Go Blazingly Fast with UA HOVR Sonics

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Under Armour HOVR Soncis to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

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My last five or six pairs of running shoes have been the same brand. When I’m shopping for new shoes I don’t even look at alternatives. Fortunately I had the opportunity to test new shoes from Under Armour which have opened my eyes a little.

The Under Armour HOVR Sonics come in two forms. Connected and Non-connected. The Connected shoes ($110) come with a built in sensor that feeds data back about your run to Map My Run (Under Armour’s running app).

For the review,  I was sent the Non-connected version ($100) as the Connected shoes have been flying off the shelves. While the geek in me would have loved to try the Connected version and see what stats it’s able to produce, it’s probably not something I’d use in the long term as I’m already heavily invested into other platforms.

First Impressions

I requested a light-grey pair of shoes, the first pair of running shoes I’ve owned in this color. In our house it seems to be the “in” color in shoes, at least with my kids. When they saw the HOVR Sonics for the first time, they were very impressed.

I was too. I loved how they have integrated the tongue with the shoe upper, and how comfortable that feels on your feet. The shoes feel snug, but not tight. The upper is made from a thin soft knit mesh and hugs nicely around my heel.

When I was ordering them, the sizing worried me a little. I ordered the same size as my regular running shoes and it was perfect. Very happy indeed.

First Run

For some reason, I had it in my head that these shoes were “zero drop” – as they did feel like I was running in flatter shoes. When I looked it up online later, I found out they are not and have an 8mm offset.

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What surprised me the most about my first outing was how fast they carried me. I ran two miles in 7:39/mi. I wasn’t trying to beat any records on this particular run, but if I’d continued at the same pace I would have ended up with a 5K PR.

A Good Hosing

Next I took the shoes out for a series of longer runs. On one of these runs we came back through an unfinished trail. It had been raining fiercely here in North Carolina, but it didn’t occur to me the trail might be muddy until it was too late.

My lovely light-gray shoes got caked in thick soggy mud.

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When I got back to my house I gave the shoes a good hosing with water. I was so relieved, they came up like new. Normally if I get my running shoes drenched it can take 2-3 days to dry. Thanks to the light soft knit upper, these shoes were dry in a day!

Long Runs, Hills and Energy Return

Probably because I’ve worn the same brand of shoes forever, the impact of the run feels different in the UA HOVR Sonics. I definitely feel my calf muscles a little more tender afterward, and I suspect it’s just a transition to slightly different running dynamics that the HOVR Sonics bring.

Because of this I was a bit apprehensive to using the shoes on a really long run, but today I decided to anyway. I knew I was writing this review today and wanted to know how the shoes felt over a longer distance.

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We ran 11 miles today, on a mixture of road, greenway and trail, with plenty of rolling hills. The shoes performed great the whole way, but especially on hills. This “energy return” Under Armour talk about on their website is freaking real! Seriously! Even when fatigued I felt the shoes propelling me up the hills.

Conclusion

I’m so happy to have a different pair of shoes now to add into my rotation. I’ve been reading recently about why it’s a good idea to throw a mix of shoes into your regular running routine. The UA HOVR Sonics are definitely here to stay.

 

 

Added: Race Across Durham 10 Miler

I am so pumped to be running the Race Across Durham 10 Miler again in December this year. I ran in the inaugural event last December and absolutely loved it. Like last year, registration opened on my birthday, so it’s instant (hopefully annual) happy birthday present to me. 🙂

This time, not only is my buddy Dillon (above) running it again, but so is his wife, AND SO ARE ARE A FEW of my Morrisville Run Club friends. It is going to be freeeeeaking awesome!

Yes, I’m a little excited. Looking forward to training for this one already. It’s such a beautiful place to run.

 

 

Added: Bull City Race Fest Half Marathon

I’ve added the Bull City Race Fest Half Marathon to my race schedule for Oct 21st 2018. Liz and I ran the 5 mile race before, but not the half — so I’m really looking forward to it. I hear there may be a hill or two. 🙂

I got a free entry into this race for volunteering at the Tar Heel 10 miler race back in April — AWESOME!

This will be my first race back after a bit of a break. It also seems like forever since I’ve ran this distance, so I need to start ramping up the mileage soon.

How do You replenish after a workout?

Disclaimer: I received Ultima Replenisher to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Athletes have so many options these days when it comes to “sports drinks” designed to replace electrolytes. What attracted me to Ultima Replenisher was the fact their formula contains zero carbs, zero sugar and zero artificial ingredients.

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Continue reading “How do You replenish after a workout?”

Go Farther with Gatorade Endurance

Disclaimer: I received Gatorade Endurance formula and energy gels to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

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If you’ve been following my Instagram feed and/or Twitter feed recently, you’ll know I’ve been using Gatorade Endurance formula and energy gels in my training runs. Gatorade Endurance are releasing new flavors and I received some samples (via BibRave) to review on my blog.

The timing of this review couldn’t be better. We’ve had some really unseasonably hot weather here in North Carolina. Morning runs have been in mid-eighties with high humidity, and evening runs have been close to one hundred degrees.

The Gatorade Endurance line of products are not like the normal Gatorade you buy in the store. Gatorade Endurance is designed for endurance athletes and adds extra sodium and potassium to take you farther.

Continue reading “Go Farther with Gatorade Endurance”

Be Brilliant, This Time in Green

Disclaimer: I received Brilliant Reflective strips to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

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Be Brilliant — It sounds like a Bill and Ted mantra. “Be Brilliant to each other!” In this post we’re going to look at how we can be brilliant, from a visibility and brightness perspective.

By the way, where did the male crop top go to?

I have reviewed Brilliant Reflective’s stick-on reflective strips before and guess what, those strips are still stuck tight. None of the edges have lifted either. I can’t tell you how many washes those items of clothing have had.

So why review again? Well, Brilliant Reflective are launching two new colors – Gold and Green!

Iron On

I’m quite fussy about which color of strips I apply to which color of clothing. I happen to think green goes really well with the color Orange, aaaand I just happen to have an Orange shirt, courtesy of BibRave. So, I got out the iron board and laid out my shirt to plan where I’d put the strips.

I decided to go with 2 strips on the back, and one on the front.

Since I did not use the iron-on strips for my original review, I carefully read the instructions a few times. They are conveniently printed inside of the packaging. It’s not complicated at all. Once I figured out how to turn on the iron all was good.

Top Tip: Be careful if your shirt has existing print on it. Doh! Even though I used kitchen paper as suggested, I made the mistake of holding the iron over the BibRave print on the back. The paper ended up sticking to the print a little but I managed to get it off without any noticeable damage.

Stick On

Earlier in the week I also give one of my running hats the Brilliant Reflective treatment and posted the steps in my Instagram story — I’ll keep it on my profile as a highlight for a while if you want to check it out.

I cut the strips to fit neatly on both sides of the bill. The strips are blue, so work with well with the hat color, and then glow white when the light shines on them. It truly is an excellent way to keep me more visible on the road.

The hat has been through it’s first wash yesterday and the strips are stuck tight – good as new.

What Will You Use It For?

The applications for this product are vast. You could use on kid’s bicycles, strollers, helmets, adult bicycles, school bags, skateboards, phones, coats, shoes, mail boxes, water bottles, etc.

Brilliant Reflective makes it easy to enhance your safety when outside in the dark. Nobody likes scary surprises, especially drivers in cars swerving around runners on the road (happens too often). So be brilliant to each other, in both senses of the word, and help others to see you in good time.

Why not take part in Brilliant Reflective’s fun creativity contest. Post your creative uses of the strips to Instagram and tag @brilliantreflective.

 

Race Recap: 2018 Running Of The Bulls 8K

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One of my favorite races of the year, is the Running Of The Bulls 8K in Durham, NC. It’s a really great course with a few challenging hills and a finish on the track at the old Durham Bulls stadium. It always coincides with the Food Truck Rodeo in Durham which is a fun reason to hang out after the race and enjoy some food!

I knew this year would be a bit slower for me. We have been experiencing very humid weather and higher temperatures than normal for this time of year, so that was bound to affect my performance.

In the end it didn’t turn out too bad when the official results came back. In 2017, I completed the course in 39:56. This year I officially completed the course in 40:40 (although Strava has 41:46!).

You may remember I ran this race last year with my son, Noah. He was also signed up to run this year but came down sick and wasn’t well enough to run. Fortunately my friend Niles was there and we ended up running the majority of the race together.

The medal this year was a functioning cowbell again. I’m only going to have so much room on my medal rack for these things. 😉

There is one thing I’ve noticed about Bull City Running Co. races. They like to take you close to finish line when you still have 1-2 miles to run. It one way it’s great to see all the runners coming back toward you to finish, in another way it’s just plain agonizing to know you still have 15-20 minutes left. Race Across Durham also employed this feature.

Immediately after the race there was plenty of Nuun, Fullsteam beer, fruit, granola bars, etc. but it can get a little crowded in there. Niles and I stayed for a little while before leaving for home. She said she’d run it again. I know I will.