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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Skechers GOrun Ride 3: Initial Review

Plush is the word I would describe the Skechers GOrun Ride 3 (GRR3) the first time I put my feet into them. I've gone through all three iterations of the GOrun Ride series and I would have to say the latest edition of the shoe, the Skechers GOrun Ride 3 is simply the most cushy of the lot.

I first set my eyes on these pair of gorgeous babies during the GCAM group's Chinese New Year run in Putrajaya back in January. Choon Yuen brought a pair in from overseas and I was drooling at the sight of it. I've had my pair of the GRR3 for close to two weeks and hadn't really had the time to take it for some runs due to preparations for the TITI ultra.

I've been running in them quite a bit since then and I've been loving every minute of it. Between the three iterations of the GOrun Ride's, this has to be the most comfortable of the series. The new redesigned upper is constructed with a 4 way stretch mesh on the front and side panels with added overlays to provide ample support without adding too much weight to the shoe.

The fit was spot on and I didn't have to go a size up like the GOrun Ultra. The upper provided snug lateral and medial support and though the GRR3 looks like a 'hot' shoe, it's actually very breathable and with cushioning that is simply sublime!

With a nice wide toebox and an almost seamless interior, the GRR3 felt real comfy on my feet during my runs in them. It hugged my feet without any slippage and even with slight foot expansion in my shorter runs in them, it still felt pretty darn comfortable. I'm not a sockless runner but I'm sure it'll feel just as comfy to run without socks as well. Oh, did I mention just how cushioned they are?

The Skechers GOrun ride 3 comes in at a relatively light weight of 8.4 oz. for the men's size 9, which is only slightly heavier than the GOrun Ride 2. The GRR3 is a 4mm heel to toe drop shoe that comes with a removeable custom fit insole. I've tried the GRR3 in both modes and being one who loves more road feel, running without the insole works best for me. But on a really long run (which I haven't done yet) I'm betting the added cushioning will be more than welcome.

The outsole consists of the same propriety enhanced Resalyte® cushioning that looks a little bulkier than the GRR2 but is as flexible as the entire GOseries shoes. The difference this time round is that the GOimpulse sensors and pillars on the outsole are repositioned allowing for a smoother transition. But if you ask me, they work way better in keeping pebbles and stones from being lodged between them. The GRR2 can and does pick up some pretty sizeable debris and pebbles and can be a pain when you have to stop and dislodge them mid run.

The GOimpulse sensors this time round has been placed a little further apart and is more rounded around the edges than the previous two iterations which were nice debris traps. In the times I've been out running with the GRR3, not a single stone or pebbles was lodged between them and my run route does takes me to some nice pebbly and off road sections at times.

The GOimpulse pillars (or lugs as I call them) are now placed in slightly different positions to give better feedback while running but heck, the only feedback I got was how darned cushy the shoe was. I did mention that already, didn't I? The four pillars in the arch area are no longer joined together like the GRR2 but they still do provide ample arch support.

The GRR3 still retains and promote the M-Strike technology of midfoot landing that is apparent in all the GOseries. For a shoe that looks rather bulky and padded, it's amazingly flexible and light. I hardly feel the shoe on my feet during my runs and like I've always advocated, a good shoe is one that you forget is on your feet.

But again, no shoe is absolutely perfect. There are some things I'm not very fond of with the GRR3. I find the tongue to be a little too padded. Maybe taking a leaf of the GObionic or the GOrun 3's tongue would have suited me more, it might even have brought the weight down a little more. But that said, there is still no denying that they're super comfy.

For a bulky looking padded shoe, they don't hinder on speed. They're pretty fast if need be and take pace changes nicely in stride. They don't feel cumbersome and without the insole, you're still able to get that road feel but with just a nice hint of cushioning, which suits me just fine.

I haven't taken them long yet, the longest I've been with the GRR3 is for a 14k run and they worked just fine. I believe the shoe is at least capable of marathon distance and works well as a pair of regular day to day trainers. If a reasonably price, lightweight but cushioned shoes is something you're looking for, I'd say give the Skechers GOrun Ride 3 a try cos you can't go wrong with it.

The pair of Skechers GOrun Ride 3 above was kindly provided by Skechers Malaysia for wear testing. This review is of my own personal experience with the shoe and is in no way influenced by Skechers Malaysia whatsoever.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Wife's Tale

My second race for the year, the Gunung Nuang 12 hour Trail Challenge is exactly a week away and I'm not sure if I'm ready for it at this point. I've hardly done any trail runs for quite a long while and any runner worth their salt would know that trail running and road running are two entirely different ballgames altogether.

I'm not even familiar with the route since I've never run Nuang before. Everything I have on Nuang are from the experiences and tales I've heard from those who've tackled the route. And judging from their experiences, I foresee a pretty tough outing next week. The 530m elevation is not going to make things helpful either. It'll be like TITI all over again.

But all that aside, I'm strangely excited and looking forward to the challenge. Call me crazy but I'm glad for the amount of experience I can glean from events like these. Let's face it, when it comes to this unusually longer distance runs, I'm practically like a baby just learning how to crawl. I'll take whatever I can gain from events like these to mentally and physically prepare me for when I really am ready for even more crazier and tougher distances.

Thankfully I'll have the familiar company of fellow GCAM crazies Jamie, Choon Yuen and Richi along. But of course at least only until the start when they decide to take off after that. That said, I'm still excited at the prospects of challenging Nuang.

On a different note altogether, I'm pretty happy to see the wife has been progressing well in her 'comeback' training. The past couple of months has seen her saddled with some injuries which demotivated her completely. She was so down to the point of giving up running. Her stamina was shot, her endurance went south and her will to run was practically non-existent. I'm glad she found enough strength to pick herself up and start up all over again.

The fact that we both signed up for a main mid year race (21k for her and 42k for me) did lend a huge hand in putting the drive back into her. She said that no way in hell was she going to be picked up by the sweeper bus ... LOL! She worked up a training plan all on her own and has been religiously following it for the past two months. A nice and easy plan that saw her progressively increasing the intensity of her training.

To keep her motivated, I've been doing my best to get home in the evenings and accompany her for her training runs. It's the least I could do for putting up with my constant weekends away from home out on some run somewhere. She's warned me that she's going to make me compensate her big time for leaving her at home all on her own while I run in some godforsaken place the entire night ... hahaha!

I'm really happy with her progress. She's gone from panting like a fish out of water at the start of her training to being able to chat with me while running these days with much better breathing and more consistent running. Her pace has also increased slowly but steadily.

She's so much more motivated now seeing her own improvements on a daily basis, of course there are one or two bad runs but we all get those from time to time but it doesn't bother her as much as it used to. In fact, it drives her to do better the next day. The Skechers GOrun 3 shoe courtesy of Skechers Malaysia seems to also be fast becoming her favourite running shoe. She's been running with it and has no complains of blisters (she's very prone to blistering) and finds the shoe really breathable though she finds the cushioning a tad on the soft side compared to her previous all time favourite the Skechers GObionic Ride.

Judging by the outsole wear, she's nicely mid-footing ...
In fact, I like the training plan she cooked up. It does benefit me in a little way as well. On days when I manage to run with her will see me doing two runs in a day, one in the morning and one in the evening with her. The run with her tend to work nicely as a recovery run of sorts for me and I find that I'm running better in my morning runs the next day. So it's a win-win situation for the two of us.

The boys are also slowly getting hooked on running with both boys now following her for her runs in the evening. At least I'll be more at ease when I can't make it back in time to run knowing that she has two bodyguards with her out on her runs. The younger fellow shows quite a bit of potential and has been asking to look for a 5K race for him in the coming months.

That said, after the Nuang challenge my marathon training proper goes into full swing again. A lot of sacrifices are going to have to be made again to keep everything in balance - family, work and life. But I'm determined in my quests and we all know there are no shortcuts in anything. It boils down to how much you want something and how much you're willing to put into it to get the results you want. No whining, just get out there and do what you have to do!

I've limited myself to just a few races this year. The ones I've already signed up for are costing an arm and two legs already. Even my budget for gear has been exceeded and it's only February! It's going to be hard to resist buying anything or even signing up for races, especially when I have evil, poisonous running friends who try to brainwash one into signing up for races any chance they get ... hahaha!

Monday, February 17, 2014

TITI 50K 2014: Race Report

The TITI 50K road race that was held over the recent weekend marked my first official race for the year. I've been looking forward to this race for quite a while contrary to what I've led others to believe. Signing up for a 50k or longer race is not something one does on a whim (at least not for me anyway). I've been 'experimenting' with my capabilities to withstand long, grueling distances with the Back 2 Endurance and P50K runs that I took part in last year.

Suffice to say, lots of hard, intense training had to be put in. It was basically down to making sure I could just make the distance in one piece with as little agony as possible. Don't ask me why I do things like this cos I simply have no real answer.

My dog looking strangely at my pinkish trophy.
Come race day, Jamie, CY and me decided to carpool to the race location with Jamie so graciously volunteering to drive seeing as how he was the only one between the three of us who had been to that part of the world before. We set an 8.30pm meet time, had a nice healthy McD dinner before heading to the race start location.

We arrived there close to 10.30pm (can't really remember) and the place was thriving with runners already. The entire GC group arrived almost at the same time and after suiting up, we all headed to get registered for race start and have our mandatory gear checked, which wasn't really checked at all. I just told the volunteer scouts that I had all the mandatory items listed (which I did have) and they just believed me. I suppose that's why there were quite a few runners flouting the law by running with only a bottle of water and no other mandatory item.

The GC Team - One for the album/
Pic courtesy of Jamie Pang
The 100K runners were already out on the roads since 4pm under the blazing 39C heat (which was what I heard). My utmost respect goes out to them. I reckoned I'd be seeing lots of them on their way back along the route as I headed out later. The race started right on time at the stroke of midnight and off we went to own the night along the roads of Hulu Langat.

The start was relatively flat and easy for the first 2-3k and I headed of at an easy paced trot. My entire strategy was planned on a slow and easy race seeing as how I heard lot of warnings about steep and really long climbs throughout the way. Boy, they weren't kidding!

We reached the first climb just about 3k or so into the run. It wasn't as bad as I thought and I was able to handle the climb without too much trouble. A little walking here and there and soon enough, I was up at the summit of the climb. What followed was a nice long downward stretch spanning about 4km or so. The descent was slightly tough on the legs, even at that early stage of the race. There was some burning going on somewhere along this stretch cos the air was acrid with smoke and dust. I had to cover my mouth and nose with my hand and thankfully the clear lens shades I had on kept the dust out of my eyes.

A smile to hide the pain.
Pic courtesy of  E.T. Tey
Jamie caught up with me just as I was about to descent and we ran along together. At the back of my mind though, I was picturing having to climb this section in reverse and with extremely tired legs. Pushed those thoughts to the back of my mind as we reached CP1, somewhere around the 9km mark. Stopped as briefly as possible to replenish what needed to be replenished and then headed out.

I was a little slow out of the CP1 and Jamie had headed out already. Just as I was heading out, the rest of the GC group arrived. Said my hi and byes to them and headed out. From this stretch onwards, I was basically on my own. Thankfully, it was an easy and relatively flat section (one of the very few flats) of the route. It wasn't long before I hit CP2, which was barely 5k away. All systems were still feeling fine. Grabbed some sandwiches and fruits to replenish and topped up my hydration bladder and soft flasks, texted the wife to say I was still going strong and headed off for the next check point.

A short glimpse of what the inclines resembled.
Pic courtesy of Yim Heng Fatt
About 500m or so away, that long 9k climb I was warned about came looming out of nowhere. What can I say, the climb was every bit as tough as it was made out to be. Nine kilometers of twisty, dark and scary stretches that tested your quads, endurance and resolve to the max. It was at this point where I started slowing down considerably. It was still a long way to go and I decided that I'd walk this stretch and run when I could on any flat sections I found. That was not to be cos there was NO flat sections. It was up all the way.

What was really missing here was company to run with. At least that way, I could focus on running but alone, my mind was wandering and defeatist thoughts kept creeping up. So I did the next best thing, I went and found company, discreetly that is. Saw a few runners in front of me and they were running at a pace I could probably cope on these tough climbs and I tailed them as close as I could without breathing down their necks.

Just before the start with Yan Leng stargazing.
Pic courtesy of Razif Yahya.
And it worked. I was able to run slowly but easily up the climbs and keep my mind focused. But when they stopped to walk and I was forced to overtake, things reverted back to the previous state. I started walking and mumbling rubbish to myself about quitting right there and then, at least until I found a new set of people to tail. It kept on going like this until I heard the familiar and welcoming voices of Piew and Yan Leng telling me to keep going cos it was the last climb before we hit the downhill stretch.

The two of them were doing a remarkable job so far. They were going steady and some of their enthusiasm rubbed off on me. It was also great to have familiar faces along side to run with. Soon enough, we reached the summit of that 9km relentless climb. It was downhill all the way for about 3k to the CP3 checkpoint and the halfway mark before we turned around and headed for the finish, 26k away.

I decided to stop a little longer at this check point to rest up before tackling the route in reverse. Took the opportunity to fill up my fluids, grabbed some food and fruits. My Garmin was running low on battery by then and I hooked up my powerbank to it. At this precise moment, my previous McGyver cable tie modification decided to snap and I was left having to hold the watch and the charging clip attached to the powerbank for the second half of the journey. I wasn't too pleased with that.

The agony finally over.
Pic courtesy of  E.T. Tay
By this time of the journey, the runners were being spread out apart and at times I had to negotiate the route alone. I had all the mandatory blinkers, headlamps and stuff so I wasn't afraid of not being seen. It was more of what I would see that I was afraid of. Let me be honest, I'm a natural born coward when it comes to things that go bump in the dark. That 9k climb we did earlier had to be traversed in reverse and often times, save for when Piew and Yan Leng were running along with me, I was on my own.

That long descent was pretty scary with thick concentration of foliage on the left and right sides. It was dark, lonely and really scary. Not to make up stories or anything but there was this particular spot somewhere halfway down the descent where I was all alone with no one in front or behind me when a gust of strong wind just appeared out of nowhere and leaves started rustling behind me.

I seriously felt every hair I had stand on end and goosebumps just appeared by the hundreds. Every 'pontianak' (vampiric ghost) movie I ever watched as a child came flooding back to me. That was my fastest pace of the entire run! The moment I saw another runner in front, I decided to tail him for as long as I could for the company, at least until my cowardice streak subsided.

A well deserved breakfast.
Pic courtesy of Jamie Pang
Now, I thought the climbs would be tough but the descents were actually way tougher. The legs were taking a huge beating from the long downhill stretches. You really had to focus to keep going and make sure you don't run too fast and slip or something cos you would have suffered big time if you fell along the descent. Even with the thick cushioning of the Skechers GOrun Ultra, the impact of a continuous downhill run was unavoidable. I just needed to make sure I don't injure myself on the way down.

Not soon enough, the reverse CP2 was in sight. It was a huge sigh of relive to see the checkpoint. My feet were killing me by this point and there was still about 14k or so to go with one final steep climb thrown in. Since the next check point was just 5k away, I took in only minimal replenishment and then headed out. Thankfully it was a nice flat section but even then I still had to run/walk the section. It was then that I looked at my Garmin and discovered the watch had stopped recording data for close to 5k. Dammit! I was incensed. I am going to flush the watch down a toilet bowl at the finish and buy a 620!

The elevation data of the run. 
The final check point finally appeared in the distance. I was so hungry by this point I think I gobbled down at least 10 slices of watermelons! No kidding! Topped up my tanks for the final time and headed out with Jamie, Piew and Yan Leng for the journey home. But before that we had to tackle the final 4.5k steep climb. We all decided to walk it up all the way. We didn't have a choice in the matter cos it really was unrunnable at that point. That's what Jamie and me thought until we saw Piew and Yan Leng nicely run past us up the hill! Damn, those two were happening.

Once we finally reached the final summit, it was all downhill to the finish. I took a deep breath and started running again. The onset of cramps were felt around the top front of the thighs and I had to take things slowly to make sure it didn't strike me on this final stretch home. The ORS I've been taking on the hour, every hour must have played some part in keeping it at bay cos soon enough, that crampy feeling went off and I was able to speed up a little. I was completely spent by this time but the thoughts of the finish line not too far away spurred me on. I gave everything I had to keep moving.

The happy GC team after the run.
Pic courtesy of Jamie Pang
The last 2k felt like forever though. Along this stretch many volunteers and supporters in cars passed by offering words of encouragement to keep going and that the finish was in sight. Finally, after almost 7 hours, I saw the tiny, lighted, blue signboard of the restaurant marking the finish. I limped across the finish line in a time of 7 hours (at least that's what I heard the officials say) and my agony was finally over. I can now officially faint and be carted away by the medics.

Was it worth the pain I went through? Yes it was, absolutely. The experience I take from this is immense. I may have cursed, bitched and complained about it throughout the 53 kilometers but deep inside I was happy for what I can bring out of this. It will go a long way in preparation for when I'm finally ready to tackle a 100k (and I will) but not just yet. Right now, it's still small baby steps. More running, more training and more conditioning is needed but at least I'm moving in the right direction. Another important thing is I came out of this injury free.

Overall, it was a very well organized race. One of the better ones I've seen in a long time. True, there are some things that can be improved but generally I give it a huge two thumbs up! The volunteers manning the check points are easily the best crop of volunteers I've ever seen. The ever courteous and helpful boy scouts and girl guides deserves a huge pat on the back. Thank you for making this race all that much easier for us to go through.

And on a final note, congrats to the GC team for the great job you guys did out there. So, when's our next 50K?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Skechers GOrun Ultra: Initial Review

The recently concluded TITI 50/100K road race put me in a little bit of predicament on shoe selection prior to the event. A long race like this needed something with a little cushioning to last the distance and spare the feet as little agony as possible. My entire current shoe range bordered on the minimalist side of things.

It was down to either the Skechers Nite Owl or the Skechers GOrun 3. Both were proven race worthy shoes but I was opting for the GOrun 3 since I've used it for the P50K last year. The Night Owl on the other hand would have been a little uncomfortable in the later stages of the race when the feet started expanding as in the case of the Putrajaya Night Marathon last year.

Though the GOrun 3 was '50K' tested, I was hoping for something with a little more cushioning and as fate would have it, the running gods up there must have heard my desperate plea cos about two weeks back, I received word from Skechers telling me that the Skechers GOrun Ultra (GRU) and the Skechers GOrun Ride 3 (GRR3) was ready to be picked up and put through the grinder. 

I was ecstatic, my shoe predicament was solved. The Skechers GOrun Ultra was an obvious shoe in for TITI. I've had my eye on the GRU and GRR3 for sometime but wasn't expecting to wear test it this early. I was rather envious of fellow runner, Choon Yuen who could gladly boast of having one of the first Skechers GOrun Ride 3 in this country when he bought his from overseas. 

So to have both the GRU and GRR3 at my disposal to wear test was simply a joyous occasion for a shoe nerd like me. My sights were set on putting as much mileage into the GRU before TITI. The GRR3 would have to wait just a little while more before I took it out for some serious testing. I needed to get familiarized with the GRU pretty darned quick.

I started my running in heavily cushioned shoes but for almost close to two years, I've been running in nothing but minimalist shoes. The most cushioned shoe I've been in prior to the GRU was the Skechers GOrun Ride 2 and even that was more on the minimalist side of things. So the Skechers GOrun Ultra would be the first time in almost two years that I was putting my feet into so much cushioning.

My first impression of the GRU was that it made me look tall, dark and handsome ... okay maybe not the handsome part but I definitely felt a little taller ... hahaha! The stack height was definitely way thicker than your regular Skechers series (at least 65% more cushioning according to Pete Larsen). The GRU is an 8mm drop shoe with the insole on but removing the insole gives it a lower 4mm drop feel.

For a shoe this thick and bulky looking, it's still incredibly flexible and light weight at 8.7 oz for the men's size 9. Seeing as how I was planning to use the GRU for ultra distanced runs, I opted to go a size up from my regular 8's to a 9 to factor in feet expansion for prolonged periods of running. Just like the GOmeb Speed 2, I had a little more than desired space at my toe areas but otherwise it was a nice comfortable fit.

The key feature of the Skechers GOrun Ultra is the enhanced Resalyte cushioning that combines a soft midsole with a more rigid outsole, providing a lot more cushioning and support for your feet. The midsole is soft yet retains enough stiffness to absorb almost everything you run over, even solid huge stones! For someone like me who's pretty used to feeling the road, the lack of road feel was unnerving at first.

The outsole is adorned with an aggressive looking somewhat triangular shaped lugs which are well distributed and provides a very smooth, cushioned and natural feel. Combined with a soft Resalyte midsole and a firmer Resagrip outsole, you get a nice cushy yet springy feel as you run in them. The traction was also pretty solid with a nice grip to almost all sorts of road surfaces,even those littered with debris, which is why I think it'll be a solid trail shoe as well.

There's enough cushioning in them that you feel like you're running  on clouds. To be honest though, I missed the road feel when running in them. The GRU has been touted as a hybrid road to trail running shoe though I have not tested it in the trails yet. But like I mentioned in the previous paragraph, based on the tread of the outsole, it looks right at home on the trails as well as the roads. Will know more once I take it for a trail run soon.

The upper is constructed of a synthetic mesh fabric with synthetic overlays that provide stability and functionality. I'm not entirely sure but with my sizing up of the shoe, it seems to be pretty roomy which I think is going to perform just fine in the later stages of a really long run or ultra-marathon when the feet tends to swell quite a bit. The upper mesh is pretty stretchy with a relatively wide toebox giving ample toe splaying space with a slightly more snug meshing in the arch for a more secure fit. The GRU breathes pretty well too with no hotspots, blisters or chaffing that I could discern throughout my runs in them.

The heel collar was pretty standard. I didn't find anything wrong with it. It kept the heel nicely in place without any slippage even with my upsized shoe. My only issue was that when I ran the shoe without the insole, my heel sunk down a lot lower and I could feel the collar rubbing against the back of my ankle. For someone using a 1/4 crew pair of socks, it shouldn't be an issue but I use a mini crew socks and it rubs my ankle the wrong way. Another thing I notice when running it without the insole is you can actually feel the stitching inside. Again, not an issue if you were using thicker socks unlike me in my thinner socks.

Now, this being a rather 'thick and bulky' looking shoe, you'd be forgiven if you thought you couldn't really apply some speed in your runs with them. I thought so too but was surprised that with all the cushioning and bulk, I was able to ramp up the pace to a quick 4:30 without too much effort. Of course, I can't really sustain that pace for long.

I've so far done close to 80k plus or so in them with the latest being a 54km road race only last night and as much as I'm not a fan of 'maximalist' shoes, I found the GRU to be well suited for running really long distances or runs that keep you out for hours on end.

Throughout the entire 7 hours it took me to complete the extremely tough and challenging route, I hardly had any issue at all with the GOrun Ultra. The route had some pretty crazy and long descents and the cushioning was simply phenomenal in absorbing each and every single jarring impact on the feet.

The traction was superb and I was not at all worried about slipping on those long downward descents. I forgot to apply body glide on my feet before the race and was worried that I'd be struck by blister but nada, not a single blister, hotspot or chaffing developed.

The breathability was pretty good too, along certain windy stretches, I could actually feel the breeze flowing through my shoe. The only downside was the durability of the outsole seems a little suspect. Fellow runner Jamie, who ran in the same shoe and me had the back right side sections of our outsoles completely worn off.

I cannot attest to how well the shoe handles getting wet cos I've not run them in the rain or situations where there's water but some reviews online from other Skechers wear-testers reveal that they drain and dry out pretty good. I'll have to give them a rain test myself one of these days. I'm planning to run with the GRU for a trail run challenge in early March and see how they'll hold up. Will come back with an updated review then.

Is this a shoe for you? I'd say, definitely yes. It's an affordable shoe that is ultra-capable and won't cost a bomb like some of the other 'maximalist' series out there. A super cushioned and highly flexible shoe for putting in the long miles when your feet needs that all important cushioning. A even if you're not an ultra-marathon runner or just a wannabe like me, it works just great as a recovery or simply use them to walk around town. That's how comfy they are.

If you're eager to get your hands on the Skechers GOrun Ultra, then you're in luck cos it's going be launched in the stores here tomorrow, 17th February 2014. The men's version is being retailed at RM419 and the women's at RM399. Make a beeline to a Skechers outlet near you and check them out for yourself.

The pair of Skechers GOrun Ultra above was kindly provided by Skechers Malaysia for wear testing. This review is of my own personal experience with the shoe and is in no way influenced by Skechers Malaysia whatsoever.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Skechers GOmeb Speed 2: Initial Review

A few weeks back, a text message from Skechers Malaysia saw me picking up the limited edition Skechers GOmeb Speed 2, the second iteration of the GOrun Speed series. Truth be told, I wasn't expecting to get this shoe to test out so soon but I wasn't complaining. Besides, it's the signature shoe of Meb Keflezighi and comes in the nice gold/black limited edition New York Marathon colors. I was more inclined to keep it in a glass encased shelf rather than use it. But heck, a shoe that looks this good deserves some road testing time.

The original GOrun Speed was a huge success in itself as far as racing flats are concerned. The GOmeb Speed 2 carries all of the great qualities of the original, lightweight (maybe a wee bit lighter even), 4mm drop, the responsive midsole, the stability plate. The biggest changes are noticeable to the upper of the shoe.

Let's start with that. The mesh fabric and synthetic upper is constructed to be almost seamless with printed overlays giving it a smooth finished look. The material seems a little firmer but fits snugly on your feet pretty well. The GOmeb Speed 2 still retains the narrow look and fit of the original and I had to size up from my usual size 8 to a 9 to get the perfect 'grip' of my foot leaving slightly too much toe space for my liking and caused some material bunching at the bottom of the tongue but doesn't really pose any issues or problems with my runs.

The shoe breathes really well. On one of my early morning run sessions, I could actually feel the chill in my toes from the cool morning air. No hotspots were apparent during all my runs sessions in them. Currently I've only taken them up to a maximum distance of 15k so I can't vouch for anything longer than that just yet but I suspect it'll work just fine over much longer distances.

The other huge update done to the upper involves the tongue itself. The previous version of the shoe saw the tongue bunching up or at times slipping to the sides as I ran but this time around the tongue is more structured, stiffer and wider preventing migration and keeping it in place nicely. No bunching up or slipping with this version. The same ribbon laces of the original has been retained which still has a tendency to come undone during my runs. Maybe it's the way I knot them.

The midsole and outsole of the GOmeb Speed 2 remain the same as the original edition. The sole still gives you that same firm but responsive ride you're familiar with from the original. The Dupont Hytrel stability plate found in the midfoot section of the shoe provides support during your runs offering a faster transition to toe off. The trademark flexibility of all the Skechers series shoes is retained with the GOmeb Speed 2.

The lightweight injection molded proprietary Resalyte cushioned midsole with memory retention provides support in absorbing the impact of the road as you run and retains the 4mm heel drop and M-Strike midfoot striking design of the original. While it still gives the same firm ride that is found in the original, I somehow felt it to be a little on the softer side this time around. The Skechers GOmeb Speed 2 weighs in at an incredibly light weight of 6.8 oz for my men's size 9, which strangely enough is slightly lighter than the original version.

A word of advice if you're intending to get the shoe is to make sure you get the sizing right cos that will make or break your experience with the shoe. It also tends to be more on the narrower side of things and if you have wide feet, this might not be the shoe for you.

The Skechers GOmeb Speed 2 is without doubt built for speed yet offers just the right amount of cushioning that you can use it as a daily training shoe. What I love about the shoe is how responsive it is. It gives you a firm, snug and speedy ride yet I hardly feel it on my feet during my runs. That is a hallmark of a great shoe. I have yet to take the shoe really long or even for a speed run cos all the mileage in the shoe have been done on easy or tempo pace but I can feel the speed waiting to burst out from them. The thing is, being a limited edition shoe, I'm much more inclined to not trash the shoe too much, at least until I can get my hands on another pair.

At present I do not have a launch date nor pricing for the Skechers GOmeb Speed 2 yet  but will update this information here once I get some official word from Skechers Malaysia soon. The pair of Skechers GOmeb Speed 2 above was kindly provided by Skechers Malaysia for wear testing. This review is of my own personal experience with the shoe and is in no way influenced by Skechers Malaysia whatsoever.

Note: Took the shoe out for a 30K run and I'm happy to say the shoe performed really well. It was extremely breathable, no hotspots at all even with feet expansion on such a narrow profiled shoe. Hardly any leg fatigue. Handles changes of pace really well. Just the right amount of cushioning when cruising along at an easy pace and just enough stiffness and grip when ramping up the pace. I may have just found my new marathon favourite shoe!