Workout While on the Road

I was traveling again this week and had a chance to try out the Westin WorkoutWestin Bag while staying and the Westin Imagine in Orlando, right across the street from the convention center. Trying to workout while on the road can always be a challenge, but at process at least helps simplify the solution. During check-in, I mentioned that I would like to participate in the rental of the workout gear. The woman checking me in simply asked what size shoes, shit and shorts I needed (woman can get capri pants or a sports bra as well). We finished check-in, and she stepped away for maybe 3 minutes before returning with a mesh draw string bag that contained all the gear. She explained that I just needed to leave the gear in the bag in my room when I was leaving for checkout (I was staying for only one night) and that I would be charged a small fee of $5 for the rental. The rental also includes a pair of padded shortie New Balance socks that you get to keep, so the total cost is really just a few bucks.

Westin GearAll four items in the bag were clean and fresh smelling and the shoes and socks were brand new. The shoes were in the retail box with the normal crushed paper stuffed in each shoe and the socks still had the not for resale zip tag on them. Also included in the bag was a 10% off coupon for a next purchase on New Balance gear from the New Balance website, and a small postcard explaining the program and the philosophy of the program. You can also request maps of local running trails or paths when you request your gear. I did not this time as I knew my time for a run was short (explained below).

Each item fit very well and the shoes themselves were fresh, shiny New Balance model 759s. The shoes were very light and comfortable to wear. I laced them up and went downstairs for a quick workout. I unfortunately had recent back surgery (external) so I was only able to do a quick run so as to not aggravate the wound. Since I knew I would not get to do a full 1 hour test of the shoes, I had planned to go over to Downtown Disney and walk over to Saratoga Springs for dinner, wearing the shoes as a test.

Westin Shoes

I spent a good 3 hours in the shoes today and overall was impressed with their weight, comfort and size. They felt a bit less  supportive than my Brooks Adrenaline 11’s, but I think I need a 1/2 size smaller next time. I was not a picky during this process as I would normally be if I was buying so I just estimated on the size I normally wear.

Bottom line is this is a great program if you forget your workout gear or if you just want to try some new equipment. The possible downside is the property could be really busy with health conscious gests and could be sold out (rented out) of your size. Since this program is so new, that was not an issue for me. I will be adding this to my list of positives when I am deciding on which property to stay as during my business trips.

What do you do to stay on track for your workouts when you are on the road? Please leave a comment.

Buying A Running Shoe

BrooksShoesIn a previous post from March 1st, I wrote about my need for a new pair of running shoes and my proposed selection process, such as it is. After a combination of research and happy coincidence, I ended up selecting the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 11, and could not be more thrilled with my selection.

The research part was a combination of online resources and the vast staff knowledge at Dick Pond Athletics in Lisle Illinois, where I purchased the shoes. The happy coincidence was that a Groupon popped into my inbox the week I was doing my research. The offer was to purchase a $50 certificate for $25, good at any Dick Pond store and since I was already going to make a purchase there, I jumped on the offer right away.

I visited Dick Pond and discussed my needs, past experience and future plans with the staff. They had me try on a few different pairs for sizing, comfort and I’m not ashamed to say, looks. They have an in shop treadmill so I was able to do a few miles before making a final decision. The Brooks ran a little smaller than the Kayanos, so I ended up with a size 11.5 instead of the size 11 that I had in the Asics. The brooks were also $40 less expensive, not cheaper, that the Asics so with the coupon, tax and tip I was out the doo for less than $75 dollars US.

I have already used them to run the Home Team Charity Run 10K in Chicago and they performed very well, with no rubbing, plenty of stability and an abundance of comfort. I realize this was a short run but was none the less a good test for a new pair of kicks.

Next step is to keep an eye out for clearance deals so I can stock at least one more pair for the next Disney Marathon. See you there.

Buying New Running Shoes

It is just about time for me to purchase some new running shoes, not according to the ‘Manufacturers Suggested Mileage’ but according to my wear patterns. I have a tendency to wear them out on the inside before I wear them out on the outside, or at least it feels that way. I try to do 500 – 600 miles on a pair before I look at getting a new pair and I try to keep at least two pairs around so I can rotate them. It is also handy to have a second pair on hand in case I get one pair really wet from a run in the rain.

Kayano 15

My strategy from the beginning was to find a brand that fit really well and me my needs as far as foot type, stride pronation etc. Turns out I needed a stability type shoe so with the help of Dick Pond Athletics in Lisle Illinois, I settled on Asics Kayanos. The year I bought them (2007) they were on model 13 (they have a new number every year), so I bought two pair and started rotating them. Good thing I bought two pair, since the following year they changed the toe box and the model 14 caused a rub on my big toe. I skipped the 14s and was able to find some clearance 13s online, which held me over till the 15s came out in 2009. I retired one of the 13s for a 15, then near the end of the year retired another 13 and bought two clearance 15s. I now have three pairs of 15s that I am rotating and have passed over the 16’s and 17s, so far.

Back to my wear patterns. The manufacturers suggest you only put 300 miles on a pair of shoes, but being cynical, I submit that they are just trying to sell you a new pair every year if not more often. I tend to wear out the lining at various touch points to my foot. I have been very fortunate to never have gotten blisters from running, except for one freak weather run at the Disney Marathon in 2010 when it was so cold my feet did not expand as they usually do when I run. Another reason I don’t get blisters is I am very aware of those wear spots and will replace the shoe if I start to get a hint of a hot spot, which is usually around the 500 mile mark with the Asics.

This post was actually prompted by a podcast I was listening to yesterday while doing a 5.5 mile run. I listen to Phedippidations quite often, a podcast for and about runners, and was catching up on some older episodes as I usually do. Steve Runner  (Walker is his real last name) produced a podcast called ‘Anatomy of a Running Shoe’ and it reminded me it was time to start looking for some new shoes before the weather gets nice again. This particular episode talked abut the important parts you should pay attention to when looking for a new shoe or when moving to a new version of the exact shame shoe. As I mentioned I ran into that with the 14s and might eventually have to move away from the Kayanos if the change too much. I am very happy with the Kayanos, but they are getting pretty expensive at $140.00 and there are other good stability shoes on the market.

Steve has a very strong opinion about Nike and their sweat shop practices, something I agree with him on, so if you are a Nike lover you might be turned off by the first few parody minutes of this episode, but keep on going and listen to what he has to say about shoes and what to look for.

What kind of shoes do you wear and why did you choose them?

Karhu Shoe Giveaway

We are having our first giveaway this month to celebrate the upcoming 13.1 Chicago Half Marathon and Karhu 5K, which both take place on Sunday June 13, 2010 along Chicago’s beautiful lakefront. Our generous sponsor Karhu is giving RunMorganRun readers a chance to win a brand new pair of Karhu “Forward Ride” running shoes. The lucky winner can sport a new pair of kicks while they enjoy the sights and sounds of the 13.1 Chicago Half Marathon or the Karhu 5K. Please note that the winners choice of size and color subject to availability. Instructions are below.


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Forward Fulcrum Ride
Women’s in charcoal and violet – Men’s in charcoal and yellow

Multiple Options for Multiple Entries:

1.) Just visit to read about the awesome Forward Fulcrum Ride shoes, then leave a comment on this post about what you think is the best feature of the shoe and how you would like to incorporate the shoe into your running lifestyle. (You may enter once a day.) Remember, leave an interesting comment. If I cannot contact the random winner, you might be chosen instead based on your comment.

2.) Blog about this giveaway on your blog with a link back to this post. Come back and leave me a Comment with a link to your blog post. (If your comment doesn’t show up right away, don’t worry – it may have been filtered and just need approval.)

3.) Tweet it. If you Twitter a link to this giveaway, come back and comment here to let me know your Twitter name for another entry!

Feel free to do all three to gather multiple entries to win! You have until midnight CST on Monday, June 7, 2010, to enter so that we can get the shoes to the winner in time for the run. The winner will be drawn at random from all entries and will be notified by email. Good luck.

Note: This contest is only available to Chicago area residents.

Update: 6/8/10 Congratulations Mike S. He is the winner of our shoe giveaway. Look for his review here after he has put them thru their paces.