Featured Rogue: Timeca Davis

Tim joined Rogue in 2013 to train for her 1st half marathon at SeaWheeze in 2013. She moved over to The Morning Show in 2014 and ran her 1st marathon in Dallas in a time of 4:37 on a warm day. Fast forward 2 years and a month to Houston this January, she ran 3:39 to earn her Boston Qualifier and clock a 9 minute PR in a time that was nearly a full hour faster than her first marathon. And, she did it in some of the worse marathon conditions possible. Consistency. Execution. Courage. Guts. Determination toward a goal. Teamwork. Her result has all of those elements and is a perfect picture of what Rogue represents. That’s how we do it, and if you follow that formula, then the sky is the limit. This is Tim’s story:

When and why did you start running?tim-1
I never found a contact sport that I enjoyed growing up. I knew some exercise should be incorporated into my weekly routine so I decided to try running and liked it from day one. I began running in high school to help with the stress and to get outdoors.

Describe your first race experience.
My first race experience was fantastic! It was the Chuys Hot to Trot 5K. A friend of mine convinced me to run it with her. I couldn’t have asked for better first race experience. I remember feeling sad that the race was over because I felt like my run was just getting started. Distance running became my favorite.

What has been your biggest running-related challenge?
My biggest challenge is continuing to push myself in my mental and physical fitness. I constantly struggle with not being satisfied with just going through motions and am fearful of change or being pushed out of my comfort zone as a result of it.

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What has been your biggest running achievement or defining moment?
The defining moment that changed me as runner was training for the Chicago Marathon in 2015. In the past, I wasn’t consistent with showing up to workouts, sticking to a schedule, or following a race plan. My goal was to do all of those things with a plan to race an under 4 hour marathon. I achieved it with a 40 min PR. From then on, I became a believer that putting in the time and work is the key to achieving anything you want.

What’s next?
I need to conquer my fear of running half marathons. I’ve completed several without a single one being a positive experience. I’m determined to change that. From there, running a marathon with the goal of under 3 hours and 30 mins.

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Featured Rogue: Sonia Perez

medalsSonia Perez joined Rogue Running in Cedar Park last year, but few know of her inspiring story. She was an accomplished marathoner when I met her, but her battle to get there was beyond anything I could have imagined.

She was diagnosed with Follicular Thyroid Cancer  in August of 2007 and had surgery in September. As traumatic and scary as this was, the worst was yet to come. In 2009, she was crushed in a car accident during a heavy thunderstorm. From the accident she had her spine fractured in three places and pelvis in seven places. She had a broken hip, a punctured kidney, punctured lung and internal bleeding in the brain. For 7 months she needed assistance 24/7. She had to relearn everything and living seemed impossible.

famHow did you start running? It was during this time when I was recovering, in my darkest moment that I made a plea with God. “God, if you give me my legs back I will run for you and not ever stop running”. I started with trying to walk again first. But, when I went back to work a coworker asked me if I wanted to run a marathon. I asked, “What the hell is a marathon?”  I had no clue what she was talking about. We both signed up in May, but she quit after a month of training…and I didn’t. I had come too far to quit now.

Describe your first race experience?  I ran the Rock-n-Roll San Antonio Marathon in November of 2011. My goal was to finish but when I hit the wall at mile 23 things became much more challenging. My finish time was 5:32:49. Family and friends were waiting for me and the accomplishment just overwhelmed me with tears of joy! This marathon gave me a passion for running and I knew I wanted to improve.

true-grits-relay-raceWhat has been your biggest running-related challenge? Well….that would be the question that I have now learned from my current coaches here at Rogue. How much time off or recovery do I give myself before my next race. I ran with several groups prior to Rogue, but Rogue has been the best because they designate training schedules to the race you are targeting and if you need more guidance, coaches are always there.

red-cross-thank-youWhat has been your biggest running achievement, or defining moment? My biggest running achievement was becoming a member of the Marathon Maniacs. To become a member you have to run back to back marathons.  I became a gold marathon maniac by running 3 marathons in one weekend. I did that back in 2012 shortly after my first marathon.

wurfestWhat’s next? My next marathon is the Chevron Houston Marathon in a few weeks. I would really like to qualify for Boston there, but if not there, then soon. I also have signed up for my first Ultra Marathon, a 100K in March.  After that I’ll rely on my coaches at Rogue to help me decide the next goal. Until then……

 

Featured Rogue: Dori Livingston

dori-smileIf you’ve spent any time at Rogue over the past five years, then at some point you’ve probably come across the brilliant smile of Dori Livingston. She is one of those rare people whose energy brightens the day of just about everyone she meets, and she also happens to be one of the hardest workers that we have ever had the pleasure of coaching. Dori has overcome more than a few challenges over the years, but her achievements – she’s featured in Runners World!  – have far outnumbered them. See below for a short Q and A:

When and why did you start running?

I began running in 2010 to deal the stress of my job as a State Trooper and my recent diagnosis with melanoma cancer.   My journey with cancer led me to running with friends with similar experiences. In 2011, Rick Nichols introduced me to Rogue and I joined Amy Anderson’s marathon training group. I loved the community of Rogue, and was hooked!

dori-ultraWhat has been your biggest running-related challenge, and your biggest achievement?

One of my biggest training challenges has been learning how to find a healthy balance with running, due to my cancer and other health issues that arose from it. My biggest achievement was running my first ultra, the Rocky Raccoon 50K trail race in Huntsville, Texas, earlier this year.

 

dori-runners-worldPick one defining moment.

My defining moment was being chosen as a finalist with the Runner’s World Cover Search and had my story featured in the December issue!

What’s next?

My goals right now are to heal my body (I just had shoulder surgery a few months ago), run healthy and tackle the Tahoe Triple in 2017!

An Excerpt from RUN THE WORLD

by Becky Wade

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After I became interested in running, East Africa grabbed my attention. It was impossible not to notice the slight-framed, dark-skinned athletes at the front of major marathons, and to wonder how they train and where they come from. The Kenyans in London had given me some clues in their slow warm-ups, communal meals, and run-by-feel philosophy. But it wasn’t until I lived in East Africa that I began to understand the forces behind the world’s supreme distance-running region.

In the last two months, I’d seen that Ethiopia is much more than a running factory, churning out world record holders and marathon champions through a system refined in the fifty years since Abebe Bikila’s Olympic Marathon victory. What this country has over the rest of the world (and shares with its neighbor Kenya) is a culture that breeds many of the qualities that happen to make good distance runners: discipline, resilience, self-awareness, and most of all, a desperate drive to succeed. The role of poverty cannot be ignored, as running is for many an attempt to rise above it, with ultrasuccessful runners like Haile Gebrselassie and Kenenisa Bekele (who was building his own hotel and track next door to Yaya Village) offering both a measure of inspiration and false hope. For every person who successfully makes a career out of running, there are thousands of others who remain in obscurity in the forests. But the fact that those running stars, and dozens more, are household names reflects the cultural significance of the sport in Ethiopia.

Spirituality is also a factor in Ethiopia’s running success. Ethiopians are a people of strong faith, with 75 percent of them practicing Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity or Islam. For most of the country, faith seeps into every aspect of life—running included. While Sunday is a standard long run day in many parts of the world, there it is a day of rest; Sunday was the only day I couldn’t count on seeing other runners at Satellite or Entoto. The inseparability of running and religion, first demonstrated by the story of Derartu and the Devil, was confirmed again and again during my stay, as I saw runners brush off bad workouts with conviction that God would provide on His own terms; utter quiet prayers on the starting line of the Great Ethiopian Run; and drop to their knees in thanksgiving after especially good workouts.

I was surprised to discover that running is not a big recreational sport in Ethiopia. In fact, with the exception of the Great Ethiopian Run, I didn’t see recreational runners, at least in Sululta. Those whom I ran with or passed on my daily runs to Satellite Field, through the fields near Yaya Village, and up and down Mount Entoto appeared to be athletes who were taking their training very seriously. As I learned, many families discourage their children from running because it cuts into their fieldwork and the family’s food supply. I met one female who snuck away in the early mornings to run before she was expected in the field, in the hopes that she’d eventually be able to provide for her family with her legs rather than her hands.

My experiences in Ethiopia transformed me, both personally and athletically, and I was afraid of undoing the progress I was making. It was clear that I was becoming fitter—my runs hardly felt easy, but at least now I could keep up with my Ethiopian friends when they unleashed their speed at the end of some runs, and my Entoto outings got longer and longer each week (though I never surpassed that accidental three-hour run).

I’d also made strides in other areas, influenced by the locals I spent time with. Flexibility, in my daily schedule as well as on runs, a necessity in a watch-free society. Patience, for waits at minibus stations, severed Internet connections, and multiple loops around the same eucalyptus trees. Elevated work ethic, in grueling, oxygen-deprived runs and in everyday life, as I hand-washed my clothes and purified every drop of water I drank. Body awareness, gleaned from the Ethiopians’ confidence to take days off, stop runs short, and run at speeds that felt right in the moment. Cohesion, in shared meals, group runs, and hours of bonding in the Yaya Girls’ room. And generosity, learned by example through Banchi and Tsigereda’s Christmas party, my local friends’ insistence to pay for my minibus rides to Fatasha and Addis Ababa, and Zewdenesh’s elaborate home-cooked meal. My friendship with Dan, who was by my side throughout my two months in Ethiopia, helped me keep the challenges of this new existence in perspective, and went unmatched by any other of my trip.

It was hard to leave knowing I wouldn’t be able to reunite with my Ethiopian friends anytime soon—not only because of the inconvenience and expense of my getting to East Africa but also the barriers to securing an Ethiopian passport, the lack of a reliable postal system in Sululta, and the rarity of computers in rural Ethiopia. I hoped that I might see Banchi, Mesi, or Derartu on the international racing circuit someday, perhaps at one of the World Marathon Majors. But the reality was that, like the vast majority of Ethiopian runners, the odds were against them, and our reunion would be dependent on my return.

In typical fashion, the Yaya Girls were nowhere to be found when I was loading up Joseph’s car for Bole Airport. I’d tried to explain the night before that I was leaving for good the next morning, and to please let me tell them goodbye before I left at 9 a.m. (three o’clock Ethiopia time), but clearly they hadn’t understood. Even when I asked Amente to translate my words, they just laughed, wrapped their arms around my shoulders, and said, “No, Becky! No.” Either my recent trip to northern Ethiopia confused them, or, as I began to fear as I finished my rounds of Yaya Village, thanking and hugging each of the staff members, perhaps I had overestimated the relationship I’d built with Banchi, Mesi, and Derartu.

I scanned the Yaya campus one last time, and out of time to procrastinate further, began to get into the car. Before I made it all the way inside, three figures entered the big iron gates and came sprinting my way. If they hadn’t understood before, my tear-filled eyes and luggage got through to them now, and they yanked me out of the car and into a tight group hug. As I tried to hold back my tears, and then just let them roll, it became clear that the country and the people who long ago had captured my attention had, in the last two months, captured my heart, too.

About the Book/Author: 

Becky Wade is a professional long-distance runner who competes for ASICS. A graduate of Rice University, she is a U.S. Junior National Champion, a four-time All-American, and the winner of her debut marathon, the 2013 California International Marathon. One of four Wade twins, she currently trains in Houston, Texas under coach, Jim Bevan, and her mentor, Dr. Joe Vigil.

Fresh off a successful collegiate running career with multiple NCAA All-American honors and two Olympic Trials qualifying marks, Becky was eager to connect with her counterparts across the globe and broaden her perspective of the universal phenomena of running—the oldest, purest, and most global of all sports. With the funding and support of the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, she packed a year’s worth of running clothes and shoes, said goodbye to family, friends, and teammates, and took off on a solo journey to explore international running communities.

Visiting England, Ireland, Switzerland, Ethiopia, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Sweden, and Finland, each with a unique and storied running history, Wade reached out to runners and coaches in each place, who welcomed her into their homes and onto their teams. Over the course of the year, she ran over 3,500 miles as she experimented with diverse training styles and discovered new recovery techniques. Whether riding around the streets of London with Olympic champion Usain Bolt, hiking for an hour at daybreak just to start a run on Ethiopia’s Mount Entoto, or getting lost navigating the bustling streets of Tokyo, Wade’s unexpected adventures capture the heartbeat of distance running around the world.

Upon her return to the United States, she incorporated elements of the training styles she’d sampled into her own program, and her competitive career skyrocketed. When she made her marathon debut in 2013, winning the race in a blazing 2:30, she became the third-fastest woman marathoner under the age of 25 in U.S. history, qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Trials and landing a professional sponsorship from Asics.

From the feel-based approach to running that she learned from the Kenyans, to the grueling uphill workouts she adopted from the Swiss, to the injury-recovery methods she learned from the Japanese, Becky shares the secrets to success from runners and coaches around the world. The story of one athlete’s fascinating journey, Run the World is also a call to change the way we approach the world’s most natural and inclusive sport.

Meet Becky in person and pick up your copy of her book at BookPeople THIS Wednesday (July 13th) at 7 pm.

Details here: http://www.bookpeople.com/event/becky-wade-run-world

 

 

I joined a running group to make friends, and instead I found a family

by Jordan Cooper

In August 2014, I decided to join a training group at Rogue Running in Austin, Texas. I had just gotten engaged to my now wife, whom I met on Tinder (which is a story for another time), and was coming to the realization that as I had grown in my relationship with her, I had lost some of the friendships I had previous to meeting her.

Although I graduated from college about a month before moving to Austin, my first four years in the Violet Crown could be viewed more as the “party” portion of my life than the four years I spent in college in my hometown in East Texas. However, most of the friendships I had made during that time were based more around going out and drinking than on something I could consider a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. As I moved down the path towards marriage, my time spent on the bar scene lessened, and I realized I needed a way to meet people that would be a little more conducive to my new, attempting-to- be adult lifestyle.

I learned about Rogue from a friend who had successfully run her first marathon while training with one of their groups. Previous to joining, I had casually trained for and successfully run a number of 10k’s and half marathons, which I did as almost a form of justification for my indulgent lifestyle. It was also somewhat meditative for me, the solitude of pounding the trails or pavement, so I was a little hesitant about running in the Texas heat with a bunch of strangers. I tried to maintain a positive attitude, especially considering I had at times in my life experienced the infamous “runners high” and figured if I could catch that sense of euphoria occasionally, that surely I could meet 1 or 2 people I might be able to bond with.

What happened over the course of the next few weeks, months, and now years is a laundry list of life lessons in connecting with people. Running in a group appealed to my competitive nature in a way I had not seen coming, and also reminded me of my past growing up playing team sports including soccer and basketball. I had not imagined a sport as considerably “solo” as running could be groomed and improved thanks to having a team or group around you, taking pleasure in your progress. I also learned that misery truly loves company, and that “embracing the suck” with fellow runners allowed me to overcome mental barriers to run distances I never could have imagined on my casual solo runs of the past. The accountability these connections provided gave me strength on those early Saturday mornings when I did not want to get out of bed to put in the work I had signed myself up for. Regardless of how I felt along the way, at the end of every one of those runs, I always felt accomplished and grateful for the kind words received from the cheerleaders around me.

Post-run stretches turned into hang outs, dinners, happy hours, holidays, and life events. I even took my turn at assistant coaching for a season. The bonds forged on the roads of Austin have turned into lifelong friendships and a sense of community and family I could not have imagined. As I spent the Fourth of July with over 50 runners who woke up early to run in the hills of West Austin before enjoying some amazing food and fellowship, I could not help but be grateful for the family I have come to feel a part of. As I train for the New York City Marathon this November, I know that I have the support of hundreds of runners who truly want to see me succeed, and it will be those smiles and handshakes, likes on Facebook, and good luck filled text messages that keep me going. I didn’t need an app to find friends; I just needed to go Rogue.

The Longest 4 Miles

By Chris McClung

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“Come on ten-thirty-nine! You’re better than that!”

I was still about a mile from the finish line of the Boston Marathon, walking a slow but steady pace, and those were the words of an enthusiastic citizen of Boston, yelling about 6 inches from my face in a perfectly thick Boston accent as she screamed my bib number and implored me to run. I am better than that, but I was not in that moment or at least I didn’t think so. I could only respond with a half smile, and even though my heel was hurting and my ego was seriously bruised, I appreciated her words in a way that I never could have imagined. Now, as I sit here 4 weeks later with the stress fracture in my heel bone starting to heal, I can finally wrap my head around the lessons of that day, a personal worst by time but a big victory in other unexpected ways.

Boston 2016 was supposed to be a victory lap for me. I entered the race fitter than ever after a near-perfect training build-up. I was poised for a marathon PR by at least several minutes, and I was mentally ready to give everything I had toward that goal. I wrote these words to the athletes I coach on the Friday before the race:

“I no longer think [my lifetime goal] is beyond my reach. In fact, I now KNOW it’s possible whether it happens on Monday or not, and even better, I have faith that it might only be the beginning of what’s possible.”

I was ready and confident, and my body felt good. As I exited my hotel on race morning to walk to the buses to Hopkinton, I was dressed in a throwaway long sleeve. I immediately felt comfortable in the unseasonably warm air, and I knew it was going to a tough day as the temperatures rose.

For those that don’t know Boston, it is similar to New York with at-times cumbersome logistics on race morning. The race doesn’t start until 10 am, but due to the point–to-point course, you have to be at the buses to head to the start about 3.5 hours earlier. By 7 am, you are at the “Athlete’s Village,” where you are dumped into a field with thousands of other nervous runners for nearly 3 hours, waiting for the 1-mile walk through Hopkinton to the starting line. I was fortunate enough to secure a seat on one of the private buses run by a local Boston club, so I had access with many other Rogues to the private bus lot with its own portable toilets and space to hang out away from the masses. Even still, as I sat there in the shade and wiped small beads of sweat already forming on my brow, I couldn’t help but be annoyed by the conditions.

And, I was mad at myself for it. This is the Boston Marathon, THE race for which nearly all runners dream about qualifying, and I was sitting there annoyed to be there. What was wrong with me? That started a cycle of self-flagellation that would continue until I stood on the starting line as I tried in vain to coerce myself to smile and enjoy the experience in spite of the nearly 70-degree temperatures.

Knowing the outcome of my race, that internal struggle between annoyance and anger seems silly now. It’s a reminder for the future not to fight the natural feelings as they come but instead to channel them.

When the gun went off, my petty annoyance continued as I jockeyed for position amidst the crowded street, which is crazy in Boston no matter where you start. But finally with the race itself as an outlet for my frustration, I settled in and focused on finding a smooth rhythm and executed my plan with perfection through the first half of the race.

Somewhere within the first 3 miles, I started to feel a twinge in the my left heel, the subtle kind that you usually dismiss and forget thinking about even before it quietly disappears on its own. In this case, however, it never disappeared and gradually became more and more apparent. By mile 13, it was screaming pretty loudly, and by mile 16, I began compensating with my stride and slowing my pace to manage the pain.

At 22, I stopped to walk because it felt like something was either going to break or tear, and since the pain seemed to be coming from my Achilles tendon, I didn’t want to risk longer-term, more permanent damage. After walking for a few minutes, I tried to run again and knew immediately that I shouldn’t. With the muscles tightening up around the injury due to the abrupt change in pace, my body was loudly telling me “no” even though I wanted it badly to say “yes.” The doctor would say later that walking was a smart decision because running further on the heel would have resulted in a full fracture with a much longer and trickier recovery.

Of course in the moment, it was impossible to see the wisdom in walking even if it was all I could do. Instead, the emotions began to flow.

It started with self-doubt. What is wrong with me? Is the pain in my head? Maybe I wasn’t ready for a big result? What if I am just too weak to do this?

For a fleeting moment, I wanted to quit as I passed by a train station near mile 23. What is the point of finishing this way? What if I do permanent damage? Wouldn’t it just be better to get out of everyone’s way and stop?

Then I got mad. How come I didn’t feel any issues with my heel before? Why is this happening to me? Why now?!?

Realizing its fruitlessness, anger turned to sadness as I mourned the loss of my goal. Was all of the work in vain? Will I ever be this fit again? What if this was my only chance to achieve it?

In the midst of the self-pity, I almost forgot about the fish bowl I was in, surrounded by tens of thousands of cheering fans and Bostonians, until I saw Jen – a friend and fellow Rogue coach – cheering on the sidelines. I surprised her when I said “hey” and stopped right in front of her as she was cheering for another Rogue running by. She knew that something was wrong and instantly choked back tears, knowing my goal for the day and how ready I was for it. I won’t soon forget her face as she pulled back in surprise and shock to see me and then immediately rushed forward to hug and console me over the security fencing.

Seeing her reminded me of everyone at home cheering from their tracking screens and how I wanted to do well for them as much for me. It also made me more aware of everyone cheering on the sidelines as they yelled loudly and encouraged me to run.

Leaving Jen and continuing my steady stroll, I was happy to have seen a familiar face but was suddenly filled with an intense sense of guilt and shame. I felt guilty that everyone was cheering for me either at home or there on course, but I couldn’t respond. The fans on the sideline were urging me to run as I walked closely to the security fencing to stay out of the way of the runners, but I had nothing to give them in return. And, they tried really hard to help me. There were coordinated chants of my bib number and high fives and pats on the back and cheers of “Go Team Rogue.” Those cheers were perhaps most painful as I felt ashamed to be representing my team so poorly, so much so that I nearly pulled my singlet off several times in response.

Other than perhaps early in childhood, I can’t remember a time in my life when I received something without being able to give anything in return. But with love flowing to me from the sidelines there on course and through data lines from tracking screens in Austin, all I could do was receive even if I didn’t feel deserving.

Gradually, at a pace of 17 minutes per mile, guilt and shame turned to acceptance as I humbly realized that the love flowed to me with no expectation. My family and friends at home wanted me to succeed because they love me, but their love wasn’t and isn’t conditional on my performance, it flows regardless of it. The fans in Boston were doing their part to contribute to the magic of the day. They didn’t need or expect anything from me in return, other than what I was already doing just to be there for their city.

By the time I reached the woman that I mentioned at the top of this blog, I was at peace with the day. Her words were harsh on the surface, but really just a reflection of the love that all of Boston gives to the runners on Marathon Monday. And at that point, I couldn’t help but offer a partial smile as she yelled at me in a way that only a Bostonian could.

Minutes later, I turned right on Hereford and left on Bolyston for the final straight away, perhaps the most famous four-tenths of a mile in all of running and deservedly so. Even post-bombing, the crowds are unlike anything in our sport and the noise and electricity can only be compared to what you might experience in the most crowded and energized stadium. It took me 6-7 minutes to walk that straightaway soaking in all that I could until I managed to shuffle-jog in the final 30 meters to cross the line, relieved to be done and so much better for it.

What I experienced in the 68 minutes it took me to cover 4 miles can only be described as grace. I was offered love when I had nothing to give. I received when I could not earn. There is freedom and power born from love unencumbered by the artificial burdens of expectation. This lesson, taught to me in a way that only a tough day at Boston could, will lead to my fastest and best self still ahead. For that, I am so very grateful for the longest and slowest 4 miles I’ve ever “run.”

The Elixir Reincarnated… A Mizuno Wave Catalyst Review

By Chris McClung

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WHY DO THEY DO THAT? You know what I am talking about. Just when you find that perfect shoe, the shoe company goes and changes it. Version 14 rolls over to version 15 and suddenly the upper rubs you in just the wrong place, creating a blister the size of Texas on your heel. Or even worse, they get rid of the shoe altogether and you find yourself neck deep in the bargain bins at marathon expos trying to find the last known survivor of your perfect footwear match.

Well, in many cases, it is purely a marketing move to give you a reason to go buy the next version or perhaps to justify a price increase. In other cases, it is about making subtle changes to assimilate feedback from the thousands and sometimes millions of feet that call that shoe home. Or, in the case of Mizuno nearly 4 years ago, they turned their footwear assortment upside down in the name of simplicity and in a bold attempt to take what were already really good shoes and make them better.

With that decision, the Mizuno Wave Precision, Elixir, Musha, and Ronin disappeared from the shoe wall and were replaced by only two shoes – the Sayonara and the Hitogami. And, simultaneously, Mizuno executed a near-complete overhaul of their flagship shoe – the Wave Rider – to significantly reduce its weight while retaining its cushioning and functional properties. For the traditionally slow-moving and conservative shoe brand it was a bold move, and many consumers were not happy about it.

Though I questioned certain elements of the move, I appreciated it because simpler is better, and out of it, came the best and lightest moderately-cushioned, neutral trainer on the market. Yes, the Mizuno Wave Rider (now in its 19th iteration) is just that good… but more on that another day.

The Sayonara was an attempt to replace both the Precision (neutral) and Elixir (light stability), two of the best lightweight trainers on the market at the time. That was an order that proved too tall, and versions 1 and 2 of the Sayonara were total busts, burdened by a seamless upper that they just could not get right. In addition, the Sayonara, which was predominantly neutral, had trouble pleasing those familiar with the more rigid and stable Elixir.

Realizing the error, Mizuno completely overhauled the Sayonara in version 3, making it very similar to the old Precision, while also going to work on the new version of the Elixir.

Enter the Mizuno Wave Catalyst (released in February). Now, Elixir fans can finally come back out to play… or run!

Just like the Elixir, the Catalyst falls into the lightweight stability category for those looking for a lighter shoe with a little bit of support. The stability is relatively subtle however, so the shoe also works well for any neutral runner (like myself) that might be looking for something a little bit more responsive and less flexible than the Sayonara.

Those currently training in the Asics DS Trainer or Saucony Mirage (which is going away soon) might enjoy giving the Catalyst a spin, given the similar ride. Or, if you run in the Adidas Boston, Brooks Launch or Nike Pegasus, the Catalyst could be a firmer, more responsive alternative for faster days.

I find the Catalyst a bit stiff in the heel upon initial step-in and while walking those first few steps, but that stiffness goes away quickly once you start running and is replaced with a comfortable ride and pleasantly smooth, heel-to-toe transition. Mizuno credits the smooth factor for its new “Articulated Rebax Fan Wave” technology in the heel (say what?), but what actually matters is that the shoe approaches the disappears-on–your-foot goodness that we at Rogue look for and love.You also feel a little bit closer to the ground than in the old Elixir thanks to a 3 millimeters (mm) reduction in foam in the heel, resulting in a 10mm heel-toe drop for the Catalyst (vs. the old 13 mm).

The Catalyst is light (9.4 ounces for men and 8.0 ounces for women) for the amount of cushioning that you get, feeling very much like the cushioning of the current Wave Rider, but in a lighter package with more pop. This new incarnation is slightly heavier than the old Elixir by 0.3 ounces. Elixir purists will feel that difference, but the Catalyst should be more accessible for the mainstream runner looking for a lightweight, everyday trainer.

The upper, a hybrid between the traditional, sewn uppers of the old Elixir/Precision and the new ones with welded overlays, fits the foot well and is the right balance between light and breathable. The fit is slightly narrower than what you will find in the Wave Rider and Sayonara, but still comfortably snug and not restrictive on my foot.

Overall, I think old Elixir fans and new converts alike will enjoy the new Catalyst. Kudos to Mizuno for getting this one right.

If you live in Austin, come check out the Catalyst at either Rogue location, downtown or in Cedar Park.

If you don’t live in Austin and can’t come see us in person, shop our online retail partner RoadRunnerSports via the links below and save between now and May 16th. Sign up for the VIP program and enjoy bigger discounts plus the 90 Day Wear ‘Em & Love ‘Em Shoe Return Guarantee. This review was sponsored in collaboration with RoadRunnerSports.

Click here to Sign Up for VIP & Save 25% on SHOES + Free Shipping! Use offer code RUN4FUN16 at checkout. Offer ends 5/16. Some exclusions may apply, see site for details. Coupon Code: RUN4FUN16

Don’t want to sign up for VIP? Click here to Save 15% on SHOES + Free Shipping! Use offer code RUN4FUN16 at checkout. Offer ends 5/16. Some exclusions apply, see site for details. Coupon Code: RUN4FUN16