Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful Thursday

First World Problems

I'm the first to admit that I do my share of whining, often over nothing at all. The funny thing is, that it drives me crazy when my spoiled rotten kids do it, haha. My favorite holiday is today - Thanksgiving is, to me, the least commercialized celebration with the best message. Let's be thankful. And I am, I truly am - I have great kids, a good job, and the opportunity to get outside and enjoy myself. I hope that your holiday is half as good as mine will be and I truly hope that all your problems are First World problems. Happy Thanksgiving.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Square Bottle, Run or Die, Sons of Anarchy

Square Bottle

I'm a huge fan of metal bottles over plastic bottles, since theoretically they may be recyclable, and continued research makes me wonder if ANY plastic bottle is safe. Clean Bottle comes through with a square metal bottle that has minimal plastic (BPA-free) and whose shape keeps it from rolling around (handy when dropped in the footwell of a car). Holding 20 oz, it features a fingerprint-proof finish, two ends that open for easy cleaning (you can dishwash the body and handwash the caps), and, best of all, is guaranteed for life! Fits in bottle cages, so it's appropriate for cycling, along with any other activities you can think of. (Received for review purposes - all opinions are my own.)

Kilian Jornet Run or Die

If you're not impressed with Kilian Jornet, there might be something wrong with you. Originally a successful ski mountaineer and ultrarunner, he has turned his sights to FKTs (Fastest Know Times), running up mountains in hours, attempts that can take others days or weeks. He has ascended ascending and descended Alaska's Mount McKinley (Denali) in 11 hours and 40 minutes, the Matterhorn in a record time of 2 hours and 52 minutes, and now plans a speed attack on Mount Everest. Impressive. At age 27, Jornet has written an autobiography, Run or Die (VeloPress), detailing his exploits as a child (his parents pushed him to be comfortable in the outdoors) and further adventures as an adult. This book really should be subtitled Volume I, because I'm sure he has big plans for the future that were not included in this edition. (Received for review purposes - all opinions are my own.)

Sons of Anarchy

Anyone else watching "Sons of Anarchy?" We have the most basic of cable packages, so I'm not as current on popular shows as most, but since we got Netflix a few months ago, I've been checking out shows I've heard about but had never seen. "Sons of Anarchy" is one of the ones that had most interested me - while I hate the glamorization of motorcycle gangs, there's also a prurient interest that I think a lot of people share with me. I've watched the first few episodes and I'll say this: it's okay, slower moving than expected, and a lot less action than I had hoped. I do like that it takes place in a smaller town and that everybody, good and bad, knows each other. The other thing that I like is that all the characters seem to have good and bad attributes - like real life, no one is perfect. Not sure if I missed it, but the references to the gang as "Sam Crow" are puzzling to me; maybe it gets explained somewhere down the line? In any case, I'm willing to give it a few more episodes before I decide to keep watching it or find something new.

What are your go-to TV shows that you recommend?

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Runner's Mobility: The Warm Up

Runner's Mobility: The Warm Up

Most runner's have read enough to know that static stretching before running is now considered a no-no (and if you hadn't read it before, you just did). Too many of us, however, are crunched for time or lazy, and figure we'll warm up as we get into our run. What this means, however, is that most of us are slamming cold joints and muscles into hard pavement, with no "oil" running through our engines. That's a sure recipe for injury, usually sooner than later. The warm up is one of the easiest ways to maintain, and improve mobility for runners. The best thing is that it can be done without any tools, though using rollers and such are a good idea if you have them.

Simple warm ups:
  • Walking is a good starter, getting you moving with less impact.
  • Dynamic stretches - go ahead and do some walking lunges, adding some arm raises for a full body wake-up, arm circles, and, if you're particularly motivated, some burpees (THAT will wake you up).
  • Running drills, done at partial speed, are a great way to start off: butt kicks, high knees, cariocas, etc.
  • Jumping rope gets you warmed up fast, and has ancillary benefits as well.
  • I also add in a set of Tabata squats, which gets my whole lower body going. Also a good way to get funny looks when doing them at the trailhead.
As you can see, it's not difficult to get a decent warm up with no tools and only a little bit of time. Add in one or more the next time you're ready to head out for a run and you'll feel a huge difference.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Forge Mug, Paleo by Season, Spartan Race

CamelBak Forge Insulated Travel Mug

I love camping gear, because it can often pull double duty in every day normal life. That's the case with the CamelBak Forge insulated travel mug. This vacuum-sealed, double-walled steel travel mug is insulated to keep your coffee or tea hot for over 4 hours, according to CamelBak - maybe, but I would say keeps the liquid warm rather than hot, in my experience. (*11-25-14 EDIT: After priming the mug and making sure my coffee was really hot, I had much better results.) The self-sealing mug is made for drinking one-handed - very cool design, though I'm not sure how they could add a handle to this mug, which is an iteration I'd love to see. I will say that to clean this mug is really simple - once the lid is off, the self-sealing mechanism can be popped open for access to all areas. One thing I really appreciate is the pleasing heft of this mug - while it's definitely not heavy, it feels substantial and enduring. This is an insulated mug that will stay in my hand on a pretty much daily basis going forward, especially with a camping trip coming up and the cold weather upon us. (This product received as a review sample - all opinions are my own.)

Paleo By Season

When possible, I eat local and, for the most part, seasonally. I'm not a big fan of strawberries from Mexico in February, as an example. Unfortunately, this is really difficult in our current situation, where we've gotten used to having whatever we want whenever we want it. I was really excited to get a review copy of Peter Servold's Paleo By Season: A Chef’s Approach to Paleo Cooking from Victory Belt Publishing and then doubly excited after reading it. As far as cookbooks go, its focus lies mainly on cooking techniques, rather than straight recipes (though there are plenty of recipes), which allows the user to transfer the idea from one meal to a totally different one. Like many chefs though (and plenty of consumers), local products are king, and that's where the seasons come into play. Servold suggests produce that should be available locally in each season, then follows up with techniques and recipes for inspiration. Great resource, beautiful photos, well-written - definitely a cookbook to take a look at. (This product received as a review sample - all opinions are my own.)

Reebok All-Terrain Series Shoes Video

After reading the obstacle course racing book last recently, then watching the Spartan Race World Championship on TV this weekend, I have a not-so-sudden urge to try one or more of these out. New sport (to me) means new gear. And it turns out that Spartan Race sponsor Reebok makes special shoes for OCR - the All-Terrain Series. These shoes have technical features such as a Rock Guard, H20 Drain, 360 Degree Traction and Rope Guard to make it easier to complete the obstacles and the race itself.

Have a great weekend all!

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