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hoka challenger atr 3
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Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3 Review and Coupon!

July 6, 2017 • By
*** Disclaimer: I received these shoes free of charge as part of my partnership with JackRabbit. My opinions and review are all mine and are not influenced by JackRabbit or HokaOneOne in any manner. ***
 My first pair of trail shoes were ready to retire after a year of use. So when it came time to get a new pair I knew I wanted to try Hokas. I had heard many good things about them from my run club friends and with 4 other pairs of Hokas, I figured they would likely work as well on the dirt as my other Hokas have performed for me on the road. So I was excited that my fifth pair of Hoka One One shoes were the all terrain Hoka Challenger ATR 3s! I say all terrain because they aren’t JUST for trails. They are multiuse – road, trails, track … you name it. I’ve run just shy of 50 miles in them and I am so grateful to my Jack Rabbit peeps for hooking me up with them so I could test them out and share my opinion of them with you all!
hoka in boxFor those of you familiar with Hoka One One, if you like the Clifton 3 (on sale now), keep reading because these shoes have many similarities (see my reviews on those here: Hoka Clifton 3 released and Hoka Clifton 3 fit)!
 
SHOE STATS
Weight: women’s 7.9 oz (size 7) men’s 9.5 oz (size 9)
Stack height: women heel 28 mm, forefoot 23 mm
Stack height: men heel 29 mm, forefoot 24 mm
Heel drop 5 mm
Widths available: regular
Sizes women’s 6-11, men’s 8-14

Various colors to choose from (Mine are Persian Jewel/Green Glow)

SIZE AND FIT:

This is a “neutral” running shoe best for ALL terrain, meaning it works well on any surface!!! This means it is kind of a hybrid of sorts. Definitely great bang for your buck if it works for your foot. As an overpronator, this type of shoe only works for me with my custom orthotics that help control my excessive pronation. It is not meant as a stability shoe or motion control shoe. It runs true to size. I’m an 8.5 in all other running shoes and other Hokas and an 8.5 in this pair, too.

UPPER:
This version of the Challenger features a thick but not heavy mesh overlay with nice ventilation thanks to the 3D Puff Print Overlays. I have been running in them in 90+ degrees and high humidity and they do not retain odor or sweat! These seem to have a slightly wider toe box than the Clifton 3s but not as wide as the Arahi.

MIDSOLE:
The Challenger ATR 3 features the signature Hoka EVA midsole for maximum cushioning throughout the shoe. I’m only 50 miles in but as with my other Hokas, I don’t doubt that this EVA midsole will help still give that cushion-y feel when I’m 500 miles in, as well!
OUTSOLE:
The outsoles feature 4 mm lugs (those used to Hoka will be accustomed to the feeling) that deliver better than average traction. On the trail, they provide a great sense of security similar to a hiking boot but without the bulk or stiffness. The Challenger ATR 3 heel has nice wide outsole with great heel grip.
hoka sole
RIDE:
Those familiar to Hoka know about the metastage rocker technology. This cushion-y feel is one you either love or hate. I personally love it because I’m injury prone and need the extra relief on my joints. Know that in this shoe, it’s there, as well, but like other Hokas it provides a super soft cushioned feeling but not heavy feel. The shoe is still very lightweight and when wearing it you want to run fast (even on the trail)!
hoka runner
CONCLUSIONS:

This shoe is awesome in that it is good on many surfaces. It’s great that you can take it to and from the trail via the road (I often have to run a mile to my trails on roads) and also an awesome shoe for travel. You can do a road race one day and take them to the trails the next! But it isn’t for everyone. If you overpronate (and don’t have orthotics), have wide mid and/or forefeet or large bunions or bunionettes, these may not be the right shoes for you. I do have bunions but they haven’t been irritated in a while and to me, the toebox is wide enough. I also only ran in these on sandy, rocky and dirt trails; I didn’t run in mud so can’t say for sure how they perform on slippery surfaces. But a twofer shoe for $130 with free shipping (if your foot fits in the neutral, cushion loving, lightweight, smooth ride category)??? How can you beat that? Oh wait, you can! Because I have a coupon for you! Click here for your $20 off $120 coupon at JackRabbit! That would make the Challenger ATR 3s even cheaper, and that my friends, is hard to beat!

hoka challenger 3

I hope you’ll check them out! Let me know what you think! Happy running and happy shopping!!!

XOXO,

Jess

Jess Runs Blessed Logo

 

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Adidas Ultraboost ST Review

March 28, 2017 • By

*** Disclaimer: I received these shoes free of charge as part of my partnership with JackRabbit. My opinions and review are all mine and are not influenced by JackRabbit or Adidas in any manner. ***

If you’re thinking, I don’t overpronate, I shouldn’t read this … keep reading. Because in a nutshell I really think these are cushioned neutrals with some stability features but not the typical rigidity or pronation control. I was pretty excited to try the  out. I’d heard about their luxury reputation but given that I didn’t have success with the Ultraboost (not ST) in the past, I hadn’t bit the bullet on these for fear I’d have some of the same problems. I’m getting resigned to the fact that I either need stability shoes or need orthotics/inserts in my neutrals (as I’ve mentioned before). My podiatrist told me the other day I’m like an old Toyota with 200,000 miles on her whose never gotten her tires rotated (speaking of my feet). Damn, I miss my days as a new Prius.READ MORE


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Hoka One One Arahi Shoe Review

March 8, 2017 • By

*** Disclaimer: I received these shoes free of charge as part of my partnership with JackRabbit. My opinions and review are all mine and are not influenced by JackRabbit or Hoka One One in any manner. ***

Have you ever wondered, am I wearing the right shoes? I, a seasoned runner for 20+ years wonder that at times, too. I know a lot about injury and feet because I feel like I’ve had it all but when it comes to shoes and what works for me, it’s often like Cinderella’s glass slipper trying to find the perfect fit.

With running shoes there are so many terms and types, too. Consider how much you run, where you mostly run and how you run. How you run means how your foot strikes when it hits the ground during your natural gait. There are neutral, motion control, stability, trail shoes and racers, and some people even break them down even more. Hoka One One is a brand for all runners, from joggers to elite athletes looking to improve their performance. Hoka just released their lightest shoe within the maximum support category, the Hoka One One Arahi. It’s technically a stability shoe so some people may think “it’s not for me.” READ MORE


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Athletes Collective Men’s Athleticwear Review and Coupon

February 3, 2017 • By

Disclaimer: Jessrunsblessed (my husband) was given free product in exchange for writing this product review. All opinions are my own and are not subject to approval from the AthletesCollective.

My closet and drawers are lined with Lululemon, Athleta, Pheel, and premium women’s active wear. You’ll rarely see me recycle an outfit in the same month. Fashion met function for me in running and working out long ago.

But my husband? If it weren’t for the Lululemon menswear purchases I’ve made for him (many of which I’ve received lectures on because of my spending), he would be in the same knit gym shorts he wore when I met him and hole filled tshirts from high school. His reasoning is that since he hasn’t changed sizes he doesn’t need anything new.READ MORE


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The Mental Game with Jennifer from JBirdRuns

December 13, 2016 • By

I’ve struggled the last few years with my races. Even when I haven’t been injured, if I’ve trained well I feel like I’ve either peaked in training or the mental game has gotten to me.  I know I’m not alone.  And I don’t feel right writing about the topic considering my mental game hasn’t been where it should be in quite some time. But my amazing friend Jennifer from JBirdRuns is someone who knows a thing or two about the mental game in running. I don’t want to tell her story for her so I’ll let her take over, but I wanted to welcome her to the blog today and thank her for the contribution! 

First off, I’d like to say a huge THANK YOU to Jess for having me guest post on her blog. She is someone I have admired for a long time from afar, and it is so wonderful to be able to count her amount my social media running friends! Jess asked me to post about the mental game in my marathon journey, so I am going to jump right in!

My first marathon was the California International Marathon on December 6th, 2015. As I toed the line with the 3:30 pace group that morning, everyone stood in a circle, introducing him or herself.   Each person stated how many marathons he or she’d run, what number BQ (Boston Qualifying) attempt this was. It dawned on me (for about the thousandth time), that I was probably in way over my head. What was I thinking, going for a 5-minute cushion on a Boston Qualifying time in my FIRST marathon? Why did I have to put that pressure on myself? Why couldn’t I just enjoy the experience?   I squeaked out that this was my first marathon and I was hoping for a BQ with a 5 minute cushion, but then quickly rushed to say I knew that was a lofty goal. The circle got a lot of round eyes and the pacer, bless his heart, agreeably said he was sure I could do it.

I gave myself a mental shake at that point. I picked the 3:30 goal time because that is what I had trained for. It was the time that seemed reasonable considering the paces I was running during training. I told myself to STOP IT.

My mental strength in the marathon all comes from my training. One of the things that I love about running so much is that you just cannot fake it. If you did the work, you will have the fitness, you will be up to the task. Of course, there are things that happen – injuries, GI distress; sometimes you just have a bad race day. That said, if you ran 20 miles at X pace, you put in the miles, time on your feet, and effort – no one can take that away from you. Not even a bad race day. You have already won by getting to the start line.

And that was exactly what I told myself that morning. I told those bad thoughts NO. NO, you will not take this away from me. NO, I trained for this. NO, I can do this. NO, you are wrong, I am right, and this race is MINE.

I have a lot of experience with nerves from showing horses. If you get nervous, your horse will pick up on that, and it will make them nervous as well. You have to present a calm, confident leader to them. Horses are a pack animal, and they are usually happy to follow you if you confidently show them the way. Same thing goes when I am taking my dog into the hospital as a therapy dog to visit sick patients. He needs to know that I have a plan and I’m going to take care of him. He is much more likely to roll with the punches and stay calm and paying attention to me that way.

I carry over a lot of the mental game to running. Keep it transactional. Create a successful environment for yourself. What are the steps you need to take in that moment? Give yourself small, manageable goals to hit as you prep race weekend. Arrive, check in, lay out your gear, take a perfect Instagram photo with your race bib – haha! As you achieve each one of those tasks, you are successful.

A routine is helpful, but try not to be too rigid about it. I don’t believe in lucky talismans, because I don’t want to feel dependent on them. If I pick out the same outfit that I wore in a good race, I will purposefully change it just to keep myself from thinking of it as lucky. If I wear an outfit and have a really bad race, I will wear it again right away. Objects do not create luck, you do.

Back to the CIM, as we headed into the last 10k of the race, I started feeling pain like I never had before. My body was shutting down and it scared me. That is something I am still working on embracing. Obviously, it is going to hurt every time. The faster we get, it might even hurt more. The trick is to learn to accept that feeling and move forward. Don’t let the pain distract you from your plan. What is your job in that moment?

I also know that all of this takes practice! I am not perfect at the mental game of the marathon and I don’t expect to have it perfected, ever. The physical challenge is a wonderful thing, but I think the mental challenge is what keeps us coming back.

A couple of great books that I have learned from:

Mind Gym: An Athlete’s Guide to Inner Excellence – Gary Mack & David Cassteven

How Bad Do You Want It? – Matt Fitzgerald

The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg

Thank you for reading along today!  You can find me on my blog, Instagram and Twitter.  This year, I will be training for and racing (hopefully!) Boston and Chicago, along with some half marathons and other distances.  I hope to get to know you all better and hear about your running journey!

Jennifer is an avid runner since college, a dog lover, blogger, and clearly a natural talent to the sport.  She is passionate about healthy eating, horses, family and life. When she’s not running, she’s likely talking about running or running out of peanut butter.