Bernd Heinrich is an Amazing Human Being
This quick insight into the man who has inspired so many. His passion for the sport, for life, for learning, for living is almost surreal. To have a fraction of Bernd’s humility and compassion…
November 1st, 2013 - 9:19 pm - written by: vitarunner
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From the moment I received the shoe (May 22, 2013) I was enamored with the bright Racer Blue color. Once I actually touched them I was in love. I can really see this shoe being a big part of my rotation. The toughness and protection of the soles and the great fit and support of the upper, roomy toe area, low cut heel. All of this providing the freedom of movement and confidence needed in an all terrain running shoe.
The biggest eye catcher is the Vibram sole- a great pattern rounded with the contour of the shoe, the lugs are close enough to allow a great grip on almost anything, yet far enough apart and shaped in such a way that small rocks and grit doesn’t stick. For those who know me, I complain about the crushed gravel I run on frequently- the bits wedge in the sole of many shoes, most recently the Saucony Virrata. I have, however, always been quite pleased with the soles of the Merrell line. They seem to be attentive to the outdoors in general.
The midsole is a 0mm drop, 10.5mm stack height providing 6mm of what they are calling “cush” for a reasonable level of protection in ordinary situations. There is also what Merrell calls a TrailProtect pad in the forefoot AND HEEL for more support on rough terrain. This is awesome protection from the occasional sneaky sharp stone underfoot.
The insole is a built in sock liner that basically provides a smooth surface for the foot. I use either the Balega or Injinji thin type socks myself although many go with naked feet. With the gravel surfaces I complain about a thin sock keeps me from the irritation I don’t need.
The mesh upper is really cool. There seems to be a variety of densities with the mesh. A very tight knit around the heel, loosening up along the sidewalls where the impregnated straps are located, this seems to really open up the ventilation potential. The toe area is again a tighter knit, but tighter still at the contact points with the toe box and lacing system. This integrated system provides an amazingly secure feeling in the mid foot whilst letting my heels and toes act naturally- thank you Merrell!
I am a big fan of the low heel collar and fit in the Merrell M-Connect series for sure. Not having the edges rubbing my ankles in any way, feeling sort of loose yet supported laterally. Damn fine set up I say.
The mesh upper really allows the toes to breathe, flex, spread out and live the good life. Having that kind of freedom truly allows a better fit and a responsive feel. I think if more runners experienced that, they would demand it from every manufacturer in at least a few models. The old style squeeze play on the forefoot is very difficult to get accustomed to once you’ve been set free in this way.
The tongue is a full length variety, secured above the toes at the base of the lacing system. This might be the only part I’m a bit concerned about. Reaching in and feeling around the base of the tongue it is sewn in but also has a flared portion of material glued to the upper. I noticed the sticky edges and without any effort whatsoever I was able to sort of peel it back and re-stick it. Having run in them I haven’t noticed anything askew so far, once they get wet, dirty and such I sure hope that this stays stuck or I can see this possibly being an annoyance in a big way. Fingers crossed.
The lacing system is the same as the Road Glove 2 and the Bare Access 2 that I currently run in. I really like the way they fit. I don’t use the last hole at the top because I like the freer feel, but I do swing my laces through the little “M” tab at the top- it just makes me feel good ( amirite?).
Well, if you haven’t yet noticed I’m impressed with the shoe. I love to run (right?), so using these shoes makes it so I can really just run. The extra protection and grip in the sole is SO appreciated. I feel like the Merrell folks read my mind recently. I mean in almost every instance I can get by with the Trail Glove 2, Road Glove 2 or the Bare Access 2 and I have for many, many miles. However, having the ability to just let fly without worrying about anything on rough terrain is a beautiful thing.
Usage so far:
My pair has only about 70 miles on them so far. I have used them on the crushed gravel surfaces flawlessly, trails, grass, dirt of all kinds. The run up to and from on paved roads for a few miles is also smooth and comfortable. In a month or so, I will be spending a few weeks running on rough mountain trails robust with skree and other challenging surfaces. I will update this post upon my experiences there.
Although I wouldn’t want to waste those sweet Vibram nuggets on pavement- it works. This new Merrell Ascend Glove is a winner, folks!
I have also been switching the Ascend Glove up with another great trail shoe- Karhu’s Flow 3 Trail, more cushioning, a 6mm drop, but a lot of fun to run in!
Description from Merrell:
Cushioned for longer runs and more demanding terrain, our lightweight and durable Ascend Glove shoe stays true to your natural stride with its barefoot profile. Charge over mountains and rocky terrain with its aggressive, grabby lug design and TrailProtect pad for extra off-road support.
- Fabric and synthetic upper
- MotionMesh engineered for optimal breathability and range of motion
- Breathable mesh lining
- M-Select FRESH naturally prevents odor before it starts for fresh smelling feet
- Wash as needed in cold water (gentle cycle). Air dry.
- 0mm Drop / 6mm Cush/ 10.5mm Stack Height
- TrailProtect pad in the forefoot and heel offers additional support for the roughest terrain
- Non-marking outsole
- Vibram outsole
Men’s Weight: 8ozs (1/2 pair)
October 28th, 2013 - 11:11 pm - written by: vitarunner
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“To be a consistent winner means preparing not just one day, one month or even one year - but for a lifetime.”
June 19th, 2013 - 4:22 pm - written by: vitarunner
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This feature length documentary follows the dramatic journey of 2012 Boston Marathon Champion, Wesley Korir, and brings the audience into the world of distance running: a sport of endurance and belief.
After winning the 2012 Boston marathon, Wesley sets out with his coach to improve on his 2nd place finish at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and to shatter the course record. Weeks before the race, however, Wesley feels a calling to move into Kenyan politics.
After a disappointing performance at the Chicago Marathon, Wesley decides to spend the money he earned as a professional runner and run as an independent candidate in the 2013 Kenyan elections, in the hope of winning a seat as a Member of Parliament: a feat that had never been accomplished.
The corruption and difficulty of campaigning as an independent in Kenya leaves Wesley with very little time to train for the 2013 Boston Marathon. Training runs would be forfeited because of late night campaigning and while his competitors would be training 120-150 miles a week, Wesley would be fortunate to run 50 miles a week.
After an exhausting election campaign, Wesley returns to the 2013 Boston Marathon to show his country and the rest of the world that in the midst of hardship, despite physical limitations, when coupled with a relentless belief and a slightly delusional mindset, the human spirt has the potential to transcend all adversity.
Wesley’s story in the film is intermingled with several segments of elite distance runners who face their own obstacles and who must put their belief in something, in order to get through their adversity.
Commentary throughout the film from famous runners, authors, physiologists, theologians, therapists and coaches will leave the viewer questioning what it is that really propels the greatest distance runners in the world to the finish line.
Directed and Produced by Michael Del Monte and Tad Munnings
June 17th, 2013 - 1:11 pm - written by: vitarunner
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Upon receiving the Karhu Flow 3 Trail shoes I was immediately struck by the box colors of gold and black highlighted with a description of the “fulcrum technology” integrated into many models of the Karhu running shoe line.
Myself, I love the look of the shoe. It is neither flashy, nor imprinted with needless bling or highlights to dress it up- just the Bear logo, Karhu name, and “fulcrum” decal impregnated into the midsole in the appropriate area. The shoe feels solid, yet surprisingly flexible for a trail shoe. It isn’t super lightweight but certainly within acceptable limits for a good quality trainer.
The Karhu brand has long been a part of my life, albeit in the ski and boot arena. Given that the reputation for high quality and durability from Finland is already ingrained in me from the outset. I spent many years traversing the alpine and nordic terrain of Stowe Vermont often utilizing both classical and backcountry gear from the “bear” of Finland.
I like to start here because when running in a trail shoe I want to be sure of grip, yes, but also, I really don’t want to be doing extra weight work by carrying the trail with me. So often shoes have oddly placed, arranged, shaped lugs, patterns and cracks that trap small stones, sticks, extra mud and the like- the Karhu Flow 3 Trail has none of that.
The sole here is a base of blown EVA with hearty patches of compression molded high abrasion rubber lugs for gripping and wearing. The company calls these grippers counter-directional “t-lugs” designed to be great up or down hill, as the Fins understand, one begets the other on most of the planet.
Well, the t-lugs are a sweet set up. The fronts angle just slightly back for gripping on the ups and forward propulsion of course. The rear t-lugs angle forward a bit providing a grab on the declines when one so chooses. If you are just letting it fly on the downs there is nothing slowing you down- the overall base is relatively flat but gets a good bite for sure.
I have been able to attest to the hold of the outsole on the following surfaces with great results so far: grass, packed dirt, loose dirt, sand, rocky & rooted trails, rock covered steep grades sometimes wet. I have not yet had the opportunity to test stream beds or thick and gooey mud. When I do, I will update the post accordingly.
The midsole is two different densities of EVA- the primary being a black softer version from toe to heel located below the denser “fulcrum” level of yellow encompassing the heel counter and flowing forward to the front of the arch area. This Fulcrum Technology is a feature Karhu integrates in to the entire line. The data suggests that it assists the runner with forward momentum vs. vertical movement- I’m a fan of that for sure. Fortunate to have decent form and didn’t notice the difference, but I doubt it’s a gimmick. Karhu supports many serious athletes.
I find the midsole combination of the Karhu Flow 3 Trail to be pretty efficient. I like the firmness of the lop layer in the zone of my heel, yet the base layer of VEA seems to absorb the little things on the trail- thereby diffusing the impact including roots, sticks, rocks fairly well.
This is yet another basic sock liner variety- no extra arch cookie or anything. Even the shoe itself is not putting much emphasis on the arch outside of being shaped to fit the anatomy of the foot. This is great as far as I’m concerned, don’t really enjoy arch support, and allowing the foot to regulate this is probably the best way to prevent some basic injuries.
At this point, I might also mention that inside the heel cup are two bumps to either side of the achilles tendon that protrude (by design) apparently to hold the heel in place during a run. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to make of this, but once the shoe was on, I never even noticed it and haven’t yet. I can only imagine this would have been a plus back in grade school to prevent the pranksters’ “flat tire” trick, but an untested theory so far.
The upper is a simple, yet interesting layer combination of materials. The exterior has a meshy pattern allowing a fair amount of stretch in every direction- but only to a point. This mesh firms up once the slack is taken up making it fairly good support even laterally. The inner layer is a much finer weave that has even less pull. The combination provides for a surprising level of support without restriction.
The lower layer on the outside of the upper is a denser formed material with some level of dirt repelling, which might keep fine grit and sand from seeping into the footbed keeping you comfortable longer in dusty conditions. The stitching is a “Z” pattern between the materials and does not protrude at all, so no catches on shrubs and weeds along the trail. Quite nice.
This stitching methodology is also evident on the inside of the upper- with virtually no rub at all, which makes this a candidate for sockless runners. The style and function of the Flow Trail 3’s upper is excellent and I look forward to cranking a few hundred more miles on these babies to see how they hold up.
One thing that was sort of a surprise was that the inside of the Flow 3 Trail bled a blueish color onto my socks for the first few runs. I started the trial with a new pair of Injinji Lightweight No Show socks in gray. They are still discolored after several washings. The second pair I used was the Balega Hyper Thin sock in white- which even after a few runs the shoe still bled on them a bit. No big deal for me, but for some of you more fashion oriented folks, it could cramp your style.
The heel integrates yet one more layer on the inside, a softer padded style mesh tightly woven and wickable for pulling moisture away from the sock.
Again, I will mention the bumps on either side of the achilles. Haven’t noticed these while running, but I do have a pronounced heel. I worry about the rubbing, but so far so good. Otherwise, the heel has a very basic collar straight up no pillows or tightness at all, that I like.
The toe box is relatively low cut and symmetrical, including reinforced material right where it could bump or snag something along the trail- offering some extra protection. The toe box is a bit straight and narrow. I find it very similar as the Saucony Peregrine 2 feel, only not as restricting- the mesh materials on The Karhu Flow 3 Trail are much better ventilated.
The Tongue is constructed from the same materials inside as the lining in the heel. On top, it sports the same wider mesh as the upper- only in yellow here. This is a classic tongue, mounted below the lacing system at the toe box and free to roam with the exception of a well placed eyelet 3 lace sets up. It stays in place and it is quite comfortable. No snags here.
The lacing is a straight pattern of six on each side, with a seventh set back a tad into the heel collar area for those who like to bind them up tight. The eyelets are cut through the upper material, which is reinforced from behind with a strip of rugged poly-ish material. Each eyelet is stitched for added reinforcement. The laces provided are oval nylon variety, black in color which matches the shoe, of course.
Usage So Far:
Have had a fair chance to put the shoe through it’s paces- at least the way I tend to train. Number one for me is a good ride on a variety of crushed gravel. On the gravel roads I predominantly train, the size of the stones vary significantly size-wise from peas to ping pong balls and in all shapes imaginable. I should point out, I am in Idaho where all the gravel is crushed rock, so pointy edges galore. I grew up in New England where the gravel is natural glacial deposits and simply sifted by stone size, smooth stones for the most part- big difference. So here in Idaho, many outsoles grab chunks of rock, and when you transition back to pavement it’s like wearing a mutant tap shoe- the Karhu Flow 3 Trail sole is awesome- no chunks, grit, sand, nothing- smooth and enjoyable.
Regular trails of dirt have been a breeze too- good response, good grip, cool and smooth to run in at any pace. Handling regular roots and stones in this environment is no problem at all. In more challenging, loose shaky stone they perform as expected. No shoe makes this easy, but I never felt that the shoe impaired my ability to navigate the trail.
I also love to get cruising on good ol’ fashioned grass- be it an athletic field or in my case, open meadows with a variation in pitch and roll- all good with the Karhu Flow 3 Trail.
On the road, this shoe transitions to pavement and concrete very well. I mentioned that there is never any crap stuck in the soles, which is most important because I hate stopping to clean out my shoes to avoid the annoying clicking you get when debris is in the outsole. Beyond that, the shoe cruises nicely in all conditions I’ve expereinced.
Even after a few miles on the track, I wouldn’t consider this shoe my top choice for interval work, but I wouldn’t be afraid to us the shoe either. I happened to be doing some trail work, poached some golf course, got chased off and wound up on a local track to finish up, no problem outrunning the golf cart ;-).
UPDATE: Took a Sunday long run in the Karhu Flow 3 Trail, mostly gravel roads, some pasture edges and such too- just over 18 miles and felt great on the feet, even in the heat.
I really like the shoe. As mentioned, I train on gravel a lot and it is a good solid performer for this need. I also try to get on grass in a local arboretum with lots of strange angles and steep terrain (near the golf course). On regular trails, including the standard rocks, roots, loose and packed dirt it was a flawless shoe. On anything like loose rock, large rock slabs, or more technical terrain it was more than ok. I have to say I like the Merrel Ascend Glove on the rockier terrain as it sits closer to the ground. However, the Merrell is a zero drop with far less midsole material for protection so it isn’t really a direct comparison as the Karhu has about a 6mm offset from heel to toe and 23mm of midsole too. I love the switch up between these two shoes for most of my runs on appropriate surfaces.
Overall the Karhu Flow 3 Trail is a genuine and solid running shoe. I like the no frills, high quality build. I feel like I can attack almost anything with these- even roads feel nice. I do hope to get a crack at the Flow 3 trainer or even the Flow Light in the near future- maybe both. Don’t overlook Karhu because you haven’t heard much about them. These are very well designed running shoes. I’m proud to support Karhu as they have always been very committed to producing great products for serious athletes. Karhu has been around since 1916 (Karhu History) and is no slouch when it comes to quality athletic footwear. Finland is a country where the running tradition is very long, strong and impressive.
The shoe weighs in at 11.1 oz on my kitchen scale in size 13. Yes, I do have some bigger hooves for sure, my weight is in the 160lb range, so I’m light on my feet for my 6’4” frame…
Description from Karhu:
Rugged enough for the toughest single track trails, yet accommodating to road surfaces, the Flow Trail features a counter-directional T-lug design equally adaptable to both uphill and downhill running. The lower profile maximizes the feel of the terrain without compromising the Fulcrum Technology’s ability to increase propulsion. A durable waterproof mud guard protects the runner’s feet from harsh wilderness elements including creek crossings, rocks and roots while the faster transition through the gait-cycle makes it easier to flee from angry moose.
- Anatomically sculpted air mesh for maximum ventilation combined with a highly abrasive and water resistant side vamp wall.
- Gusseted tongue is anatomically mapped around the instep and features a soft touch logo top.
- Welded eyelets and reinforced forefoot weld.
- EVA padded lasting board.
- Dual-pronged memory foam heel collar.
- Moisture wicking collar liner.
- Lightweight, breathable and with strong mid foot support and protection from the trail elements while still allowing evaporation.
- Keeps dirt out and ensures the laces form correctly over the foot.
- Lightweight and durable ensuring a proper fit by resisting up and down hill pressures .
- Locks heel comfortably in place.
- In-shoe moisture management.
- Precision engineered compression molded EVA midsole with tuned durometer hardness.
- Directly placed EVA Fulcrum: 70 durometer.
- Compression molded EVA insole.
- Expanded zones of compression rubber in counter grip pattern with center deflection channel.
- Lateral fulcrum reflectivity.
- Provides ultimate forward efficiency.
- Propels runners transition onto their forefoot and into toe off efficiently, reducing breaking forces and heel drop in the landing phase.
- Arch support, moisture management step-in feel.
- Lightweight, proper up hill and down hill grip for back country conditions.
- Essential visibility against angry Moose.
- 9.0 oz (255 g)
- Fulcrum Technology
- Air mesh and ballistic synthetic
- Textured synthetic wicking and ventilating liner
- 56 durometer EVA
- 70 durometer EVA
- Compression molded high abrasion rubber, counter grip molded.
June 15th, 2013 - 3:58 am - written by: vitarunner
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“If I planned on backing off every time running got difficult I would hang up my shoes and take up knitting.”
June 10th, 2013 - 11:11 am - written by: vitarunner
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Outdoor NCAA Championships in full swing!
Check out the killer coverage form Flotrack and Oregon Live:
June 5th, 2013 - 9:19 am - written by: vitarunner
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Portland, Oregon - A broad coalition of Portlanders have resoundingly rejected adding fluoridation chemicals to the city’s water supply. By a 61% to 39% margin, Portland voters agreed with the positon of most western nations that there are safer, more effective, and less intrusive ways to promote oral health than adding a chemical linked to thyroid disease, IQ loss, and other ailments to the water supply.
June 4th, 2013 - 7:17 am - written by: vitarunner
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“Every passion has its destiny”
June 3rd, 2013 - 8:08 am - written by: vitarunner
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“A runner must run with dreams in his heart.”
June 1st, 2013 - 7:11 am - written by: vitarunner
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The live webcast of “DISTANCE NIGHT IN EUGENE” will begin Friday night at 7pm PT on PreClassic.com and showcase all of the running events (19:26 Men 1500m (National) - 19:34 Women 800m (National) - 19:41 Men International Mile - 19:50 Men 10,000m). The webcast will be hosted by Paul Swangard and Tim Hutchings and will have many guests dropping by throughout the webcast.
May 31st, 2013 - 7:37 am - written by: vitarunner
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