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 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 Has One Major Running Shoe Rule

When purchasing running shoes, always select the loudest, most obnoxious colors available.
(In all seriousness, though, here are my two running sneakers: Brooks Ravenna 6 and Nike Zoom Vomero 10. The former offers a lot more support and the latter is lighter and speedier. I intend to take the Ravennas with me to the Marine Corps Marathon but keep the Nikes in rotation for shorter runs and races. Also, LOOK AT THE COLORS!!!)
Do you use more than one model/brand of running shoe? Do you care about color? (Yes.)

Jenn is running the 2015 Marine Corps Marathon for the Diabetes Action Team. Will you help her earn her bib while fighting diabetes? Click here to make your tax-deductible donation.

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: 7/29

JENN: Did you run last week?

MOON: I did! A bit rather slow and steady, but it happened. Did you?

JENN: I did!

MOON: Great success!

JENN: I did one regular long run plus two shorter speed runs where I upped my top speed. My five minute sprints are now one minute each at 8, 7.5, 7, 6.5, 6mph, then five minutes at 5.5 mph, repeat. Even though that’s only a top speed increase of .5 mph, my legs were TIRED by the end.

MOON: That’s awesome!  Personally, when I can get to 8 mph– even just for a little bit– I feel like I’m at my normal, if that makes sense. Or, at least, it’s a good baseline to have.

JENN: Haha, I do NOT. Maybe for the first go-round, but I have to dig a little, especially for the last sets. I am slow! But I think this speed work is moving me a long a little.

MOON: You’ll get there!

JENN: I think I’m gonna bite the bullet and buy new sneakers this week. That’ll help too. Gonna hit up the Roadrunner Sports down the road and see what they can show me.

MOON: I think I’ll need to budget in some new shoes, too. I’ve had mine since February, I think?Anyway… the past few runs I’ve noticed a definite mold that isn’t complementing my runs well. My foot is also going numb after 30 minutes.

JENN: Uh, that’s not great?

MOON: Yeah, that’s new. BUT for the months that pair of shoes was good, they were great.

JENN: Perhaps one day we shall win the lottery and then we can buy ALL THE SHOES.

ALL THE SHOES.

MOON: Anything new you plan on trying out?

JENN: I’m gonna ask for the Ravenna 6 – I’ve been using the 5 – and then tell them to bring out whatever else they think might be good. Can’t hurt to give it a go!

MOON: Very nice! Be sure to let me know how it goes!

JENN: I will! While you’re all waiting, here’s the roundup.

From Dancing to Running trains while away from home.
Pink Elephant on Parade considers the mindset behind signing up for a marathon.
Run Eat Repeat rightfully believes that running is for every body.
easyWDW visits a WDW Senses Spa.
Disney Tourist Blog makes itself all site-newbie-friendly. (Plus a giveaway!)
Mouse on the Mind adds a hypothetical GOOD book store to WDW.
Disney by Mark zones in on Matsuriza drummers in Epcot’s Japan.
Theme Park Insider enjoys afternoon tea at the Grand Floridian. (We love afternoon tea!)
Eating WDW snacks at Epcot on the cheap.

Jenn is running the 2015 Marine Corps Marathon for the Diabetes Action Team. Will you help her earn her bib while fighting diabetes? Click here to make your tax-deductible donation.

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: 2/03

JENN: Did you run at all last week?

MOON: Yes, I did run! Christian and I ran a lot together, actually. It was quite nice. How was your week?

JENN: Yay! It was pretty good. I got a couple of long runs in and while they weren’t what I’d call up to speed they were actually fairly pleasant. So there’s that!

How are your new sneakers working out?

MOON: The sneakers are great! I wasn’t too sure at first because they had a different feel than my asics, but I have absolutely no pain after running. And Christian has no bloody toes (he also found new sneakers).

JENN: That’s awesome! Between the sneakers and the compression socks you’re all set. You’re totally going to leave me behind in the Cherry Blossom ten miler.

MOON: Pshh, I don’t think so. We’re a team! We’ll stick together… or trail behind Christian.

JENN: All the same, we should definitely do another sneaker trying field trip. I wanna take a shot at those new Brooks Ravenna 6s. Although I must admit, I’m a little torn about it… on the one hand, I want the 6s to be the best thing that ever happened since the 5s. On the other hand, if I like the 5s better, I CAN BUY A BUNCH AT A DISCOUNT. Anyway, I just discovered that there’s a Road Runner Sports right down the road from me. So we shall see!

In the meantime, have a roundup.

Run Walk Fastpass Repeat sets out to get the best runDisney castle photo ever.
Pink Elephant on Parade has some sign suggestions for you Princess spectators.
Black Dog Runs Disney is chill about the whole corral situation.
Sparkly Ever After offers stay-put park makeup tips.
Mouse on the Mind adapts the World Showcase to McDonald’s.


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!

Jenn’s Long Run Part I: Preparation

Tonight’s training run: 20 miles.
TWENTY. MILES.
Okay. I have the option of doing eighteen if it’s just not clicking for me. But I really want that twenty. If I can do it in four hours, I’ll be happy. Then I’ll have my longest run under my belt and I can being tapering for the Marine Corps Marathon.
I’ll admit: I’m a little nervous. I’ve done twenty miles twice in the past but that was about a year ago and for some reason rather than improve I have actually gotten SLOWER over the past months. Sigh. But where there’s a will, there’s a way, right? And I have SO MUCH treadmill will. (Yeah, I’m doing it on the treadmill. I have my reasons.)
I have prepped as best I can. In my arsenal:
KT TAPE. My knee has been fine for awhile but I’m going to tape it anyway. And my hip has been bugging me a little lately, so I’m going to try taping that too. Hopefully that’s just a product of being way overdue for new shoes and will go away.
Speaking of which…
NEW SNEAKERS. Look at them. LOOK AT THEM. How pretty are my new Brooks Ravenna 5s?! I’ve been using Ravennas for about a year and it’s been working really well for me. Hopefully that keeps happening.
CLOTHES. I’m going to stop by Marshall’s later today and see if I can’t find some running pants or even a shirt with more pockets; my favorite running capris have none and I have a shirt with only one. Regardless, I will be using the clothes I intend to run in on the day – and Vaselining up ANY area that could potentially chafe under the lengthy friction conditions.

HYDRATION. In addition to my trusty 32 oz squeeze water bottle, I have a bottle of VitaCoco Sport, which is like what Gatorade would be if it got all its electrolytes from coconut water. 
FUEL. Clif ShotBloks are my go-to. I have two packages to run through as needed.
MUSIC. In addition to my regular staples like Flogging Molly and Jukebox the Ghost, I’ve got TONS of Disney music to keep me going. Soundtracks for Wishes and IllumiNations and Festival of the Lion King help me pretend I’m living it up at Walt Disney World and not, y’know, running in a basement gym.
THE PROMISE OF LATER REWARDS. I will take a glorious shower. Then my roommate wants to go to the bar where we know the staff and they give us free beer. We will also eat fish tacos. Recovery FTW.
That’s my tool kit – am I missing anything? How do you prep for a long run? Are you gonna wish me luck or what?
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!