Nagano Marathon Race Report

A short a trip to Japan but what a trip it was as I caught the Sakura season and there was a marathon too! Read about the race here.

Gear Reviews

All the reviews here...

Trans Nuang 2013

5 runners. 42km. 16 hours. Elevation gain 2,878 meters / 9,442 feet. All here.

Gold Coast Airport Marathon 2014 Race Report

After a long long wait, I finally nailed it. Full story here...

 

Category Archives: Nike

Shoe Review: Nike Lunar Tempo

Choon Yuen returns with another shoe review. We collectively wish he buys more shoes.

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Here I am again hijacking the blog, pretending the blog is mine and spending a few minutes blabbing about shoes LOL. With my first major race for 2015 over back in early April, I was looking around for a nice pair of shoes to replace my current favorites the Asics Electro33 (my PB shoes, mind you) for the upcoming Gold Coast Airport Marathon (GCAM) in July. Come to think of it, I really didn’t need to look for a new pair as I’m pretty sure the Asics still have enough life to carry me for another race before officially retiring it into my walking shoes. Nevertheless hanging out with Jamie and Nick, you will always be poisoned with buying new pair of shoes even you really didn’t need to.

Now let’s see what we have here. My first pair of running shoes purchased was the original Nike LunaRacer then followed by Nike LunaRacer+3 (Racer) skipping the version 2. When Jamie poisoned me with the Nike Lunar Tempo (Tempo) which is the trainer version of the racer, immediately I was sold even before looking at the actual shoes. True enough the Lunar Tempo according to Nike, was designed for runners who often take the Racer for long run training. In other words, you will have the best from the Racer (lightweight and fast) plus the extra cushion you need for day to day training from the LunarTempo. Judging from experience with the Racer, I upsized my purchase with a full size to combat the narrow toe box which was a big mistake…well not that big, but still a mistake.

Honestly, after 40km or so I didn’t feel right at home with the Tempo, something just didn’t feel quite right. Nick advised me to try on thicker shocks, and it worked!! In hindsight, I should have tried upsizing by only half instead of the full size due to a welcome improvement on the upper mesh which I will explain later. For the next 20km +, it felt like I have found my shoes for GCAM, at least for now, let’s wait until I test run the NB Zante in the coming weeks before deciding which pair flies with me hehe.

The Racer (top) and the Tempo.

The Tempo’s (left) outsole, which have thicker blown rubber coverage, suggests greater durability than the Racer.

The Tempo by nature is designed to be the trainer version of the Racer, naturally you are right to expect a few familiar characteristics brought over from the Racer+3. First off, on the weight department, weighing at 6.8oz for a Size 9, it’s just a mere 0.4oz heavier than the Racer, impressive for a trainer. Secondly, the responsive Lunarlon midsole are retained with a slight tweak in the groove pattern near the heel area. Then there is the Nike Flywire system used for fit adjustment wrapping your feet like what a pair of socks would do holding your feet firmly preventing any slide. Other than the above, the Tempo is a different shoe from the Racer+3.

Breathable mesh.

Lightly padded tongue.

The highly breathable seamless upper mesh has a slight tweak; it now feels softer and it is more stretchable, effectively taking away the narrow toe box feeling experienced from the Racer (my mistake to upsize by a full size). Couple with the Flywire over the midfoot allowing variable wraparound pressure/tightness adjustment depending on individual preferences holding your feet in place. Once it is adjusted properly, I did not notice any foot sliding even with upsizing. The heel collar as with the shoe tongue is slightly padded and there are no visible plastic/film over the heel counter. Instead the heel counter is packed with patterned reflective material, effective and pleasing the eyes.

The softer (and floppier) Ortholite insole of the Tempo compared to the Racer’s stiffer version.

The thicker midsole of the Tempo (right) compared to the Racer.

The insole sees a change; it is softer and thinner compare to the Racer version and is made with Ortholite material. Lunarlon midsole are slightly thicker as you can see from the picture below. It delivers sufficient cushioning yet not taking away the ground feel returning the rebound energy that one would expect from a racing flat. Carbon rubbers are placed strategically at the wear zones with very minimal visible wear noticed after closed to 70km now. Overall the ride is comfortable and smooth.

Although it is still too early to draw a conclusion on durability with merely 70km mileage, but there isn’t anything to pick on the shoe. It is lightweight, responsive, flexible, has good ground feel and fit snugly thanks to the stretchable mesh and Flywire system. The shoes has grown on me since the initial rubbish 40km that I’ve done earlier and this little package can double as a my racing shoes too (note: I am not a fast runner and you may not agree with me on the racing bits). Okay perhaps there is one thing I want to pick on the shoe which is the colorway available in this part of market…boring!!!

Nike LunarTempo is retailing at RM379 but strangely you will not find it in Nike store in Malaysia. This pair was purchased at Stadium KLCC.

Gearing Up For The Nuang Ultra Challenge

The NUC is happening this weekend. Standards are raised for this year’s edition – its 2nd year running – and to qualify for the finisher swags, one would have to tackle at least 50K. I’ve only gone up Nuang once (Trans Nuang epic recap here) and that was achieved in a totally different condition than presently. The terrain was impossibly slick with deep ruts on the ground cut by heavy rainfall ready to trap some poor ankles.

Now that we’re deep into a drought season with temps nudging at 40 Celcius everyday, the same paths up the 530m CP will be bone dry. The ruts will still be there and it will be hard going for most runners. There’s also a chance of bush fires,  reported over the last few days. Other than staying well hydrated, carrying too much additional weight won’t make sense. One would already be working against the harsh weather and long and challenging ascent/descent afterall. It was with those considerations in mind that I thought about what shoes I should be going with. For awhile I thought of sacrificing a little efficiency by going with the Fellraiser but after sleeping on it for a few nights, I’m beginning to feel that taking that beast out on Sunday would be akin to bringing a howitzer into an urban warfare setting.

The choice naturally narrowed down to 2 low-drop shoes. One is light, has great cushioning, roomy toebox and 4mm drop. The other has a touch less cushioning resulting in a more responsive ride, possesses a roomy toebox, 4mm drop and aggressive lugs. And those 2 shoes would be the Wildhorse and GObionic Trail. They go well with my favorite Drymax socks too. I believe they should excel on the dry trails and therefore would accompany me to Nuang.

My gear’s all packed which is quite an easy thing to do since I’m keeping everything simple, and it does get easier as one does more of such long haul events. The drive to Pangsun will be very early since the race starts 6:30am. I’ll need to catch some good sleep these few nights.

If you’re going to Nuang this weekend, be it to run or to support, don’t hesitate to scream, “You worm!” and go all Gunny on me. I’ll need the extra shot in the arm to get me through hell, but go easy with the waterguns, ok? :D

iPhone App Review: Nike+ Move

The new year has entered its 2nd week. Chances are there will be a number of folks out there who made the decision to start exercising and maintain an active lifestyle (read: spending less time on the Couch of Doom playing Call of Duty – both CoD!) running into motivational challenges. It’s tougher when you’re in it alone, with your friends opting for a session at the corner mamak stall rather than out sweating.

Other than being really strong-willed and determined, it’s good to know that there are gear and apps out there which can nudge you along until such time when even a monsoon won’t keep you indoors. I’ve no experience in sport accessories like Fitbit and Nike+ FuelBand (Google them up) but such devices employ the use of sensors and accelerometer to track movement – some can even track your sleep pattern – and convert them into points, which you can then track online. Nothing like seeing the points go up to keep you motivated.

If you don’t have such gear, you can always rely on the piece of electronics which we always have with us – the smartphone. The iPhone especially have a wide range of apps for just about anything. In this case let’s have a look at the Nike+ Move app which was launched to capitalize on the iPhone 5S M7 co-processor. The M7 manages and tracks the phone’s gyro, accelerometer as well as compass. It works quietly in the background sipping battery power so, on paper at least, it won’t be the power hogger that most of us fear.

When you launch the Nike+ Move app for the first time you’ll have a step-by-step walk-through of how you can start collecting points. As you swipe through the screens, you’ll be apprised of your progress over the weeks, and you can see the breakdown of your activities, put yourself in a Leaderboard, with options to share your achievements to the social media channels (but of course!). The following are the screen transitions

Since it does all the above, one may wonder if the app is cannibalizing Nike’s very own FuelBand. To which the answer from Nike was a “No”. I don’t have the FuelBand, so I’m unable to comment on that. The app is a quick and simple starter for fitness newbies who want to track every bit of their movements throughout the day. It doesn’t track your mileage nor intensity but rather in minutes and NikeFuel points. It’s a standalone and doesn’t integrate with the Nike+ website which is a downer. As the newbies progresses, he or she may find other apps more appropriate when it comes to tracking specific activities and relegate the use of this one to keeping the time spent on the couch/office chair to a minimum.

The Nike+ Move app requires an iPhone 5S (due to the M7 co-processor) and is available free in the iTunes Store. Download yours here. Nike also has other fitness apps like the ones below. Search them out in the iTunes Store.

Press Release: Nike Tech Pack: Tech Fleece

Nike Tech Pack debut with its first installment–the Nike Tech Fleece Collection.

Malaysia, August 27th 2013 – For Fall/Holiday 2013, Nike updates classic styles with a revolutionary reinvention of the fabric of sport: fleece. Evolving the fit, feel, and function of Nike’s most iconic sportswear silhouettes, the Nike Tech Fleece Collection represents the next generation of classic sport apparel.

The Nike Tech Fleece fabric offers the ultimate in lightweight warmth that responds to the natural motion of the wearer. Plush foam placed between layers of cotton jersey creates a tri-layer fabric that provides the ultimate in comfort and warmth when needed. The smooth jersey facing gives the garments a modern, streamlined look both inside and out, while the inner foam enhances the fleece’s functionality. It is lighter, warmer, more breathable than its predecessors, and looks as good as it performs.

To highlight the ground-breaking fabric, each style was stripped down to its essential elements and rebuilt from the inside out. Arms were articulated for enhanced mobility while restructuring helped slim the silhouettes and reduced overall top stitching and seaming. Additionally, traditional ribbed cuffs were replaced by black elastic micro binding for a snug, ergonomic fit and updated appearance that complements bold black zippers and a traditional grey palette.

The collection’s backbone, the Nike Tech Fleece Windrunner, revamps our most iconic jacket. Available for both men and women, it combines a full-zip front with side zip pockets and elastic micro binding at the hem. Plus, the women’s version features thumbholes at the cuffs for enhanced hand coverage.

The Nike Tech Fleece N98 and Nike Tech Fleece AW77 are updated with a seam-bound—instead of stitched—kangaroo pocket for a clean appearance, enhanced access, and more spacious storage. The left chest features a zip pocket suggestive of the Nike Destroyer Jacket, but even bolder with a bonded zipper and two internal media pockets for digital devices, phones, and more—all of the elements of modern life on the streets. Similarly, the Nike Tech Fleece Crew retains its timeless cut while a kangaroo pocket and variable ribbed hem add to its contemporary feel.

Pushing the classic hoody into the future and specially crafted for women, the Nike Tech Fleece Hoodie and Nike Tech Fleece Cape introduce a slightly thinner fleece for enhanced drape. Boasting an oversized funnel neck that can be worn as a hoody or cowl, the Nike Tech Fleece Hoodie presents a toggle at the neck, side zip pockets, a bound hem, and thumbholes at the cuffs. The Nike Tech Fleece Cape pushes the shape even further by combining the same detailing with an off-center zip and unconventional line that includes an exaggerated dropped back hem. The women’s Nike Tech Fleece Pants offer a classic bottom featuring an elastic waist and cuffs, with zippers at the hem for easy on and off over shoes. The men’s Nike Tech Fleece Pants provide the same easy fit along with a draw cord waistband, open side pockets, and inset construction for enhanced knee articulation.

It’s everyday sportswear made innovative for everyday life. It’s the modern look of sport.

The Nike Tech Pack, Tech Fleece Collection will be available Aug. 29 at your local Nike Sportswear retailer

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About NIKE, Inc.

NIKE, Inc. based near Beaverton, Oregon, is the world’s leading designer, marketer and distributor of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities. Wholly-owned NIKE subsidiaries include Converse Inc., which designs, markets and distributes athletic lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories and Hurley International LLC, which designs, markets and distributes surf and youth lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories. For more information, visit www.nikeinc.com.

For media enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact:

Amri Rahim
Group Account Director
Milk PR
E: amri.rahim@milkpr.com.my
T: 03.2094.8915
M: 012.305.8829
David Joshua Lau
Account Executive
Milk PR
E: david.lau@milkpr.com.my
T: 03.2094.8915
M: 012.207.9960

Quick Take On The Nike Zoom Wildhorse

 

2 weeks ago I spotted a FB update from Runningwarehouse on the launch of 2 trail shoes from Nike. Not another Free or Flyknit road shoe but trail! Not one but two!! OK, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me clarify.

Firstly Nike’s take on the trail segment has always been more towards the ruggedizing the existing road models. Long gone were the bulky ACG (All Conditions Gear) hiking series, you’ll see Pegasus Trail, Fly Trail, Structure Trail… You get the idea. Therefore when photos began circulating in the Internet of the Zoom Wildhorse and Zoom Terra Kiger along with some of their specs, my toes were well and truly tickled. Not only are these 2 designed freshed (in a manner of speaking since I think various parts of the shoes were influenced from other models), they’re low drop (4mm), lightweight (9.3oz for US10.5) and have much more room up front than traditional Nikes.

One of my frustrations with Nike has always been the narrow toebox. This IMHO has prevented the Lunaracer from being a good to an excellent shoe. To illustrate the difference between the Wildhorse and the other shoes, I pulled out several (not all!) active ones out of my cabinet for comparison and you can see for yourselves.

From left: GOBionic Ride, Wildhorse, Fuji Racer 2.

 

From left: Kinvara 4, Montrail Rogue Racer, Wildhorse.

From left: Free 3.0 v5, Flyknit Lunar One, Wildhorse.

Wildhorse and Kiger are unusual names so I dug around and found out that both are names for locations in the Steens Mountain, Oregon (Nike’s home state) – Wildhorse Lake and Kiger Gorge (Kiger is also a name of mustang from that area). The Wildhorse shares several traits with the Kiger namely their lasts, absence of rockplate, weight, outsole design and drop. However there are subtle differences such as Kiger’s use of heel and forefoot airbags, smaller toebox room, sticky rubber, Dynamic Flywire, mesh than resembles the Free and LunarGlide and a USD15 higher price.

The Kiger isn’t brought into Malaysia (probably due to price factor), so this initial review is only on the Wildhorse. On to the shoe and firstly on the sizing and weight. Because of the intended purpose of this shoe (i.e. taken on runs long enough such that my feet will swell), I started my fitting with a US10. It turned out to be just enough with a thicker trail socks (I tried the shoes while wearing the Nike 2-layer sock but the Drymax Trail has roughly the same thickness). Upsized the shoes to a 10.5 and with a thumb and half space up front, the fit was just right. Without any walking around, the footbed felt firm but walking and hopping around in them, I fully appreciate the responsive cushioning the shoe offers.

Topside, the traditional laces were super easy and smooth to cinch up – you pull the top and the entire shoe upper wraps around your feet. A rounded and wide forefoot was so appreciated. There’s a small toe bumper that wraps around in front. The lightly padded tongue is gusseted (yet another plus point) and long enough unlike the Flyknit Lunar One’s. There’s really no need for too much padding since the laces are not of the thin wires or Kevlar types which could potentially put extra pressure on top of the feet. The gusset is sewn to an inner sleeve which acts to prevent the outer layer of the upper from rubbing the foot. The lime green layer sandwiched between the outer layer and inner sleeve is called Dynamic Fit – you adjust your laces and these will wrap  closer or looser depending on your adjustments. It gets better, the removable sockliner isn’t molded to the extreme in that the arch area, so there’s no chance of chafing there. Interestingly, “Nike Free” is inscribed on the underside of the sockliner.

At the back there’s an absence of a traditional and stiff heel counter. In its place, just a strap across the heel to secure it in place.

The dual density midsole has a 23mm and 19mm heel-forefoot stackheight, rounded at the sides of the heel which mimics the foot shape and should provide traction on the uneven trails. The outsole is a mix of slanted lugs. Towards the heel section, the lugs are directional while the perimeter has an aggresive thorny (much like durians’) take.

Now comes the interesting part – taking these bubble gummy colored shoes for a run. Note that I’ve only put in 2 very short runs in them around my neighborhood. A rocky hillock sits on one side of the children’s playground. The surface on this little patch of land are a mix of sharp rocks or various sizes, packed sand, clay and tricky granite faces.

I’ve been using this playground’s twisty paths and this rocky section to break up the monotonous linear movements of road running as well as to develop agility. It forces me to get on my forefoot most of the times and to keep the cadence up. On a bulky shoe, my experience on such a tricky course would be akin to taking the RR Phantom to the Top Gear circuit. But a performance trainer or lightweight trail shoe would feel right at home. The grip of the Wildhorse on the tarmac, bricked and tiled sections leading up to the park was fantastic despite not having the Kiger’s sticky rubber. It handled everything there were in the area and even without the rockplate, the lugs are deep enough to lend some protection in the forefoot area. I can’t wait to take them to the trails where they can be put to a good workout. Do they drain well? Will they slip on logs? How do they feel on the descents? Will my legs feel like they’re trashed just after 3 hours? Can debris enter the shoe at will? I’m not sure but when I find the answers to the questions, you’ll know too.

I’m very surprised at the direction the company has taken with the Flyknit Free and now these 2 trail shoes. Initial reviews of the Wildhorse have been very favorable in the forums and hopefully this will lead to more nice things to come. If you’re in Malaysia and are looking for a lightweight and low bulk trail shoe that has the cushioning and support to handle long distances, the Wildhorse warrants a serious look. It joins the asics Fuji Racer 2 (6mm), Montrail Rogue Racer and Salomon Mantra (6mm, but I was unable to get over the narrow forefoot and the way it flexes) but none of these have the room up front as the Wildhorse. And while the Skechers GOtrail (4mm) is a commendable shoe for short distances, I wasn’t able to go long in them.

The Nike Zoom Wildhorse is already in stores and retailing for RM409. No disclosure required as I was excited enough to purchase this pair for myself!

Press Release: Nike Unveils New Running Technologies and “Nature Amplified” Design Ethos

Nike Unveils New Running Technologies and “Nature Amplified” Design Ethos
Four new innovations are designed to enhance the running experience.

Malaysia, July 17th 2013 – NIKE, Inc., the world’s leading running brand, today unveiled four new innovations at an event at the company’s global headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. The new products are designed to enhance runners’ natural abilities and were guided by Nike’s “Nature Amplified” design ethos, an approach that is focused on designing for the body in motion and fueled by scientific data and athlete insights. Two new running shoes were introduced  — the Nike Free Flyknit and Nike Free Hyperfeel — along with two new apparel technologies, Aeroloft and Dri-FIT Knit.

“Innovation is not about creating for its own sake, it’s about creating something better, designing with a purpose. Running is the heart and soul of Nike and it’s the birthplace of a constant stream of new innovations that will drive the company forward,” said Mark Parker, President & CEO of NIKE, Inc.

Mark Parker, President & CEO of NIKE, Inc. with the keynote.

Trevor Edwards, NIKE Brand President on stage.

“Nature Amplified means designing for bodies in motion and creating incredible new products that work intuitively with the human body,” said Trevor Edwards, NIKE Brand President. “The footwear and apparel we’ve unveiled today is based on insights from athletes and runners at every level, combined with extensive research in our Sport Research Lab. These innovations are data-driven, but body-led.”

FOOTWEAR INNOVATIONS

The Nike Free Flyknit is the fusion of two of Nike’s most iconic footwear technologies — the compressive Nike Flyknit upper and the flexible Nike Free outsole. The Nike Free Flyknit upper features zoned performance mapping and a second-skin fit. The shoe provides the benefits of natural motion and a snug, supportive fit in a single shoe.

 

Designed to feel like an extension of the body by minimizing layers between the foot and the ground, the Nike Free Hyperfeel delivers a natural motion sensation for the runner. A drop-in insole made from Lunarlon foam allows the foot to have direct contact with Lunarlon cushioning. The ultra-thin waffle outsole uses strategically placed waffle pistons for grip and feel, allowing the foot to get closer to the ground.

 

APPAREL TECHNOLOGIES

Nike Aeroloft technology also debuted in the ultra-light Nike Aeroloft 800 Vest, designed to keep runners warm and comfortable in cooler conditions. Insulating down has been combined with precision ventilation that allows heat to escape the body so athletes stay dry.

Aeroloft 800 vest

Dri-FIT Knit top

Dri-FIT Knit is an ultra-soft, lightweight fabric engineered to help athletes maintain optimal performance temperature in a variety of conditions. The technology employs visibly different knit patterns to aid breathability, while seamless construction ensures a smooth fit free of distraction.

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About NIKE, Inc.

NIKE, Inc. based near Beaverton, Oregon, is the world’s leading designer, marketer and distributor of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities. Wholly-owned NIKE subsidiaries include Converse Inc., which designs, markets and distributes athletic lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories and Hurley International LLC, which designs, markets and distributes surf and youth lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories. For more information, visit www.nikeinc.com.

For media enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact:

Amri Rahim
Group Account Director
Milk PR
E: amri.rahim@milkpr.com.my
T: 03.2094.8915
M: 012.305.8829
David Joshua Lau
Account Executive
Milk PR
E: david.lau@milkpr.com.my
T: 03.2094.8915
M: 012.207.9960

 

Quick Take On The Nike Flyknit Lunar One

If you’re intrigued by the Flyknit upper of the Flyknit Racer (reviewed here) but think that the Racer or Trainer is a little too minimal for you, there’s the 3rd option – the Lunar One.

Also made of the same Flyknit fabric as the Racer and Trainer, the Lunar One is a traditional shoe that’s along the lines of the Lunar Glide. Both the Glide and Lunar One have Dynamic Flywire, simple upper (though the Lunar One’s are of different approach) and relatively similar outsole configuration.

I reckon that the Lunar One rides lower to the ground – it certainly feels so – if only a little than the Glide’s (which has an 11mm drop). The other difference is the Lunar One dropped the Dynamic Support feature on the midsole, which makes the shoe less clunky. The Lunar One is an ounce lighter than the Lunar Glide, only 8.35oz for my US9.5 would you believe it. Yes, sometimes appearances can be deceiving.

The upper has a tighter weave than the Flyknit Racer as you can see from the closeup below but breathability is still good. Much of the design cues come from the Racer, such as the very flat laces (you still need to triple knot them) and how the Dynamic Flywire is used in creating a snug fit through the mid foot.

Tighter weave.

Design cues from the Flyknit Racer and Trainer

Come undone. Just like the Racer, the Lunar One’s laces easily come undone, even after double knotting

Dynamic Flywire (in green) also functions as lace loops

Because the flex grooves don’t cut across the lateral to the medial side, flexibility suffers. Nike could do well to redesign the Lunarlon midsole to have deeper grooves such as those found on the Vomero.

Not particularly bendy, if a little stiff as you can see from the photo below.

That’s the max it flexes.

How then does the whole package fare on the run? I’ve taken the Lunar One on several runs, nothing long, just maxing out at 7K. I found it to have a bouncy yet responsive ride. The most surprising thing was I had very little problem in maintaining a mid foot strike throughout my runs. However I wasn’t able to lift my heels as high as I would normally do while running around in a transitional shoe. The upper in the forefoot region has a little more stretch and give than the typical upper. The use of Flyknit essentially eliminates extraneous layers, indirectly taking up less space. As a result, my toes had more room to spread.

The Lunar One is a largely a nicely put together shoe for someone wearing traditional shoes. The Flyknit upper is definitely a winner and with a weight that’s under 9oz, this group of runners would be tempted to take the Lunar One as a race day shoe for the half and full marathon. Where it comes up a little short is the stiff midsole and finicky laces.

Striking

The Nike Flyknit Lunar One is now available in Nike stores in the country. The shoe is a review pair provided by Nike Sales Malaysia.

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