Marathon Training: Week 14

This week was considered a recovery week. It basically means 4 out of my 6 runs were meant to be slow, and I was rather content for it. Last week’s long run (17 miles) was the furthest distance I’ve run in over 3 years, and they made for sore glutes, hamstrings, calves, and feet. With fourteen weeks down, I have seven more weeks left of training and a 20 mile run ahead. 

Monday Four recovery miles on the treadmill. My legs were still pretty sore from Saturday’s run, so this was definitely a slow run. I’ve been doing Crossfit consistently on Mondays, which is usually leg day (heavy squats), but I thought it was prudent to allow my legs some down time in order for them to fully recover. Decided to skip leg day, and I’m confident my legs will thank me. 

Tuesday

Seven and a half miles. Last week this same day, I felt drained and mentally fatigued. This week, I tackled this run with so much more energy and in a better state of mind. Thus, my seven miles went fantastic and my legs definitely felt better. It is my only hope come race day, I will feel this energetic. I’m learning to put nothing but positive images in my mind of what race day is going to look like and making every attempt to block out the negative ones that seep in. Positive thinking with the mind, and I know the body will follow.

  

Wednesday

Five recovery miles. Took it easy on this run as well. The only torture was the fact I was running on the treadmill and the sun was shining brightly outside with temperatures in the 60’s. I would have loved to run outside, but my husband had to travel outside of the city and I did not want to tackle my run with a toddler who hates the jogging stroller and a dog who gets distracted by the simplest form of movement. I followed my five mile run with two sixty second planks outside.

  

Thursday

Eight HARD miles. The first two miles were warm-up miles and then I had to complete 6×800 meter sprint sessions. Oh Lord, those were painful! I was so relieved when the final 800 meter sprint came! 

About an hour after my run, I attended a Wildtree Party. If you’ve not heard of Wildtree, they are a company that specialize in herbs and spices. A Crossfit member is a representative, and she hosted the party. I paid her $79 and in return I received 10 different jars with herbs and spices.

  

Prior to the day of the party, I prepared 10 different freezer protein meals that we would season at the party. This particular party was a Paleo party, so all ten meals had proteins. The Wildtree representative gives you a list of all the ingredients and instructions on how to prepare them. Most of these meals were filled with onions, carrots, and zucchini. In hindsight, I may have added too many onions. I cried for about 20 minutes straight chopping five onions. 

  

Every participant takes their freezer bags in a cooler to the party and the Wildtree representative hands you your spices and tells you what spices go in each bag. I didn’t feel like taking a cooler, so I only took the bags with chopped veggies in them. Later, when I got home, I placed the proteins in their respective bag and stored them away in my microscopic freezer!

  

Friday

Four recovery miles. There isn’t much to write about here.

Saturday

Fourteen miles. These fourteen miles were slow and completely boring. Plus, I did them in the middle of the day because my husband had to work Saturday morning and he arranged to watch our daughters through lunch and he’d then take them to his office until I was done. The weather was okay, but by Saturday, I was exhausted and ready for rest day.

Weekly Miles: 41

March Monthly Miles: 129

Marathon Training: Week 13

It’s been thirteen weeks, and I must admit something: I am feeling physically and mentally fatigued. Fortunately, my weeks remaining are dwindling down, so I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel now that I have eight marathon training weeks left.

Monday

Four miles at an easy pace. I also did heavy back squats in the afternoon. It was my intent to go light, but I felt like I would be cheating myself from muscle growth, so I went heavy. Heavy for me was 130 pounds. I was also, for the first time in two weeks, wearing a pair of new shoes: Brooks Transcend. I won’t be haste in forming an opinion with just one run, but they allowed me to run without Achilles and or plantar foot pain.

Brooks Transcend. I am really hoping this pair of shoes will solve my foot dilemma. My favorite pair of shoes have actually been Brooks Adrenaline. I should have stuck with them. If these continue to allow me to run without plantar and or heel pain, they will be keepers.

Tuesday

Six miles. My back squats ended up hurting me on this run. In fact, I was so sore, I had to walk after every mile. What was supposed to be an easy six mile run turned into an arduous mental run. The idea of quitting crossed my mind hundreds of times. But I had to remind myself that sometimes, running is all about crossing the finish line, even if it means crawling across it.

Wednesday

Five Miles. They were slow and my legs felt so much better than they did on Tuesday’s run. Although, I was still paying the price for heavy back squats, I managed to to finish my run with less mental and physical pain. Since I did not get enough of heavy back squats on Monday, I decided to do a set of heavy front squats on Wednesday afternoon. Back squats are easier than front squats, so my weight reps were made up of 120lbs versus 130lbs.

Front squats at 120lbs. When I first started doing Crossfit, I was extremely intimidated by this bar. In a way, I a still am, but I’ve learned to face my fear by literally lifting it off the ground.

Thursday

Eight Miles. I was afraid of this run, mostly because of the heavy front squats I had performed the night before. Much to my surprise, my legs felt great, and I averaged under 9 minute miles for all eight miles! This run was redemption for Tuesday’s run.

Sweaty selfie with my homie (the treadmill).

Friday

Four miles. Spent 40 minutes getting the toddler and the dog ready so that I could run outside pushing the toddler in the stroller and run the dog. The dog and the toddler were tame, but the wind – Ay, ay, ay!  There were over 20 mph winds and I had to refrain from swearing like a sailor due to the presence of the little one. This was a run full of resistance training.

Saturday

Seventeen Miles. Woke up on Saturday feeling completely irritable. It didn’t help when I looked outside my window and saw dark skies, rain, and WIND! Thoughts of skipping my long run entered my mind. Thoughts of postponing my run entered my mind. Thoughts of running half the distance on the treadmill entered my mind. I honestly did not want to face the wind. But this long run wasn’t just for my marathon training. My seventeen miles were to honor my grandma’s life.

August of 2002, the first time my grandmother met, and was smitten with, my husband.

My grandmother passed away on January 11, 2013, two months shy from what was supposed to be her 93rd birthday. My seventeen miles were to celebrate the 36 years she spent giving me unconditional love. My grandmother always prayed for my safety, well being, and to make sure I was always surrounded by people who would help me follow the right path. She always had a plate of warm food ready for me when I got home from school. She took care of me when I was sick and walked me to school every morning from the first grade on to the fifth grade. There wasn’t a moment in my life where I doubted  my grandmother’s love for me. Losing her has been very painful for me, because in a way, my grandmother was like my mother. She helped raise me and gave me emotional and physical affection. They say time heals all wounds, but the pain I felt the day I saw her coffin slowly descent into her final resting place is the same pain I still feel when I think about her today. I’ve  no doubt when the day comes I will be taking my final breaths of life, the memories of my grandmother will definitely play before me, and they will continue to do so as I continue my journey of life.

Thought about my grandmother and all of the hardships she endured. She was illiterate and limited by employment opportunities. She washed and ironed clothes, swept and mop floors in order to find ways to feed her children. The father of her children abused alcohol and did very little for the family. She buried her oldest and youngest sons within nine days of each other’s deaths. She gave up all she ever possessed and left behind her country so that we could all move to the United States and get the opportunities she only dreamed of having.

Weekly Miles: 44

Monthly March Miles: 88

My friend Sarah ran a 5k earlier in the morning, and she joined me for 13 of my 17 miles. I was so glad to have shared such a special Saturday run with her.

Marathon Training: Week 12

When I first committed to training for the Eugene Marathon back in October of 2014, I wasn’t sure what to expect out of my marathon training. You see, I never really actually consistently “trained” for a race. I would say that even when I ran my sub-2 half-marathon, the training was haphazard. Every race I’ve registered for in the past, its training was approached with an “I will run when I feel like running” mentality. Thus, I was worried that kind of mentality would creep into my marathon training. Furthermore, I was afraid I would start making justifications for skipping or altering a run (too tired, legs hurt, rest is important, I don’t want to hate running) and would eventually deviate from the 20 week training plan. Surprisingly enough, I’ve found myself to be so dedicated to the program, that the thought of skipping a single run scares me. I feel like the kid in school who wants perfect attendance and will not allow a single factor to get in the way of it. This week was another week where I was completely dedicated and did not miss a single run.

Monday

Four recovery miles. They were slow, short, sweet and they got done.

A little Nuun and four easy miles.

Tuesday

Eight miles. On the treadmill. My metabolism is working harder than a desperate man at a club trying to make eye contact with anyone who breathes in order to make a move. I find myself indulging in foods throughout the day because I cannot seem to consume enough calories. Eggs, bread, avocados, turkey sausages, potatoes, oatmeal, cereal, peanut butter, pancakes, and so on. I am so glad we have a local grocery outlet that sells discounted food so that my food budget does not go overboard. I am craving an avocado sandwich right now as I type (I actually stopped and went to make one). There is a point to this blurb. Because of my insatiable appetite, I put off this run until close to the end of the day. Every time I thought about starting the eight miles, I felt like I just had not consumed enough calories to complete it. When I finally did complete the run, I immediately headed to the kitchen and consumed a granola bar before showering and changing into clean clothes to ingest the beef stew dinner that had been slow cooking in the crock pot.

Just a few of the items I find myself craving and consuming. Look at that perfect avocado! Avocado is like icing on a cake for me. Yumm-eeee!

Wednesday

Five miles on the treadmill. I failed to mention that after giving up on my Hoka shoes, I had to use an old, and I mean old, pair of running shoes to complete my runs. My Saucony Ride 4 helped me get through the training, and I was so grateful I had kept this old pair around. In fact, I have kept a majority of my worn out running shoes because I don’t like throwing them away. I am sure I am not the only person who does this. I have donated some shoes for good causes, but I have kept ones that were good to my feet (mostly Brooks). The problem with this really old pair of shoes I purchased back in 2011 is that the sole is worn out, and they are also stretched out from wearing them during my 47 pound weight pregnancy gain. Because I live in a small town where there are no running shoes within hundreds of miles, and because I did not make my decision to get a new pair of shoes until Sunday, I did not have enough time to drive the two hours  (one way) necessary to purchase shoes. When I realized I would need a pair before Saturday morning’s sixteen mile run, I opted to purchase my shoes online. Needless to say, this run was not very smooth given the old pair of loyal shoes.

Saucony Ride 4. These pair hold sentimental value. I purchased them in 2011 and wore them during my second pregnancy when I gained 47 pounds. I did not run much in them, but I did walk two half-marathons in them. Walking a half-marathon is so much harder than running one.

Thursday

Six miles and it was also another one of those procrastination runs. I just kept putting it off, but not because of calorie concerns like Tuesday, but because I was SO OVER the piles of laundry sitting in a basket waiting to be folded and put away. It took almost three hours (not counting the interruptions of a rambunctious two-year-old) to fold and put away clothes, towels, and socks. I did not start my six miles until 7 pm and they were all on the treadmill. Dinner was so delicious once I was done: white rice, fried chicken thighs, green beans, and mashed potatoes!

I took a laundry folding break to make beet, chia, and kale juice. My beloved grandma used to make a gallon of this juice – sans kale – when we were little and I tried to replicate it. It was no where near as delicious as my grandma’s (mine was too tart because I squeezed some lime juice), but I drank it anyway.

Friday

Five slow easy miles on the treadmill wearing old worn out shoes. By the end of the day Friday, I knew I would most likely be running my sixteen miles in an old pair of running shoes because the pair I had purchased online had not arrived at this point.

Saturday

Sixteen miles with an old pair of shoes. The plan was to run the first 8 miles at a comfortable pace, and the last 8 at Marathon Goal pace (9:52 is the pace for a 4:20 marathon). Yes, I was rather worried, not so much about the pace, but more about my feet. “No injuries” was all I could think of. Even if it meant I could not reach my marathon pace goal, I placed more value on the health of my feet. My friend Sarah ran twelve miles with me, so I ran the first four miles by myself. As is the norm, I started off sluggish, and picked up my pace once Sarah joined me. I consumed an huma gel on mile two, and on close to mile eight. Because I did not properly hydrate the day before (I need to get better about drinking water), I kept consuming water and fiddling with my Orange Mud water pack.

I saw this covered wagon around mile 10 of my run. I grew up in Florida, and I remember loving the Oregon Trail game on the computer. I never made it to the end of the game because something tragic would happen to either my oxen or my family along the way. Never in a million years would I have ever believed I would end up living in Oregon.

Around mile 13, with three more miles remaining, my ankles and feet started hurting. Even though I was hitting my target pace, I was extremely worried about my feet, and questioned whether I should push the last three miles or just take it easy. At this point in the run, the weather had warmed at least 15 degrees, so I stopped and took off my jacket and wrapped it around my waist. My friend Sarah looked strong, and I decided that I would push myself because my feet were going to hurt regardless of the pace. Figured it was better to get the three miles and the agony over with faster. I was so relieved once it was over, and so looking forward to icing my ankles and getting the new pair of shoes.

Even though I was hurting towards the end, the weather was absolutely fantastic. The temperature was in the high 40’s, there was a slight breeze, but no wind, and the view, as always, majestic.

Weekly Mileage: 44

March Monthly Mileage Total: 44

Marathon Training – Week 11

I am officially at the halfway mark of my marathon training. Week 11 proved to be a little challenging for me, but I stuck with the plan and I managed to make it another week where I completed every single one of my runs. I have now ten weeks remaining and headed closer to the Eugene Marathon.

This is the Upper Perry Arch Bridge, which was originally constructed in the 1920’s. It was recently renovated and preserves the history of innovation and engineering during the 20th century. The bridge does not see a lot of traffic nowadays, and unless you exit the main highway, you will never see it. I made my husband get off the main road just so that I can capture its beauty and learn its history. The main point? My marathon journey at some point will become a distant memory, so I am making every effort to enjoy my road to Eugene Marathon.

Monday

Five Recovery Miles. I did a Crossfit session of heavy back squats in the morning, and my hamstrings and derriere were definitely sore. Fortunately, I was not running for time, only for distance. I am back to running on my good old, faithful treadmill, so there is not much to write about.

Tuesday

Tuesday called for an eight mile run, half of which was supposed to be run at half-marathon pace. Tempo runs intimidate me. While I was confident I was capable of running four miles at an 8:20 pace, the darn pesky negative voices inside my head always seem to find a way to get to me. Plus, I was running on the treadmill, which is not the most exciting machine in the world. At this point you may be wondering why I don’t run early in the morning, or in the evening when my husband is home? Well, I could run in the morning, except, my husband works out between the hours or seven and eight. Which means I’d have to be ready to go by 6 am on short runs to make it back in time for my husband to work out. I suppose that is not an issue on short runs, but when eight miles are part of the plan, it becomes cumbersome. Plus, the mornings are complete chaos when you put a slower-than-molasses eleven-year-old who needs to be told over a 100 times to get dressed in order to avoid missing the school bus. Thus, mornings are not a good fit for our household. The evenings call for even extra amounts of patience because it involves homework with an eleven-year-old who hates homework as much as the next kid. I hated homework as a little girl, but I hate it even more as a parent. Where was I going with this rambling? Oh, yes, why I run on the treadmill instead of running outside. Basically, it is more convenient at the moment to run on the treadmill while the toddler naps. Perhaps that will change once the temperatures get warmer.

Despite my apprehensions, I absolutely loved my eight mile run. I ran every single mile with confidence, which in turn made me feel strong each and every step.

I did not see this during a run, but I saw it while the family and I enjoyed a drive around the town. There is an eagle sitting in the middle of this field. Can you spot it?

Wednesday

Another five miles. This time, I had a blister on my right foot tagging along. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but still a nuisance nonetheless. Survived the five-mile blister run.

Thursday

This run was definitely the one in my schedule that I was looking forward to the least. Because I had done back squats on Monday, front squats on Wednesday, and had just finished an upper body workout (back, triceps, and shoulders) earlier in the morning, I went into the nine mile run feeling extremely fatigued. The first five miles were an absolute mental-tug-of-war. Anything weighing on my mind made sure to interrupt me during my run. I had to stop about five times to tell myself to remain focused and keep-it-together. It wasn’t until mile 4.5 that I finally found my rhythm and was able to regain both my mental and physical composure in order to make it to the ninth mile alive. Thursday was most definitely a mental marathon training, and I was relieved to have survived it.

I went target shooting with my husband. I guess you could say I am ready for the Zombie Apocalypse.

Friday

Ugh! Just when I had professed my allegiance to the Hoka One One shoes I purchased last fall, I am now considering a “conscious uncoupling.” My husband was none too pleased when I informed him I would most likely be purchasing a new pair of shoes. I fully recognize how much of a luxury I have purchasing another pair of running shoes, and think it is valid that my husband would express displeasure in dropping more money on a different set of sneakers, but I am so invested in this personal goal, that I feel it is necessary to protect my feet in order to make it to the starting line. Plus, it is not just about the marathon. Running is my sanity. It is the only part of the day I devote to myself; not because it’s my alone time, but because it is my way to give thanks, to find relief, to find courage and power, to inspire, and to exercise freedom. It may sound melodramatic that running could mean that much to me, but this is where I find and lose myself. My husband wasn’t trying to be critical, because I definitely understand the importance of budgeting and spending, but the investment is not so that I can keep up with appearances, it is genuinely so that I can fulfill a part of me that sustains my ability to think and perform on a day-to-day basis. Anyhow, ran the four miles to close out my weekday runs with frustration at my feet (and running shoes).

Saturday

Fifteen!!! Ahhhh!! These 15 miles were symbolic of so much more than distance. It’s not a comeback, because I feel like I am actually stronger and so much more disciplined compared to where I came from. In my opinion, the 15 miles were a testament of hard work. They were a testament of commitment, and perseverance. They were a testament that when you really covet something, the best way to attain it is to earn it. I’ve run 15 miles in the past, but the drive behind the distance was fickle. These 15 miles had possession of my complete devotion.

The first five miles definitely psyched me out, but once my friend Sarah joined me on the run at mile six, I was full of energy and excitement. There were a couple of times in which I prematurely celebrated them, but I had to restrain my excitement and continue to push until I was actually done. And push I did, because we had to fight 20+ mph of headwind on our return. Once I did cross the finish line, I was all smiles! This was the furthest distance I had covered since the Fall of 2011 when I was training for the Portland Marathon. Furthermore, I was celebrating the most miles logged in a month (43) since the Fall of 2011 and the most MILES EVER run in a single month (153.85)! February, I LOVE YOU!

Jumping for Joy in celebration of my 15 mile run with my friend Sarah.

Hoka One One Conquest Shoe Review

This is my first official product review for running shoes.The shoes were purchased with my hard-earned money, so I am not getting paid for this review in any way shape or form. The review is based upon my own personal experience with the shoes and for reasons personal to me.

Product

Hoka One One Conquest.

Hoka One One Conquest Front and Side Profile

About Me

I am a female in my late 30’s. I weigh approximately 130 pounds and I am a heel striker. I wore neutral stability shoes prior to wearing Hoka, but I have also used stability shoes in the past. I am currently running more than 35 miles per week and training for a Marathon.

Background History

I first purchased the Hoka One One Conquest in October of 2014 after experiencing heel pain that I self-diagnosed as Plantar Fasciitis (PF). The heel pain had been present for a couple of months (more than 6), and it wasn’t until I registered to run the Eugene Marathon that I realized it was important of me to address the pain in order to train strongly and make it to the finish line injury-free. Rather than going to the doctor to pay hundreds of dollars to be told I needed to rest and undergo therapy, I went on the world-wide web and started researching plantar fasciitis, its triggers, and the possibility of how shoes played a role in the onset of PF. There wasn’t a precise answer, but the recurring theme that kept coming up in my search results was the use of the HOKA One One shoes by not only PF sufferers, but other runners with varying foot and or leg issues. Key words that came up: cushion, longer distances, no pain, more miles. The key words were enticing, but the look and price tag were off-putting! Despite my deep aesthetic and financial reservations, I was eager to put an end to my pain, run longer distances, and log more miles than what I was logging. With a leap of faith, I went ahead and purchased the Hoka One One Conquest.

I’ve used the Hoka One One Conquest for four months now and have run over 300 miles since purchasing them. I had every intention of reviewing these shoes 30 days after purchasing them, and had I done so, I would have given you extremely positive reviews of the shoes. However, most of us don’t buy shoes every 30 days, so I thought it would be prudent of me to purchase them and wear them until either a new pair was needed to determine if I would or not would purchase them again. So after four months of use, I am ready to do my review and based it on the reasons why the shoe did not work me and why I will not be purchasing them again.

Shoe “Side Effects”

Yes, the Hoka One One Conquest helped alleviate the heel pain I was experiencing, so they definitely worked for the reason I initially sought them for. Yes, the Hoka One One Conquest helped me log more miles, more miles in a month than I logged with the Mizuno Waver Rider and the Saucony Ride (the shoes I traded for the Hoka). However, the reason I logged more miles with the Hoka was because I was training for a marathon, so one could argue that the shoe alone was not the sole reason for the higher monthly mileage.

Yes, there is plenty of cushioning on the shoe. I would not describe it as “soft” cushion though, at least not in the model I purchased. The cushioning was more on the firm side, like a firm mattress where the padding does not necessarily contour to your body, or in this case, your foot. The cushioning was less tempure-pedic and more of firm feel like that of a rubber bouncing ball. Like mentioned before, had I reviewed the shoes after only the first 30 days, I would have told you the shoes were stellar because they allowed me to run without the discomfort of heel pain, they were cushioned, and I was running more miles per week than my previous pair of shoes. However, like a pharmaceutical drug that relieves heartburn but brings in a litany of side effects with it, so did the Hoka One One Conquest. The most obvious and painful side effect was the of strain the shoe was causing to my Achilles Tendon. I had never experienced sore Achilles Tendons in all of my running prior to wearing the Hoka Conquest. The shoe envelops my entire foot, and the collar of the shoe sits higher than any other shoe I’ve ever worn. Thus, when I ran, my Achilles Tendon was enclosed in the back of a rather rigid heel counter, which gave very little flexibility to my Achilles Tendon.

Side and rear profile of my feet in the Hoka Shoes

On a short run, the soreness of my tendon was rather dull, but once I started logging more than six miles, the soreness and tightness became more apparent. Running uphill also became daunting with the lack of flexibility on the back of the shoe. I found myself stretching my ankles more than I’ve ever stretched them. But because I was not experiencing heel pain, I remained loyal to the shoe. I was taking care of my heels at the expense of my tendons. This past Saturday, after my long 15 mile run, I realized it was time to acknowledge that I could not trade one injury over another, so the shoe was no longer going to work for me.

Can you see the red areas of my Achilles Tendon. It is where the tendon has not been allowed to move because of the rigidity of the back of the shoe.

Tongue Design and Laces

When I first received my first pair of Hoka, I returned them and replaced them within the 30 day window the Hoka company gives you because I thought I had received a defective pair of Hoka. You see, the tongue is is a thin layer of leather with no cushioning whatsoever. When I ran, I could feel the rounded shoe laces, the mesh lining of the tongue, and the eyelets rubbing along the top part of my left foot.

The thin tongue allowed for the top of my foot to feel the laces, the eyelets, and the mesh lining while running, which bruised the top of my foot after constant rubbing.

Because I was running short distances, I thought the pain caused by the tongue was due to the fact I had not quite broken them in yet. Plus, it was only rubbing on the left foot, so I assumed it had more to do with my left foot being bigger than my right foot. When I took it for a seven mile run, the pain was significant enough to determine I needed to replace them. It had to have been most definitely a defective pair. When I received the second pair, the tongue was “less painful” than the first, so I did not give mind to the matter. However, for $170, there should be more padding, and whether I had a defective pair or not, I don’t think I should have had to return a pair of shoes at that price for a “defective” tongue. (I would like to note that the customer service was exceptional and I received the second pair promptly and without any difficulties.)

There is no cushioning on the tongue, which can make the top part of the shoe to rub up against your foot.

The shoes come with speed laces, and if you prefer not to use them, they send an extra standard pair of shoe laces with the shoes. Because of the thin tongue, I found the lock on the speed laces as hurtful on the first pair. They were not necessarily painful on the second, but if a part of the hefty price is in part because the Hoka One One come with speed laces, I prefer to pay less and use standard shoe laces. That is just my preference though.

Speed laces are standard in all Hoka Shoes, but each box comes with an extra pair of laces if you prefer them without the speed laces.

Price

One of the biggest deterrents for initially purchasing the shoe was the price. I paid $170 for this shoe, which is a rather grand amount of money compared to other running shoes. The shoes are supposed to last longer than the standard running shoe, but with less than 500 miles on them, I’ve seen some significant wear and tear. As a heel striker, I am now striking the cushioning when I land and not the sole of the shoe, as the sole on the back heel has mostly eroded.

Eroded soles and cushion exposure on the corners of my shoes.

I am now striking the cushioning of the shoe as the thin layer of sole has been completely worn down.

Replacing the shoe for another $170 is not sustainable for me personally. Even if money was not an option, I would still think $170 for a pair of shoes is just not a feasible financial option for a casual runner. Yes, there are less expensive models, and I purchased the most expensive option, but even their less expensive shoe is still expensive at $130!

Aesthetics

The colors of the Hoka are nice, but the shoe, is… ugly. It is bulky looking, and if I can be blunt without being a jerk, I think they look like hip-surgery rehabilitation shoes. Plus, the dye on the tongue has stained multiple pairs of my socks.

A stained pair of socks caused by the shoe dye from the tongue.

I’m not necessarily an individual who is vain about my running apparel, but again, if you are going to pay an exorbitantly above average price for a pair of shoes, they should look nicer than a pair of Frankenstein’s running shoes.

Treadmill run with the Hoka One One Conquest.

Conclusion

The Hoka One One Conquest set out to do what I wanted them to do: alleviate heel pain and allow me to continue running. However, it brought about side effects I was not in search of: Achilles Tendon pain. Because of their behemoth price tag, their looks, their wear and tear with less than 500 miles on them, and their painful tongue, I will no longer be using or purchasing the shoe. I am hoping I can find a shoe that will allow me to continue running without the side effects I experienced with the Hoka One One Conquest. While the brand has different models, and has a newer version of the Conquest, I prefer to keep searching for the right shoe elsewhere.

What has been your experience with the HOKA One One brand? Have the shoes worked for you? What shoe are you currently using? Would you or would you not recommend them?