Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sof Sole product reviews

Sof Sole is a company dedicated to making feet happy. And I must say, my feet are happy. A couple weeks ago, I received some products to test out and review. After a multiple runs in each of the products, I have come to the conclusion that Sof Sole rocks. I liked some of the products better than others, but overall, I am quite impressed with their products.

Let's start with the socks. I tried out the Cushion and the Lite performance socks. Both pairs of socks were great. The quality of each is by far superior to the cheapos I got from Target and Wal-Mart. I've worn running socks throughout the day before, and I've noticed that after a few hours, my feet start feeling damp and icky, but I didn't have that problem with either of the Sof Sole socks. I preferred the Cushion over the Lite mainly because I like a little more to a sock. The Lites were very thin and, well, light. I also like the fit of the Cushions better. You can't really tell from the picture, the Lites were actually quite a bit bigger than the Cushions. Both were size 7-10.5, but I think the Lites were closer to the 10.5 end of the range (I wear a size 9).

Overall, I give both pairs of socks two thumbs up. Would I buy more? That's a tough question because I am a cheapskate. $10 for two pairs of socks is probably a little more than I'd like to spend. But, I think that price is pretty comparable to other high quality performance socks. Would I like some more? Most definitely.

Next up, the insoles. I received the Adapt and the Athlete insoles. Both were classified and maximum cushioning, which really appealed to me with my recent knee injury and preference for cushy shoes. I was really excited to try the Adapts because, come on, how often do you get to throw something like an insole in the oven? They are heat moldable for a customized fit. Unfortunately, of all the products I tested, I was least pleased with these. I followed the directions exactly, but they didn't seem to mold to my feet very well. There was much more arch support than I needed, and honestly, they weren't very cushy. I think I'll try throwing them in the oven again and give it another go. But, for the $30 price tag, I don't think I would recommend these very highly.

Sorry for the negative review on those Sof Sole, but I really couldn't be happier with the Athlete insoles. These were so nice! From my first steps in them, I felt like I was walking on a cloud. These definitely are maximum cushioning. The arch support was perfect, and the fit couldn't have been better. These are a little heavier than the adapts, but still very light. And that slight difference is so worth it when you factor in the comfort level. After trying out the Adapt, these are back in my shoes, and are likely to stay for a long time. Anyone know how many miles you can go on an insole before needing to replace it? I'd say that these are well worth the $20 price tag if you are looking for a comfy and cushy insole.

One final observation I had about the insoles, both the Adapt and the Athlete, was that they both fit perfectly into my shoes. That was really cool because I didn't need to worry about trimming them. But, I wear a size 9, and the size range is 9-10.5. They must have been trimmed before they were sent to me, but I have not received confirmation that that is the case. So, if you are planning to buy some, be sure to check the size.

I really appreciate Sof Sole for allowing me to review their products. It was really fun trying out something new, and awesome to find some products I am likely to stick with. Sof Sole, if you'd like me to try out more of your products, I'd be more than willing.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Rain and Reminiscing

It doesn't rain in Phoenix too often, but today it was coming down pretty hard. We were out running some errands (in the car, not on foot), and I started thinking of how much fun it would be to go for a run in the rain. Lani couldn't quite understand that, but I really started running while I lived in Washington state, so running in the rain was a normal occurrence. I have a lot of good memories with the cross country team in Washington.

The whole time we were out, I was hoping it would still be raining when we got home. I was a little disappointed when we walked out of the store and saw patches of blue up in the sky. But by the time we got home, it was sprinkling again. I ran upstairs an threw on some running clothes and headed out. It was now a little more than a sprinkle, and I was already getting pretty wet. But I was loving it. I remembered running the "Bridges" in Bremerton. It was usually pretty windy out on the bridges, and if there was a strong enough headwind, our fronts would be completely drenched, but our backs almost completely dry. Fun times.

I ended up doing a little over 3 miles. I was surprised that I was able to run 7:30 miles too. Not bad for basically taking 2 months off. I walked back in the house to hear "Daddy, you're wet!" Yes I was. Just like old times.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Trim up the tree

Every year, Lani and I have exchanged Christmas ornaments. Some have been store-bought, but most have been homemade. For some reason, most of the ones Lani has given men have been related to running. We try to make our ornaments meaningful in some way. Lani always has very awesome and creative ideas. This year, she did not disappoint. Her ornament for me commemorates two running accomplishments this year. I'm not sure what they're called, but she took some little glass rock-type things, glued some magazine cut-outs to the back, and strung them together on a ribbon for an absolutely incredible finished product. One side commemorates my running the Boston Marathon, and the other side commemorates my running a 4:59.95 mile.I had yet to make Lani a running ornament, simply because she had never done much running. However, this year, Lani really got into it. She'd often get up wicked early to meet her friends for a run. Even now at 5 months pregnant, she is still running. So to commemorate her new life as a runner, I made this:I used the same idea with the glass rock thingys, and used paper clips to sculpt a little pregnant runner (that's a picture of Lani's face and a cartoon picture of a fetus behind the glass). I'm pretty proud of my creation.

On a different Christmas/running note, we recently went to a Christmas party where Santa was on hand, and my oldest asked for--get this--running shoes! How cool is that?!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sof Sole

A couple weeks ago, I was contacted by Rachel from Sof Sole asking if I'd be interested in testing out and reviewing some of there new products. I've always been a little jealous of other bloggers who have gotten free products to review, so I jumped on the chance. This week I got this in the mail:Some sweet moisture-wicking socks and a couple pairs of cushy insoles.

The Adapt insole molds directly to your foot. You actually throw it in the oven for a couple minutes, put it right in your shoes, stand in them for a couple minutes, and you have an insole custom made for your foot. Doesn't that sound cool? I haven't done this yet, but I am totally looking forward to it.

The Athlete insole is super soft. I just put them in my shoes tonight and walked around a little bit. They feel great. I always go for cushioning shoes when buying running shoes, so I think these insoles are right up my alley.

The Cushion and the Lite performance socks are some pretty fancy socks. This is one area where I've never been picky. I have always gone for the cheapo moisture wicking socks. So it will be interesting to see how these socks compare.

This weekend marks the start of my Christmas break (I've got 3 weeks off!). I am planning to start running again since my knee is feeling pretty good. I've also got some hikes planned in the next few weeks. Perfect testing grounds for these products. Expect to see some reviews over the next several weeks.

And thanks again to Sof Sole for letting me test this stuff out!!

UPDATE: Here is my review.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

White elephant gifts!

After the treat I got last year, I just had to get in on this year's Runner's Lounge white elephant gift exchange (this week's Take it and Run theme).

Not many of us like running in the rain, right? Coming home from a run all sweaty is bad enough. Who wants to get completely soaked as a result of a workout in the rain? Here is the perfect solution... The Umbrella Headband!!Not only does this baby feature a comfortable, chic, and uncumbersome large diameter shield from the rain, it comes fully equipped with a state of the art, sweat-absorbing headband! What could be better? Now you can head out for your daily run, rain or shine, and not have to fear the elements.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pregos represent!

By Lani

So my fetal son participated in a women's race last Saturday. Turns out he actually wasn't the only male. But that's not what this post is about. Ax Jr. may not have been the only male, but I am fairly certain I was the only pregnant runner. I looked around me all through the race and afterward and didn't see any other tell-tale baby bumps. (Granted there could have been several ladies with peanut-sized children in their wombs, but how could I know?) Where are all the pregnant runners?

I was flipping through some of our old Runner's World magazines today and saw a little blurb (November 2007) where a pregnant runner complained, "My doctor gave me the green light to run while pregnant, but other people--even runners--look at me like I'm doing something wrong." I've never been the recipient of any dirty looks, but plenty of incredulous comments. When I told my brother-in-law I ran a race, his response was, "In your condition?!" A hardcore female running friend ran through all her pregnancies but thought I was some combination of brave and crazy to do actually run a race. Is it really that strange?

Recent research has demonstrated the benefits of prenatal exercise and health experts now encourage pregnant women to get 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day. Personally, I'm nowhere near that, though I wish I had that kind of motivation. Which is why I signed up for a race... to motivate myself to get out the door.

I've been running off and on throughout this pregnancy, and I do plan to continue as long as I can. You know... I'd really like to see more pregnant race participants. If pregnant runners don't get out there and race with those baby bumps, the concept will continue to seem taboo. Let's show ourselves and the world that we can most definitely run "in [our] condition!"

Saturday, December 6, 2008

My first race report

Posted by Ax junior.

This morning, I participated in my first race. Mommy ran the Tempe Iron Girl 5k (an all women's race), but she sneaked me in. And as far as I could tell, I was the only runner in the "in utero" division. That's gotta be pretty good for a 1st place in my first ever race! It's really no surprise though, considering how much I've been working out. Mom says it feels like I'm kicking her all day long. Little does she know that I'm just getting ready to leave my parents in the dust when I get out.

The race took place at the Tempe Town Lake. Mommy and I cruised along both sides of the lake and across a couple bridges and enjoyed a beautiful sunrise. Daddy and my big sisters waited for us at the finish and cheered us on down the final stretch.

After we finished, my sisters and I were given some annoying little ducks from the race sponsor. All day long I've been hearing "Aflac, Aflac, Aflac!" Hopefully they won't be working anymore by the time I get out of here, if they don't get "lost" before then.

I'm looking forward to my next race with mom. Maybe something with a little less pink.