Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Race Report: Chicago Kids Triathlon


Saturday, our son Teo and daughter Gaja participated in the Chicago Kids Triathlon, which is one small part of the enormity that is the weekend of the Chicago Triathlon, one of the world's largest. It turned out to be a beautiful day and a great experience for the kids. Read what they thought over on their blog, Kids Try Gear.


Even though they didn't mention it in their post, the kids got to meet Jef Mallett, creator of the comic strip Frazz. He autographed our copy of Trizophrenia, including a drawing of Frazz, and then graciously posed with the kids for a photo.

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I will be in training this week, all day, Tuesday through Sunday, with only my Crackberry to read and respond to blogs. If you've ever used a BlackBerry for that purpose, you know that it is a terrible tool. In any case, enjoy the week!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday Weigh-In and Body Composition

June 7th, I weighed 216 pounds, which is WAY too much. So I resolved, through diet and exercise, to shed a pound a week until I achieved my target weight of 165 pounds. My plan was to take a year and overhaul my eating, starting first with trying to eat less and then improve the quality of my nutrition. Well, it didn't start off that hot. I felt like I was eating relatively healthily, exercising 4 -6 times per week, but I didn't feel like I was losing weight.

With new resolve, I started using Lose It!, an app on my ITouch, to start tracking my calories. What an eye-opener! I was eating so much more than I could have ever imagined. What a kick in the pants that I sorely needed. After a week, I realized that I wanted a device that would help me track my actual weight, which I hoped to use a motivator to continue good habits and as a ruler to get myself back in line if I strayed. So I bought a Tanita Body Composition Monitor. Today is my official first weigh-in, which will also set a baseline for a variety of body composition stats.

Body Fat (BF) Percentage - amount of body fat as a proportion of my body weight. For men 40-59, Tanita suggests a healthy range is 11-22%.

Total Body Water (TBW) Percentage - total amount of fluid in a person's body expressed as a percentage. Males should fall in the range of 50-65%.

Visceral Fat (VF) Rating - Amount of visceral fat, which is fat in the internal body cavity, surrounding the vital organs. A healthy rating ranges from 1-12.

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Today's results:

Weight: (Goal of 202) - 199.2
BF: (Goal of 11-22) - 14.7
TBW: (Goal of 50-65) - 56.1
VF: (Goal of 1-12) - 6

Good initial baseline, hoping to see all these numbers come down over the coming months. Even though I'm just under 200 pounds, I won't consider myself not-a-Clydesdale until I maintain this for a month.

Kids Try Gear: Race Report: Chicago Kids Triathlon


Tazer (9):

Getting up early at 6:00 was super hard for me. I would have liked to have slept another hour. After I got up we had a good breakfast of sunflower seed butter and bananas on toast. Then we got in the car for the long drive to Chicago.

When we got there we went to the transition to set up our bikes. After we set up the bikes and helmets, we went to pick up the race packets. Then we got our numbers written on our arms and leg. Next we walked down to the beach.

At the beach we had to wait around an hour before my race started. Waiting for the start, I was pretty bored. The race organizers should have made the little kids go first.

I was in my wave and ready too go. Then my race started. The water was really cold! I was not really swimming at all, but mostly running. All of the boys in my wave were bunched together. As soon as I got out of the water, I ran to my bike.

As I ran out of the transition, my only thoughts were: speed. As I was riding, someone decided to pass me. Passing is normal, but (I don't think they tried to) as they passed me, their back tire hit my front tire and I skidded a little bit. I was okay, and soon was back in the groove, riding like normal. During the bike, I felt like it was more than 4K. Riding my bike was fun.

At the transition area, I jumped off and started my run. It was very hard for me, as I felt tired out.  Around halfway through I got a cramp. I neared the finish line. I see it! I sprint! I finish! I got a medal!

Then I went and got a Gatorade and a bagel. I loved it! I would definitely recommend it and would love to do it again!


Guy-guy (7):

Getting up early was kind of hard. We had to get up at 6:00 - I would have liked to wake at 7:00. It was an hour drive into the city, even though it only felt like 30 minutes!

Setting up transition took so long. When we went down to the beach I noticed a cool boardwalk. We had to wait for a long time before we got to start. All of the bigger kids got to go first.Then they changed the swim course for us.

But finally my turn came - my wave was wave 34. The water was freezing! I barely got to swim. Then when we got out of the water we ran up the boardwalk and into transition.

The change to the bike was pretty easy. When I got out of transition, I got on my bike. It was pretty good on my bike.

When I started the run, I felt refreshed, but when I had almost reached the finish line, I felt really tired. When I finally saw the finish line, I put on a burst of speed.

After I passed the finish line, I got a really cool medal. There were huge bagels, bananas, peaches, and Gatorade.

I would love to do another triathlon!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Chicago Kids Triathlon + Peter Rabbit Organics Giveaway Winner

(Images taken from Chicago Kids Triathlon website)
Tomorrow, my son and daughter will participate in their first triathlon, the Chicago Kids Triathlon. My son competed in the Michigan City Kids Triathlon last year, but, due to extremely wavy conditions on Lake Michigan, the swim was cancelled and the event became a duathlon.

This is the largest kids' triathlon attracting over 1,000 youngsters. Open to boys and girls 7-14 years old, the event has individual and relay team competition. The distances: For kids 7-10 years: 100 meter Swim, 4k Bike & 1k Run. For kids 11-14 years: 200 meter Swim, 8k Bike & 2k Run. The swim takes place in Lake Michigan in shallow water, parallel to the beach. The bike and run take place on closed Chicago park roadways and running paths.


I'll have them write up a race review, hopefully this weekend, and have them post it over at their blog, Kids Try Gear. Hopefully this will be the first race of many and the start of a lifelong multisport practice. My goal is for them to have fun and finish, but my son is ultracompetitive (like Tonia's kids!), so we'll see.

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Yesterday was the deadline for entering the Peter Rabbit Organics giveaway and, using random.org, the winner was...


Tracy, from Our Life with 3 Guys and A Doll! Tracy, email me at lakotega@yahoo.com with your address and Peter Rabbit Organics will send you a 10 pack assortment of pouches.

Have a product you'd like reviewed? Want to sponsor a giveaway? Contact me at lakotega@yahoo.com.

Have a great weekend all!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Book Review: OneHourIronMen by Bob Shuler


"TAKE IT EASY AND DON'T FORGET TO EMBRACE AND ENJOY THE DAY."

I recently purchased (inscribed and signed by the author) the book OneHourIronMen (OHI Press, 2010), by Bob Shuler, aka IronBob. This is definitely a book by a fan, written for fans, of the IronMan. Subtitled "Family, Career & Iron distance racing: BALANCE WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK," this 159 page book (though some pages are blank), is one man's vision of a path that can be taken to complete an IronMan. By the time the book went to press, Bob had completed a second  IM and now has plans for many more.

The book is wide-ranging, with 9 chapters plus a preface. Through these chapters, Bob explores what worked for him and how his preparation and gear differed from his buddy Arnie, who has joined him for this journey. If you have a question regarding preparation for the IronMan, chances are that Bob has it covered in this book, including a training plan. He goes into such detail as when to trim your hand and toe nails, so they are not an issue come race day. Bob writes for the IronMan rookie and is focused on getting to the finish, rather than actually racing for time. It's a nuts and bolts approach to the sport.

I have some suggestions for improving subsequent editions. First, the book is not laid out in a sequence that I would consider flowing. The preface and 1st chapter could easily be combined. And, while Bob has spent innumerable hours studying a variety of statistics, to me they are not that important and should be relegated to the final chapters, so they become almost an appendix of sorts. That being said, I really enjoyed the bullet-point narrative of the Ironman Championship (Kona) history. One other suggestion is to remove the prices of gear (and possibly brand names) from future editions - nothing dates a book more than seeing outdated prices or manufacturers who have come and gone.

If you are thinking about trying a long course triathlon, are interested in the history of the Ironman, like reading about multisport gear (and who doesn't?), or just want to support one of our own, buy this book, over on Ebay.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tanita Iron Girl Body Composition Monitor

(Image taken from Tanita website)

So, my daughter's disbelief notwithstanding, I did indeed purchase an Iron Girl branded scale ("Why doesn't it say IronMan?"). Not just any scale, but a body monitor that can measure your: weight, body fat %, body water %, muscle mass, bone mass, daily caloric intake, visceral fat, and physique rating. Why the Iron Girl and not the IronMan model? Simple - this had more bells + whistles and was on sale for $20 less, plus free shipping from REI.

In conjunction with my calorie counting using Lose it! (see earlier post), I've decided to also track my weight a little more closely. Now I know that weight loss is a fluctuating and uneven indicator of health and fitness, but it is one more statistic that tells me whether I'm on the right track.

I'm thinking that Monday mornings will be my weigh-in day. Mondays are my rest + recovery day and thus I don't have to fit in a workout before heading out to work. I've read many things on how often to weigh, from never to daily. I'll start with weekly and see how it goes. I'm hoping it becomes another motivation to lose weight.

Do you track your weight? Any other body composition stats? How often?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Eight Tips for Mountain Runners By Clint Shultz



While aimed at mountain trail running, these tips are useful for any endurance athlete.
"Mountain running requires specific training techniques. Here are my top training principles, developed from my experience as a cross-country coach and competitive athlete, to will help you reach your peak mountain-running form:

1. Use distance running to increase aerobic capacity. Mountain running requires whole-body strength and endurance to hold off muscular oxygen debt as long as possible.

2. Develop mental strength. You can physically condition your body to meet the demands of racing, but your mental strength is what gets you across the finish line. Develop your mental toughness by increasing your mileage and workout intensity to simulate mountain running’s pain, stress, and pounding.

3. Overload some days, recover others. Increase your aerobic endurance by overloading your muscles and depleting your glycogen levels with high-intensity efforts followed by recovery days (involving low-impact activities such as walking or yoga) during which your body repairs and strengthens. An example workout is hill skipping (recommend once or twice a week): skip up a hill using exaggerated, dynamic arm and leg movements to increase the strength and flexibility of your upper and lower body.

4. Cross train on two wheels. Road and mountain biking strengthens the legs and abdomen without contributing to lower-body fatigue. Biking once or twice a week also adds variety to your routine.

5. Strengthen your core. A strong abdomen supports the spine, reduces back pain, chance of overuse injury to the hips. Strengthen your abs with sit-ups, leg raises, flutter kicks. Push-ups and holding a plank position are particularly beneficial.

6. Stretch to prevent injury. Running one to three hours a day may leave little time to stretch, but the importance of taking 10 minutes to stretch before and after a run cannot be overstated. Running uphill and downhill involves full extension of the front and back legs muscles, calf muscles and the Achilles, so these muscles groups must remain supple. Maximize your speed, assist in recovery and prevent injuries with a thorough warm up followed by stretching.

7. Upper/whole body lifting. Achieve muscular strength in the upper and lower body by lifting weights for 30 to 45 minutes, three times a week. The goal of the upper-body workouts is to add strength, not bulk. A strong upper body will help you with steep ascents and assist in maintaining good form during your long runs.

8. Mix it up in the off season. Employ these training principles for only three months, as any longer increases your chances of overuse injury. In the off season, cross train to develop other muscles through hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, or indoor sports like basketball, volleyball and martial arts."

These tips came to my notice via TrailRunner's E-Newsletter, Inside Dirt.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Peter Rabbit Organics Product Review + Giveaway


Peter Rabbit Organics is a London, England based company that now also makes their fruit puree pouches in Oregon for distribution in the USA. Made from pure, organic fruit, the BPA-free pouches have no added sugar or preservatives. Sourcing only organic ingredients certified by the USDA, and whenever possible using local suppliers in Oregon. The 3 delicious pouches have a thick, smooth texture and aren't diluted with water or juice.


Similar to squeezable drink pouches, the pouches are easy to drop into a diaper bag, lunch box or purse without breaking or spilling. Unopened pouches don't need to be refrigerated so they're great for car trips, cycle rides...and for all the family to enjoy.


Ideal for ages 6 months and upwards, the fruit can be enjoyed straight from the pouch - no spoons required!! Our no-choke cap makes them safe for little ones and the larger size makes it easy to get a full serving of fruit in each pouch.

Peter Rabbit Organics can be found on Facebook and Twitter - check them out!


Colleen from Maxwell PR set our family up with a pouch each of the Mango Banana + Orange, the Apple + Grape, and Strawberry + Banana. The pouches are a bit unusual looking, with a bulbous cap that conceals a tube-like drinking straw. I was somewhat surprised at how liquid the purees are, but on reflection, it makes sense that a product aimed at folks 6 months and above wouldn't be too thick. All three flavors are very good, somewhat sweet to my taste, and the kids loved them. Interestingly enough, each of the 3 chose a different favorite flavor, so that worked out well.


The pouches are available at select Whole Foods grocery stores and independent natural food stores and they are well-worth searching out. With a fruit serving in each pouch, it's easy to bring along for the kids or an adult, for snacking on the go. While differing slightly, all three poches have somewhat the same nutritional breakdown:


As a parent, I love that they are organic, handy, and not messy. The taste ensures my kids will want to finish them and, as a snack, they are well-sized. Want to know what my kids thought? Head over to their blog, Kids Try Gear, to read more.

Interested? Peter Rabbit Organics has graciously agreed to give away 10 assorted pouches to a winner (limited to U.S. residents only)! Whether you have children or not, this is a great single fruit serving for anyone, including adults.

How to enter:
  1. Be a follower of this blog.
  2. Like this blog on Facebook.
  3. Link this contest to your blog, announce on FB, or retweet using any of the handy buttons.
Enter through Thursday, August 26th - winner announced Friday, August 27th!


(Disclaimer: I was sent this product for free to review on my blog - courtesy of Peter Rabbit Organics. I did not pay for the items, receive payment, or agree to give it a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the company website, the opinions are my own.)

Have a product you'd like reviewed? Contact me at lakotega@yahoo.com.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Kids Try Gear: Peter Rabbit Organics Product Review


Colleen from Maxwell PR set our family up with a pouch each of the Mango Banana + Orange, the Apple + Grape, and Strawberry + Banana. Peter Rabbit Organics can be found on Facebook and Twitter!


Our opinion:


Tazer (9):

I think that the pouches look sort of strange, though I like the look of the company symbol, Peter Rabbit. I also like the bright, flashy colors. I bet that those are good advertisements. Overall I like the pouches.

The first one we tasted was the Mango Banana + Orange. It was also my favorite. I liked it because it was smooth and creamy. Also I liked it because it tasted so good!

The next thing we tasted was the Apple + Grape. Compared to the other two, this was my least favorite. It looked like applesauce. Plus the texture was like applesauce. The taste was both of the flavors blended together. Overall it was okay but not the best.

Last of all we tasted the Strawberry + Banana. Did you know that was my second favorite? I liked it because it was smooth and creamy. It tasted like both of the flavors together. Overall it was great.

Overall I thought they were very good. The flavors were good, the pouches were good. I would recommend these to my friends. And I would definitely get them again. I hope you love them as  much as I do!


Guy-guy (7):

I liked the pouches because you don't need spoons. This is similar to applesauce pouches that my friends at school eat. I think they are a good portion size. My favorite was the Apple + Grape. I like that they are organic and have no added sugar, but they still taste sweet.

Apple + Grape - I tasted mostly grape, no apple flavor. It looks like applesauce and was the thickest of the three.

Mango Banana + Orange - This one was smooth. I tasted a lot of banana, a bit of mango, and no orange. This had the sweetest taste of all of them.

Strawberry + Banana - This was a little sour and looked like a smoothie. This was also the most runny.

Overall I liked all three. I would definitely eat it again and would like my parents to buy it.


(Disclaimer: This product was sent for free for review on our dad's blog - courtesy of Peter Rabbit Organics. He did not pay for the items, receive payment, or agree to give it a positive review - the opinions are our own.)

6KDNCBWACXPP

Friday, August 20, 2010

Lose it! Succeed at weight loss using your iPhone

(Image taken from Lose it! website)

Several days ago, Tricia over at Endurance Isn't Only Physical wrote a post regarding nutrition and tracking calories/nutrients. Earlier, Glenn  from The Running Fat Guy had posted something about Lose it,an app for the IPhone that he used to do just that.

After emailing back and forth with Glenn, I decided to try it out. Talk about one's head in the sand, I was shocked! Shocked I tell you at how many, many, many calories I have been ingesting without realizing it. For example, one of my favorite snacks is a small bowl of brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, banana chips, and some chocolate chips. Without the chocolate chips, using measuring cups, my "little snack" is a hefty 780 calories! What?

This app is really amazing as an external motivator to really think about what you are eating and the choices we all must make. Though it's a bit labor intensive, Lose it! has, in a week, completely changed the way I approach food. No more 3 glasses of wine after a monster dinner that includes finishing my kids' leftovers. No more 5 cube portions of my favorite dark chocolate brick. No more "little snacks." The truth is, it's actually fun once you get beyond the initial horror.

Here's the other thing. As you start watching your calories, you realize that, for the most part, you get way more bang for your buck choosing healthier items. 100 calories? Maybe 3 servings of vegetables versus half a tiny piece of chocolate (and sometimes the chocolate is worth it).

My next step? Working on fixing my nutritional breakdown. Both my wife and I thought I was eating relatively healthily, just overeating, but this week, my nutritional breakdown is as follows: 37% Fat, 44 % carbs, 19% protein. Now I don't actually know what I want my percentages to be, but I'm guessing the fat % should be lower. In my defense, of the nearly 80 grams of fat I ingested over the last 5 days, only 18 grams were saturated fat.

Is Lose it! perfect? No, and I don't expect it to be. Sometimes the calories are off from what the food packaging tells you (like the 350 calories worth of pistachios that are actually 170) or the 636 calories I burned cycling this morning versus the 535 Daily Mile claims. Who knows which are more accurate? They are ballpark and they have me thinking, and scheming, and most important, paying attention. So Tricia and anyone else looking for a calorie/nutrition tracking system, this is the one that's working for me.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Serious sport is war minus the shooting. - George Orwell

(Image of Glock 22 taken from http://www.glock.com/english/)

I'm not sure how it ties into this new multisport life of mine (or if it even does), but lately I've been wanting to shoot guns. Several  years ago, I began attending the police academy, thinking I might enjoy being a law enforcement officer. Due to some propitious turns of events, it was not to be, but, apart from learning evasive driving techniques, shooting the guns was the most enjoyable part of it for me. I'm not sure where it came from. I never hunted, noone in my family hunted, none of my families hunted. I had even mailed myself a letter stating that, if I were ever drafted, I wished to be known as a conscientious objector and that I would not serve in the armed forces (completely different story, tied in to my somewhat anarchist leanings in my punk rock youth).

I've thought about shooting on and off over the last few years, but never did anything about it. Recently, a perfect storm of random coincidences (There are no coincidences!) really got me thinking. A coworker mentioned that he shoots up in Wisconsin and invited me along the next time he went. Emily mentioned in a post of hers: 11. I love my glock. Wish I had more time to go shooting. For the last several months, I've also been watching Top Shot on History Channel.

(Top Shot images above and below taken from http://www.history.com/shows/top-shot)

Top Shot is History Channel's first "elimination" series. A group of 15 men and a woman are challenged to be the Top Shot, the ultimate marksman. It's not limited to pistols or rifles, however; they throw knives, shoot arrows, use a slingshot. Very fun. The show  is hosted by actor, adventurer and athlete Colby Donaldson, whom you might know from the TV series "Survivor." He has definitely patterned his hosting after Jeff Probst of "Survivor" and why not, the guy is definitely successful.


Finally, while trolling sites to find products that I wanted to request for product reviews, I visited a Public Relations company that handles Glock. The Glock-22 (pictured above) was my favorite weapon to shoot while at the academy and it sort of brought all these occurences full circle.

What unique hobby do you have/wish you had?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Somnio Running Shoes Discount!

(Image taken from Somnio Facebook page)

Several weeks ago, I was fit for a pair of Somnio Running shoes, received the shoes, ran in them, and loved them. Somnio now wants to help you out by offering a HUGE discount on a pair of their shoes! That's right, Somnio is offering readers of this blog a $40.00 discount on a pair of shoes ordered through the Somnio website. After shopping on the website, enter code Kovasblog10 at checkout to receive $40.00 off your order. Discount is available through September 30th, 2010

Thanks Somnio!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Reckless Abandon - A Multisport Journey


Yesterday, I emailed back and forth with Jeffrey, who is a reader of Midwest Multisport Life, The Road [A Multi-Sport Blog], and Dangle the Carrot, among others. He was responding to a question I had on the post Patrick and I did together and it went from there. He mentioned that he had completed his first Ironman this year (see picture above - check out that time!). With an Ironman being one of my overarching goals, I asked the following: "I'm curious, after completing it, will you do more, scale back, or check it off the list and move on?" Here is his response, slightly edited:

"Well, to be honest, heading into it, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve done one “open” marathon and it killed me. I vowed that, unless things changed for me dramatically, I would never do another open marathon. So, heading into Ironman training and then the actual race, I thought that it might be something that I needed to do and would never need/want to do again. When it was over, I was ready to sign up for my next race. I didn’t, as I wasn’t sure if it was just the adrenalin flowing, but I feel confident that I will. I’ve signed up to be a volunteer at IM Florida so that I can sign up for IMFL in November 2011.


January 2000 – second semester of my first senior year of college. The night before I left to go to Europe for my semester abroad, I weighed in at 299 pounds. I was drinking, smoking and eating with reckless abandon. I was a former Texas high school offensive lineman and after leaving high school, I didn’t understand that if I wasn’t careful, all of that mass would turn to blob…so, college was a tough time for me physically. Sure, I played club sports, but I was never “fit” at all.


So, Europe came and went and by sheer minor lifestyle changes and the fact that they bike everywhere, I came home six months later at 265. My senior year was good and I worked out a little more and by August 2001, I was a strong 235 – very strong. I was working out like I had always been taught – in the weight room.


Fast forward to October 2005 – I had made it through grad school and was working in NYC. On October 8, 2005, I got married at a chubby and less strong 245 lbs. By January, my new wife was suggesting that we get fit, together. We started eating better and I decided to join a gym. I had no inspiration at the gym, though. I met someone who talked about triathlon and I was intrigued. So, I signed up for my first race – a sprint triathlon in June 2006. By March/April of that year, I was a fit and somewhat lean 200 lbs. I did my first race in June (on my mountain bike, mind you) and completely fell in love. I did a sprint XTerra race in August (struggled through it), but was still in love.


By 2009, I had done a number of sprint, olys and my first HIM (Rev3). The day after the Rev3, I knew that I had to do more…I NEEDED to do an Ironman. Now that I’ve done it, I know that I want to do it again. I may not next year, but I know I will do it again. IM Florida looks like a great opportunity, but I just don’t know if I will be able to get in – hence me signing up to volunteer. If I don’t, we’ll see what happens. The HIM distance is a good one, so maybe I’ll do 2 or 3 next summer if I don’t get an IM on the schedule.


Today, I’m at a pretty fit 195 lbs (6’2”). I know that I have some serious work to do on my core if I want to get better (read faster). I still carry a decent paunch."

Wow! After reading that, I told Jeffrey that I wanted to share his story, unless he either wrote a blog or was willing to start one. Well, he did. Head over to Reckless Abandon - My Multisport Journey, become a follower, and welcome Jeffrey to our blogging community. He's going to be a great addition.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Somnio Running Westridge Trail Shoe Product Review


(Somnio Running Westridge Trail Shoes after my first run, wearing my Nathan Shoe Pocket for the Nike+ sensor, my CEP Compression Sleeves, and the Smartwool Experia Socks I won on DestinationAthlete's blog)

About a month ago, I was fitted for a new pair of Somnio Running Westridge Trail Shoes (see earlier post). When the shoes finally came in the mail, I was excited to try them out, so I ran the very next morning and have worn them exclusively over the last runs (approximately 30 miles). Here are my impressions.

Green Score:

Somnio Running, while not stating it on their website, is, for a shoe company, relatively green. The shoes came in a cardboard box, in which there was the shoe box (which appears to be made of recycled cardboard), some wrapping paper for the shoes, and nothing else; no peanuts, no extraneous stuff.


Customer Service

As mentioned in my earlier post, the fitting process is detailed and, if by some chance your feet are different sizes, Somnio will work with you! They also have a great guarantee for either exchanges or returns:

EXCHANGES
At Somnio we understand that running shoes are a personal choice and that to truly know if a shoe is going to work, you'll need to put in some miles. In the chance that you are not happy, there are probably a few minor adjustments that we can change in order to make them perfect. Call us! We're here to help and are happy to make an exchange for the parts, model or size that you prefer. We can be reached M-F, 8-5 PST at 866.966.RUN1(7861).

RETURNS
In the event that you don't fall in love, we offer a 30 day return policy for purchases made through our online store. All we ask is that you send the items back to us in the original packaging and make sure that the merchandise is in new or unused condition. Returns are accepted within 30 days from your shipment date.

 After I posted my shoe fitting, Somnio called me and let me know that what I had told them on the phone and the prescription I posted were actually a little different  and sent me new inserts that were correct. That's great customer service.

Fit

The detailed fitting made me think that the shoes would be comfortable right out of the box. However, when I first put them on, I thought, hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....not so sure about these. I walked around the house and thought, hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....not so sure about these. Still, I decided not to be too hasty and stepped outside to begin my run. Somnio is Latin for “dream.” And that's what they were. These shoes are not made for wearing around the house. These shoes are not made for walking around the house. These shoes are made for running. First off, these Westridge Taril Shoes are probably the lightest trail shoes you'll ever wear. While the weight is light, the protection is not - I ran on gravel, dirt, over roots and stones, and never had a problem with any of them. This is like wearing armored slippers.

My runs included straight road tempo runs, trail runs, intervals at the track, sand dune sprints, and my longer runs on the weekends. The Westridge handled everything with aplomb. I can say that there is not a type of running that was not extremely comfortable with these shoes.

One caveat. As my fitter mentioned, Somnio Running Shoes run a little on the small size. My size 13s just barely fit - I would probably preferred a 13.5 in these shoes, but it was no problem wearing them with thinner socks.

This is a personal complaint, but it may not bother everyone. I tend to wear very low-cut socks and these shoes rubbed my heel on those days. When I wore crews or higher, no problem. So for me, these would probably not work for sockless running. Not a big deal in any way, just worth a mention in case you find the same.

The Cost

Initially the cost of the shoes ($130.00 - 160.00) seems pricey. However, after running in them, I can say  they are probably worth every penny. Most of us probably spend around $100.00 for a good pair of running shoes. I don't wear orthotics, but my wife does and, even with insurance, her custom orthotics were Expensive! If she could get these custom-fitted and did not have to wear the orthotics, we'd be FAR ahead financially. Also, while the $100.00 shoes might be fine (unless you have to cut them to make them fit), so to pay a slight premium for a custom fit (even different sizes!) seems well-worth it.

Final Thoughts

These Somnio Westridge's will definitely be an integral part of my shoe rotation - as mentioned, they are comfortable in every situation. I've asked both my local running stores to carry them, if not for me, then definitely for my wife. Highly recommended as a shoe company that has an innovative product, great customer service, and results to back up their claims.

(Disclaimer: I was sent this product for free to review on my blog - courtesy of Somnio Running. I did not pay for the item, receive payment, or agree to give it a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the company website, the opinions are my own.)

Have a product you'd like reviewed? Contact me at lakotega@yahoo.com.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Barefoot AngieB's aha moment

(Image taken from aha website)

Barefoot AngieB is a very cool barefoot running mom from Des Moines, IA. She recently shared an "aha moment," which for her was her very first barefoot run. There are plenty of barefoot runners out there, but no one quite proseletizes quite like AngieB. Click on the link below to watch and listen to her aha moment:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

TriTopics


Yesterday was Chris from TriTopics birthday, but I was the one who got the gifts! Awaiting me on the stoop was a cardboard tube, filled with beautiful posters from his multisport store (he also sells cards with multisport images). The 3 images above are each a 11x17 black & white poster. The image below is an 18x24 color poster. All of them are high quality, with crisp images and sleek finishes. What I like (maybe not most of all, but close) is that they are a standard size print, so I can go to any store that stocks frames and easily get these protected and hung up.


 
Chris also produces a multisport podcast, available through iTunes - listen! You can also like TriTopics on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

TriTopics is doing a valuable service for all of us endurance athletes by providing easy gifts to give or get. Check out all their products today!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Hard CORE Club


Recently, Jamoosh from Last Mile Lounge invited the blogging community to join him in 13 weeks to a stronger core. He even went so far as to create a website for The Hard CORE Club. The HCC (as we of the in-crowd refer to it), is pretty simple: start the 13 weeks this Sunday, commit to 2 or 3 core workouts per week, and conclude on November 13th, just in time for the gluttonous holiday season. If you haven't already, I'm inviting you to join us - why? As James states "Seriously, what could be better than sharing pain with a bunch of people you’ve only met over the internet – what more can you ask for?"

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Battle with Burnout

 
As endurance athletes, we are loathe to take rest days, easy days, or act in any way that might cause us to lose a bit of edge. To a point it's what makes us who we are, but there comes a point when it's absolutely necessary to back off in order to save ourselves...from ourselves. In the September 2010 Triathlete Magazine, Kim McDonald has an interesting article regarding this, with some tips on how to avoid burnout.

 
10 Ways to Avoid Burnout
  1. Take time off after big races.
  2. Don't stress over race results.
  3. Keep training and racing in perspective.
  4. Take your training to a new place.
  5. Be a one-sport athlete for a few months.
  6. Do different kinds of races.
  7. Train with different people.
  8. Take a two-week mid-season break.
  9. Take at least six weeks off after the season.
  10. Do something fun in the off-season.

What do you do tto avoid burning out?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Book Review: Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge

Recently, both Patrick and I wrote about the similarities between punk and the nascent multisport culture (read Patrick’s here and mine here. In kind of an interesting coincidence, I just finished a book by Gordon Edgar, Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge (White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Pub., c2010). Edgar came out of the Northern California punk scene, not sure what he was going to do with his life. A chance to work at the Rainbow Grocery (a worker-owned co-op), set him on his path to cheesemongering. It was a really enjoyable read, as Edgar has a dry sense of humor and, of course, the do-it-yourself mentality that all punk-rockers either are born with or acquire through the scene.

From the website: http://gordonzola.net/:

“There is a contradiction sometimes in the food world. Nothing can be more humbling than cheesemaking and dairy farming. It’s too easy to have something go wrong, to be up to one’s ankles in cow shit, to have a batch of cheese become garbage for a myriad of interconnected reasons. Sometimes however, the way people talk about cheese makes it seem like something only snobs and rich people can talk about.

I’ve been selling cheese since 1994 at San Francisco’s largest independent grocery store. I love cheese. Mice, maggots, and misanthropes haven’t been able to cut into my love for cheese. Many cheeses have great stories but in the end its all about taste. The taste in your mouth, not the concept of taste that comes from too many incestuous cocktail parties.”

You can buy the book from Chelsea Green : http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/cheesemonger - here’s what they have as his author’s bio:

“Gordon Edgar loves cheese and worker-owned co-ops, and has been combining both of these infatuations as a cheesemonger at Rainbow Grocery Cooperative in San Francisco for more than 15 years. Edgar has been a judge at cheese competitions, a board member for the California Artisan Cheese Guild, and, since 2002, has blogged at www.gordonzola.net. Surrounded by his vast and decaying collection of zines and obscure punk 7-inches, he lives in San Francisco with his girlfriend and their imaginary white miniature schnauzer.”

Follow him on Facebook.

Interesting link on his blog: The Beer and Cheese Project.

This weekend, at our local farmer’s market, we bought some Dante from The Cheese People. What is Dante? “Lovely sheep's milk cheese made near Spring Green, WI - Sorta like a Parm, but with that buttery / oil mouthfeel via sheep's milk. Aged a year or more & as one of our cheesemongers likes to say, ‘Dante....it's a helluva cheese.’"

Recommended read.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Anti Monkey Butt Powder Giveaway Winners!


Anti Monkey Butt Powder, great for everything (see review), was up for grabs, one can for men, one for the ladies. We had 2 males leave a comment, and the winner of the men's can is.....Big Clyde! (Sorry Jon, better luck next time.) Once again using random.org, the winning comment for the women was #15....Cynthia!

Winners, I'll be emailing you if I can find an email for you. If not, please send me the name and address you want the Anti Monkey Butt Powder sent to.

Friday, August 6, 2010

C.A.R.E (Comprehensive AIDS Resource Education)


Net proceeds of the Long Beach Triathlon benefit the C.A.R.E (Comprehensive AIDS Resource Education) Program at St. Mary Medical Center. The C.A.R.E. Program and Clinics offer an array of medical and social services for HIV/AIDS clients throughout Southern California.The CARE Program is the one of the largest comprehensive HIV organizations in the County of Los Angeles. The Long Beach Triathlon is CARE’s largest fundraising event that seeks to supplement unfunded care and services for men, women and children affected by HIV disease. Your participation and donations will help fund services for over a thousand individuals who are not able to afford HIV prevention, education, dental, medical, and mental health services. Donate online here.

Fundraising for C.A.R.E.

This year's Long Beach Triathlon is the first as a fundraising event. St. Mary Medical Center, Competitive Aquatic Supply and Pacific Sports are teaming up to raise money, and ask your help in raising as much as they can!

Patrick (from The Road [A Multi-Sport Blog], ) has set an ambitious goal of raising $1000 to help out this worthwhile group; from his fundraising page:

Giving Back

At the end of the day, participation in multi-sport is a one sided equation. The health benefits, wellness benefits and personal satisfaction I receive from training and racing far exceeds the price I pay for it in sweat equity. The fact that I am healthy enough to participate is a victory regardless of how fast I can swim, cycle or run.

So many are much less fortunate. And because I have been blessed to find the multi-sport world, I am compelled to give back. As part of my participation in the 2010 Long Beach Triathlon, I have committed to raising $1000 for CARE, a non-profit comprehensive HIV/AIDS health service based in Long Beach. Please join me in this effort if you can. It will be appreciated by me and so many others.


To help out, please donate by visiting his fundraising page. (Just think, if each one of Patrick's 99 followers donated $10, he'd reach his goal. If by some magic, he reached 100 followers - yes, that could be YOU, he'd reach his goal no problem. Donate now!)

Have a great weekend all!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

MiracleKids Triathlon


(Images taken from race website http://www.miraclekidstriathlon.org/main/)

A couple days ago, David from the MiracleKids Triathlon contacted me about assistance in building awareness for a meaningful kids triathlon that happens in Minnesota. His statement: "It's about helping others and helping yourself. It's about using the sport of triathlon to teach kids valuable lessons." Sounds like an amazing organization and a worthwile cause.

According to David: "Last year, the more than 1,200 kids raced in the two MiracleKids Triathlons, raising more than $250,000 for families with children battling cancer. The race was developed by a six-time world triathlon age-group champion in memory of boy who died of cancer at the age of 10. While Mitch Chepokas was dying in the hospital, he noticed other kids' parents were torn between spending time with their suffeing child, and working to pay for daily life-expenses and treatment costs. In his final months, Mitch worked with his father to distribute his financial gifts to other families in the cancer ward so they too could share time together during treatments. The MiracleKids Triathlon raises money for the foundation that bears Mitch's name, The Miracles of Mitch Foundation."


From the website:
Overview

Founded in 2004, The Miracle KidsTriathlon was created to raise money for the Miracles of Mitch foundation, a nonprofit that provides financial assistance to families who have children with cancer.

Triathlon

Broken into two age groups, 7- to 10-year-olds and 11- to 17-year-olds, the race requires the youngest age group to swim 100 yards, bike three miles and run a half-mile. The older age group will bike, swim and run twice the distances. Complete with a procession, picnic, party and awards ceremony, the events emphasize personal achievement and generosity.

The Races

MiracleKids Minneapolis
Lake Nokomis Park
Saturday, July 17, 2010 11 a.m. start

MiracleKids Chanhassen
Lake Ann Park
Saturday, Aug. 21, 2010 8:30 a.m. start

Registration, fees and fundraising

Registration begins in February and is open to kids ages 7 to 17. The cost is $40 per child, with family and multiple child rates available. Each child is encouraged to fundraise for the cancer patients. Last year, kids raised more than $200, 000 in pledges, a 35 percent growth in contributions.

Miracles of Mitch Foundation

Developed by Becky and Steve Chepokas, the Miracles of Mitch Foundation relieves financial stress for families affected by cancer. It also commemorates the legacy of Becky and Steve’s child Mitch, who died of cancer in 2003. In his final months, Mitch worked with his father to share his financial savings with other children whose families were torn between spending time with them and paying bills. Mitch no longer stuffs envelopes full of money and slides them under hospital doors, but his acts of kindness live on in the form of the Miracles of Mitch foundation.

Contact

For more information on the MiracleKids Triathlon, contact Race Director Tony Schiller at 952-361-9600 or at tony@mkidstri.com.

It's too late to do the Minneapolis event this year, but the Chanhassen is still accepting registration. My kids will be doing the Chicago Kids Triathlon this year, but these will be definite candidates next year!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Runner's World Quote of the Day


"Running is a statement to society. It is saying 'no' to always being on call, to sacrificing our daily runs for others' needs. When we run we are doing something for ourselves." -- Phoebe Jones

I run for myself, but also for my family. Who do you run for?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What's in Your Closet? (It's the Joint!)


Patrick from The Road [A Multi-Sport Blog] and I have posted together before, when we reviewed the Shamrock Farms Rockin Refuel Chocolate drink. Today we are comparing what gear we use, so head over to Patrick's blog and read his post What's in your closet?

Then, post about your gear. Who doesn't like to see what others are using? Who has the most shoes? The most bikes? The most expensive stuff? Tell all!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Anti Monkey Butt Powder #Giveaway!

Once again, Anti Monkey Butt Powder is up for winning! One male and one female (any species) will each win a can of AMBP to have and to hold, use and abuse (hopefully not), til empty can do you recycle.

AMBP is for so much more than chapped cheeks - I found it helped with general soreness and numbness while cycling and also makes a pretty mean pancake (not really).

Come one, come all, step right up to give it a try and win a prize! Simply:
  1. Be a follower of this blog.
  2. Like this blog on Facebook.
  3. Link this contest to your blog, announce on FB, retweet (one Golden Ticket for each).
  4. Like AMBP on FB and/or follow on Twitter.
Companies, do you have a product you'd like reviewed or a giveaway you'd like to sponsor or both? Contact me at lakotega@yahoo.com.

Running, Skiing, and Endurance Sports - Patagonia.com

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