Monday, January 31, 2011

All the Marbles


This is it, for all the marbles. The gauntlet has been thrown down, the die is cast, the players are known. The winner will henceforth be known as The Rajah of Running, The Titan of Triathlon, The Big Blogger. Three will enter, only one will remain.

That's right, the 3 Musketeers will set aside friendship, fealty, and sweet words for a mano a mano a mano cagefight duel to the death bitter end. On a chance comment by Andrew, the budding bromance of one for all and all for one is now torn asunder. It is on.


Between now and February 13th (or 27th, depending on source, apparently Canadians use a different calendar, perhaps based on the 1,000 Inuit words for snow), the three of us will grunt, groan, and sweat our way through the 2 Minutes of Slurpees Burpees contest. The podium order:
  1. Kovas
  2. Chris K
  3. Patrick
The explanation:
  1. No explanation needed.
  2. While he was voted one of the 2012 Endurance Hotties (no wait, that was me), Chris K  has suffered crushing defeat in the past and, celebrating his taper BQ at Surf City with an overabundance of adult beverages, will still manage to outdistance Patrick (ladies, rumor has it that he's commando under that toga, video coming soon!)
  3. Patrick, while the youngest, strongest, and newest member to these death matches, is a triathlete. What this means, is that he is a force to be reckoned with when challenged by a single activity. However, most triathletes struggle when faced with multiple tasks, i.e., the transition. It will probably take him more than the minutes allotted to figure out the steps needed. Plus, finding, purchasing, and customizing a Burpee unitard is probably not realistic within the time parameters. Last but not least, it is unlikely that Patrick will receive, in time, permission to compete from his support crew: coach, massage therapist, psychotherapist, proctologist, etc.
Gentlemen, you killed my father, prepare to die.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ultrarunner versus Ironman


First saw this over at Quadrathon, really funny! I think we can all see some of ourselves in these 2 characters.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tips for the Trail: Cold Weather Running


Endurance Athlete Project member MGoBlue had the following question for the Midwest Athletes group: "This is my first winter as a "runner". Anyone have some good tips for winter running?"
Rachel Cieslewicz, an elite runner and triathlete from Salt Lake City, Utah, tackles a subject that most Americans can relate to these days - running in cold weather. Here are her tips for this week:
Running in the cold
Can't stand the thought of a treadmill workout? Do you live in the cold and don't know how to get out there? You are in luck. I am here to help you navigate through the best winter ever with world class, cold weather running tips, just for our tribe.
Cold is a relative term. Each person has varying abilities to run in the cold. Typically a person running at a moderate pace is able to generate warmth up to 20 degrees warmer than air temperature, until you add the elements. My suggestion is to adapt with shorter runs close to home until you find what works for you. More things to think about are gear, terrain, clothing, and fuel.


What to wear
I am going to use myself as an example. I am 5 feet, 6 inches tall. I have a lean build, tend to have cold extremities and hate bulky clothing. For temperatures in the 25 to 40 (Fahrenheit) range, I wear my favorite trail shoes, even on the roads because they are not netted and keep my toes warmer. In the winter, even the roads can feel like trails, as I dodge ice, slush and the occasional runaway sled from the local school's sledding hill, so a little extra traction goes a long way. Wool socks, 2XU tights, XTERRA compression shirt, microfiber hat, and gloves are the other parts of my attire for cold-day runs.
When the temperatures drop to 10 to 25 degrees, I add layers. Gore-Tex jacket, a looser pants over the 2XUs, or switch out completely for a thermal tight. For socks, I upgrade to my favorite lightweight wool ski socks and pull them as high as they'll go! I also switch out to mittens with hand warmers inside.
Single digits and sub-zero temps? Add a Balaclava to protect my face, and a lightweight wind vest stolen from my cycling gear. 2XUs and a wind-proof thermal tight. But at that point, I am questioning my sanity and typically head south!
Men or my warm-blooded female friends may opt to lighten that load. I just hope I don't run into any of you in shorts!


Consider the elements
If it is windy, use the wind vest on the outside of any of the above or get a specific wind-resistant jacket. If it is snowing lightly it is actually fun. Just make sure you wear your favorite sunglasses with rose-colored lenses to avoid being pelted in the eyeballs by snowflakes.
Now to my absolute favorite, snow trail running!  Must have gear: running snowshoes.  I use Crescent Moon out of Colorado. Atlas also makes a great set. Spikes are the other necessity. My favorites are Kahtoola MICROspikes.  Dress as above for temperature ranges but add gaiters.
Rachel Cieslewicz is an elite runner and triathlete based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She placed fifth at the 2010 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship in December at Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii. She is a talented sports massage therapist, Pilates and yoga instructor and is a certified running form coach. She can be reached at rcanyon1@gmail.com  or visit her website at www.newageathlete.com or follow her on www.twitter.com/newageathlete.
This was originally posted on Xterra Planet.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Awesomer Stuff: Taralites, Sticker, Giveaway, DTV Shredder


Think I'm excited? I got an email yesterday letting me know my review pair of GoLite Footwear Taralites are on their way! "Inspired by the Tarahumara tribes of Mexico, built on the BareTech platform with a zero drop heel, runners can enjoy all the benefits of a natural gait with the exceptional stability and protection of their Soft Against the Ground technology on all terrain. The "second skin" upper provides comfort and lightweight protection from the elements. The internal "sandal" thong and unique closure system provides adjustable fit, security. And energy efficiency by preventing excessive foot movement. Their newest outsole, the Sticky Gecko, is inspired by the gravity-defying "traction" of geckos. The 350 small GripstickTM rubber lugs replicate the tiny hairs on a gecko's feet that create surface contact and friction." Wonder how they'll be in the snow?


As soon as I opened the envelope's seal, I felt awesomer, Matty B had sent me a blog sticker. Chris K is not the only one with a penchant for pink and unicorns. If you are not a follower, head over to MattyRunRun - he's really funny and the only way this blog could be any better is if Sara got more chances to write. Oh, did I mention the "Ban-Jill?"


Constantin over at the Highball Blog (Not a follower? Check him out.) is having a great giveaway where you can win Free Climbing Gear! Not a climber? Lots of the gear has everyday uses or, if you win, feel free to send it my way, I'm always happy to add to the gear closet. Climbing is great cross-training as well, for any endurance sport. Giveaway runs through February 9th.


I found the perfect gear to be comfortable pacing someone at any ultra distance: The DTV Shredder. "The Shredder is the first true crossover for Action and Power Sports. A combination of Tank, Skateboard and Motocross Bike, the Shredder is small enough to fit in the trunk of a car and is All Terrain – All Year. With a top speed of +30 mph, there isn’t anything you won’t be able to Shred at high speed."



You know I'll be writing them to ask for a test-ride!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Why We Race Part 1


As Rachel Toor writes in her book Personal Record: A Love Affair with Running (2008, Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press): " I knew the litany, the multiplicity of reasons why people ran: that it was good for them, in some physical, emotional, or even soul-enhancing way; that energy and frustrations needed to be sizzled out, like the fat in bacon; that many people, and most women, were raised to be dissatisfied with their bodies, no matter what they looked like, and running was an efficient trade-off for brownies and ice cream; that we are social animals, some of us, and want time with others, even if it is at ungodly hours of the morning and in weather that is not fit for those who do not grow fur; that solitary time is a necessary condition for hard thinking; that competition is endemic to the human condition and harnessing it in innocuous ways and at appropriate venues will, perhaps, keep violence at bay." 

At the end of 2010, as people planned and posted their race schedules for 2011, I couldn't help wondering where all these people got their motivation. I have goals and experiences that I look towards in the coming year, but somehow racing just wasn't that important. Why?

I emailed a wide-ranging group of blogging buddies and sent out a general bulletin on the Endurance Athlete Project asking some simple questions:

Why do you race? Why are you willing to pay to run on public streets or trails, sometimes paying large amounts for travel and accommodations? Why are you willing to plan a race around a particular weekend? What ARE your motivators to race?

The answers were far from simple, ranging from being pushed by Patrick to a dissertation by Amanda (surprise, surpise), to a re-write by Chris, along with many others. I'll be sharing their responses over the next couple of weeks, so be on the lookout. If you weren't on the original email blast or subsequent EAP bulletin, feel free to answer the questions and send them over, I'm always happy to add to this minor research project of mine. In no particular order, here it is in broad strokes - people race:
  • for self-identity or personal fitness
  • to push themselves
  • competition against others
  • social aspect/excitement/spectacle/community surrounding organized events
  • motivation to train/working towards a goal
  • being out in nature (trail running)
  • public validation/recognition, official time, the bling
  • being a role model for their child(ren)
All interesting reasons to race, yet none resonate with me. Why? Not sure. A big part of it has to do with me being solo in my endeavors, I'm sure. I've never "raced" with friends (as I have none). I'm not competitive, either with others or with myself (hence the lack of current fitness). I am also more experiential than most, looking for the random occurrence that teaches/touches/affects me in some way. Races are perhaps too structured for me, too much pressure to perform on a specific date in a given location. A lot of the reasons given above I connect with on a real gut level, but they are important to me for training, not as reasons to race.

I had decided not to register for any races this year and instead was looking to creating opportunities for myself to attain certain goals as I saw fit. I am also lucky in that there is a very active ultrarunning group in the area (the Chicago Ultrarunners Group, CHUGS), who put on nearly a dozen Fat-Ass events every year, ranging from fun runs up to a 200K race this year. Pretty much any given month, I have the opportunity to, for whatever I'm willing to pay or for free, run an ultra in a forest preserve within driving distance of my home.

However, as the poet said, "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley" (for you heathens out there, Robert Burns' "To a Mouse"). This spring, I will be heading to California to run the Skyline to the Sea trail marathon with a cast of motley characters. I will also be attending The North Face Endurance Challenge in San Francisco in December (will travel for beautiful weather and scenery a theme perhaps?), where the whole family will participate in one way or another, trail runners all of us. There will also be one last race, yet to be determined, where I will be crew chief/lead pacer as a bloggie friend attempts her first 50. My goal to run an ultra remains front and center, yet not scheduled. Perhaps at a CHUGS Fat-Ass event, perhaps unexpectedly on a lovely weekend in nature, perhaps at the TNF Endurance Challenge. Will any of these change the way I feel about racing? Roll the dice (no Adam, not that way) and see what turns up.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Good Walk Spoiled


What is a warm-weather fan to do in the unending dark days of winter? Read about golf, of course. Am I a golfer? No, but I've played on occasion and would like to play more. I also sometimes watch it on TV, but it rarely is satisfying.

As Mark Twain famously said: "Golf is a good walk spoiled." Excepting their occasional environmental degradation of nature (this has changed over the years), I'm a fan of golf courses. The sculpting of the earth, the taming of grass, trees and bushes, the thoughtfulness behind the design and framing of views. Golf courses can be gorgeous places to visit. If you get too emotional however, the game of golf can be a terrible burden, removing any appreciation of the art surrounding you.


John Strawn's Driving the Green: The Making of a Golf Course (1991, NY: HarperCollins) is a detailed account of one developer's path to creating Ironhorse, a new course in Florida. From initial vision, clearing of site, lakes being dug, through to completion, this is a book that really explains what it takes to construct a golf course. A non-fiction book, the characters are sometimes so far over the top that it is hard to believe they actually exist.


John Feinstein's OPEN: Inside the Ropes at Bethpage Black, tells a different story. It is a tale of how the USGA goes about planning and then executing a championship golf tournament, in this case, the US Open in 2002. Planning up to nearly a decade out, this particular Open goes beyond the basic problems typically faced by the USGA, as the Open was planned at Bethpage Black, a municipal course in a forest preserve owned by the State of New York. A classic design, the course had been mismanaged and not kept up, so the USGA needed to revitalize the course and make it a worthwhile venue for the Open. Add in the calamitous events of 9/11/2001, and the whole picture changed.

Both these books give a very thorough look into two facets of the golf world most people never think about. Well-worth picking up even for the non-golfer, these well-written accounts give the reader new found appreciation for the game.

Friday, January 21, 2011

An Urgent Plea


I'm not one to ask for money or help, but this week I came across a story so heart-rending, so compelling, that it literally stopped me in my tracks and made me think for a moment (no small feat). We bloggers are a supportive tribe, motivating and caring and generous (well, maybe not Chris K, but that is a whole other post). Sometimes people are public with their suffering, some choose to go it alone. Well, this week I read a blogger's story that just begs to be shared. Now this is a blogger who has shunned the spotlight, going about her business with little fanfare or need for attention (unlike Jill or EMZ). I know she would be embarr"assed" that I am putting this out there, but I can't do this myself.

$25,000 (plus tax). If we can raise that much (plus shipping and handling I imagine), we can help someone walk, no, we can help someone run again! This person, with never a complaint, has been ailing, isolated in a secluded Denver suburb of only many thousands, with no other endurance enthusiasts to turn to, only old women in a cold pool.

This runner has been reduced from this:


To this:


This brave soul aspires to greatness. Not content to simply run for 8 minutes at a time, she is planning on taking her vagina dance to the big leagues. That's right, Downers Grove Boston. With your help (and $25,000 plus tax and shipping and installation), she could own one of these:


That's right, all that stands between her and ability to attract attention run is an Alter-G treadmill. So open your hearts (but more importantly your wallets). With every $2.50 donated, this retiring yet oddly sharing soul might send you a sticker:


Have a great weekend all!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Skyline to the Sea; Winter and Nutrition: Fueling for Cold Weather Exercise


Jill of Run With Jill, Patrick of The Road, Kate of Run With Kate and I have registered for the Skyline to the Sea marathon, and Chris of BQ or Die is running the 50K (yes, we kissed and made up, but no tongue, because that wouldn't be manly, and no, he's not running the 50 because we wouldn't let him run the marathon with us). Skyline is a trail race (marathon or 50K options) put on by Pacific Coast Trail Runs and it looks like a great race. The popular Skyline to the Sea Trail runs from the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains at Saratoga Gap through Big Basin Redwoods State Park, the oldest park in California (est. 1902), and ends at the Pacific Ocean at Waddell Beach. It travels through tall redwoods and high chaparral along the way. Fully-stocked aid stations every 7 - 14 kilometers (little shout-out to Canadian and European readers). You can expect fresh fruit, salty snacks, assorted candy, boiled potatoes and salt, water, and Clif Shot Electrolyte sports drink. If you would like to be sure that you have non-Clif product, SaltStick capsules, or any other specific item at the event, you should carry it with you. Sunday, April 10th - you're invited!

 ---------------------------------------------------------------------


"Some athletes embrace winter's chill as a welcome change from exercising in summer's heat. But others complain about hating cold weather...This article addresses some common questions and concerns about winter and nutrition and offers tips to help you enjoy the season." Read more from Nancy Clark at USA Triathlon.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

GoLite HydroSprint: Product Review


"When one bottle is all you need, the HydroSprint is the obvious choice. The stability of our wide hipbelt and No-Bounce™ strap system and ergonomic access to your bottle and gel flask lets you run long and hard."

Materials:
Tier 1 Recycled 210 Denier Nylon Double Ripstop; Nylon-Spandex Stretch Woven; High-Void Polyester Mesh

Features:

  • Newly developed soft-stretch mesh hipbelt moves moisture quickly to promote rapid drying

  • Gender-specific belt shape sculpted to carry comfortably on the hips

  • Zippered stretch hipbelt pockets hold keys, gel, camera, etc.

  • Angled, insulated bottle holster with reinforced guide scoop and bottom drain hole carries a 21oz BPA-free squeeze bottle (included)

  • 5 oz gel flask slot next to bottle holster

  • Improved No-Bounce™ load control system is easier to adjust on the move

  • Bungee attachment system secures wind jacket, hat, etc.

  • 360° reflectivity


  • This product comes with a sport bottle (21 ounces) that is biodegradable, recyclable, reusable, made with recycled content and BPA free. One of the best mottos ever graces the bottle: "The trail is my treadmill. Therefore I GoLite." Genius. It also comes with a 5 ounce gel flask that has one very innovative and outstanding feature: a flat bottom. Having a flat bottom means the flask can be placed on a counter for filling, rather than held while struggling to squeeze gel into the narrow opening. Great idea!


    I have worn this on runs ranging from 8.5 to 15+ miles and am enamored with this product - I have an ongoing search to find a comfortable hydration waist pack, and this is my favorite to date. The comfort, ease of use, and clever design make this a pleasure to wear - unfortunately, it does not do my running for me, but does make carrying hydration and nutrition nearly effortless.

    Boasting a comfortable fastening system, this lumbar pack has a one-size waist, which can be adjusted to fit quite large midsections. I believe I have a 34" waist these days (a gentleman doesn't reveal all), and there are a good 6 inches of webbed belt left, so theoretically could fit up to a 46" waist. Purely conjecture on my part. The ends slide through loops to keep them from flopping around. Simple system, well-designed.

    The belt also has two pockets, each large enough to fit my BlackBerry phone, energy bar, keys or map. The bottle rests comfortably in the lower back and does not bounce around, though even GoLite has not figured out how to keep the liquid from sloshing around. The 20 ounce bottle is sufficient for mid-distance runs, dependent on a person's hydration needs. As mentioned, the gel flask is intelligently engineered with its flat base for ease of filling. It also sits nozzle down in its holster, so the gel does not settle into the bottom. The entire rig in the back can be tightened with 2 wires, increasing the comfort level.


    As mentioned, this has become my new favorite hydration pack, at least for mid-distance runs. Paired with a handheld or two, the distance could easily be increased. GoLite also makes a 2-bottle lumbar pack and will be the subject of a future review. As with all GoLite products, it is of high quality material and construction, and is highly recommended as part of your endurance arsenal.

    Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for review purposes, courtesy of GoLite and OutsidePR. I was not compensated in any other way for the review, was not obligated to give it a positive review, and all opinions are my own. Some information in this review was taken from the company website.

    Would you like your product reviewed? Contact me at lakotega@yahoo.com. 


    Tuesday, January 18, 2011

    Public Service Announcement (The Rebuttal)


    - Internet Police -
    - Immediate Release -

    The Internet Police today warned of the above-pictured man, Chris K, as a possible cyber bully. Long thought of as being the alter-ego of master Luddite Ted Kaczynski, authorities now suspect that the evilness runs much deeper than that.

    Also known as "The Boston Strangler" for his repeated threats against the city on his blog, BQ or Die, he prefers the moniker, "The Dodo." Rumored to reside in a heavily fortified seaside mansion in Southern California, this man has rained his evil bile upon unsuspecting bloggers everywhere, though the usual target is a mild-mannered father of four and public servant, Kovas.

    Urged on by his known associates Meg (She Runs A Lot), "Barefoot" Neil Z, and Tri-Gangsta Patrick, The Dodo has unleashed a reign of terror unequalled in history excepting for Robespierre and possibly Ronald McDonald. Consider the following photographic evidence:

    Note international cyber bullying

    Evilness clearly evident - parents, please shield young children's eyes

    Scores of civic-minded bloggers have responded, calling for the foam roller treatment, with no punishment considered too cruel or unusual. In a comradely gesture, Intergalactic politicians joined together to enact a Universal Law that Chris K need not be unfashionably dressed in order to be mocked. A mommy blogger was quoted as saying "He doesn't deserve those pink compression socks! Can't someone take them away?" Kovas, being high-minded and respectful of opponents he has regularly beaten, simply replied with this: "Can't we all just get along?"

    Bloggers worldwide are urged to circle February 6th, 2011 on their calendars, when Chris K has publicly stated that a grand gesture will be made. Public holiday or public humiliation, history will be the judge.


    (PS Good luck at Surf City Chris - break a leg!) :)

    Monday, January 17, 2011

    Midwest Trail: Waterfall Glen (Winter)


    This past weekend I drove over to Waterfall Glen (one of the Du Page Forest Preserves) for my long slow distance run. It's approximately a 10 mile loop, with some side spurs to keep things interesting if needed. The trail is a wide groomed trail, which was being used mostly by cross country skiers that day. I saw at least half a dozen skiers versus two other runners.


    There is quite a bit of variety to the scenery, ranging from darker, heavier wooded areas to sections of open prairie.


    The footing was a combination of fresh snow, packed snow, and some ice. I wore the Brooks Cascadia 5's, which provided ample grip for the most part. I recently received a set of Icespikes to review - today's run seemed like it would have been an optimal time. Reviews coming up this week include the GoLite hydration waistpack I've been testing for several weeks, as well as one for Bonkbreaker Bars.



    Running along the winding trails made me feel connected to nature, which this area typically does not. Located just off of a major Interstate and bounded by larger roads, Waterfall Glen can be quite noisy from man made air pollutants, including cars. none however, are as irritating as the high-pitched drone of a model airplane. For the first time, there was an enthusiast flying his toy at the field designated for them. While I will admit there is something interesting about flight and control of a flying object, it seems completely out of place in this location, though I'm not sure where else they could go.



    Waterfall Glen is extremely easy to get to, the trails are easy to follow even in the snow, and allows for multiple types of activities. Not just a preserve for clement weather, this site deserves a visit at any time of year.

    Sunday, January 16, 2011

    2010 Training; Ultrarunning EMZ;


    A good example of why I stopped using DailyMile. End of the year report, shows total mileage, breaks it down into monthly totals, but does not show a breakdown of the types of training, i.e. running, cycling, swimming. Really hoping to see a good daily log on the Endurance Athlete Project site soon!


    As if she doesn't get enough attention, EMZ of If ICan't Confuse You... fame, has made the pages of the endurance bible, Ultrarunning magazine. Her name appears in the results for the 2010 Man Against Horse 50 Miler in the January/February 2011 issue of the magazine. Apparently she's legit.

    Friday, January 14, 2011

    Everyday Endurance Giveaway Winner!


    The winner of the $100 Everyday Endurance giveaway, identified via random.org, is.....


    termite, of the hungry termite fame. termite, shoot me your email address and we'll get you the promo code lickety-split!

    Midwest Trails: Hidden Lake Forest Preserve (Winter)


    I've written about Hidden Lake previously, as it was the second Trail Running Project outing. Long one of my favorite Du Page Forest Preserves, this is a location with unmapped trails, which branch off of each other, criss-cross at times, and guarantee the feeling of being lost (as well as actually being lost).


    To complete a run for the virtual Freeze Your Thorns Off 5K hosted by Adam, I returned to the preserve by running from my house on streets, discovering a "back door" I was unaware of, and then reveling in fresh powder covering the trails. A hilly, twisting set of trails keeps things interesting, while the wildness of the preserve is balanced by the occasional man-made structure, such as fences and entry gates.

    The "back door" off of Finley Ave

    There was enough snow to make the forest look pristine, enough ice under the powder to keep things interesting, and a complete lack of non-animal footprints to make me feel very alone in the wilderness.


    I ran a sort of out and back loop from one end to another, and, while there were times I definitely did not know where I was, using the angle of the sun and a feeling of where I was in relation to the perimeter kept me on virgin powder for the vast majority of time spent on these trails.


    While I saw only one, very large squirrel, animal tracks were in abundance, including a large dog-like track (coyote?) large cat-like track (?), deer hoofprints, bunny hops, as well as bird and smaller, unidentifiable tracks. To cap off the nature show, 2 or 3 (or the same multiple times) large owls flew overhead.

    Stone gates off of Butterfield Road

    Hidden Lake is located just off a major expressway and next to the Morton Arboretum. Well-worth visiting, it offers both a gentle, family-friendly loop around two lakes on a crushed gravel path along with the twisting, technical singletrack found in the undeveloped section of the preserve.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011

    Après Sport Shoes For Athletes - Todi USA Product Review

    1. Ergonomic Design: Ergo, go in comfort.

    2. Toe-gripping footbed.

    3. Cupped Heel.

    4. Coated cork - Physiform footbed contours to your foot.

    5. Rugged outsole.

    6. Perfect fit: pillow rim, seamless comfort.

    7. Cool construction: microperfed suede, bilateral stretch panels, odor resistant.

    8. Roomy toe box.

    9. Goat leather liner.

    "WHO WE ARE

    Todi is a shoe company focused on developing Après-Athletic footwear exclusively for aggressive souls. It's what you wear to and from the locker room.

    THE STYLE

    Our first shoe is the Original, currently available in Model T Black. Soon Todi footwear will be available in a variety of high school and college team colors. We have a deep bench of design ideas to bring to market over the next few years. As Todi athletes begin wearing the shoe, we will look to them to provide input on which styles they would like to see next.




    THE SHOE

    Athletes tend to beat their feet; soccer players cram them into cleats, ski racers force them into plastic vises, runners pound the pavement and the trail, climbers use them to grip a rock façade. No matter what the sport, your feet take the brunt of the abuse. Todi designed the Physi-Form Insole with enough support to help the foot relax and the versatility to gradually conform and accommodate many foot shapes.

    WANT MORE?

    Not much more to tell. We like to keep it simple.
    See you after the game."


    Todi USA sent me a pair of their recovery shoes (aka Après Sport Shoes) as well as a short sleeve T-shirt, to try out. I had first seen them in USA Triathlon Life magazine, who noted that they are "designed to be worn after a run, bike, swim or race, these leather shoes prioritize comfort." When I first received them, I noted 2 things: one, they are very forward-looking for a slip-on sandal and two, they have a cork footbed similar to Birkenstocks. In fact, I was planning on getting a pair of Birkies, but no longer need to, as the Todis easily replace them in terms of comfort and far surpass them in terms of a more fashionable look.

    Most of us make an effort to plan our training, to put some thought into the nutrition plan we follow (or don't), but most people shortchange maybe the most important part of training, which is recovery. "Rest days are critical to sports performance for a variety of reasons. Some are physiological and some are psychological. Rest is physically necessary so that the muscles can repair, rebuild and strengthen. For recreational athletes, building in rest days can help maintain a better balance between home, work and fitness goals" (from Sports Medicine About.com). Many people have already embraced compression apparel as part of their recovery, now it is time to add some specialized shoes as well. Recovery shoes are especially important to those who are more inclined to lower leg or foot injuries, such as plantar fasciitis.

    These shoes hands-down are some of the most comfortable shoes I have worn in a long time. They feel like a supportive pair of bedroom slippers on the one hand, but with the solid footbed and rugged outsole, they are equally comfortable to wear outdoors. I've worn them post-run, they are my go-to shoes around the house, and I've worn them out to run errands as well. As an added bonus, they have reflective trim in case you wear them out after dark. They are quite roomy and I would suggest possibly ordering a half size down if you do not like loose footwear.

    Maybe skeptical at first, I'm a firm believer now in proper footwear being beneficial to recovery. These Todi USA shoes have everything I would look for in this niche. Highly recommended.

    Like Todi USA on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (Disclaimer: I was sent these products for free to review on my blog - courtesy of Todi USA. I did not pay for these items, receive payment for this review, or agree to give 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.

    Running, Skiing, and Endurance Sports - Patagonia.com

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