Running on Clouds – Part II

Cloudracers

Cloudracers

A few months ago, I started running in On Cloudsurfers. You can read about my love for them here.

I recently picked up a pair of  On Cloudracers– the racing version of my beloved Cloudsurfers.

I’m still feeling the love for my Cloudsurfers, but as part of working through my $@&#^%*! Rut, I wanted to try something new.

Because, you know, my running burnout has nothing to do with the fact that I am training for my 3rd marathon in 11 months while trying to pat my head and rub my stomach at the same time to keep home and work running and everything to do with my lack of new sneakers.

Ummm…yeah.

Anyhoo, regardless of my questionable reasons for buying them, I’m glad I did.

Took them for a 5 mile jaunt this morning and me likey. They are light – holy moly, light. Yet springy. I felt zippy. And they are almost entirely mesh on the top. It got a little warm by the end of my run but my feet still got a nice cross breeze and were able to breath. Even the tongue is some funky, light, aerated material.

I thought the Cloudsurfers were meshy and airy, but they ain’t got nothin’ on the Cloudracers.

See the pink , white and gray through the mesh? Those are my socks! These babies are LIGHT.

See the pink , white and gray through the mesh? Those are my socks! These babies are AIRY.

I have never worn racing flats. To someone who wears racing flats, these are probably kind of heavy because they have the cloud pods on the bottom. But they are the lightest shoes I have ever run in and I love them. I felt like I had nothing on my feet, yet the pods definitely provided cushioning.

Light.

Zippy.

Springy.

I haven’t felt that way on a run in a while. I’ll take ‘em.

What is your go-to running shoe? Do you use a different pair for training and for racing? Do you shop to get out of a rut????

Winner! Winner! Hoka ONE ONE Dinner!

Winner! Hoka ONE ONE!Santa came early up in here. And her name was Sandra, The Organic Runner Mom! I WON A PAIR OF HOKA ONE ONES!

Sandra had a Fresh Giveaway that I entered and low and freakin’ behold I WON! I suggest you head over to Sandra’s Blog. She is fantastic. Fresh Giveaways, Fresh Reviews, Fresh Inspiration, Fresh Recipes. Girlfriend is FRESH in every sense of the word. THANK YOU SANDRA!

I had wanted to try these sneakers for a while. Especially after seeing them on at least half of the ultra runners at the VT50. In fact, Hoka was there with tons of sneaks to demo. Admittedly, it crossed my mind. But I quickly decided that test running a pair of Hoka ONE ONEs in a 50K might be suicide not be in my best interest, so I politely declined. I was however curious.  You can imagine my DELIGHT in discovering that I had WON WON a pair! See what I tried to do there? Yeah. It’s not Hoka ONE ONE as in, Hoka FIRST, FIRST it’s actually pronounced “Hoka O-nay O-nay” which means “It’s time to fly” in Maori.  Who knew? Not this girl.

Whatevs.
I’m still stoked. Buddy The Elf

I won the Women’s Conquest, in a very jazzy Paradise Pink/Bright Citrus blend. Understated, they are not. I’m also a GIANT in these, which pretty much puts me at about 3.5 Apples Tall. Heights don’t scare me. I was born in heels for Pete’s sake. According to Hoka’s website, here’s what I have:

The CONQUEST features a unique Rmat® midsole material providing the state-of-the-art weight-to-resilience ratio and that HOKA ONE ONE signature maximal cushioning protection. An early stage Meta-Rocker is designed to promote accurate foot roll through the gait cycle. A highly breathable layered, no sew upper construction provides a seamless and secure fit that compliments the uniquely engineered Water Drainage System. An ideal shoe for runners looking for a fast, highly responsive, and performance cushion running shoe.

 
Holy engineering. They are different. I’ll tell you that much. And that isn’t a bad thing. I’ve run in them for two weeks which is hardly forever. I will say that are going to take a little getting used to.

Here are my first impressions:

1. They are cushioned. Well. No shit, Dick Tracy. One look and you can see that. I state the obvious because they do a tremendous job of saving the bottoms of your feet. They offer incredible sole protection. And that’s a serious plus on long runs. The Conquests are not their trail model, but I did run off-road with them and I felt nary a rock, branch, pebble, stick—nothin’. Now I get why trail runners dig them.

2. They are stiff. For all that cushioning, it doesn’t feel like I’m running on clouds…Yet. I will say that they are “loosening” up a bit. Initially, I felt as if my feet weren’t flexing as much while running. Felt a little Herman Muenster, if you will. That sensation is going away with more miles. (I’m up to 40 in them.) Once really broken in, I have a feeling that longer runs will be easier on the legs in these kicks. And that would be a sneaker game changer for me come marathon training time. Expect a follow up report.

3. They are light. Shocking, I know. They look like they weigh 100lbs. But trust me, they don’t. And they’re not supposed to weigh a ton in the rain either due to that whole state of the art drainage thing they’ve got going on. They sort of propel you forward a bit. I think in techno-Hoka speak that’s the “Meta-Rocker,” which could also be the name of an all girl Maorian punk ban, but I digress…

4. They have speed laces. You just cinch ’em right up. Done. Forget about laces becoming untied. They stay completely put. Initially I got a little over zealous with the cinching, and I felt like my right foot had a tourniquet fastened around it at mile 5. Easy amputation fix. Live and learn, People. Live and learn. They come with regular laces if Speed Laces aren’t your bag. And they’re cute too.

In short? I plan on alternating between these and my regular kicks. Stay tuned for progress reports! I am incredibly anxious to run super long in them. Or even run in them the day after a super long run. I have a feeling my legs will love me for it. 🙂

Have you ever tried maximalist running shoes? Ever won anything? Minimalist or maximalist? GO!!!