Today I planned to run my highest mileage in almost a year-8 miles. It’s still crazy to me that I’m viewing this as my long run, considering I am a 10k runner and my long runs used to average between 12-14 miles. Before heading out, I decided to stop by Road Runner Sports in Costa Mesa to try out the Hoka One One Clifton. My coaches recommended them to me but I’ve been hesitant since I get shoes through athletics. I am now to the point where I will do whatever it takes to remain healthy, so after reading all the positive reviews I figured I might as well give them a try. It was weird trying out a completely new shoe, the Hoka One One’s are like no other, and I agree with what many people are saying; it’s not just a fad, they’re the real deal. Last night I read all the reviews and was set on getting a quick buy so I could get on my way with the run. I ended up spending two hours at the store deciding between 3 shoes, the Clifton, Bondi 4, and Brooks Glycerin 13. Going into the store I honestly thought I was going to buy the Clifton’s, but after trial running each one several times, I decided to go with the Bondi 4. The Bondi 4’s are supposed to be the best crossover shoe when it comes to both trail running and roads-which is perfect since I will be in Mammoth for three weeks but running in the Concrete Jungle the majority of the year.

After all these years of injuries, my Physical Therapist, Jesse Phillips (I highly recommend anyone in the LA area going to him) from St. Johns Health Center, worked on changing my stride and cadence to 180 BPM. This change has transformed me from a heel striker to a mid-foot to toe runner, which was a battle when running with the Clifton’s. In regards to the Glycerin 13, they were stiff and I felt the shock up my shins with each step, so even though I absolutely love Nick Symmonds and would love to Run Happy, they weren’t for me. The Bondi 4’s made me excited to take on this higher mileage; I couldn’t wait to get home and hit the Back Bay!

My best friend and ex-teammate Ava joined me on the bike for the 8 miler, and I couldn’t help but gush over the shoes, I think I even have her sold on them (So Hoka One One, if you ever need a new representative give me 10 months and I am all yours). This morning I was dreading the run, my shins were achy and I wasn’t sure I would be able to tolerate the 8 miler, but in those shoes I felt as if I could run another 8! Running downhill was the ultimate test, I dread going down hill and even had us pause for a minute before proceeding so I could gather some confidence. I literally felt as though I was running on clouds; I was ecstatic! These shoes have literally brought back the joy of running after one run, which is something I never thought I would experience again.

With this, I am not saying I grew to dislike running, but it has become an extremely toxic and abusive relationship. Before each run, I have learned to mentally prepare myself to endure the pain and I forgot that running was supposed to be a beautiful thing. After this one run, this experience returned! I do have some concerns in regards to these shoes though-they’re just too good to be true. A major concern will be the trade-off. I’m curious how my legs will react to the switch from the Bondi’s to racing spikes. I know regardless my shins are zapped after a race, but I hope these shoes don’t lower my pain tolerance. My plan will be to transition to my Adidas Boost before races in order to avoid a drastic change, and see if a gradual transition works better. Another concern with theses new shoes is how long the soles will last. After reading reviews, many people complained about how quickly their shoes wore out; people who were running 20-30 miles a week were going through their shoes in a month! That is a huge deal for me. Not only are these shoes a good $150, but my mileage is going to range between 40 and 50 miles, I cannot afford to go through shoes in two weeks! I’m hoping there are other reasons that contribute to these people wearing through the shoes so fast, but if not I plan to take advantage of Road Runner Sport’s 90 day VIP return policy since they promised me the shoes would last.

As far as my progress goes, I will continue with updates on my shins and how the Bondi 4 is holding up with my mileage.

Just Keep Running XOXO

Ashlee Powers