Mizuno Wave Precision 12 Review

Back in the summer, Jeff from Detroit Runner was generous enough to provide me with an invite to Mizuno’s Mezamashii Run Project. The Mezamashii Run Project is a cool initiative that Mizuno undertook to help runners experience brilliant runs. I’m very grateful to Jeff for inviting me to the project, as I was able to choose a free pair of Mizuno shoes to wear in search of more brilliant runs. I love seeing running shoe manufacturers and other running-related companies take bold steps to expand their customer base and promote the great sport of running. This may have been a big risk by Mizuno, providing many runners with free shoes without a guaranteed return on investment, but I have seen a lot of buzz about the project and hope that Mizuno has found it to be an unqualified success.

I hadn’t worn Mizunos since early 2011 when I was training for my first half marathon. I was happy to try a new pair of Mizunos and chose the Wave Precision 12, a neutral performance trainer. I first started using neutral performance trainers in the summer of 2011 due to their combination of being fairly lightweight yet cushioned enough to hold up for long runs on a variety of surfaces. Becki from The Middle Miles has an excellent review of the Wave Precision 12 on her blog (as well as thorough reviews of a wide variety of other shoes and running gear). Becki’s review has a lot of great details about the Wave Precision 12 and was a big influence on my decision to choose that model for the Mezamashii Run Project. I wanted to put a lot of miles on the shoes and wear them in a variety of running settings before reviewing them. Unfortunately, that ended up taking a little longer than I would have liked with my reduced mileage over the last several months of 2012.

Mizuno Wave Precision 12

Mizuno Wave Precision 12

I had been using the Brooks Launch, also a neutral performance trainer, for about a year before I got the Wave Precision 12. Brooks had announced that the Launch would be discontinued in 2013, so I was looking forward to trying a potential replacement for them in my shoe lineup. (Side note – Brooks recently announced that the Launch will not be discontinued due to overwhelming runner feedback.)

I ordered the Wave Precision in my normal size, and they felt a little big in both length and width (especially the width). This surprised me a little bit because I normally need a wide toebox and usually have the problem of shoes being too narrow in that area rather than too wide. After a very short time, I realized this would be a problem because I developed blisters on the outside of both big toes every time I wore these shoes. Fortunately, Mizuno has excellent customer service and quickly agreed to swap them out for a pair a half size smaller. The smaller shoes fit much better, though the fit still isn’t perfect. While the width is pretty good, my toes seem to bump the front end of the shoe more in these shoes than they do in my other shoes. Also, my toes tend to feel a little bit of pressure when I tighten the laces and pull the tongue tight. I notice it more on my left foot, which is a little bigger than my right foot, where it can feel like the tongue is pulling the front of the shoe into the end of my big toe. It’s slightly uncomfortable, but not enough to cause any problems. I don’t think it’s anything wrong with the shoe itself, just part of the compromise I made when I went down a half size to eliminate the toe blisters. The toe sliding doesn’t bother me too much on flat surfaces, but I definitely notice it when running up or down hills. I think I need to spend some time in a shoe store trying on different sizes of Mizuno models to see what the differences are from my other shoes. Mizuno released the Wave Precision 13 later in the summer, and maybe those will fit me a little better.

Mizuno Wave Precision 12

Mizuno Wave Precision 12

Mizuno Wave Precision 12

Mizuno Wave Precision 12

Toe sliding aside, I really like the Wave Precision. They are extremely comfortable shoes, and as Becki noted in her review, they are very responsive. For me, the balance between light weight and cushioning is excellent – they don’t feel too heavy to me, yet they are cushioned enough to withstand most types of running that I do. The overall fit is very good for me throughout the shoe, other than the length-related issues I have with my toes. The width is excellent for me in the toebox, through the midfoot, and into the heel. I haven’t worn them in a race or for speed work, but I’ve worn them for just about every other type of run that I do, including tempo runs and trail runs. They are very versatile shoes, and I would wear them in a half marathon or marathon with no reservations if I knew the toe sliding issue would be under control. I’ve worn them on 90-degree days and 30-degree days, and have had no problems in either temperature extreme. A minor complaint is that they seem to hold moisture more than most of my other shoes, which I really noticed on those humid 90-degree days. But getting wet shoes – whether it’s from sweat or from rain – is a part of running, and these shoes have dried nicely each time they’ve been soaked.

Mizuno Wave Precision 12

Mizuno Wave Precision 12

Mizuno Wave Precision 12

Mizuno Wave Precision 12

I’ve been impressed with the Wave Precision 12, and I’ll definitely check out the Wave Precision 13 along with other Mizuno models (like racing flats to replace the Brooks Green Silence, which are scheduled to be discontinued in 2013) when I’m ready to retire this pair. I hope I find a little better fit for my feet, because I really like the shoes otherwise. If you’re looking for a neutral performance trainer that offers a good balance between weight, cushioning, and responsiveness, I highly recommend considering the Mizuno Wave Precision. I think the Mezamashii Run Project is a very cool idea, and it’s great that Mizuno is getting so creative with their efforts to raise awareness of their shoes and build brand loyalty.

Disclosure:
Mizuno provided me with a free pair of Wave Precision 12 as part of the Mezamashii Run Project. All opinions expressed in this review are mine and mine alone, and I was not asked or expected to express a particular opinion in this review.

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Posted in General, Reviews, Running | 2 Comments

2012 Recap

2012 was a bittersweet running year for me. As the year closes out, many people choose highlights (and maybe some lowlights) from their year in running. I decided to pick one highlight and one lowlight, and neither decision was very difficult for me…

Highlight:
Running my first marathon – Bayshore in Traverse City, MI – in May. A PR by default, though unfortunately it turned out to be my only PR for the year.

Lowlight:
Dealing with an upper leg injury (hamstring, hip flexor, glute) since early April. It’s still not totally cleared up, and my mileage for the year was much lower than I had planned last January (including no running at all in October).

I don’t have any complaints, though – I’m very fortunate and grateful to have the ability to run. A little leg pain is absolutely nothing compared to the challenges that so many people face and overcome on a daily basis…challenges that are much more significant than not being able to run a few more miles or not hitting my splits during a speed workout. It’s all about perspective.

2013:
I haven’t set any goals yet for 2013. For now, I plan to run without a schedule, try to build up my mileage, do some occasional speed work, and enter several races between 5K and 25K (no marathon for me in 2013).

2012 by the numbers:
Miles run: 1118.72
Number of runs: 179
Average distance per run: 6.25 miles
Median distance per run: 5.28 miles
Highest mileage month: May (154.26)
Lowest mileage month: October (0.00)
Races run: 11 (6 x 5K; 2 x 10K; 2 x half marathon; 1 x marathon)

I hope you had a great 2012 and that 2013 is off to an excellent start for you. I wish you a very happy and healthy 2013!

Questions:
Do you set annual running goals?

If so, did you achieve your running goals in 2012?

What are your 2013 running goals, if any?

Posted in General, Injuries, Life, Racing, Running | 2 Comments

Last Run

I went for my last run of 2012 this morning. It has been a year of ups and downs for me from a running perspective (and a great year for me otherwise).

I’m thankful that I was able to close out the year with an easy run with my wife on the Paint Creek Trail. As usual, it was very scenic and peaceful, and while the snow made the run a little more challenging than normal, it also provided a great backdrop for a quiet morning.

A quiet and peaceful morning on the Paint Creek Trail. The creek is on the right side of this photo.

I hope you all have a very safe and happy New Year’s Eve, and a great start to 2013! As always, thank you for reading. I really appreciate it.

Posted in General, Running | 6 Comments

Grand Blanc Chocolate 5K Recap

It feels like I haven’t raced in a long time…it had only been since the end of September, but it felt like a long time. I’ve only run a handful of times since then, let alone race, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when we signed up for last weekend’s Grand Blanc Chocolate 5K.

It’s a little bit of a drive for us to get to Grand Blanc, but we figured it would be worth it to run a race that has “Chocolate” in the title. They sure weren’t messing around with the chocolate aspect of the race!

Yes, this was waiting for runners after the Grand Blanc Chocolate 5K. Yum.

We registered a little bit in advance of the race, and paid $17 each including a long-sleeve technical shirt. The shirt is white and fairly thin (it’s pretty much see through), and I’m sure it’ll come in handy on cool-weather runs. We had no problem finding the packet pick up (inside a high school), and the volunteers directed us to the start line. The start line wasn’t very organized; in fact, we didn’t even know where the actual start line was until about a minute before the race started. After getting our bibs, we just found the crowd, and right around the time the race was supposed to start a volunteer had everyone move down the road a little ways to the start line (which I don’t think was actually marked). It was time for the race to start when we were being instructed to move to the start line, so I knew it wouldn’t be starting right on time. Luckily it started just a couple of minutes later, and all was good. We lined up near the front, but not quite at the front because there were several high school- and college-aged runners who appeared to be (and were) faster than us. The race benefited Grand Blanc High School’s track and cross country teams (the alma mater of Olympian Geena Gall), and we were glad to see a lot of young runners participating.

The front of the Grand Blanc Chocolate 5K race shirt.

The back of the Grand Blanc Chocolate 5K race shirt. Chocolate is the answer! Who cares what the question is?

The start went smoothly – it was a small race, so it wasn’t terribly crowded and I didn’t have a problem weaving my way around others when necessary. My first mile went fairly well considering my lack of racing (and running in general), but I didn’t have to worry about passing others for very long. My first mile went pretty well, but then my pace started to tank and I was on the wrong end of any passing that was taking place. I didn’t expect much in terms of speed in this race, but I also didn’t expect my second mile to be 20 seconds slower than my first mile…yikes! After the first mile, it felt more like I was doing a moderate run rather than racing. I’m just not in racing shape right now, and I realized very quickly that I’m also rusty in the mental aspect of racing. I wasn’t planning to take this one easy, but I also wasn’t expecting to be threatening my PR…I certainly didn’t have anything to worry about in that regard, haha.

Almost 3:00 off of my PR. :/ This was before I knew I had won my age group.

My third mile was a little faster than my second mile, but still not where I was hoping to be. The biggest thing I noticed regarding my lack of recent training is how winded I felt, even before the halfway mark. I feel like I lost ground over the final two miles, though I was able to kick a little bit over the last couple hundred meters or so. I just wish I had used that extra energy a little earlier in the race! The course was a little long based on my Garmin distance, but some of that extra distance was definitely due to me not running the tangents effectively. I didn’t know where the finish line would be, but I knew that if it was near the start line the race would be much longer than 3.10 miles. Fortunately, the finish line was closer than that and my Garmin registered the total distance as 3.17. I had been afraid it might be even longer if we had to run back to the start line. I turned in my timing chip and went to look for my wife to let her know the finish line would be coming up soon. I couldn’t find her…she must have crossed the finish line when I was removing my timing chip, and I definitely underestimated her finish time. She was very close to a PR, and it sounds like she ran a great race. I enjoyed the course, which was mostly through neighborhoods and was fairly flat. There were a couple of rolling hills, but nothing major, and they added a nice variety to the course. There was a little crowd support in the neighborhoods, but nothing major. I don’t expect much crowd support from small, local 5Ks though, and I appreciate any support I do receive. There wasn’t any water offered along the course, which didn’t bother me because I don’t drink during 5Ks, but at least one water stop is common in virtually all 5Ks as many runners and walkers would like the option to have a cup or two of water or sports drink along the course. There were cups of water available at the finish line, but no sports drink and nothing to eat at the finish line. We figured there would be more to drink and running-specific snacks like bagels, bananas, etc., back at the high school. No such luck though, as I didn’t see any water or sports drink at the high school, and only chocolate-related snacks to eat. While I certainly have no complaints about chocolate treats, I like to have the option of having more “running-specific” food right after a race.

After we finished, we headed across the street to the high school to check out the chocolate fountain and other chocolate-related goodies they had for participants. The chocolate wasn’t heating up as quickly as they anticipated, so there was going to be a little wait for the chocolate and I decided to go stash some stuff in the car in the meantime. When I went back to the high school, my wife let me know that we had both won our age groups. I couldn’t believe it! I could believe that she won her age group, but I was shocked that I had won mine. I found out later that there were only five people in my age group, so that certainly worked in my favor. I don’t feel like I deserve any kind of award for running almost 3:00 slower than my PR, but hey, I’ll take it! Plaques were given three deep for each age group, and each age group winner received a box with chocolate goodies and a gingerbread cookie. Very cool. A local running store, Bauman’s Running & Walking Shop, offered to engrave name plates for free in their store for those who received plaques, which I think is a great touch. The chocolate eventually heated up, and it was well worth the wait. There were Rice Krispies Treats, marshmallows, strawberries, banana slices, pretzel rods, and chocolate chip cookies to dip in the chocolate, as well as a table with some bite-sized candy and Larabars.

Great post-race goodies at the Grand Blanc Chocolate 5K.

We hung around the race site to have some chocolate, and then we headed over to Bauman’s to get our plaques engraved. We got another pleasant surprise when we arrived at Bauman’s and saw that they were making Belgian waffles for race participants, with maple syrup, chocolate syrup, chocolate chips, and peanut butter chips available. We discovered that several local businesses were offering free goodies to race participants in the hours following the race, so we made another couple stops and then headed home. Another fun race, an unexpected age group win, and a bunch of chocolate = a pretty good day.

Age group plaque and goodies from the Grand Blanc Chocolate 5K.

Age group plaque from the Grand Blanc Chocolate 5K.

I hope all of my American readers had a great Thanksgiving holiday and were able to spend some time with family and/or friends. I have a lot to be thankful for, including the ability to run, incredibly supportive family and friends, and awesome blog readers and commenters. Thank you all.

Results:
Chip time: 22:16
Garmin time: 22:16 (3.17 miles)
Pace (per Garmin): 7:02/mile
Overall: 25/276
Gender: 22/89
Age group: 1/5
Slowest mile (per Garmin): 7:17 (mile 3)
Fastest mile (per Garmin): 6:47 (mile 1)

Questions:
Did you run a Turkey Trot this year? If so, how did it go?

What did you do for Thanksgiving (my American readers)? Do you have annual traditions or does it change each year?

Posted in Injuries, Racing, Running | 6 Comments

Faster Than a Turtle is on Facebook

Hey everyone…I just want to let you know that Faster Than a Turtle is on Facebook.

I’ll be posting some content there above and beyond what I post here on the blog. Please feel free to check out the page (and click the “Like” button if you like it).

I hope you’re having a great weekend. Happy running and racing!

Posted in General | 1 Comment

Brooksie Way 2012 Half Marathon Recap

This year marked the fifth anniversary of the Brooksie Way Half Marathon and 5K, and it was the second year in which I’ve participated in the Brooksie Way. I set my half marathon PR in this race last year, back when I was in decent racing shape and improving my times in nearly every race I ran. This year has been a different story in terms of my running progression, with no PRs mostly due to injuries and a lack of quality training, although I did accomplish a big goal of mine by running my first marathon in May (so I guess I do have one PR this year, by default). The Brooksie Way is a local race that has grown a lot during its five years, and I was very excited to run it again this year. I’m very familiar with the course, its scenery, and its final six miles of rolling hills. While the hills kind of suck during the race, I really do like the course.

I haven’t been running many miles because of a lingering hip flexor/glute/hamstring injury (though it’s mostly just my hamstring hurting these days), so I was well under the fitness level this year that I was at for last year’s Brooksie Way. I figured I’d be fine making it through the race; I just knew it wasn’t going to be an all-out PR effort. The only running I did in the seven days immediately preceding the race was a four-mile shakeout run the day before the race. Based on that run, I knew I should be OK running the race and I set a target pace of between 8:00-8:15/mile. That was in the same range my wife was planning to run, so we decided to run together.

I couldn’t make it to the expo this year, but I was told it was pretty similar to last year. It’s held in a three-court gym in Oakland University’s Recreation Center, and it’s pretty easily accesible with a lot of space and exhibitors. It can also be a wallet drainer, with plenty of general running gear and Brooksie Way gear available (and not all of it at bargain prices). My wife had no problem getting our packets, and she decided to not shop at the expo this year…we did get a bunch of stuff at last year’s expo though. I really like the Brooksie Way race shirts. Last year they gave us a long-sleeve red Brooks technical shirt, and this year they gave us a similar shirt, except in a bright green that’s perfect for low-visibility running.

The logo on the left chest of the 2012 Brooksie Way shirt. The shirt is actually a brighter green than indicated in this poorly white-balanced photo.

My bib for the 2012 Brooksie Way.

Since we ran this race last year and don’t live too far from the course, we didn’t have any problem deciding when to leave and where to park. We parked about an hour before the race, and had no problem parking, though traffic was definitely starting to pick up by the time we arrived. We used a secondary parking lot, so we were able to avoid most of the race-related traffic although we wouldn’t have been able to avoid it at all if we had arrived more than 15 or 20 minutes later. We hung out in the car, used the wonderful Porta-Potties, and waited to meet Jennifer after her pre-race run. She was running 21 that day as part of marathon training, with the half marathon just being part of that training run…very impressive!

We jogged over to the start area from the parking lot (maybe a 5-minute jog), and it was very smooth navigating through the start area and checking our gear. It was a little chilly early in the morning, but the conditions for the race were great. I’m willing to put up with being cold before the race if it means I won’t get too hot during the race! Before long, it was time to find a place in the start corral and get ready to run. We saw Jeff and Josh in the start corral – they were both planning to run in the same general pace range as us, and it was great that we got to see them before the race started because it can be so difficult to find people after race. Luckily the race started on time this year; last year it was delayed a couple of times to accommodate late arrivals.

The start line for the 2012 Brooksie Way.

Another great turnout for the Brooksie Way.

As expected for decent-sized races like this, the first half mile or so was very congested, and runner traffic remained fairly thick through the first mile or two. We did our share of dodging slower runners and trying to find running lanes that had a little bit of space, and that went pretty well considering the size of the race. Crowd support was very good, and spectators lined most of the first few miles. We started out conservatively and settled into a steady pace after the first mile – I actually ran the same pace for miles 2-4 without trying to be that consistent or even realizing it until after the race. If I could only run that steadily during workouts (though at a much faster pace), haha! We ran a little faster than our overall goal pace over the first five miles, taking advantage of the net downhill on the first part of the course. It was great seeing a dailymile friend, Rebecca, along the course on the third mile. Unfortunately, she couldn’t run it this year, and it was awesome of her to come out with her kids and cheer for the runners.

We slowed down a little bit after the fourth mile and stayed at a comfortable pace. The course is very scenic, especially the stretches along local trails, the first of which we hit a little bit before the four-mile mark. After a little more than a mile on the trail, we worked our way through downtown Rochester and into the Rochester Municipal Park. We hit the 10K mark in the park, and then turned onto the Paint Creek Trail where we passed the halfway mark. We were only on the Paint Creek Trail for less than a mile, but it was a scenic mile and the clam before the storm on this course. Right after passing the 7-mile mark, we left the trail and turned onto Tienken Road, which marked the beginning of the hilly portion of the course…unfortunately, the hilly portion lasts for most of the rest of the course.

I felt like my wife might have started to get a little tired as we got closer to the Tienken hill, but that hill seemed much easier for me this year than it did last year. Because I had done very little hill training (or intense training at all) leading up to this year’s race, I attribute the hill not seeming as bad for me to the fact that I wasn’t racing this year. A tough hill seems a lot more tolerable when you’re running up it more slowly and when you’ve been running more slowly in general for the previous seven miles. I’m sure I would’ve been cursing the hill again if I had been running all out for seven miles before hitting it!

After cresting that hill, we had a few miles of roller coaster-like hills. Nothing too steep up or down, but enough to really wear on one’s legs regardless of pace. My wife was a little bit behind me on this stretch of the course, but she never got more than maybe 20-30 seconds behind. She had some doubts about her ability to get a PR in this race, but she was well ahead of PR pace through the halfway mark and had a bit of a cushion heading into the difficult part of the course. That cushion got smaller throughout the hilly miles, but her PR was still in reach as we got to the last 5K. It started to feel like crunch time as we got to the 11-mile mark, part of a two-mile stretch down Adams Road. While the rolling hills on that stretch are smaller than the hills over the preceding four miles, they seem bigger on beaten up legs.

Thanks to Rebecca for getting this photo of me at the finish! The photo is great, but I look like hell! I’d like to think that in normal race mode (and without stomach issues), I’d have a midfoot strike and would be pumping my arms like a sprinter, haha.

My hamstring had been bugging me throughout the race, with a dull pain that was constant but more of an annoyance than a hindrance. By the 10- or 11-mile mark, my calves started to hurt, and I was just hoping they wouldn’t cramp. I’ll blame that on only having a few runs of more than 10 miles from June to September, and on this probably being my longest run in the Brooks PureFlow, which have a lower (4 mm) heel-toe drop than the shoes in which I had done my long runs over the last couple of years. The crowd support continued to be good on the second half of the course, when we really needed the extra boosts. The race organizers also provided entertainment at several points along the course, which I always enjoy. Even though we only get to hear a few seconds of each band, musician, or DJ, it does make a difference…at least it does for me! All of the entertainers were good and much appreciated, and I was especially glad to see Stephen Clark playing again this year.

My calves held up, luckily, and I was able to speed up a little bit over each of the last few miles. The only problem I had toward the end of the race, other than hoping my calves weren’t about to be shredded, was that my stomach acted up with just over a mile to go (and, of course, right after I passed the last set of Porta-Potties). I was just in “get me to the finish” mode at that point, so I didn’t care about having a good kick to the finish line. I tried to have a strong finish, but sprinting up the slight hill to the finish line wasn’t in the cards for me. Unfortunately, in my haste to finish due to my stomach, I had to put a little ground between my wife and me. I was hoping she had enough energy left to push through to a PR, and I was thrilled when I heard her name announced as I was crossing the finish line (there was a timing mat on the approach to the finish that I believe activated the timing chips so the announcer could see the names of approaching runners and call them out several seconds before they finished). I knew that if she was that close to me, she had a new PR with time to spare!

The finisher medal from the 2012 Brooksie Way.

The finisher medal from the 2012 Brooksie Way, with a little light shining through the stained glass-like leaves.

Because my stomach was bugging me, I didn’t get any food at the finish line. I can’t remember what they had available…I don’t think it was the worst post-race snack selection, but I don’t think it was the most spectacular, either. I got my finisher medal, then I grabbed a water and a sports drink because I’m always thirsty after races. This year’s Brooksie Way finisher medal is very cool, in the shape of a “5” for the race’s fifth anniversary and with some colored leaves designed to look like stained glass. After a few minutes, I found my wife and we found Jeff and Josh, who both ran very successful races. We then wandered around the race festival for a little while and met up again with Jennifer at the team tent, where we got some snacks. We left a little while after that, tired and glad to have another race in the books.

Results:
Chip time: 1:45:28 (gun time: 1:45:56)
Garmin time: 1:45:29 (13.07 miles)
Pace (per Garmin): 8:06/mile
Overall: 398/2779
Gender: 317/1410
Age group: 53/215
Slowest mile (per Garmin): 8:28 (mile 8)
Fastest mile (per Garmin): 7:33 (mile 13)

Posted in Injuries, Racing, Running | 4 Comments

Brooksie Way Bib

I got my bib for Sunday’s 2012 Brooksie Way bib…I’ll probably be wearing a red shirt. Good luck to all the participants, and please say hi if you see me!

Image

Posted in Racing, Running | 3 Comments