Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Day 30: adidas adistar Cushion 6 Review...

By Frank

30 days is here and as promised, here’s my full blown review of the adidas adistar Cushion 6 (adistarC6). Just a bit of recap here. The adistarC6 is categorized as a Serious Competition and Training shoe which was launched back in February 2007. It is the most technology rich shoe by adidas incorporating some of the well known adidas system such as adiPRENE and FORMOTION. And it comes in a design simple enough for people to like it. Just plain white with some dash of yellow and silverish grey.

The adidas adistar Cushion 6...

The adistarC6 is a cushioning shoe hence it is made for those who supinate (under pronate). Me being a mild pronator should in fact be wearing the motion control version. However, I managed to “transform” the shoe slightly to being a motion control shoe by changing the insoles as the factory version offered almost no support at all, something that didn’t suit me at all.

The adistarC6 is very comfortable. The noseam technology made my feet felt like I’m slipping into a socks rather than a shoe. It was smooth sailing for my feet in it as I felt no irritation caused by stitching. And to make things better, the ventilation is excellent. The shoe’s vamp is built like a string of nets and as I ran, I can feel breeze coming through it hence cooling both my feet. This will be great for runners with sweaty feet.

Front view of the shoe...

Here’s a look on the cushioning system. As with all other adidas shoes, the cushioning system used is the adiPRENE for the heel area and the adiPRENE + for the forefoot area. The theory used here is simple. The cushioning system is to absorb every impact runners experience when the feet hit the ground. And instead of bouncing, the adiPRENE enables the feet to stay on ground thus eliminating multiple impacts. However, the main highlight for this shoe is probably the FORMOTION technology used. As compared to other adidas shoes, the adistarC6 offers 2 FORMOTION plates to act as a suspension that moves around to adapt to the ground upon impact. Both the adiPRENE and FORMOTION worked hand in hand to provide the best cushioning system I felt since I started running a year ago.

The FORMOTION logo on the shoe's tongue...

During the past, adidas shoes were pretty narrow in fit. However today, adidas seems to have realized this problem. The width of their shoes has been improved, and the adistarC6 is one of them. There were sufficient space for my toes to move around and my forefoot felt no pain at all. This is a very important aspect as with every pounding the feet takes, it actually grows larger.

Key notes:
Excellent cushioning.
Excellent comfort and ventilation.
Laces are of sufficient length and are non-slip.
Shoe’s width has been improved.

Being a cushioning shoe and with lots of technology built into it, it is sure heavy. The weight is felt straight away upon slipping both feet into it. It felt very draggy especially when I reach the point of exhaustion. The heel cushioning is very thick too so it felt like that I’m floating a bit on air as I can hardly feel the ground. I personally feel that there isn’t a need for a second FORMOTION plate. It only served to make the shoe heavier. I have an adidas Supernova Cushion 6 and I felt that even on single FORMOTION plate, the cushioning system is already superior.

The thick sole at the heel area...

As with most other adidas shoes, the adiPRENE + used at the forefoot area is for impact absorption and also to provide a more dynamic toe-off. However, as I felt the shoe to be a bit stiff, as in not flexible enough, I couldn’t take advantage of it. With the heavy weight of the shoe and couple with this problem, I felt that I’m being slowed down with every step I make.

And here’s an issue with the shoe’s tongue. It kept moving to the side as I ran. And after 30 days of usage, I still find no solutions to it even though I have tried various lacing methods. It kept moving to the side and after running for a while, I felt really irritated by it. I tried tying the shoe lace tighter and although it did helped a bit, I couldn’t withstand the tightness caused. I didn’t encounter this problem with my other adidas shoes before and am not sure what the reason behind this is.

Key notes:
Weight of shoe is heavy.
Thick heel area.
Not flexible enough.
geoFiT did not “hug” the ankle enough
Shoe’s tongue moving sideways as I run.
Not suitable for runs more than 10KM.

The bottom-line is, I can only say that this shoe is very comfortable to wear suiting only for runs not more than 10KM. I think it should be re-categories as a training shoe instead, unless one has the leg strength to run with it for a longer distance.

Comfort: 8.5/10
Cushioning: 9/10
Design: 8/10
Flexibility: 6/10
Weight: 6.5/10
Overall: 7.6

For more information and pictures, do read some of my day to day feedback I had on the adistarC6 as I train with it for the last 30 days. Day 1, Day 2, Day 8, Day 16, Day 17, Day 23 and Day 28.

And finally before ending this report, I would like thank Krishnan and adidas Malaysia for the opportunity to participate in this shoe seeding program. THANK YOU.

Monday, February 25, 2008

UPM C-DEX Run 2008...

Event: UPM C-DEX Run 2008
Venue: Engineering Faculty, UPM, Selangor
Date: 24 February 2008
Time: 8am
Distance: 5KM
Shoe: Nike Air Max 180+
By Ija

To be frank I've only been training for this run for the past 2 weeks as my eyes were already set on KLIM 10k finishers medal/cert. I consider this race to at least show me where I'm at and keep me motivated for KLIM. I promised myself that it's a race between me and me and a medal would be a bonus. The distance is not daunting but I've never raced in a medium-long distance on 5km flat road before...

It's just another running day. I arrived there around 7:30am, parked at the nearest girls college (around 300m away) before slow jogging to the reporting tent. When I arrived there I realized that I've tercicir my reporting card. I told the girl and she told me that I could run but wont get any medal if I happen to be one of the top 50 finishers. Tough cookie ;). I ran back to my car and found out that I've dropped it when I was embarking out of my car. I ran back cause it's already 7:50 and registered. Woo. Body panas already with all that warm up. I covered 1km dy, man! :lol:

It's 8am and the aerobics was still on. I was like... er.... ok.. when the race supposed to start again? After 15 mins they released the boys. And we were flagged off some 5 mins later. The sun was already up @_@

I started at the back of the pack since I promised myself to pace properly. Most of the runners dont look like they've done long distance before so I know for sure I'll be blocking their way. I zoomed too fast during my previous 2 runs that I got side stitches early. Aiming 7:30min/km for the first 1km (10km practice), I WAS THE LAST PERSON during the first 200m!! wahahahahaha. The feeling of marshal van wanting to run you over is NOT NICE :D. I was so slow, got someone took picture of me :peace:. I upped my pace a bit around 300m and began to tapau people.

I enjoyed the tapauing process ... after 400m, most of the runners started slowing down or walking @_@. I began to pick my race bunny, tapau her, and then pick another race bunny :D. There were some tough ones. After I cut, they potong me back and then slow down and block my way :sweat:. Pacing was nice and good but I felt TOO COMFORTABLE. I increased pacing to 7:00 during the 2nd kilometer after I realize that I already passed the halfway mark and it felts like I was pacing for a 10k race :x I went too slow!

I upped my speed and left the pack. Number of female runners decrease. Distance from one runner to another was kinda far. I just aimed to cut one by one while NOT slowing down. But running on the road (as opposed to the curb) stretches my distance leh. The curb aint level enough and I afraid kena ankle injury again like Subang10k.

During the last 400m, my race bunny was a real fighter. I imagined her being the 50th person to get the medal and began sprinting. SHE SPRINTED TOO!! :sweat: :sweat: We were shoulders-to-shoulders and she tapaued me for a while. At the last few 20m I felt like I could cut her to the narrow ending lane but that will just mean I'll risk ramming into her and I dont think that's even a good sportsmanship. And if she could fight this hard, I think she deserves the medal :)

We got our placing. She 51, me 52. :x :x :x :x. As we queue up to record our details I congratulated her for being a good sport. Both of us laughed when we realized that we were actually fighting for the 51st place :lol:

I kinda regret with the placing cause if I would've been 30seconds faster during the first km I'd gotten myself a nice shiny medal. This is the 2nd time I kena like this, man. During Subang 10k I was the first person being denied a finisher's cert (cut-off time was 1hr:15min, I think they stretched it to 1hr:17min cause the iPod recorded me being 1:17:something) and for this race, I was so close to the medal! I'd kick myself if I kena like this again for KLIM. After the race I didnt feel tired, no lactic acid problem, no train-wreck feeling, no ankle pain, no knee pain. Maybe I was not trying hard enough......

This was my 3rd competitive run after Subang10k & Cardio Run last year. Kudos to organizer - it was a well-organized race albeit the late start.

Placing: 52 of Category B

Goodie bag: 1 x Ajinomoto Nasi Goreng Kampung, 2 x Cloud-9s, 1 x JobStreet handbook, 1 x anagelsic, 1 x Jack&Jill Rollercoaster, 1 x Ovaltine 3-in-1 sachet (so many junk food :lol:)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Day 28: The Star And The Circuit...

Event: KLIM 2008 Circuit Running 2
Venue: Lake Gardens, Kuala Lumpur
Date: 24 February 2008
Time: 7.25am
Distance: 2.8KM per loop (to complete as many loops in 02:15:00)
Shoe: adidas adistar Cushion 6
By Frank

I gave the first circuit a miss as I was not well. But I told myself that I have to get myself running in the second. And even though I have just recovered from a mild flu, I pulled myself together and came for the run this morning.

Armed with my adidas adistar Cushion 6, I arrive at the Lake Gardens pretty early. In fact I was 45 minutes early! Got my running bib and did a bit of warming up. Soon later, runners began to show up. I managed to meet up with Ronnie, Chen, Kelvin and Steven before the run started at 7.25am, 25 minutes late! And just before the run started, all the runners were informed that the route has been changed and the distance has been increased by at least 500M! Well, I expected it as I knew that the original route were sealed off due to some renovation being done as I ran a few days ago. So to no suprise, the new route consists of the uphills and downhills of the Carcosa area!

I started my run at a slower pace as I know I'm not really fit after a few days of illness. But after completing 1KM, my fitness level started to kick in and away I went resuming my normal race pace. At the second loop, I started to pace with Geraldine. She was overtaking me at the downhill sections but I managed to overtake her back at the uphill sections. Haha... It was only at loop 4 when I stepped on an uneven surface without me knowing causing me to lose my momentum. And it was here that Geraldine overtook me and took off like a rocket. Then, it was at the end of the loop 6 when I was exiting the Carcosa area when suddenly my right feet gave way and slip to the side. I was lucky no damage was done but that costs me my speed. I did another loop and completed the circuit run at 01:58:59 covering 18.94KM, equivalent to 7 loops.

So, here's a look on the adidas adistar Cushion 6. The shoe performed pretty well at the first 10KM of the run when I was still fresh. But as I grew tired, the weight of the shoe again gave me problems. I had to drag the shoe along as I ran. However, on the positive side, the shoe gave me superior grip when I was running both uphills and downhills. The only slip up was at the Carcosa exit at the end of loop 6 I mentioned earlier. Not sure what happen but the shoe just slid sideways. But anyway, I guess this shoe for me is only meant for runs not exceeding 10KM. Anything more, I'm going to struggle.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Day 23: The Star Meets The Acti-Fit...

By Frank

Time passes and I'm into the final week of the adidas shoe seeding program. So far, the adidas adistar Cushion 6 has work pretty well for my training. Other than that, I have not use it for any races. But anyway, today I am to compare the factory insoles with my training insoles. Meet the Acti-Fit A+.

When I first met Krishnan on Day 1, I was curious on why did he choose a cushioning shoe for me after showing him my foot scan results. I did ask him and his reply was "It's OK". Hmm... It really caught me by suprise as I'm a mild pronator. I expected him to choose a motion control shoe for me instead but he did not. But still anyhow, I followed his advise as he is the shoe expert.

The factory insole (yellow) meets the Acti-Fit A+ insole (red)...

The factory insole (top) is almost flat while the Acti-Fit A+ provides arch support (bottom)...

So after 23 days, I finally put in my Acti-Fit A+ insoles into the shoe. First feeling was, the shoe fitted better and finally there's a support on my arch. The factory insoles are actually pretty flat and it offers almost no support at all. With my Acti-Fit A+, I ran better especially during hill climbs. The heel area of the insoles is made of Poron, a material to absorb shock thus improving an already great cushioning system by the adiPRENE.

The Acti-Fit A+ fitting nicely in the adidas adistar Cushion 6...

So with the Acti-Fit A+, I've turned the adidas adistar Cushion 6 into a motion control shoe, well almost. I will say this shoe will suit a supinator otherwise known as a under-pronator more due to it's cushioning nature. I'm lucky that I didn't experience any pain with this shoe. But anyway, 7 more days to go to test the shoe.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Carbohydrate Loading...

Extracted and modified from Asia Runner.

Glycogen is a stored form of energy found in both liver and muscles. During intense aerobic exercise like running, it is the primary source of energy used. As exercises is prolonged, glycogen is depleted. Therefore, energy production is limited and athletes will experience fatigue and muscle sore. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as "hitting the wall", amongst marathon runners.

Carbohydrate loading is one way that endurance athletes combat his problem. This packing of muscle glycogen by manipulating the daily intake of carbohydrate, leads to an even greater increase in muscle glycogen than a normal high carbohydrate diet. The original theory was that, if the body's glycogen stores were depleted, it would store more glycogen than normal when carbohydrate intake returned to normal.

The classic loading procedure is a seven day period leading to the competition day. On day one, the athlete will deplete muscle glycogen levels with a long tiring exercise session such as a 20KM run. A low carbohydrate diet (60g-100g/day) is then consumed for the next three days to further depletes glycogen stores. The athlete should continue with moderate training during these days of low carbohydrate intake. For the last three days leading up to competition day, the athlete consumes a high carbohydrate diet (400g-600g/day). It is important that this high level of carbohyrate intake is taken up to the time of the competition, including pre-event meal to ensure maximum results. Adequate protein, vitamins, mineral and plentiful supply of water must be taken too.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Day 17: A Speeding Star...

By Frank

Earlier in the evening, I joined Ronnie and Geraldine for some speedwork training at Lake Gardens. Instead of using my usual shoes, I decided to give the adidas adistar Cushion 6 a try.

The speedwork that Ronnie introduce is pretty similiar to the one that I have previously practiced, only that his distance is further. We did a 300M sprint maintaining our heart rate between 80% to 85%. We sprinted from one end to the other and the best part is, there was a gradient of at least 4% to 5% halfway through the distance. Upon reaching the target point, we slow jog back to the starting point, where this is considered the recovery phase. No rest is allowed in between as we are not allowed our heart rate to drop to low. And also, we wouldn't want to risk cardiac arrhythmia. We did a set of 12 and for the first 6 sets, I managed to complete each set with an average time of 66 seconds. The last 6 sets I managed an average time of 75 seconds. As torturing as it is, this training has the advantage of helping in strengthening our heart and also leg muscles as there is gradient involve.

So how did the shoe perform? As usual the cushioning was great. No pain was felt after 12 sets of torture. As for the weight, I could bear with it during the early sets but as my energy level depletes at the later sets, the shoe pulled both my feet down. It was so draggy that I couldn't lift my feet high enough to avoid rubbing the sole with the tarmac. Therefore as expected, this shoe isn't for fast runners. In fact, I knew it all along but I just wanted to put the shoe to the test. As some people might believe, when we train in a heavier shoe and then going for races in a lighter race shoe, we can run faster. Just a theory but it's up to you to believe. But anyhow, it was a comfortable run with the adidas adistar Cushion 6.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Day 16: The Star And The Nova...

By Frank

It's been 16 days since I had the adidas adistar Cushion 6 (refered to as adistarC6). The testing has been going pretty well although certain things are still too early to tell. However, this entry today isn't about any test feedback I had on the shoe. It's actually a head-to-head comparison with my adidas Supernova Cushion 6 (refered to as SupernovaC6) which I just decided to retire it from the race scene.

From left, the adistarC6 and the SupernovaC6...

Having done more than 400KMs since they day I got them at 9 February 2007, I guess it's time I retire my SupernovaC6 from the race scene with one final and special event, the KL Tower Towerthon 2008. It was a wonderful shoe which I used for my first running event, the KL International Marathon 2007 doing a full marathon. Of more than 400KMs, the only problem I had with it is for a distance of the half marathon at the Penang Bridge Marathon 2007 where I was hit by a plantar problem at both my feet at a very early stage of the race. Other than that, no other problems what so ever. However, after retirement, I'm still going to use the shoe for training purposes as there is still "life" left to it.

After more than 400KMs, there is still "life" for the Supernova C6...

So here's 5 comparisons I made with the 2 shoes.

Design and structure: Both shoes were designed almost pretty equally. They were after all launched at about the same time back in early 2007. As for the structure, it's pretty too early to judge the adistarC6 now though it does looks pretty "heavy duty". The SupernovaC6 has done more than 400KMs till today and I assume it can hit at least 600KM! Therefore, this segment is a fair draw.

Comfort: The adistarC6 wider design gave my toes more room to move around compared to the narrower SupernovaC6. However, problems with the adistarC6's tongue moving to the side prompt me for some solutions on the laces as mentioned in my Day 8 report.

Cushioning: The adistarC6 wins hands down on this segment. Not to say the SupernovaC6 isn't good, but it's just that the adistarC6 is better. The implementation of a second FORMOTION plate does makes a huge difference. It worked so well with the adiPRENE and adiPRENE + that it actually adapts to the ground more effectively.

The extra FORMOTION plate for the adistarC6 (bottom)...

Ventilation: Both shoes are well ventilated as both are using the seamless air mesh. However, I felt the adistarC6 to be slightly better in this segment. Maybe the tiny holes at the front side of the soles did help.

Weight: The adistarC6 is certainly a heavy shoe with all the technologies implemented in it. It's after all, a very good cushioning shoe. However, not everyone is suitable for it as some will find it too draggy. Therefore, the SupernovaC6 which is lighter takes the crown for this segment for it's ideal weight.

Well... There you have it. Just some basic comparisons. The adistarC6 will win hands down if not for it's weight. I understand t's a cushioning shoe but I felt that the shoe can be somehow lighten. Maybe the next edition will improve on it. But anyway, it's still pretty early to judge the adistarC6 now. And after all, after a year of more than 400KMs, the SupernovaC6 has proven itself as an effective shoe for me. Therefore a big THANK YOU to my first running shoe.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Day 8: The Star And The Lake...

By Frank

After a successful KL Tower Towerthon yesterday, I was invited by Ronnie from Der_Pacemakers to join them for a training run today at Lake Gardens. Initially, I was too busy with the Chinese New Year preparation that I had to decline his offer. But after serious consideration, I find that his offer is just too tempting. I quickly finish what I could at home and contacted Ronnie to inform him that I will be joining them. And in the evening, off I went to Lake Gardens bringing along my adidas adistar Cushion 6.

I met up with Ronnie, Lai Fong San, Kenny and Geraldine, and at 6.15pm, off we went. The run was a mixture of flats, up and downhills, good for speedworks and strengthening the leg. And, we are offered with some pretty good scenery of Lake Gardens and its surroundings. Overall, it was a good run and I did 11.15KM, clocking 01:27:28.

But how did the adidas adistar Cushion 6 performed? As with the previous report at Day 2, I had trouble with the tongue. Therefore today, I tied the laces a bit tighter than usual to prevent the tongue from moving around and it worked. However, it was a bit uncomfortable as it was just tight! I guess I need to find another way to tie the laces. As for the shoe's weight, I think I'm getting a bit more used to it now although it's still heavy! However, there was not much drag this time as it is day 8 afterall. My legs are slowly adjusting to it, I guess.

The impressive part was the cushioning. The adiPRENE, adiPRENE + and FORMOTION was working so well that I felt no pain on both my legs even after a stressful towerthon yesterday. I guess this shoe will be suitable for long distance runs if you are comfortable with the weight as it is really leg friendly. And my feet was so comfortable in the shoe with sufficient moving space. And not to mention the ventilation of the shoe. My feet were kept cool most of the time thanks to some tiny holes at the soles of the shoe.

The ventilation holes at the sole...

Overall, the shoe is getting better and better. I just hope my legs will be able to accomodate to the shoe's weight after a few more runs with it. And also, need to find a way to settle the tongue issue.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

KL Tower International Forest Towerthon Challenge 2008...

Event: KL Tower International Forest Towerthon Challenge 2008
Venue: KL Tower, Kuala Lumpur
Date: 3 February 2008
Time: 8am
Distance: 1KM uphill run, 1.02KM (2,058 stairs climb)
Shoe: adidas Supernova Cushion 6
By Frank

The bunting says it all, Towerthon...

This morning sees a different kind of running event for me and Andy. The KL Tower Towerthon as what most people calls it, sees a 1KM uphill climb followed by the tower ascent through the tower shaft which consist of 22 levels which makes up of 2,058 stairs equivalent to 1.02KM.

The fifth tallest telecommunication tower in the world, KL Tower...

The starting venue was at an empty piece of land just slightly below the entrance to the hill area. It was in a mess! It was full of rocks and mud thanks to the rain yesterday night. And what makes it worst is the small little hill at the starting point is unevenly cemented which is pretty hazardous. Runners were release in a staggered manner every 15 minutes where each group consist of 200 runners. 20 minutes before the start, rain drops were felt and it kept coming. But it was pretty nice as it was really cooling and it wasn't really heavy.

At the starting line...

And at 8am, the first batch of runners where I was in was flagged off. Upon reaching the main gate, it was a steep uphill climb. I pushed and pushed and my heart rate hit 94% here! Halfway through, I was already exhausted. But the rain helped rejuvenate me a bit and by the time I hit the stairs, some energy came back into me. The stair case area was very tight and narrow and overtaking is almost impossible unless the person in front takes a rest. And also, the view is all cement, cement and more cement with the salty smell coming from the sweaty runners. As I was just through one quarter of the tower ascent, I can feel my heart beating real fast. Slowed down and started to breath deeply before I went for it again. It did helped and I started overtaking runners through gaps I found between slower runners and the wall. Motivational posters were put up at most floors consisting of phrases from famous sports people. And when I hit the 16 floor and saw the poster saying that there is 6 more floors to go, I started pushing again and counting down at the same time. But then after climbing for 4 floors, I was greeted by another poster saying another 4 more floors to go. I was shocked and my legs went wobbly when I saw that. But then, I know I'm almost there, so no point complaining. And as I reached the top and crossed the finish line, I felt relieve that it is over as I was kind of worried about my heart rate. I clocked 00:22:09. Felt a bit disappointed as I was initially targeting sub 20 minutes. But guess it's ok as I was rewarded with a magnificient view of Kuala Lumpur and it's surrounding areas from the fifth tallest communicaton tower in the world.

Frank with the magnificient view from 276m high up in the sky...

Stayed a while there snapping some pictures of the great view while waiting for Andy to arrive before we made our way down to collect our goodie bag and finisher's medal. And I really have to comment on the goodie bag. Although it consist of some pretty good stuff (considering this is a RM20 event), why did they put sanitary napkins in it? If they were to put, at least differentiate between the male and female runners. Weird...

The finisher's medal...

The goodie bag...

Anyway, although far from perfect, I totally enjoyed this event. And with the Chinese New Year celebration just around the corner, here's wishing everyone a HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR!