Asking for a friend: Double or Single Knots?

A recent Facebook poll on my favorite Running group asked if we preferred double, or single knots on our running shoes. The results are a mixed bag, with a few write-ins for Velcro (I’m not sure if they are serious), Lace-locks, and bungees.

I’m a little torn b/c I’m an in-between kinda guy, maybe not in the Velcro. Okay, I realize that was joke, but still. Allow me to explain- it all boils down to the shoe laces.

**SCIENCE ALERT! What follows is a highly scientific and comprehensive review, I am a professional, do not try this at home, results will vary!**

My Brooks Launch 4’s laces are perfect for a single knot, they are semi-round /oval, soft with reinforced ridged edges. The laces don’t stretch or flex very much, but there’s enough give that they hold a knot very well. When tied correctly, a single knot will suffice for all activities.

Using my extensive and highly scientific methods of measurement we see that the shoelace has approximately a 5/16″ stretch for every 6″ of shoelace. This is not sponsored or endorsed by Lowes.

My Hoka Bondi 4’s laces are complete garbage (sorry Hoka) I would double knot those bad boys only to have them fall apart – even when tied correctly! I gave up on those solid ridged laces and replaced them with iBungee laces. The bungee laces have treated me very well and I actually feel like my feet breath a little better.

No stretch test- it’s bungee folks. Don’t get carried away.

My Merrell Agility’s are a double knot kinda of shoe. The laces are flat with no hard ridges, single knots seem to slip up too easily because they stretch a fair amount while running. Plus, when it comes to trail running, I’ll take the added assurance of a double knot.

Again, utilizing extensive and highly scientific methods of measurement we see that the shoelace has approximately a 13/16″ stretch for every 6″ of shoelace.

My Mizuno Wave Rider’s laces are round, super soft, super stretchy, and yet hold a perfect knot. I have these tied in a lace lock fashion, so I’m sure that is an added bonus.

Using my extensive method of measurement we see that the shoelace has approximately a 1-3/8″ stretch for every 6″ of shoelace.

My New Balance 880’s have a flat shoelace with a center reinforced stitch. These laces hold a single knot extremely well, and have very little to no stretch. No stretch has its drawbacks especially if you tie them too tight.

Finally, using my highly scientific method of measurement we see that the shoelace has approximately a 1/4″ stretch for every 6″ of shoelace.

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iCare 5k

Every year a nearby food bank hosts a 5k almost in our backyard. Blessings of Hope has a huge yard sale, auction, food vendors, activities for kids, and of course a 5k race in beautiful Lancaster County. The company is predominantly Mennonite so it attracts the local Amish and Mennonite community at large. Turn out is always HUGE.

This year the 5k drew a much larger crowd as well. The course was the same as the previous year, a nice easy run on the back roads of Amish Country. There is a slight incline, at the very start, but for the most part it’s nothing too crazy and very runner friendly.

At the very beginning I noticed a lot of kids hanging around the starting line- in fact there were a lot of kids and I thought how fun it will be to blow past them at the half way mark. The announcer’s voice boomed over the handheld speaker as she yelled “GO!” and we were off. Truth be told: those Amish kids took off and I didn’t see a single one after that. Even though my first mile was complete in 7 minutes, and my second mile at 7:20, those kids were fast and long gone.

The course was beautiful as always, and the atmosphere and iCare event was a lovely experience. Even though I hit a few PRs, fastest mile (7:11), fastest 2 miles (14:31), I still finished 25th overall. I placed 3rd in my age group and received a fidget spinner medal- all-in-all, it was pretty fun.

Last year I ran a lot slower, with an average of 9:00 min/miles and placed 2nd in my age group. So this year I’d say the amount of competitors was a lot higher and the skill levels were just as high to match. This is a fast course and we saw some really fast times! Looking forward to next year!

It’s a GIVEAWAY! (kinda)

Honey Stinger Fans rejoice, I have coupon codes worth 37% off your total order when you buy all your favorites from http://www.HoneyStinger.com!  This is a one-time coupon, to be used at checkout, for 37% off your entire order so STOCK UP!

I’ve given away one coupon code to one of my amazing Instagram followers, and he’s also a pretty cool dude to boot, for correctly guessing the make of my car (Subaru). That leaves me with two remaining coupon codes left to share with the masses!  So if you aren’t following me on the Instagrams, I suggest you do, have a look at my latest post and keep those guessing rolling in!

Official rules:
1. Enter code at checkout to receive 37% off
2. Codes good for orders on honeystinger.com only
3. Codes valid for non-Hive athletes only
4. Codes must be used before April 1st, 2018

These are a few of my favorite things – Part II

Race day is a very exciting day, in my early experience I would show up, dressed and ready to run.  Part way through the race, I was itching for an aid station for a drink, or some boost to keep me going.  This would often slow me down – ever try to grab a water from an aid station with hundreds of other runners?  Yeah, no thanks.  It wasn’t until I started to prepare for my races that I really started to enjoy the process.  Arriving prepared, not just in gear alone, can make a race day experience so much better.  5K races I generally treat as fun runs without much fuss, but on long-distance runs, and races over the 10-mile mark I generally start to think about fuel on the go.

Please keep in mind these product reviews are entirely my own, my own experiences, tastes, preferences, and do not express the views of the manufacturer. Please proceed with caution, individual results will vary.  While I have an ambassadorship with Honey Stinger, the best in sports fuel in the industry, I developed this list prior to joining them so there is a bit of a variety.

In this post, I want to focus on two things: Gel and Hydration Race necessities.
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New Years Day 5K

We braved the single digit temperatures and as a family ran the US Road Running New Years Day 5K in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It was a beautiful day for a run, and we weren’t the only crazies that decided to ring in the new year with a run along the Susquehanna River.

The course begins at the Harrisburg Senators stadium on City Island, crosses over the river and traverses along a flat pathway along the Susquehanna. The start/ finish line was on City Island and was free of snow, however once you crossed the river and hit the footpath, you were greeted with snow covered trails.

The crowd wasn’t as heavy as last year’s, I’m assuming the cold temps drove people away- but there was a good crowd none-the-less.

The cold weather was a benefit in regard to the snow covered trails- the temps kept the snow powdery and prevented it from turning to slush. The air was brisk, but once the race began, the cold air was refreshing and invigorating.

The kids complained the entire time- it was glorious.

Family Finish Time: 41:12

Hershey Half Marathon, a Wrapup

Well another year has come and gone and another chance to hit a PR was on the line. The Hershey Half Marathon is one of my favorite races of all time and continues to serve as a benchmark for the race season ahead. So how’d it go? Here’s the nitty gritty.

Did I PR? Why Yes, Yes I did!
I managed to snag a course PR… by 9 seconds. I guess I shouldn’t complain because a PR is a PR is a PR. My finish time was 2:13:51 and I’ll take it.  My goal was to hit 2 hours even, by the start of the race I was held up by some slight congestion with the mass of runners and the first two miles were averaging around a 9:30 pace.

I knew from the start that if I wanted a 2 hour finish I needed to dig deep and push hard.  Unfortunately my body had other plans, and rather than injure myself I decided to run at the race my body was telling me.  The first 5 miles I was running a comfortable 9:30 average pace and if I held that pace I knew I would hit a 2:04ish finish time.

Learning from Last Year:
Last year I had to stop twice to pee – which cost me precious time.  So taking a note from last years race, I made, what ended up being a crucial mistake, by deciding to not drink a lot of fluids the night before and the morning of the race.  I figured I’d carry my own water (infused with Nuun) and would make due on the course.

Mile 6-7 proved my no fluids tactic was dumb and my left leg revolted in the worst cramps I have ever experienced! I ran into some friends that could see the struggle in my face, however their encouragement pushed me to press onward and run through the pain.

I could feel the tension in my left calf muscle, but as long as I put most of my weight on my right leg it wasn’t horribly bad. And the fact that I had some friends nearby I felt the need to keep up. I held an average 10:30 min/mile for as long as I could. By mile 10-11, I knew the race was almost done, but my calf was just not in the mood. I slowed down, got to the side of the course and stopped- a cardinal sin in my book of running. I stopped and evaluated my situation, I ran both hands down my legs to make sure they felt the same. My thigh muscles and calf muscles were identical so I knew I hadn’t done serious damage. My left calf muscle just felt tense- so I took the opportunity and massaged it firmly while stretching it out a little. The brief stop was relief enough for me to bounce back slightly and maintain a 10+ min/mile pace.

As I rounded out the course there were kids from the Children’s Hospital there cheering us on and the emotional experience took my mind off the pain and I pressed on.

I finished the race, grabbed my medal, my snack bag and headed right for the infield of the stadium. I collapsed and immediately began stretching and massaging my left calf in an effort to rid the pain. After about 10 mins I got up and at that point noticed walking was out of the question- the stiffness was too great. Walking was out of the question, but as long as I kept my heel up, jogging back to my car was still in the cards.

As I jogged back to my car I overheard some people saying “that guy is still running- guess he thought this was a Marathon…” I laughed in my head as I returned to my car. I guess from someone else’s prospective it would appear that way- which made me stop and think for a brief second: Should I run a full marathon next?

Crazy right?

Great Pumpkin Run, a Wrapup

Well, another fun 5K in the books.  The Great Pumpkin Run, held at Savidge Farms by Sour Fish Events, proved to be another interesting race experience.  And since we are such good parents, we enrolled our children to tag along as chaperones.  The course was a winding adventure through corn fields, some woods, fields again, a pumpkin patch and wrapped up with a cattle chute finish through a narrow corn maze.

The good stuff:
The event itself was fun and family friendly. Make no mistake, we enjoyed the atmosphere and thought all-in-all the course was challenging and exciting.  Our chaperones did okay considering this was their first “off-road” course.  It my rookie mistake only training with them on smooth paved trails. The rocky fields and wild corn husk now and then of Savidge Farms, proved to be a little more tricky than dodging cyclists on our home training grounds.  Despite having to stop to fix a shoe, walking in sections that were deeply rutted by farm equipment and my irritating words of encouragement, the kids maintained a 14 min pace.

If you read my previous post about 80/20 running, my slow runs are around 11:30-12 min pace, so this was a good test of remembering to slow down.

The not-so-good:
The course was fun, but certain sections bottle necked runners close together. (Small rant Warning) I’m all for loving thy neighbor, but there seemed to be a lot of people in a hurry to catch a PR and made for rude attitudes, yelling, and a few elbows in the way.  Now, mind you, this race has your typical waves, so the more “advanced” runners should have put themselves in an earlier wave or at least started at the very front of the slower waves.

Just a side note: If you want to catch a PR, sign up for the first waves dedicated specifically for Running. Leave the Run/walk waves to those of us with kids that just want to have fun.

I realize I’m just complaining about circumstances out of the event organizer’s control, so take everything I’m saying in strides.

The race metals were pretty sweet, (see picture above) but I think the shirts lacked a little something.  The screen printing on some of the shirts were damaged and I noticed a few people went to Facebook to complain about the quality of the tech shirts.  Again, all minor details, we had fun and that’s what counts.

Family Finish Time: 44 mins 40 seconds