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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hoka Review

It has been about 3 months since I received my Hoka Bondi-B running shoes. I thought I would review the overall experience. I am not a runner, meaning I have no real formal coaching in this sport have never run XC or track or long distance. While I have used running routinely for many years to cross train, my speed is not especially fast.  Particularly, since the culmination of a knee injury on my rowing venture (2005) followed by massive injury on the ITI (2008), running started to become painful anywhere from 3 -12 miles on a given day. This made it difficult to build up a running base. I could not get over 12 miles without leg or knee complaints that told me (in the little voice that I used to ignore when younger), 'you better stop.'


However, in order to do sort of decent in a longer triathlon I simply had to increase my speed this summer.  Aerobically, I had no issues but running competitively fast never came easy compounded by intermittent migrating knee/hip/leg pain. Then I heard about the Hoka shoe from various ultrarunner blogs. But it was this guys consistent performance and accolades to the shoe that got me to actually purchase the pricey item. I was intensely curious if a shoe could really make a difference. I started keeping detailed track of my training runs, if you could even call it that- sometimes my weekly swims and runs almost equalled each other in distance. Pre-Hoka I was running a sad 8-16 miles per week or 40-60 miles a month at the most, that’s usually 1-2 times (hours) a week. With the Hoka I was able to "ramp" up my mileages in July to 87 miles (10 hrs 36 min) and August was 112 miles (15 hrs 29 min)--. That said it is both discouraging and encouraging to track folks who run 100 trail mile races at faster speeds than my cumulative monthly times.

In any case, I have absolutely no pain in legs, hips or knees. I now routinely run 11-13 miles and occasionally throw a 20 miler in the mix.  Maybe it’s the Hoka, partly the Hoka’s or in my head but I certainly will keep running in them. The only issue I had was my foot was sliding around a little bit from constantly dumping water on myself to cool off during the two tri races. The water got in my shoe, my foot slid around and voila instant blisters and lifted toenails.  But that's my abnormal foot's fault, and no I won't post pics of that.

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