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Brooks Launch 3 Review

The Brooks Launch 3 is a lightweight trainer.  It’s a great option for anyone is looking for a fast and responsive trainer that can be used for anything from racing a 5k to a marathon.  I know a lot of runners who prefer the Launch 3 as their daily trainer as well.  It’s a shoe that can pretty much do anything.

Originally I bought the Launch 3 based on the Olympic color pattern.  Even though I was injured at the time, I loved the limited edition color and didn’t want to miss out.  I wasn’t alone, and the shoes sold out in store pretty quickly.  I didn’t know if I would end up running in them but I knew they could be an option too.

Brooks Launch 3 Review

Fit: 

I like the fit of the Launch 3.  It has a wide toebox and a narrow heel.  In general, I find the shape of most Brooks Shoes to be true to size.  I wear a size 10, and a size 10 Launch 3 fits like a glove.

To add: I didn’t run in the Launch or the Launch 2 but I tried them on at work a few times.  The Launch 3 was redesigned to be seamless which is great for anyone with a super wide food (like me).

Ride: 

At first glance, the Launch wouldn’t be a shoe I would pick out for myself to run in.  It’s light weight, and I typically like more cushion.

That being said, the Brooks Launch has a nice lightweight, but firm feel to it.  The front, as well as the mid foot, have been designed with more cushion. I run rather far on my toes, so the front loaded cushion is much appreciated!

After a few runs, I ultimately decided I liked them and will keep them in my rotation.  I’m debating buying a second pair to keep the “Olympic pair” for special occasions…(Like what if an Olympian wants to go to a diner or something?)

For my personal use, I plan to run in them as a workout shoe or a “faster feeling shoe”.  I don’t plan to do long runs or high mileage in them.

Similar models: Saucony Kinvara, Saucony Ride, Nike Pegasus, Brooks Ghost

My Current Rotation:
Asics Cumulus 18
Hoka Clifton 3
Saucony Triumph
Brooks Launch

Pros:

  • Light weight but cushioned
  • Price point of $100 ($110 for the limited edition color I chose)
  • Great shoe to use for racing or training

Cons: 

  • Less cushion than a traditional trainer
  • Less durable than a traditional trainer. If you’re using these for a marathon shoe, you might want to invest in a couple of pairs.

Questions for you: 
Do you wear Brooks? Have you tried the Launch 3? 
What is your favorite running shoe? 

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The Great Hat Debate of the Men’s Marathon

If you watched the Men’s Olympic Marathon, then you noticed the amount of talking about hats.  Most athletes that ran had at least one statement commentating on their hat.  The commentators of the Olympics is a post for another day, though…

mens marathon

image via IAAF

On the US side, Rupp, as well as Meb, changed hats and most competitors ultimately took off their caps.  Ward stayed hatless the entire race.

Why were the commentators so obsessed with the racers hats? 

Thinking out loud, I decided to take an in-depth look at the hat situation and see how it affected the athletes and their placing.  Because why not? If the world’s “best” marathon commentators allowed to comment on hats…why can’t I.

If you followed me on twitter, you know after five minutes of listening to #hatchat by the commentators, I jumped on board with #hatchat too.

Actual comment from the commentator:

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To clarify, Salzar later said the hats were filled with ice to keep the racers cooled.  Is that an unfair advantage?  I don’t know.

Any runner was welcome to have multiple hats but how many runners thought of that?  Are water stations going to eventually become aid stops?  Will you be able to stop, check your cell phone and play Pokemon Go at a water station?  Who knows how the marathon rules will progress…That being said, none of the athletes were breaking any rules by exchanging hats.

Let’s look at the three medalists: Kipchogue (gold), Lilesa (silver), and Rupp (bronze).   We can see both one and three started with hats but by the end of the race, neither had their original hat.  Several athletes exchanged hats during the course, however, Rupp was the only to medal.

At the beginning of the race and through about mile 10, it looks like several racers have white hats.  Only one lone athlete dared to wear blue, and he made it in the lead pack until around mile 20.

Let’s look at the various types of hats athletes used:

The overall winner began his race with more of a ball cap.  It had a flatter rim.

Both Rupp and Meb (possibly other athletes too), used various hats.  Each of their hats was filled with ice to keep them cool.

Early Stages of Race:

Lead pack of 35ish men:

  • About half wearing standard hats
  • One blue hat
  • One bandana/headband combo
  • A few visors but it seems more like a female racing strategy (I am a visor woman myself)
Mid-Race: 10-15 men
  • Half of the racers are wearing standard hats
  • One blue hat
  • One bandana/headband combo
  • No visors remain
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsLead pack of 7
  • Leader maintains hat
  • Rupp is on hat 4 (?)
  • Blue hat begins to fade
  • Three hats left
Lead Pack of 4:
  • Leader has dropped his hat
  • Rupp remains the only hatted athlete
  • Pace starts to drop
Final Few Miles:
    • No athletes have hats and pace quickens
    • The hat debate is over

So my questioning begins…Do hats make you race quicker?  Does throwing your hat off mean you are about to drop the pace?The most important question, however, is: How can Hats Help the Nonelite Runner?

I’m no professional but can a hat (or 10 hats throughout a race) help a common runner like me?

Here I am running in a visor (which I kept and have run many races and training runs in).

Here I am running in a visor (which I kept and have run many races and training runs in).

Hats can keep the sun or rain out of your eyes and can keep you cooler.  If you can find a hat that you like running in, there aren’t any real disadvantages.

Conclusion:

Will I wear a hat in my next marathon?  I will probably wear a visor if it’s sunny or rainy.  I like the sun out of my face as well as the rain.  I won’t have the luxury to exchange hats midrace but I’ll still use the one I’ve come to know and love.

Questions for you?
Hats or no hats?
Do you think the hat exchanges were fair? 

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