Sunday, July 21, 2013

Hoka Bondi and the Bush Capital 16k

I'm back in Canberra following a brief holiday in my old home town of Wagga Wagga (the city so beautiful they had to name it twice). While I was there I lashed out (over $200) and bought a pair of Hoka One One Bondi B shoes. I've been wanting to try a pair of these after reading many online reviews (including this one from Peter Larson), and hearing good reports from friends. Amazingly, these shoes aren't sold in Canberra!

I've only run in them twice: on my relatively flat, lakeside bikepath course in Wagga and in yesterday's hilly off-road Bush Capital 16k. The first run in Wagga was a revelation. I couldn't believe how soft the Hokas made running on concrete feel. It's the first time I've not sought out the softer dirt verge while running on a bike-path. I'd run the same course two days prior in my Nike Frees at a heart-beats per km cost of 697 (very good for me on that course). In the Hokas that number was a slightly inferior 717, however I had run a hilly 15k the previous day and on the day I wore the Hokas I was pushing into a headwind for the second 5k (it had been calm when I ran in the Frees).

My Hoka Bondi Bs weigh 392 grams (size US13), while my Free 5.0s are 310 grams. The extra weight of the Hokas isn't that noticeable (apparently the Hoka Bondi Speed is lighter). My Saucony Kinvaras are 246 grams and are a great racing shoe. The Hokas have a 4.5mm heel-toe drop, so similar to the 4mm of the Kinvaras. While I was running in them I didn't feel like my form or movement was different to when using any of my other shoes. I was happy to 'land hard', both on the flats and downhills due to the ample cushioning, so perhaps muscular elastic recoil was cancelling out the softness of what you'd think would be an energy absorbing shoe.

I enjoyed the Bush Capital 16k yesterday. I ran the first uphill easily (as can be seen by the splits), with Leonie way off in the distance. Once on the flatter parts of the trail I worked on slowly bridging that gap. I was about to catch her just after 5k when she stepped off the trail for an unscheduled pit-stop. After that I ran with various runners, to-and-fro depending on the trail's gradient (I was slow on the ups). Legendary local veteran Trevor Jacobs jogged past on the climb to near the grave of Trent North as I walked. On the smooth part of the downhill I got back 'in the lead' with a 4:38 km split. I was running next to a girl in a purple singlet at this stage — our pace/energy levels being very similar. We ran the next 4 kilometres together until the final (downhill) one. I sprinted off, with the target of Lucia (pigtail flying) up ahead. Passed her just before the gate, only to have Trevor surge past me just afterwards (bastard!). To add salt to the wounds, the girl in purple had the audacity to out-kick me! The Hokas worked well (and I'm not stiff walking around this morning, a good sign they may help recovery). My time was slightly slower than last year — 1:28:13 vrs 1:26:14, however we had headwinds to contend with this year and the ground was softer after recent rains. My average heart-rate was 140 this year and 139 last year. I think the Hokas will help my pavement sensitive legs do the long runs needed for half-marathon training (while helping recovery). I'll let you know.

My km splits & profile of the Bush Capital 16k

Hoka One One Bondi B improves my view

Hokas decide it's time to fly, running a 4:38 11th k next to the girl with the purple singlet


Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

wagga wagga sounds like an amazing place:0]
When I'm running downhill I want shoes with big F**king springs that make me like a Kangaroo!

12:28 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

It's pretty good for a large town Rick. Also famous for its number of national sporting stars, such as Brad Kahlefeldt. You might like the Hokas - they feel like springs.

6:12 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Despite flying in the face of the recent fashion for minimalism, the Hoka’s seem promising. Your Bush Capital 16K performance was a great confirmation that you are going from strength to strength again.

Maybe we should re-open our challenge to be the first to break 100 min for the HM in our ‘mature’ years. I am currently planning a HM at the end of September, two weeks before Melbourne, but we can ignore the fact that the earth sometimes seems to spin a bit more slowly at the antipodes. On present showing, you would leave me miles behind in a HM, but I working on an ambitious plan to bridge the gap.

7:18 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's so good that you seem to have bounced back to full fitness after your DVT & time off running - with close times & virtually identical HR a year apart. Very impressed that you pulled up so well after the Bush City Capital! I love how you have such a big selection of shoes, you have me curious now to branch out a bit from my limited selection. Have you decided what shoes to run the C2S in yet?


9:11 pm  
Blogger Thomas said...

I have been pondering for a while now if I should give those clown shoes a go. I do know a couple of ultra runners who absolutely swear by them.

However, they would be a radical departure from the lightweight trainers I'm using these days, and I don't think I can make myself go completely the other direction.

6:54 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Canute, I'm up for that challenge! Pretty sure I wouldn't leave you miles behind at the moment. I'm a little short of long runs and threshold speed at this stage of my preparation.

Fiona, I like running in different shoes to give the legs some variation. I'll use the Kinvaras for C2S as I think they'd be quicker than the Hokas on that course.

Thomas, yes, they're very popular amongst the ultra fraternity. Just last week Darcy Africa was first female (9th outright) in the Hardrock 100 wearing Hokas. I think you might find that they'd improve how your legs feel after long training runs.

4:28 pm  
Blogger Black Knight said...

I didn't know those shoes before this post.
Looking at the elevation chart the path seems challenging.
A very good finishing time, congrats.

3:26 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Stefano, you should try a pair - they make hard surfaces feel nice and soft - could help with your injuries. It was a big hill!

3:31 pm  
Blogger Lize Brittin said...

Like some of the others who posted here, I have been wanting to try those shoes, too.

Glad to see you recovered and back at it fully again.

11:43 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Lize. So far I'm finding they're great for helping my legs to feel 'normal' on the day following a long or hard run wearing the Hokas.

7:01 pm  

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