Archive for the ‘Best of’Category

Ryan Hall & Sara Hall To Run ASICS LA Marathon

ASICS LA Marathon Hosts USATF Marathon Championships

The ASICS LA Marathon finish. (Photo: LA Marathon)

As I stare at the remnants of Blizzard Juno out my window, I’m doing a little California dreaming. The ASICS LA Marathon announced yesterday its elite field for the 30th edition of the race on Sunday, March 15—the runners who will be competing for the 2015 USATF Marathon Championships title on the famous “Stadium to Sea” course.

The ASICS LA Marathon has been upping its professional presence in recent years. This year the race is hosting the USATF Marathon Championships and in 2016 will become home to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. Expect to be hearing a lot about LA in the year to come.

Headlining LA’s pro field in 2015 are Ryan Hall and Sara Hall. The married California natives—who now live and train with Team Run Flagstaff in Arizona—will be running LA for the first time. The race also marks Sara’s marathon debut.

But they won’t be alone—all told 61 Americans will be competing in the USA Track & Field Marathon Championships, which will run concurrently within the larger LA Marathon event. It’s no accident that the national championships are in the same city where the 2016 Olympic Trials will be held. It’s a chance for pro runners to familiarize themselves with LA’s streets before a shot at Olympic glory.

27

Jan 2015

Airbnb Brooklyn Half 2015 Registration Opens

Airbnb Brooklyn Half 2015 Registration Opens

The Airbnb Brooklyn Half (Photo: Courtesy NYRR)

Runners, get ready! Registration for the Airbnb Brooklyn Half 2015 opens Wednesday, January 21 at 12 p.m. EST. Race day is Saturday, May 16 at 7 a.m. In 2014, this race sold out inside of 48 hours. So if you want in, make sure to register sooner than later.

Airbnb Brooklyn Half 2015 Registration Opens

The Brooklyn Half Finish (Photo: nyrr_ontherun/Instagram)

The Brooklyn Half is one of my favorite races of the year. The last two years I hosted a special episode of NYRR’s “On The Run” on ABC in New York, and I’ve run the half-marathon in years prior. (I now freelance for NYRR as a race announcer.)

The Brooklyn Half is now the largest 13.1-mile race in the U.S. with 25,642 finishers in 2014, and NYRR is promising an even bigger crowd for 2015.

Part of NYRR’s Five Borough Series, the race starts outside the Brooklyn Museum and takes runners through Grand Army Plaza and Prospect Park to finish on the Coney Island Boardwalk. Read the rest of this entry →

How To Run America’s 20 Biggest Marathons in 2015

How To Run America's Biggest Marathons in 2015

The finish of the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon (Photo: Courtesy of NYRR)

Registration for the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon lottery opened on Thursday, January 15, which means one thing: marathon registration season is here!

Here’s how and when to register for the 20 biggest marathons in the U.S. Some of them are even among the biggest marathons in the world. And guess what? Most of them sell out before race day.

Half-marathoners, keep in mind that many of these events have 13.1-mile races the same weekend. So if you don’t want to go 26.2, you’ve still got options.

20 Biggest Marathons in the U.S.

1. TCS New York City Marathon

New York
50,266 finishers in 2013
#1 in the U.S. and #1 in the world
Next race: November 1, 2015
Registration: Lottery open now until February 15, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Drawing is March 3, 2015. Charity entries will become available in March through most groups. Entry via Team For Kids available now. Entry via International Travel Partners will also be available.
Half Marathon? No

2. Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Illinois
38,879 finishers in 2013
#2 in the U.S. and #2 in the world
Next Race: October 11, 2015
RegistrationLottery TBA. Charity entries will be available.
Half Marathon? No

3. Marine Corps Marathon

Washington, D.C.
23,380 finishers in 2013
#3 in the U.S. and #8 in the world
Next Race: October 25, 2015
RegistrationLottery opens March 13-22, 2015. Selected runners will be notified on March 25. Charity entries will available. Bib transfers will also be available.
Half Marathon? No

4. Honolulu Marathon

Hawaii
22,064 finishers in 2013
#4 in the U.S. and #9 in the world
Next Race: December 13, 2015
RegistrationOpen now for Hawaii residents. Opens January 19 for U.S. and Canadian residents. Not a lottery and no field cap, so it doesn’t sell out.
Half Marathon? No

5. Walt Disney World Marathon

Florida
20,734 finishers in 2013
#5 in the U.S. and #10 in the world
Next Race: January 10, 2016
RegistrationOpens April 28, 2015. Not a lottery, but the 2014 race sold out in August in just under four months.
Half Marathon? Yes. Registration opens at the same time as the marathon. Run both and get a special medal for completing Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge. Read the rest of this entry →

Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend By The Numbers

Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend By The Numbers

Star Wars takes over Disneyland. (Photo: Disney/Ali Nasser)

The inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend presented by Sierra Nevada Corporation takes runners to a galaxy far, far away from January 15-18, 2015 at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.

Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend By The Numbers

Finisher medals (runDisney)

The new Star Wars-themed race weekend includes the title Star Wars Half Marathon, Star Wars 10K, Star Wars 5K, runDisney Kids Races and the two-day Star Wars Rebel Challenge, where runners complete the 10K and half-marathon on back-to-back days. All told 23,000 runners are scheduled to take part in the races, with many of them registered for multiple events.

Runners earn finisher medals themed to the franchise, with characters from the movies appearing along the course.

Here’s a look at runDisney’s newest race weekend by the numbers.

Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend By The Numbers

209,000—runners who take part in runDisney events each year

28,950—registrations for the inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend

12,200—runners registered for the Star Wars Half Marathon Read the rest of this entry →

Walt Disney World Marathon 2015 By The Numbers

Walt Disney World Marathon 2015 By The Numbers

Angela Brito of Ecuador is the first female at the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon. (Preston Mack/Disney, photographer)

The Walt Disney World Marathon 2015 Weekend presented by Cigna from January 7-11 at Walt Disney World in Florida wraps up Sunday with the title event, a 26.2-mile tour of Mickey Mouse’s realm.

Walt Disney World Marathon 2015 By The Numbers

The medal haul from the Dopey Challenge. (Photo: runDisney)

The four-day extravaganza is the largest running festival in the U.S. with 84,150 registrations and an estimated 65,000 finishers in the weekend’s five events: Walt Disney World Marathon, Walt Disney World Half Marathon, Walt Disney World 10K, Walt Disney World 5K and runDisney Kids Races.

Here’s a look at Mickey Mouse’s favorite race by the numbers.

Walt Disney World Marathon 2015 By The Numbers

209,000—runners who take part in runDisney events each year

84,150—registrations for the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

50,000—estimated number of spectators

26,700—runners registered for the Walt Disney World Marathon Read the rest of this entry →

How To Make A Disney Belle Running Costume

How To Make A "Beauty & The Beast" Belle Running Costume

My Belle costume (RunKarlaRun.com)

Do you want adventure in the great wide somewhere? Do you want it more than you can tell? You might be a Belle!

One year ago today, I put together this Belle running costume for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna. Over the last two years, I’ve run every race at that event—the marathon in 2013 and the 5K, 10K and half-marathon in 2014—and in costume too.

I’ve already showed you how I made my Cinderella in Rags and Jacques the Mouse costumes from the 2013 marathon and my pink Cinderella dress from the 2014 half-marathon.

Now, heeeeeeeere’s Beauty and the Beast‘s Belle!

I wore Belle’s blue “provincial” dress at the inaugural Walt Disney World 10K. Apart from Aladdin‘s Jasmine, this might be the most basic of all the costumes I’ve made. It also might be the most sewing I’ve ever done. That said, it was all hand-stitched in one evening and I have zero sewing skills. I mean, I never even took home economic. If I can do it, anyone can.

How To Make "Beauty & The Beast" Belle Running Costume

Bookworm Belle

Last year, I waxed poetic about why I chose to run as “provincial” Belle. To me, her blue dress represents the bookworm Belle who dreams of adventure. And that’s the aspect of Belle I’ve always identified with.

But I also chose this costume because it’s really easy to run in. If you have brown or auburn hair like me, no wig is necessary. In this look, Belle’s hair is pulled back, which I prefer when I run. And if you forgo a basket and book, this costume doesn’t need any props. It was made for running.

How To Make A “Beauty & The Beast” Blue Belle Running Costume

Gather all the pieces for the costume. The sewing tools I used were:

Walt Disney World 10K

After the Walt Disney World 10K (Photo: MarathonFoto.com)

1. Needle and thread

2. Safety pins

The costume items I used are:

1. Sparkle skirt

2. Blue shorts

3. Old pillowcase for apron

4. Ribbon for apron

5. Sparkle fabric for shirt

6. Old T-shirt for blouse

7. Sparkle Sleeves (It was SO hot and humid on race day, I ended up not wearing them)

8. Sparkle Wrist Bands

9. Fabric remnants for bow

10. Running shoes with bows Read the rest of this entry →

How To Buy New Balance Disney Running Shoes in 2015

How To Buy New Balance Disney Running Shoes in 2015

The 2015 Retro Mickey and Minnie shoes (runDisney)

UPDATE 1/14/15: Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend

Runners can sign up at nbvirtualqueue.com using their bib numbers starting at 6 a.m. Thursday, January 15 for an early chance to buy the shoes at the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend Health & Fitness Expo. Everyone else (and runners too) can sign up at 6 a.m. on Friday, January 16 and Saturday, January 17. The queue is first come, first served. Scroll down for more info on buying the New Balance Disney running shoes.

2015 Disney Running Shoes Unveiled

The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna from January 7-11 is just around the corner, which means the arrival of the 2015 New Balance Disney running shoes!

How To Buy New Balance Disney Running Shoes in 2015

2015 Retro Minnie Shoes (runDisney)

New Balance announced they’re releasing a new limited edition runDisney shoe for 2015: Retro Mickey and Retro Minnie 990v3 inspired by Steamboat Willie, the black and white film that introduced the iconic mice to the world in 1928. The new pairs of kicks (above) debut at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Health & Fitness Expo starting January 7.

The black and white shoes in men’s sizes ranging from 7 to 15, and grey and white in women’s sizes ranging from 5.5 to 12, have musical notes on the front sole, images of Mickey and Minnie, character signatures and Mickey heads on the liners. They will sell for $185. Check out a 360 degree view of the shoes and scroll to find out how to buy them.

How To Buy New Balance Disney Running Shoes in 2015

The 2014 shoes

2014 Disney Running Shoes Return

Didn’t get your hands on any of the 2014 shoes? Not to worry! New Balance is bringing them back to the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna in Florida and Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend presented by Sierra Nevada Corporation from January 15-18 at Disneyland in California. That includes the stability 860v4 Sorcerer Mickey & Pink Minnie Disney running shoes and the neutral 890v4 Goofy & Cinderella Disney running shoes.

How To Buy New Balance Disney Running Shoes in 2015

Want to snap up a pair of the 2014 or 2015 Disney running shoes? They’re only available at runDisney race expos throughout the year. Your first chance is coming up soon at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.

The only way to get a spot to buy the shoes is through NBvirtualqueue.com. At Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, two of the four expo sales days are reserved exclusively for runners, with the general public able to make an appointment to buy shoes during the other two days. Read the rest of this entry →

Best Running Gear Of The Year: Karla’s Favorites

Favorite Gear of the Year

Running in some of my favorite gear of the year. (Phil Hospod)

Christmas is right around the corner and New Year’s isn’t far behind. Putting together a wish list for your running resolutions? Still need a gift? Here is my favorite running gear of 2014.

The products on this list are the best clothes, gadgets and running gear that I’ve tried this year. There are more than 50 items from more than 25 brands. For every item here, I’ve sampled another two or three things that didn’t make the cut, including products in every category. Companies send me loads of samples, many unsolicited, and I often receive products in swag bags at races and events. So I didn’t buy anything you see here. I also don’t keep most of what I receive.

But if it’s on this list, I officially own it and love it—I don’t list anything I haven’t used myself. In clothing, I’ve tried the women’s versions, but many come in men’s options too. And I’ve included the list prices, though you’ll find many items for less than that.

Also, if it’s been in a past gift or gear guide of mine, I didn’t include it here. But many of the products I highlighted in the days of yore are still available. So here are my gift guides from 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2009.

Looking for running shoes? The Best Running Shoes? A Guide To 10 Neutral Pairs.

Looking for triathlon gear? Triathlon Gear List For Runners, Beginners and Beyond.

Without further ado, here is all of my favorite running gear of the year.

Favorite Running Gear of 2014

Digital Gadgets

Favorite Running Gear of the year

Bia Multi-Sport GPS Watch

Bia GPS Sports Watch, $279

Bia is a new two-piece device consisting of an ultra-light, slim wrist piece paired with a GPS “Go Stick” that clips onto your top, waist-band, visor or anywhere else you want to wear it. The Go Stick is the brains of the operation with an SOS safety alert, fast-connecting GPS, automatic uploads to your training log, and multi-sport functionality.

Run, swim, bike or do all three in one workout. And with live tracking, your friends and family can follow you on race-day or when you’re along in a remote area. I tested it while I ran the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco, and it worked wonderfully. Best of all, Bia comes in six fun colors. I have it in purple. Stay tuned for my full review.

Favorite Running Gear of the Year

Timex Ironman Run x20

Timex Ironman Run x20 GPS, $100

Are you looking for a small, simple, and streamlined GPS watch? Look no further than Timex Run x20. In three bright colors plus basic black, this watch is the antidote to the big, bulky, expensive GPS watch with features you never use.

Instead, you get the features you really need: reliable GPS workout timing with speed, pace, and distance; run/walk timer; interval timer; stopwatch; automated pace alerts; night-light; alarm; and water resistance up to 50 meters. The interface and menus are supremely easy to use. Plus, it’s really easy on the eyes.

Best Gifts For Runners 2014

Nike Fuelband

Nike+ Fuelband SE, $99

The Nike+ Fuelband SE is the first fitness tracker that I’ve tried, so I have no basis for comparison. That said, I love it (and I’ve tried a few other watches and gadgets this year that I can’t say the same about).

I work from home, so I don’t take nearly as many steps in my daily “commute” as most folks. In other words, if I’m not running, I barely move from my desk chair. Wearing the Nike+ Fuelband has shown me just how little activity I really have in a day unless I make a conscious effort to get up and move more. Thankfully, the Fuelband reminds me when to move, tracking my steps, Fuelband “points,” calories, and more. It’s motivated me to make my days more active outside of my workouts. That’s a win!

Favorite Running Gear of the Year

Koss FitClips

Koss FitClips and FitBuds, $30

Headphones made for women, by women in five fun colors and two styles—clips or buds. With three different ear cushion sizes to choose from, Koss FitClips fit my ears perfectly and stay put during sweaty runs. The FitBuds do too. Plus, they’re comfortable. I barely notice they’re there, even the around-the-ear clips. And they’re super light too. Once I got these, I handed my old black and red headphones to my husband with a, “Here. You can have these.” FitClips are it for me now! Read the rest of this entry →

20 Running Tips For Winter, Streaking + Negative Splits

Running Tips For Winter, Streaking + Negative Splits

Running in Canada (RunKarlaRun.com)

Winter is here and it can be hard to stay motivated on cold, snowy, dark-too-early days. But in the last few years, I’ve found that winter is one of my favorite times to train. Where I used to hibernate over the holidays, I’ve grown to love winter runs. Marrying a Canadian will do that to you. Don’t get me wrong: there are few things I hate more than running in 38-degree rain. But I find the mix of cold, brisk outdoors runs and focused treadmill work on a dark evening more invigorating than the summertime equivalent of sweltering, humid outdoor runs or treadmill workouts when it’s bright and sunny, but too hot outside.

So here are a few of my latest stories at SHAPE.com meant to pump you up for winter running, with lots of running tips from experts in the know.

Running Tips For Winter, Streaking + Negative Splits

Rocking my run streak in New York City’s Central Park. (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

Your Guide to Cold Weather Running

Don’t let frigid temps stop you from getting the most out of a workout! From warm-up exercises to running essentials and how to adjust your stride, follow these 10 running tips to make the most out of your winter run.

Read all 10 tips at SHAPE.com.

How to Complete a “Running Streak”—Safely

Holiday running streaks are popular. I know, I’ve done two myself, logging 46 days in a row at the longest. But running every day certainly isn’t for everyone. Experts explain how to make this winter motivation strategy a healthy—not harmful—habit with key running tips.

Check it out at SHAPE.com.

Running Tips For Winter, Streaking + Negative Splits--Race Report: GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon 2014

Victory in Philadelphia (RunKarlaRun.com)

5 Tips to Run Negative Splits For Positive Results

I ran a 4-minute negative split at the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon to run my fastest 13.1 in more than two years. And I did it after writing this article. These running tips from expert coaches were in my head the entire race. In other words, they really work. I even got a new mantra from it: Last Mile, Fastest Mile. Training your body to start slow will help you finish faster (and happier!) at your next race.

Learn how you can do it too at SHAPE.com. Read the rest of this entry →

Run A Thanksgiving Turkey Trot or Food-Themed Race

Run A Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot Or Food-Themed Race

Capital One Bank Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot (Photo courtesy of Dallas YMCA)

Ah, Thanksgiving and food. They go together like mashed potatoes and gravy. Thankfully, running and Thanksgiving also go hand-in-Turkey-feathered-hand. Why not earn your dinner at a Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot? I ran a PR at a Turkey Trot last year and won an amazing box of cat goodies…even though I don’t own a cat. Hey, always happy to win anything at all.

Or better yet, eat and run at the same time at one of North America’s craziest food-themed races. What’s in it for you? Chocolate martinis, lemonade and beer, and homemade Twinkies, just to name a few things. I picked the cream of the crop for SHAPE.com.

America’s Best Turkey Trots

Run A Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot Or Food-Themed Race

A pair of turkeys at the Buffalo YMCA Turkey Trot (Photo courtesy of Buffalo-Niagara YMCA)

Did you know there are 1,300 Thanksgiving-themed races in the U.S.? It’s the busiest running day of the year thanks to an abundance of Turkey Trots from coast to coast. I picked 10 of the oldest, biggest, and best to add to your bucket list. One of them is older than the Boston Marathon. Two of them give out whole pies at the finish. Yum!

Read about them all at America’s Best Turkey Trots on SHAPE.com.

10 Food-Fueled Races Around the Country

Run A Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot Or Food-Themed Race

The NYC Pizza Run (Photo courtesy of NYC Pizza Run)

Interested in more than pie and turkey? These races put food front and center, including bacon, chocolate, corn dogs, cupcakes, doughnuts, pizza and more. Yes, you read that right: bacon. You’re welcome.

Check them out at 10 Food-Fueled Races Around the Country at SHAPE.com.

How To Make An Aladdin & Jasmine Running Costume

How To Make Aladdin & Jasmine Running Costume

A Whole New World of running costumes! (Photo: Marathon Foto)

In honor of the 2014 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon, I thought I’d share how I put together an Aladdin and Jasmine running costume for my husband and me. We dressed as the duo at the 2013 race, and had a blast in the process.

Aladdin and Jasmine were definitely the easiest of the running costumes I’ve put together:

Cinderella and Prince Charming

Cinderella in Rags and Jacques the Mouse

Cinderella in Pink

Beauty and the Beast‘s Belle in Blue

The Hunchback of Notre Dame‘s Esmeralda

Honestly, this is a costume that anyone could make. If you want to put together your own Jasmine and Aladdin Disney running costumes, here’s my step-by-step “How To.”

How To Make An Aladdin & Jasmine Running CostumeHow To Make A Jasmine Running Costume

Gather all the pieces you need to transform into Jasmine. I have zero background in sewing, so the sewing tools I used are:

1. Needle and thread

2. Safety pins

3. Double-sided tape

4. Scissors

The costume items I used are:

1. Harem pants

2. Shorts

3. Tank top

4. Neck gaiter

5. Ribbon Read the rest of this entry →

Night Runs, Costume Races & Mile Runs, Oh My!

Costume Races, Night Runs, Mile Races, Oh My!

NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile (Photo: Phil Hospod)

Looking to change-up your racing calendar? Check out three of my recent stories at SHAPE.com. I picked 10 mile runs, 10 costume races and 10 night runs around the U.S. Many of them aren’t even single race weekends, but running series with multiple events all over the country and the world. So forget long runs, basic black tanks, and early morning alarms. Switch it up with a mile dash, costumed caper or run that finishes after twilight.

Costume Races, Night Runs, Mile Races, Oh My!

Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & Half Marathon (Courtesy of Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series

Who hates early race morning alarms? I do! So make like Darth Vader and give yourself to the dark side at these runs that go bump in the night. From Disney to the desert, Los Angeles to Las Vegas, Energizer Night Run to Electric Run, glow powder to illuminations, these races—from 5K to 75K, trail and road events, fun runs and more—will keep you up at night. And yes, Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon is on the list—one of my all-time favorite races!

Costume Races, Night Runs, Mile Races, Oh My!

The Chiditarod in Chicago (Photo: Kirstie Shanley)

I loves me a running costume. So I picked 10 top costume races—some of them are multi-race series around the year and the country—where runners get their get-up on. From dashing Disney characters, galloping gorillas and sprinting Santas to centipedes, shopping carts, and barely there underwear, I want to run every single one of these. So many costume ideas…
Read the rest of this entry →

Trail Running For Road Runners: A Humorist’s Take

Trail Running For Road Runners: A Humorist's Take

Six mile cross country run of South Atlantic AAU at College Park (Photo: Library of Congress)

Please welcome my good friend, trail runner and humorist S.H. Carlyle, who is contributing to RunKarlaRun.com for the first time! In October 2013, he took over my Twitter feed while I ran the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon with a comedic look at the race. Now he’s back with his take on trail running. I apologize in advance to my Australian friends. Enjoy!

Trail Running: An Introduction

By S.H. Carlyle

If you’re an experienced road runner (which I am not) who knows a great deal about race strategy, pacing, and hi-tech fabrics (which I don’t), then you’ll no doubt be skeptical, but intrigued, about trail running.

Much like NASCAR or Australia, trail running was invented by criminals. Its genesis lies in old cross-country races when runners would attempt to cheat by taking shortcuts through the woods. While many early adopters were mistaken for wild game and shot, the sport soon took hold as a viable and fun alternative to road running.

Trail Running: A Humorist's Introduction

A Fight With a Grizly [sic] Bear, circa 1850-1860 (Library of Congress)

The biggest challenge for road runners moving into trail running is the transition to varied terrain and the difference in ambient variables. As most people know, forests are filled with murderous bears. Note that you do not have to outrun a bear, you simply have to outrun the person next to you, which is why trail running encourages runners to trip fellow competitors and push them down in the case of bear attacks. Read the rest of this entry →

22

Oct 2014

On Track w/Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco

On Track With Nike Women's Half Marathon San Francisco

Training with Nike at Icahn Stadium (Nike)

Today is my five-year blogiversary! And I’m celebrating the best way I know how: going for a run. On Sunday, October 19 I’m running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco as part of a Nike media group. When I cross the finish line and earn my Tiffany & Co. necklace, it will be a reminder of just how far I’ve come since I launched “Run, Karla, Run!” back in 2009. And how far we’ve all come together.

Before the 2009 Chicago Marathon from On Track With The Nike Women's Marathon

Before the 2009 Chicago Marathon. (RunKarlaRun.com)

It’s appropriate that my five-year anniversary is occurring around a race. My very first post was about running the 2009 Bank of Chicago Marathon on the anniversary of my father’s death. I’m from Chicago and the course runs right past my dad’s old office, a place I spent many weekends growing up. Running that race on that day in that city was bittersweet for me. You can read that first post, and its follow-up if you’re curious.

Chicago's Merchandise Mart from On Track With Nike Women's Half Marathon San Francisco

Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, where my dad worked. (Phil Hospod)

But opening my blog with a post about the town where I got my start as a writer—on my high school newspaper, where I eventually served as editor-in-chief— was a fitting beginning to my career as a running reporter, which has taken me from Chicago and my home in New York City to places I never would have dreamed of five years ago: to far-flung locales like Israel, Peru and the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, to new career frontiers like hosting a web and TV show for New York Road Runners on ABC in New York, to seeing my byline in publications like SHAPE and Canadian Running, RunnersWorld.com and Active.com, and right here on RunKarlaRun.com.

Now, I’m off to my first race in San Francisco. Rather than try to PR on the city’s fierce hills, I’m going to use the Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco as a litmus test. This time, it’s all about my marathon pace for the upcoming GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon in November. Can I run 13.1 miles at my goal marathon pace? If I can, will it feel easy enough? It’s time to find out.

On Track With The Nike Women's Half Marathon San Francisco

Stretching (Nike)

Lessons From The Track

Last month, I hit the track with a Nike+ NYC training group, including some of the ladies who are joining me in San Francisco. We ventured to Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island in New York City where we ran a workout led by Nike+ Head Coach Chris Bennett. It consisted of a warm-up, dynamic stretches and drills, strides across the infield, a speed workout on the track, cool down and foam rolling. Read the rest of this entry →

The Best Running Shoes? A Guide To 10 Neutral Pairs

The Best Running Shoes? A Rundown

New Balance Fresh Foam Trail shoes in action at Machu Picchu in Peru. (Phil Hospod)

One of the most common questions people ask me is: “What are the best running shoes?” Variations include: “What running shoes do you wear?” “What’s your favorite brand of running shoes?” and “Who makes the best running shoes?”

My answer is always the same. There is no one best kind, or pair, or brand of running shoes. What works for one runner might not work for someone else. And what worked for one runner a year ago may no longer work for them now. We all have different foot shapes, sizes, gaits, body weights, stride lengths, form, muscle weakness, imbalances, strengths, injuries and all the other things that affect how we run. And even then, it’s good to rotate your shoes and wear different types of shoes for different types of workouts. Brian Metzler at Competitor wrote a great column about it: Why You Should Have A Quiver Of Running Shoes.

And yet, we’re all on the quest for the perfect shoe. I’m no exception. I was once fiercely loyal to Mizuno’s Wave Rider, until they dramatically changed the shoe and it was no longer my personal glass slipper. Since then I’ve worn other pairs of Mizuno, ASICS, Nike, New Balance, K-Swiss and Saucony searching for that perfect pair. Here’s what I’ve found in 2014.

The Best Running Shoes? A Rundown of 10 Pairs: New Balance runDisney Shoe

New Balance 890v4 runDisney Cinderella shoes

Karla’s Best Running Shoes of 2014

I’ve tried 30 pairs of running shoes in the last year. What can I say? I really like shoes. I am a Cinderella runner after all. Athletic companies sent complimentary pairs of some for me to try. Others I purchased myself. Some I took for a treadmill run or two only to return them because they didn’t work for me. Others, I kept to test on the road. Among those, I give some away once I decide they’re not for me. But I keep the best of the rest.

These are the 10 best running shoes of the bunch for me. Keep in mind that these are all neutral shoes and I am a neutral runner with high arches. If you have low arches, wear a stability or motion-control shoes, these may or may not work for you. (Need to learn more? Read: Gait Analysis For The Nike Women’s Half Marathon SF)

All the shoe vitals are for the women’s version as provided by each respective manufacturer. I tried each pair in a women’s size 9 and I’ve listed them by brand. Happy shoe shopping!

The Best Running Shoes? A Rundown

ASICS Gel-Kinsei 5

ASICS Gel-Kinsei 5

MSP: $200
Weight: 9.4 oz
Drop (from heel to forefoot): 10mm
Colorways: 8

I bought the Gel-Kinsei looking for a sturdy trainer for marathon and half-marathon training. I got more than I bargained for. Read the rest of this entry →

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