Category Archives: Random Thoughts

UA HOVR Shoe Rain & “Phoneless” Run 2

A few days ago I had to run in the rain for the first time with these shoes. Needless to say, it wasn’t too pleasant. It’s obviously not water proof, and I wouldn’t want them to be. It’s a running shoe, not a rain boot. But I kept running, just for you. The integrity of the shoes are still solid, but as you can see, white is still a stupid color. I rinsed it off with the hose right after, so they’re back to being… sort of white.

I’ve decided to focus solely on the phoneless run aspect of these shoes. I’m assuming that’s what is the primary goal for these shoes, because, to be honest, I don’t see a huge benefit from adding stride/cadence to an already data rich app. It’ll add some sort of accuracy, but I think phoneless is a better focus.

That being said, I’ll give a few things I’ve noticed so far. Starting off with the obvious. The shoe syncs with the phone app post-run perfectly. YOU just need to remember to open the app after the run. I forgot this morning and had to run back downstairs to flip over the shoe to wake and sync it. It synced perfectly. Do I dare wait a few days to see if it keeps all the runs? Oh, that’ll be hard on my OCD-like tendencies…

When running without the phone/app you’re obviously going to be missing some data. Stats not found in said runs are: heart rate (I’m connected to my Apple Watch), intensity, elevation gain, map, and weather, and music. A side note, I do like seeing music as a stat since you can kind of estimate if you’re running better or worse during a specific song.

One new feature with the addition to the HOVR shoes is the “personal coach tip” where it tells you if you’re doing a good or poor job at running based on your cadence and/or stride length. It’s a little confusing and hard to think about practically when you’re just out there running.

Another problem is that I’m getting conflicting “tips”:

Again, I’ll have to do more research. But this is going about the same speed on each day, but very different tips.

Another thing to note is that I’ve notices a drop in estimated mileage when running “phoneless.” I’ll estimate an average of about 8% difference in mileage as compared to using the GPS enabled MapMyRun app. I realize the app might not be 100% accurate either, but 8% difference seems like a lot. I’m curious as to what’s being calculated. I do make short stops at red lights, so perhaps I’m losing some distance when I slow to under 15 min/mi.

All that being said, it’s a solid shoe and I’ll keep running with these… for science? For you. Now let’s talk about an extended no-sync stint. …Nah…

UA HOVR Shoe “Phoneless” Run

A few days ago I ran with the UA HOVR shoes without phone connection; basically, I didn’t use the MapMyRun app. I wanted to compare stats between my normal run with and without the app. There ARE caveats, you have to run faster than 14 min/mi, so it won’t track walks. It might still track steps and add to your step count,  but it won’t add to your time when syncing your run. Also, apparently it doesn’t store GPS as I had previously thought. Even though in the document it says “The only shoe that tracks its complete usage – not just workout miles – but distance from daily steps, too.”

So the following images will allow you to see what exactly is being saved in the MapMyRun app: Pre-HOVR, shoe sensors only, and both shoes and app.

Pre-Hover Using App UA HOVR Shoes Only UA HOVR Shoes + MMR App

I might have said in a previous post that the app doesn’t save stride/cadence, but it might have been just a sync or some other app issue as it seems to be working now. Overall the tech is interesting, but are stride and cadence that important of a selling point for a shoe? Maybe, maybe not. I personally don’t see the benefit. On a separate note, I never run without my phone, I don’t see the point not to. Yes, it’s large and clunky, but I don’t even notice it now. I don’t know how much more “accurate” the stats will be with the shoes, for me just the app is “close enough.”

Perhaps the real question for me is, do I really need all this tech to begin with? What happened to just running to maintain and stay healthy? Some people (like myself in the beginning) need goals and reason to keep at it, “a carrot on a stick” if you will. Everyone has their motivation. If improving stats to make you healthy works, I say go for it. If you don’t, you won’t see the benefits; just find a comfortable shoe and get out there and have fun!

Side note: I did have trouble connecting the shoe a few times; apparently just stepping in the shoe doesn’t wake it up, you have to turn it upside down and right side up again to wake it up… Lame, but really a minor issue since I got it working.

UA HOVR Shoe First 5 Mile Review

Here’s my first five mile review. I’ll start by saying my UnderArmour HOVR shoes were provided to me by UnderArmour to test out. Selling out, big time.

Originally posted on my IG:

First off, I’d like to say that it’s nice to get a free pair of shoes to replace one of my pairs of shoes I’ve run over 1.5k miles. Before I get my rear handed to me, I have to justify running so many miles in one shoe that I didn’t have any problems with the pair and other factors left me using the shoe…

So what are the UA HOVRs? They’re a bluetooth enabled running shoe capable of linking to your phone, or running standalone. You can sync the run with your phone after the run and it apparently saves the run with all the data, including GPS*. I’ll be honest, this really reminds me of another wireless enabled ****+ shoe/sensor, granted better technology. But what year is it, 2006? The HOVRs are perfect for those who don’t already carry their phone or have a fitness watch, but still want to track their run with stats. I always run with both phone/watch, so I have little need for the “offline” part of these shoes’ tech. Setting up the HOVRs is easy, move the right shoe to “wake” and place it on a flat surface, open the Map MY (Run/Fitness/ETC) app, tap the shoe icon at the top right, follow instructions, and that’s it.

The UZ HOVR shoe is an attractive shoe, though, I was given a WHITE pair. I realize these are “tester shoes” but are white any cheaper to manufacture than any other color? It’ll get… not white real fast. I can’t complain much on color, I guess.

Putting the shoes for the first time, I feel the material hug my feet perfectly. Weighing in at 1lb 4.25oz (576g) it’s a decently light shoe. For comparison both of my [competitor shoe] is a tad lighter at 1lb 3.25oz (545g). It’s a little taller than most running shoes, but I’m assuming that’s due to the internal sensor. First steps with the shoe I feel a higher arch than I’m used to, but it isn’t a bad thing. It was time for a run.

As a running shoe it performed as expected. It held my feed in without letting it touch the ground while cushioning each stride. Despite the added weight and thick padding, the shoe is super airy; not ideal for 40F degree morning weather. But perfect for those sweaty summer days. They should have sent these out then. The run was a run. Comfortable, didn’t add any discomfort during or after. The “bounce” on each step is like walking on airAdequate running shoe, but this was only the first 5 miles.

The tech. As stated above, it’s easy to setup. However… Looking at the app I don’t see any difference between running with or without the connected shoes. Wasn’t I supposed to see stride length, cadence, what? If it’s only available WHILE running, I don’t see the point. I’m not staring at my phone when running. I’ll have to do more research and come back to this post or a future post.

Would I recommend this shoe? Well, let me get back to you on the tech side. But as a running shoe, I would. I felt it was light enough but also supported my feet very well. Come back in 30 days, maybe I’ll take the time out of my busy schedule (/s) and write up a follow up.

*EDIT: I was wrong when I originally wrote that it included GPS as part of the technology. I don’t know if I misread or it was taken out of literature, either way, it does NOT store GPS data as seen in my follow up post.

MIA

Hi everyone, I’ve been away too long. I’ve revived this blog to write a review (which I’ll upload hopefully later today). I just want to address the missing posts. I never posted reviews of my last TWO Spartan Races. I actually had the 2016 Hawaii Trifecta Weekend almost written up on the plane, but never actually finished it. For the 2016 Tahoe World Championship I mentally and physically done after that race. I do regret not finishing both write ups, but it is what it is. I doubt it’s even worth uploading it at this point, especially since I wouldn’t be able to remember anything from either trip.

So, I’ve semi retired from Spartan Races, but not against doing more. But I’m not going all out like previous years. Hell I didn’t even do a single race last year due to many different reasons. But, I’m in maintain weight mode and keeping it up. I do intend on getting back into some sort of organized running, so keep a lookout!

Long Time No See

It’s been a while. So, I’ll cross post this elsewhere. I haven’t been up to much lately since being unemployed for 7 months. Recently got a contract for my previous employer, so that’s good. I’ve been keeping up on my workout regiment, which included a lot of running and a new one of Xbox workouts. 

Now, before you roll your eyes let me finish. The Xbox workouts are great tools to get gamers moving. It can even be challenging even to the fit person as long as you make your workout what you want it to be. You can make it easier, or even add intensity. One pro-tip. Ignore the Xbox points and the camera, it might hinder your workout in that you might want to work too hard or take it easy too much just to pass goals. Work within your comfort limit and have fun.

Time has passed and it’s been almost two years since I played hockey as a regular (not a sub). Last night was my first game back, and I can’t say “it’s like I never left” because well I felt BETTER than before. The speed was still there, maybe more. But I do have a lot more stamina and don’t even need my inhaler anymore. Also gone are the days I need to eat four hours before a game, just no buffets 15 min before a game please.

I just checked my email and realized I have two weeks until the Monterey Soartan Race. When did that happen?! Man, time flies. I hope I’m ready for it!

Update: second day after… I’m pretty sore. Legs and back hurt like crazy. I limped through a 4.25 mile run this afternoon just to get some cardio. But it was painful…

2016 Spartan Race Medals and T-Shirt Review

Something out of the ordinary I thought I’d do. The 2016 race season is here and so are the 2016 shirts and medals, I thought I’d give a review of the new gear. I’ve already posted pics of these on my previous post, but giving them their own page seems appropriate. First the medals:

2016-02-04 15.09.22

The pie pieces are pretty identical to last years’ medals, only, obviously, it says 2016 on them. The ribbons got an update on their look, instead of the plain color ribbon it’s patterned and say 2016 on them. But the Pièce De Résistance is the main circle medal. This year the helmet is cut out instead of the full metal medal. I think that’s a neat touch. Maybe it was cheaper because of less materials, I joke; or do I?

2016-02-02 16.24.43

Now for the shirts. Oh, the glorious finisher shirts. An everyday way to show off your pride of finishing any type of race, because wearing our medals every day is such a fashion faux pas. A small change to the front is the paint (blood?) splatter in the outsides of the diamond plated SR logo circle. An interesting addition to the shirt is the American flag on the right arm, thank goodness it’s flying correct too. On the left arm is the Reebok logo.

The back of the shirt is where it differs the most the “FINISHER” text is slightly smaller and they moved the “trifecta qualifier” from the right sleeve under the “FINISHER” text. In the background you can faintly see in dots the shape of all the continents and in the corresponding race color tiny dots of where, I assume, are all the races have or will be held. Sadly, Hawaii does NOT appear to be present.

There you have it. Do you already have yours? Which city do anticipate the most?

And This Is Why I <3 Daisy Ridley

Last year I posted why I <3 Jennifer Lawrence. Today, I’ll manage to sneak in a Star Wars reference to my Spartan page.

This is why I <3 Daisy Ridley.

The girl can lift.

Spartan’s Hardest Obstacles

…at least according to a survey.

http://www.spartan.com/en/community/blog/spartan-news?article=31896

It’s an interesting article, but from my point of view this is fairly wrong. But that’s probably because I have a strong upper body.

If I could reorder the list above it would probably look something like this:

Spear Throw
Hercules Hoist
Bucket Carry
Atlas Carry
Rope Climb
8ft Wall
Clif Multi Rig
Monkey Bars
Z-Wall
Barbed Wire

Sure, rope climb is up there, but only cause there’s easier ones I’m not worried about at all.

Dream or Nightmare?

Temecula is exactly a month away, and most recently it’s been haunting my dreams. The past couple nights I’ve woken up earlier than my normal 5:30 AM to be scared I’d miss the race. So, I’m not sure if I’m anxious because I can’t wait for the race or am I deathly afraid of what’s to come? Either way, I need my freaking sleep so please stop waking me up, Temecula. Thanks.

Hawaii Spartan Race Reflection

I’ve had a little time to think and reflect about the Hawaii Spartan Race Trifecta Weekend. I had a great time; I mean, it was in freaking Hawaii. Of all the times I’ve been to Hawaii, it’s the first time I did an event like a Spartan Race, or any race for that matter. I’d like to do one of the XTERRA races eventually.

However… because it is a “licensed” race, Spartan Race Hawaii isn’t given the luxuries regular mainland races so, such as the ability to give away free races to volunteers. This was the kicker, and even made me not want to volunteer. That would explain the lack of volunteers on race days and the unorganized fashion everything was laid out. My wife brings up the point that if you don’t have volunteers you should dig into the profits and get more paid positions to help the event. With poor organization (long lines at late reg, broken obstacles) and sheer mayhem (the headbands on day one, or none at all!) are people going to come back next year? Previous racers might balk at the chance and new racers might hear about it, think twice, and spend their money on a mainland event. I could be very wrong and everyone will sign up anyway. I just might.

Overall, even if it isn’t Spartan Race it still could hurt their brand. I would hate it if Spartan Race Hawaii loses their license; Kualoa Ranch is a beautiful venue, one of the best I’ve been to for any type race.

Where was I going with this? While not a perfect event, it was still a Spartan Race in one of the most beautiful settings. I finished the race, got my medals/t-shirts, and had fun doing it. Were there problems, yes (long lines for late reg, missing/disorganized headbands, lack of abundance of post race recovery fuel), but all of this could be overlooked as minor issues in favor of the bigger picture. As soon as it’s available I just might sign up for the full trifecta weekend!

I still would have liked my souvenir headband though… Does anyone have a 7183 headband?

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I look so freaking tired and thankful it’s finally over, LOL.

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