National Pro Fastpitch 2012 Back-to-School Tour
NASHVILLE, TN --- National Pro Fastpitch announced today the 2012 NPF Back to School Tour schedule that is set to launch in September. The Tour is sponsored in part by USSSA, with the support of Major League Baseball. The 2012 Tour marks the third consecutive year the NPF has placed a team made up of all-stars from all 4 NPF teams, on the road to compete in exhibition games against colleges across the U.S.
The 2012 Tour will make 21 stops across 16 states, and compete against 22 different schools in a 40 day span. The 22 university programs include 8 who were ranked in the Top 20, and 2 ranked in the Top 10, on the final USA Today/NFCA college softball poll. Those programs in the 2012 NPF Back to School Tour schedule are: Oklahoma (2), LSU (7), Louisiana Lafayette (12), Arizona (13), Washington (14), Michigan (15), Florida (18), and UCLA (20). In addition to the rankings, 14 of the 22 scheduled Tour teams qualified for the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
Over the two year history of the NPF Back to School Tour, the team of professional All-Stars has a 41-1 record, with the only loss coming at the hands of the University of Oklahoma on the Fall 2011 Tour. Oklahoma would go onto finish runner-up in the 2012 WCWS. This year Oklahoma will be the finale of the Tour, taking place on November 1.
Of the 22 Tour dates in 2012, 10 are former opponents, including a return to Tucson, Ariz., to square off against the perennial college softball power, Arizona. The Wildcats were one of many sold-out stops on the Inaugural 2010 Tour, filling their home Hillenbrand Stadium to its capacity of 3,000. Other return stops include Missouri State, Memphis, Central Arkansas, South Carolina, Washington, LSU, Florida, San Diego State, and Oklahoma.
The remaining dozen schools will be first timers on the NPF Back to School Tour. Among those, UCLA, the school with more NCAA Championships than any other college program in history, and Michigan, the 2005 WCWS Champion. The impressive list of newcomers also includes Baylor, Louisiana Lafayette, Mississippi State, Texas State, Maryland, Illinois State, Wisconsin, Marshall, Central Michigan, and South Carolina-Upstate.
“The Tour is one of my favorite events of the year for the NPF and this year’s schedule is super,” commented NPF Commissioner, Cheri Kempf. “The goal of this Tour is to continue to broaden the fan base for professional softball in a competitive environment and to let many of the college programs we play against, celebrate their former players that have gone onto become professionals. We are grateful for, and appreciative of the programs that are so willing to share in that mission with us, and take a crack at the professionals along the way.”
There are several stops that will also include player clinics as well as special location visits and VIP luncheons and dinners. At least five clinics will be offered for young players that are interested in learning from the pros.
The Tour will kick off in Springfield Missouri on September 23 against Missouri State. Over the next 40 days the players of the NPF will criss cross the nation on the 22 game schedule before finishing in Norman, Oklahoma on Nov. 1. For information regarding ticket purchases, clinic registrations, or appearance possibilities, contact the NPF League Office email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 615-232-2900.
Date Game Time School City
9/23 1:00pm Missouri State Springfield, Mo
9/26 7:00pm Marshall Charleston, WV
9/27 6:30pm Maryland College Park, MD
9/29 7:00pm Memphis Memphis,TN
9/30 4:00pm Mississippi State Batesville, MS
10/1 7:30pm Central Arkansas Conway, AR
10/4 6:00pm Michigan Ann Arbor, MI
10/5 3:00pm Central Michigan Mt. Pleasant, MI
10/7 4:30pm Wisconsin Peoria, IL
10/7 6:00pm Illinois State Peoria, IL
10/11 7:00pm South Carolina Columbia, SC
10/12 6:00pm South Carolina-Upstate Spartanburg, SC
10/14 1:00pm Washington Seattle, WA
10/16 7:00pm Baylor Waco, TX
10/18 6:00pm Texas State San Marcos, TX
10/19 7:00pm LSU Baton Rouge, LA
10/20 TBD Louisiana-Lafayette Lafayette, LA
10/22 7:00pm Florida Gainsville, FL
10/24 7:00pm Arizona Tucson, AZ
10/26 7:00pm San Diego State San Diego, CA
1027 1:00pm UCLA Los Angeles, CA
11/1 6:00pm Oklahoma Norman, OK
May 14, 2013
Serena Burla 4th and Christo Landry 7th At US National 20K Championships
by Ron Wayne on September 5, 2012
September 3, New Haven Connecticut. Mizuno Racing Teammates, Serena Burla and Christo Landry are both in a build up training phase for upcoming fall marathons. Both have been putting in record mileage and were concerned about their ability to race on tired legs. This year, the depth of the men's and women's fields was the best ever for the 35th edition of the US National 20K Championships. Serena ran in the lead pack of 5 runners for about half the race and finished 4th in a time of 1:08.45. Running a personal best time of 1:00.04 (4:50 per mile), Christo Landry placed 7th (only 10 seconds out 4th place) and moved into 3rd place in the USATF Circuit Championship standings with 32 points, passing Olympic Marathon Runner Meb Keflezighi, Christo is only 3 points behind leader, Abdi Abdirahman with 2 races to go. Other Mizuno finishers in the men's race were Craig Curley, 16th 1:01.52 (4:59 per mile), Craig Leon 18th, 1:02.09 (5:01 per mile), Patrick Rizzo, 19th, 1:02.28 and Zach Hine, 26th 1:04.29. Additional Mizuno Women - in 11th place was Kristen Zaitz, 1:10.33, Meghan Peyton, 16th, 1:12.20, Heidi Westover, 17th, 1:13.05 and Amanda Marino (Team Riadha), 18th place 1:13.24.
Serena Burla Pushing The Pace At New Haven US 20K National Road Race Championships
May 14, 2013
Tyler McCandless Is Repeat Winner At Kauai Marathon Misses Own Course Record By 23 Seconds
by Ron Wayne on September 4, 2012
September 2, Kauai, Hawaii, Tyler McCandless battled the heat, the rain, and 2,000 competitors to win the Kauai Marathon. Tyler's time of 2:23.51 was 32 seconds slower than last year's time where he set the course record earning a time bonus. If Tyler had broken his course record, he would have earned an additional $15,000 bonus. After his win, McCandless said,, "Last year I came to the Garden Isle of Kauai with a goal of winning the race. I ended the day with a win and a course record. Today, I ran as best I could and came up just off my course record, but did not come up short of an incredible experience. The Aloha spirit of the race is unrivaled and I am very proud to be a two-time Kauai Marathon Champion."
May 14, 2013
Heidi Westover Taking One Year Teaching Sabbatical To Focus On Training
by Ron Wayne on August 31, 2012
As a full time school teacher, Heidi Westover was known for running up to 200 mile weeks, with a high percentage of those miles on the treadmill. Sometimes she would run 20 miles on the treadmill before school with an afternoon workout to follow. After the US Olympic Marathon Trials, in January (15th place, 2:35.45), Heidi decided to change coaches. Her new coach, Brad Hudson, who has produced many championship athletes, has her running substantially less miles, but better quality miles. Heidi, who lives in Walpole, New Hampshire, spent this summer training under Brad's supervision in Boulder, CO and has now made a decision to take a year off from teaching so she can concentrate on her marathon training and racing.
May 14, 2013
Twelve Mizuno Athletes Will Race The US National 20K Championships
by Ron Wayne on August 31, 2012
Christo Landry Looking To Become USATF Road Circuit Championships Point Leader
On Labor Day, September 3, twelve Mizuno Athletes (eleven from the Mizuno Racing Team and one from Riadha) will race in the US National 20K Championships that will be held in New Haven, Connecticut. The competition serves as one of the races for the USATF to choose men and women to compete in the World Half Marathon Championships that will be held in Bulgaria on October 6th. Mizuno Racing Team athletes that will be competing are Christo Landry, Patrick Rizzo, Craig Leon, Zach Hine, Craig Curley, Serena Burla, Lindsey Scherf, Heidi Westover, Meghan Armstrong, Kristen Zaitz, and Loretta Kilmer. From Team Riadha, Amanda Mareno will be racing. Based on his finishes at the US National 15k (2nd), 25K (2nd) and US Cross Country Championships (7th) earlier this year, Christo Landry is in 4th place in the USATF Circuit point standings and based on who is entered in the 20K race, no matter what place any other runner finishes, if Christo Landry places first, second or third, he will become the new overall point leader in the prestigious USATF Circuit Standings. In 2010 Antonio Vega won the USATF Circuit Championship.
May 14, 2013
Mizuno Racing Team Member, Patrick Rizzo, On Cover Of Colorado Runner Magazine
by Ron Wayne on August 29, 2012
Patrick Rizzo is one of two runners featured on the cover of the September/October Issue of the Colorado Runner Magazine. Patrick, who lives in Boulder and works at Runners Roost in Denver, is one of the top elite athletes in Colorado, always finishing in the top 3 in Colorado races. Last year, representing the United States, Patrick placed 8th in the Pan Am Games Marathon and this past January placed 13th at the US Olympic Marathon Trials in a time of 2:13.42.
May 14, 2013
Meet Christo Landry
by Ron Wayne on August 1, 2012
Christo Landry Signs With Mizuno USA
A 3 time Cross Country All-American while at William and Mary, Christo Landry has signed an endorsement contract with Mizuno USA. For the past several years Christo has been living and training in Ann Arbor, Michigan and is a part time volunteer coach at the University of Michigan. With 2nd Place finishes at the USA 15K and 25K Road Championships this year, along with a 7th at the US Cross Country Championships, Christo is currently ranked 4th in the USA Running Circuit Standings. In 2005, Christo represented the United States at the World Junior Cross Country Championships and in 2011 he competed on the US Ekiden Team in Izumo, Japan. At William and Mary, Christo received a B.A. in Economics and a B.B.A. in Finance in 2008 and in 2009 he earned a Master’s Degree in Accounting. Christo is the hottest new young star on the US Road Racing Circuit and Mizuno is excited to help Christo reach his goals as a national class runner. Said Christo, “Mizuno has consistently invested in their athletes and continually provides them with top of the line footwear and apparel. I feel privileged to be joining the Mizuno Family and to be representing the Mizuno Name.”
May 14, 2013
The Planet Wave - Are You A Runner or A Jogger?
by Bob "Wish" Wischnia on August 24, 2012
My typical morning run is almost always a joy. I cruise for a mile through dark, neighborhood streets until I hit a trail that takes me through a greenbelt to the first tee of a golf course which I share with grazing deer, rabbits, fox and an occasional rattler and coyote.
I’ve been running here nearly every morning for years and I’m such a familiar site to the groundskeepers that they don’t even look up from their pre-dawn chores when I pass by. Golfers? It’s still way too early for them.
My golf course is truly an idyllic training environment. Running along the lush, forgiving fairways, over the rolling hills, through the sprinklers, past the misty ponds and finally on my final hole, drinking in the stunning sunrise is the highlight of my day.
But the other morning something occurred which triggered a flood of conflicting emotions. I was doing one of my favorite workouts where I run hole-to-hole at tempo run speed, recover to the next tee and repeat for about 10-12 holes.
To be clear, the sun hadn’t quite risen and the early-morning golfers were either still on the practice range or having a final cup of coffee. I only had one more hole left to finish the workout when a course marshal mysteriously appeared out of the ground fog, sitting in a cart on the tee.
As I approached the tee box, he shouted out: “Hey, no joggers allowed on the course.”
“I’m not a jogger. I’m a runner, ” I yelled back. (FYI: I long ago received permission to run on the course before it opens.)
Regardless, the marshal must have been too stunned to reply to my inane comment because he neither pursued me down the last fairway or had anything left to say.
I don’t know about you, but I have never referred to myself as a “jogger” or what I do as “jogging.” I’m a runner, plain and simple. I run every day, race often and train hard. Running is something I love and it’s something which is very important to me.
Because it’s so important to me and running is so wrapped up in who I am, I still cringe when the “J” word is attached to me. Even the mention of it by someone as unknowing as the course marshal set me off.
And it shouldn’t. It’s just a word, a description that doesn’t truly hold any relevance. Non-runners don’t draw a distinction between runners and joggers. But we do.
The late Dr. George Sheehan, the first true running philosopher, famously wrote that the difference between a runner and a jogger was a race application. The good doctor’s point was that the level of commitment was the line between a jogger and a runner.
I beg to disagree.
The difference between a runner and jogger is absolutely meaningless and to draw that line is yet another example of the polarizing world we live in. There’s way too much of that going around these days to add another trivial distinction that can only serve to divide us.
Here’s my take: We are whoever we want to be. Simply, I am a runner because I run. That’s my calling card.
If you think of yourself as a jogger, that’s great. That’s who you are. My dedication and love for the sport isn’t any greater or more important than someone else. I may not enjoy being called a “jogger”, but it’s the movement that matters, not the label.
That label doesn’t define us. Our activity does.
May 14, 2013
US Women Take Silver After Tough Loss To Brazil
by Brynn Murphy on August 23, 2012
By: Bill Kauffman, USA Volleyball Communications
The top-ranked U.S. Olympic Women’s Volleyball Team fell one victory shy of winning its first-ever Olympic Games gold-medal for the second quadrennial in a row in an 11-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-17 loss to No. 2 Brazil Saturday in the title match at Earls Court in London.
The U.S. Women finished the tournament with a 7-1 record and 30-2 record in 2012. Brazil, which was on the verge of not qualifying for the quarterfinals heading into the final pool day, finished with a 6-2 record in defending its 2008 Olympic Games title in a gold-medal rematch with the Americans. In the process, Brazil snapped a six-match losing streak to the United States dating back to 2011.
The U.S. was playing in its third Olympic Games title match, only to have golden dreams dashed for silver in losses to Brazil at the 2008 Beijing Games and to China at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Team USA now has four overall Olympic women’s volleyball medals that include a bronze at the 1992 Barcelona Games.
At the 2008 Olympic Games, Brazil won its first-ever women’s volleyball gold-medal over the Americans as the top seed and favorite to win, while the U.S. entered the Olympics as a dark horse to win a medal. In 2012, Team USA was the favorite to win its first-ever gold.
The U.S. bolted to an early 7-2 lead in the opening set and never let up in a 25-11 victory. U.S. captain Lindsey Berg (Honolulu), who has announced her intentions to retire after the Olympics, had service runs of 6-0 and 5-0 in the set.Team USA came back from an 11-6 deficit in the second set to tie the score at 12-all, but Brazil responded with a 6-0 run en route to a 25-17 victory and controlled the rest of the match. Brazil reached a 14-9 lead in the third set and never allowed the U.S. closer than two points the rest of the way for a 25-20 victory.
Read more on teamusa.com
May 14, 2013
Faster than a Cheetah
by Serena Burla on August 21, 2012
During my month-long stay in Colorado, I ran on many rolling, scenic trails, took ice baths in beautiful, glistening rivers, ran across many interesting mountain animals, and challenged my lungs to breathe in the fresh, thin air they weren’t accustomed to (some days my sports bra felt too tight as my lungs tried to get some extra air). Although my time in colorful Colorado went by faster than I had hoped, it left me with an undying inspiration to allow myself the opportunity to train hard and achieve big goals. One Monday night before I headed to bed early, I left a note to my Aunt Chris asking her to leave the computer on the kitchen table so I could check my coach’s e-mail for the specifics of the following morning’s workout. Understanding my peculiar running needs, she gladly obliged.
The next morning, as I rubbed the sleepies from my eyes and stumbled my way to the computer, I found myself staring face to face with a cheetah—a cheetah screen-saver, that is. For several weeks my Aunt had been hearing my son Boyd use the phrase, “Faster, very faster, faster than a cheetah” to indicate speed. She must have put the screen-saver up the night before, knowing that it would bring a smile to my face. Instantly, I forgot about the fatigue I still felt from the tiring long run I completed just two days earlier. Before I even looked at the specifics of the workout, I was overcome with a sense of ease and I felt sure that I was ready for whatever lay ahead. I opened the e-mail, nonchalantly jotted down the repeat 2k workout on a slip of paper, tucked it into my pocket, and headed out the door. Though I was running alone, the image of the cheetah kept me company; he ran two steps ahead and propelled me to push myself faster and farther toward my goals. I am sure my Aunt thought I would get a good laugh out of it, but I bet she never guessed that her subtle message was enough to get me out of a tired funk and back into a positive mindset. Although a cheetah might have outrun me, I ran as fast as my legs would carry me that morning. No worries, though. I’ll bridge that gap in time, especially with the support of some really special people who are rooting for me.
May 14, 2013
by Clara Grandt on August 21, 2012
Runners usually seem to know what’s happening with the weather as a lot of us seem to compulsively check weather statistics each day. We can usually tell you the high and low temperatures, cloud coverage, humidity levels, and precipitation percentage. This summer ‘s weather seems to have plenty of surprises in store, though. I’ve found myself in some intense stormy weather, and it’s been causing quite interesting and adrenaline filled finishes to my runs! The storms that have been blowing through have reminded me that there are things to appreciate in the conditions that we usually hope we don’t have to get caught in.
Not too long ago, while finishing the last two miles of a run and running through the middle of the arboretum (a tree museum), the sky turned a dark blue-grey and then to a brownish color when the wind suddenly picked up. At first, it was just leaves blowing through the air, but then branches started flying horizontally across the path. Next, the trees started swirling around, looking as if they were in a mixer. Dirt and dust blew up to sting our eyes and skin. Then, as thunder clapped and lightening flashed, we heard branches cracking and falling in the woods. We had picked up our pace significantly by this time to make our way back to shelter as soon as we could. With nearly a mile to go, a tall tree snapped and we watched it come crashing down to lay in the path in front of us. It turns out that was part of the storm system that put thousands of people out of power for many days on the East Coast. Thankfully, we made it back safely, but what an experience!
About a week later, I was planning on doing a run outside, then meeting my coach to do some track work afterwards. Unfortunately, there are these storms called “bow echos” that were blowing through the area at the time I was planning on being outside. One came through, and using our best judgment, we decided it was not safe to be outside running in a storm that produces 70 mile per hour winds and torrential downpours. That storm had blown a batting cage from the university baseball field over the outdoor track fence and smashed it against the fence on the other side of the track… those things are big! So, this time I decided to run inside, and then when the storm had settled down, I did my speed work outside through puddles and while the sky continued to rumble and light up.
Just this past week, the storms came again. I was finishing another run, and in the last twenty minutes, it started to sprinkle, which grew into a rain shower, which grew into a rainstorm, which grew into a power wash! The rain and wind worked together to pound and blast against my skin and in my eyes until I could barely see, and the sky let out deep rumbles of thunder. At each forceful blow of wind, my adrenaline pumped harder and the wind took my breath away. It was actually kind of fun and refreshing. I stopped avoiding the deep puddles that were becoming streams down the roads. I splashed through them with excitement, feeling somewhat tough and Rocky-esque to be taking on this storm, although I really had no choice since I had to get back to the place I had started from anyway.
I had started my run from the hospital gym, and when I finished, there wasn’t a thing on me that hadn’t been completely saturated. I walked in with my shoes squishing at every step, thinking about the incredible power of a storm and how sometimes it’s nice to know that even a storm can feel good to run through rather than just the hot, lazy days of summer, or the calmness in a perfectly mild day. As I passed a woman on her way out, she looked at me and said,”Are you ok??” I had to chuckle a bit at the irony of being asked that question by someone leaving the hospital as I was walking in and replied with a grin, “Yeah, I was just running.”
May 14, 2013
Which Mizuno Is The Right Shoe For You?
by Bob "Wish" Wischnia on August 15, 2012
Let’s face it, selecting the right running shoe which fits and functions perfectly for you can seem like a daunting task. Especially if you are relatively new to running (or Mizuno), all the styles and models can be pretty confusing.
If you’re a newbie, you might even be amazed that there are so many footwear options, rather than just one great shoe which works for every runner. But it simply doesn’t work that way because every runner has different needs, fit requirements and many even have different foot types.
How do you sort through all the confusion? If you don’t know which Mizuno is the right one for you, the best advice we can possibly offer is to go to a reputable running store in your area. Your running friends can certainly recommend a store which has a knowledgeable, helpful sales staff and a complete selection of Mizuno running shoes or click here to find a store near you.
Once you get to the store, you’ll undoubtedly be drawn to the shoe wall where all the top shoes are displayed. Running stores vary how shoes are displayed. Some stores group all of a brand’s shoe together, but most good stores display its shoes by categories. Running shoes generally fall into one of six classifications: Control, stability, cushioned (or neutral), lightweight performance trainers, racing shoes and minimalist.
If you are a new runner and don’t know which shoe category you are best suited for, consult with the sales personnel who will watch you run, evaluate your gait and offer some advice to the shoe type that best meets your needs. Try on three or four different models. The two most important considerations are fit and feel. Try and take each for a short trial run. Most stores will allow you to take the shoes for a short spin without any obligation. Stores that have treadmills will probably prefer you test them out on the treadmill, rather than outside. Have the store associate watch you run. He/she is trained to notice whether the shoe fits you well and is the proper type of shoe for your style of running. Base your final decision on which shoe fits and feels the best.
If you can’t go to a store and want to order your shoes off the internet, these basics guidelines should help in making a more informed decision on which Mizuno is the proper shoe for you.
Cushioned (or neutral) shoes:
This type of shoe places emphasis on cushioning and de-emphasizes stability or support. This type of shoe usually has the highest level of cushioning (particularly in the rearfoot for good shock absorption upon heel strike). These are the least stable or supportive trainers, but are also the most flexible and responsive.
Best suited for: Runners who are biomechanically efficient (don’t overpronate) and often have a high or rigid arch. Also underpronators (don’t pronate enough) and fast, lean runners do well in these shoes.
Mizuno Options: Mizuno Wave Rider 15, Wave Creation 13, Wave Enigma 2 and Wave Prophecy.
The differences: The Wave Rider is Mizuno’s most popular model—and it’s one of the best, most established shoes in this category. Of Mizuno’s neutral line, the Rider is the lightest and most flexible. The Wave Creation has better cushioning and more support (particularly in the arch) and works especially well for a very high arched foot. The Wave Enigma also has exceptional cushioning and it’s lighter and more responsive than the Creation. The Prophecy is a completely unique shoe in running with a full mechanical midsole. This means it has a full Wave Plate (Mizuno’s trademark technology and doesn’t have traditional midsole foam which means three things: Great cushioning and durability and a propulsive-like effect that is unparalleled in running.
Stability and control are synonymous with support. The difference is the degree of support offered. Stability shoes offer external and internal devices that will reduce overpronation (the distinctive inward roll which is a leading cause of injuries). Stability shoes generally have added support devices, a supportive upper and a midfoot shank or reinforcement to add torsional stability.
Best suited for:Runners who overpronate and/or need some added medial support and stability. Runners with normal or flat arches. Runners who wear orthotics generally do well in stability shoes.
Mizuno Options: Mizuno Wave Inspire 8, Wave Nirvana 8, Wave Nexus 6 or Wave Elixir 7.
The differences:The important distinction between these shoes is level of support. The Nirvana is the most supportive and also has the best rearfoot cushioning. It is also tops for durability. The Inspire has a “moderate” level of support, but it’s lighter and a “quicker’ shoe than the Nirvana. The Nexus offers a similar support and cushioning package as the Inspire. The Elixir is the lightest, most responsive of the support shoes, but also the least supportive.
Designed primarily for severe overpronators and/or big, heavy runners, control shoes offer maximum support and stability—more so than stability shoes. Generally, control shoes have a broad base of support, a sturdy heel counter, a supportive upper and external support devices. These shoes are all about keeping the pronated foot in balance during the running gait.
Best suited for: Overpronators or big, heavy runners who need all the support they can get. Runners with low arches also do well in control shoes. Also good for orthotic wearers.
Mizuno Options: Mizuno Wave Alchemy 12 and Wave Nirvana 8.
The differences: Both the Alchemy and Nirvanahave exceptional support, cushioning and durability. Both weigh approximately the same. The Nirvana is slightly more flexible and has full-length support (the Alchemy’s is mainly in the rearfoot). The Alchemy has very good forefoot cushioning and fits a wide foot.
Lightweight performance trainers:
As the name implies, these are lightweight shoes that are designed for runners who want to fly in training—or racing. These shoes have a performance fit and feel, are highly flexible, have breathable uppers and good toe spring. Performance trainers are generally about 2-3 ounces lighter than conventional training shoes but there is a tradeoff in cushioning, stability and durability. Some choose to use these shoes for daily training, although most runners usually wear lightweight performance trainers just for speed work or races.
Best suited for: Runners who train (or race) fast. Runners who don’t need a lot of stability or cushioning, but prefer an unencumbered, light, flexible ride.
Mizuno Options: Mizuno Wave Precision 13 and Wave Elixir 7.
The differences: Both shoes are relatively light and very flexible. The Elixir is slightly lighter than the Precision, its midsole is a tad firmer and offers a bit of support. The Precision is strictly for neutral runners without any support issues.
Racers (or road-racing flats) are the sports cars of the shoe wall. They are designed for only one thing: road-racing. Weighing between four and eight ounces, flats don’t offer much cushioning or stability and are not suitable for daily training (you’ll wear them out too quickly anyway). Flats have a low-profile midsole and a minimalist upper and outsole.
Best suited for: Serious racers who don’t want (or need) a shoe which will slow them down. Efficient, lightweight runners do best in flats.
Mizuno Options: Mizuno Wave Universe 4, Wave Musha 4, Wave Ronin 4.
The differences: The Wave Universe is the lightest (3.8 ounces for size 9) shoe on the running market. It has minimal cushioning but maximum quickness. The Wave Ronin (7 ounces for men size 9; 8 ounces for women, size 7) is also a quick shoe, but with a gripping outsole (good on wet pavement) and a smooth, fast ride for neutral racers. The Wave Musha has a broader base of support than the Ronin and is slightly heavier.
This type of shoe is characterized by lowered heel to toe ramps, minimal amount of cushioning and support. Runners who like minimal shoes prefer the less is more approach.
Best suited for: Biomechanically efficient runners (they don’t overpronate) who prefer a good road “feel” and don’t want (or need) traditional cushioning or heel heights.
Mizuno Options: Mizuno Wave Universe 4, Wave Ronin 4.
The differences: The Wave Universe is primarily a racing shoe, but it has become a very popular shoe with minimalist runners due to its extreme light, unrestricted ride. The Wave Ronin has also gained wider acceptance as a training shoe because of its light, smooth ride.
May 14, 2013
Premier Girls Fast Pitch National Championships 2012
by Harper Cornell on August 9, 2012
Congratualtions to the 16U Team Mizuno on winning the Premier National Tournament. They are currently the #1 team in the nation!
May 14, 2013
The Mizuno Wave® Precision™ 13 Earns the “Editor's Choice” Title by Runner's World Magazine
by Harper Cornell on August 2, 2012
We are thrilled to announce the Wave® Precision™ 13 (men | women) performance neutral running shoe, utilizing breakthrough Wave® Technology, has achieved the esteemed “Editor’s Choice” distinction from Runner’s World magazine. This innovative running shoe received the “Editor’s Choice” designation according to the opinions of the publications’ editors and wear-testers, as part of their annual Fall Shoe Guide in the September 2012 issue.
We engineered the Wave Precision 13 specifically to provide unrivaled responsiveness for normal pronators, while maximizing the lightweight properties of the new Wave plate. It’s also the lightest Wave Precision Mizuno has ever made.
“With the Wave Precision 13, we created a lightweight running shoe which runners can wear as a fast, training option or as a high performance race shoe,” said Rod Foley, Director of Product Management for Mizuno USA Running. “Like with all the running shoes in our lineup, the Wave Precision 13 delivers on our promise of creating brilliant runs, and exemplifies our “just enough” ethos. We’re all excited to achieve such recognition from Runner’s World.”
Runner’s World utilized the opinions of wear-testers, as well as laboratory tests (in the RW Shoe Lab) on the shoes to determine the publication’s preferred models. These testers run in the shoes for a month, logging a minimum of 25 miles per week.
May 14, 2013
The Long Road Back
by Antonio Vega on July 31, 2012
The road back to running after the type of injury and surgery I had is never a short (or easy) one. It has now been about three months since I had hip surgery and I am very happy to report that everything looks good and is healing well.
Recently, I had my three-month follow up with the surgeon who operated on me and he had trouble identifying which hip was operated on which I took as a great sign. My doctor was so encouraged that he gave me the OK to finally start training again which is all I needed to hear. Right now, I am running around 40-45 miles a week and starting to feel like a runner again.
Since my return to full time running, I have talked with my coach about rejoining Team USA Minnesota and start working out with the team again. I’ll probably hold back for a few more weeks and somewhere in the middle of August, I’ll return to training with the group.
I’ve been through this same scenario before and realize I need to be patient and hold myself back before really returning to full-time training and racing. The last thing I need is to reinjure my hip again.
As many of you know, I go back and forth between the Twin Cities and Des Moines where my wife is in medical school. While in Iowa, I have been working as an online coach for Zoom Performance based out of Des Moines. So far, I’ve definitely enjoyed the interaction with other runners, plus I have been of speaking to running groups in the Des Moines area.
Just being involved on a daily basis with runners of all levels of ability is something I enjoy. I know I benefit from their enthusiasm and energy and hopefully, they also benefit from my background and knowledge.
May 14, 2013
Lytham looms and hopefully it’s going to be third-time-lucky for me this year in the majors.
by Luke Donald on July 18, 2012
Luke Donald Diary 7/17/2012
Lytham looms and hopefully it’s going to be third-time-lucky for me this year in the majors.
Going into the Open as number one will again add to the pressure. It’s struck me that my indifferent showings this year, and probably some times in the past, too, come from needing to tackle the majors better mentally. As world number one the expectation is pretty high, not the least by me, to win a major. I’ve put a lot of thought into it. It’s about controlling the anxiety of it all – just going out there and being relaxed, try and avoid pressing too hard and forcing the issue. Not that it should mean anything less, but playing with a little bit more freedom, less hesitation, having a bit more fun. I don’t work with a mental coach – Dave Allred only works with me on practicing efficiently. It’s got to come from me. I’ve not been able to spot myself slipping into the agitated mode. People around me have noticed it though.
I’m sure now, that’s the key. Then If I can get off to a good start it will give me a lot of encouragement. I’ve proved that when I get into contention I’m tough to beat.
The majors so far this year haven’t gone that well, but I’m approaching The Open differently this time. I feel I still have 30 or 40 majors in me and if I keep learning and getting better physically and mentally one will come along. I’m excited about the opportunities that are coming up.
Mentally comes first now but physically I’ve had to have a rethink as well. Certainly for the US Open I over-prepared. I tried to play a lot of left-to-right shots because I felt that was what was needed, and it got my swing into some old habits. So I’ve worked hard the last two weeks on really trying to get the swing shallowed out, getting a little bit more of a solid strike. It entails trying to turn the ball over slightly to be a little more penetrating. That’s when I feel like I’m swinging well. It’s getting very close to that right now.
The only time I’ve played Lytham was as an amateur in the Lytham Trophy, quite a few years back now. I still remember it very well. Avoiding the bunkers, as it is at all Open venues, is vital. But that good start on Thursday is what I’m looking for.
It was nice to celebrate a collective 52 weeks as world number one at the Scottish Open. I won’t in any way be worried about the curse of winning again at Castle Stuart before playing the Open. Just as I said last year, being in winning form before a major can only be good not bad. I don’t think the fact that I just didn’t perform (at Sandwich) last year had any relevance to winning the Scottish Open. Sandwich I just didn’t adapt well with my short game, I didn’t chip or putt particularly well.
Away from the course, my fourth Taste of the Tee, charity wine-tasting event, went wonderfully well. I was able to raise some great money for the First Tee of Chicago Chapter. It’s a lovely feeling helping out the kids.
That puts into perspective that there is more to life than golf.
If I needed to be brought down to earth from the world number one spot, though, I got that at Wimbledon. I relished my first time in the Royal Box watching two great matches and then sitting next to Kylie Minogue at lunch. She was a really sweet girl, really genuine – but she wasn’t actually aware I was a golfer! I had to mention it to her. Her boyfriend is a keen golfer, though, and she turned round to him and said: ‘Luke’s a professional golfer’. He said: ‘Yes I know that’.
Talking about pressure playing your home major, you could see how much it all meant to Andy Murray. We’re all trying as hard as we can to be a success, especially in the big ones. It means a lot to him and it means a lot to me.
May 14, 2013
My Moment by Jordan Larson
by Brynn Murphy on July 16, 2012
When I think about the last couple days many emotions come rushing in. Something I have worked so hard for is finally becoming a reality. Words cannot express the joy that overcame me when I heard the news that I will be attending the Olympic Games in London. I will try and recap my morning for you all. It was July 3 at about 8:30 in the morning. We didn't have practice that day since we had meetings all morning to determine the 12 girls that will be making the roster. I was nervous and excited for my meeting at 10:20. I got up and did the normal routine, got dressed, ate and brushed my teeth. I had spoke with my strength coach the day before about getting in a cardio session since we wouldn't be having practice. He agreed that it would be a great idea. I arrived to the gym around 9:30 prepared to do an intense workout and man did he give me just that. I was on the spin bike doing a circuit that lasted about 20 mins.( I know it doesn't seem that long but I was tired!!) Needless to say I was dripping sweat and completely out of breath. Little did I know it was already time for me to go up for my meeting. Walking up the stairs to the coaches offices the past 12 years of my life came flashing back. I was thinking about the 1st time I stepped foot on a volleyball court. The 1st time I attempted to jump serve. The 1st ever club volleyball tryout that I almost missed out on because I was such a chicken. The 1st time I made a team. My first coaches. So many memories of hard work, sacrifice and determination came rushing in. This was my moment. As I walked into their office it was a very intimidating environment. All four coaches sat in a half circle staring at me. Now remember I was still dripping sweat, was beat red and couldn't breath. All the coaches asked me are you okay? With wide eyes of confusion... Like what just happened to you. I explained and we moved on to the meeting. Hugh proceeded to tell me that I will be apart of the 12 going to London. ( after that I kinda blacked out... Well I just kinda sat there with a smile in my face.) He then said well we don't want to stop you from getting your workout in so Congratulations and proceeded to give me a hug. I felt sorry for all the coaches for having to give me a hug as I was dripping sweat. I walked out of that meeting trying to grasp what had just happened. I was in shock that I am actually living the dream! My dream!!!! I proceeded to call all my family and friends. It wasn't until I was speaking with a family friend when it all hit me. And man did it hit me like a ton a bricks. She kept trying to talk to me but I had no response as I was a weeping mess. All that was going threw my mind was my mom. What I would give to call her and tell her I did it!! I know she would be proud but at that moment I just wanted to hear her voice!! I can just see her now doing some crazy dance of hers and jumping for joy. Oh how I miss her! This has been one incredible week and it has only just begun. I have so much to be thankful for and so many people to thank for helping me be who I am today! :). As much as I would love to celebrate this huge accomplishment there is still work to do. We have 2 more weeks of training before we head to London and 3 weeks until the big show. This is what we have all been training for and I am confident that we will be in full force when we get to London. I am so happy to be apart of this team.
Dream Big & Never Settle,
May 14, 2013
Mizuno Shoe Guy Answers Your Footwear Questions—July 2012
by Bob "Wish" Wischnia on July 13, 2012
Do you have a shoe-related question? Or a running shoe question, specific to Mizuno for the Mizuno Shoe Guy? If you have a question you’d like him to answer, send it to Shoeguy@Mizunousa.com. He'll pick five questions a month to answer and if he picks your question, we'll send you a beautiful Mizuno tech T-shirt.
Nirvana and Inspire differences
Q: I am ready to switch to Mizuno shoes due to injury issues. I weigh about 138 pounds and my height is 5-6. Currently, I run about 20 miles per week in the Asics Kayano, but I am having plantar fasciitis problems. I am looking for a Mizuno shoe with better stability and cushioning to help me with my injury. I have read great reviews about your shoes, but don’t know the difference between the Wave Nirvana and Wave Inspire. Can you explain the differences? Darlen C. de França, Fortaleza, Brazil
A: Darlen, both the Wave Nirvana and Wave Inspire are excellent support shoes. Even so, they are very different. The Nirvana offers maximum protection in terms of support and cushioning. The Inspire is still very supportive, but it simply doesn’t offer the same level of full-length support and cushioning as the Nirvana. The Nirvana is also slightly heavier and more durable than the Inspire. In my opinion, the Nirvana is just as supportive as the Kayano, but it has a more cushioned ride and better durability.
Women's Wave Inspire 8
Women's Wave Nirvana 8
Need a wide, support shoe
Q: I started running again recently after a few years off and was fitted with the New Balance 860. Unfortunately, I have had nothing but problems since wearing it. I instantly got shin splints, my ankles hurt and I have arch pain. Even worse, the New Balance shoes feel like concrete under my feet. I admit I’m overweight with a wide foot, but I also want a lighter, more comfortable support shoe than the 860 which fits me better. Any suggestions? Hollie Dickey, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
A: I would definitely suggest the Mizuno Wave Inspire 8. It has lightweight support, very good cushioning and it’s available in a wider (D) width for women. Even so, the Inspire won’t be an instant “cure” for your shin splints. If you shins are sore to the touch, I would suggest getting the Inspires but instead of getting back into your regular running routine, take a break and just walk for a week or two on a soft surface such as grass or dirt. Ice the sore spots on your shins immediately after walking (to reduce the inflammation) and consider adding some light leg strengthening for your calf muscles, hamstrings, hip flexors and quadriceps. These muscles stabilize your lower legs and will reduce torque on your shins. Once the soreness (inflammation) is gone, begin a light running program in the Inspires but back off at the first sign of soreness.
Rider fan wondering whether she should switch
Q: I am a 36-year-woman who has been running for about four years. I underpronate and had serious plantar fascia issues in one foot until my running store hooked me up with the Wave Rider last year. Since then, I’ve been injury-free but I am just reaching the point where I am tackling different types of runs such as track intervals and tempo runs. My question is whether you think I should stick with the Wave Riders or try a different shoe? After reading some of your blogs, I am considering switching from the Riders to a more cushioned shoe such as the Wave Enigma or Prophecy for long runs (10-15 miles) and getting the Wave Precision for shorter, faster runs and the Wave Ronin for racing. But you seem to swear by the Elixir for racing and training and have indicated that some neutral runners use the Wave Musha as well. Is it a good idea for a neutral runner like me to use Wave Elixir for training and racing? Also, is there a Mizuno shoe which might eliminate my need for a shoe insert? Finally, should I switch my Wave Riders for a more cushioned shoe for long runs? Amanda L. Hall, Hermitage Tennessee
A: Lots of great questions Amanda which I’ll get to, but first I have to say I’m a big believer in sticking with what works. That is, if you are running well in the Wave Rider with your shoe insert, I don’t see any pressing reason to switch to another shoe. Also, using inserts are a lot like wearing corrective lens. If you need to use a pair, you don’t grow out of it. There’s nothing wrong with wearing inserts. (I’ve been using orthotics for many years and would be lost without them.) Anyway, should you try the Wave Musha for racing? It depends on many factors, but if you are a beginning racer, I would say no. At least, not at first. Instead, I would try either the Wave Elixir or Wave Precision for faster runs and use the same shoe when you begin racing. Which one? Hard to say, but the Elixir offers a bit of support while the Precision is strictly neutral. I do love the Wave Elixir and even though it does have a little support, many neutral runners have been drawn to it for its light cushioning and responsive, quick ride. Lastly, should you switch from Wave Riders to a more cushioned shoe for long runs? If you feel the Wave Rider lacks cushioning an hour or two into your long runs, you might want to consider either the Wave Enigma 2 or Wave Prophecy. But if the Rider is working well for you on shorter runs, I would use it for long runs too. The Rider has plenty of cushioning and works just fine on long runs. Bottom line: I don’t normally see an upside to fixing something which isn’t broken.
Women's Wave Rider 15
Looking for more cushioning
Q: I’m a 37-year-old lifelong athlete who played soccer all through college. I’m currently training for my first marathon and have been using both the Brooks Glycerin and Saucony Triumph. The problem is both of these feel “mushy” and I haven’t liked either shoe, especially since my Achilles started hurting. Jeff Galloway recommended I look into the Mizuno Wave Riders. Is that a good recommendation and will the Wave Rider provide a firmer ride than the Brooks and Saucony shoes? Ted Kramer, Wykcoff, New Jersey
A: Many brands use midsoles that are much softer than Mizuno typically employs. Shoes with soft midsoles often feel good when you try them on in the store, but once you begin running, they feel marshmallow soft and your feet tend to sink into the midsole. When this happens, you dissipate energy on every footstrike. Even worse, midsoles that are too soft, tend to put a stress and strain on various body parts such as your Achilles. Mizuno midsoles have just as much cushioning as any other brand, but the cushioning tends to run firmer which is more energy efficient and safer. The Wave Rider typifies that approach with a firm, but light midsole. It’s a great shoe that has been one of the mainstays of our line for over 15 years. I suggest you listen to Jeff’s advice and get a pair for the remainder of your marathon training.
Q:I love your shoes. I’ve only been running for a short time, but was fitted recently in a pair of Wave Precisions. Other than they are a little bright for me, these shoes have been great for me. I treat the Precisions like gold and only wear them for running. I’m going to begin racing this summer and was wondering whether you should think I should buy another pair of Precisions or a completely different, lighter pair for racing? Ryan Rene Rosado, Westbury, New York
A: I’m glad you like the Precision so much. It is an exceptional lightweight trainer-racer. A racer? Yes, that too. Plenty of runners also race in the Precision at all distances through the marathon. If you are a new runner and beginning racer, my advice is to continue to use the Precision for racing. You probably aren’t ready for an extremely light pair of racing flats and would be better served in wearing the Precision for your first few races. After those initial races, you can consider a racing flat. It might be a good idea to buy a new pair of Precision though for your first few races. You don’t want to start a race—especially a long race such as a half marathon or marathon—with worn down shoes. You will have a much better race experience wearing a relatively “fresh” pair of shoes
Men's Wave Precision 13
May 14, 2013
Chipper Jones Makes Final All-Star Game a Memorable One
by Harper Cornell on July 11, 2012
Mizuno Brand Ambassador and Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones announced before the 2012 season that this would be his last year playing professional baseball. The 40-year old Chipper is hitting .318 on the season, which was more than enough to earn him a spot on the National League All-Star Team for the eighth time in his career. The future Hall-of-Famer's last All-Star Game was certainly one of the more compelling stories from last night. Prior to the game, National League Manager Tony LaRussa asked Chipper to speak to the team about the game. Here is a clip of Chipper's speech:
The National League won the All-Star Game for the third year in a row, defeating the American League 8-0. Chipper had one at-bat in the game, and certainly made the most of it after a warm embrace from the Kansas City crowd. Here is a clip of Chipper's final All-Star Game at-bat:
A few other Mizuno-related stories from the All-Star Game were the great start of San Francisco Giants pitcher and Cy Young hopeful Matt Cain, who threw two scoreless innings and picked up the win for the NL. Cain was using the new Mizuno Pro Limited Glove, which launches on August 1st. At several spots during the first two innings, FOX showed Cain's new leather and his custom All-Star Game cleats, offering excellent visibility for the Mizuno Brand. Here is a clip of Cain's solid start for the National League:
Also using the new Mizuno Pro Limited was Chicago White Sox pitcher Chris Sale, who worked a scoreless-inning of relief. Sale, a Cy Young hopeful for the American League, recorded a strikeout in his first All-Star Game. Here is a clip of Sale's scoreless inning:
Finally, the Kansas City Royals' Billy Butler received an outstanding ovation as the lone All-Star from the hometown team. Butler worked the count full before striking out in his one plate appearance, but had the crowd cheering late in a lopsided contest. Here is a clip of the rousing ovation that Butler received from the Kansas City fans:
The regular season picks back up on Friday, and it should be another great second half as the Pennant races heat up.
May 14, 2013
Spring break fun
by Jennie Finch on April 19, 2012
Last week we went on vacation! We got out of town and hit the road, just me and my boys. A great way to begin because there’s nothing like that feeling of a change in routine, a break in schedule. No school, no work! We’re off to lay on the beach, swim in the pool, fish, jet-ski and much more! Casey and I were talking and this is really our first family vacation with no work. We couldn’t wait to put our toes in the sand!
May 14, 2013
Spring has sprung!
by Jennie Finch on April 12, 2012
Spring is here! It’s been an amazing few months, and a great start to the year. I’ve been blessed to be part of the ESPN team this spring, working in the booth at a few softball games. It’s a little nerve-wracking but I’m working at it. Practicing, getting my reps in, learning all the production terms, timing, and putting hay in the barn all the time. I love it, though. I get to talk to coaches, players, and be around the game in the College atmosphere. There is nothing like it and it only keeps growing and getting better! It keeps the great memories I have fresh for me, and of course working alongside softball greats like Michelle Smith, Beth Mowins, and more is always an honor!
May 14, 2013
Wounded Warriors, the Power of i, and Billy the Goat!
by Jennie Finch on March 2, 2012
May 14, 2013
World League : Intercontinental Round by Brian Thornton
by Brynn Murphy on July 10, 2012
May 14, 2013
Renewed Sense of Purpose
by Antonio Vega on June 28, 2012
A couple of weeks ago, I went to Duluth, Minnesota for the U.S. Half Marathon Championships, just to get back into the atmosphere of professional road running. Before I left for Duluth, I knew I wouldn't be running the race, but I just wanted to be around all the top runners and stay in touch with the sense of excitement one gets at a national championship race.
The race was terrific and I really enjoyed talking with some of friends and fellow competitors. I won the half marathon championship in Houston in 2010 and reflecting back on that huge victory for me, made me realize how easy things are when everything is going right for you. When you can see immediate results from all the training, it isn't hard to get motivated to go out there and train and race hard. That's easy.
What's not so easy is pursuing your running dreams when you are faced with setback after setback. Every runner is faced with plenty of setbacks and successes—it's the nature of the sport—but I believe it is how you deal with the highs and lows that builds character.
Nobody enjoys the lows and I am certainly ready to move beyond the setbacks I've faced for the past two years and resume my running career. I am not the first runner to have missed significant time with injuries. Others have bounced back and I know I will too.
Being in Duluth definitely gave me a mental boost and a renewed sense of purpose with my training. Since returning home, I have felt more and more like my old self as I get back into my routine of running, stretching and strength training every morning. Even the morning soreness I feel is welcome and lets me know that yesterday was a good day of training.
I am still not ready to compete, but I am getting fitter and fitter every week. Each training session brings me closer and closer to my eventual return. I'll be back.
It's just a matter of time and patience.
May 14, 2013
The Planet Wave—Are Runners Real Athletes?
by Bob "Wish" Wischnia on June 27, 2012
If you’re at all like me, your identity is wrapped up in what we do. We run and we’re runners. I’m a dad, husband, college graduate, a semi-successful professional, but what I am more than anything else is simply this: I’m a runner.
That’s how I think of myself and, for better or worse, that’s who I am. The Runner.
You probably are too. You are also probably great at all those intangibles qualities we share such as persistence, goal setting and consistency. We can set a fall marathon as our goal, train through the summer heat and think nothing of knocking out hard, long runs. We’re driven, tough and achievement-oriented folks who have exceptional cardiovascular systems, powerful legs and razor-sharp focus.
But are we real athletes? Is being able to run for two, three, four or even five hours a significant athletic achievement? Or are we just highly motivated aerobic freaks who can keep moving over any type of terrain through any weather?
I don’t have a definitive answer here, but while thinking about those questions this morning on my run, I was drawn back to a 10-K race I ran several years ago in Phoenix. Don’t remember much about the race, but do remember quite well the post-race party which was hosted by Steve Scott, then America’s greatest miler (now a successful college coach in California) who, at the time, lived in nearby Tempe.
After the first keg was drained, a bunch of the best road racers in the country walked across the street to a park that had a full-length basketball court. Wearing running shoes and short shorts, a “game” broke out which pitted the skinny wimps vs. the emaciated scrawnies.
Even though these guys—all lungs and legs--didn’t have game which would have threatened a junior high girls’ team, each one was capable of hammering out sub-five-minute miles (or, in Scott’s case, 3:47.69), but none of them could out jump a Galapagos Tortoise.
Somehow, the game of basketball survived; some of the runners didn’t as one by one they begged out with strained hammies, sore Achilles and calf muscles.
Still, these were some of the most incredibly fit guys on the planet without an extra pound of fat on them who could run 140 miles week after week and yet none of them could sustain five minutes of up-and-down, full court basketball without pulling every muscle in their body. None had the coordination and hand/eye skill necessary to sink a single shot. (The game ended in a scoreless tie.) If it wasn’t so pathetic, it would have been comical.
But my point is these great runners were absolutely incapable of doing anything other than processing huge amounts of oxygen and moving quickly and efficiently for 10 kilometers. Doing anything athletic other than that and these guys were as hopeless as LeBron James would be at mile 22 in a marathon.
Bottom line: We’re aerobic animals, plain and simple. We look good in T-shirts and shorts. But that’s about it. Most of us can’t dunk, hit a curve ball or spank a 300-yard drive down the middle of a fairway.
Running doesn’t instill any great athletic benefits on us. Instead, running affords us a fit, healthy (and sustainable) lifestyle which is infinitely more valuable than fleeting athletic success.
I can live with that.
May 14, 2013
A Good Race
by Clara Grandt on June 25, 2012
A good race is really so relative. I’m looking forward to have a good race at the USA Half Marathon Championships in Duluth, MN this weekend, June 16th. However, when I say, I am looking forward to a good race, who knows what that means for me? The point is, a good race can mean so many things to different people, even at different times.
Many times I have gone into a race with very objective thoughts of what a good race would be. I have a time goal, a place goal, and being competitive, I don’t think I’ll ever not have those objective goals floating around somewhere in my head. This time, though, I have a few other thoughts of what would make this a good race.
Now, maybe it is the time away from racing the past few months that is making me think like this, but I’m really just looking forward to embracing the whole atmosphere. I’m so thankful to be able to compete among dedicated athletes, thankful to run in beautiful places like along Lake Superior, thankful to God that I have this ability, and thankful to all those who have supported me. I can’t wait to feel that tension among the competitors in the air on the start line, hear the gun go off, and just race for those reasons!
I don’t know what the outcome of this race or any race to come will be, but if I race with all the appreciation, determination, and positivity I have (combined with good health and fitness, course) I believe it will have the right ingredients for a good race, perhaps even a great race. With that, I know that good and great races are on the horizon.
May 14, 2013
Good Times In the Ice Bath
by Serena Burla on June 20, 2012
Today I filled Boyd’s little kiddie pool up for him to “swim” in and I couldn’t help but have flash backs to the previous kiddie pool filling two weeks ago. It was my teammate Amanda's last day down in D.C., and also the day of a seriously gut-checking track workout. If she had stuck to her original plan of leaving the previous Sunday, I would have begged to have her company for at least a few more days. However, upon hearing of the workout's intensity, she decided to stay, citing that there is "strength in numbers"- my thoughts exactly. It was a good workout for all of us and one that had us thinking about an ice bath as we switched from our Wave Ronins to our trainers for the cool down. On the drive home we decided to celebrate the workout and our time spent training together with a special ice bath. We purchased four sixteen pound bags of ice from my friends at 7-eleven who eyed the bags and told me, “you better get some jelly beans today”. Jelly beans were a previous cash register grab that occurred a few months back on the very day they inquired about my massive ice purchases. Having explained the whole ice bath for recovery/ runner thing, they too knew this ice bath would be epic.
When we arrived back at my house we got Boyd’s pool out and turned on the hose. A while later in went the ice, all 64 pounds, and in went the two of us. Start the timer. There we sat side by side, back to the street, goose bump covered, red legged, laughing rather than letting our teeth chatter, trying to capture the moment with Amanda’s phone camera ourselves.
Three minutes later our legs are numb. We chat and laugh as if we are 10 year olds at a pool party, but there is no splashing allowed here. The neighbors are probably spying and wondering what in the world the two of us are up to now, having witnessed us doing either form drills, strides, or supplemental training in the yard or street on some other day. Fortunately from prior conversations we know they support us and even seek advice from us every now and again. If they were looking at us in the makeshift ice bath however, they might now seek another’s opinion.
6 minutes: the ice is completely gone and we start wishing we had some tea to at least keep the core from freezing. Rats, no one is in the house to call to and place an order. Oh Amanda has her phone does anyone deliver? We comment on how much colder this ice bath is in comparison to the ones in the bathtub and how “cool” we are. People we don’t know walk by, they more than likely do a double take and talk about this at their dinner table. Note to self, maybe next time wear a suit rather than long sleeves in the pool, may look less strange. Also, I should put an umbrella into my recovery drink, and face the street.
At 8 minutes we continue to talk about running, family and friends, events: past, present and future, how we are going to solve half the world’s and our own personal issues. But when I realize and announce that 12 minutes are up, Amanda moves just as fast as she did on one of the repeats to get out. She is just learning to love the ice bath, but I consider myself an ice bath veteran. As long as I have someone to talk to I could stay in all day (hence the catch up phone calls that take place in the ice bath on a weekly basis). It’s the getting in part that is the hardest part, kind of like the first step out the door to get a run in when you are in the heaviest part of training. Nevertheless, I am grateful for the warmth of the sun as we defrost.
Six hours later Amanda comes in from outside and announces the ice bath is still cold if I’m interested in icing again. I decline. Three days later we call each other states away while in our own ice baths just to pass the time and reminisce. Oh, and in case you were wondering, getting soaked by Boyd today while he swam in his pool/ ice bath vessel wasn’t so bad since there was an absence of ice cubes floating around.
May 14, 2013
What a summer! by Jordan Larson
by Brynn Murphy on June 19, 2012
My apologizes for the delay I have been training hard in preparation for London. Here is a summary of where I left off from my last blog. Enjoy!
After finishing in third place in Champions League, it was time to go back to Russia and finish up the league. Before going to Baku, we won our first semi-final match against Omsk in the series of 3. Although our team was more talented than Omsk, we still struggled against them. We beat them in 4 sets at home and then secured our berth into the final round with a win on the road in 5 sets. There were times when we were playing good volleyball and other times when I didn't even recognize my team. It was ugly, but we got through it and were on to the finals. By winning this game we not only advanced to the finals but we also qualified for Champions league next year. While my focus was still on winning the finals, it was a huge relief to qualify for Champions League.
After beating Omsk, we headed back to Kazan and got a good week of training in before taking on Dinamo- Moscow in the finals. If you remember from my earlier blog we played Moscow in the finals of the Cup of Russia and lost, but I was not going to let that happen again. We knew it was going to be a tough match- up, but we were ready to take on the challenge to bring the title and cup back to Kazan. Since we were first in the league all season we got to host the first two games of the series of 5 at our home. The first game at home was a breeze. We played very well as a team and it was great to see. I thought to myself if we can play like that Moscow has no chance. Unfortunately, we did not have the same outcome in the second game of the series. Moscow came out strong and we couldn’t find an answer. The series was now tied 1-1 and we had to go to Moscow and try and to win 2 games on their home court. This was going to be a very hard task, but knew we had it in us.
The next day we were off to Moscow to win the Championship. We came out strong in game 3 and won 3-1. There was no time to celebrate because we had to turn around the next day and try to do it again. Moscow just couldn't control us and we won the 4th game in 5 sets. It was one of the most exhausting series and final game I have ever played it. After we won I just stood in awe… thinking, “Oh my gosh! We won!!” I could not be happier for my team and management. It was one of our goals for the season and I loved seeing the excitement on everyone's face after winning. This was my 3rd championship won in Russia and I am the 1st foreigner in the Women's league to win back-to-back championships. I thought that was a pretty cool honor, but I’m not done yet! I have signed one more year with Dinamo-Kazan and have one more big goal in mind, which is to win Champions League. I think we will have the team to do it and great management to get us where we need to be.
After winning the final game it was time to get on the plane back to the States. Talk about the best feeling in the world….winning a great match and jumping on a plane back home to see your family after being away for about five months! :) I was all smiles and my husband was along for the ride. It was such a great experience and I’m excited to be able to share it with our future children. I did not have much time to spend at home because it was time to start training with the National team. It is always nice to see everyone at home—even if just for a short time—but it was time to get back to work.
I have been dreaming about this summer my entire life and I can’t believe it’s already here. We have been training hard for the past month and half, gearing up for our first tournament of the season, the World Grand Prix. This year we will be traveling to Dominican Republic, Brazil, Thailand, and the finals will be in China. After Grand Prix they will announce the 12 that will be representing Team USA in the 2012 Olympic Games. Seems strange that I will know within the next month or so whether or not I will be in London for the Olympics. It gives me chills every time I think about it.
Dream Big & Never Settle.
May 14, 2013
Volleyball Canada announces 2013-2014 Canadian Open Volleyball Championships line-up!
by Barbara Mitchell on June 19, 2012
Ottawa – June 18, 2012
The selection of the 2013-2014 Canadian Open Volleyball Championships host cities was not an easy task for Volleyball Canada this time around. With its championships growing every year, the number of cities and hosting groups wanting to be part of these great events also grows with every cycle. For 2013-2014 Volleyball Canada is also adding another Open, going from 4 to 5 events. For the first time in 15 years, the 15U and 16U Canadian West Open will be split into single age group Opens in order to support the continuous growth of these age categories.
Many candidatures were received for the 2013-2014 cycle and Volleyball Canada is proud to announce that it has selected the following groups and cities to host the various 2013-2014 Canadian Opens Volleyball Championships:
· 14U/15U/16U Canadian East Open – Club Envolley – Sherbrooke, QC
· 14U Canadian West Open – Volleyball BC – Abbotsford, BC
· 15U Canadian West Open – Saskatchewan Volleyball Association – Regina, SK
· 16U Canadian West Open – Alberta Volleyball Association – Calgary, AB
· 17U/18U Canadian Open – Volleyball Canada – Edmonton, AB
Please refer to the 2013-2014 calendar of event for more information at www.volleyball.ca
“We are looking forward to working with all of these great groups and cities! We are confident that they will deliver the Canadian Opens at the highest possible level” stated Volleyball Canada’s National Events Coordinator, Mariève Millaire.
Additional information will be added to the Volleyball Canada’s website as it becomes available.
Volleyball Canada annonce les villes hôtes des championnats canadiens 2013 et 2014!
Ottawa , le 18 juin 2012
La sélection des villes hôtes pour les championnats canadiens 2013 et 2014 n’a pas été chose facile cette année. L’ampleur des championnats canadiens augmente à chaque année et, par conséquent, l’intérêt d’accueillir et de vouloir faire partie de tels événements augmente à travers le pays. Pour le cycle 2013-2014, Volleyball Canada accroît également le nombre de canadiens, passant de quatre à cinq événements. Pour la première fois en 15 ans, les championnats canadiens de l’Ouest 15 ans et 16 ans et moins seront séparés afin de supporter la croissance continuelle de ces catégories.
Plusieurs candidatures ont été reçues pour ce cycle. Volleyball Canada est fière d’annoncer les groupes et villes suivantes comme hôtes des divers championnats canadiens 2013 et 2014:
· Championnats canadiens de l’Est - 14ans, 15 ans et 16 ans et moins – Club Envolley – Sherbrooke, QC
· Championnat canadien de l’Ouest - 14 ans et moins – Volleyball BC – Abbotsford, C.-B.
· Championnat canadien de l’Ouest - 15 ans et moins - Saskatchewan Volleyball Association – Régina, SK
· Championnat canadien de l’Ouest - 16 ans et moins - Alberta Volleyball Association – Calgary, AB
· Championnat canadien - 17 ans et 18 ans et moins – Volleyball Canada – Edmonton, AB
Veuillez consulter le calendrier d’événements 2013-2014 pour de plus amples informations.
« Nous sommes heureux de travailler avec tous ces groupes. Nous avons confiance en chacun d’eux et nous sommes convaincus que ceux-ci seront en mesure d’organiser d’excellents championnats canadiens! » d’indiquer la coordonnatrice des championnats canadiens de Volleyball Canada, Mariève Millaire.
De plus amples informations seront ajoutées sur le site Internet de Volleyball Canada au fur et à mesure que les détails seront confirmés.
May 14, 2013
Mizuno Shoe Design: A Brilliant Blend of Art and Science
by Bob "Wish" Wischnia on June 18, 2012
In every footwear company on the planet, the design process is a key element in the shoe-building cycle. That’s a given. But Mizuno takes that process several steps further, by utilizing the expertise of the most experienced footwear designers in the world who lay the foundation of a great running shoe design.
The process is complex, but the goal is a simple one: To blend the science of modern shoe-building with the art of shoe design to produce state-of-the-art running shoes.
To achieve that lofty objective, every Mizuno shoe starts with an exhaustive, multi-national design process that interfuses the expertise of footwear designers at Mizuno world HQ in Osaka, Japan as well as designers in Europe and another small group based in Portland, Oregon. These design groups are tasked with bringing together function-driven design into running products that reflect the DNA of Mizuno.
“Our footwear designers are truly world-class,” says Rod Foley, US Director of Product. “And, I mean that literally. Regardless of which country they are based, our designers live and breathe footwear. They have the passion for innovative design which is tempered with the R&D discipline and creative problem-solving they must have. Our designers are from different backgrounds and cultures, but their designs must reflect our Japanese heritage. That’s essential to the process.”
These essential elements come together at the Mizuno Sozo Design Studio. Situated in a funky southeast Portland neighborhood, surrounded by coffee shops, art galleries and bike stores, the three key designers who are based there--senior designer Greg Newman, associate designer Julie Lucas and long-time master designer Tuan Le--are charged with taking a shoe from its earliest conception and bringing that idea to fruition into a workable design. That process is a lengthy, work-intensive process which takes about two years.
The inception of a Mizuno running shoe begins with Tomoyuki Yonekawa. Tomo is the point person for Global Running Footwear in Osaka and acts as the quarterback between the non-Japanese footwear and design teams scattered around the world.
Tomo works closely Takeshi Takeshita, who heads footwear R&D, to formulate the newest innovations for running shoes. Together, they compile all the pertinent information for a new shoe (including new design elements and treatments) into a single global product brief. Once those ideas are framed and tested, Tomo passes those specific design thoughts to the Portland team which takes it from there.
“What sets Mizuno apart,” says Fritz Taylor, General Manager of Running, “is the incredible science and engineering that’s developed from the team in Japan. That’s what makes all of our running shoes feel and perform as great as they do. Their work means every shoe we make is a significant advancement.”
Adds footwear design veteran Tuan Le about the initial conceptual phase, “Tomo is very passionate about the Mizuno brand and demands the best looking, most functional footwear possible. Tomo gives us his theories and specifies exactly what he wants in a shoe. As designers, it is our job to turn his ideas into workable drawings.”
The Sozo Design Office opened seven years ago and its involvement is integral to the Mizuno shoe-building process. Here, is where the initial ideas of the Osaka team come to life in a new shoe. Once Tomo transmits his shoe brief to the Portland design team, one of the three designers is tasked with sketching out Tomo’s idea for the shoe the old fashioned way—with pencil and paper. Then, those gorgeously detailed drawings are plotted into a computer.
Says Newman, who manages the Portland team, “Japan realized that for our shoes to be truly global, we needed a strong modern Western influence from the European and American markets. What we try to do here is combine the Eastern passion for perfection and innovation with a cool design. Because we are so centrally located, we straddle both East and West and incorporate those influences.”
The primary result of the two cultures is function-driven design. Design simply for the sake of a hot-looking shoe is not the Mizuno way. Form, fit and function are of paramount importance to ensure the final rendition is a true reflection of the Mizuno brand.
“I visit many running stores around the country and I’m always looking to see how our shoes stand out on the wall,” says Taylor who has spent 30 years in the running industry. “Clearly, the primary reason Mizuno shoes stand out on the wall and are special is because they are absolutely purposeful in intent. That’s always been our bottom line.”
That purposefulness of Mizuno shoes is the primary consideration of the Global Footwear Team which is charged with the crucial decision of which shoes will be built and the eventual direction those shoes will take.
The Global Footwear Team, consisting of designers and R&D from Japan as well as the product line directors and managers from Europe, Japan and the United States (Rod Foley is the key American), meets collectively in a different locale (Osaka, Portland, Munich, London are common spots) approximately every two months. During those meetings, the Global Footwear Team will look at various drawings of a particular shoe before selecting the absolute best design which has just the right look and feel the Team is looking for that best reflects the shoe’s purpose and intended usage.
“What the Global Team is always looking for is a well-balanced, great-looking shoe which will be the best performing shoe in its category,” says Newman who has worked for Mizuno in England and the United States for 12 years. “The group bases a lot of its decision on gut instincts, but our group also has years of shoe-building experience to pick the design which will work best.”
Clearly, one of the most debated aspects of any running shoe is its color. The design team makes use of color pallets and boards and also consults with a company which forecasts colors and patterns, but often the color choice simply comes down to intuition, style and taste.
“We look at all the colors and some just stand out as something that is very true to Mizuno,” says Newman. “We spin each men and women’s shoe in at least five color options and the product line managers and directors choose the ones they like the best.”
Once the colors have been chosen and illustrations are finalized, the digital files are sent to the factory where prototypes are made. That triggers the year-long sampling process which goes through at least three stages as the shoe is tweaked and adjusted until a final sample is reached, confirmed and finally produced.
Salesmen samples are usually received about eight months before the shoe hits the streets. That allows time for Mizuno Territory Managers around the country to present the new shoe to retailers who then place future orders.
Once those orders are received back at US headquarters in Norcross, Georgia, Foley makes his projections how the new shoe will sell and then decides how many pairs of each shoe he wants to buy (i.e., bring into the U.S. market). From there, Foley places an order with the factory for how many shoes of each model he wants built for the American market.
Once the shoes are manufactured at one of several factories, they are shipped to the United States. From there, the new running shoes begin shipping to stores about two weeks before the scheduled delivery date.
For example, the new Mizuno running shoe you will be wearing this year, actually first took shape in 2009-2010. The shoes Mizuno designers are working on right now won’t be on your feet until 2014.
Says Tuan Le who has been designing Mizuno running shoes for more than 20 years, “Our shoes are designed to reflect how we feel about running. Our shoes are lighter, more flexible and have the smoothest heel-to-toe transition. Even so, in the future, our shoes will be even closer to the ground and have an even more natural feel.
“Mizuno shoes have never been like the other running brands. Our shoes are designed to look and feel different. We will never be a me-too company, chasing a trend or technology. Innovation and functional designs are what drives us as designers and shoe-builders. That’s the heart of Mizuno running.”