In Which Brooks Ravenna Sneakers… Are Launches Now?!

I wrote a blog post a week or two ago. I was going to post it today, and it was going to go like this:

There are many reasons the Brooks Ravenna is my GOAT shoe, but none of them would be any help to me if they weren’t so darned consistent. My first Ravennas were model #4, and I have used every version since up to the current #11. Every version has been a winner.

But that doesn’t mean that there haven’t been any changes from iteration to iteration. In fact, I noticed a pretty obvious change between my old #10s and new #11s. Can you spot it?

Brooks Ravennas

Brooks sorts their running shoes into four categories, or “experiences” as they call them: cushion, trail, energize, and speed. For as long as I can remember, and per the insole, the Ravenna has been an “energize” shoe, defined by “springy and responsive cushioning.” But the #11s are now “speed” shoes, designed “for race day performance”! 

I’m still digging my pair, but I was curious as to why the Ravenna shifted categories. Naturally I asked Brooks Running’s Twitter account, and they delivered!

Brooks tweet
Brooks tweet

END OF ORIGINAL BLOG POST

Why? BECAUSE IT’S NO LONGER RELEVANT.

Why? BECAUSE BROOKS HAS ELIMINATED THEIR STABILITY LINE AND THERE ARE NO RAVENNAS ANYMORE.

WHAT.

All I did was try and go back and double-check the product page to make sure I hadn’t missed something obvious about the switch, only I discovered there IS NO RAVENNA PRODUCT PAGE ANYMORE.

Apparently what they’ve done is paired all their old stability shoes with their neutral lines, and you can get those shoes now either with or without stability guiderails. The Brooks Ravenna is now the Brooks Launch GTS.

REPEAT: THERE ARE NO MORE BROOKS RAVENNAS. Perhaps you think this is an awful lot of capital letters for such an announcement. But THERE ARE NO MORE BROOKS RAVENNAS. No more of the Brooks Ravennas I’ve been using since 2013. Somebody hold me. I’m scared!

I went back to Brooks for comfort:

No more Ravenna

(By the way, whoever runs their Twitter account is 100% on point. They almost always reply when tagged.)

I mean, obviously I’m going to try the Launch GTS. Who knows; maybe I’ll love it just as much and it’ll be okay. But in the meantime, I have two more brand spankin’ new pairs of Ravennas in my arsenal, plus a pair with less than 100 miles on it in the current rotation. I shouldn’t need a new pair for a year or so. Although they are $10 cheaper now, so that’s something I guess.

Thus I shall make the most of what time the Ravennas and I have left together. I hear it’s better to have loved and lost than never have loved at all, so… WE’LL SEE ABOUT THAT.

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Plays Fast & Loose With Shoe Sizes

Running shoes

I’ve been a loyal user of Brooks Ravenna running shoes for around eight years now, but I like to sprinkle in other models into my routine just to give it a try. For a brief period I was running in Nike Air Zoom Vomero 10s, which I liked a lot, but when Nike released the 11s I fell out of love.

Still, the Vomeros have hovered in the back of my mind – those 10s just fit so beautifully. Sometimes I wonder – what about the newer versions? Would they feel good again? They’re on the 14s now, so I looked up some reviews. 

The Vomero 14 seems to garner mixed opinions, so for now I think I’ll hang tight and see how the 15s fare. But I did notice something interesting in the Runner’s World review: “The tongue stops at the top of the collar, so too-tight laces can cause irritation at the front of the ankle. If you tend to wear your running shoes tight, try a slightly looser fit with the Air Zoom Vomero 14 and let the new fit system do its job.”

This concept intrigued me – the idea of purposefully going up a size in running shoes. I mean, most of us wear a larger size in our sneakers anyway, since the foot needs more room to expand during our physical exertions. Indeed, a shoe fitter once told me that soccer players and dancers tend to wear their street shoes tight anyway, and as a member of the latter category I found that interesting. I was already going up a size from street shoe to running shoe, but what if I added an extra half size on top of that, for insurance?

So I did just that. My next pair of Ravennas I ordered in an 8.5 instead of my accustomed 8. I have a pair of size 8s that’s still in my training rotation, and they fit fine, but I wanted to see if that extra bit of room felt good or just floppy. Sometimes my toes get sore after a long run, and while I’ve never felt like my toes were bonking against the shoe, I thought some extra space might help.

Running shoes

And the verdict is: it feels good! I find I enjoy having extra room to spread my toes. I don’t feel insecure in the fit at all – no slipping or sliding. After all, a half size isn’t that much bigger, and there are other elements of shoe design that help keep the fit secure. I ran a 16 miler last week, and I haven’t noticed any toe soreness, either.

In short, I’m calling this experiment a success, and intend to continue buying a half size up in the Ravenna for the foreseeable future. I’m no fit professional, but if you’re having a bit of trouble with your shoes and you’re not sure what the problem is, maybe try a half size up and see how you fare. It might just be extra space you’re looking for!

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Takes The Cinderella Approach To Running

Last week I got a hot tip from one of my runDisney Facebook groups – the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon store was selling their themed tie-dye Launch 5s for $25!

Now a) I’ve never used the Launch and b) I’m not running a Rock ‘n Roll race this year (I did once and it was not my favorite). But for $25 bucks plus a five spot in shipping I was certainly willing to give it a shot.

They came yesterday and I was surprised how much they cheered me up. I mean, obviously as a runner and a girl-type girl I’m always gonna be jazzed to try a new pair of shoes. But the tie-dye just made me feel happy and excited to try them out on a run at a time when I have been experiencing, shall we say, a modicum of stress, sadness, and disappointment.

Perhaps you can relate.

If you’re still a position to run, I would encourage you to get yourself a hopeful running treat. Alas, those $25 Launch 5s are no more, but I’m sure there are any number of multi-hued sneakers available on this great internet. Or get a colorful new tee, or a fun headband. Maybe some patterned compression socks. Whatever floats your boat.

Anyway, I got up this morning and ran 7 good miles in my new tie-dye shoes, because we may not be able to race right now, but we can still train. We will keep our chins and our feet up. And when those registrations open back up again, WE WILL BE READY.

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Points Out A Glitch In The Running Shoe Matrix

Can we talk about the Brooks Ghost 10 for a hot second? Specifically THIS Ghost 10, in this color scheme:


I have them (see above). And based on observation, and assuming you are a woman who wears a woman’s shoe, I can only assume you have them too.

I have seen them on my home trails.


I have seen them at multiple runDisney races.


I have seen them in frickin’ Runner’s World magazine.


I am familiar with the conceit that once you become aware of something, you start to notice it more often, but I’ve never had this happen with any of my other running shoes. I feel like this one pink Ghost is EVERYWHERE.

Of course, the Ghost 10 has been replaced with the Ghost 11, and probably has its own new set of exciting color options. But man, those pink 10s seem to have had a moment.

Did you have them too? Did you see them everywhere? Or am I just suffering from one of those bizarre Number 23 things?

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Tries New Running Shoes

I read an article a couple months ago about how it’s best to have several different pairs of running shoes. As the thinking went, each individual shoe affects your foot strike, gait, muscle use, etc. in subtly different ways. Therefore, if you’re on a shoe cycle, you’re less likely to suffer injuries from overuse.

I don’t know how much hard scientific data there is to back that theory, but I know I don’t want any more overuse injuries, so I’m trying it!

The difference this time: I’m not going to store to be fitted.

See, I read another article in Runner’s World stating that some studies show that your level of comfort in an individual shoe can indicate a good choice, even over someone watching your stride and making recommendations. So I’ve been branching out and making some purchases on my own.


First up is my consistent love, the Brooks Ravenna (right). I’ve strayed before, but I vow now to keep it in my rotation forever. It has brought me back from many a poor sneaker decision.

Next, the Brooks Ghost (left). I got an email that it was on sale and it promised a lot of cushion, so I took a chance. And boy howdy, does it deliver on that cushion – this baby is soooooft. Which is nice! But doesn’t make me feel speedy. When this pair wears out I’ll likely investigate other options.

Finally, the wild card: the Under Armour Sonic Hovrs. I don’t see UA bandied about much in discussions of running shoes. But I have a friend on the inside – my buddy A works for UA, and when he told me a special company meeting was convened just to announce their new running shoes, I decided to give it a go.

AND WE HAVE A WINNER! These sleek, sexy sneaks have less cushion than the Ghosts but enough to keep me from feeling like I’m slamming my joints around, plus the delightful bounce I enjoy from the Ravenna. They’re labeled neutral, but for my undecided feet (one neutral, one stability) I’ve been having great results. I used them to run my recent 14 miler and they were faaaaabulous. Love!

One note: they’ve got a sizing quiz thingee to help you select a size based on what you wear in other sneaker brands. I wear an 8 in Brooks and was told to get a 7.5 in the UA. This was a lie; I could use the extra half size. Oh well; I’ll know next time!

That’s my current shoe rotation! Do you use multiple kinds of shoes? What should I try next instead of the Ghosts?

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Gets An Awesome Deal On Running Shoes

Hi, my name is Jenn, and I just got myself a brand new pair of Brooks Ravenna 6 running sneakers, normally $110, for $56. I KNOW! I was psyched too!

Pretty! But not the all time prettiest.

How did I accomplish such an amazing feat? Well, Brooks recently came out with their Ravenna 7, so they’re unloading all their old 6 inventory. I definitely want to try the 7s eventually, but the 6s work fine and older shoe models go for much cheaper. For example, Brooks was selling its Ravenna 6s for $70.

A good deal to be sure. But just in case, I checked retailmenot.com to see if there were any discount codes, and… BAM! 20% off sale sneakers! Down to $56 we go, with free shipping!

If you use Brooks sneakers, don’t mind slumming in last year’s models, and want to try to replicate this success for yourself, the I used the code LEAPYEAR at brooksrunning.com. Neither Brooks nor Retail Me Not has sanctioned my sharing this, so I have no idea how long it’ll work or whether it’ll work for you. But it’s definitely worth a shot, no?

Will you get anything with this code? How do you mitigate the tremendous cost of running shoes? Do you demand the latest models or are you cool with gallivanting about in the sartorial equivalent of old news?

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Says Goodbye To Her Running Shoes

Farewell and adieu to my fair Brooks Ravennas
Farewell and adieu to my Ravenna 5s
For the 6 has replaced you and they’re purging your inventory
And never n’more shall we see you again

</end weird Jaws reference that doesn’t even rhyme>

I have been hit by another runner rite of passage: my preferred sneaker is being phased out.

I’ve been using Brooks Ravennas since October of 2013, and five pairs later they’re still my go-to shoe. Since I started using them the instances of knee pain I’ve suffered have reduced to a minimum frequency. Correlation, causation, blah blah blah – it remains that my Ravenna 5s have carried me through my first marathon, the Dopey Challenge, and all the training involved therein.

And then Brooks announced the Ravenna 6 – and then the inevitable follow-up email came: Ravenna 5s are going away! Buy them at a discount now and then NEVER AGAIN.

So I did. I wound up getting a color different from what I thought I ordered, but whatever; it’s not worth getting worked up about and I can’t get mad at a nice minty green. The point is this: perhaps if I scrounge around I’ll be able to continue purchasing the 5 for awhile yet, but the fact of the matter is that they are going away and I must face a future without them.

That future will look like this: I will run with my last pair of Ravenna 5s. I will conquer the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler with them. And then, early this summer, I will go to the running store and ask to try some Ravenna 6s along with an assortment of other shoes because why not. Who knows – maybe I’ll begin a brand new love affair!

Have you ever lost your favorite shoe to redesigns? How did you recover?

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

The Fairest Week In Review: 3/18

JENN: Let me start by saying I HAVE NEW SNEAKERS.

MOON: Yay! Did you pick a new style?

JENN: Nope, stuck with the Brooks Ravennas.

MOON: Did you try anything new?

JENN: I haven’t experienced any knee or hip pain with them – at least not, as far as I can tell, because of them – so I’m keeping ’em for now. I will detail the wonder of their speedy and fiscally responsible arrival later this week, but let me just say now that they are PURPLE with NEON YELLOW LACES. Magnificent. Why be staid we you can be eye-searing?

MOON: Haha, nice!

JENN: How was your training last week?

MOON: Not too bad, not too great. Kinda… eh?

JENN: Right there with you.

MOON: I’m confident you’ll have renewed motivation this week!

JENN:
I have great hope that my new sneakers will help with this. And that someone will develop a pill so that I can nap while running at top speeds.

MOON: Ha, a story about that.

JENN:
You can nap while running?! TEACH ME.

MOON: So, Ambien. You know my sleeping problems. And this is probably delving into areas not for the public blososphere, but if you take the pill and don’t go to sleep immediately, you tend to stay awake. Buuuut, you won’t remember. This happened twice this week. I didn’t do it intentionally, of course. The pill just doesn’t work well for me.

JENN: Hmmm. Were they good runs?

MOON: Oh, I didn’t run (that I know of). Next time you’re over, maybe we can give it a whirl as long as you supervise. For science!

JENN: Ah, good. We’ve reached the gritty drug abuse portion of our blog evolution.

MOON: Every blog has to go there eventually.

JENN: Indeed. Well, on to the roundup then.

– Everyone’s up in arms about the new runDisney policy forbidding packet pickup by proxy, but Margarita, Miles & the Mouse told me first so here’s that post.
Fairytales & Fitness recommends the races that offer the best value.
For the Love of Disney Running describes what it’s like to chEAR!
Running Toward the Prize discusses learning to increase speed – lord knows I need the help.
MousePlanet considers what it takes to be Dopey.
The Disney Hipsters talk about – SQUIRREL!

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us atfairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Gets New Sneakers From Fleet Feet

The Annapolis Light House Half Marathon was last Sunday, and was so small that there was no expo, just packet pickup. This would not seem to warrant a special post, but since the pickup was at Fleet Feet I decided to get some LOOOOONG overdue sneakers while I was there. As far as I am concerned, new sneakers are very newsworthy!

Because of her mother’s medical issues, Moon decided not to run, but she did want to meet me at Fleet Feet to look at sneakers. This plan suffered a small hiccup when I arrived at the designated address to discover a Fleet Feet location that was dark, locked, and boasted a sign reading “Grand Opening November 1.” Um…

I call Moon with this information and she looked up the address again, confirming that I was at the right place. This seemed deeply suspicious so I called the number given for the pickup location and was informed that I was – get ready to be surprised – at the wrong branch. Turns out that, when you clicked on the link provided by the pre-race email, there was more than one address listed on the page; I was supposed to scroll down and go to the SECOND address listed. Sigh. Moon decided to skip, understandably, since it was 20 minutes further away in downtown Annapolis.

Ah well. I was rather annoyed at the time but since I made it to the pickup location before it was too late it all came out in the wash. I accepted my envelope with bib and timing chip, a long-sleeved unisex tech shirt, and a small duffle bag with some race swag and stuff. I promptly dumped all of this in my car to be examined later and went into the store.

The shop was quite busy, but I managed to snag the last free certified fitter. I don’t think I ever got her name but she was super nice, so that worked out. I told her about my occasional knee pain and how switching to my current Nike Pro Fits mostly solved the problem but also made any knee tightness I still experienced migrate over to the other knee. She checked my shoe size, watched me walk, and then went into the back to get some sneakers for me to try.

Oh my God, shoes.

My first pair: the exact same Nikes I was presently using. I went outside and jogged up and down the sidewalk a bit, finding them just as serviceable as always. Interesting side note: she didn’t ever watch me run, just sent me to experiment, but I saw other fitters doing this. Maybe it’s a case-by-case thing.

Next: a pair of Brooks Ravenna 4. I put them on and noticed immediately that I could feel the tongue of the shoe pressing lightly on the top of my foot. It wasn’t remotely uncomfortable, but since I was told at my first shoe fitting that you shouldn’t feel your shoes, I mentioned it.

And then I took them outside. And WHEEEEE! I was practically getting airtime, so much bounce did I feel in those sneakers. It was awesome. But the tongue made me uncertain (now there’s a sentence for ya), so it was on to the next pair.

I think the next two I tried were both asics (if not, one was a pair of asics and one was something I don’t remember). They were both fine but nothing noteworthy, so those were eliminated. I tried the Ravennas again and felt the same bounce… Hmmm.

A new element was introduced: a Super Feet insert. My fitter swapped out the sole of the shoe for a pair of inserts with more support. Immediately I could feel them pressed against my foot just behind my arch, which I noted; I was told that this was where the pressure should be, for maximum effect. So I took the Ravennas out with those and: No. Yuck. My fitter then removed those inserts in favor of a less extreme pair and the bounce was back.

What followed probably drove my fitter CRAZY, but she was perfectly nice about it. I tried the Nikes again. I tried the Ravennas again. I tried the Ravennas with the insert. Then I tried the Nikes with the insert. Then I tried the Ravennas with the insert AGAIN. Then, at my fitter’s behest, I put a different shoe on each foot and BAM: I had a winner. The Ravennas it would be.

My fitter had one more offering for me: off-day shoes. They were leather slipper-type shoes, cute, with stronger arch support than afforded than average. But I was already dropping some serious cash on my sneakers so I passed on that one.

Speaking of serious cash, I was a bit dismayed to discover that the inserts were $40. Yeesh. But I was assured they would do wonders for my residual knee stiffness and if there’s anything you should spend money to protect, it’s your knees. Still, I’m pondering an experiment: run a week or two with the inserts, then a week or two without. If I don’t notice a difference, maybe I don’t need to buy them next time. Should be worth the anatomical experiment, anyway.

Not to say that I wasn’t tempted by the promise of a sports bra fitting, not to mention the racks of running clothes and GPS watch displays, but I managed to stay strong and just buy the sneakers plus inserts. Then it was back to the car to examine my race goodies.

Of which there were quite a bit more than I expected. Some of your usual tchotchkes – pens, magnets, flashlight keychains, lip balm, a protein bar. But then there were three packets of EmergenC (perfect for plane trips to Disney, because airports always get me), a full packet of Fitfood brand whey protein shake mix in Vanilla Delight, a packet of pain relief gel, and no less than four doses of a vitamin mix meant to increase endurance. That will all be quite interesting to try.

There you have it: my packet pickup and sneaker adventure. I’m SUPER EXCITED to try my Ravennas this evening – wish me luck!

Hello, sailor.

And tune in tomorrow for my post-apocalyptic race recap, of course.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon!