I received a pair of Skora’s FIT shoes a few weeks ago. You can read all about the Skora FIT on their site, but my CliffsNotes version is that it’s an all-purpose shoe for both running and training, and has a bit more cushion than their other models. Rather than repeat everything from their website, I decided to give you my very own layman’s review of the shoe. Since the FIT is billed as an “all-purpose” training shoe, I decided to put the shoe through the paces of my normal training week. I’m happy to report that the FIT kept up with my training. Running, trails, races, spin, cardio classes, and the highlight of my training week, a running form analysis where the shoe got some nice props. (Video of said analysis at end of this post! Cool!)
Riding in the FIT
Normally I wear my Skora Bases for spin class. They say to train how you race, and I like the Velcro for quick transitions in triathlons… but this is review week, so my FITs came to Just Ryde class at Ryde Barre. Right off the bat, I got questions and compliments from the instructor and other riders. (They are a very snazzy shoe!)
My initial concern would be if the laces would irritate the top of my foot. The class uses pedal cages and the FITs are thin with asymmetrical laces. Thankfully, my feet were just fine after an hour of intense pedaling. I think that the seamless construction of the shoe also helped – no rubbing at all. Normally you’d have seams rubbing right under the pedal cages… but the FITs have no seams. They are practically like wearing comfy house slippers to train… only without the fluff and bunny ears.
Kicking it in the FIT
The FITs rocked my various cardio workouts, through squats, lunges, kicks, planks, you name it. The soles had great traction with the hardwood floors and I felt very strong in my planted leg. No sliding at all. I also think the same qualities that make it a great running shoe make it great for classes requiring balance. I felt very strong in stretching poses and didn’t bobble at all while balancing on one foot. I plan on taking some Crossfit classes at my local gym, and I think these will work well for those, too! (I will report back!)
Running in the FIT
It’s a running shoe, right? Finally… Let’s talk running. I took my sunshine yellow shoes out on the road and trail, for both training and races. I liked the extra bit of cushion on the trails so that I wasn’t feeling every rock and tree root through the shoe. I found the shoes had just enough cushion on the road to give my poor knees a break. My poor knees! I have been talking for a year now about my IT band issues. I knew that part of my issue was from bad mechanics / form. The biggest part is my weak glutes. With a busy spring racing season, I decided to really hit it hard and see if I could “fix” my issues once and for all… I made an appointment for a running form analysis so that I could really understand what I’m up against. (I will do a thorough review of my visit later. For now, let’s focus on the shoes!)
First off… I know my form used to be bad. I looked like Elmer Fudd in my race pictures. I was heel-striking like I was trying to bring it back in style. The ability to feel where my foot was hitting the ground is what drew me to Skora in the first place. I was pretty sure that I had figured out the mid-foot business. I was positively beaming as I watched the video of me running. Mid-foot landing? Check! Landing under my body? Check! Yay! At least I have that part down right.
While watching the video, the physical therapist commented that it would be impossible for me not to run mid-foot in my shoes. High praise for the FITs! I do credit Skora with getting me off my heels and running with better form. It was nice to get that validation.
So, there you have it… You still with me?
I am happy to answer any questions you might have about the FIT, or any other Skora Running shoe (as I own them all). Comment or tweet me!
Disclosure: Skora Running provided me an advance pair of FIT. I made sure I wore these shoes for at least two weeks in a variety of activities in order to give you an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Learn More About Skora: Facebook Instagram Twitter Web
Event: Shamrock Shuffle 5K
Date: March 8, 2014
Location: Lawrence, KS
Another cold run for Bowie and I. Kansas weather was beautiful Friday and Sunday, cold Saturday. It was also quite windy on the out portion of the out and back course. This race was held on the levee behind Johnny’s Tavern – the same course as 2013′s Sweetheart 5K – thankfully no snow / ice this time. Bowie and I donned our green… Bowie even had a blinking shamrock button. I carpooled out with my friend Vicki, who ended up pacing along with me.
My goal for Bowie was to PR… I wasn’t sure how quickly to start him out so I put him on the treadmill for 20 minutes a couple nights before to try to gauge what pace he should be at. We started the race at 11:00 for a couple minutes and I asked Bowie if he was ready to speed up. We bumped it up to 10:30, sometimes a little faster… I just let Bowie dictate what he wanted to do as we weaved around runners. Bowie announced he didn’t like the wind, which brought chuckles and agreement from other runners. When we reached the turnaround, Bowie wanted a drink of water so we walked for about 10 or 15 seconds while he drank. (Next time we will bring his hand-held water bottle). I always find it hard to get going again after a stop, so we worked a couple minutes to get back up to speed. At least we had the wind at our backs! I think we were all happy to see the finish line but Bowie was pretty tired and didn’t have any kick left. I was so excited to see that Bowie was going to have a huge PR.
Bowie finished in 30:06 (9:41 pace)… that is a 3 minute PR in just a month after his first 5K. Pretty awesome! Bowie got his finisher medal (medals for kids only at this race) and we went inside for a complimentary breakfast. Bowie says the pancakes and fruit were really good, but passed on the sausage, eggs and corned beef hash.
Bowie ended up with 3rd for his age group, again nipping at the heels of older kids. They had a nice awards ceremony so Bowie was excited when his name was called. (Even if they did mispronounce it.)
You can read Bowie’s thoughts on the race at his blog.
Summary of all sports bra reviews published
Bra Size Rating
Champion Show-Off Large 3
Marika Keyhole Medium 4
Moving Comfort Vixen Medium 5
New Balance Medium 2
Victoria’s Secret SVX 34D 4
Earlier in the week, I mentioned on Twitter that it is hard to find really great sports bras for running… probably even more difficult for women in a C+ situation. I asked for suggestions on sports bras, and sometime during this conversation decided that it might be helpful to share my opinions on the collection I have going on in the bottom drawer. (I keep all my sports bras and compression socks in the bottom drawer. No idea why. Where do you keep yours?)
Anyway… I started culling through my collection and chose 15 bras to review for you. I will add on more as I pick them up, here and there. I will do 5 per post, at least for now. I am reviewing bras based on appearance, ease to put on, and functionality… meaning, how good a job of holding everything in its place. I enlisted the help of my husband. He snapped pictures with my iPhone and then watched me run to rate how much bounce there was. We are using a scale of 1-5, 5 being the best (no jiggle at all) to 1 being worst (OMG I am going to give myself a black eye). I am also including the size information to show just how different sizing betweens brands runs… Some they indicate I am a medium, some a large. So. let’s get started… For a baseline, my normal bra size is a 34D. (And can I ponder just fora moment why my rib cage looks so weird? For real. Every picture… anyway)…
First up is the Champion Show-Off. Pictured is a size large. This one is a bit challenging to get on since it has a racer back with hook and eye… So you have to get a helper or contort your arms into strange positions to clasp it once it is on. I bought it because I thought it was a really pretty looking bra and I liked the contrasting mesh. It has molded cups, which I like for colder days. Functionality-wise? Notsomuch. I was bouncing a bit. This would be a better bra for a cardio class where there isn’t so much impact. Bounce Rating: 3 Moving Comfort Vixen Pictures is a size medium. Very pretty bra, color-wise. I find it a bit of a pain to put on. It’s a standard pull-over kind of bra… which would be OK if it wasn’t so tight to pull over my chest. I have to pull it about half-way down, which makes a weird boob-smashing double-boob thing, and then pull it the rest of the way down. It is lined as well. Once it is on, it fits very well. It also performs very well as there wasn’t any bounce at all. Bounce Rating: 5 New Balance Pictured is a size medium. I am not sure of the model number of this one… it is your standard pull-over kind of sports bra. I bought this one because it was cute and had matching shorts. I thought it would be great for super hot days when even wearing a tank top feels too much as it is unlined. I quickly found that running is not an option in this one. It is probably OK for a spin class that requires no impact. Bounce rating: 2 Marika Keyhole Pictured is a size medium. I thought this one was cute with the contrasting stitching and it had molded cups. (I don’t care for inserts as they fold and get wadded up in the bra). It is a bit of a pain to put on as it is a pull-over. It has a keyhole back which I think it cute under tanks. It does pretty well while running. A little bit of jiggle but definitely not a bounce. Bounce Rating: 4 Victoria’s Secret SVX Pictured size 34D. Only a select few Victoria’s Secret stores carry full-on sportswear. Most only carry padded camis and yoga pants, I have found. So when I was on a business trip in Sacramento and found these, I snatched up a few different colors. Very easy to get on as it is a standard hook & eye like a regular bra. It has a mesh outer layer and a slick Lycra inner layer. The bra itself has held up well, but the hooks have started bending back so I can only fasten 1 or 2 of the 3. And unfortunately, if I tried bending them back, they metal would probably snap and leave sharp edges to poke me. Running-wise, I like it. There is a slight bounce, probably because it is a little lower cute, but not enough to bother me. The bra is fairly thin, so beware on cold days. Bounce rating: 4 I will create a summary post to compile the bras and bounce ratings now… and will continue to add to the summary as I add on new reviews. Stay tuned for more bras throughout the week!
Again, these are my own bras from my ridiculous running gear collection. Opinions are my own.
Are there any sports bras that are your favorites you’d like to recommend for a review?
How many sports bras do you own?
Event: Sweetheart Run 5K
Location: Overland Park, KS
The first time I ran this event was last year in Lawrence, KS… but they moved the race to Overland Park, KS this year. The course was a big square, which was actually kind of nice when it came it pacing distances and not having to fight through crowded corners as much. The event was hosted by the Ritz-Carlton Overland Park, so the restrooms were quite nice and packet pick-up seemed easy. Due to a recent car accident, I knew I needed to take it very slow. I signed up my 6 year old Bowie as an insurance policy… pacing Bowie would force me to keep it to a jog. Bowie had ran 5K on a treadmill once before, but we hadn’t been doing any training lately, due to said car accident, but I was confident that if we took it slow, Bowie would be just fine. It was a little cold out, and some icy patches were still around, but I assured Bowie that we would warm up once we started to run.
The race photographer snapped this photo of us at the starting line. I soon learned that a long tutu wads up between your legs when you run. Bowie mentioned after the race that he couldn’t run beside me because the tutu kept getting stuck on the velcro of his glove. Sorry, kiddo! But note my super cute Pro Compression heart socks and new Skora Running black/pink shoes The race started on time and we were off! I didn’t bother to wear my Garmin so that I wouldn’t be tempted to speed up. We ran totally by feel, and that was nice to not feel stress from staring at my wrist! I had no idea how fast we were going, but we started nice and slow the first mile and I slowly sped him up a bit through-out the race. There were a couple hills, so I encouraged Bowie to pump his arms to pull himself up the hill. Bowie did a great job of chugging along even when I could tell he was getting tired. When we rounded the last corner and we saw the finish line, I yelled at Bowie to floor it! He started passing people like they were standing still. I was his own private cheering section in that last sprint but I couldn’t help being so proud of my little rockstar runner!
I was certain that not many little boys were before us so I thought Bowie had a good chance of placing. We hit the results line and found our time was 33:08 (10:41 pace) and that Bowie placed 3rd. Later, when I looked up the results we found Bowie (6) was the youngest male runner, so all the other boys in 0-10 were older than him. The two boys finishing before him were 9 and 8. We headed inside to get his medal and he was so proud of himself. This is his second timed event and he is 2-for-2, having finished first in AG for Double Road Race’s Kids Cup Mile.
I asked Bowie how it felt to be passing all those grown-ups and he just shrugged and said, “I never looked back, Mommy. I just wanted to focus on my own race.” He’s a good little egg.
My Place: Don’t even ask! I was there to pace for Bowie
As a runner, I seem to have accumulated a variety of bibs, medals… and… well… a big enough safety pin stash to last 5 lifetimes. Of course, the bibs and medals mean a bit more to me than the tangled mess of safety pins in an old jelly jar.
After I have collected 5 race bibs or so, I wanted to organize them in a way that would preserve the bib itself, but also the memories from the race. After checking out some options online, I decided to just DIY a bib binder. I found my pretty blue binder at Staples (part of the Martha Stewart collection) but any binder will do. Mine measures 5 1/2 by 8 1/2 – which seems like a good size for storing the bibs. A few I have had to fold down just a smidge to fit in the sheet protectors.
I also bought plastic dividers to separate my bibs into years. I prefer a chronological order, but you could choose to group yours by distance or some other manner. For me, I really like to flip through the pages and see my improvement in times and distance… and sometimes unfortunately remember an injury! I have decorated my dividers with washi tape and stickers, but your book is your book – do what YOU like. (Note to Oiselle – gonna need more stickers in other colors… I have too many of the pink ones!)
Here you can see how nicely the bibs fit in the sheet protectors. A few I have had to fold down slightly to fit. The ones with the magnetic strip on the back are a bit more of a pain.
I like to write down the important details about the race on the back of the bib. I just write the details on a label that I stick to the back of the bib. But a bib + a Sharpie would work great too!. My labels have gotten less fancy over time… But I always note the name of the race across the top, the date in the lower right and my time in the lower left. I also note items such as a good AG placement, an injury or weather anomaly. This race was -7 windchill that day. Brrr!!
So that’s it. A cheap, simple solution for organizing race bibs. Be sure to put yours someplace handy so you can flip through it and stay motivated. I keep mine on my nightstand.
You may notice there are some changes to the blog! First, I have been including posts on running and triathlons. These are marked by the category “run + bike + swim,” so if you are not into ready those, you can easily pass those over.
Home posts are still go! I am working on a update to the Boys’ bathroom – and it…. Is…. AWESOME! So please stay tuned for that.
I am struggling with finding a way to feature both kinds of posts, and am hoping that b categorizing them differently, readers are able to sift through and find what they would like to read. I thought about creating a separate blog, but I just don’t have the time / energy / resources for that! So bear with me…
Another change you might notice are some Ambassador badges on the sidebar. I mentioned that I made “Team Betty” for Betty Designs earlier…. But I haven’t talked about Nuun and Skora Running yet. Let’s save Skora for next time and talk about Nuun now…
I am totally not selling anything and clicking the Nuun link only takes you to their website. (There are no cookies or tracking or commission or anything). Just trying to share the love. Nuun Hydration are little electrolyte drinks tablets you pop into water. I became a big fan of them and like that I can just toss one in my water bottle and not have to rely on sugary sports drinks at aid stations. (I also like to sip on them at work instead of soda). So far my favorites are strawberry lemonade and lemonade… but I just scored a box of watermelon and really like those, too!
So again… not trying to sell you anything at all. I promise!
Date: January 1, 2014
Event: Commitment Day Run
Location: Overland Park, KS
I thought I would start off the new year with a new PR… At least that was the plan. Somewhere after mile 2, my body decided that would not be the case. Little did I know when I started off that morning that I would contract whatever nasty contagion my children have unleashed upon our household (and has been reeking havoc ever since!)
One of my husband’s college friends was in KC for the holidays and wanted to run a 5K while in the area. I agreed to sign-up since it is always nice to at least know one person at the starting line. I recruited two local running friends to sign up as well, because… well.. running with friends is more fun! Vicki graciously offered to drive Shari and I to the race in Overland Park. Only race-day packet pick-up was offered so we got there extra early. The event was hosted by Lifetime Fitness – and it was a really swanky gym. We checked out the locker rooms to kill time after we got our bibs. It was fairly cold that day so it was sort of a bummer to go back outside to race in the cold.
I started off running with Shari, telling her I wanted to try to stay sub-9:00 pace… and like always, started off too fast. Shari and I did a lot of weaving until we were finally able to settle into good pace… I am afraid the damage was already done. (I read some interesting factoid about every minute you start out too fast impacts your later pace by X amount… but I can’t remember the details now. I just tend to agree that yes, I burn myself out too soon and always end up with crummy splits). Anyway…. we were chugging right along and right before 2 miles in, I just felt really awful. I took it as an opportunity to stop and tie my shoelaces, and just feel sorry for myself. I stood their, contemplating dashing for the nearest restroom, when Vicki came chugging along. Her big smile and wave gave me a boost to keep going. We ran together for a few minutes until I felt a bit of a second wind and sped up.
After finishing the race, I sat on the curb… again contemplating either passing out or dashing to the restroom. As soon as Vicki finished, we headed back to the gym. There were some really yummy post-race snacks. Also, See KC Run was on hand to snap pictures. He convinced us to do a Charlie’s Angels pose and do a big cheerleader jump. (Check out our Spirit Fingers!)
So… Shari had a PR and placed 4th in her age group. Yay!!! That is the second person I have helped push to a PR. So I think I get partial credit? Vicki was happy to finish injury free, because she, like me, is rehabbing. I was happy to finish without crapping my pants or throwing up on someone. (Sincere apology to the ladies who were in the restroom with me after the race). Kerrie finished with a new PR.
30:13 – 9:43 pace. 11th in my Age group. Not stellar folks…. Here’s hoping to a speedier 2014?
I wore a skirt over my tights for the first time… It was a race skirt with built-in snappies for my bib. Mid-way thru the race the skirt had spun around and my bib wadded up on my back. Not sure if it was due to the jacket I was wearing? But super annoying. I will give the skirt another try before I review…
Event: runLawrence Thanksgiving Day 5K
Location: Lawrence, KS
This was my first “Turkey Trot!” Many of my new running friends were signed up for this race. I really have been meeting some awesome ladies from running – I might actually develop a social life! I carpooled to the race with two local friends, Rebecca and Vicki. I ended up running most of the race with Rebecca, while Vicki ran with Shari, who we met up with at the start.
I stayed with Rebecca until mile 2, and was on track for a PR… but then it hit me… that feeling I get… It starts getting hard… I am tired… I’m breathing hard… The little voice starts telling me it is too difficult and I should just walk. And I did what I hate admitting to doing… I walked for a moment. Angry at myself, I started running again and kept checking my watch to see my PR dreams fade away.
I mean… everyone is working hard at 2 miles in, right? Rebecca said later she felt like she was going to puke. Maybe if I would have asked her, hey, if this hard for you, too – she would have said yeah. And I could have gutted it out. I know looking back on it that I could have gutted it out.
Somehow I have to work past that. I would love to hear if anyone has any suggestions for pushing through that last mile. I am thinking maybe next time bringing my headphones and putting on a song to help me through the last stretch. If Daft Punk’s Get Lucky can’t get me through, maybe nothing can?
Event: Grass Skirts and Hawaiian Shirts
Location: Olathe, KS
Maybe I was looking to redeem myself after bailing from the Gobbler Grind (when I decided 16 degrees was too cold to run)… For whatever reason, I signed up for what I knew was going to be a cold race. The night before, my husband took me to TJ Maxx to score some warmer pants. I knew the race was going to be cold…
Race Morning was 3 degrees out. -9 with the windchill factored in. I dressed in enough layers that I could barely put my arms down. (Christmas Story reference FTW!) Race attire was:
- Columbia thick fleece pants
- Fila running tights
- Random tech shirt
- Academy long sleeve moisture wicking shirt
- Mondetta running jacket
- Under Armour thick socks
- Isotoner gloves + Asics mittens
- Adidas ear warmers
- Saucony Ride 6s (thought they would be the warmest of my shoes)
I looked ridiculous, maybe… But I did stay fairly warm. The moment I started running, my scarf tried to fly off and my hood blew down. I spent the race trying to pull my scarf up over my mouth and nose because the cold air was burning my lungs. After only minutes, I couldn’t feel my toes.
All I can say about the race was any plan I had for pacing went out the window. I was cold and miserable so I started way too fast, probably in an effort to get it over with. The course was an out-and-back on the same paved trail as Martini Madness. I managed to hold my own and not give up position after settling in to a slower-than-usual pace. (I was so cold!!!)
After receiving my finisher medal, I headed inside for post-race pizza with two girls I met right before the run. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I placed 3rd in my age group, 7th woman and 14th overall. Yay! My award medal was a bronze version of the finisher medal.
Date: October 27, 2013
Location: Topeka to Lawrence, KS
I joined the Bison 50 Mile as part of a relay team, organized by my running BFF, LaRisa. It was LaRisa and her husband’s 17th anniversary, so we were Team 17 Down. Also joining the run were Julie, Tesa, Heidi, and Dana.
Question: who makes these races so stinking early? Really? I am not a morning person. Anyways, I got up super early and I didn’t sleep well at all the night before. We met at a parking garage in Lawrence and loaded up in the SUV to the race start in Topeka. The race was to start at 7:00, but started late because there were no porta-potties and all the runner’s were in line inside Gary Gribbles Running Sports store. Oops!
After our first runners (Brian, Dana and Heidi) ran, we circled back around to the starting point to drop off Heidi who had to get her daughter’s birthday party going. There was a huge fire nearby. We drove by to investigate and learned it was an abandoned church on fire. So sad! Glad no one was hurt and it wasn’t someone’s home.
Tesa and LaRisa ran next. LaRisa reported that she had a very hilly run on gravel. I received the timing chip from LaRisa and saw that I was getting a big hill right away. Maybe the race director didn’t get the memo that I don’t like hills and haven’t run gravel before? Like the big turn-your-ankle gravel. I went out too fast, not realizing the entire leg would be hilly gravel. I slowed down ALOT after the first half mile. I just kept my eyes on the runner in front of me and kept pace with him. Every now and then, I would look for the runner behind me to make sure he wasn’t going to catch me. I did manage to scare myself a couple times thinking I saw a snake. I also had a local redneck veer his truck at me and spray gravel on me. (Stay classy!) After 3.5 miles, I handed off the timer to Julie. After that was Tesa, LaRisa and Brian again.
We opted to run the last litle bit of Brian’s leg in as a team and got our picture taken.
We each earned a Finisher pint glass. (Apparently the finisher medal was a typo). We got some pictures snapped of our toast.
The after-party was at Mass St. Pub in Lawrence so we headed there. We were all really looking forward to the Bison Burgers. We were super disappointed to learn that they only had enough burgers for the first 60 runners. Ummm… 275 runner’s registered. So that was definitely a fail.
All in all, I think we enjoyed the race. Aside from the lack of burgers. A couple of the legs were on a narrow highway and had our runners running with traffic and that was sort of scary, but I think it is a definite will-do-again.
My Leg: 37:23
Date: October 26, 2013
Location: Kansas City, MO
My son, Bowie, was really excited to run this race… anything Halloween-themed is cool with him. Dane decided to try out the race as well. To be honest, I didn’t put a lot of effort into my costume. I don’t tend to dress up for races. I found a black tutu that lit up. I found a pair of black running tights at TJ Maxx that I drew spider webs on with a white paint pen. I wore that along with a black long-sleeved BCG shirt and the Halloween edition Pro Compression socks. I put my hair in braids and stuck little orange and black spiders in the braids, and I put on a ton of eyeliner and eyeshadow.
The race was held in the City Market district of Kansas City. It was a night race with the kids race starting at 6:30. We checked out the kiddie area first and took our picture in the scary maze. The boys all got candy from giant candy buckets. (I even snagged some crackers).
Bowie ran first in the Lil Monster kid run. (I should note that Bowie had played 3 games in a soccer tournament that morning). Bowie came in second, but if he had a few more feet, he would have reeled the winner in. If Bowie hadn’t played soccer earlier that day, I am sure it wouldn’t have been close at all. That is Bowie on the right in the picture. Dane ran in the next heat. He ran so fast he lost a shoe! He came in 5th.
And then I was off! My knee was still a bit sore from the KC Half Marathon last weekend, so I was wearing this super-bionic knee brace I picked up. The brace did something weird to my gait, like I couldn’t bend my knee maybe? Every time my left foot would hit the ground, it came down with a loud thwapping sound. My knee didn’t hurt but my shin started to hurt… which I ignored and kept going. I started the race a little too quickly and slowed down mid-way thru. It was a nice course and it was fun crossing the bridge at night.
After I got my medal (super cute medal, btw!), the boys chowed down slices of pizza. I wasn’t in the mood to eat anything greasy after running, so I just ate a little bag of trail mix.
Not a PR for me but I was happy to run without being in serious pain. Also, note to self: running in tutu isn’t for me. The tutu kept hiking up high and I spent too much time pulling it down.
#9 in Age Group