little extra accountability/motivation)

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Another rubbish run – not referencing my recent marathon in Huddersfield (an update for that can be found here shortly), but instead a follow-up on MY OTHER BUBBISH RUN that I did in March (partly inspired by the New Balance #useyourrun campaign).

In that post I went a little further than the usual ‘putting few bits in the bin’ as I run and I’d taken a couple of carrier bags to clear a beautiful area nearby that I use for hill training. But on arrival it was worse than ever, so the plan was to return…with bigger bags.
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So it was that yesterday, while my son was at his cub scouts group nearby, I ran to this area again but this time armed with larger bin bags and a reinforced, stronger bag for the glass pieces I knew I’d seen last time. Oh… and gloves. Definitely also with gloves.

I had to work pretty quickly, as I only had 75 minutes before needing to collect my son again so I didn’t take loads of before and after photos, but I really feel I made a difference.

Three very full bags – including one full of glass bottles (broken or intact) which alone, weighed in at 6.6 kg
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(I figured as I had gone to the trouble of separating the glass, I may as well take it home for recycling too)

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It was a beautiful evening. I felt good having cleared this area. The workout was a good one. I was absolutely dripping with sweat, especially after carrying the bags most of the way back. Thursday is bin collection day so I borrowed some space at the top of the locals’ bins that they had set out already, but that still meant carrying all three bags for a mile or so and the glass one all the way.
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Drip sweat, drip sweat, drip sweat.

I’ll leave you with a pick of this little fella (or ‘filly’…I obviously have no idea)…
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…that I found while clearing an area just off the path. It seems their defence mechanism is just to stay really, really still, in a sort of ‘kids in the car versus the T-Rex in Jurassic Park’ kind of way. It allowed me to get super close, anyway and snap that albeit poor quality picture on my phone.

Job done. Had fun. Nice one…

#useyourrun

Today I was planning to do some hill repetitions.  It didn’t go to plan.

There is a decent hill near to where I take my children to school. It’s about a mile away, down the road and along the canal path to get there. 

It used to be an artificial ski slope in its day and I’m still waiting for a decent snow fall so I can grab the sledge and head out (I suppose, taking the kids with me if I must).

Trail shoes on… At the start line…



Ok. This is admittedly not a start line but the car park bay. It’s my start line, though.

Today, it wasn’t snowing. It wasn’t sunny. Or rainy. It was just one of those typical, English, nothing-in-particular, dull days. But it was also hill rep day… and in the village it was rubbish bin collection day.

Something I try to do on my runs is definitely in line with that quote, 

“Take only pictures. Leave only footprints.”

Where I can though, I think it’s nice to leave a place even nicer than I found it. 

This all fits in well with the current New Balance ‘use your run’ campaign. You may have seen the advert incorporating the folks from @goodgym where they fix up a park.

Well it got me thinking how I use my runs and if I could use them more.

I will often, when out on a run (especially if there’s a bin in sight) collect the odd bit of rubbish, chuck it away, and carry on.  This post was intended to be one of those, ‘let’s all do our bit’ sort of posts encouraging us runner types to take literally a few seconds out of our runs to make our own environments a little better.  

It certainly started out that way. As I ran down the road, before I even got to the canal, I was popping a few bits of rubbish in the bins. Thursday = bin day, so it really was dead simple and I didn’t have to carry anything (although I did have a couple of plastic bags stuffed in my pocket just in case). 



Excuse the ‘rubbish’ photography… Sweet wrappers, cans, take-away cartons, etc – binned.

Then I got to the canal. Rubbish along here seems so much more out of place. I mean… I don’t like it anywhere, buit seems even more incongruous next to the water, juxtaposed with the trees and wildlife (get me and my big words, today).



This is where the bags come in handy. 

And this is where things change slightly.

You see I came here today with the intention of clearing some rubbish on my way to my favourite hill, but there had obviously been some sort of ‘gathering’ here and folks had just chucked stuff left, right and centre.



It spoils the view somewhat, don’t you think?

I certainly wasn’t able to clear the area totally, I won’t go near anything that looks sharp or dangerous, and I only had two bags, but something’s better than nothing, right?



Now, I know this isn’t practical for every run. Apart from anything else, I ended up only having time to do a couple of hill repeats…

…but it felt much better, doing them on a cleaner hill…

…and the run back to the village was a good arm workout too… but it was as though the world was a slightly sunnier place on the return journey…



Also, thankfully there were plenty of bins available.

It was, afterall, bin day. 

#useyourrun

Being an internationally famous running ambassador* has got to have its perks, and recently, after making a nuisance of myself and selling my soul to the marketing world a polite email request to the lovely people at gunghoco.com I was sent a fantastic pair of New Balance ‘Leadville 1210‘ trail shoes to review.

*when I was 12 I ran in a fun run during a French exchange trip to… well France… Obviously.

Now as much as I do not wish to shoot myself in the now beautifully adorned foot, I am intrigued by the practice of giving shoes away to lowly bloggers such as myself for review, especially since the last time it happened to me, my review could be summed up by “oooo look – they’re really, really blue!” …well…. They were!
(By the way, this new pair are really, really green!)

I am especially puzzled since a quick Internet search produces some really decent results with proper in-depth reviews from people who actually sound like they know what they are on about. So where is the sense in sending me a pair?

Maybe I appeal to a special, elite, discerning kind of runner…yes…that’s probably it :-/

I can only assume that these marketing people are very, very clever and know what they are doing (or perhaps had a load of size 11s from old stock that needed shifting, I don’t know) so rather than try to pretend that I’m a technological running boffin who has the authority to advise his vast readership on the merits and pitfalls of this shoe, I shall just tell you what I think in my usual ‘random thoughts and running shorts‘ kind of way.

Here goes…

The Leadville 1210 trail shoes are very green (at least, the green-colour ones I was sent are) and they are designed for running on trails.

(I think it’s all going well so far)

They are apparently quite lightweight at under 0.3kg but I’m not sure how accurate that is because when I weighed them, they showed up as being…ahem…over 93kg…

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Considering they were apparently designed based on the Leadville 100 ultra-distance event, I have confidence that these lighter-than-I’m-used-to trainers will be able to support my ample frame over the rather more moderate distances I aim at these days.

I am all too aware that if I wear a pair of Ray Ban sunglasses I do not suddenly become a qualified pilot.
If I buy a wetsuit I do not instantly become a great open-water swimmer.
If I go on X-factor, I do not instantly become an attention seeking media whore who has sold their soul to Simon Cowell

Well you get the idea. Basically – I know that a pair of new shoes won’t turn me into an amazing runner.

But for the 10 miles I did in them on their first outing (the day after they arrived), I was certainly a very happy runner 🙂

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Here’s my favourite ‘you-have-to-earn-it-to-sit-on-it’ bench which has featured before on this blog…
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There’s a heron in this one…just for some added interest…
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So, as you can see, not the most challenging of trail runs. Pretty flat. Not at all muddy.
But you know what? – these shoes still felt great. Sometimes trail shoes are so rugged that running on the harder, flatter surfaces actually becomes uncomfortable. Not so here.

Also, they have this little connecting bit of material between the tongue and the lace-hole area (what New Balance call ‘Debris Free’ construction) preventing bits of crud from entering the shoe at the front. Good idea. Doesn’t stop little stones getting in through the heel area unfortunately, but aside from wearing a dog’s flea collar around your ankles as you run I’m not sure what to do about that.

Warning: technical review bit coming up…

I really like the grips.
They jut out in one direction on the forefoot to get good push-off, and in the opposite direction on the heel, preventing (I anticipate) some downhill bum-sliding. Cool.

Spaced far enough apart to easily get rid of any mud post-run, I also don’t anticipate having to stand outside my front door banging the soles of my shoes together, announcing loudly that no guns have actually been fired in the area. Admit it – we’ve all done it (embarrassingly banged shoes together loudly….not fired guns).
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That last photo was taken three runs into their lifetime – still looking good 🙂

Technical review bit finished.

I jokingly suggested to Lizzie @ gunghoco.com that if the shoes made me half as speedy as her very efficient email responses, then I’d be laughing…

…well…I’m laughing.
I ran the nearby parkrun on Saturday wearing these shoes and got a five second PB!

Strictly speaking actually, my eight year old son had that time recorded as his own (even though he didn’t run at all) due to the fact that I have laminated a double-sided parkrun barcode so that I always have both of ours to hand. This works well until you are so shattered that you hand it in the wrong way up on a Saturday morning!

Poor little fella would have had to wait 7 years or so to break ‘his’ PB if it wasn’t for the lovely parkrun people adjusting this for us.

So… There we have it, a very non-boffin like shoe review from NotMuchOfaRunner…

Comfy.
Strong.
Rugged.
Well designed.
Supportive.
Has just the right amount of cushioning.
Bright.

Just like the Leadville 1210 in fact.

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Oooo… Lots been going on here:

Firstly, Last week I recently ran a 2k with my son, which I then followed by a 5k myself.
As he is 6 years old, he is in the fortunate position of getting a PB pretty much every time he runs.
I, on the other hand, am not
(…but I still got one – knocking 10 seconds off my previous. Get in!).

Secondly, I have actually, genuinely, properly-like, been getting into a training mindset. I have shunned the car in favour of biking to/from work. It’s 12 miles each way and takes me about 50 mins (although I cycle away from work about 5 minutes quicker!). Admittedly, I only do work there two days a week, but it’s better than nowt.

Thirdly, tennis season has restarted so I have been enjoying a few hours on court this week (and got the opportunity to get centre court Wimbledon tickets for men’s quarter finals day – yes please!).

Fifthly, I have forgotten how to count properly.

Fourthly, with big thanks to some advice from Cathy ‘I’m not all bad’ White – aka JogBlog I have actually become a member of that select (I don’t know how select if I’m a part of it) group of people who get sent decent free stuff to review on their blog so here goes…

It’s running shoes. A pair of New Balance 1080v3 running shoes. A proper, decent, bright blue, full-on pair of genuine, good quality, meant for mileage, made for running, bright blue running shoes.

Did I mention they were bright blue? Maybe this is why I got sent them. Look… Here is their bright blueyness…

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Maybe it is actually a very cunning thing to do. I mean, if I have a bright blue pair of running shoes (and I do now), I am less likely to wear them down to the pub on a Friday night, thus avoiding the risk of inadvertent beverage spillage and so increasing the lifespan of the shoe. So… Good idea… I have come around to liking the bright blueness. They do look well-smart.

I confess too, that I have never before worn a pair of New Balance shoes. I know they have a good reputation for running stuff but I have tended to stick with what I know, which is the ‘not-going-for-the-cheapest-option-but-waiting-for-the-expensive-ones-to-be-superseded-by-new-models-and-buy-them-when-they’re-on-offer’ formula.
I have to say, generally, this method has served me well, but when spending money on shoes, even post-discount, you still want a pair that you know will do the job so I guess that’s why I have tended to stick to brands and fittings I am used to. I tell you what though, change is good!

I was advised by the lovely (she is lovely – she sent me some bright blue shoes) Fay at S&X media that although I’d informed her I’m a 10.5 UK size, she’d send me the 11s. She was right. Perfect fit.

(Incidently, I noted recently that Liz Yelling is a size 7.5 but takes a size 9 running shoe. A little fact for you there. You’re welcome.)

These shoes are light too.
Considering the bumpf says they are well-cushioned for high-mileage, I was expecting something heavier. A nice surprise.

I have been told I slightly over-pronate when I’m running (has anyone actually ever really been told anything different?) but on advice of helpful, running-shop-types, I have stuck with a neutral shoe because, as yet, I have not suffered any injury or running related complaint as a result.

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(That ^^ up there ^^ was just in case you have my sort of attention span and needed a dinosaur chasing a person to keep you going)

You can read the official blurb on the shoes here but as I have no technical knowledge myself to back up the claims, I will just tell you how it felt…

I ran 7 miles with them last night – comfortable, no injuries, and another 5k PB in the process! Woo hoo, it’s like I’m 6 again!…

…Having since checked the details of the run, I think it’s a bit optimistic actually to have got a PB by two minutes as it registered my penultimate mile as my fastest ever too. Unlikely perhaps, but not impossible as I was running while my boy was at Beavers (young scouts… pre-cubs) and I realised if I didn’t really kick it, I’d be late collecting him.

Well, regardless of the above, I has a great run, like I say. I felt supported and there was a little spring I’m my step which, admittedly, may have been partly due to the fact that I had just been saved the expense of buying a swanky new pair of trainers.

Now I probably shouldn’t say this, purely in case they ever offer to send me more, but I could definitely see myself buying these in the future.
Today, I’m a happy runner.

Till next time,

‘BecomingMoreOfaRunner’

P.S. I swam 2.5km after than run too. Bring on the triathlons.

I am so ‘all or nothing’!

P.P.S I am pretty sure the postman looked at me in the sort of way that he thought I had ordered something else from the internet…
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:-/