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I cut my expensive Hoka Clifton 2 running shoes – yes I did!

Before I say any more, this isn’t sponsored.  I bought and paid for my Hoka’s, and yes, I cut them……

I know, nuts right?  Especially considering they cost me £100.  To see the slit when I’m wearing them, you have to know it’s there.  If you look closely in this pic, you can see it on the right shoe.

Hoka Clifton 2

It’s hardly noticeable at all really.  But makes a huge difference to wearing them.

Hoka Clifton 2 (e)

They’re like pillows on my feet, and running with fibro isn’t the easiest thing in the world.  I get pain, and it’s not nice pain in most shoes I’ve tried so far, and when I saw Hoka running shoes, they reminded me of my well worn Fitflop clogs for the soles.  Anything that reminds me of Fitflop soles has to be good.  Well, that’s the plan.  I wanted to hate these, so that I could find something that didn’t look so much like clown shoes, but sadly, I’ve had to become a fan, and the colours are mostly just eye wateringly offending.  These aren’t too bad, but still bright.

So, with my credit card out, I scratched my chin, and duly bought a size to match the Saucony ones I already had.  This finding the right shoe can be expensive.  After my first run in the Clifton 2, I got a blister at the ankle behind my heel with the cuff, but that sorted itself out after a couple of more sensible short runs to break them in.

Then the problem started.

My right foot felt incredibly cramped, and after a little run, my little toe was squished against the side.  My toes would start to go numb and I had to stop every five minutes to stretch my foot and ease off the numbness.  I couldn’t return them as I’d worn them outside, and I didn’t want to either, as I struggle with forefoot cushioning in my right foot, which is the foot I have the biggest problem with.

A quick search online, brought up other squished toe runners with the same issue, as Hoka shoes seem to run quite narrow for women, even many men too.  Some online people mentioned cutting a slit at the side, to give that extra couple of millimeters needed for comfort.  Specifically, I came across Stephanie, a Hoka Cutter, who’s an awesome ultra marathon runner, and her blog is quite funny too.

Who’d have thought it – me – taking a blade – as a destructive force on an item that cost over a ton…..  I’m am established Hoka cutter now too..

Slightly glowing with the thought of completely destroying something that cost so much of my hard earned dough, I tried to poke a hole with a normal kitchen paring knife.  Not to be recommended.  Almost sliced my finger off.

I duly gave up and sent the hub for his stanley knife.  Needless to say, he huffed and puffed, but finally gave in and slit around an inch, which seemed to help, then I tried a run, and found I needed another half inch at least.  I decided to widen the slit myself, but this time, lady luck wasn’t on my side, although I did manage to avoid my fingers.  The errant slit went slightly upwards into the plastic, and I spent a few minutes in frantic regret, but it’s totally relieved the pressure, although it’s a very untidy cut.  After another 30k on the shoes, the slit hasn’t widened or torn any either.

Hoka Clifton 2 (c)

Forgive the wonky slit, I’m a novice at mutilating my shoes!!!

Hoka Clifton 2 (d)

That’s if you don’t count the elasticated ballerinas that I cut the elastic on, and made them fit my feet perfectly.

The Result

  • I don’t have to spend more money on a bigger pair of Cliftons in a size that would swamp my left foot, as the Cliftons are long enough for both feet.  I will however, order men’s next time round, as women’s are a B width, and men’s are a D.  Newbie Hoka running shoe buyer mistake.
  • The toes on my right foot are doing a happy dance now they have freedom and no pressure, with no numbness.
  • I’m convincing myself that it’s impossible to spot the slit in the shoe unless you know it’s there.  Humour me on this!
  • It’s like finding the holy grail of comfort.  I don’t want to run in anything else, really, everything I try now, feels like I’ve got blocks of cement on my feet.  But.  I have a perfectly good pair of Sauconys to wear out.  They might become my walking trainers, as they’re also plush, but harder under foot than the Cliftons.
  • The bouncy pillows might slow some people down, but I’m a slow runner anyway, so comfort wins out over speed for me.  I’m a plodder.
  • I’m wearing shoes that mean people expect me to be a better runner than I am.  Laugh at me, go on, it’s ok.
  • Don’t buy shoes with the express intent of butchering them….really…..unless you’re me, and you’d do it again.

Hoka Clifton 2 (b)

When these babies wear out, I’d love to try another different pair with even more cush.  I wish Hoka would make their shoes more foot size friendly with softer uppers, but hey ho.  I’ve worked around it.  Will I always be a Hoka cutter?  Who knows, but I wish their uppers were as good as their soles…

My absolute dream shoe would be Saucony Triumph ISO2 Upper, with the Hoka Clifton 2 sole.  Wishful thinking. 🙂


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Race For Life 2016 and Me

In my eyes, the goal  of Race for Life, is to bring women together and raise sponsorship online.  I don’t have a big circle of real life friends, but you know what, every little thing I can do to help, is a step closer to someone in the future being cancer free.  I don’t have anyone to run/walk with, and I can’t persuade anyone in real life to come with me yet.  Doing anything in public still fills me with a sense of dread, yet, I’ve agreed to run our local 10k, with the kind support of CRUK.

Ladies, if I can do it alone, so can you.  What do we have to lose?  There’s an option for a 5k if you think 10k is too far, and personally, I will be likely to walk as much of the 10K as I run, possibly more, but it’s a little over 6 miles, and I know I can walk that.  5k is only just a little over 3 miles, and with a little walking training from now till then, almost all of us could do it. It really is time to ‘lace up our trainers.’  It’s handy that my trainers have some pink in them….  I suspect I’ll have new ones by then.

Run Trainers

Yes, I can run around 8k, slowly, on a treadmill, at a push, with no wind or hills – but outside, I’m lucky if I can manage half a mile without thinking I’m going to keel over.

I’m Diabetic, I have Fibromyalgia, Costocondritis, feet trouble, and often suffer with back pain too.  Any sort of exercise is a huge challenge for me, but sitting on my backside doing nothing, isn’t an option if I’m to be healthy into my fifties, sixties and more.

For my local event 10k, the questions I wanted answered are given here.  You can find out what your own venue will have by checking the event pages.

Aberdeen 10k Facilities

  • Toilets
  • Refreshments
  • Parking available
  • Suitable for dogs
  • Suitable for pushchairs
  • This event is suitable for wheelchair users with assistance

The Course

The Aberdeen route will take you along the beautiful Beach Esplanade, taking in the amazing view of Aberdeen beach. The double lapped course is completely flat and the terrain consists of tarred roadways, with the exception of the finish straight which is a grassed area.

Meeting Point

The meeting point is within the main grass area of the event site next to Linx Ice arena. Please arrive one hour before the start time of your race.

The Training

Yes, I’m going to have to do some training, most outside.  I can walk the distance easily, but running as much as I can will be difficult, especially if I have a Fibro or Costo flare up on the day.  I’ve accepted that if it does happen, I’ll be walking it all, as no matter how much I want to run on those days, actually getting two feet off the ground makes an attack last for longer than it needs to.  Just the walk on a day like that, is a huge accomplishment.

I’ve downloaded the Race for Life App, and also the 10KIQPLAN.  There’s around 9 weeks to get moving.

Race for Life have a training plan on their website, for beginners and for intermediate runners.  I’m going to try a bit of both, to help me run outside a little.

What to Wear

I have a pink t-shirt that will do the job wonderfully, but I’ve bought the official race for life cap, as I don’t want to risk getting sun on my face.  I burn too easily to take that chance.  I also splashed out on the lightweight rain jacket, and the little wrist wallet for money and my car key.   Apart from that, I’ll have on my trainers and a pair of running trousers.  I don’t do skin tight leggings.   Maybe one day, but not yet.


I’ll be blogging my training, so if you think you’re alone in trying to do this, you can keep me company.

Other Ways to Help

If you can’t walk or run, or you’re a male, there are other ways to help, offline and online, including a Bakesale, Volunteering, Quiz Nights, or even getting your kids and their schools involved.  You don’t have to run on the day to raise money for a good cause.  Personally, I’ll open a Just Giving account and hope I can raise something to help out.  I might not raise a lot, but if I don’t try, it’ll never happen.

Find out More

With Cancer Research UK, and Tesco as their partner, a huge following, that includes thousands of women and young children has been successful across the UK.

They say:

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life is a series of women-only events raising money for research into all 200 types of cancer.

This years campaign has kicked off in earnest, with around 300 events, up and down our little land.

Did you know, that every couple of minutes, someone, somewhere in the UK, is diagnosed with cancer.  I don’t think there can be many of us who have not been touched by cancer at some point in our lives.  Personally, my mother is a breast cancer survivor, and my mother in law fought a brave battle with cancer before she died.  My own experience has been limited to rogue cervical cells which were treated when I as in my twenties.  I am ever thankful of the research done in the past, to allow me to stop those developing into potential cancer cells.

Race for Life events raise money to find new says to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.   There is no Government funding, so it’s all down to us, the people who live with cancer and it’s affects on families.

The success of race for life seems to be stemmed from largely being women, who can walk, jog, run, or amble around the courses, all with the single goal of finishing the distance, and bringing some much needed support for research.  If you want to find out more about how the money is used, check it out here.

Events that might be close enough for you to attend, include.

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Running on Empty – What I’ve Learned from beginning to Run

collaborative post

Run Watch

I did my first 10K yesterday. It was on the treadmill, and it took me forever, and I also had to walk a bit of it, but I ran solid for 90 minutes before I had to walk for a little bit, then I ran to the end.

Yes, I’m slow. It’s more of a jog than a run at my speed, but I’ve got two feet off the ground for a long spell of time. Maybe I’ll speed up, and maybe I’ll always be slow, but at my age, I’m just amazed that my body is coping with all of this.

Less than a year ago, I found myself out of breath climbing two flights of stairs. That was incredibly devastating as I used to be fit. Not 10K running fit, but I could have walked for hours on end at a speedy pace. Having a young dog helped then. Over the years, diabetes and the under active thyroid, along with my fibro which affected my feet and plantar fascitis in both of them as well, I ended up as a bit of a wreck.

I was heading towards a big birthday, and all I could see was that my life was headed towards a spiral of weight, being sick, tired and unfit. I struggled to stay awake after eating anything, but the diabetes was a bit out of control and my blood sugars were high. Once I added thyroxine, I seemed to find the energy I’d been lacking for a long time.

I started walking to get my blood sugar down and one day, on a whim, I started the couch to 5K routine. It was a killer. I barely made the first day of running for one minute at a time, interspersed with bouts of walking.

I now know that slowing to a walk is ok. If it needs to be done, there’s no shame in it. Several times, I almost gave up. Especially on the longer runs of 20 minutes plus. It seems incredible to me, that now, I think of 30 minutes of constant running as an easy run. This is me talking. 30 minutes of running is easy – well apart from the first few minutes, which are always a killer, until I find my running legs and my calf muscles settle down to a rhythm.

Yesterday, I did my usual three or four weekly 5K. Then I decided to go for 6.4k, to make it a 4 mile run. At 6.4k, I still felt strong, so kept going until around 8k, where I had to take a bit of a breather for a few minutes, then I picked the pace back up, now determined to hit the 10k mark. Possibly stupid to go straight from 5k to a 10k, but that’s an exercise high for you. I ran the last 1.5k very slowly, slower than my starting off pace, but I did eventually hit the 10k, and slowed to a walk to cool down.

My back hurt….. My feet hurt….. But I did it…..

What I’ve Learned Over The Last Few Months of Running… My Tips for New Runners – those even newer than me, and I’m still new.

It’s ok to be slow.

Never compare myself to anyone else.  Other people don’t have my health issues, and what’s tough for me, could be easy for someone else.  If you sail past me while I jog on, then just give me a smile as I end up eating your dust.

Weight loss can slow up when you start running.

I’ve heard of other people who’ve lost a pile of weight when they start to run.  I’m told that some weight is fluid retention to repair the muscles that are stressed in some new runners.  I have metabolism issues, and for me, weight loss has slowed to a snail’s pace.  I am growing muscle in my legs, and although I fit into smaller clothes, my weight is not reducing at a rate to reflect that, but it’s ok to be heavier at a smaller size clothes.  It will sort itself out over time, as long as I stay in a calorie deficit.

Other runners can be as*es…

Most other runners are encouraging, helpful and understanding.  We can’t all be race winners, or even race finishers.   If we get up off our backsides and try, we are all life winners.  I think of
myself more as a jogger, but everyone seems to refer to running nowadays, and the NHS app says I’m a runner, so run/jog, it’s all getting two feet off the ground.  I’ve heard from other newbies who’ve had their speed dissed by experienced runners.  Honestly, don’t care about it.  We’re not all natural runners.  Sometimes, people who are, don’t understand how much work it is for the rest of us.

Protein is more important than I ever thought.

Learning to run while you’re in a calorie deficit isn’t simple.  When I started upping my time running, I was finding recovery tricky.  I felt fine after the run, but quickly crashed.  Some days, I needed two days rest between a run.  After a bit of reading, I realised that I was nowhere near meeting my daily protein needs.

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I needed to find a way to get more protein at lower calories, and got sick of things like eggs, so started looking at protein shakes.  I finally settled on myprotein, as it has 20g of protein in 25g of powder, which suits me fine and didn’t break the bank.

A recovery drink stops me wanting to go to sleep after a long run.

I’ve found my holy grail of recovery drinks.  Here’s my recipe for it.

  • 50g Frozen Raspberries
  • 50g Banana
  • 20g Myprotein Powder
  • 200ml Skimmed Milk

I blitz this in my Nutribullet for a few seconds, and I’m ready to go.  Sometimes, I replace some of the raspberries with frozen Mango or Strawberries.  I always use frozen fruit for this part, as I like the consistency and it’s easy to always have fruit in the freezer, ready to go.

It has around 220 Calories, with 25g Protein.

Running shoes are a must.

I’ve struggled with my feet throughout this process.  I tried cushioning, but those didn’t support my arches enough, although I’m told I’m a neutral runner.  Perhaps it was the plantar, but the neutral cushioned ones I had caused me problems with the ball of my feet and feeling my tendon move inside my arch.  At the moment, I’m back to my old Nike support ones, but I need more cushioning on the forefoot, so I have a new pair on order.  I don’t overpronate, so I don’t need high stability shoes, but I do need some support.

Doing some research into what shoes you need is very important.  Much more than I realised at the beginning of all this.  The right shoes help keep injury rates down.  My current Nike’s are fine for 5k, but I need more cushioning for longer distances.

Run Trainers

Don’t run in cotton joggers!

Honestly, really don’t, unless you’re in the early stages of the C25K.  I skint my knees with mine on a 5k.  I’ve got some silky trackie bums that slide over skin now, from Asda, and some others on order to try.

Enjoy it.

As hard as this sounds, it’s important to realise that exercise should be fun – eventually.  I really hated the first weeks, and I still dislike the first 5-10 minutes of a run, but once I’m past that, I now begin to enjoy it.  Who’d have thought I’d ever enjoy this…..

Music is Key.

I can speed up to some tracks, and others slow me down.  I’m making a playlist of the songs that help me to go a bit faster and keep my motivation high.  At around 7k yesterday, I got a little emotional, and almost cried.  Not from pain, but because the song lifted me and I felt invincible doing what I was doing.  I hope to keep doing this as long as I can, as I feel amazing after a run.

I don’t always enjoy every minute of a run, and some parts are difficult, but without the right music, I can’t cope.  I tried using the treadmill and watching the news, but found that too boring.  If my music is loud enough to stop me hearing my feet hit the ground, I’m happier.  When I can hear each step, it puts me right off and I almost crumble.  As well as that, some runs are just rubbish, especially if I’m not feeling 100%.

Your Nose may RUN, RUN, RUN

This did my head in to start with.  Whenever I run, my nose feels left out and decides to join in, especially if it’s cold or slightly windy.  I carry some tissues and a few antibacterial wipes in my pocket or my waist bag, as there’s nothing worse than a runny nose.

Running Outside is Tougher for me.

I do most of my running on a treadmill as I was lucky enough to get a great deal after Xmas.  Without it, I doubt I’d be running so far at a time.  Outside, my feet hurt much sooner, as the treadmill is much more forgiving on them.  I’d go outside more if I could face being seen, but I’m not there yet.  I have my treadmill facing a window, so I can see outside and just put on my music.  I started off without the treadmill though, and I’d have kept going without it, although I suspect my progress would have been much slower.

If you decide to go for it, the best of luck, and let me know how you get on.