NOTHING about running this summer has been easy. From the awful Florida humidity to the chronic nausea I experience for most of the day post run, it’s just simply BRUTAL! But, before we know it fall half marathon season will be upon us and with my race schedule that will take me through the Spring of 2015 I cannot afford to not continue to train through this heat. So this year I decided to sign up for my local running club’s Summer Trail Series which is made up of four races total on different trails located in Tallahassee. I also teamed up with my friends from Mizuno Running USA to test out their newest running shoe the Wave Kazan which I absolutely LOVE!
The Summer Trail Series, in its second year, is capped at 150 runners, 20 of which our Tallahassee Chapter of Moms RUN This Town (MRTT) make up (EXCITING!). You pay in advance for all races and you run 2 races in the morning and 2 races in the evening. Thankfully (I guess you can say) we were able to get what has been dubbed as the toughest of the series knocked out in Race 1. We hit the local trail at Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park Red Bug Trail which is maintained by Tallahassee Mountain Bike Association for a 4.5 mile doozie of a run at 6 pm in the evening!
Race 1 was particularly exciting because we had so many hitting the trail with us and for me, as my first official trail run, I was excited to test my abilities and my new kicks. What lay ahead though, I was clueless and boy was I thankful at the end that I was. I wanted to run with our friend Leanne (a new Mommy to her 2nd baby, a girl!) who we have missed due to a daunting physical pregnancy that kept her from running with us through the pregnancy months and race season. Seeing her smiling face and catching up truly got me through those 4.5 miles of loopy loops and physically exhausting hills we encountered! Finishing that race I was still on the fence about how I felt about this new beast I was signed up for, but I stay(ed) optimistic that I would continue to grow to love it.
Race 2 took us back to Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park and to the Swamp Forest Trail, where there is a Half Marathon Trail Run in January which is also put on by our local running club, Gulf Winds Track Club. To me, this trail was much less difficult to traverse, but still provided a great challenge due to the roots and debris you maneuvered around while on the 4 mile run. A mostly flat course was welcomed after our first race of the series, but even though it did seem much flatter and while it was at 8 am, it still provided a great challenge for me to progress in my trail running adventure! I opted to just get out and run this race and kept up with my running partner for about the first mile until I decided to catch a breather and let the faster runners pass me on the single track course. I ran for a while with a couple of runners and then finally ended up completely alone for the last mile. It seemed really serene and though it was also a little eerie, I really enjoyed the course. I finished this race a full 10 minutes faster than Race 1 and all of my MRTT friends AND my husband and oldest son were cheering me on at the finish line! It made a great start to a gorgeous weekend!
Though we didn’t have as many able to make it to either the group photo or the race that morning, we still had an amazing group of women that we ran with! And even more awesome, I was able to run with my running partner and catch up a bit for the first time in weeks due to obligations.
As for my Wave Kazans, what can I say, Mizuno has done it again with another great shoe that I absolutely love! I tried them out on several test runs at a basic trail in town before the Summer Trail Series began and I loved that I never had any issues with rubbing or tightness that I had experienced with all of my other “brands” of running shoes that I ran my 2013 half marathon season with. My now healed, previously destroyed feet felt very cushioned and supported through all the traversing that I have done in now 4 trail runs. I think the true test was the Red Bug Trail with the degree if difficulty that it brought and keeping me from feeling like I had a bulky shoe on my foot while still having great support for my odd foot strike.
The Fit – Tight enough to keep your foot supported, but not so tight that they make your feet respond with numbness or aching. A narrower design, but still a great shoe to allow your toes to spread in the toe box while supporting your arch and heel area for a no-slip run.
The Look – The Gunmetal/Yellow Cream color is perfect to me for trail running. It hides the dirt and mud stains you may get, while the low profile and sleek new design with really great gripping tread on the bottom. I ran through mud and puddles, down leaf covered and root covered trails and they never slipped or made me lose footing.
The Cost – Available in Women’s size 6-11, you can purchase yours directly from Mizuno Running USA for just $119.99. Which in my opinion is a great price for these lightweight beauties!
I’ll continue to share my thoughts on these shoes as my trail running adventure continues to take me through these summer months! In the mean time, wishing you happy miles and swift feet! xo