It's a very slow process - two steps forward, one step back - but I'm inching in the right direction. - Rob Reiner

August 27, 2013

Skora Shoe Review-Let's Get Down to BASE(ics)


A month ago, I have to admit, I had never heard of Skora running shoes.  Skora is still relatively new to the shoe market, but in my opinion, they have truly taken the minimalist shoe to a new level.  They are also based out of Portland, Oregon, so I think it's great to support a brand that's made here in the US.

After stumbling across the Skora website, I was intrigued, but I wasn't sure I was ready to spend the $99-$185 retail price for a pair of these shoes that I had had never heard of before.  So, I was excited to get the opportunity to review them.
Super excited to be running in my new Skora Base shoes

I got in contact with Kyle from Skora and we started discussing what I liked and wanted in a shoe.  I had originally wanted to try the "Phase" Model (based on looks alone), but after our discussion we both thought the "Base" Model would be the best one for me to try out.

Skora Base in Coral
Skora has four models of shoes:  Form, Core, Phase, and Base.  All models except the Base look more like a traditional running shoe.  The Base has a very unique look with the Velcro closure and no laces.  I won't lie, when I looked at them online I kind of hated them.  I thought they looked a little like a shower shoe or maybe a cycling shoe.  When I received them in person I was still kind of skeptical.  The color and design of the mesh was cool and they were better than I thought they would be in person.  However, after wearing them several times now I have to tell you that I actually love the way they look.  It's kind of weird how they've grown on me, but I actually think they are really cute now and I am in love with the coral color.

The BASE(ics) about the BASE:
Retail Price:  $99 (some models currently on sale for $59-69)
Colors Available:  3 Colors (coral, light blue & charcoal)
Drop:  Zero Drop
Weight:  6.5 Oz
Other Key Info:  Reflective Details, Sock Like Fit, Elastic heel strap & X-Strap, and Quality Construction

Skora's motto is Run Real.  As soon as you open your box of shoes the inside has the 3 R's

Inside of Skora Running shoe box

  • Reconnect:  Minimal Cushioning to improve ground-feel
  • Reposition:  A natural fit to help maintain proper posture and alignment
  • Rhythm:  Designed to help you have a more natural gait - so you get to that magical 180 foot strikes per minute

  • Color:  As mentioned above I loved the coral color.  It is bright and different than any running shoe I've seen.
  • Wide Toe Box:  One of the biggest issues I've had when trying other minimalist shoes (like Merrell or Vibram) is that they are very narrow.  I have almost completely flat feet, so they tend to be wide.  I can't wear a shoe that is narrow at all.  These shoes have plenty of room and my toes or feet never felt cramped.
  • Sock Like Fit:  From the first time you put them on they truly fit your feet like a glove.  They are soft and comfortable and already feel "worn in".
  • Quality Construction:  You can tell when you first pick them up that they are made well.  When I posted my initial thoughts about them, I had a few people comment who said they put around 1000 miles on their Skoras!  That's incredible.  They put real thought into materials and process of making their shoes with some models made of Pittards Leather.  If you want to know more about the construction of the shoe you can read about it here.
  • Soft Heel:  The one thing that will drive me insane in a shoe is if the heel hits my heel in any way.  The heel is very cushioned and I didn't even notice it.  Loved this aspect of the shoe!  However, if you like a little more pressure on the back of the heel it has an adjustable strap on the heel.
  • Versatility:  These shoes are great for running, but they are also perfect for biking or triathlon.  Since I broke my wrist in May in a bike wreck, I've been a little chicken to ride my bike in my clipless pedals (silly I know).  I had been riding in tennis shoes, and one day I looked down and my shoelace was untied.  I almost panicked.  If your shoelace were to get caught in the gears it would be an instant wreck!  With the Velcro closure, they are great for a cyclist who wants the look and safety of a cycling shoe, but aren't ready to commit to clipless.  In addition they are perfect for quick transitions in triathlon because they can just slide right on and again - no laces to worry about tying or tripping over.
  • Ground Feel - These are a true minimalist shoe and you can really feel the ground.  I could tell when I was heel striking and when I was hitting the ground midfoot.  If you are interested in changing your stride, these would be a great shoe to use as a training tool.
Great for cycling and running
  • Transition Slowly:  I have been wearing what I would consider a minimalist shoe for over a year and a half, but it has a 4mm drop. I know you are supposed to transition to minimalist shoes slowly and I did that when I started wearing the 4mm, but I thought this would be so close it wouldn't matter.  My first run in the shoes I did 5 miles.  I thought they felt great and didn't really notice any pain, but the next day my calves were tight, tight, tight!  I had sore tight calves for several days after. I learned my lesson and have been using them for shorter runs and gradually increasing the distance.
  • Cushioning:  These have basically no cushioning.  They have a very thin liner that you can remove or leave in, but the shoe base has no soft cushioning on the bottom.  It has a hard "plastic" (not sure what the actual material is) bottom.  The bottom of the shoes will make them wear much longer than traditional shoes, but if you are looking for a cushioned shoe theses are not the ones for you.
  • Shoe Bottom:  As mentioned above, the bottom of the shoe is hard.  So, it does make a louder sound when you hit the ground.  It's not so loud that it's bothersome at all, but you just may not sound quite as light on your feet as normal (perhaps it's just my stride).
  • Sizing:  I normally wear an 8.5 everyday shoe, but wear a 9.5 to sometimes 10 in a running shoe.  Kyle recommended I size down a half size from my normal running shoes, so I ordered a size 9. The sizing was perfect even with a thin sock.
You can see the hard plastic on the bottom.  A little dirty,
but no real signs of wear at all.

Overall I thought the Skora Base was a great versatile shoe that will last a long time.  I'm not sure if it will ever be a distance shoe for me, but I can definitely see me wearing this shoe in shorter road races and in triathlons.  As a matter of fact, I guarantee it will be my go to triathlon shoe in the future.  Even if you aren't into minimalist running, I still think it's a great shoe for biking (if you don't use clipless pedals) and would be an excellent training shoe to help you improve your stride due to the awesome ground feel.

If you're interested in the Skora running shoes now is a great time to buy!  They are having an end of season sale with select styles and colors 30-40% off and shipping is free with minimum purchase.  While they don't have a huge "in store" presence they are available in some local running stores.  Check their website to see if there is a store near you.

Want to learn more about Skora?  They are very social.  You can find them online, Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Instagram, etc.  Below are a few helpful links, but you can find more on their website.
Do you wear a minimalist shoe?  Do you wear Skora, if so what model?  Would you be interested in trying them?  Tell me what you think!

Disclaimer:  I received a pair of Skora Base shoes from Skora Running to review for this blog.  I was not compensated for this review or asked to provide a positive review.  The thoughts and opinions shared are my own.

August 22, 2013

A Video Blog Dedicated to My Soon to be Ironman Friend (Coy)

My great friend Coy of First In Philly fame will be competing in her first full Ironman this weekend.  So I put this short video together for her!  The quality is terrible and if I had a clue how to edit it, it might have been a little better...but it's the thought that counts.  Trying to do a video in one take is not easy.


She just sent me this pic!  All smiles! Love it!

August 20, 2013

I’ll Be Happy When……

I was talking to a friend about this today and thought I’d share it on my blog.
How many of you are happy with where you are right now?  How much you weigh, how fast you are, etc?

Most of us live our lives saying.  I’d be happy if I could just lose 5 pounds.  I’d be happy if I could just finish in the top 10% of a race.  I’d be happy if I could just shave another 10 seconds per mile of my (swim, bike, run whatever).  I’d be happy if “insert topic here”.

But then, when you get there, are you happy?  Usually, it just begins again, well, I’d be happy if I lost another 5 pounds  or shaved more time off my race, etc.  Right?
It’s never enough. 

I read something about a year ago.  I honestly don’t know where.  But it talked about this subject and how we have to learn to be happy with where we are right now, otherwise we’ll never be happy.  We’ll always be reaching for that “next” thing that’s going to make us happy and never get to enjoy the current moments.  And what if you never attain it?  What if you never lose that 5 pounds, that 10 pounds, or whatever your “thing” is.  Then do you never get to be happy?  You have to be happy with today.
That doesn’t mean that we can’t have goals.  We need goals in our lives.  But, they need to be just that – goals – accomplishments – things to be proud of.  Sure, they can make you happy, but they shouldn’t be the thing that’s required to be happy.

So look yourself in the mirror and realize you are who you are today.  And be happy with whatever you have accomplished so far.  You are you and that’s pretty awesome!
Sorry if this is kind of a sappy post….but it was just on my mind.  When I read this a year or so ago it really hit home to me.  I can’t say I remember it, and live by it all the time…but I really try to keep it in mind.

What are you happy for right now? 

Jack is always happy....we could learn alot from our dogs :)

August 19, 2013

Skora Running Shoes!!

I just received these Skora Base running shoes!

They definitely have a different look to them, but they are really growing on me.  I love the coral color.

I've done a few test runs in them and they are terrific.

Selfie's of you in your shoes are not easy to achieve.
Stay tuned.....full review coming soon.

Have you ever ran in Skora shoes before? 

August 14, 2013

I Have a Dirty Little Secret

I am a triathlete.  No that's not my secret, that wouldn't be a very good secret now would it?  Let me start again.

Hey Jack, Can you keep a secret?
I am a triathlete, but this summer I've been pretty far from one.  As many of you know, I broke my wrist in early May and was unable to bike or swim until just a few weeks ago.  Luckily, I was still able to run and so running has been my focus this summer.  I've been so glad I was able to do something, as I know often when runners get injured they just don't know what to do with themselves.

When I started doing triathlons a few years ago I considered myself a triathlete with a "runner on the side".  This summer I feel more like a runner with a "triathlete on the side" and it's a really, really small side.  Since I was "released" to start biking and swimming again, I'm honestly only biking and swimming about once a week.

And you know what?  Here's my secret.  It's been kind of magical.  No, I haven't lost my love for triathlon, but it has been refreshing not having to juggle three sports.  I know by the end of last summer after training for my 70.3, I was exhausted.  It was 2 workouts a day, everyday, just to get in 3 to 4 workouts in each discipline each week.  By the time race day came around, I was glad to get it over with.  I decided last year, some of the "fun" had been lost and that's why I didn't sign up for anything longer than Olympic this year (thankfully).

Then I broke my wrist, so everything I had signed up for was out the window anyway.  I was really sad at first and disappointed because my triathlon season - well really just wasn't going to be much of a season at all.  But now, in the evenings when I'm able to actually make dinner and sit down with my husband for a meal, well that's kind of nice.  If I want to go for a leisurely walk or go do something with a friend in the evening, I can do that and not stress.

But then again, after doing my one and only triathlon this year, I remembered how much I loved it and how much I missed it.  The next week I found myself online trying to see if there were any late season triathlons I could do.  There were a couple, but they all coincide with my long runs for my marathon training.  I just don't think I'm at the point where I could run 20 miles on Sat and do a triathlon on Sun. Had I been doing more tri training this summer, probably, but not right now.  But I do think the break has been really good for me.  It has reminded me that I do love triathlon, but that I also need some rest here and there.  I'm already thinking about another 70.3 next summer, and while I'll certainly take my training seriously, I think I'll go about it with a bit of a different attitude.  I'm not exactly sure what it will look like, but it won't be as rigid as it was before.  I know I have to put in the work to get to 70.3, but I'm thinking I can scale it back...just a bit.

So there you have it.  My secret. 

Have you ever secretly loved an unexpected break due to injury, life, whatever?  Even though you are "supposed to" lament it? 

Has a rest break made you re-think your training?

Have any other secrets to share?

August 13, 2013

I Wanted to Be More Social and Reflections....

I've been considering starting a Slowly Tri-ing Facebook page for quite some time now, but have never taken the time to do it.  So here we go folks, if you are on FB, please follow the link below and like my page.  There's not much out there now, but there will be soon.  I currently only have one like, and it's my own.  I am feeling very unloved.

What types of things do you like to see on FB pages that you follow?

Speaking of Facebook, on my run this morning I was reflecting about my life and thinking about key "milestones".  On FB you can list key milestones like getting married, etc.  So this morning as I was running I realized that I have lived in Kansas City for 15 years this month!  It seems kind of crazy to me.  I've mentioned it before, but I was born in Florida and lived there until I was 13.  Florida is where I also consider myself "from" because it's where I was born and spent many years of my life.  At 13 we moved to Kentucky and I lived there 11 years.  Kentucky is where I mostly consider "home".  I spent my high school and college years there and my family was from there, yet I actually lived there the least amount of years.

And then, 15 years ago I moved to Kansas City.  So many life changing things have happened here and I've lived in Kansas City longer than I've ever lived anywhere in my life now.  It's pretty crazy when I think about.  It seems like yesterday in so many ways.  While my life certainly hasn't been perfect, life in KC has been good.  So for the sake of FB, I'm outlining a few key milestones to commemorate my 15 years in KC.

  • Aug 1998 - Moved to Lee's Summit, MO
  • Sept 1998 - Got my first "real" job post college
  • Dec 1999 - Got my first "real" job post college that actually paid me a decent amount of money
  • Jan 2001 - Purchased my 1st house
  • May 2001 - Got my first dog - a 2 year old rescue Great Dane named Harley
  • May 2005 - Married Jim
  • May 2005 - Received my Masters of Business Administration (MBA)
  • June 2006 - Had to put my first dog to sleep :(  but we also got Jack that month
  • July 2007 - Started my career with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
  • May 2009 - Ran my 1st Half Marathon
  • June 2010 - Became a grandmother
  • July 2010 - Completed my 1st Triathlon
  • Jan 2012 - Completed my 1st Marathon
  • July 2012 - Completed my first 70.3
  • January 2013 - Transferred to the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond and began working from home
I'm sure I've had other key milestones, I'm not thinking about right now, but man a lot has happened since I moved here.  I think back to when I lived in Kentucky and I was pretty inactive when I graduated college.  I'm not sure I would have ever found running or triathlon if I hadn't moved.  I'm so thankful to have it in my life.  Some really great things have happened over the course of 15 years.  I'm hopeful there are more great things in store in the next 15....will it be here in KC???  Who knows!  (More than likely).

What about you?  Has a change in the course of your life ever taken you someplace different that you imagined?  Have you had any major milestones in the last 15 years?  I'm sure we all have!

August 08, 2013

Three a Day Workouts

I'm accustomed to doing 2 a day workouts on a fairly frequent basis.  But yesterday I did 3 workouts.  It's not the first time ever or anything, but it's a pretty rare occurrence.

Source:  National
I'm pretty sure this is exactly what it looked like outside my house on Tues and Wed am.
On Tuesday, I had a track workout planned for the morning.  My alarm was set for 4:30 am.  At about 4:15 am, I woke up to the sound of thunder, lightening and pouring rain.  Now, I will run in the rain, but I won't run when it's way Jose.  So I knew there was no chance I was going to get my run in.  So, I did something I rarely do.  I reset the alarm, rolled over and went back to sleep.  I figured I would just get my run in after work.  But after work I went to Whole Foods, and by the time I got home and got the groceries unpacked I was hungry and tired.  I took a bonus day off Tuesday.  So be it.

On Wednesday am...same story.  Alarm set for 4:30 am, woke up about 4:15 to thunder, lightening and rain - AGAIN.  Ok, this was getting ridiculous.  So I decided I had to get up and do something that sleeping in again.  I got up and did a 45 minute full body workout.  Then on my lunch break I thought I'd try to make up some miles and went out for a 3 mile run.  And then last night I decided I needed to make up the track workout I missed so I went to the track for a HOT, HOT workout.  It was 91 degrees with humidity through the roof.  It was pretty miserable.  I had planned to do a total of 5 miles with warm-up and cool down, but only managed 4 1/2. 

Three workouts today Mom??  Seriously, this is getting ridiculous. We have better things to do like eat treats.
By the time I got home last night I was totally dead on my feet.  The plus side is that I slept like a rock!  Luckily when I got up this morning there was no rain or lightening in site and I got in my Thursday run.  Although it was a slow, slow one this morning.  I was definitely feeling Wednesday's workouts.  There are pretty much a chance of thunderstorms in the forecast for the next week.  I have an 18 mile run planned for Saturday.  Fingers crossed the weather cooperates or I'll be headed to a gym somewhere to run on the track or treadmill and well that just sounds dreadful!  I certainly can't skip that one.

Do you ever try to "make up" missed workouts?  Do you sometimes regret it later or are you glad you did?

August 02, 2013

Friday Funny

I'm trying out the stability ball as an office chair...while taking the picture Jack totally photo bombed me lol.  Unfortunately I bought the wrong size ball.  It's a work in progress.