Race Report: Gore-Tex Philadelphia Half Marathon 2014

Race Report: Philadelphia Half Marathon 2014

The start (Island Photo)

I ran the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon 2014 as a guest of race sponsor GORE-TEX, returning to the City of Brotherly Run and Sisterly Endurance for the second time as a runner. I’d scored a personal best at the Philadelphia Marathon in 2012 and I was back to give the Philadelphia Half Marathon a go on Sunday, November 23. Meanwhile, my husband Phil was out to run his fastest marathon ever.

Race Report: GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon 2014

The City of Brotherly Love (Island Photo)

The event is a big city race with a small town feel. Unlike more crowded marathons in New York and Chicago, runners wander into corrals just 15 minutes or so before the race’s 7 a.m. start. The vibe is relaxed and unhurried. It feels like the city simply wants you to relax and have a good time. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter is at the start and the finish passing out high-fives to runners, setting the tone for a friendly, mostly flat and fast course.

Nearly 25,000 runners finished races at the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon Weekend, with 12,795 finishers in the half-marathon, another 10,364 in the marathon, and 1,699 in the 8K. And approximately 60,000 spectators lined the course to cheer us on.

Travel

Phil and I stayed at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, which was perfectly located for the race and touring the city. We arrived late Friday night, and ate breakfast on Saturday at the delicious Dutch Eating Place at the famous Reading Terminal Market right across the street from the hotel.

Race Report: GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon 2014

Dutch Eating Place (RunKarlaRun.com

It isn’t a trip to Philly without Amish baked treats like a grilled Sticky Bun. Yum! Then we were off to the expo just next door.

I headed back to the market later in the day for a blogger meet-up with Katherine at Food, Fitness, Fantasy, Jen at The Final Forty, Mer at Scoot a Doot, and Vic at Scoot a Doot. It was so great to finally meet these ladies after reading their blogs over the years!

Race Report: Philadelphia Half Marathon 2014

Bloggers! Courtesy of (Katherine Rautenberg)

The Marriott was about a mile to the start of the race, so you could easily walk or cab if you wanted to save your legs like we did. On Saturday after the meet-up, we headed to the Rodin Museum near the start and then out to dinner in Center City.

Race Report: GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon 2014

The Thinker at the Rodin Musuem (RunKarlaRun.com)

It was all walkable from our hotel (though we cabbed to the museum because it was raining).

On Sunday after the race we walked back to the hotel, showered, and returned to the market for some post-race cheese steaks, cannolis and other goodies. It really was a great location to stay as a running tourist.

Race Report: GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon 2014

Bib in hand! (RunKarlaRun.com)

GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon 2014 Expo

We got the expo when it opened at 10 a.m. on Saturday to get our bibs and check out the vendors. Read the rest of this entry →

07

Dec 2014

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.

GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon Goals & Meet-Up

Running the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon

Pausing for a photo opp just before a PR finish at the 2012 Philadelphia Marathon. (RunKarlaRun.com)

My bags are packed and I’m ready to go! The GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon is on Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! I’m running on behalf of Team GORE-TEX, and I’m getting really pumped to return to Philly. This will be my first trip back to the city since I ran the Philadelphia Marathon in 2012.

As I detailed in my last training update, I’ve decided to run the half instead of the marathon. But that hasn’t dampened my excitement at all. It’s funny, I’m not looking at this as a big goal race anymore–since I missed three key weeks of training and have only been back at it for two weeks. Yet I’m still getting the familiar butterflies in my stomach when I think about standing in the cold, bib pinned in place, ready to run. I love that I still get nervous with anticipation for every race. As we head into Thanksgiving, it reminds me to be grateful for every start. Especially when they look like this!

Philadelphia Marathon and Philadelphia Half Marathon Start

The Philadelphia Marathon and Half Marathon Start. (Photo: Philadelphia Marathon)

GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon Goals

So what are my goals for this race? They’re pretty simple:

1) Run as hard as I can.

I know this won’t be a PR race for me. I’m not even close to PR shape. But I still want to run the hardest race I’m able to on Sunday.

2) Finish strong

In other words: don’t crash and burn. I want to run smart: go out conservatively, hang on through the hills at Mile 8 and Mile 10, then let it rip until I cross the finish line.

3) Enjoy it Read the rest of this entry →

21

Nov 2014

Brooklyn Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon Coming In 2015

Brooklyn Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon Coming in 2015

The Rock ‘n’ Roll 10K in Brooklyn (Competitor Group, Inc)

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series announced they’re turning the Brooklyn Rock ‘n’ Roll 10K into a full-fledged half-marathon in October 2015.

The official date and course have yet to be released, but it will likely once again make use of Prospect Park with an expected field of 20,000 runners. Bands will line the course at every mile and runners can celebrate with beers at the finish line concert. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series puts on about 30 events every year, each with music as the main feature.

Brooklyn Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon Coming in 2015

Runners at Grand Army Plaza (Competitor Group, Inc)

The headliner has yet to be announced, but Rock ‘n’ Roll events in 2014 saw performances by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Aloe Blacc, Chromeo, Phillip Phillips and the cast of ABC’s Nashville.

Two local race organizations—New York Road Runners and NYCRUNS (companies I have worked with as a freelancer)—already operate distance races in the borough.

The NYRR Brooklyn Half in May—a race I have worked the last two years as host of NYRR’s On The Run—is the largest half-marathon in the U.S. with a sold-out field of more than 25,000 finishers.

Will a Brooklyn Rock ‘n’ Roll event in the fall put a dent in that number? Read the rest of this entry →

19

Nov 2014

Your Guides To Compression Socks and Fitness Fabrics

Your Guide To Compression Socks and Fitness Fabrics

Compression socks and fitness fabrics, explained

In addition to fun race roundups like Night Runs, Costumes Races and Mile Runs and 60 Destination Races For Your Next Runcation, I’ve also been writing about the science of sweat and fitness fashion for SHAPE.com. I learned a lot doing these two stories that break down what we wear and why we wear them when we run.

best gifts for runners

Asics Printed Calf Sleeve

Your Guide to Compression Running Gear

You’ve seen countless runners sporting them at races, maybe you even wear them yourself, but what exactly do compression socks do?

From compression socks, recovery socks, calf sleeves, arm sleeves, tights and shorts to tops, I looked at what each piece of compression gear claims to do, and whether or not research backs it up.

I also picked my faves in each category. For the record, I loves me some compression socks. I’ve got six pairs. Read the rest of this entry →

GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon Training Update

GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon Training Update

Training in my Gore Running Gear (RunKarlaRun.com)

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted a GORE-Tex Philadelphia Marathon training update. I’m running the race with Team Gore, and training was going well. Gore helped me gear up for the race with Gore Running Wear and GORE-TEX Saucony shoes. The sky was blue and birds were singing. In other words, all was right in my world.

But on October 20, my GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon training came to a screeching halt.

Skin Scare

During my bi-annual skin check in September, my dermatologist found a mole she didn’t like. She immediately pulled out her scalpel and sliced it off to be biopsied.

A week later, the results were in: it was precancerous, a term used for atypical moles that are more likely than regular moles to develop into melanoma. This particular mole was classified as “severely” atypical, the worst it gets before possibly becoming cancer.

Though my doc had already removed the entire mole, both she and the pathologist were in agreement: an entire patch of skin surrounding the mole should go too. It’s standard procedure when a mole comes back that abnormal.

So the day after the Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco on October 19, I went under the knife. It was a simple procedure. My doctor used a local anesthesia to numb the area, remove the skin, and sew it all up with four sutures.

The skin was then sent back to the lab to check that all of the margins around the mole were clear of atypical cells, since it’s impossible to tell simply with a visual exam. Thankfully, all my margins were clear. After three weeks of bandages and healing cream, all I have to remember the incident by is an inch-long red scar.

GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon Training Update

At the Nike Women’s Half-Marathon San Francisco the day before my excision.

Doctor Demanded Downtime

There was just one problem: my doctor didn’t want me to run for two full weeks, lest I inadvertently rip open the stitches. The mole was on the right side of my back, over my latissimus dorsi, a muscle that plays a large role in your running gait.

I never realized how much the muscles and skin on my back move when I do, well, everything—putting away dishes, reaching in my closet, walking my dog, turning over in bed, you name it—until I had stitches. Give your skin a pat on the back—it works really hard.

So my doc told me one week of no activity at all. During week two I could add in the elliptical with no arms, leaving them dangling at my side, or ride a recumbent bike. Marathon training would have to wait. Read the rest of this entry →

11

Nov 2014

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 →

How To Buy Disney New Balance Shoes At Wine & Dine and Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekends

How to buy Disney New Balance shoes at Wine & Dine and Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekends

New Balance 890v4 runDisney Cinderella shoes

Runners, your last chances to buy the 2014 Disney New Balance shoes are here: Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World in Florida from November 7-8, and Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland in California from November 14-15.

The procedure for buying the Disney New Balance shoes will be the same for each race. Registered runners have the chance to get an appointment at the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo on Friday of each race weekend. The general public can march straight to the expo on Saturday. Runners can also go to the expo on Saturday.

How To Buy Disney New Balance Shoes At Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon

Registered runners can sign up with their bib number online at NBvirtualQueue.com, beginning at 6:00 a.m. Friday, November 7 to get an early bird appointment to try on and buy Disney New Balance shoes.

How to buy Disney New Balance shoes at Wine & Dine and Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekends

2014 Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey Mouse Shoe

You can reserve one style and size through the virtual queue, and pick up to five more pairs at your appointment.

Spectators and other shoppers can buy the Disney New Balance shoes at the expo on Saturday. For more information and to sign-up, visit NBvirtualQueue.com.

After you sign-up, you’ll get a text or e-mail confirming your group letter and a time to return to the expo. Then you’ll get a second notification when it’s time to high-tail it to the expo for your appointment. Head to the New Balance tent to check in near the West Entrance to the Jostens Center. They’ve got a queue that tells you when it’s your turn. 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 →

Get Your New York On With NYC Inspired Running Gear

The 2014 TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 2 is here! I’ll be at the finish line in the announcer’s booth all day, cheering runners in. The race’s motto this year is “Get Your New York On.” You can, quite literally, with some of the running gear inspired by the town so nice, they named it twice.

Get Your New York On With This NYC-Inspired Gear

ASICS NYC Marathon Map Long Sleeve

ASICS 2014 TCS New York City Marathon Collection

As the official running gear sponsor of the TCS New York City Marathon, ASICS’ line of tanks, shirts, shorts, pants, socks, hats, shoes and more has the official marathon logo and seal of approval.

They even made two shoes for the occasion: Gel-Nimbus 16 NYC ($150) and Gel-Kayano 21 NYC ($160), along with bags, arm warmers, jackets, gloves, vests and any other running gear marathoners could possibly think to put on their bodies. I like the NYC Marathon Map Long Sleeve ($34). 

Get Your New York On With NYC Marathon-Inspired Running Gear

Brooks Adrenaline Freedom

Brooks Adrenaline Freedom GTS NYC 

Lady Liberty is the star of Brooks’ Adrenaline Freedom GTS NYC ($130) limited edition shoes, available in select stores and online. Inspired by Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, the shoe borrows the oxidized copper color of the Statue of Liberty with orange accents, representing her flame. Throw in black-and-white photos of the gal herself, and you’ve got one inspiring pair of shoes.

Brooks sent me a sample of these puppies; they’re even more beautiful in person. This New Yorker says, “It’s love!” 

Get Your New York On With This NYC-Inspired Running Gear

lululemon NYC Run Inspire Crop

lululemon Limited Edition NYC Marathon Capsule Collection

Available only in New York City stores while supplies last, lululemon’s NYC Marathon Capsule Collection says “been there, run that.” As a New Yorker and three-time New York City Marathon finisher, I love it!

lululemon gave me the Run: Inspire Crop ($96), which features the NYC skyline from the Statue of Liberty to the Empire State Building and beyond. The Home Stretch Crew ($198) in gold and black with a color contrast skyline and NYC2014 logo is also available. But hurry. This running gear will be gone in a New York minute.

Get Your New York On With NYC-Inspired Gear

New Balance Fresh Foam Zante NYC

New Balance Fresh Foam Zante NYC

New Balance releases a New York City-inspired shoe every year, but this time around they’re pre-releasing their newest line with the Fresh Foam Zante NYC. The city’s concrete sidewalks inspired the grey upper and the skyline graces the liner. Tie them up with the the state motto, Excelsior, written on the shoelaces.  Read the rest of this entry →

01

Nov 2014

How To Watch The TCS New York City Marathon 2014

How To Watch The TCS New York City Marathon 2014

Runners head up First Avenue in the New York City Marathon. (Credit: Courtesy of NYRR)

The TCS New York City Marathon 2014 is almost upon us. If you want to catch all the action from the world’s largest marathon, here’s how to tune-in on TV and online. If you’re looking for spectator tips, read this: Go Runners! A Spectator’s Marathon Guide

TCS New York City Marathon 2014 Race Week

Marathon Opening Ceremony Presented by United Airlines

Friday, October 31
5:25 p.m. at 7online.com
5:30 p.m. live on ABC7 in New York

Countdown to the Starting Line

Saturday, November 1
7:30 p.m. on ABC7 in New York

Get pumped for race day with “Countdown to the Starting Line,” live from the marathon finish line. “Eyewitness News” anchors Liz Cho and David Novarro preview the 44th TCS New York City Marathon. And I (yes, me!) pop-by to give a rundown on the top runners.

TCS New York City Marathon 2014 Race Day

NYC Metro Area

Watch on ABC7, Sunday, November 2

Pre-Race Features
7:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m.

Live Race Broadcast
9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

Nationally

Read the rest of this entry →

Getting Lost In The Bermuda Triangle Challenge

Getting Lost In The Bermuda Triangle Challenge

The Bermuda Marathon & Half Marathon (Photo: Bermuda Tourism Authority)

Three races in three days, in one of the most storied spots in North America. I’m taking on the Bermuda Triangle Challenge at the Bermuda Marathon Weekend from January 16-18, 2015! I’ll be attending the event courtesy of the race’s organizers. I’ve never been to Bermuda, but it’s long been on my travel bucket list. Pink sand beaches, colonial towns, and hiking trails, all just a 2-hour flight from New York City.

“You go to heaven if you want to,” Mark Twain wrote to a friend in 1910. “I’d rather stay here in Bermuda.”

The Atlantic island may have given its name to the infamous “Devil’s Triangle,” but it has also inspired writers like Twain and William Shakespeare, who scholars believe based his play The Tempest on a real-world shipwreck on the island’s shores.

But Bermuda has also inspired legions of runners. The Bermuda Marathon Weekend marks its 40th anniversary in 2015, and I can’t wait to be a part of the celebration.

Want to join me? Use code RUNBDA to get 20% off registration.

Getting Lost In The Bermuda Triangle Challenge

The Bermuda Marathon & Half Marathon (Photo: Bermuda Tourism Authority)

Bermuda Marathon Weekend

At the Bermuda Marathon Weekend, runners have a buffet of races to choose from: marathon, half-marathon, 10K and two iterations of the Bermuda Triangle Challenge, which dares runners to survive three races over three days. Challengers can choose from the Bermuda Triangle Half Marathon Challenge or the Bermuda Triangle Marathon Challenge. The weekend’s events also include a Health & Fitness Boutique expo, Finish Festival and Victory Celebration.

The hotel headquarters for the 2015 Bermuda Marathon Weekend is the Fairmont Southampton, perched on a pink sand beach with a dive center, tennis courts, full-service spa, indoor and outdoor pools, and a championship golf course. It’s also family friendly with day and evening kids camps.

The hotel offers free round-trip ferry services to the Fairmont Hamilton Princess in the capital city of Hamilton, where most of the race events start and finish.

Other hotel options are available, too, at BermudaRaceWeekend.com.

Bermuda Triangle Challenge

Bermuda Triangle Challengers earn a finisher’s medal for each of the 3-races, plus a special Bermuda Triangle Challenge medal and T-shirt. Are you up for the challenge? Read the rest of this entry →

27

Oct 2014

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 →