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Racereport: Långholmen SwimRun 2021

Finally, a long course race again at the Långholmen SwimRun. Last year’s occasion saw a several start-groups outing on the Sprint course. But after a year’s interruption, the long course was back with a little reformed course across Stockholm’s Inner City. With the newly build Slussen bridge and the strong currents at the Gamla Stan Swim section, the course was slightly longer then the years before. e. But after a years break, the long course was back with a little altered course across the inner city.
This year I had the pleasure to race with Kristoffer Sjöberg. A friend who has quite an impressive CV when it comes to ultra and trail running. He made sure we didn’t slow down too much on the runs.
SwimRun undoubtedly has its benefits. Leaving and entering the waters around Stockholm on a sunny day is quite challenging in many ways.  
The race organizers made a great job shaping such a competition. Typically, SwimRun races follow trail outside the city, this race is diverse. The broad variety of running and swimming segments make this race a real treat. I love the low-key approach and Stockholm is the perfect playground for this sport.
Free pizza and ice-cream for everyone at the finish line is quite something. It even tastes better when you cross the line in first place. Although I wasn’t on top of my running game, we managed to sneak the win just well under 3 hours. A super fun day out with Kristoffer on such an wonderful day in a buzzing town. Until next year.  

All pictures by Henrik Kindgren for Långholmen SwimRun

Tune of the day: Skyzoo – All The Brilliant Things (Album)

shoeporn: Salomon – Index.01

The mix of diverse resources that are used to produce a shoe, often makes it problematic or even impossible to reprocess. The awareness of burning shoes after they have been used was one of the driving forces in Salomon’s footwear development squad when they set out to form a running shoe for the roads that could later be recycled and used for other goods. The first design concepts of the Index.01 looked simple, unique and promising. Finally, it was time to release the end product.
The generous wedge of sole material is a nitrogen-infused, TPU-based foam named INFINIRIDE. The bottom unit of the Index.01 can be milled into small fragments and recycled as soon as the shoe has reached the end of its lifecycle. The sole is comfortable, not too soft and with the rocker geometry does a great job to improve a comfortable stride and swift toe-off.
Setting a mark – generating a full recycle loop entails some more actions. For example, the most environmentally friendly homecoming of the castoff product. With the presentation of the Index.01, Salomon also announces a reappearance strategy were users must register under Salomon.com. They obtain a shipping label that enable to send the shoes to a nearby collection center – free of charge. To diminish transport volume, the shoes will be collected there and shipped in bulks back to France for Salomon to use in future products.
The upper of the shoe is thin, breathable and comfortable. Comfort is a big thing with this shoe as there is basically nothing to complain about. No rubbing or pinching wherever at the heel or toe section. Salomon chose the use of recycled polyester, which in case of this shoe, originates from old plastic bottles. The plastic flasks are undone into polyester fibers, which prevents the bottles from landing on landfill or being incinerated.
The Index.01 is the first creation out of the promising and exiting Play Minded Program. Salomon aims to take the full life circle of their product and tries to keep the impact on the environment as low as possible. It will be exited to see what’s next.
A comprehensive look at the back part of the shoe highlighting the unusual designed silhouette of the gigantic white TPU sole.
A meek but very substantial detail that this shoe has to offer is the plain performance. Overall, this is a no-nonsense shoe. The stride feels natural and there is no unusual stress to the body of any kind. It is a fantastic and reliable training shoe and the curved sole drives a good bit of speed into the stride without stressing too much.
To guarantee a proper all-around recycling circle, simplicity is key. Primarily the Salomon engineers were targeting to use just only one material to reach their prime goal. Previous prototypes I had seen used only one material – thermoplastic polyurethane foam (TPU). Still this concept wasn’t strong enough, so a second material had to be added and the upper is now made from recycled polyester as described earlier.
Like the midsole, the outsole is also made of the same TPU material. This is unlike many other brands that use rubber material for this part of the shoe. The durability of the Index.01 is not affected by this. Also because the heavy used parts of the sole are build extra rigid. Minor studs shape the design of the sole and the grip on road runs is faultless and I liked it a lot. Smooth and simple design is also put into the place at this part of the shoe.
The design is simple and smooth and mirrors the approach Salomon has with this line. The white colorway will eventually be obliterated by where the user takes this shoe.
In a quite a short time, I have become a vast admirer of this shoe. For me the Index.01 offers everything I enjoy in a day-to-day training shoe. Notwithstanding the weight, the shoe is fun to run in and quicker stuff is not a real problem. Would I race with it? Doubtless not. But everything in between is fine. The entire idea that is being the shoe ticks all my boxes and I love that Salomon takes this on so offensively and well thought out. Some companies have tried to tackle the environmental matters but no one in the way Salomon has. To me, the concept completely makes sense and I’m really looking forward seeing what else is next. Until then, I just go out for another loop in my Index.01.  

Movie of the day: Tony Martin – Qualen, Lehren, Perspektiven

Tune of the day: Anchorsong – Remedy

shoeporn: Puma – Deviate Nitro

Undoubtedly Puma is no stranger to the running game. One of their prime athltes was Ethiopian Abebe Bikila who won the marathon of the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo wearing a pair of Puma running shoes. Defending his title from Rome 1960, which he won without wearing any shoes. Having had a massive impact on the worldwide T&F scene with the likes of Linford Christie and legendary Wilson Kipketer, the company further increased their fanbase with the early signing of superstar Usain Bolt. When Puma signed Bolt in 2003, he was only 16 years old, but this deal certainly paid off.
Although being a recognized brand within the sprint scene, the company seemed to have forgotten its roots that, besides football, lies within running. In the beginning of 2021 a lot of professional runners switched sponsors and Puma appeared behind the name of a lot of recognized distance runners. With the Nitro range the company seem to hit the scene with new and promising products.
The Deviate range symbols Pumas homecoming to the serious performance side of running. The very first prototypes made a lot of noise within the scene and Puma marked their return to the market with their interpretation of a carbon-fiber plate road running shoe.
In 1924 Rudolf and his brother Adolf “Adi” Dassler formed the so called “Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory”. When they split in 1948, Adi went on to develop his own brand named Adidas and Rudolf established a new company called Ruda. Ultimately he changed the companies name into Puma and introduced the well-known symbol and the characteristic “Formstrip” in 1958. Until today both companies are situated in the small Franconian town Herzogenaurach in Bavaria, Germany.
Puma offers two high-end models. The Deviate Nitro that’s studied here and the Deviate Elite as the absolute top range model. The crucial alteration between these two shoes is the foam material. Back in the days, way before the carbon excitement, companies used EVA material as the attention was more on cushion then on rebound. Then the carbon-bouncy propaganda took over and nothing has been the same since.
The so-called Pebax material is the new reference class for springy shoes. Every company does use somewhat comparable. So does Puma for the Elite Version. The Nitro instead has a TPE sole. The presentation of this sole paired with the carbon plate is incredible. The structure and the placement of the foam generates a tremendously comfortable and lively piece of equipment. The Deviate Nitro is well-cushioned and the toe-off is speedy and energetic as you stride forward.
A very nice feature of the Deviate line is that there are specific models for women offered. These versions have slimmer heel sections, lower instep, and a carved arch for a specific fit. A feature that should be a standard by now.
A feature that made the shoe very comfortable for me, was this little feature in the back of the heel section. These pads are meant to lock the foot in the shoe and avoid slipping. Typically I tie my shoes very loose and this really made a difference to me, especially when running a bit faster.
The natural environment for this shoe is the road. And that’s what the so-called PumaGrip does best. A solid and sturdy rubber provides great traction on non-technical environment. I used this shoes also on lighter and dry trails and had no problems.
Despite the tendency of other running brands to use other expert rubber companies for the outsole material, Puma decided to create their own. The result is a good mix of rubbers that create a great and solid feeling for the ground and a material that appears to last well. I have about 400 kilometers on my pairs and it is astonishing how less wear this shoe has.
While I was training with the Deviate Nitro the last few weeks, some of my training buddies got curious and one of the most asked questions was if this shoe is a racing or training shoe. Until now, I do not really have an appropriate response to this question. The shoe is light, the shoe is speedy, direct on the ground it feels yet very comfortable. Would I race with it? I probably would. Until now I ran the Deviate Nitro during several trainings, from commute runs, long runs to track work and fartleks. I keep loving the shoe for it reliability during all these occasions. Pumas return to proper running shoes suprised me and it will be interesting to see where the brand goes from here.

Tune of the day: Brockhampton – Roadrunner: New Light, New Machine

On point with Travis Hawkins

At the present time it is just an occasional sign – Folks with a start number pinned on their vest. Joe DiNoto of infamous New York Underground running powerhouse Orchard Street Runners is a man that makes things happen. One of his most prominent races, the OSR30, an unauthorized 30 miles contest round Manhattan was one of many race annulments in the mist of the Covid-19 epidemic. Last weekend saw yet another turnout of this raw and self-navigating competition. Even with basic knowledge of the New York running scene, a look at the start list made clear that the stakes for a thrilling showdown were high.

And race day delivered. With favorites David Kilgore and Alex Burks surging away early on, it seemed clear who was battling for victory. But then again after missing a checkpoint, the lead changed, and it was Travis Hawkins who crossed the line in first place. His 3:17:44 for 51,90 kilometer (Strava) was not the fastest time of the day, but he was the fastest runner to reach all the necessary checkpoints along the course.

The father of two (Rafaela 7 & Mathilda 3) and Brooklyn resident is definitely no stranger to this competition. He won it on two occasions, but this time his stakes were unquestionably the lowest. Travis grew up in Leonia, New Jersey which is exactly 1,5 miles from the George Washington Bridge a checkpoint in the OSR30. Travis has a 08:51:10 Ironman PB (Challenge Roth 2019) to his name and owns a personal training and endurance coaching business. I caught up with him in the aftermath of last weekend’s win.

Runssel: Congrats to your three peat at this year’s OSR30. How does this victory weight in in comparison to your first two successful excursions around Manhattan?

Travis: Thanks so much. All my three OSR30 races are all pretty unique. In 2018 I was 100% confident that I was going to win. When Erik Reitinger put a gap on me 10 miles in that I couldn’t seem to close I was kind of devastated.  I was as shocked as he was when I passed him by taking the Brooklyn Bridge instead of the Manhattan, for the win. In 2019 and 2021 I had no reason to think I could beat David Kilgore, or Alex Burks. I do know that these races are about so much more than speed. I have a ton of experience navigating around the city. I am comfortable in traffic. I ride my bike through it all day. This years victory was the biggest shock of all though. After the year we’ve all had and the level of competition on the day, it was definitely the most rewarding.

Runssel: As we all know, Covid-19 knowingly slowed down the racing the last couple of months. How did you keep up the motivation and when did you fully commit to another OSR30?

Travis: In late February of 2020 I tore a calf muscle, training for the OSR30. The race was cancelled etc… I moved my entire business to Zoom in one day.  I had no confidence in coaching my clients via video chat, so I did every workout with them as they did it for the first few weeks. This meant essentially doing 8-12 hours of resistance training with bands each day.  I was back running in less than a month and was able to slowly build to more volume than I have ever even considered.

Without a race on the calendar, I was really able to be patient with strength training, yoga and Physical Therapy, slowly accumulating tons of fitness.  To answer your question though, I didn’t have a goal in mind.  I was just running because I didn’t know what else to do.  Balancing school from home with my 2 kids, my wife is studying to be a nurse and I’m on my computer coaching clients from an office all day.  I can usually carve out 60-90 minutes to go run and clear my head, so I do. Without it, I don’t know how I would have survived the year.  Joe DiNoto sent me a text in early February, asking if I would be interested in running the 30 sometime towards the end of March.  I said yes but wasn’t really sure if I was going to want to put in the speed work required. It turned out I had accumulated a lot more fitness than I thought.

Runssel: This year’s OSR30 start list was perhaps the best it’s ever been. What battle scenario did you assume and how did you plan for it?

Travis: It was definitely the strongest field!  I knew there were going to be at least 2 guys capable of running way faster than me (It turned out that I was right). I also knew that I had the fitness to put together my strongest race. My strategy was to run my strongest race and hope that they pushed each other beyond their limits or got lost trying.  I suppose it worked. I definitely ran my strongest race. 

Runssel: Do you have any key workouts leading up to a race like this? How do you approach training towards such a race?

Travis: I am a strong believer in running hard on long days for races like this.  I can usually accumulate a decent amount of weekly miles with a bunch of light runs, but there is always a hard long run and a harder short run.  I do most of my running in similar conditions around Brooklyn, so I suppose that helps too.  There’s typically a ton of concrete in these races which I think tends to do more damage than people realize.  If you’re doing all your training on blacktop, it’s not great preparation for a race that’s on a lot of walkways and paths made of concrete and slate. 

Runssel: Knowing the city is a huge advantage. How do you prepare the navigational part of the OSR30?

Travis: I know the city intimately. I ride my bike around all day from client to client.  I like to make a game of finding the fastest routes. Riding and running in traffic are fun and adds a level of adventure to training and commuting.  Finding the shortest route for OSR races and practicing them on my bike has been part of the fun since the first midnight half I did in 2016. 

Runssel: Another indefinite year of racing is ahead. Do you have any goals planned out?

Travis: I don’t have any goals this year. I’d love to get lost in the woods at some point- in a race or on a long adventure run.  I’d also like to get on my bike for a race since I haven’t done that since 2019. Who knows? 

Runssel: Will there be a OSR30 four peat next year?

Travis: The target on my back keeps getting bigger. I don’t think it would be fair to take it down prematurely.  

shoeporn: Adidas – UltraBOOST 21

Herzogenaurach’s three stripes company just released the state-of-the-art renovation of their popular UltraBOOST series. There is possibly no shoe in the assortment that feature so much of adidas’ soft and springy Boost material then this one. In addition to the iconic three lines, the material has been a trademark for adidas running shoes since its very first release in 2013. I had the chance to test one of the first pairs, the Adizero Adios Boost, back then. Check the Post if you are interested.

With the UltraBOOST series adidas has been surfing amid the so called “lifestyle” and “performance” segment. There are no two opinions about the look, that is for sure. Nonetheless we will concentrate on the performance part of things in this post.
As mentioned earlier on, the boost material is a trademarked polymer exclusively used by adidas. Basically, it is a lot of small balls which are compressed and molded to protect the foot from the ground and it delivers a certain boost while toeing off during the running movement. The small balls contain of patented thermoplastic urethane. Adidas cooperated with the German chemical powerhouse BASF (Hello Steffen 😉) to create this material.
Adidas did not hold back with the usage of the boost material. Particularly at the back end of the shoe. At first the Boost material was only known within the running scene, but when a certain Kanye Omari West was seen wearing a pair of UltraBOOST “Triple White” in 2015, the shoes went mainstream and not only boosted running strides but also sales.
The three stripes are an iconic characteristic that defines Adidas. At first the brand added the stripes to its running shoes to make them sturdier. One of the initial T&F athletes to use the shoes with the stripes was legendary Jesse Owens in the 1936 Summer Olympics. By now, the stripes on the clover symbol represent Adidas focus on variety. Finnish brand Karhu and Adidas used to share the three stripes but Adi Dassler bought the rights in 1952.
Comfort undoubtedly is a key feature with this shoe. The upper feels super pleasant and comfortable. The pattern on the side of the shoe make sure that enough stability is provided. I like the sock-like design and the wide flexible fit around the forefoot. The Ultraboost 21 upper is made from flexible Primeknit material and is only 1.9mm thick. Compared to a traditional upper, this really feels like a sock.
The last 7 years, the Boost material was a stable when it comes to cushioning. Several models have proofed this. Notwithstanding the age, the material is still good and certainly does the trick when it comes to the padding part. The energy return was lacking in previous models and adidas successfully changed this with this model and the newly developed LEP Torsion System. The Torsion system is something that can been seen in older models but adidas changed it quite a bit and added the flexible TPU fork to increase the toe off.
A new standard is the Continental rubber that is used on the outsole of the shoe. Its durable and grips pretty well.
Two german tradional companies unite. Continental was founded in 1871 as a rubber producer and still is strong in this segment producing all kinds of tires and car equipment.
It is no top-secret that the Ultraboost 21 is not the lightest shoe. With a weight of nearly 380 grams in my US13 model it is weighty for its standard. Nevertheless, it doesn’t feel super heavy or unsmooth while running. The feeling was normal and I never felt I have to invest more energy then I essentially got out of the shoe. According to adidas, the Boost foam in this shoe is now firmer. This should result 20% more responsiveness.
A close up shot highlighting the Primeknit upper that is made of yarn from recycled plastic bottles.
It looks like the heel is one gigantic portion of Boost foam with one major drop. With 10mm, it is not that huge at the end. The heel foam is wrinkled around the cup of the heel and produces a setup that allows the foot to sit securely inside the midsole. This is a major change to the previous version, the Ultraboost ST.
To me the Ultraboost 21 is a daily milage grinder. I really treasure the fit and the padding it offers. I use this shoe on a daily basis to get the base miles in the tank. I like the fit the reliability of the boost material that certainly doesn’t disappoint. With the arrival of the Lightstrike and Lightstrike Pro material it will be exitng to see what the future holds for this modell range. Boost is the heaviest of the current three Adidas performance foams and it will be interesting to see how the brand develops or include these materials further.

Tune of the day: Fred The Godson – Garcias
YouTube of the day: Kengo Suzuki’s 2:04:56 National Record to Win Final Lake Biwa Mainichi
Pod of the day: Tommy Hughes joins the Spring Snyggt Podcast (Start at 53 Minutes)

shoeporn: Hoka One One – Challenger ATR 6 GTX

Just fresh from the shelves comes an update to yet another Hoka classic – the Challenger ATR in the 6th version with a lovely Gore-Tex top-up. To me, the Challenger has been a go-to shoe, particularly throughout the spring and winter period. Changeable weather conditions enquire some multipurpose capacities. This model is a characteristic “door to trail” shoe and I have been using the prior three versions in the past couple of seasons.
The most substantial difference with this model is the Gore-Tex upper. Gore-Tex is a waterproof, yet breathable material that can resist water even though it is able to let water vapor through. This will allow you to keep your feet nice and dry from the outside. Especially in the wet season this makes the difference. Different shoemakers are using Gore-Tex material but, in the past, I had some bad experience. Although you still want the water to stay external, you want a shoe to be breathable. After several tough and wetly off-road kilometers I can attest the Challenger a damn well use of the material. It is not too thick and consequently permits some sort of air circulation.
The design of the outsole remains the same. From what I could find out after about 250 kilometer in the ATR 6, the performance and robustness is the same as it was in the preceding versions. As detailed earlier on, the sole performs on a wide vary of undergrounds but is not a specialist at one. If you expect a companion for technical trails, then this shoe should not be your choice. Although the ATR performs great on trail you will feel the lack of an aggressive outsole design, the more technical and demanding the terrain gets.
The Gore-Tex version of the new Challenger ATR comes in a stylish black, yellow and red colorway. If you want to get your hands on the Gore-Text type then this is the only choice you have, at least in the male variety. There is also a really nice all black version of the ATR 6 around, but then again deprived of the distinct shield that Gore-Tex provides.
Smooth operator – commonly I break in a pair of Challengers as soon as the weather turns bad and unpredictable. This shoe is game for whatsoever is coming along thru the worser part of the year, at least when you are based somewhere in the northern hemisphere. I also like that it is not exceedingly soft and offers a nice spring paired with a proper cushion.
The development of the material that is now known as Gore-Tex was a happy accident, born partly of frustration by Bob Gore in 1969 and has since been used in several outdoor garments such a shoes, jackets and trousers.
Some raw details: Heel height comes in with 31 mm and the forefoot is 26 mm high. This creates a 5 mm Heel-Toe Offset.
The focus of this update was to provide a smoother feel and a softer, more comfortable upper. Hoka One One also modified the rocker’s design for an enhanced heel-toe transition within the 6th version of this shoe.
The Stinson is Hoka One One’s max cushioned trail shoe, I would put the Challenger one step beneath this model. Personally, I like the volume of provided underfoot padding as this shoe, to me, is a daily trainer and mileage eater. Therefore, I think this is the right amount of cushioning without taking the ground feeling, especially off road, away.
Inside look – While on the road, the midsole sends some nice return that pretty much surprised me. I strike with the middle and forefoot and this part of the shoe is well and proficiently designed to be reactive.
Having experienced the earlier models of the Challenger ATR, there is no major update when it comes to feel and ride. The biggest change in the sixth version is the more flexible upper material made from secondhand yarn. It feels more stable and comfortable then the previous version. Also, the lacing has been restructured and adds to the steady approach of this shoe. The Challenger ATR 6 endures to build its legacy as an exceptional versatile training partner.

Tune of the day: DJ Stylewarz – 2360 feat Toni L + Esa X Four Tet – Parallel

YouTube of the day: Mount Fuji Women’s Ekiden 2020

SHOEPORN: HOKA ONE ONE – CLIFTON EDGE

The newest update to Hoka One One’s prominent Clifton Line is undoubtedly one that will (again) raise some eyebrows. If you thought Hoka saves that enormous heal portion exclusive to its Trail running sector, think again. The Clifton Edge give the impression of a lesser street-brother of the attention seeking off-road downhill monster Ten Nine. 

With the Clifton Edge the company remains to push its pioneering boundaries. After the trails, Hoka now takes on the roads with its cutting-edge resole geometry. A development history the company is known for.
The core of a suitable running shoe is undoubtedly the sole. At least for me, and at least for Hoka as the originators of colossal foam usage. The engineers use a new style of more buoyant foam and shape it to a distinguishing outsole. A space-age but supportive base. 

Hoka One One pushes its lightweight road shoe unit even more with this trifling new adding that comes with more less the same heft as the preceding Clifton 6.
The Edge’s climax is the heel – no doubt about that. A few months back Hoka throw down the downhill trail shoe Ten Nine and triggered noise on message boards and social media. The massive heal is meant for a smoother downhill ride and, in the case of this specific shoe, to aid heal strikers on the road. 

As a non-heel striker, a circumstance that I cannot really access. However I used The Edge during some hill repeats and the big surprise to me was not the energetic uphill ride (which I’m describing later..) it was the super relaxed downhill jogging that pleased my beaten up limbs.
A solid base is everything. With its early-stage Meta-Rocker structure the shoe provides precisely for this. The sole building is wide and massive compared to other shoes. It feels steady, yet not boring and ungainly. The extensive base feels naturally reliable, hinders any side-to-side movement through the entire heel-to-toe transition. The snap and sense while toeing off generates a receptive ride that the Clifton series is known for. With the up-to-date adding to the Clifton family Hoka accomplished to apprise that feeling evidently.
A hi-tech designed heel neck stops the shoe from putting burden on the Achilles tendons. Notwithstanding the super easy access (“Hello Triathlon!”) it creates a very relaxed overall sensation in a region of the shoe that, in the past, caused me some difficulties. Until now, this creation works perfect for me and it also, theoretically, makes sense.
While talking about this shoe, a key feature that has to be stated is the tongue and the comfortable overall sense. A thin and casually padded tongue snugs around the foot courteously and glove-like. Two inner adaptable straps on the side hold the whole thing together and generate a very smooth feeling. On top of that Hoka engineers came up with a thin mesh upper that is super breathable and robust. It certainly is fun to wear this shoe.
A shape to stand out. Well, by any means really.
An appropriate quantity of the newest Hoka-patented foam is built underneath this shoe. It feels a bit firmer than older Clifton models but this could be the reason why this shoe feels a bit snappier than other Clifton models. 

The midsole is engraved into an early stage Meta-Rocker shape which helps the runner to move the individual foot strike further forward in the shoe.
The rubberized EVA outsole adds to the lightweight tactic of the Edge. While running on the road and light trails, the construction felt safe and reliable.
A front view in the direction of the padded neckline that is built for more relief at the ankle section. 

Like seen before with the latest Nike Vaporfly models, Hoka added a slight but really clever feature to this model. Some stability lining on the heel generates a super safe and relaxed feeling while snug around the heel bone. I had no issues with rubbing or heel slippage and generally enjoyed this feature as an add-on for more comfort.
With a weight of 260 grams in US13, the Edge did not cut much weight off his older brother, the Clifton 6. It is still a light shoe for the amount of cushioning it has to offer.

The heel to toe drop comes in with 5.00mm.
It did not take me much time to get hooked on terms Hokas latest style – the Clifton Edge. It adds on where the preceding models stopped. A elegant, safe and lively ride that is reinforced by proper cushion. An agile training shoe, a mileage beater and a shoe that enjoys to move fast up hills and on roads. Not much more to ask for a everyday training mate. 

As always there are numerous feelings about the design. As long as Hoka shoe exists, there will be. But one thing is for sure, Hoka drives modernization and is not afraid to push limitations. The Clifton Edge just shows precisely this and sums it up with three characteristics printed on the insole of the shoe: light, soft and smooth!

Tune of the day: Special Request – No Other way To Say It X Four Tet – New Energy

Checked: Rezlo (Zeno Shorts & Theros Shirt)

Tune of the day: The Cinematic Orchestra – A Caged Bird/Imitations of Life (feat. Roots Manuva)

Shoeporn: Hoka One One – Evo Carbon Rocket

Hoka One One is not all about chunky, oversized shoes. A heck of a 1mm thick full length carbon plate and a, for Hoka Standards thin sole, make this one a proper racing shoes.
Front view – the slick neon colourway (officially called: Citrus / Cyan) gives it away, this lightweight performer is loud and quick.
The Evo Carbon Rocket weighs in with a mere of 218 grams. If you put the amount of cushion in account, this is a pretty rad competition weight just right there.
I quickly became a fan of the smooth and thin upper. Pretty good breathability and a snug fit. All of this with a pretty roomy toe box. Nothing to complain really.
A closer look at the upper and the tongue. Both parts of the shoe are pretty slim and feel very good. Minimal and durable as it should be with a shoe that needs to go fast.
Another detail shot – The clean back end with a height of 26mm that goes down to 25 mm at the forefoot.
Inside the ride – Please note the very comfortable and efficient 1.00mm hell to toe drop. I enjoyed this a lot going through the paces. It certainly helps to be a mid-foot or fore-foot striker.
What you see, the front of the shoe. What you can not see, a striking carbon fiber sole sandwich. Pretty Yummy…
A early prototype of this shoe was spotted while Cam Levins broke the Canadian marathon record in Toronto at the end of last year. Afterwards message boards went crazy and soon after his race Hoka One One released the Evo Carbon Rocket to the masses.
It is pretty obvious that the sole has the design of a rocking-chair. This creates a very springy toe-off while running.
Hoka continues to push the competitive running segment. Their models continue to surprise me in a positive way.
Bottomline – the outsole below the ProFly cushion material consists of yellow durable rubberized foam.
The obvious question is: Is the Evo Carbon Rocket comparable to the latest Nike 4% hype? In my opinion it not really is. The Evo Carbon Rocket is much stiffer and firmer which creates a completely different feeling. It sure has a great bounce but that does not match the sensation of the foam that is used within the latest 4% fleet. It will be interesting to see how the latest Hoka One One Carbon X compares.

Tune of the day: MJ Cole – Serotonin X Tuamie – Flamingo Pink X Fierce and Cause 4 Concern – Carrier

Now let me take a trip down memory lane – 1.2

Society inquired – Sometimes strangers (to my sheer surprise) and every now and then friends – Why is there no steady blog update any longer?

A well-meant request for information with a modest response: My MacBook broke. Our partnership finished abrupt and miserably. While being away the battery of my keying devise blow up and I never got around to get a new one. Whereas there are other (non-moveable) computers available in the household, I never got the enthusiasm to sit in front of a screen and type a report or any other training considerations. The simple peace of siting on the couch and philosophe about sports was gone and from this time my enthusiasm to transcribe and report. In the long run this means that I get to reflect on my season at once. A good thing for once as I think looking back creates a complete different view on what had happened.

A lot has happened and I will sum all the 2018 races up in two separate posts. Onto the first one it is…

Picture: Dennis Wernersson

01-2018: Premiärmilen, Stockholm
There were still snowflakes on the ground. Temperatures just snatched a little bit higher than zero but the first big 10k road race in the Swedish calendar was on the itinerary. The name pretty much says it all. Premiärmilen kick starts the outdoor racing season and a huge field lined up in my back garden, Djurgården. I felt in decent shape after regular indoor track workouts on the 200 meter oval in Bosön reimbursed little speed to the old legs. As I do most of my training runs around the park where the race took place I kinda knew the course. Not a fast one. Plenty of bends and hills make sure there is not much of a time trial going on. I felt good but the last steep hill at around 8k was too much for me on that day. I wanted to go under 38 minutes as training forecasted. I did not. At the end I was a mere of 40 seconds short.

Picture: Premiärmilen

02-2018: Utö Swimrun
It is weird. Swimrun season appears to come around so fast. Although perceiving the ice-covered Baltic sea a couple of weeks back, it seems so far away to swim in the open water. As soon as the first competitions are around the corner you wonder. So the Utö weekend came around fast. For me, this race is one of the best races around. During the last years I raced quite a bit across Europe but this one is always special to me. Historically the sport of Swimrun was born on this islet. You have heard the story somewhere around here. I will not bore you with more insights on Swimrun history. Plain simple, this course has everything that makes this sport so special to many. You have challenging and icy swims, you face technical and rolling trails, you climb, you need to have fast transitions and you have clean running. This course is fair. Perhaps the fairest course out there. The team that reaches at the finish line first is the best.

For this year’s competition I teamed up with my training buddy Karl. During the winter running was our main focus. We both prefer to swim in the open water. This meant that our swim performance was not at an all-time high. On the other hand the running form was decent and we had the goal to stick around the top 15 as long as possible. With this objective in mind we started offensively as this approach worked out at last year’s race (LINK). The first 2,5 hours went just as we expected it. We altered places between 10th to 14th place. We swam decent, we ran fast and transitions were good. But it wouldn’t be endurance sports if a certain portion of unpredictability and the resulting problem management would not be involved. The wheels started to fall off and we had to slow down. As a team is only as strong as its weakest link we pushed on and fought until the very end. Needless to say we didn’t make the top-15. We came in 29th place in 4:50:57, a mere of 47 minutes off the winners.

03-2018: 40th Stockholm Marathon
It is long ago that I ran a marathon. Moving to Stockholm, learning the (new and upgraded) route and finding out that this year’s version is the 40th, it was a no-brainer and the seed for plenty of inspiration and training motivation. I signed up for the competition with the clear goal to snatch under the magic 3 hours wall once more. There is something I really like about the Marathon Training circle. The simplicity of running is second to none. I’m not shy of repeating myself when it comes to this fact. So getting in the honest and lengthy miles, doing the rigid speed grind and staying healthy went well. Regular track sessions and long runs alone and with my cherished YO people created a running form that I did not had in a good while. The week before the marathon I set out on a last test run and it felt easy to jog 20k a good bit below my goal marathon pace. After I came back home with an 3:57 minutes per kilometer average on the clock I was convinced to reach my goal – Sub 3.

Picture: Kevin Tiu Hemphälä

Race-week was on and not only the tension was rising. Sudden heat stemmed an formed an wonderful but strangely hot and wind-less June day in Stockholm. I got changed at home and jogged the 500 meters to the startline nearby our apartment. Such a treat and something I have never experienced before. Being so close to the start of a major marathon is amazing. I grabbed a bottle of water and relaxed beside in the tiny bit of shadow that was available beside the start. The weather conditions should command the pace. I’m not too good in the heat. Particularly when running at Marathon pace. I tried to not tell me this too often and just think about pacing and nutrition. It all went well and I found my tempo fast.

Traveling around my new hometown was pure class. Swedes do value their sports. Stockholmers were out to applaud and it was a picture-perfect day for it. For cheering. I need to be precise. I hit the splits on target, adored the YO cheering zone (THANKS so much…) and was one happy jogger while running through our home district of Östermalm. Some neighbors and friends were out and it was great and uplifting to see everyone out on the streets partying.

All went pretty well for me until about the “fairy-tale”-like 30 Kilometer mark. This is where I fell apart and got broiled in the heat and sun on Södermalm. For a good couple of kilometers I was able to hold it together but I could not hold my nutrition and ultimately had to dispense all the stuff I had eaten for the last couple of hours. The rest was a dead-march back to the Olympic stadium where I tried to enjoy the magnificent finish line in this antique place. I do not really recall my time and my motivation to look it up again is not that high. It was well over 3 hours. My friend Sana, who took care of the elite athletes, promised me a picture opportunity with my blue-collar hero Yuki Kawauchi. I’m not sure what hurt most. This fact or the one that I did not break the 3 hours mark.
Nobody wants to read about stupid excuses. That is why I will never go into that. The heat, the nutrition? Whatever. No balls to tackle the heat. That’s how I see it. Onto the next one.

04-2018: Stockhom SwimRun Sprint
I guess it is OK to call it a tradition by now. One competition a year has to be done with brother Henrik Kindgren. This time the local retreat around Djurgarden was the target. Goal-wise we tried to keep it simple. We aimed for the win.

“We won this solely by experience!” was Henrik’s swift race recap when we crossed the finish line first. We ran hard from the start. Entered the water first. Swam hard but got overtaken. Got the lead back on the run and then lost it again in the water. This went on and on until the very last swim. After that we decided to excel. Still worn-out from the Marathon my legs hurt a lot but we made it. Even before the finish line was set up.

Super fun to do this with Henrik and a great mental boost after the disappointment at the Stockholm Marathon. Let’s ride this tradition!

Picture: Henrik Kindgren

05-2018: Långholmen SwimRun Sprint
I love when people get hooked with SwimRun. My colleague Firas was stunned and motivated as he watched last year’s ÖtillÖ with my colleagues. Consequently he wanted to try the sport himself. I insisted him to sign us up for the best race Inner-Stockholm has to offer, the Långholmen SwimRun. After several early morning swims and lunch-break gear checks we were ready to go. And what fun it was to scramble and run around the beautiful island of Långholmen. I’m confident SwimRun has a new fan.

Halftime!

Tune of the day: Statik Selektah and Termanology – Still (feat. Kendra Foster) X Dj Icey – Make me feel good

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