Tag Archives: running

Run, Run, Run

Running Shoe Review: Reebok Zig Carbon

Reebok Men's Zig Carbon running (500x471)

Is the Reebok Zig Carbon simply a radical looking shoe or is it a true running performer?

“This is radical!” I found myself saying this right after opening the box of new Zig Carbon running shoes provided to me by Reebok. The sole of the ZigLite line of shoes was described by a magazine writer as looking like a Slinky. I think the Zig Carbon’s sole looks like toothpaste, newly released from a tube, that’s happened to freeze into a saw-tooth pattern.

The Zig Carbon comes in a color scheme described by the manufacturer as excellent red, black, tin grey and white. It’s snappy and can be made even more so by pulling out the standard black laces and substituting the alternate pair of red laces that are included in the box.

The fit of the shoe is awesome, at a half-size up it feels just right from back to front (the shoe’s rear snugly surrounds the ankles). The shoe is quite comfortable to walk or jog in, and this comfort is enhanced by the fact that the upper’s materials flex and “give” with every foot strike. The materials actually move away from the foot in motion. It’s a nice feature especially as a few other running shoes claim to offer a flexible upper but fail to deliver on the promise.

One of the key features on this limited edition shoe is a military grade carbon fiber plate. The plate acts as a full-sole rock and hazardous ground materials protector. And yet the shoe, in the men’s version, weighs just about 7.4 ounces.

This is not a minimalist shoe. When you first put the Zig Carbon on it feels high. I would guess that the heel drop runs somewhere between 9.5 to 12mm. It’s a shoe that will appeal to heel strikers and it should also work quite well for mid-foot landers.

The unique sole covers the entire bottom of the shoe and then some. It actually angles out from the edges like some trail shoes of a few years back. The insole fits well and provides a rubbery protective feel. It sits on top of the upper suface of the slip-lasted midsole which also feels rubbery. Working together, the two rubber-like surfaces provide a big measure of energy return for the wearer.

Although this is a neutral shoe the Zig Carbon provides more than a smidgen of stability. A number of minimal to moderate pronators should be able to jog in it. The nylon fused open mesh on the shoe’s forefoot provides breathability for runs in hot weather. The laces on this model stay tied and there are two flap covered eyelets that serve to keep the soft (dare I use the word rubberized?) tongue in place. The fit of the Zig Carbon is so snug and secure that it parallels the feeling of a slip on triathlon shoe.

Initial runs on concrete and asphalt street roads confirm that the ride of the Zig Carbon is ultra-smooth, bouncy and responsive. These shoes make you feel racing flat fast, and that feeling is furthered by the forefoot’s flexibility. There’s a grove in the forefoot that seems to snap, in a pleasant way, with every step. And as you’re moving forward in the Zig Carbon you can feel your toes splaying and griping in an almost feline fashion.

Running on a crushed gravel trail was painless and proved the worth of the carbon plate. There is some slippage since the sole is not designed for trail running but one’s feet are not punished. The protective aspects of the shoe are also felt on a rocky trail. The sole will, naturally, grab and retain some small rocks.

The Zig Carbon provides a very nice ride on a grass-covered trail, and it delivers a bouncy, fun ride on hard-packed dirt.

These shoes made me do something I usually avoid at all cost. They made me proceed to a crushed gravel track to run laps at a quicker pace. The shoe provides a sense of confidence which is no small thing.

The Reebok Zig Carbon is worth checking out if you’re in the market for a lightweight running shoe that does virtually everything well. It does most things well while protecting the feet at a level that’s almost above and beyond the call of duty.

There are said to be some 9,000 sensory nerve endings in the human foot. About 8,900 of them were happy in the innovative Zig Carbon running shoe. 8,900 nerves can’t be wrong.

Highly recommended.

Joseph Arellano

The Reebok Zig Carbon running shoe retails for $110.00.

This article originally appeared on the Blogcritics Sports site:

http://blogcritics.org/sports/article/running-shoe-review-reebok-zig-carbon/

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Coming Up Next…

Prerunning after prefontaine (prev. 300)

A review of Running After Prefontaine: A Memoir by Scott F. Parker.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Born to Run

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall (Vintage, $15.95, 304 pages)

This book is guaranteed to appeal to certain subgroups of readers who are absolutely going to love it: old, new and former runners, middle-distance runners, marathoners, long-distance and ultra-marathon runners, and those who gravitate to stories about indigenous tribes like the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico and the American Southwest.   If you’re not a member of one of these groups, the subject matter is unlikely to hold your interest, unless from time to time you pick up a copy of Runner’s World or Marathon and Beyond magazine and find such to be fascinating.

Of course, there have been books – not intended for the general public – that have been huge and surprising successes, such as Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer and The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger.   Yet, I suspect that this tale of world-class ultra-marathoners will remain a specialized taste for most.

This true story is about a magazine editor who gets to observe an almost-secret race between some of this country’s best ultra-marathon runners and a group of “fleet-footed Tarahumara Indians.”   The race itself comes at the book’s conclusion and is not as interesting as the build-up to it.   Instead, the book is at its best when explaining the science of long-distance running, and how and why the skill of running long distances has been essential to human survival and evolution.  

The author explains why there may be an almost instinctual need for some humans to run the 26.2 miles of a marathon, or further.   He is, however, mystified as to why some persons today avoid running altogether.   The section that active runners may enjoy the best is one in which Christopher McDougall fully details the reasons expensive and highly cushioned running shoes – and those sold in the U. S. continue to be more expensive and more cushioned with each quarter of a year that goes by – lead to inevitable injuries.   After finishing this section, many runners (not including this reviewer) will certainly think about hitting the roads in their running flats or rubber sandals or even barefoot.   Fascinating stuff!

Recommended.

Joseph Arellano

A review copy was provided by the publisher.   This bestselling book is now available in a trade paper release.   “Inspiring… destined to become a classic.”   Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Solitary Man

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Reviewer

Mid-to long-distance runners are said to be lonely individuals.   That’s because they put in their miles and miles by themselves, then suddenly one day they join hundreds or thousands of other runners in a competitive event.   Book reviewing is a bit like that.  

The book reviewer is alone while he/she reads advance copies of books that others will not see for weeks or months.   Then, when the book is released he/she joins the crowd and finds out what is the consensus about the book.   The reviewer’s call has been made earlier at a time when he or she could not reflect public opinion because it has not been formed.

Let me state this again.   If I like or dislike a book it’s a call that I have to make early on in the publishing process, often when there are no other reviews to read.   This can be fun but it also introduces a scary aspect to the process.   To use the running analogy again, it’s like being excited about running a marathon on a course that no one has ever run before.

There’s also a loneliness based on distance.   The great majority of publishers are on the east coast, and most of them are based in New York City.   When review copies are mailed out, the publishers often provide a reviewer with the names of persons to be contacted if there are questions.   But the contacts are three hours ahead of our time in the west, and a reviewer with questions after 2:00 p.m. in Sacramento or San Francisco is not going to get a quick answer.   Thus, the questions are not usually asked.

Then there’s the Catch-22 of galleys.   Galleys are early release copies of forthcoming books that, by definition, are not yet ready for prime time.   It can be a sign of recognition for a reviewer to begin receiving more galleys but… 

One source has said that a great majority of the corrections to soon-to-be-released books are made at the 11th hour.   In reading a galley, a reviewer is often reading the draft that precedes the final draft.   The reviewer who wants to add life and depth to his/her review by including quotations from the upcoming book is hampered by the standard publisher’s statement that, in effect, “No quotations should be taken from this version without checking them against the final version.”  

It’s a bit hard to finish a review near the publication date when one does not and will not have access to the final version.   The result is that a reviewer is going to pull out a quote with a hope and a prayer that it was not changed in publication.   Ah, well, this is just another frustrating aspect of the work of the solitary book reviewer.   Yet there’s still something special about reading one of only a few hundred copies of a galley or an advance review copy (which often cost more to produce than the finished product) of an upcoming release.   It seems like an honor.

The lonely runner keeps putting in the next mile and then the next.   The lonely reviewer reads the next chapter in the galley and then the next.   The race never ends, but the reward is found in the journey.  

Joseph Arellano     

This article was originally published by the Sacramento Book Review and San Francisco Book Review.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Running Full

For Haruki Murakami the solitude that running brings “is a pretty wonderful thing.”   Murakami – who lives in Tokyo and annually lectures in Cambridge, Massachusetts – wrote this series of essays while preparing for the New York City Marathon.   His goal was to answer the question often asked of runners, “What do you think about when you run?”   The answer, for Murakami, is nothing:  “I’m not thinking of a thing…   (I) keep on running in my own cozy, homemade void, my own nostalgic silence.”

But Murakami finds that running, like the art of writing each day, is something difficult and exhausting that makes him stronger.   By his own admission (“…is it ever possible for a professional writer to be liked by people?”) the loneliness of the long-distance runner and of the writer appears to be one and the same.

This “memoir”, though, is not really a collection of essays about the sport of running.   Running is just the hook.   Like the writings from the late Dr. George Sheehan (Running and Being, This Running Life), this is actually a book about personal philosophy, comfort and self-esteem.   Murakami shows us that we must enjoy our lives in our own way, meeting our own needs even if this displeases others.   In his case, he turns down social obligations and dinner invitations in order to write and run and plan his lectures.   What could be better?

Haruki also addresses the need to gracefully accept the aging process.   “It might not be a very enjoyable process, and what I discover might not be all that pleasant.   But what choice do I have anyway?”about running (paper)

The writer’s style is so engaging – and here’s another parallel with Dr. Sheehan – because of his humbleness and self-deprecation.   This is a Japanese citizen who lectures at Harvard but says of himself, “I’m not the brightest person.”   He’s also a tremendously successful writer who does not expect to be adored, “…I just can’t picture someone liking me on a personal level.”   But Murakami has a wife who loves and accepts him even as she wonders why he runs slower each year.

Yes, Murakami is a brilliant, quirky man who in 180 pages demonstrates for us the value of living on our own terms, with self-acceptance – despite our admitted flaws and limitations – being key.   The reader need not concur with everything Murakami writes but, in the end, you will learn to grant him the respect he has granted to himself.

“Long distance running has molded me into the person I am today…  I’m hoping it will remain a part of my life for as long as possible.   I’ll be happy if running and I can grow old together.”   Long life!

Highly recommended.

Joseph Arellano

This book was purchased by the reviewer.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Coming Up Next…

about running 6A review of What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: A Memoir by Haruki Murakami.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized