Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

(Click on image for full effect!)

With 3 school-age kids in our household, Halloween is a pretty big deal. This weekend we carved pumpkins and finalized costumes, which is a never-ending saga. So far we have a vampiress, a secret agent, and then a pirate/ninja/Batman (or a combination thereof). I'm supposed be headed for DC on Business today, so I'll miss out on the trick-or-treating. On the positive side, I'll get to sample some Virginia wines!

Go now!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Overcoming Mental Barriers

It’s been said that sports are 90% mental (and the other half is physical, at least for baseball, according to Yogi Berra). As I progress towards my dotage, I believe in this more every day. If you think you can or can’t, you’re right. Mark Allen, the many-time Ironman champion, says that his success was purely mental, as the athletes he faced were superior physically to him. Maybe or maybe not, but mental barriers are often all that stand between you and success. There are some common roadblocks on the road to success and simple ways to overcome them.
  • Roadblock #1 - You don't understand willpower. Most people think willpower is just a matter of deciding to be strong. However, If your goals require any sort of long-term commitment, you can't muscle through on willpower alone. Think of it this way: A breakthrough is not just about will. It's also about skill.
  • Roadblock #2 - You think you can run out of willpower. Willpower is limited only for people who believe that it's limited. To overcome this, you can adopt a growth mindset—and the shift is simply a matter of self-awareness. You can teach yourself to see struggle and failure as an opportunity for growth, not as a confirmation of the futility of even trying.
  • Roadblock #3 - You have a bad coach: yourself. Just as a bad coach belittles you, you may belittle yourself. The self-determination theory of motivation states that you're far more likely to complete a task if your motivation is intrinsic. If someone or something is pushing from the outside—a boss or a coach or a reason like I need to lose weight for my reunion—you'll stop performing as soon as the pressure lets up.
  • Roadblock #4 - You're not having fun (yet). Many think self-improvement is a tough slog. According to self-determination theory, we're optimally motivated when we have three things going for us: autonomy, mastery, and social support.
  • Roadblock #5 - You try to do too much too soon. What we know from motivation science is that a series of small successes will hook you into an activity. Start small and watch your progress accrue.
  • Roadblock #6 - You're talking to yourself—and saying the wrong things. Replace the chatter in your head with something a little more helpful. It's called self-talk. When you're faced with a difficult task, why not say 'I can do anything,' rather than beat yourself up? Experiments have shown that positive self-talk improves performance in everything from dart throwing to the 100-meter dash. There are two types of self-talk:
    • Instructional - helps maintain focus ("see the target") and execute proper technique ("midfoot strike").
    • Motivational - works best in sports requiring strength and endurance ("I can do this!").
Pretty simple and this sort of mental training does work. Just ask Mark Allen.

Source: Men's Health

Have a great weekend all!

Midwest Multisport Life on Facebook

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Endorphin Warrior Training Bracelets

At Endorphin Warrior, their aim is to help you train, perform and live with greater strength of body and mind. They make products with positive and powerful messaging to wear while running, cycling, working out, sweating, racing - or all day long - to help you stay strong-minded and focused...and help you train harder, improve performance, overcome challenges, achieve your goals and live stronger. Pretty lofty goals!

The Warrior Bracelet I received has a nickel-plated metal tag riveted to a 5/8"-wide, natural-leather wristband. The inspirational word I opted for is “Focus,” as it’s an occasional problem for me, being an eternal daydreamer. With a snap closure that makes for easy on and off, I’ve actually worn mine for basically a month straight. The bracelets are available in 5 sizes to accommodate all wrist sizes for women and men (remember? the Manly Runner made it okay for men to wear bracelets - I miss the manly Runner). The nickel-plated metal tag will not rust or tarnish and the wristband is made of natural leather that will last and last. After a month on my wrist, the leather has definitely been discolored, but appears nearly new. No effect yet on the tag. Warrior Bracelets are made in the U.S.A., which is a niec touch/

Laima also received a bracelet – she opted for the inspirational “Transcend,” which is easier said than done in our busy and stressful life. Check out her review and enter to win a Warrior Bracelet of your choice over at Women’s Endurance Gear!

For more information or to purchase, go to the Endorphin Warrior website, like them on Facebook, follow on Twitter, and read the Endorphin Warrior Society blog.

Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for review purposes, courtesy of Endorphin Warrior. I was not compensated in any other way for the review, was not obligated to give the item 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!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Earlier this month, Laima mentioned nightshades over at Women’s Endurance Gear. An inveterate researcher, she noticed that some of our problems (joint pain, some minor skin problems on my part, etc.) could be explained by an intolerance for nightshades.

What are nightshades?

Solanaceae, also known as nightshades, are a family of flowering plants that include a number of important agricultural crops as well as many toxic plants. The family includes Datura (Jimson weed), Mandragora (mandrake), Belladonna (deadly nightshade), Lycium barbarum (Wolfberry), Physalis philadelphica (Tomatillo) , Physalis peruviana (Cape gooseberry flower), Capsicum (all peppers including chili peppers, habenero, cayenne pepper and paprika, but not peppercorns), Solanum (potato, tomato, eggplant, but not sweet potatoes or yams), Nicotiana (tobacco), and Petunia. With the exception of tobacco (Nicotianoideae) and petunia (Petunioideae), most of the economically important genera are contained in the sub-family Solanoideae. Solanaceae are characteristically ethnobotanical, that is, extensively utilized by humans. They are important sources of food, spice and medicine. However, Solanaceae species are often rich in alkaloids whose toxicity to humans and animals ranges from mildly irritating to fatal in small quantities.

Why should you care about this? It’s likely that you enjoy eating these foods and can’t imagine that they are bad for you in any way. Well, if you suffer from inflammation, joint pain and cracking, avoiding nightshades will lessen your pain, whether or not the nightshades are the true source of the pain. Are you sensitive to weather changes? This can be an indication of nightshade sensitivity. Muscle pain and tightness, morning stiffness, poor healing, arthritis, insomnia and gall bladder problems—these can all be caused by nightshades. Nightshades can also cause heart burn or GERD—a lot of people already know they react this way when they eat peppers or tomatoes. Scleroderma is a widespread connective tissue disease that involves changes or hardening in the skin, blood vessels, muscles and internal organs. All nightshades contain nicotine, which is why they can be addictive.

I have some occasional joint pain, which I've attributed to exercise and aging. Less explainable are some random skin irritations that occur at odd places - one side of my chin gets extremely irritated when I shave and I have a quarter-sized circle of tough dry skin on my ankle, where I fractured a bone many years ago. I've tried topical creams, soaking the areas in black tea, but nothing worked. So giving up nightshades in order to fix up these minor irritations seemed worth a try.

At the beginning of this month, we decided to cut out nightshades from our diet and see what happened. It has been tough. Turns out that many of these items show up in almost everything we like to eat. Some of it has been easier than others - I love pizza with Alfredo sauce, so giving up tomatoes has not been that bad. The most difficult for me? By far hot peppers - I live on them, using them on everything short of cereal. It's been tough to forego the hot sauce when eating asian or latin meals.

It's been 3 weeks and I'm not certain that I feel any different, but the article Laima cited says it takes a good 6 weeks for the effects to become noticeable. I'll report back then and let you know what I think. If nothing else, cutting out nightshades has made us more aware of their ubiqity, and paying attention to one's diet is never a bad thing. Plus, all that nicotine can't be good for us anyway.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Second Wind Book Review

Second Wind (2010, Berkeley, CA: Seal Press) is Cami Ostman’s story of an unlikely marathoner. A middle-aged woman who frees herself from a marriage that wasn’t making her happy, she works on discovering herself. A friend suggests she go for a run to give herself time to think. Eventually that friend becomes a boyfriend, and their running together leads to a decision to run a marathon. In Prague. How's that for jumping in feet-first? This first marathon leads to another, then another, and along the way, becomes a quest to run seven marathons on seven continents.

For the most part, the book traces pretty neatly her inner and outer voyages to become a marathoner and an individual. She overcomes typical problems we’ve all faced as runners, and travels around the world chasing her dream. Where things became the most interesting to me is when she couldn’t get included in any Antarctica marathon, so she started planning one herself. That’s impressive and more along the lines of what I like to do (not that I’ve organized any marathons in Antarctica).

Much of this book's inner angst is directed to women and, to that extent, I couldn't really relate. But anyone who is a runner or who has set an audacious goal can empathize with the travails she faces during her quest.

Cami Ostman grew up in a depressed Seattle suburban area and attended school with other blue-collar kids. She graduated from Western Washington University with a BA in education, and from Seattle Pacific University with an MA in marriage and family therapy. She took up running to catch her breath during her divorce. In the process, she discovered the marathon and, ultimately, a new perspective on life that she now shares with others, in therapy and in lectures. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist with a private practice, and has a special interest in supporting women going through transitional periods as they create experiences that will help them live more authentically and freely. For more info, head over to her blog, 7 Marathons on 7 Continents.

Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for review purposes, courtesy of Seal Press. I was not compensated in any other way for the review, was not obligated to give the item 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!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Warren Woods State Park

The weather gods smiled upon us, giving perfect fall weather for the weekend. Amazingly, the kids did not have soccer on Saturday, so we dropped the elder three at Laima’s great aunt and uncle’s and headed for Michigan. Minimal traffic, but a plethora of law enforcement made for a quiet trip – the Little Worker actually slept most of the way.

We headed over to Soē Café in Sawyer for lunch. We’ve driven by several times and it looked really nice, but never had the opportunity to stop in. Their emphasis is on local food and drink, though it’s not exclusively so. Laima had a blue cheese grass-fed burger, while I opted for grilled cheese, both very good. The interior is quite beautiful, very simple and well-lit, especially that sunny day. There is a fireplace at one end, we didn’t ask if it worked, but it appeared like it would be functional on cold winter days. Really a nice option for the area and  a great way to support the local industry.

We spent some time driving around Berrien County, looking for possible vineyard sites, and liked what we saw. If everything falls into place, the winery project is definitely something we’re interested in pursuing.

Since Little Worker hadn’t yet fallen asleep, we stopped at Warren Woods State Park in Three Oaks for a little outdoor enjoyment. Two-thirds of Warren Woods Natural Area's 311 acres consist of a beech/maple climax forest. A quiet hiking trail leads over a bridge that looks over the rustic Galien River in this undisturbed natural area. On this day, of all days, the park was crowded – we must have seen 50 or more people there, though the largest group appeared to be a college class out for a field trip. Kind of odd on a Saturday, but there you are. This would be an amazing place to trail run, lots of roots, hilly topography, winding trails, and river views that were flat out gorgeous. When I last came here during the summer, the horse (or deer) flies were brutal, so this is definitely a fall or winter destination.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Fluff

  • Contrary to what most people believe, running an even pace or negative splitting is not the way to PR, at least at shorter distances. A study of 66 male world records for the 5,000 and 10,000 meters discovered that in 65 of the 66, the first and last kilometer were the fastest.
  • A 2010 study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology reported that when cyclists wore compression tights while riding, their muscles were able to flush out lactic acid faster than when they didn't wear them, leading to shorter recovery times.
  • In 2010, Chris "Macca" McCormack won the Kona Ironman - at 175 pounds, he was one of the heaviest winners ever. It's estimated he burned 8,200 calories. To replace those calories, he could have eaten:
    • 372 Gu Chomps
    • 96 ounces of Clif Shot
    • 328 cups of vegetables
    • 91 eggs
    • 6.8 pounds of steak
    • 7.3 gallons of Ironman Perform 
    • 137 oranges
    • 5.25 pounds of noodles, or
    • 13.1 cups of quinoa
Have a great weekend all!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

...and winter is here

Not really, but it has been blustery, cold, and rainy for several days. This morning on my run, I wore light gloves and ear covers for the first time. The low is supposed to hit the freezing mark today, even though it's only mid-October. Some forecasters are calling for another brutal winter here in the Midwest, seems like it's the same story  now year after year. When I lived in Chicago in the 80's and 90's, we'd have a hard winter followed by 3 or 4 mild ones. No longer the case.  Hoping the weather allows me to get the bike out a time or two more, but I've got the bike trainer (and the treadmill) set up and ready to go. No plans for training this winter, but I'm thinking of, yes, looking for some races next year. Probably of the adventure running variety, but who knows - Patrick suggested bowling outdoors, but I haven't found any events yet.

P.S. Happy Birthday Patrick!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Tri Sign -- Really?

Maybe I've spent too much time in dicey neighborhoods or maybe I'm just paranoid, but somehow, to me, flashing a gang-type sign "at any suspected member" is not the wisest choice. I think I'll stick with the wave, nod, or simply saying "hi."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Einkorn Pasta

I was recently contacted by Jovial Foods to try out their Einkorn pasta, made of a different kind of wheat, an ancient grain now grown in Italy. It has a high level of protein as well as other beneficial nutritional benefits.

Einkorn is very different from all other varieties of wheat. It was the first species of wheat grown by man more than 12,000 years ago. Now considered a relic crop, it has practically been forgotten because its yield is low in the fields and its type of gluten makes bread-baking a challenge.

The grain is high in Thiamin, essential dietary and trace minerals, a good source of protein, iron, dietary fiber and a number of B Vitamins, contains a significant amount of the powerful antioxidant Lutein, and has a higher Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) than durum and bread wheat. It has a higher content of proteins, tocols and carotenoids than other species of wheat and a lower percentage of nutrient loss during processing.

Einkorn is genetically pure, exceptionally nutritious and surprisingly delicious. It is the healthiest form of wheat because it has never been hybridized. Einkorn is a perfect choice as a nutritious and unique alternative grain for those seeking a healthy option to modern wheat. Though there are some initial in-vitro studies that indicate einkorn is suspected to be less toxic than other species of wheat, Celiac Patients should not consume einkorn products until further clinical studies are completed and their findings are evaluated by the FDA.

The pasta looks like a typical whole wheat pasta, with a suggested cooking time of 13 minutes. We tried it several times, each time shortening the cooking time, as we felt that 13 minutes ended up with pasta that was too soft. I personally felt that 8 or 9 minutes was right for my preferences. The consistency is similar to other whole wheat pastas as well, though, to me, it seems softer overall. It definitely has a nuttier flavor than I am accustomed to, but did not overpower the variety of sauces we tried it with. I preferred it with asian-style flavorings the most.

Read a great article from their blog on Carbohydrates for Athletes and Active Individuals.

All of the ingredients used in Jovial products are GMO free and packaging materials are free from BPA.

Get more information on the Jovial website, on their blog, by liking them on Facebook, and following on Twitter.

Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for review purposes, courtesy of Jovial Foods. I was not compensated in any other way for the review, was not obligated to give the item 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!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ultra Triathlon

I'm pretty much in complete awe of anybody who can lace it up and complete a long course triathlon (not taking anything away from shorter distances). How do then explain the sudden emergence (sudden for me at least) of ultra triathlons. There are folks out there that compete in double, triple, even deca Ironman events. Deca? That's 10 times as long as the official long course triathlon - 1,406 miles!!! Turns out there is a USA Ultra Triathlon organization (loosely defined), which falls under the International Ultra Triathlon Association, which is "the official governing body of Ultra Triathlon, which is devoted to creating interest in the sport; developing the sport through increased athlete participation; and promoting sanctioned venues worldwide. The goal of the IUTA is to take the Ultra Triathlon sport to greater heights." Pretty amazing that not only are there people out there who do this, but it's organized as well.

Ever met someone who's completed an ultra triathlon?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Funny

  • A very devout cyclist dies and goes to heaven. Saint Peter meets him at the gate. First thing the cyclist asks is if there are bicycles in heaven. "Sure," says St. Peter, "let me show you," and he leads the guy into the finest Velodrome you can imagine. "This is great," the cyclist says. "It certainly is," says St. Peter. "You will have a custom bike and the best cycling clothes you've ever seen, and your personal masseuse will always available." As they speak a blur streaks by them on the boards riding a gold plated bike. "Wow!" the cyclist exclaims. "That guy was so fast that can only be Lance Armstrong!" "No," says St. Peter, "that was God on the bike, he only thinks he's Lance".
  • A swimmer at rest will tend to remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. A swimmer in motion will tend to rest as soon as possible unless acted upon by an outside force.
  • Trail Running is better than sex because it's good even if your running partner goes too fast for you.
  • A triathlete shows up at the local race on a new bike. His tri friend asks, "Where did you get a new bike?" The triathlete replies, "Well, yesterday I was out running when this absolutely beautiful woman rode up to me on this bike. She threw the bike to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, 'Take what you want!'" The second triathlete nodded approvingly, "Good choice. The clothes probably wouldn't have fit."
Have a great weekend all!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Rock And Roll Runners

(from fitsugar)

So would you be more likely to attend an event because a celebrity was involved? Who is someone you'd like to run with - maybe Lance Armstrong? What about a triathlon - Teri Hatcher? I'd probably attend a cycling event to ride with Robin Williams.

In a similar vein, I wrote about Rock and Roll Wine over at the 50 States Of Wine.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Endurance Events = Death?

Of course I kid, but…

Several deaths at endurance events this year have many people puzzled and worried. The most recent I’m aware of was a 35-year old firefighter at the Chicago Marathon Sunday, with autopsies inconclusive for the cause of death. This followed a heart attack death at the September Montreal Half Marathon, and a June death at the Chicago Half Marathon (heat stroke?). Two (two!) people died during the New York City Triathlon, both apparent heart attacks. I’m sure there are more out there, but in each case, seemingly fit and trained participants never finished their events.

Now these isolated incidents are scary, but statistically, we’re all still better off training and aiming for fitness. Even though any one of us could become the next fatality, the odds are slim and, our day to day life is improved through training. Stay safe.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Other F Word

I haven't heard too much about this documentary yet, but growing up as a punk and now a father, it of course fascinates me. In my mind (though my parents probably think otherwise), I was pretty easy in terms of rebellion. Wearing stupid-looking clothes, dyeing my hair sometimes every day, listening to loud punk rock music, that was about the extent of it. It's hard to be totally disaffected with food on the table and life one mile from the beach in Southern California. It's interesting to watch the first glimpses of our kids finding themselves and to guess how and when they'll rebel, which they will, because they need to. Maybe I should become an alcoholic homeless type dude so they'd rebel in the other direction?

"This revealing and touching film asks what happens when a generation's ultimate anti-authoritarians – punk rockers – become society's ultimate authorities – dads. With a large chorus of punk rock's leading men - Blink-182's Mark Hoppus, Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea, Rise Against’s Tim McIlrath - THE OTHER F WORD follows Jim Lindberg, a 20-year veteran of the skate punk band Pennywise, on his hysterical and moving journey from belting his band's anthem ”F--k Authority,” to embracing his ultimately authoritarian role in mid-life: fatherhood."

Monday, October 10, 2011

On Winning

"The constant desire to win is a very American kind of trouble. Less glamorous gains made along the way -- learning, wisdom, growth, and confidence, dealing with failure -- aren't given the same respect because they can't be given a grade." (William Zinsser, On Writing Well)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Occupy Chicago???

Maybe you've heard about the protests on Wall Street, maybe it's slipped under your radar, maybe you don't care. We have our own little homegrown band of well-meaning protesters here in Chicago, "occupying" several corners in front of the Federal Reserve Bank. I personally don't get what the point is, though I understand the frustration about corporations not paying their fare share of taxes and corporate honchos earning too much and bailout money used for bonuses, all while employees are laid off or pensions cut or what have you. I guess my confusion arises from what they expect these "occupations" to accomplish. If they are shooting for systemic change, in my opinion there will be not one iota of difference after these groups finally disband. The corporations may beg for the bailouts and tax breaks and they may then receive them, but they don't have the power to actually effect either of those perks. That power lies in Washington DC. We have a system in place to make changes. Instead of squatting in the streets, take that same energy and vote in folks who aren't beholden to the corporations - make sure the judges who are elected or appointed aren't either. And maybe, just maybe, I'd feel for you on the street corner, if you weren't decked out in Patagonia gear and supporting Big Tobacco. Don't tell me you're one of the "99%" when you can afford either.

I'm usually not overtly political and I definitely support the citizens' right to protest as they see fit. I guess I just want there to be a point to it.

Recently saw this image, thought it was interesting:

Have a great weekend, all!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Have Kourage and Run Like a Kenyan

Kourage is Kenya’s only running brand and builds beautiful apparel to create jobs in Kenya. They are a US 501(c)3 non-profit that reduces poverty through creating jobs in Kenya. Specifically, Kourage creates running apparel that is designed, manufactured, and managed in Kenya by Kenyans.These garments are then exported and sold in the developed countries with revenues reinvested into the Kenyan economy.

Currently Kourage does not have our own factory. Instead production for Kourage Athletics is sourced to a Kenyan owned and operated factory that produces everything from police uniforms to high-end fashion. Located 139 km north of Nairobi, the factory is in Rift Valley which is home to the greatest Kenyan runners. The factory employs over 200 Kenyans where each employee works 45-hrs a week, is provided an hour break for lunch, a well lit, cool facility, and jobs that follow minimum wage standards in Kenya.

Through providing well paying jobs, workers and their families are able to afford private school for their children, adequate medical care, and nutritious meals which leads to an increased quality of life. Furthermore, workers are provided with valuable training that improve their lifetime earning potential.

The result is that Kenyans are able to pursue exactly what Americans, or people of any nation want — a job that allows them to improve their own lives, as well as those of their families.

I tried out one of the shirts and was pleased with the performance. At the end of a hot, sweaty run, I felt dry, but the outside of the shirt was soaking wet, really effective. The only thing to note is that the shirt I received, an XL, fit more like a Medium or Large, pretty close-fitting.

Beyond that, the shirts deliver on performance and purchasing one will help support local businesses in a country that has given us so many outstanding performances in running history.

For more info or to buy, check out the Kourage website, follow on Twitter, and like on Facebook.

Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for review purposes, courtesy of Kourage Athletics. I was not compensated in any other way for the reviews, was not obligated to give them 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

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Making Bagels

Every once in a while, I decide that I want to be self-sufficient and learn a new skill. Laima and I have made wine in the past, we're avid bakers and cooks, and we grow vegetables on and off. No farm animals yet though.

Recently I decided to make bagels. Seemed simple enough.

Attempt 1 left, Attempt 2 Right

  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups warm milk (110 to 115 degrees F)
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add the butter, sugar, salt and egg yolk; mix well. Stir in enough flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. This is brutally difficult if you don't work with your hands - the hand muscles get sore and tired pretty quickly.

Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down. Shape into 12 balls. Push thumb through centers to form a 1-in. hole. Place on a floured surface. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes; flatten.

In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Drop bagels, one at a time, into boiling water. When bagels float to the surface, remove with a slotted spoon and place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. My bagels floated up basically immediately, so I took some out right away and others I allowed to boil for a bit longer - they all ended up basically the same, so I'm not sure that it makes any difference.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

Attempt 1 Left, Attempt 3 Right

All in, about 2 hours.

I tried this three times. First time, I used yeast that expired in 2007. Predictably, the bagels didn't rise much and ended up being quite dense. The second time I used unexpired yeast made for the whole wheat flour I was using. The third time I substituted bread flour for half the whole wheat flour - the results were not different enough to warrant adding the different flour, so I'll stick with all whole wheat flour for now. Because of the whole wheat flour, these bagels are dense and chewy, not like the fluffy bagels you get at the grocery store. The flavor is amazing, especially when they've just cooled. Cannot wait to try this with a variety of flavors.

Original recipe from

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

RÜEZ Performance Underwear

I was skeptical when RÜEZ (pronounced \RÜZ\) contacted me to do a product review. Performance underwear? What got me interested was the email, full of bad puns:

”Chris Varney, the company’s founder and reformed couch potato, recently created RUEZ to address one very specific problem that, as a male athlete, I’m sure you can appreciate: chafing. Package chafing, to be specific. He’s designed RUEZ with two layers on the front panel. The one closest to the skin (which is made from a wicking compression material) holds the family jewels comfortably in place, while a strategically positioned hole leads to another compartment that separates and protects your, um, joystick. (You can only imagine the fun I have coming up with new euphemisms for this company. Fortunately, Chris Varney is a serious innovator with a HUGE … sense of humor.)”

So I decided to go ahead with the review, and I’m glad I did.

I requested the boxer briefs ($30.00), both as something different and to compare them to a pair of shorts I tried recently, which came with a boxer brief liner. I had really enjoyed that and wondered if these would be as comfortable.

The boxer briefs are 85% Polyester/15% Spandex. Strangely, the sizes on the website and the actual product don’t line up. I requested a Large (34-38 on the website), which was labeled 38-40 on the item itself. It did fit like a Large, however, so I’d go with the website sizing and not the one on the product.

The underwear was comfortable from the get-go, soft yet clingy, so they were comfortable under a pair of shorts. I never would have expected that something like this would be necessary, but I could immediately feel how this would work to prevent chafing. Very simple solution to a common problem.

I ran, walked, and even cycled in these and they performed admirably in all situations. These won’t replace a good pair of bib shorts with a chamois, but were comfortable for the casual cycling that we did, riding our mountain bikes on country roads. I also wore the boxers for a full day, including the drive back from Michigan and, while they remained comfortable for most of that time, I was ready to have them off towards the end. So maybe not an all-day undergarment, but good for a decent number of hours.

The shorts also have a personal pocket, which is a good idea, since items tucked against the hip will bounce around less and be more protected as opposed to a shorts pocket. I have to admit that the photo on the website makes it look more like a Chippendale's dancer accepting credit cards.

This performance underwear seems well-made and does the job promised. If you are looking for something to help with chafing, these are definitely recommended. I’d also recommend them as a base layer for any outdoor activity – they were comfortable, supportive, and breathed well, even though they also blocked some serious wind.

For more information or to purchase, head over to the RÜEZ website. You can also like them on Facebook.

Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for review purposes, courtesy of RÜEZ, via This Just In PR & Marketing. I was not compensated in any other way for the reviews, was not obligated to give them 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

Monday, October 3, 2011


Laima and I celebrated 13 years of marriage this weekend with a fun-filled 3 days in Michigan wine country (for a full reckoning, head over to 50 States Of Wine). Power outages, 8 wineries, great meals, cycling, it really spanned the gamut.

4 children, 5 homes, 3 states, it's been a crazy fun adventure these past 13 years!

As someone more eloquent than I am once wrote: "There are not enough words in any language to say how much I love you."

Happy Anniversary Laima!

Running, Skiing, and Endurance Sports -

REI: Gear for the Great Outdoors

UnderArmour - I WILL

Outdoor DIVAS - Adventure Gear for Active Women