Monday, 23 November 2015

A Cold Start

On the other hand swimming and biking miles give the impression to bank up reckless and stress-free, the jogging side of training seems to be challenging. I’m back with a bit of organised moving since about two weeks. Seven weeks ago I took a full pause after the last competition of the 2015 season – The Koster SwimRun. Since then exercise started sluggish with a virtuous bit of technical emphasis in swimming and some heroic nightly excursions through the local single trail bushlands with the mountain bike.

As I did not spend too much time running, this weekend was about to alter just that. I spend some days around the black forest region with friends. Saturday and Sunday I banked some pretty impressive back-to-back long jogs. To be exact. Not my present form was remarkable, it was more the extraordinary and unexpected snowstorm that caught me while jogging round the Hornisgrinde (1,164 m - 3,820 ft) top. However the winds brought a lot of snowfall, I grinded the trails and off-trail passageways to the very best. Result of that freezing jog was an imposing time round this stunning part of southern Germany.

The snowstorm sheltered almost everything and Sunday called for an additional long one in deep fresh unscathed powder. Simply wonderful!

Tune of the day: Frameworks - Carry On
Read of the day: Warren Cornwall -

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Saturday, 31 October 2015

shoeporn: Mizuno – Wave Kazan 2

57 weeks ago I was in Osaka. If you like running and sports in general it is tough to oversee a pretty evident corporation that was created right here back in 1906. What the Franconia township of Herzogenaurach is for adias or Oregon’s city of Beaverton for Nike, Osaka is for Mizuno. Rihachi Mizuno and his younger brother Rizo originated the trade, that was primarily titled Mizuno Brothers, in the 2,7 Million municipal of Japan’s Kansai district. Still the company has his head office here and sports a bling flagship storehouse that locked me away from further tourist magnetisms around the "nation's kitchen" for quite some time. Besides running as a key market for the brand round Japan and the rest of the world, Mizuno is going strong in golf, tennis, baseball, volleyball, football, running, rugby, skiing, cycling, judo, table tennis, badminton as well as boxing. For me the brand will be always remembered as a major provider for the always eventful Japanese colleague and elite running scene as they offer a range of reasonable road flats all Japanese elites use while training and racing. Two other sportsmen also come into my mind when I think about Mizuno. Tiger Woods played their clubs and won his first major with them back in 1997. Furthermore Czech tennis genius Ivan Lendl is a face that, for me, will eternally be remember with the picturesque, free-flowing, symbol of Mizuno’s Runbird. But just leave the history portion behind and continue to assess their newest creation – The Wave Kazan 2.

The second edition of the off-road based Kazan line.
The name of this shoe hails from the samurai battle standard meaning “...move as swift as the wind, stay as silent as the forest, attack as fierce as fire, and be as undefeatable as the mountain”. At least that is what the official Mizuno website tells me!
They called this sole „X10“. I liked the sturdy carbon rubber and the smooth and safe ride.

As you can undoubtedly decipher by reading the shoes name, this is the second edition of Mizuno’s Kazan model. Hailing from the road running market also the Japanese big player wants his share of the booming trail running market. With the Ascend Modell they attract the market and then advanced their product line towards the Kazan. Now a couple of months after the release of the initial Kazan they gave this model a nice little tune up. Personally I haven’t run in the Kazan but some of my friends did and they seem to be pleased with what they got. It has been a fair while that I experienced a Mizuno shoe. While I was very glad to race with an Ekiden (A spot-on classic in their road running assortment!) road flat several years ago, I somehow missed out on their latest models.

The world famous Runbird logo!
Looking good. A slick and aggresive look. And a lot of orange.
A pretty comfortable durable trail shoe.

The heart of the sole is the Wave technology that is used in most of Mizuno’s running models. It bids an easy-going, tolerating touch, without loosing a dynamic approach too much. All off that adds to a snug sensation on the street as well as on rocks, roots and a diverse set off typical trail characterises. Occasionally, because of the smoothness, it was less responsive, which makes a bit demanding to run higher speeds for too long. Still the sole is somewhat of a great shield with a vast comfort. As you can observe on the images the sole profile is not as forceful as a characteristic trail running shoe. The chunks of little traction segments still do their job and offer grip that can be trusted on. For myself I would not use this shoe for high mountain excursions or Zegama-like undertakings. Saying that, I guess that is not the envisioned playground for the Wave Kazan 2. Grip with this shoe was great and I never experienced any unkind situation while floating around my local technical trails in wet and dry conditions. It is not a racing shoe therefore it is precisely the right choice whilst jogging on a mixt variety of undergrounds. I found the low forefoot height as one of the key benefits and stamps. With my style of running (mostly forefoot) I had good fun.

Versatile and soft cushioned. A pretty sweet all rounder from Osaka!
Nice breathable upper, comfortable fit.
A good looking hybrid shoe with a Runbird at the front.
XtaRide, Mizuno's technical trail concept featuring to design a sole that adapts to the various grounds.

Reading through the formal description of the shoe an undeniable outline sticks out for me. Mizuno defines this shoe as a “door to trail shoe“. For most runners this is accurately what they get and need. Not all of us are blessed to live close to a assortment of weathered, technical trails just besides their doorstep. Most runners have a tiny travel ahead of themselves before they are actually hitting a trail - Same for me. My day-to-day exercise excursions take me throughout a large set of undergrounds - from smooth highways to snaking forest boulevards to narrow single tracks. That’s what I face and what I need a shoe for. Whilst I might loose a bit of vitality on the road I want my shoe to be an straightforward and dependable partner during daily training runs, specifically now that the weather turns rainy. You never know what you face and you need some shoe that helps you even when not everything is noticeable during gloomy runs in the forest after work or to work, a true commuter shoe. That’s what the Kazan 2 knows finest. With its cosy but still vibrant approach he is just the right associate when you need to have command and even when you just jog down a concreted alleyway. Hands down to a great all around training associate.

Sunday, 25 October 2015


Tune of the day: Neroche - Elixir

Monday, 19 October 2015

shoeporn: Hoka OneOne Clifton 2

Following my unexpectedly encouraging encounter with the gigantic swifter that goes by the name of Huaka, I was more then stoked when I received the up-to-the-minute model of yet another Hoka OneOne making. Whereas the Huaka stunned me with its bizarre lightness, the latest reconstruction of the Clifton model was another shocker when I unwrapped the parcel and felt the product.

Enjoy the light ride.

A low heel-toe offset paired with some cushion makes up for pretty epic 230 grams.
With its nimble 235 gram, the latest Clifton 2 can certainly be placed in the so-called “lightweight” rank. Characteristically with this evident hulking product the appearance does not emphasize the weightlessness. I went through all the Hoka OneOne beliefs in my analysis of the Huaka so I will safe you another epic rundown on the typical brand look. Certainly it is a smart marketing hoax, as I have never had more debates about a shoe than I had with this one. No other shoe made friends and strangers more questioning. No other time I have seen folks more enthralled when they lift up an enormous chunk of foam in size 13. People think they are going to lift somewhat weighty.

The Clifton 2 carries over the same midsole and outsole from its older brother.

Ultra-Lightweight No-Sew Speed Frame Construction
As the original Clifton received positive feedback along all assays I came across plus Running Warehouse identified it as their top selling shoe in 2014, the update of such a success story shaped high expectations. I never jogged the Clifton so I cannot relate my experiences with this shoe to the former model. Nonetheless I saw the Clifton in the shops and therefore remembered the look. The first big change I noticed was the upper material. With version two the Clifton received a much required renovate. Present the Clifton 2 is looks generally enhanced, durable and firm. While it seems to be a bit stiff and inflexible I never had any issues. Unlike the Huaka the sole is a thicker and does not consist of a squeaky, reedy neoprene tongue. I like the latest tongue more as it adds to the general comfort without being too fluffy. The tongue adds to the general comfy sensation of this shoe.

The base for a smooth and soft ride.

 Geometry: Offset: 5 mm - Forefoot: 24 mm - Heel: 29 mm

Exposed CMEVA foam with strategically placed harder rubber zones
 Understandably the sole is the heart of every running shoe. Amid Hoka OneOne goods it is even more identifiable. The distinctive oversize full-length CMEVA foam midsole paired with the meta-rocker geometry is the centre of attention. Until now I ran more then 200 training kilometres in the Clifton 2 and still the shoe surprises me. While the sole offers much cushion it still gives you a great control and feel. No matter if you are a forefoot striker or middle, I found the shoe to be dynamic and direct. Note that this shoe is made for a neutral pronation. Additional midfoot overlays create a stable yet responsive feeling. Its fun to run the shoe and the feeling of running fast in such a cushioned shoe is unmatched in my running career. I have never had such a distinctive and dynamic feel. Finishing a long run with relaxed calves is pretty interesting. While the sole structure I a cleverly made, the outsole seems not to have the best durability. Although the upper is spot on and unimpressed by all the training, the wear of the sole is clearly visible. Though there is no harm or change to the responsiveness of the shoe, it could be an issue for some runners. As I run the shoe mostly during road workouts I have no issues with the loose of sole material.

And yet another time Hoka got me as I fully dig the lightweight, comfort and the high-mileage performance of the Clifton 2.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Racereport 2015-14: Koster SwimRun - The Petter Invitational

Petter's season finale was a blast - kulpåvägen! Read my piece for
“That almost certainly made the difference!” Simon Börjesson was smiling as he filled his bowl with more fish soup. He and partner Rasmus Regnstrand were the only team that did not use paddles and pull buoys. After a bit more than 2 hours and 46 minutes, team “Addnature Östersjösvimmet“ was the first to reach the finish line, even without help from floating devices during the swims across the cold Baltic Sea. At some point during the pre-race dinner, they even had discussions about not using shoes during the race. Luckily the Swedish duo decided to keep their feet covered, but they did take their shoes off during the longer swims. In the end, their simple approach to SwimRun racing brought them the prestigious win in the inaugural Koster SwimRun. No one had faster transitions between the swims and runs. Börjesson and Regnstrand were speedy in and out of the rough, rocky terrain and used their streamlined approach to gain ground on the competition.

Picture: Nadja Odenhage of

Twenty-six transitions across the southern and northern Koster Islands were on the schedule as Swedish hip-hop legend Petter set up a season closing party that could not have been better. The islets, 10km west of the Swedish harbor city of Strömstad, are home to Petter during the summer. The stunning scenery, dominated by bedrock and evidence of volcanic activity, inspired Petter to create a race across the renowned holiday islands. The rocky coastline is scattered with many sandy beaches and small fjords, making it ideal for the sport of SwimRun. After days of heavy winds and rough waves, Saturday’s weather was sunny and mild as 50 teams took on 7km of swimming and 16km of running.

Picture: Nadja Odenhage of

A relatively high percentage of swim distance combined with many transitions shaped an unusual kind of race. During the pre-race briefing, Petter talked the athletes through the course but added that he hoped that “no one is too worn out after the race. I want to have a proper season closing party here!” The technically challenging course required full concentration and a measure of bravery, as racers had to jump from cliffs into the sea at some points. The day finished in a local hotel with a wonderful post-race dinner and a memorable session at the bar. Petter’s first Koster SwimRun was a great finish to a thrilling season!
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