The Minimus shoes are remarkably lighter than the already light H Streets.
Exercise, Journal, Running

New Balance Minimus HI-REZ Shoes

For the past several years, my running shoes of choice have been the Puma H Streets. These are a favorite of the POSE running crowd, although they were never meant to be used as running shoes. Today, they are harder to find in my size (women’s size 10, since I can’t seem to find the men’s version anymore). So, when I finally decided that the holes in the shoes were getting too big (check out the photo below), I started looking for a new pair and brand of running shoes.

Felix was telling me that a few of his friends were using New Balance Minimus shoes, so I went over the NB site to check them out. The Minimus is actually a series of lightweight, minimalist running shoes, and the one that struck my eye was the Minimus HI-REZ. The specs show it to be lighter than the H Streets, 3.7 ounces versus 5.8 ounces. Judging solely from the photos, I liked the thicker sole in the front; one drawback on the H Streets was that the bottoms wore out so quickly. I tend to strike the ground on the outside front part of my foot, and that’s where all the holes formed.

The shoe is not inexpensive at nearly $100/pair. While the HI-REZ in black looks better, the green was cheaper. Found a $10/off coupon on the Internet and a few days later, they were in my hands. At first glance, the shoes were as light as advertised, and I can see where New Balance was able to shave the ounces from the shoes. The tread does not cover the entire bottom of the shoe. Rather, there was little hexagonal EVA pieces glued onto the bottom. The shoe seems to be constructed out of one piece of fabric and wraps around your foot almost like a slipper.

I went for my first run this morning in the shoes, and I could easily feel the weight difference. This was surprising to me since the H Streets already felt like I was running barefoot (and with those holes in the soles, that’s not too far from the truth!). I went at a moderate pace and was pleased to see that I finished my typical 3.1 mile around the block at an 8:07 pace with a fast mile of 7:57.

As far as wear goes, it’s too soon to tell, but I did notice the outer part of the sole was already starting to wear. The little rubber nubs under each foam piece were almost flat on that part of the sole. This happened to me with the Puma’s as well, so I’m not too worried yet. I’ll keep monitoring it to see how quickly the foam pads go from full height to zero.

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Exercise, Journal

Half-Marathon – San Tomas Acquino Creek Trail

I completed my third half-marathon this morning, running along the San Tomas Acquino Creek Trail near my house in Santa Clara. The first time I ran this far was way back in ninth grade, when I was fourteen years old! I was pretty fast (and light) then, averaging each mile in about 7:51 for a total time of 1:43:00. I didn’t run another half until a few years ago, when Rae and I did our own self-supported run to Cupertino Village and back.

I did today’s by myself, starting out at 9:00 am and returning two hours later. We only recently found out about the San Tomas Acquino Creek Trail, even though we’ve lived in Santa Clara for four years now. It’s great in that you can do most of the trail without ever having to stop at a crosswalk or light. I ran all the way to the old 3Com/Palm headquarters (now it’s the Atheros corporate offices). The first part of the run was much quicker than the return trip, as I was slowed by blisters on my forefeet. I guess I haven’t run long enough to develop callouses on that part of my feet yet. Every step back was somewhat painful, but I managed to truck back home. Fortunately, the return trip always seems shorter (to me at least) than the initial leg.

There were a number of people on the trail today, from walkers to runners to bicyclists. I passed by the parking lot where the San Francisco 49ers and the City of Santa Clara want to build the new 49ers Stadium. I can easily see the trail being used by Santa Clarans to get to gameday. I’m still torn whether to vote yes or no on Measure J. Part of me is still not convinced that the stadium deal works out financially for the city. For instance, there really not much parking around the proposed stadium, unless the Silicon Valley tech companies are going to open up their parking lots of Sundays. I can see traffic being a killer because of this. Second, there’s not much to do or see around the Great America area without driving. With AT&T Park and the Shark Tank, there’s ample shops and restaurants within walking distance in San Francisco and San Jose respectively. I can see people driving to attend after-game parties and events outside of Santa Clara; that doesn’t really help the city then, does it?

If you judge the stadium vote based on the number of Yes on Measure J versus No on Measure J signs around town, you’d think that Yes is going to win by a landslide. They definitely have the money and the backing of the 49ers and City behind them. Still, there’s a part of me that leaning towards voting no come June. What are your thoughts on bringing the 49ers to Santa Clara?

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Exercise, Journal, Running

Running in Fort Collins with Felix

Running with the Fort Collins Running Club

Following the completion of my work with Jared, I drove up with Rae to Fort Collins to meet up with our friend Felix Wong. He’s been living in Fort Collins for the past three years. After resting from the long drive (about an hour from Boulder), we headed out to the Old Town to eat some Ethiopian food. Felix told us about a race that he participates in with the Fort Collins Running Club called the Tortoise and Hare. With our great dinner, we hoped to have the speed of those great Ethiopian runners!

The race was a 5 mile (4.78, according to one runner’s GPS) out and back course in Edora Park. Rae and I were going to take it easy on the run and told Nick the organizer that we would be running a 10 minute mile. The race was neat in that it featured a staggered start. The slow people (tortoises) would go first, followed by the fast ones (hares).

I felt pretty good as we were running, so at the halfway point, I told Rae that I was going to go ahead. I increased my pace and felt for the first time what it was like to lead a race. Of course, my finishing time was slower than many others, but because of the staggered start, I completed the course first! My overall time was 40:51. Rae’s finishing time was around 45:41; if she ran the same pace for both the beginning and end, she ran roughly a 9:35 mile. By my calculations, then, I was running roughly a 7:35 pace on the way back! I don’t think that I could have kept up that pace for the entire 5 miles, but I’m still proud of my performance!

Click on the link below to see the photos!

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