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Mizuno Wave Enigma 5 Review

Everything you thought you knew about Mizuno will be shattered with the newest edition of the Enigma. The Enigma 5 feels and fits different. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is up to you, I guess.

The out-of-the-box fit is snug and the feel very plush. Working at a specialty running store, I make it a point to surprise veteran Mizuno wearers with the feel and have them try on a pair of the new Enigmas.

I’ve run 50 miles in my pair and have a mixed review of the shoe. I love the cushioned ride and the fit of the heel, but not the snug fit of the forefoot. The softer layer of foam below the heel and forefoot gives the shoe a very cushioned feel. While I love the firmer/faster feel of previous Mizunos (hello Sayonara!), I also love my feet to be caressed and cushioned on the run. This shoe does that. I’d say the shoe is not very responsive and the actual feel of the surface is numbed. Not a bad thing for me as far as how I prefer my long mileage shoes to be. While there is a hint of a bounce on hard surfaces, I would think this would not be felt by most runners. On soft surfaces (I’ve used them on horse trails) the shoe is very squishy.

Parts of the fit of the shoe I like. I like the snugness and firmness of the heel counter (the part of the shoe directly behind your lower ankles and upper heel) and heel cuff (the part that surrounds your ankle and cinches tight as you pull on the laces to tie them). I have a slim heel and skinny ankles and I always appreciate shoes that can secure them. The part of the fit I don’t like is material on both sides of the forefoot Mizuno added to secure the forefoot. While this may be viewed as an improvement in fit for others, it’s a poor fit for me because I like a wider toe box where my toes are free to move and react. The feel in the new Enigma is cramped with some pinching on the pinky toes on the toe-off. I even feel a pinch above the 3-5 metatarsal that seems to go away after a mile or so. The wraparound the foot is very cushioned as well. You’re foot is surrounded by plushness.

While this wouldn’t be a “do everything” shoe for me, it works well in my current shoe rotation along with the New Balance Zante and Wave Sayonara. The Enigma is currently my long mileage (10+ miles) shoe. I’ve run all sorts of paces in them: from fast strides to tempo pace to slow slogs. They felt sloppy and flopped at the faster paces, but felt right at home at my long run pace (8:00+/mile).

The specs are interesting in that the heel cushions are super high (at least for non Hoka wearers – listed at 32mm) and the forefoot cushion is higher than most shoes (20mm) – 12mm offset, the ride doesn’t feel awkward or too sloppy. While I wouldn’t say it’s the smoothest riding premium cushioned shoe I’ve worn (I’ve worn the Glycerine and Triumph ISO), it’s tolerable.

Go ahead and try on a pair at your nearest local running store (support small businesses!) and maybe you’ll love the new feel of the new generation of Mizuno.



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What About Running?

It seems that I’ve been doing everything else except run recently, but I’m writing this post to reassure all of my fellow run nerds that I’ve been putting in miles. I took last week off because of back spasms caused by parkour and snow shoveling. I’m back at it this week, so far running one hour a day. Thanks to @mk_liveloverun for sharing some of those miles.

This week I’ll most likely hit 50+ miles on 6 days running. Next week I’ll be back to my base building schedule (the last two weeks!). In January I’ll be introducing some speed to my weekly runs before going all out February and March. I’m excited about my racing prospects in 2014. Looking forward to new PRs.

I didn’t race that much in 2013, that was intentional. I wanted to put in the kind of work in training that would carry me to a new level, being able to toe the line and know good things will happen. This current training plan is very aggressive on the miles. I feel that mileage is key to becoming a competitive racer.

I’m looking at my training from Camarillo Marathon to replicate a few behaviors and practices. It was my perfect race! I’m going to need to run with sub 3:00:00 peeps. I was also running about 20-30 miles of trail with 4,000 ft+ of climbing weekly along with Tuesday and Thursday speed work. Man, I miss those Gritty City runners!…and the San Gabriel Mountains!



Kaua’i Half Marathon Recap

IMG_0907The Kauai Marathon was a honeymoon run of sorts for Cristina and I. We enjoyed running in the rain, seeing rainbows, being entertained by hula dancers and taikoIMG_0902 drummers, and running with Bart Yasso! Although I planned to race the half marathon, running with my new bride ended up being the better and more gratifying decision.

The Kiahuna Plantation hotel was only steps away from the start line. With the race being chipped time and a 6am start, Cristina and I weren’t in any rush to be out with the masses. We walked to the start at 5:55 and ran from the back. We quickly moved pass the walkers and slower runners and found ourselves in the middle of everything. I ran with my phone in hand because I want to chronicle everything about it! I think I may have over-vined, but how many times will we get to experience Kaua’i while running together…EXACTLY!

IMG_0898The start consisted of us shuffling through the heavy traffic of walkers and joggers and at the same time trying to pin my bib on my shirt. I forgot the bib tag in the condo and had to have my sister pick it up for me. This resulted with both of my sisters being late for the start. At the mile marker we were surprised to see Cristina’s parents cheering us on. Her father is a big running fan and it had been a long time since he’s seen Cristina run in a race, so it was nice that they both could experience the race together. Of course we had stop and take photos before we started the long climb to the highway.

The temps were cool and the humidity bearable. There were two points during the race when we got rained on hard. The first time it was a fairly quick downpour around mile 4. For a couple miles after there was a steady drizzle of rain. The sky continued to be overcast for the entire race, which was very different from my experience in 2009 when it was unbearably hot and humid. Around mile 11 we encountered the heaviest rain fall and strongest wind. The rain was coming from all angles! This was also the time we ran up on Bart Yasso! What an awesome guy! He remembered who we were just from our Twitter conversations!

Cristina felt great at this point and she decided to hammer the slightly downhill portion towards the straightaway finish. She left Bart and I in our tracks. I managed to catch up to her a half mile from the finish line, where we finished together. We were greeted by her parents and my sister, who finished the half earlier.

IMG_0915My other sister ran the full marathon and it was nice to be able to run with her for a couple of miles before the course parted. For those who don’t know, Kaua’i is a super difficult course with steep hills and long gradual climbs. Since it starts and finishes at sea level, so, what you run up you have to run down! Your legs get the beating of their lives! She survived and is a better runner for it!

I have to mention that before race day my two sisters along with Cristina and I were interviewed for a special show to be aired locally around the state. Cristina and I had the opportunity to be filmed together to share our story of how we met and how running was a part of our union. It’s neat that our race experience was documented for us to treasure for years to come.

It was a joy to experience this race together and with our families. We’ll run many more races together, but I don’t thing any one will be as special as this race.


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Training Specificity: The Long Run

The focus of all distance athletesspeed-training-80 looking to PR needs to be the long run. The long run isn’t limited to the one weekend run of 14+ miles. The long run also means the mid week 8+ miler, long tempo, and long intervals. In each instance, the runner is extending the distance and decreasing the speed.

Too often athletes over-run their pace, meaning they go too fast. I’ve known people who were aiming for a 3:30:00 (8min/mile) marathon run 4 mile tempos at 6:30/mile pace. The runner struggled with the pace and lost form and consistency with pace. Tempos and other types of speed workouts put a lot of strain on the body. When we run these workouts too fast we tend to run them in shorter distances. Why? Because our body tells us we can’t sustain too fast of a pace, so we either slow down too much or stop, both instances not helping us in our training.

Instead, what we should do is run a consistent pace that is just a bit faster than race pace. The incremental difference of pace helps our cardiovascular and muscular systems to adjust and adapt. This is the safest way to build and sustain speed over long distances.

Something else to keep in mind, repetition builds muscle memory. Running is a muscle memory sport. When we confuse the body too much, it stunts its ability to adapt. Therefore varying pacing and distances too much makes our body less able to withstand the rigors of long races. This is why I believe long intervals (1200m-3 mile)  and tempo runs of 5+miles (run no more than 1 minute faster than goal pace) are more beneficial to the runner. For one thing, the runner is capable and not over-reaching on the pace. Second, the runner is more closely simulating the work needed to run at goal pace.

Running closer to goal pace also means not running too slow during the long run. The same belief holds true for running slow as it does when we run faster than goal pace. Too much slow running only means we’re training ourselves to be slow runners.

Since the foundation of the distance runner is the long run, we need to make sure we give the needed amount of attention and importance on those workouts. We also have to be responsible and stay within our speed limits to give our bodies time to adapt before increasing speed.

Example workouts:
– 3 x 15 min. sub-race pace (5-10 seconds faster than race pace) w/ 3 min. jog
– 1 hour fartlek (always start by running the first 15 mins. as a warm-up)
Progression Run: 4+ mile run increasing speed after every mile.I like decreasing my pace by 15 seconds.
– 5 x 1200m at sub-race pace. This time running them 12-30 seconds faster than race pace.

Ryan Hall has a nice tip to include some speed into your weekend long run.

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Training Specificity: Developing And Utilizing The Correct Energy System

Success in any race depends on how your body reacts to the stresses of that distance. Using the principles of specificity of training this means short/intense workouts for shorter distances and long/sustained workouts for distances beyond the half-marathon. We must train the energy system we’ll utilize the most during a race.

Talking specifically about the half-marathon and marathon distances, the body need not be stressed too much at the higher end of one’s aerobic capacity (75% – 80% of max heart rate or when you’re having a hard time talking during a long sustained run). Most recreational runners can finish by running 60% of max heart rate (being able to speak multiple sentences without gasping for air during long sustained runs).

Knowing the difference between aerobic running versus anaerobic running is key in the preparation and execution phases of racing. Go out too hard during a race, and your body will delve into the anaerobic energy system – your body operating while lacking oxygen – which produces more waste (lactate acid) and operates less efficiently than the body during aerobic capacity. Too much time training the anaerobic system, usually exercises with short and quick movements high intensity movements (sprints, weight lifting, bounding and jumping), and it will take longer for the body to recover and continue effective aerobic running and the greater chances of injury.


For new or recreational runners look at the “Classic Model” and for veteran to sub-elite runners, look at “Current Model.”

Running Times Magazine mentions the proportion of time a long distance runner needs to commit to either training efforts. For the marathon distance, while running 65 miles a week, a runner need only run 2.5% of the distance at the anaerobic threshold effort or 2.5 miles a week! Why? The long distance runner doesn’t need the kind of leg speed or strength as a sprinter. Running just above our aerobic threshold (when we run and can talk in short sentences comfortably) does more to elevate our running than monotonous 400m repeat. Our bodies grow accustomed to the long distance and give us the kind of feedback regarding hydration, nutrition, and fatigue that running sprint intervals will not. To be honest, how many of us will ever possess the kind of speed that world-class distance runners have to warrant speed intervals shorter than 1200m? When we don’t stray too far from our aerobic efforts we run more controlled and efficiently. Constantly building on our aerobic base is the safest way to build endurance and speed.

The body is great at adapting. As any veteran runner will tell you, constantly running our aerobic pace becomes easier with each run. Incorporating just the right amount of speed during long training seasons will build on your base and create a new level of speed. Being mindful of your speed during training and races will help in your development as a successful runner in the long-term.

Example weekly workout:
I use talking as a gauge of effort. If you use a watch or GPS and have run a race in the previous two months use the link to McMillan’s running calculator on the right to view your pace for a number of distances.

Aerobic component:
– Weekday long run of 1 hour at talking pace. (recite part of a song and if you can go through it without gasping for air every sentence, then this is your aerobic pace)
– 1.5-2 hour weekend long run at talking pace
– 10 minute pick-ups during a long run (run a little faster than talking pace for ten minutes during your long runs)

Anaerobic component:
– 4 x 1000m repeats with 5 minute rest or rest to full recovery.
– 2 minute pick-ups during long runs.
– speed ladders (1600m, 1200m, 800, 400) or any variation of ascending or descending distances no more than 1 mile and not less than 400m. recovery is to jog half of the distance ran.

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Running Inside A Refrigerator

Refrigerators are normally set between 35-39 degrees, so one can say that running in that temperature is like running inside one. Winter weather in the midwest will typically have a high in the low 40’s. Some places, like Chicago, will be a lot colder…freezer weather. So, when I ran the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon in 30 degree weather I can honestly say it was a cool experience. It got so cold sleet started to fall. It was actually nice to have experienced that. Later in the race it must have warmed up to the low 40’s because it just rained. Cold rain. It was the first time I was able to truly enjoy a marathon. I ran with Cristina for a few miles then it was just me and my Shuffle. Ran through parts of Indy I would have never known had it not been for the race. White River Greenway looks to be an awesome place to bike through and relax in one of the parks when it gets warmer and The Meridian restaurant looks a like a nice place to try.

My post race recovery was really poor…in a good way:-) After the race we visited Chicago for a couple of days. We love Chicago (and its pizza) and somewhat considering it as a place to live post Indianapolis. Again, it was cold, but this time we came prepared. I finally have proper midwest type gloves! We ate pizza from Giardano’s just so we can compare it to Lou Malnati’s and Gino’s East. Lou’s is still number one. Giardano’s is just a massive piece of pie. It’s just a massive piece of pie with little flavor. What makes Lou’s good is the marinara sauce. Anyone can slap red sauce and cheese on bread, it takes skill to add flavor to a pizza. I drank beers and ate plenty of candy.

It was good weekend. Check out our dog’s twitter account: @RuffaloTheDog

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March 5 – March 11, 2012 Weekly Recap

Weekly Totals:
Miles: 68.37
Elevation Gain: 7,964 ft.
Elevation Loss: 8,597 ft.
Time: 12:09:53 h:m:s

3/6 – Millard Camp Loop: 9.5 miles, 1,757 ft.
3/7 – Altadena-South Pasadena Out and Back: 13.58 miles, 713 ft.
3/8 – Brown to Echo: 13 miles, 3,447 ft.
3/10 – Kaumana to Lili’uokalani Garden – A.M.: 11.42 miles, 697 ft.
Kaumana/Waianuenue Out and Back – P.M.: 6.47 miles, 655 ft.
3/11 – Kaumana to Starbucks: 14.41 miles, 695 ft.

What Hilo lacks in trails and consistent weather it more than makes up for in natural beauty. Running the streets that sparked my passion for the sport was surreal. I started running the roads of Hilo around the same time in 2008 in preparation for my first marathon. This week I found myself on the same streets, running in the Hilo rain, with a sense of peace surrounding me. Perhaps it was nostalgia or the quiet beauty of the town that brought about calmness within me, but it was something I had not experienced in my running for some time. Even the countless hours on empty single tracks in the Angeles couldn’t bring about such an experience. Made me feel very thankful to have re-discovered the sport in Hilo. It was nice seeing familiar faces running past Bayfront store fronts and the security  knowing that a Sunday run along Lili’uokalani Garden and Keaukaha meant running into my favorite runners. It was a joy talking story at Starbucks.