Mizuno Wave Rider 18

The following Mizuno Wave Rider 18 review is sponsored by Mizuno Running on behalf of FitFluential, LLC. Word.

If I have too much of anything in my closet, it’s shoes. Not heels and boots and sandals, but sneakers. Loads and loads of sneakers. Running shoes. Walking shoes. Gym shoes. Lifting shoes. Dance shoes. Whatever the event, I’ve got the shoe.

Yet I always want to try more, especially when it comes to running. While running is supposed to the sport you don’t need any equipment for, if you’re a runner  you know it isn’t true. Your shoe of choice can literally make or break you. And trust me, I’ve been broken.

I was always vigilant about making sure I was in the right shoe, but since injuring my knee a couple years ago I’ve been pretty much insane about it. I don’t dare let them my shoes get worn out or too much mileage and I would occasionally beg my physical therapist to watch me run in a new pair before I hit the pavement with them.

mizuno wave rider 18 review

Lately I’ve been running in the the Mizuno Wave Rider 18 {which they sent me}. I used to be a huge Inspire-aholic until I figured out post-injury that I actually did better in a neutral sure. Enter the Wave Rider. I was equally nervous and eager to try out the 18s because the 17s failed me – they were super comfy to walk around in but way too cushy and supportive for me as a running shoe.

mizuno running shoes

The 18 got it right. Comfortable without being overly padded. Structured without being restrictive. True to fit. And NOT pink. Winking smile {Though there is a pink version. and blue.}

mizuno wave rider 18

They ride low on the ankle {something I’m super picky about} and don’t push arch in weird ways. {Super descriptive, I know.} The rise of the heel is a little bit more built up than I tend to like, but it hasn’t been giving me any problems thus far and I’m almost starting to get used to it.

Official details:

  • Women’s shoe is 7.8oz with 12mm ramp // Men’s is 9.2oz with 12mm ramp
  • MSRP: $119.99 // Released Oct. 2, 2014
  • The aim of this shoe is to balance fit & performance – it’s a neutral shoe with enough support for a range of runners. Lightweight, responsive,

#realizethepowerwithin #waverider18

Do you have a go-to running shoe? Are you loyal to one brand or do you brand-hop based on the shoe?

Get Your Stroller Run On

This is one of those posts that I don’t know where to put – here because it’s fitness-related or over on tinysneakers because it’s parenting-related. It’s both!

I decided the running won over the strollering, for the sake of categorizing this, but it’s exciting on both fronts. Katie from Mom’s Little Running Buddies has organized the first National Stroller Running Day on November 8th.

Stroller Running Day

There are lots of ways to get involved {namely by running with a stroller – shocker}:

  • Head over to RunStrollerRun and find a stroller friendly race in your area!  Sign up and enjoy with your little running buddies.
  • Set out on your own, push, pull, walk or run with your little buddies.
  • Organize a local run and get together with your local community of runners.  Encourage everyone to bring a pack of diapers to donate to your charity of choice.
  • Sign up to participate in the next Moms-in-Training program in your area.

Chime in on social media with the hashtag #StrollerRun14 then check in here for a chance to win some awesome prizes. {But don’t check in too much, I want to win. Winking smile} There will also be a Twitter party on November 4th at 8 pm EST.

Sponsors include: BOB Strollers, Fit4Mom, New Balance and more!

 

Do you run with a stroller? Which one? I still don’t have one that works for us …

Hopefulknees

It’s been a long time since I wrote about fitness. It’s pretty boring to read something like this:

Oh hey, I didn’t run again today. My knee hurts. It won’t get better. Nope, still didn’t run. Tried to run. Didn’t work. Now it really hurts. Why did I do that? Hey I did a triathlon. Whoops, my knee still hurts three days later.

Boring, stuff, right?

Well. Maybe not anymore. I’m not getting ahead of myself; my knee’s not fixed, but it’s 1,000 times better than it has been in the last four years. I can run for up to three minutes four times in a row on a good day.

I know, that sounds like a joke. That’s like, what? A mile and a half maybe? But it’s a mile and half longer than I’ve run pain free in years. That’s the big difference this time. I’m not just pushing through; I’m actually running. And not slow either- running faster actually helps my knee feel better by improving my stride.

Though starting from scratch while running faster than you’ve always run is rather interesting in and of itself. It’s ridiculous how fast I get winded. Almost embarassing. But it’s a small price to pay to actually be able to run and not hobble.

So what worked –finally?

A serious combo of:

  • finding the right doctor
  • realigning my femur
  • physical therapy {with the right physical therapist}
  • dry needling {a technique to relieve trigger points}
  • building strength in my hips & glutes
  • changing my stride
  • sticking with it

Nothing glamorous but some how it’s all coming together and actually working this time. I haven’t written much about it along the way because it felt like it was just another one of those things that wouldn’t work and womp womp womp. But now that I’m seeing progress in the right direction, I might start sharing some of that.

I’m not doing high fives yet {and defintely not signing up for anything!}, but it feels good to be back in my running shoes. Smile

Running with the Girls. No, Not Those Ones.

Normally I have little-to-no interest in running-specific sports bras. I’ll just be honest and say it’s because I have little-to-no need for support. I just grab my go-to C9 sports bra {I have just about every color because I’m obsessed} and call it a day.

When I got pregnant, I continued to wear the C9s; I just went up a size. It wasn’t until after my baby was born and I started breastfeeding that I needed something a little more supportive and running-friendly.

Zensah sent me one their running sports bras to try out. {Previously I only knew Zensah from a compression-sleeve standpoint.} It’s hot pink, so what’s not to love about it?

zensah running sports bra

There’s not a ton that can be said about a sports bra, but here’s what I like about it:

It’s supportive. Mission accomplished.

The inner layer is cinched {is that the word?} to make the fabric a little more form fitting, while the out layer provides extra support. This is not a technical assessment, just my opinion on the inner workings of a sports bra.

The fabric is soft and comfortable on my skin, while still being firm and tight enough to do it’s job.

The downside? They run small. I got the S/M size and it’s definitely a tight around the band and gets uncomfortable after wearing it for a little while- not one I’d keep on all day after the gym. That’s an easy fix though: get a bigger size. Winking smile

zensah running bra <– Image from Zensah

Now, if only they made breastfeeding sports bras. You’d think after more than a year I’d finally invest in one instead of constantly changing my clothes…

Running Rehab

I was pleasantly surprised when I hit the pavement a few weeks after my son was born. My knee didn’t hurt and things didn’t feel that different. I took things painfully slow- alternating walking and running, being uber diligent not to overdo things.

running after pregnancy

While things were ok at first, it quickly became clear that I wasn’t going to be able to give myself the consistency I needed in order to train properly. As we reached the peak of the no-sleep debacle, I just didn’t have it in me to get out there and run on a consistent basis- slowly cutting down the walking intervals and gradually building mileage. I definitely didn’t have the time the dedication to commit to my rehab exercises in the manner I needed to in order to see progress. You don’t build muscle or gain strength by haphazardly doing a few PT exercises every few days. So after awhile I sort of subconsciously through in the towel.

Once the baby started sleeping {halleluiah} I started to get some of my energy back. Before long I was itching to get back out there, but the lack of sleep and breastfeeding had taken it’s toll on me. Even with a good warm-up, five steps into a run I was limping in pain. While I was angry and frustrated to still be dealing with this old nagging injury, I knew what the problem was this time- I had {and have} zero muscle.

Forget muscle imbalances – a leading cause of injury – I had a serious case of muscle wasting. Lack of sleep destroys you, both mentally and physically. Add to that the physical burden of breastfeeding and I was a lost cause. I love nursing my son and I think it’s the best choice for him, but it requires a TON of calories. Even when I stuff my face, I can barely keep up with the demand. There are no extra calories left for me to build muscle, gain weight, or fuel a run.

running rehab vibrams

Even though I’d love to just lace up my neon shoes and dart out for a run, it’s a back-to-basics approach for me. Instead of waiting for injury to knock me on my butt, I started where I left off last time around- with my beloved chiropractor. He’s a sports-focused chiropractor specializing in Active Release Technique. He’s an athlete himself and I knew from my past experience with him that he could help get me off on the right foot {pun intended}.

Turns out it may not really be my IT band that’s the culprit. Over the course of the month he gave me a whole boatload of new exercises to target my weaknesses, kneaded out some of the kinks in my leg, and helped me work on my running form and cadence {again}.

Now it’s up to me to be a good patient and find the dedication to truly focus on the rehab and rebuilding my strength. Committing to the rebuilding phase is what will get my back on my feet, running like I long to be. I can’t wait for the physical and mental relief a nice long run brings. Smile

Running Roller Coaster

Over the last few years, running has been a complete roller coaster ride for me. I reluctantly quit running 4 years ago when the pain in my feet got in the way, but it wasn’t long before I was once again lacing up my sneakers. It’s still one of my prouder accomplishments. But running through the pain in my feet caused me to change my stride and I ended up injuring my knee a year and a half later. I’ve been struggling with that nagging injury ever since. I’ve been through just about everything: saw an orthopedist, did physical therapy, went through rehab with a sports chiropractor. I rested, I strengthened, I stretched- I never healed.

I stopped focusing on my knee during pregnancy, knowing I could just be asking for more trouble since your tendons and ligaments go through enough changes while pregnant. I stayed active and maintained {maybe even improved?} my strength. But I didn’t run.

Within a few weeks after giving birth {which was a year ago today!!}, I was hitting the pavement once again. Although every muscle fiber in my body wanted to all out sprint for 10 miles, I’m no idiot. I started by walking, then slowly adding in 1 minute intervals of jogging. It wasn’t long before I realized my knee wasn’t ready for running yet.

Fast forward a few {ok, many} sleepless months later and I still wasn’t running. I’d lost my drive for the proper rehab my knee needed in order to be in running shape again. While I desperately missed the relief running provided, I knew I just wasn’t up to the consistency and dedication that was necessary to build back the needed strength to support my knee.

I’m ready now though. I’ve already learned I like to have that nice little extra motivation though- a time, a speed, and distance to beat. That’s not going to jive with my current plan though. I need to focus on building strength in my hips, hamstrings, glutes, and core. I don’t need to go far or be fast, but I’m still itching for a way to gage my intensity. Something to push me a little harder when I don’t necessarily feel like it.

It’s ironic I’m a numbers person when it comes to running, seeing as I’ve never running with a Garmin or GPS or anything electronic aside from an iPod. Since I can’t log miles or pace or speed, I turned to something else: heart rate.

polar ft40 heart rate monitor review

Sounds really boring right? Well it’s kind of cool to see my heart rate spike as I pick up the pace during intervals, then watch how fast {or not fast} it drops as I recover. I’m big into strength training anyway, but watching the numbers on the heart rate monitor spike as I go through a circuit helps me keep the intensity up. Goodness knows getting as much bang for my buck any time I can squeeze a workout in is priceless.

I’ve been using the Polar FT40 heart rate monitor that I got from FitFluential to track my progress. This model automatically tells you what “zone” you are in: fat burning or fitness. Fat burning occurs at a lower intensity, while cranking it up a notch pushes you into fitness improvement territory. That’s what I’m going for. I really don’t need to be burning fat right now, but improving my fitness is definitely a goal. It’s fun to see how little things like a fast-paced stroller walk or big things like a high intensity bootcamp strength circuit add up.

polar heart rate monitor

The FT40 shows how many calories you burn during your workout by using your weight and heart rate, which is much MUCH more accurate than the haphazard guess a treadmill or elliptical will spit out at you. I’m not one for counting calories, but a bonus of this feature is helping you figure out how to properly refuel. Protein is a great tool for muscle recovery, but you also need enough calories post workout to ensure you’re building muscle and not burning it away. On the flip side, sometimes you overestimate how many calories you burn during a workout and you eat away all your hard work.

polar ft40 review

I usually think of these type of watches and monitors as big and bulky, but I was pleasantly surprised with the size of the FT40 watch when I opened the box. It’s extremely comfortable and perfectly sized for any size wrist. The heart rate monitor also comes with a chest strap that you wear just above your ribcage. Electrodes in the strap are what measure your heart rate. It’s made of a comfortable material, although I get a little chill every time I put it on- the electrodes need to be wet to transmit a current. Although the strap is adjustable, I find it a little big unless I can get it tucked well under my sports bra.

polar ft40

A heart rate monitor is a great tool for beginners as well as avid athletes- by truly “recovering” on your rest days and pushing it on high intensity days, you can make your training much more efficient and worthwhile.

I’ve only been using heart rate as a tool for my workouts for a couple weeks, but so far I’m digging it. I’ll give you an update in another couple weeks to see what I think then. Winking smile
image

Have you ever used a heart rate monitor for training?

Note: I received this Polar FT40 heart rate monitor through a campaign with FitFluential. Pretty cool, huh? All opinions are my own of course!