UA HOVR Shoe Retired

For a full year, I ran (almost) every single day with these shoes. I might have taken a day or so when travelling to wear a different pair so these won’t be sweaty in my luggage. However, now that it’s a year later I have decided to retire these shoes.

I tend to overuse shoes. Hell, I still have a pair of Nike Pegasus 31s from my first Marathon that have well 1,000 miles on them. Why? I’m super cheap, they aren’t torn to shreds yet, the insoles are still thick enough that I’m not running directly on concrete, and well why not? I know, many “professionals” say to change out your shoes every 400-500 miles, but if they’re not ripped up or feel worn or you aren’t hurting while running, I say keep running.

Here’s the final mileage sheet from the UA MapMyRun app:
2019-02-14 10.43.05

Here’s the “AFTER” pic of over 365 runs (gross). Remember, these used to be WHITE!
2019-02-23 18.15.25

Time to find new shoes and new tech to play with.

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 Second 5 Mile Review

I wasn’t going to write another post so quickly but I wanted to add that the Map My Run app actually saved the stride length and cadence in the second run.

Also, yes, it does show up in the app during a run. I actually think this is a good feature if you happen to be running on the treadmill with the shoes and place the device (phone/tablet) on the treadmill display.

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!

Spartan Race “San Francisco” Super

I’ve been bad, I’m sitting on a plane on the way to the Hawaii Trifecta Weekend writing about a race I raced last month. So busy… Last race was at a new venue Spartan Race wants to call San Francisco. It’s not uncommon for companies to choose more recognizable names, (Seattle is in Snohomish, Monterey is in Salinas, Sacramento is in Rancho Murieta, and so on) but this is rediculous. First of all the venue was Diablo Canyon, more specifically Patterson, CA. That’s a good 90-100 miles away depending on the route you take. Hell, you might as well call it San Jose or even Modesto. I don’t know why I keep complaining about this…

Anyway, it’s been about a month from my last Spartan Race and I’ve been keeping up with my training. However, I managed to sprain my wrist a week before race day playing hockey… I really need to stop playing at least two weeks before a race or just “retire” altogether. I love playing ice hockey, but I’m getting older and more susceptible to injuries. But I wouldn’t say slower… However, I have to remember I’m not the same weight I used to be so when I take a hit I WILL fly.

Back to the race. An overall good experience on the course, good sights to be seen… But those hills… Hills for days. We go up a really steep hill only to look up and ahead to find another long steep hill to climb. The inclines were no joke. Another thing, there was very little cover and I could have used it in the heat of inland central California. But to my surprise it wasn’t as hot as I was expecting. I consider myself either lucky that day or I’ve been accustomed to the heat from my training (or cheapness from not using my central air). Did I mention steep hills?

While I had a good experience on the course, it was an fairly frustrating race for me. Halfway through the course I hit a wall, figuratively. Though there were many literal walls. No, my break point was the Hercules Hoist. My new unfavorite obstacle, second to only the spear throw. The sand bag via hoist was near impossible for me to raise alone. It had to weigh more than me. I always say this but this time I just couldn’t pull the weight up. I managed to rip my hand in three different places. Another racer came to my rescue and helped me raise the sand bag. Right after that was the rope climb, one of my favorite obstacles to show off my upper body strength, but I just opted for burpees as my hands were already blistered and/or bleeding. Just after that was yet another rope obstacle, the plate drag. At this point I skipped another obstacle since my hands were just in pain. No medic or med tent in sight I trucked on in pain. 

I got to a water station and was helped by a kind voulenteer with a bandaid. This small gesture helped me have the confidence to finish the race. Now before you say, “Hey, it’s just a bandaid.” Or “hey SpartanTFU and finish the race.” I was distracted by the blood, pain, and dirty water to think about continuing on. Let me say, for whatever reason, the pressure and the ability to cover an open wound helped me get through and avoid going back to base camp to find a med tent sacrificing time and a possible DQ. I’m not elite racer but I do like seeing my placing at the end of each race. 

This is the first time there was a Memory Wall and not corresponding Memory Test. Such a waste because like every other race I memorized my numbers, Golf 057-3627. Oh well. Speaking of disappointments, I find myself 0-4 for the Spear Throw. 0-6 in the ’15-’16 season. Not a great spot to be in halfway into the year. 

Well, time to carb up and prepare fo the Trifecta Weekend…

Spartan Race Monterey – Happy Raceiversary!

Golf 235-1791

Last Saturday was the Monterey Spartan Race Super. I had a blast at my anniversary Spartan Race. Yes, my first Spartan Race was 2015 at the same venue at roughly the same time of year. This year did not disappoint. Looking at the two maps side-by-side it looks like they used a similar course except for the last leg where it took us up a looooong uphill climb followed by a gradual decline back to the finish line.

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Other than the last leg, there were a few subtle differences between the two years; obviously the placement of the obstacles, but present this year was the Memory Wall many people hate and gone was the Tire Flip. They changed up the Tyrolene Traverse into a Tyrolene Ladder where it’s still horizontal but its a rope/metal ladder instead of just a loose rope. Though there were still a few ropes present.

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Somehow, I think I’m getting worse at the spear throw. I consider myself fairly athletic, but that damn spear throw really hurts my ego. About midseason in and I only have three races in the calendar year, I’m 0-3. UGH! I really need to try the underhand leaning on the barricade technique. I mean, I couldn’t get worse right?

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Damn I have a lot of facial hair now. Hair on the top of my head too… Time for a change back so I take home less mud.

I’ll leave this race review on a high note. The weather was super nice for June. Not hot at all considering it was in Salinas near the track. But I have to give myself a pat on the back when I managed to get to the top of the Bucket Brigade without stopping. I’ll also add that after a minimal rest at the top I went back down and finished without stopping as well. That’s quite a feat considering I’ve been out of the gym for seven months and only had two weeks of gym to restart training. Yay me!

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Pictured is the new Delta Coin for Monterey. I still need to get my Temecula coins.

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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?