Six for Saturday – Saucony Kinvara 5, Polar Loop, and Five Foods

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On Wednesday I talked about stopping my running streak – and the comments were all very positive and supportive. Over these past couple of weeks I have had the word inspirational used to describe me .. which already makes me uncomfortable. But my concern with my LAST running streak was that it did make for a good story, and I know a few people who did later streaks, some ended up fine and others wonder if it resulted in their injuries. Which all brings me back to my ‘Five Reasons Never to Take Fitness Advice From Me’ post. Yeah … still true.

Anyway, I have a few (mostly) running related items and my ‘Five Foods’. So let’s get started!

1. Saucony Kinvara 5

As you might have seen since I posted before and after pics on Instagram, I got a pair of Saucony Kinvara 5 for review this week. They are awesome … oh, you want more details?

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The Kinvaras are highly regarded lightweight 4mm drop shoes, which are very popular because they are both light and well cushioned. The fit on the first few models seemed to fit most runners – but then the Kinvara 4 came along and there were many complaints about the toe-box. Even my pair – which lasted over 1300 miles – shows considerable wear at both ends of the toe-box.

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The Kinvara 5 addresses that and pretty much any other complaint. In fact, the entire toe box has been reshaped (if you can see it in the picture above. The rear ankle padding has had the contour removed without reducing the cushion, the overall feel is more cushioned, they are still incredibly light, and extremely well fitting and comfortable. I’ve only done two runs so far … but these are definitely some of the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn – and it is like meeting up with an old friend who looks even better with age.

2. Polar Loop

Yesterday I (finally) got the Polar Loop after a whole series of mix-ups and miscommunications that has had the heart-rate monitor part sitting on my counter for three months! Anyway, I got it all set up and configured, I took it on my run with me. My first thought?

Having to permanently cut a wrist strap was really stressful – especially since my first cut went through one of the pin-channels. Fortunately I intentionally under-cut the first time just to be sure. I ended cutting more this morning and now the fit is perfect … for me.

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Quick thoughts:
– Love the wireless sync to the phone
– Not a huge fan of the display – it is useless in sunlight as the LEDs wash out and the time-out is rather fast for activating and then shading … not an ‘on the go’ solution
– The iOS app and PC software is solid, but doesn’t match up with Garmin app Lisa uses for the VivoFit and the site I use for the FR-15
– Also love the easy charge-sync cable
– Not a fan of the ‘cut-to-fit’ thing – if I did it for Lisa, no one else in the house could wear it. Since it fits me it would fit Chris and could be cut for Lisa, but would be too small for Danny.

So … my overall impression is solid but given the choice I would buy the Garmin VivoFit again for fitness tracking. However, I have not tried the heart-rate monitor integration. So that will be an interesting test.

3. The Importance of Taking Care of Yourself

One thing I always talk about is safety – and that includes hydration and fueling. Being caught unready to handle a situation due to too much exercise and too little food and water is very dangerous.

Over at Runblogger, Pete linked to a post from his coach about the time that he fainted in what was really a totally avoidable situation. But the way he describes it is something that we should all reflect on:

1. No matter the run, immediate re-fueling and re-hydration is essential. This was already a rule, but I ignored it on the day.
2. Pre-run nutrition needs to be better. If you’re going to run 19 miles in a day, you can’t go into the afternoon run with a calorie deficit.
3. Don’t be so stubborn. Real life does impact running, and sometimes you need to slow down and realize that being tired has an impact on your body.

4. Anniversaries of Historical Importance

This week marked the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the 25th anniversary of the Tian’anmen Square standoff. I loved the takes on both of these important milestone’s at Carina’s blog – and really, you should check out each of those links. I wasn’t around for D-Day (my parents were only 2 and 4 years old), but I remember Tian’anmen Square well.

5. Is Being ‘Fat’ Not So Bad After All?

Admittedly I am not a huge fan of this article in general, because it basically comes down to mostly being yet another ‘my BMI says I am overweight, but I am very healthy, so everything you’ve read is wrong’ story. But along the way he highlights (through links) some important things – mostly that BMI is largely useless as a metric as it only alters the weight equation by adding height without taking body type into account.

A few things of note:
– Most of his points relate to being ‘overweight’ – obesity remains incredibly bad for you.
– Being overweight is MUCH better health-wise than being underweight.
– For someone who is overweight, social stigma and shaming and discrimination are the biggest problems.
– Perfect health is a complete myth.

Again, I have a load of mixed feelings, but definitely have seem many people online who are underweight and have dealt with injuries and other chronic health issues as a result. This week Amy posted a great article about when she realized she was too skinny, and includes before and after pictures … it is an amazing post with some great comments.

6. Running Around the World

This isn’t new, but I never noted it, and still makes me smile. Astronaut Mike Hopkins tweeted the following back in March:

Ran for ~1 orbit today. 12 miles on the treadmill while the station travelled more than 25,000 miles. I’ve now run around the world.

Yeah, so there is THAT … which is pretty awesome.

10 Day You Challenge

I have to confess that I am loving this series, as it makes me reflect on myself and my life. I wouldn’t really think I would be learning about myself – but I am. And today I learn something again, as I list out my ‘five foods’.

Day Six: Five Foods

1. Ice Cream – No matter what, I will always love ice cream. It is one thing I will always allow myself – and I have stopped going ‘light’ or whatever. I get what I want. One of the first things I did with my Nutribullet was to figure out how to make desserts – and I make a wonderful banana-based ‘soft serve’ that can be chocolate, fruity, peanut butter or whatever … and it is awesome.

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2. Steak – steak has always been my favorite meat, but not something I get very often. I will have it for my birthday (and did), and also on rare occasions. I will have it for Father’s Day next weekend as well. I tend to eat a diet of mostly fruits and veggies and some lean meats … but I just love a nice juicy steak. Preferably with a nice glass of red wine.

3. Sweet Potato – I have mentioned it before, but growing up sweet potatoes were only at Thanksgiving. Then as a young adult I would have them at restaurants on occasion. Now? Whenever I can. Whole, mashed, cut up as oven-fries, grilled, roasted, whatever.

4. ALL the fruit – I always have fruit with breakfast and lunch, and would say that the vast majority of what hits the Nutribullet is fruit-based. To make this choice even easier, from Mayo Clinic:

The following are technically fruits: avocado, beans, peapods, corn kernels, cucumbers, grains, nuts, olives peppers, pumpkin, squash, sunflower seeds and tomatoes.

So yeah … it is ALL about the fruits for me! Sure I love my veggies … but fruit rules my world!

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5. Smoothies – I enlisted Lisa’s help for this on … I have now had my Nutribullet for two months – and I use it every day, some days twice, and occasionally even three times. I have found some great go-to recipes for thin, thick and spoonable smoothies that are sweet or savory, and really … I am thinking of what I will have for a post-run smoothie even as I type this!

What is your favorite running shoe and/or gadget, and how about your favorite foods?

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20 thoughts on “Six for Saturday – Saucony Kinvara 5, Polar Loop, and Five Foods

  1. If I ever tried running in anything besides my Brook’s Pureline shoes it would probably be the Kinvara’s that I would try since I have heard so many good things about them. But I am nervous to move to a completely different line that I have never tried and since I’m happy with my shoe rotation I guess there’s no need to worry about it right now:)
    Steak, ice cream, sweet potatoes are all some of my favorite foods too! Along with broccoli which I have always loved (everyone thought I was such a weird kid when I said I loved broccoli!). I would have to say chocolate as well. I guess I have a lot of different foods that I love:)

    • I think that is the thing Lisa – to stick to what works for you. I have done a bunch of messing around these last two years, from Nike to Saucony, with Merrell and New Balance mixed in there. I like the Nike, but the Saucony just REALLY works for me.

      My mother cooked veggies out of cans (very much a 60s/70s ‘thing) but when she had a bunch of work travel and my father started doing shopping we started with steamed veggies – and I have NEVER gone back from my love of all veggies!

      Chocolate … yum πŸ™‚

  2. It’s really interesting seeing that side by side comparison picture of the Kinvara 4 and 5. I’ve been wearing Kinvaras for a year, but I’m thinking about trying something different for my next shoe because my feet slip forward and the toe box is actually too WIDE for me. I will try on the 5s though when I go to get new shoes because now I wonder if the different shape will work for me. I hope you’ll write a more detailed review once you have run in them more! I’m also really curious whether the more durable material they put on the sole actually makes them last longer, since that is my other complaint.

    • Rach – from what I have heard the men’s / women’s Kinvara builds are different – the men’s 4 was narrow, but the women’s 4 was wider in the toe. Not sure how the women’s 5 compares … I just know it feels great to me!

      As for the last – not sure. My 4s took me through 1300 miles, about the same as my Nikes. My biggest issue was New Balance which died fast … not going back to them.

  3. We definitely have steak, ice cream and fruit in common! I rarely eat ice cream anymore but now I have steak whenever I can get a good source for a decent price. I’ve never been into smoothies for some reason, they just don’t excite me much.

    I have a pair of kinvaras but find they don’t have enough support since recovering from tendonitis. I stick with shoes that control pronation and that seems be the best thing to prevent injury for me.

    • We are fortunate to have a great local butcher in our area with very reasonable prices … can always find something good there! My first cynical view of smoothies was that it was something that I mostly saw vegans doing to blend a lot of stuff together, maybe they were hiding stuff they didn’t want to eat? Not sure … but once I started … well, I have always loved fruit and yogurt smoothies in the past, so it was easy for me.

      As for sneakers (crap, ‘running shoes’, jeez I’m old sometimes), definitely stick with what works. I don’t think of the Kinvara as minimal-ish, but they really are, and for someone who needs control they provide very little. They are what works for me, but not for many others.

    • Well, if you ask #mamaSalt she has a similar thought – that the streak early this year did her no favors in terms of injury. And think about it – we all know the critical nature of rest … yet here is Runner’s World challenging 45 or more continuous days of running. WTF, really?!?

      And thanks for the kind words – I always worry because I know that ‘what works for me … works for me’, and don’t want anyone to follow my thoughts and end up hurt. πŸ™‚

    • So true – juicy fruits on a warm summery day … mmm

      And again thank YOU for sharing your story. The comments show how much your sharing means to many people.

  4. I have heard so many people speak highly of the Kinvaras, but I just don’t think that they would work on my feet very well A) because of my narrower heel and b) because of my larger structural issues and stiff, low arches.
    Favorites foods? DO I REALLY HAVE TO ANSWER THIS????

    • haha – you and food, yeah, pretty much tells the story! πŸ™‚

      And that is the thing – there was a big push for everyone to run minimal or whatever – but for some people it is a BAD IDEA. When I first bought ‘real’ (i.e. more than $50) running shoes two years ago, I got the Nike Free 3.0, not knowing I was going ‘minimal-ish’ … but suddenly my wear pattern was ‘near perfect’. And I am faster, happier and a better runner than ever. So why mess with it?

  5. If spinach and pasta could be on that list of fruits, I think I’d almost be a fruititarian instead of a vegetarian! I also would have been with you on steak for most of my life — it was always my choice for my birthday dinner until I was about 25. As for sweet potatoes, I’d recommend cutting the quantities in half, but this weekend I tried this recipe and you might enjoy it as well: http://www.mynewroots.org/site/2010/10/falling-for-sweet-potato-hummus-2/
    I have an ice cream recommendation that I hestitate to share because it’s that good. Will share in the next week or so (I’m not yet owning up to what I ate…).

  6. My favorite gadget (running) it my Garmin, not too unique but I love it. My favorite gadget non running related is my tablet, I seriously don’t know how I lived without it! I loved your 5 foods, with the exception of steak, I totally agree! I’m not the biggest ice cream fan, not because I don’t love it, but I’m lactose intolerant so it doesn’t love me, but I make exceptions, especially during the summer! You only live once, right?

    • Garmin and iPad are two of my mainstay gadgets as well – I have my iPad Air in a Belkin keyboard case and it goes EVERYWHERE with me!

      Foods are always tough – Lisa likes steak, but it never sits well, just too rich for her system. And she is lactose intolerant so we do the fruit sorbets for her. She will get an occasional ice cream as well – and wait, did you just YOLO me?!? haha

  7. BMI and that linked article are weird. Firstly, in the article, the author uses NFL wide receivers as evidence that BMI is ineffective as a health metric. It is ridiculous to use a sample of extreme outliers who make up a minuscule fraction of the population as a reason to debunk something for the masses. Is it perfect? No. Is it a useful metric? Yes. Should it be used in a vacuum as the one and only measure of health? Let’s be real. There are plenty of unhealthy ways to deliver a BMI that looks healthy, we need to look at our whole body and lifestyle to understand health.

    As a kid, I was taught by overweight/obese parents that BMI and weight ranges are not for real people. “We have heavy bones”. So I lived my life thinking that even the upper range of my height’s BMI is a myth. Then I learned about healthy eating and exercise. When I saw that upper limit come into view, I realized my bones aren’t abnormally heavy, I was always eating too much of the wrong stuff and not active enough. When I saw that upper limit get blown away and dropped another 10 lbs nice and slowly over the months, I knew I found a healthy weight that is sustainable for me. When accompanied by healthy levels of activity and a balanced diverse diet, then BMI can be a vaguely reasonable indicator of one aspect of overall health.

    • I agree – BMI is not useless but can definitely be misleading. When you look at me and my two sons, we are within an inch +/- of each other height-wise … but when you look at shoulder width, waist, etc we are very different. So we would not all have the same ‘target weight’ – not even sure how well the ranges work. But simply ignoring them … well, not so much. The ‘big boned’ thing is one of those weight artifacts of a lost age, I think … or hope.

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