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Equipment gear review hiking night running Product Review running equipment Running Gear running light

My Knuckle Lights are awesome! product review

I know you have all been waiting on the edge of your seat for the official Adam Culp (Crazy Floridian) product review of the knuckle lights since I bought them a while back. (They arrived in late September.) So here it is.  I would have written sooner, but really wanted to take them on a bunch of runs to be sure I was gonna love them as a part of my running gear, and waiting a bit also enabled me to really see how long they would last on a set of fresh batteries.

Now that I have used them as running lights on more than 30 runs, and at least 3 times as hiking lights in the woods of the Smokie’s and the hills of Colorado, I feel I can properly write about them.  I was pleased that the batteries lasted about 15 2+ hour runs.  I am not sure how long they would have lasted for a single run if it lasted longer, but will let you know in February after the Iron Horse 100.

As many of you know I run a bunch of miles (2,200 miles in 2011), and many of these runs are at night, or start late in the day and end up in the dark before the run is done.  Unfortunately I live in an area where there is high traffic and not street lights everywhere, and when cars are driving toward me I often cannot see anything. This makes for some interesting night running. There have been times when I tripped over a curb, sidewalk, debris, and once even some roadkill.  So I resorted to buying a headlamp.

Now I don’t know about the rest of you, but a headlamp is truly an inconvenience to wear when running. First I needed to adjust the strap tight enough so it does not slide down my face, but lose enough so it doesn’t result in a headache.  Needless to say I eventually just tied it around my hand and positioned it in such a way to use it like a flashlight.  However, there were two problems with this: First, I had to twist the strap pretty tight to my fingers to be handy and cause my fingers to hurt after hours of running. And second, the strap becomes worn, and over time loses its elasticity so it basically was cutting off blood flow to your fingers to hold it in place.

After almost 2 years of running this way I saw an advertisement in Runner’s World for Knuckle Lights.  It was awesome to see someone had also done the same thing I’d done with the headlamp, and decided to make a “real” light with straps to be held on your hand similar to the way I was using the headlamp. Awesome!!!

I ordered a pair of Knuckle Lights and waited for them to arrive. I could hardly wait to get them.  When they arrived it was like Christmas, and I was impatient to give them a try.  Of course I did a head to head comparison against my headlamp, and the Knuckle Lights were brighter, but wouldn’t you know it…I had to wait a full two weeks before the opportunity arose for me to give them a try, and loved them immediately.  The handle is pretty comfortable even though it is a plastic strap.  I was a little nervous about that when I first saw them, but after adjusting them to the right size for my hand I don’t even notice it on my hand.

The wide angle LED bulbs are pretty nice because the beam is not really altered by my hand movement as I run.  Of course you do not get the distance you would get with a spotlight type of beam, but seeing that far is not really a concern when running.  I only need to see things closer to me to prevent tripping, and I can generally see farther objects enough to know what is ahead in any way.

The package comes with two Knuckle lights and included batteries, but I generally only use one at a time.  The second light really doesn’t illuminate much more than a single one will do by itself.  Even while hiking with the family in deep woods a single light was more than enough for me to see with, so my wife had one while I carried the other and it worked awesome.

In February I will be using these lights while running the 2012 Iron Horse 100, and I believe they will work out wonderfully since I have thoroughly tested them since September.  I recommend these to any runners, hikers, bikers, or anyone that has a need for some sort of lighting.  They are priced reasonably, do not eat batteries, are comfortable to wear and use, and supply an awesome amount of light.  Please go get your own.

Adam closing

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Eyewear gear review Product Review Sunglasses

Ryders Eyewear Sunglasses Review

A couple of weeks ago Gordon from OutsidePR found his way onto my humble blog and enjoyed reading my ultra marathon experience.  He also found my post on the mind games of long distance running where I use the lack of sunglasses as a reason not to run.  This led him to propose I should try out a pair of Ryders Eyewear, which is one of their accounts, and let him know what I thought of them.  Of course I said “sure” and he asked Devon to send a pair of the “Shot” model my way.

First let me tell you that I am a very picky person when it comes to my running gear.  However, for some reason I have never considered eyewear as running gear.  For years I simply wore my normal prescription lensed sunglasses on all of my runs, and never gave it another thought.  Never mind the fact I had to push my glasses back into place every 100 yards or so.  Pay no mind as my normal running glasses weight cause my nose bridge a little discomfort from the slight bounce on long distance runs.  Add to this the amount of cleaning that is required for nose pads that are not made to handle the sweat of a marathon distance.  Until this past weekend I WAS COMPLETELY HAPPY with my heavy, dirty, sliding, and sports ugly prescription sunglasses.

Thanks to OutsidePR and Ryders Eyewear I now realize my old sunglasses are outdated, and not meant for long distance running.  Thanks a lot Gordon!  Jeez!  I simply never gave sports sunglasses a thought and didn’t know there was a difference.

ryders_eyewear_shot_sunglasses
Ryders Eyewear “Shot” Sunglasses

Saturday I set out for a short 7 mile run wearing the “Shot” model of Ryders Eyewear.

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Adam Culp barefoot running gear review running equipment Running Gear running shoes training gear

New Nike Free 3.0 shoes

nike-free-30

It seems like only a couple months ago I had just started wearing my last pair of new shoes.  Oh, wait!  It really was only two months ago.  No, the shoes are not worn out already, since I only have 200 miles on them.  However, it is only 5 weeks until the Miami marathon, and I know I will be border line on the timing for needing new shoes.  Because of that I decided to buy the new shoes now and give time to break them in.

So, why did I change my shoe and not go for the “cushy” Nike Zoom Vomero 4 again?  Well, my plantar faciitus (see past post on that) has really become a “pain in the foot”, and I have resorted to running in my old New Balance cross trainers this past week, and my feet are feeling better. (Not healed since that will take some time, but still better.)  This makes it appear as if the cushioned Nike Zoom Vomero 4 shoes may be a partial cause of my problems, so it is time to say goodbye to them. (Of course I will wear them on occasion since they still have more than 100 miles left on them.)

Hearing good things about the Nike Free shoes that are like barefoot running I thought I would give them a shot.  After viewing the customer feedback on the different sites I decided that I would opt for the Nike Free 3.0 instead of 5.0 version.  The 3.0 seemed to get more 30+ mile per week runners, and the feedback was amazing.  The 5.0 seemed to be for the under 20 mile per week crowd, and the feedback was good for them as well, but many complained about rocks getting stuck in the 5.0 treads.  From what I could tell the 3.0 was a bit closer to barefoot running, while the 5.0 had a little more support. (Yes, I know.  I have never been a half-way kinda guy, and went for the 3.0.)  I just wish that Nike would come out with more “realistic” and/or “reserved” colors.  I had to get a black pair like the picture above because there was nothing else available in my size. (NOTE: I ordered a half size larger than I normally wear in running shoes, because the Free shoes run a little small.)

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Adam Culp gear review running equipment Running Gear running shoes training gear

Time for a new pair of shoes

UPDATE: added on Oct. 28th 2009: I ended up returning the Asics and purchased another pair of Nike Zoom Vomero in a size 10.  The Asics were nice, but not for me.

shoe_upgrade

Well, it has been 3 months (almost to the day) that I purchased my current running shoes.  I purchased them based on a nice review done on the Runner’s World site of the best new shoes of Spring 2009. (The shoes I chose were not the editors choice, but they were the most improved.)  I purchased the Nike Zoom Vomero+ 4, and I really liked them so the review was correct.  However, after 331 miles the bottoms are very worn and there is almost no tread to mention in the landing points. (I am a forefoot runner, so that means the balls of my feet have no tread below them.  Also since I walk a mile or so after each run the heels were also very worn.)

With my first marathon looming 5 weeks away, I think NOW is the best time to act and get a new pair of shoes well worn in by then.  I was really hoping to get another 100 miles on them, but the Zoom Vomero is a really soft shoe.  This makes it very comfortable to run, but also means that the tread is softer and seems to wear away fast.  I am not a foot dragger either, so the wear is not due to me sliding my feet as I run.

Also, these were my first pair of long distance running shoes so I purchased them based on how they fit, with no consideration of what my feet would do during long runs. (swell a bit)  Needless to say, now that my weekly miles are in the 30+ range with my long runs hitting 15+ miles, my toes hurt for a day after my runs from hitting the ends of the my shoes thousands of times.  (My next pair of shoes will be a size 10 instead of the 9.5 I have now.)

After some research I once again watched the fall 2009 shoe reviews on Runner’s World, and this time the editors choice was the Asics Nimbus 11. (I also read some customer reviews on a few sites that sell them, and they were all good.)  So off to the Sports Authority I went to try out these new shoes “everyone really liked”.  The review was very good and the gel in the shoe is supposed to also provide some cushioning, and to me the sole did not seem as soft as the Zoom Vomero and may wear better.

I will keep you informed on how these shoes wear.  See me again in a few months. 🙂