New Balance Zante – A REVIEW!

I’ve stepped out of my running shoe comfort zone lately.  This can be a SCARY thing for runners, you know???  I was presented with some opportunities to try out some new-to-me brands and get involved in things that really interested me so I thought WHY NOT??  Variety is the spice of life.  AMIRIGHT?

With that being said, I recently gave the New Balance Zantes a try.  At first glance I thought they were pretty.  Yes, pretty.  I liked the colours and how CLEAN the shoes looked.  Sleek, simple, and bold.  I didn’t know much about them so my first impressions were completely based on physical appearance (this sounds like a dating story).

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ANYWAY, once I actually saw/felt them in person at Sport Chek, my initial reaction was “WHOA.  These are so light and I probably won’t be able to run in them without breaking my ankles.”  Let me tell you a quick story.  Once upon a time I ran the NYC Men’s Health Urbanathlon in a pair of super light and not-so-supportive shoes (I won’t name the brand).  The course was 10 miles + obstacles and although I completed it pain-free, I couldn’t walk without ankle pain for WEEKS.  I’ve had a fear of light and less supportive shoes since then.  So what did I do??  I bought the New Balance Zantes anyway.  I figured I’d try them out on a really short run and if they felt horrible, I’d use them for cross training.

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From the New Balance Website:

Designed from data gathered from fast runners, Fresh Foam Zante has an aggressive toe spring that delivers a quick, incredibly smooth heel to toe transition.  Nothing is on the shoe that doesn’t need to be, making it feel like an extension of your foot.

  • 6 mm drop: due to variances created during the development and manufacturing processes, all references to 6 mm drop are approximate
  • Molded sockliner
  • No-sew material application

Other specs:

  • Weight: 6.4oz (women), 7.6oz (men)
  • Midsole is made of Fresh Foam, providing continual cushioning no matter where you come down on the shoe
  • Toe spring assists with the quick transition of the foot from heel to toe
  • Rubber outsole is lightweight, yet stabilizes and protects foot upon impact
  • Breathable mesh upper provides a secure, yet flexible and soft fit

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So, how did they feel?!

I’ll be honest, when I first put them on I was a bit nervous.  They almost felt too comfortable, like a sock.  I went out for the first time in them aiming to do no more than 3 miles and to my surprise, ended up doing 6.2 instead.  The toe spring made it feel like I had rockets under my feet.  I think that’s the best way to explain it!  I feel super light and fast when I run in these shoes…probably because the Zantes are light and fast.  They’ve got a bootie-like design which makes them snug and cozy and comfortable in all the right places (hence the sock-like feel).  At the same time, they have a spacious (but not too spacious) toe box which is key in preventing those lovely blisters and black toenails that us runners tend to get.  Yes, they are less supportive than some of the other runners I wear but they seem to work for me when I run shorter distances.  I haven’t tried them for anything longer than 6.2 miles and I probably wouldn’t go that much further in them based on my own experience.  I know my feet and legs are super finicky when it comes to choosing the right shoes, especially for long runs, so I’ll be sticking to shoes with a little more support for my distance training for now.  I do know that they were Jess’s shoe choice for BOSTON so you definitely can run long distances in them but I just know that for me, it will take a little bit of time to build up to that (Jess has perfect form/stride/gait and runs like a gazelle #superhuman).

My running has changed a lot over the last few years.  I used to be a severe pronator and I literally just found out this week that is no longer the case.  I had a real gait analysis done…but more on that soon.  The point I’m trying to make is that I’m probably having an easier time running in more neutral/lighter shoes these days because I don’t need as much “help” from my shoes as I used to.  You know what I’m saying??

One more thing – SIZING.  I take an 8 in regular shoes and an 8.5 in most running shoes.  The Zantes were no exception.  The 8.5 fit perfect.

I’ll be keeping the Zantes in my rotation for short/easy runs and some speed work FOR. SURE.

P.S. I posted a MEGA VEGA giveaway on Tuesday if you haven’t entered yet!!

Have a great day!

RUN NAKED!

I have been waiting SO LONG to write this post/review!!  I am SO EXCITED!

After receiving and reviewing my Road ID a couple of months ago I continued to look into safety for runners.  I prefer to run in the day but sometimes my schedule doesn’t allow for it.  I have the option of going for a late night run at the gym but we all know the treadmill just doesn’t cut it sometimes.  I’ll admit that I don’t often go for night runs because I am scared.  Though I live in a relatively safe neighbourhood, there aren’t many street lights.  How are cars supposed to see me?  That’s when I looked into reflective clothing for runners  and came across Run Naked Sports.  Thanks to Joan, I was able to try and review two of their amazing tops.

I actually took the pictures in the dark to highlight the awesome reflectiveness :D

This is the Deep V Neck which I got in a size XXS for a longer and more fitted look.  This particular style is unisex and is available in sizes XXS – XL.  I absolute love the blue and the way Run Naked is printed on an angle.

This is the women’s Racer Back which I got in a size XS.  It fits slightly looser than the V Neck.  I love how it is very open and comfortable.  This style is available in sizes XS-L.

I also really love the detail on the back of both shirts.

There is a cute silhouette of a running girl, offering some reflection in the back as well.

Both tops are made up of a tri-blend (50% polyester / 25% cotton / 25% rayon) and are super soft and comfortable.  They are also very lightweight and have durable double-stitched bottom hems.  The “Run Naked” lettering is made from 3M Scotchlite Reflective Material, which return light back to a light source (ie. a car’s headlights), creating a bright image that drivers can see from a distance.  So not only is Run Naked Sports apparel fashionable, but functional as well!

I know I will definitely be making use of both of these shirts, and not only for running.  I wore the V Neck while shopping last night :P

With the cooler weather coming up, I’m thinking about getting my hands on one of these:

Be seen.  Be free.  Be safe.

RUN NAKED.

Check out the website for additional styles and colours.  Run Naked also has a Facebook page where you can check Joan out showing off her super fit bod in her amazing clothing ;)

Update from Joan: If you aren’t comfortable sporting the “naked” part, she also makes tees that just say “RUN” with a fancy little stripe!  See?  Something for all of us!
…..

Do you run at night or in the early mornings when it’s still dark out?

Do you own any reflective wear?

Giveaway Time: My New Bible

Lucky for all of you followers, it is giveaway time once again!
I am really excited about this one.
Heck, I get excited about all of them but this on is different.  This is a test of my (and your) strength, determination, and willpower.  I have always been a cardio junkie.  Give me a treadmill, an elliptical, or a bike.  Plain and simple.   I never used to see much need for strength training.  I always thought it was a girl’s job to be skinny.  No need to be strong.  Over the last few years my perspective has completely changed.  Strength is a necessity.  Strong women are beautiful.  I have taken up weight training a few times a week but there is still something that I haven’t mastered.
 The push up.
 I was given the opportunity to review the book 7 Weeks to 100 Push-Ups by Steve Speirs.

 

 It was personalized, too :)
 My first impression of the book was “awesome…nice and small…I won’t have to read a gazillion pages to figure out how to do a push up”.  It is portable, so I can easily take it with me to the gym.  The book is well-written and everything is explained in very simple terms (for people like me).   I have read it cover to cover and was impressed with all of the background information provided before it actually went into the workout programs.  There are a variety of programs to follow, whether you are a beginner or an advanced push-up master.  I am considerably weak in my upper body so I decided to go with the beginner program.  I intended to start the program last week but my training schedule was off so I have re-started today and am really excited to see where this takes me.
This is an older picture…I have learned to keep my arms in closer to my body :)
I love that the program is gradual.  For example, today I only had to do seven push-ups.  The sequence went 1-2-1-1-2 and I got a one-minute rest after every set.  It may seem minuscule to some, but this is a great starting point for me.  Doing push-ups this way definitely makes them seem less daunting and I have a really GOOD feeling this program is going to work.
It was sent to me at the most perfect time.  I am running the Chicago Urbanathlon in October which requires a lot of upper body strength to complete the obstacles throughout the course.  I think that being able to do 100 consecutive push ups will definitely be an asset to me during this race.
Who is up for the push-up challenge??
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YOU have the opportunity to win one of these amazing books.  Here is how:
Mandatory:
“Follow” my blog and leave me a comment saying you do!
Bonus entries: 
Leave me a comment for each of the following so each entry gets counted!!
+1 Like my NEW Facebook page by clicking here.  I need friends.
+1 Like 7 Weeks to 100 Push-ups on Facebook by clicking here.
+1 Follow me on Twitter here.
+1 Tell me how many CONSECUTIVE push-ups you can do!
+1 Share this giveaway on your blog, Facebook, and/or Twitter.
Contest closes August 29, 2011!  GOOD LUCK!

Disclaimer:  Steve Speirs sent me his book free of charge and my review and opinions are completely my own.


Road ID Review + Giveaway!!!

The day has finally come.  It is time for my first official review and giveaway!!  Now don’t just scroll all the way to the bottom to write as many comments as you can.  There is a lot you should know about this amazing product so read up!

I first heard about Road ID when I entered the blog world.  I noticed that a lot of runners and cyclists used the product and immediately became curious.  I checked out their website and was immediately sucked into the brilliance of the idea.  Road ID promotes safety for athletes and gives them easy and comfortable way to carry identification in case of an emergency or accident.  The company creates identification that can be worn on the wrist, ankle, or even on your shoe.  The IDs bear a small plaque with enough room to list your name, emergency contact numbers, and medical information.

The amazing people over at Road ID have given me the opportunity to review one of their products so I decided on the Wrist ID Elite.  The Wrist IDs come in a variety of colours and have enough room for six lines of personal information.  The website allows you to build your Wrist ID so that you know exactly what it will look like before you place your order.

I chose to go with purple and included my name, year I was born, two contact phone numbers, and a quote that I love.  You can also include any allergies, your blood type, or any medical conditions you might have.

I like to run alone most of the time so I thought that this was such an amazing idea.  I know a lot of athletes out there who are just as guilty as me when it comes to carrying ID when going out for runs, bike rides, etc.  Who wants to carry cards in their sweaty shorts?  I know I don’t.  These Road IDs are perfect as they are easily accessible and can save time in emergency situations.  I used to just go out for long runs and hope for the best, but when your activities leave you away from home for hours at a time, ID is absolutely necessary.
I tested my Road ID today when I went out for my morning run.  It was light and comfortable and within a few minutes I completely forgot I was even wearing it.  I definitely recommend this product to any athletes out there who want to stay safe while doing what they love.  It is such a small investment that carries huge benefits.  I personally think the Wrist ID looks really cool on as well.  I wore it yesterday to school before I actually “tested” it out today and I had so many people ask me about it and express interest in purchasing one for themselves.
Lucky for you, those awesome people at Road ID are giving one of my readers the opportunity to WIN a Road ID of their choice!
Here is what you need to do to win:
Mandatory:

“Follow” my blog and leave me a comment saying you do!
Bonus entries:
Leave me a comment for each of the following so each entry gets counted!!
+1 Visit RoadID’s website and tell me which style and color you would pick if you won.
+1 Let me know what sport/activity you would use your Road ID!
+1 “Like” RoadID on facebook here and tell them The Athletarian sent you.
+1 Share this giveaway on your blog, facebook, and/or twitter.
Contest closes July 23, 2011!  GOOD LUCK!