Friday, June 8, 2012

Merrell Barefoot Run Pace Glove Review

I've been running in minimalist shoes since I started the couch-to-5k last February (so almost a year and a half), and though I've run a fair bit in my Vibram Five Fingers Sprints, most of my running has been done in my Merrell Barefoot Run Pace Gloves.  I'm actually on my second pair because the rubber vibram sole of the first pair was worn down.  I expect this is because I was mostly running on asphalt and the shoe is designed to be a trail shoe.  Though I love it for trails, I just tend to run more on asphalt.  Obviously I like them, or I wouldn't have bought a second pair, I thought I'd put out my review for other people who might be considering them.  I actually haven't been running in them as much lately because recently I bought Merrell's Barefoot Run Dash Glove, which is actually made as a road shoe.  I plan to review them once I've put a few more miles on them.

Overall, these are very comfortable.  I like wearing them with thin socks, because then I don't have to wash them so frequently, but it's not necessary.  The inside is pretty much smooth and comfortable, but then, I haven't been in a long run with them without socks, so take that with a grain of salt.

I do recommend buying a half size up.  I find they seem to shrink/form to my foot.  It's nice in terms of getting a foot-hugging experience, but my first pair I had to trade out for a bigger pair because  they were starting to become too tight.  I should say, though, that it may be because I started out running in them when I started barefoot running and my feet have overall grown a bit from gaining muscle.  My second pair started out feeling HUGE and seem to have become much more form fitting, though.

  • compared to VFFs, you're looking at a much more conventional looking shoe - you can wear whatever cheapo socks you already have and don't have to spend money getting uber expensive thin toe socks
  • very comfy
  • good grip in mud
  • easier to fit than VFFs, and you can find it locally (my local Dick's Sporting Goods carries it), thus you can try it on and make sure it's the one you want.  I do live in kind of a small area, though, so it's not so easy to find Vibrams around here.
  • If you have weird shaped toes (that wouldn't fit in a VFF toe shoe well) you can still wear them.
  • Easy to wash and because I can wear them with socks they don't get as stinky as my VFFs 
  • There's not much fabric or padding to them so they dry really fast... great if you're doing, say, a mud run.

  • I'm wearing out the sole running on asphalt.  I guess this is normal, but it happened sooner than I expected.
  • the laces don't come up as far as other shoes might so if you have very small heels/ankles or you are running in thick/deep mud you  may have some sliding-out problems
  • Weird elastic on the rear of the collar - seems like almost all of their women's barefoot shoes have them.  I was skeptical of this at first, but it turns out it's not a big deal at all - the elastic is fairly stiff so it really just moves with you a little better.  I'm not sure I feel this is a con anymore, but I thought I should address it.  Maybe I should have labeled this section "quirks"
  • the toe is coming slightly unglued, but it's not bad, so far.  
  • Another quirk is that when you first put them on, you kind of feel like your toes are hanging out over nothing.  Almost like they're hanging over a ledge or something.  It's a very weird feeling and I was a little worried about how that would be while running when I first tried them on, but it was not noticeable at all once running.  Over time the little bit of padding they do have wears down (or possibly I just got used to the feeling) and I'm not sure this ledge is even there anymore.
  • These shoes have a lot more to them than vibrams.  If you're new to barefoot/minimalist running, definitely try it completely SHOELESS a few times to make sure you have a reasonable stride before running in these shoes.  It's a little bit shocking, the difference between completely bare and these shoes.  Still very minimalist, zero drop, you can curl them right up in a spiral, but NOT barefoot.

 Overall, I obviously like them a lot.  I definitely would buy them again, but I think I'm going to use them mostly for trails from now on.  If you run mostly on asphalt, this shoe may not be for you.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New recipe I'm working on...

Grain-free pop-overs.  The first go round was great on crust, but the inside was not perfect, so I have more baking to do, but here's a teaser.  (ignore the awful backsplash, we just moved to a new place and it's kind of a fixer upper!)

**** EDITED TO ADD*****

Well, since it's taking FOREVER for me to tinker more, and it seems like every time I think I'll have time it's 100 degrees in my house so I don't want the oven on, I figured I'd post the recipe so far.  I'll adjust it more when I get time, and post again.  So anyway, here it is!

Grain-free Popovers:
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 c mozzarella cheese
2 c tapioca flour
3T olive oil (I'm thinking this should be one or two tablespoons, but I haven't had a chance to try it yet)
1/2 t salt

Put mozzarella in a food processor and process until it's fairly finely chopped.  Add eggs, milk, olive oil and salt.  Process again.  Add tapioca flour in small portions and mix until thoroughly blended.  I then baked them at 425 for 10 min and then dropped the temperature to 350 for 40 minutes, but I was thinking it might be better to drop it to 325 for a bit longer... but the lower amount of oil might take care of this problem on it's own.  So there it is!  Please let me know how that went, if you try it!

DIY Montessori Globe

Last week was my kids' last week of school at their tiny montessori school.  We can't afford next year's tuition for my kids, so I am officially starting homeschooling now.  I'd like to keep within the montessori style mostly because I LOVE the montessori math curriculum.  It's just so brilliant!  Also because my kids are just sort of used to that style now.  I'm not married to the rest of the curriculum, though I do like it.

Anyway, I was scouting out Michaels' looking for ideas for things and came across this globe:

It's just a small (maybe 5 inch diameter or so?),  presumably paper-on-cardboard globe that has just light brown for the land parts, though it has some darker and lighter areas to show the mountains and such, as well as the names of the various countries and borders drawn in black.  The kids saw it immediately and were all excited to have their own globe at home, and my immediate thought was "hey, I could make this all sorts of montessori!"... and it cost me all of $1.

This project was super easy.  All you need is permanent markers in the appropriate colors and then carefully color in each continent. I think if you didn't want to see all the borders and country names, you could probably use paint pens, but they're much more expensive and I sort of like being able to see what's underneath.  I already had the sharpie markers in the right colors, too, so that was lucky.

Colors you need:
Europe -  red
Asia -  yellow
Africa -  green
N. America -  orange
S. America - pink
Australia - brown

Antarctica did not need to be colored because it was pretty much white to begin with.