Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Running Traditions

What better way to end the year and start the New Year right than with a run? All over the world, people run, either on their own or in an organized race:
  • Every New Years Eve there is a 5 kilometre (3.1 mi) running race called the Nos Galan road race. (Wales)
  • The city of São Paulo also holds a famous event: the Corrida de São Silvestre Marathon. (Brazil)
 Above and beyond are some interesting traditions that sound well-worth a try:
  • How about running around the house with a suitcase, which means you will travel more in the coming year? (Argentina)
  • Eating 12 grapes representing 12 wishes for the new year and running across the street with luggage asking for new trips and adventures in the upcoming year. (Costa Rica)
We’ll be heading for our local track Sunday morning, to run one lap backward, symbolizing the year that has passed, and one lap forward, for the year to come. I saw this in Runner’s World and thought it would be a nice new family tradition.
What’s your year-end fitness tradition?

Happy New Year!

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

2012 Race Schedule (Tentative)

2011 was the year of no racing. I seriously questioned my desire and even the necessity of racing - my thoughts and others were collected in a series of 7 posts titled "Why We Race?" If you haven't read the series, check it out - a virtual who's who of running bloggers weighed in with their personal thoughts! 

Apart from our hometown Bonfield Express 5K, which I ran with my son and his friend, this was a year that I supported my family instead. The kids once again participated in the Chicago Kids Triathlon, while Laima successfully completed her first Half Marathon in Oakbrook Terrace. Maybe because I was still involved in these races, I didn’t really feel like I was missing out too much. For 2012, however, I know I’ll be racing again, mostly on trails. Laima and I have already registered for a race mid-summer. We’re hoping that gives her enough time to fully recuperate from knee surgery and get fit enough to enjoy a half season of racing.

Following are three events I’m looking at for my triumphant return to competition. :)

April 29 Bear Trax 20K (Lapham Peak State Park, WI)

I haven’t registered yet, but I’ve heard good things about this races. The 20K is a mix of wide, well-groomed ski trails and the single-track Ice Age Trail. Not sure starting off my racing season with a 20K is the smartest idea, but if I want to be in shape for my ultra in the fall, there’s no reason to delay.

June 17 Warrior Dash (Channahon, IL) - CONFIRMED

Laima and I have signed up for 3.19 hellish miles that include firepoles, cargo nets, barbed wire, mud and other obstacles. Sounds like fun! I’ve wanted to try one of these adventure runs for a while, glad we finally signed up for one!

September 15-16 The North Face Endurance Challenge (Kettle Moraine State Park, WI)

I ran the 10K of this event several years ago and it has blossomed into an event that spans the weekend and has races of every distance from a kids’ run to 50 miles. Laima is planning on running a half marathon this weekend, while I will tackle my first ultra, a 50K. I’m hoping we can rent an RV and camp out for the weekend, hang out with Karno and do some family bonding. This is a definite maybe!

Apart from those, there is always a chance we’ll sign up for some other races. Laima is really keen on trying the Muddy Buddy, the Soldier Field 10 Miler would allow us to finish on the 50 yard line of a historic venue, and the Waterfall Extreme 10 is close to home and on a trail I really enjoy running.

The big thing is the ultra. There is no doubt that physically I’ll be ready, just not sure how I’ll hold up mentally. But I want to challenge myself and that's how I'm aiming to do it this year.

How are you stretching yourself this year?

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Things to Love About Cycling

I wouldn’t consider myself a serious cyclist, like Patrick or Craig do, but I have always enjoyed riding, usually for pleasure. I began cycling more often a few years ago, when I became interested in triathlon. My best memories of cycling remain from my childhood: riding bmx bikes on a track we built ourselves and also balancing a surfboard on the handlebars as I pedaled to the beach.

Bicycling Magazine puts out lots of lists, and the most recent issue is no exception. Included among so many of them was one that stood out to me, a list of why people love cycling. Some of the ones I identified with included:

5. The first postwinter ride in shorts and a jersey

12. Walking your bike by the saddle

28. When the red light changes to green at the exact moment you'd have to put a foot down

82. "He's never tired. He's never miserable." (from the movie “Breaking Away” – awesome film!)

Read more or add your own at Bicycling Mag’s “101 Things We Love About Cycling

Are you a cyclist or ride a bike? What are things you love about the sport?

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sharpened, Flattened Bones

It was once believed that Canadians were born with a vestigial cartilaginous ridge running along the bottom of their feet, a remnant of their ice skating forebears. (Not really, I kid.) A study by Federico Formenti of the University of Oxford suggests that the earliest ice skating happened in southern Finland about 4000 years ago. Why the first people strapped sharpened bones to glide across frozen water is a mystery. My personal theory is that someone noticed that the frozen river or lake was easier to cross rather than posthole through deep snow, and it evolved from that.

Gaigai got new skates for christmas, so yesterday we took the opportunity of the open skate at the Downers Grove Ice Arena (pretty grand name for a not very fancy warehouse). Tazer took off like a shot, found a friend, and played tag for a good half hour. Gaigai was more hesitant, staying near the boards. I haven't skated seriously in several years (when I played hockey for a season), but was pleasantly surprised that, overall, I felt relatively comfortable. As Gaigai said: "Papa, ice skating just doesn't seem natural. Well, maybe for penguins." Love my kids' imaginations!

Not a particularly intense workout, but it was officially my rest day, but it was enjoyable doing an activity I normally don't do, with my kids, on a day off from work.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Winter Running Myths

  1. Winter running burns more calories - False; Unless you are running through snow or mud.
  2. Cold makes you pee more and can lead to dehydration - False; Though some people pee more, you actually need less fluid replacement than on a hot, humid day.
  3. Covering your head is the key to warmth - False; While you may lose a high percentage of heat through your head, it only accounts for 8 to 10 percent of the surface area of your body.
  4. You should do your warm-up inside - True, sometimes; If it's less than 10 degrees, both warm-up and cool-down should be done inside.
  5. When it's below 32 degrees, you need 3 layers to stay warm - False; there is no always; each person varies.
  6. Winter runs are some of the most satisfying runs you'll have all year - True and False; "Man in the cold is not necessarily a cold man." - David Bass, Director, U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine; basically, winter running is on a run by run basis - some will be amazing, while others will equal the struggles you have on any other bad day.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday Gift Suggestions

To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.
~Oren Arnold

Have a great holiday weekend!

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Say what you want about Tom Cruise’s personal behavior, the guy can make some entertaining movies. I’ve always been a fan of the Mission: Impossible series, with its over-the-top action and inventions. Coming up soon, “Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol” will be shown in a mind-blowing IMAX experience in 300 theatres across the country. As an added bonus, IMAX will offer the first previews of the upcoming Batman film, "The Dark Knight Rises", prior to Mission: Impossible.

Check out the trailer:

To keep up to date on all their offerings, "Like" IMAX's Facebook page.

This information was provided by IMAX through MyBlogSpark.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The 10 Biggest Fitness Myths

Do you stretch before going on a run? What about after? Do you guzzle electrolytes to stave off muscle cramps? Are you thinking about throwing your running shoes in the trash to go barefoot? Does your recovery meal include ibuprofen? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are now under arrest for breaking the basic laws of fitness.
  • Myth #1: Stretching prevents injuries and improves performance.
    • Truth: It could ruin your 10K time
  • Myth #2: Running barefoot is better for the body.
    • Truth: It all depends on body type and discipline
  • Myth #3: You need to focus on your core to become a better athlete.
    • Truth: Core strength is probably overrated, and you risk injury by focusing too specifically on it
  • Myth #4: Guzzling water and electrolytes before a race prevents cramps.
    • Truth: Water and electrolytes have little to do with muscles seizing up
  • Myth #5: Popping ibuprofen before a hard workout prevents sore muscles afterward.
    • Truth: It does more harm than good
  • Myth #6: Dehydration hurts race performance.
    • Truth: Overhydrating is more likely to sabotage your personal record.
  • Myth #7: Ice baths speed recovery.
    • Truth: They're not worth the chill
  • Myth #8: Long and slow is the best way to burn calories.
    • Truth: You need to pump up the intensity
  • Myth #9: Fructose is a performance killer.
    • Truth: Fructose can be a performance superfuel
  • Myth #10: Supplements take performance to the next level.
    • Truth: There’s no such thing as a magic pill. (At least a legal one.)

Up for Debate:
Massage boosts recovery,
Surgery is best for an ACL tear,
Cortisone Shots Speed Healing

Intrigued? Check out Gretchen Reynold’s original article online or in the January 2012 Outside Magazine.



Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hood To Coast: DVD Review

Before there was the Nuun Platoon, there was a relay race that has existed for quite some time.

The annual Hood To Coast Relay has run every year since 1982. The race started as an inauspicious event for a group of dedicated runners to stretch their legs and expand on the everyday running experience. Bob Foote, the race founder, had run track with the famous Men of Oregon at the University of Oregon. Marathons had lost their appeal, and to keep himself interested in the sport he loved, he decided to organize an unheard of adventure, running from Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood to the Oregon Coast. Each year 1,000 teams (12,000 runners) in 2,000 vans cover 197 grueling miles as a relay, putting themselves through an arduous physical journey that as an individual would be impossible. Some run to test their personal limits, some to overcome personal obstacles, and others leap in blindly looking for a way to shake up a complacent life. Or, if you're Dean Karnazes, you run it solo because you can.

I recently had the opportunity to watch the Hood To Coast DVD, nearly 2 hours of video following four teams: a 67-year-old heart attack survivor and her team return to conquer the race that nearly killed her, a family in mourning runs to honor the memory of their beloved, a group of film animators test the limits of their athleticism (or lack thereof), and a group of aging jocks show they still know how to have a good time. 3 of the 4 teams were appealing to me, while the heart-attack victim, was to me, sad to say, just irritating. Otherwise, a really fascinating movie.

While I really enjoyed the movie (it was an entertaining overview of how much goes into planning, executing, and participating in the relay race), it was the extras disk that really shone. I would almost suggest watching the extras first, as they add a huge dimension to the movie. Not that the movie itself does not stand alone, but the extras really flesh out the documentary. The only way to improve this movie would be to have a "Play All" option for the extras. Since I watched this on my trainer and treadmill, it was somewhat cumbersome to play each extra individually.

I guarantee that this movie will make you want to run a relay race.


(Disclaimer: I was sent this product for free to review on my blog. I did not pay for the item, 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?

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Justin Bieber Loves GU Roctane!

The GU Roctane giveaway ended yesterday and I had to choose a winner. Not easy, as a good mix of longtime readers and newcomers stepped up to plead their case. Or, as Patrick and Jamoosh did, demurred, then secretly sent me text messages, chocolates, even wine samples (though that may have been from a wine PR firm maybe).

Patrick, author of StuffAbout. Me, born March 1, 1994 is a Canadian pop/R+B singer, songwriter and actor. Patrick was discovered in 2008 by Scooter Braun, who came across Patrick's videos on YouTube and later became his manager. Braun arranged for him to meet with Usher in Atlanta, Georgia, and Patrick was soon signed to Raymond Braun Media Group (RBMG), a joint venture between Braun and Usher, and then to a recording contract with Island Records offered by L.A. Reid.

Wait, that’s Justin Bieber.

From Last Mile Lounge, Jamoosh’s debut single, "One Time", was released in 2009 and peaked in the top ten in Canada and charted in the top thirty in several international markets. His debut album, My World, followed in November 2009, and was later certified platinum in the United States. He became the first artist to have seven songs from a debut album chart on the Billboard Hot 100. Jamoosh's first full studio release, My World 2.0, was released in March 2010 and debuted at number one and within the top ten of several countries, and was certified platinum in the United States. It was preceded by the worldwide top-ten single, "Baby". The music video of "Baby" is currently ranked as the most viewed and most discussed YouTube video.

Nope, Justin Bieber again. Damn.

Of course there was also Bob, the One Hour Ironman , who mistakenly believed he could win a new car, so I had to eliminate him from serious consideration. Sorry, Bob, but I believe the check is in the mail, so that’s good news!

Apparently I wasn't allowed to choose Laima, because she’s my wife. Wait, whose blog is this anyway? Besides being the author of Women’s Endurance Gear, she is an American singer and songwriter. Born and raised in New York City, she primarily studied at the Convent of the Sacred Heart and briefly attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts before withdrawing to focus on her musical career. She began performing in the rock music scene of Manhattan's Lower East Side, and by the end of 2007, was signed with Streamline Records. Employed as a songwriter for the record company, her vocal abilities captured the attention of recording artist Akon, who signed her to his label Kon Live Distribution.

Oh man, Lady Gaga.

Ultimately, it wasn’t that hard to choose, because anyone who would even consider riding their bike pantsless in winter (at any time for that matter) NEEDS to win.

Kate, you ARE the Ironman winner!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Guest Post: 5 Equipment-Free Exercises

5 Equipment-Free Exercises to Challenge the Toughest Athlete

I'll be the first to admit that I love strength training equipment. Those of us who use weights know that defying gravity is the biggest challenge of all. But I find the need to mix up my workouts and get back to routines that involve pushing and pulling only my own body weight.

Believe me, your own body weight is enough to build strength and whole body fitness. You can build muscle with body weight exercises such as pull ups, chin ups, sit ups, crunches, lunges and squats, and with simple jumps, sprints and knee-high skips. If you're training in a sport, you can improve overall balance and reflexes and develop the quick muscle release and explosive power you need to play with plyometrics, boot camp fitness training workouts and other off-the-machine exercises.

Here are five essential equipment-free exercises that you can do in the gym or at home. If you string them together into a routine (and I'll suggest some), you can also do them at home, but it's best to have a mat, and training or careful practice. For pylometrics, practice your low-impact landings whether you're landing on your feet or your hands during explosive push ups. The idea is to do these moves always correctly, over and over, in your workout and build up the muscle memory to land without injury and minimize joint impact. That way, you avoid injury in your sport. (*note: always check with your physician before starting a new workout regimen)

  1. Vertical jumping. Try the straight jump-and-reach. Stand straight and tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms hanging down and relaxed. Squat slightly and jump up and high as you can. Stretch your arms above your head to touch something over your head or hit a mark on a wall. Now try jumping over an obstacle, say a foot-high box. Take the same stance, bend your hips slightly and jump over the box. Keep your body straight and tuck your knees toward your chest. Turn around and do it again. Now try a standing broad jump. Bend your knees slightly, swing your arms back and then forward as you jump and land on both feet. Stretch up slowly. Touch your toes slowly. Return to standing position and do it again. Try the standing broad jump with a one-foot landing, jump again and land on the other foot, jump again and land on both feet. Alternate broad jumps with sprints and you will be sweating. For one more vertical jump exercise, here's a video on depth jumping.
  2. Lateral hopping. Start with some lateral shuffles. Stan with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, and your body leaning forward. Step with your right foot as far out to your right side as you can. Bring your left foot alongside back into the starting position. Keep going to the right, with your right foot leading the way, for a dozen steps. Now stop and lead with your left foot in the direction you just came. As long as you keep correct form, you can increase the pace. Now do some side-to-side ankle hops. Make two marks on the floor with tape about three feet apart. Stand on one leg next to one of the marks with your feet at shoulder-width and your arms relaxed at your side. Hop back and forth between the marks on the floor placing your right foot beside the right-hand mark and your left-foot beside the left-hand mark.
  3. Clapping push-ups. Start on the floor in a push up with your hands at shoulder width on a mat and your toes on the floor. Drop down to the floor and then push up explosively. At the top of the push-up, clap your hands together once and drop back to the floor. Ouch, those burn!
  4. Incline push-ups. Start on the floor, prone, with your hands shoulder-width apart and your toes on a box or a stack of books that makes your feet higher than your head. Explosively push up off the floor and lower yourself down. If you combine it with the clap, catch yourself on your hands on the mats in push-up position with a slightly wider hand width than when you started. Lower yourself, reset your hands and start over. Whoa, those really burn!
  5. Cardio. The American Council on Exercise recommends cardiovascular exercise, movement that gets your heart rate up to improve oxygen consumption by the body. Calisthenics are a good and necessary addition to your equipment-free body-weight exercises. You can skip rope, run up stairs, do jumping jacks, run in place, or do or knee-high skipping in place. Do three or four different exercises for 30 seconds each and then rest for two or three minutes. If you're near a field, try a 40-yard dash.
A key to using these exercises is to combine them so you get a full-body workout based on balance, form, strength, power and oxygen-rich movement. LiveStrong gives a good overview of equipment-free exercising. With a trainer or on your own, design a program. Keep it balanced. Don't go too fast, over-repeat, or work out too long. Remember to include recovery intervals.

A few seriously fun programs to check out for ideas: the 14-week, pre-boot camp Air Force workout; the NFL Scouting Combine routine; and the Daniel Craig Workout I ran across in Men's Health magazine (James Bond's workout!). Go for it!

Guest Author: Brett Warren is a fitness and weightlifting enthusiast from Boston, Massachusetts. He is passionate about nutraceutical science and loves his job developing workout supplements for Force Factor. Brett's extensive background in biochemical engineering means he's one scientist you don't want to mess with. When Brett is not crushing it in the gym or working at Force Factor, you can find him spending time outdoors with his family.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Come As You Are

Once when asked what Trans-Siberian Orchestra was about, Paul O'Neill replied, "It's about creating great art." When asked to define what great art was, Paul said, "The purpose of art is to create an emotional response in the person that is exposed to that art. And there are three categories of art; bad art, good art and great art. Bad art will elicit no emotional response in the person that is exposed to it, i.e.; a song you hear in an elevator and it does nothing to you, a picture on a wall that gives you the same emotional response as if the wall had been blank, a movie that chews up time. Good art will make you feel an emotion that you have felt before; you see a picture of a forest and you remember the last time you went fishing with your dad, you hear a song about love and you remember the last time you were in love. Great art will make you feel an emotion you have never felt before; seeing the Pieta, the world famous sculpture by Michelangelo, can cause someone to feel the pain of losing a child even if they've never had one. And when you're trying for these emotions the easiest one to trigger is anger. Anyone can do it. Go into the street, throw a rock at someone, you will make them angry. The emotions of love, empathy and laughter are much harder to trigger, but since they operate on a deeper level, they bring a much greater reward.”

That, to me, was what music was all about. Emotion.

When I was younger, I was less tolerant, less understanding about pretty much everything, but especially about music. There was a part of me that just didn’t want to share the bands I “discovered.” More disturbing were bands I liked that were commercially successful, which was selling out, in my eyes.

20 years ago, in 1991, Nirvana released “Nevermind” on DGC Records. After my initial approval of them as part of the SubPop roster, this was close to heresy. To top it off, EVERYONE loved the album, especially the single “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” I turned away.

(On a positive note, they knocked Michael Jackson off the top of the charts.)

The growing popularity of alternative music made me retreat further from all music, as I couldn’t comprehend the melding of “alternative” and “mainstream.” The slow decline of vinyl and subsequently of CDs lent further credence to my thinking that music as an art form was dead.

I’m not sure when I started listening to music again, maybe when I started exercising again and needed distraction as I ran increasingly longer durations. I started going back to favorite punk artists of my childhood and then worked my way forward. Apologies to my children, but much of contemporary music is ridiculously formulaic and irritating (surely that’s the cranky curmudgeon in me talking?). To see what has added greatly to my dismay, check out this link that Patrick of StuffAbout.Me shared: 12 Extremely Disappointing Facts About Popular Music. Ouch.

A return to the Seattle scene in my musical meanderings meant, of course, a relisten to two of the greatest bands of the time, Pearl Jam and Nirvana. Much as I have enjoyed Pearl Jam, to me the more appealing of the two bands remains Nirvana. They, in so much of their music, combine the wall of noise (loud guitars, thundering bass and drums) with infectious pop melodies that is the hallmark of my favorite bands.

I recently had the chance to watch “Classic Albums: Nirvana – Nevermind,” which is a documentary DVD released by Eagle Vision in March 2005, as part of the Classic Albums series. It features interviews specifically for this release with members of the band and Nevermind album producer Butch Vig about the recording of the album. Other interview highlights include Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth, and Steve Diggle from the Buzzcocks. If you ever were a fan of the band or just want to learn more about what made them tick, this is a must-see DVD.

I feel like I've come a long way and become much more tolerant. But I still think much of contemporary music sucks.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

(A Giveaway) GU Roctane Ultra Endurance Energy Drink

Carb-rich Roctane Drink is for athletes looking to expand their fueling options over longer and more intense training and racing sessions. It contains the optimal ratio of complex to simple carbs customized for rapid absorption. Roctane Drink simultaneously provides ample electrolytes—sodium and potassium—to aid in proper rehydration. Add to that a blend of taurine and caffeine for proven performance gains. Use it as a single bottle solution for some workouts or in conjunction with other GU Energy products as the athlete's regimen demands.

During prolonged and intense exercise:
  • Taurine improves heart and skeletal muscle function
  • Beta Alanine helps improve muscle buffering capacity and performance
  • Taurine and Caffeine in combination amplifies the benefits of taurine and caffeine when the two are used in combination
  • Amino Acids provide extra energy, reduce muscle damage and maintain concentration
  • maltodextrin
  • fructose
  • taurine
  • sodium citrate
  • natural grape flavor
  • citric acid
  • beta-alanine
  • roctane amino blend
  • (histidine, leucine, valine, isoleucine)
  • malic acid
  • natural raspberry flavor
  • potassium citrate
  • tartaric acid
  • fruit and vegetable juice (color)
  • gluten-free


Available April 2012

You, however, can get some now. Lots of page views but very few entries into the GU Roctane Giveaway – I think the “Reader of the Year” scared off some people. Not surprising when you’re up against SuperKate and the OneHourIronman. You don’t actually have to be a long-time reader to win, just become a follower and leave a comment agreeing to review the product. Easy-peasy.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tuesday Treadmill: The 1% Incline Debate

Now that it’s winter, more of us are using and blogging about running on treadmills. Inevitably, well-meaning readers will remind everyone that the incline should be set at 1% in order to more closely mimic the outdoor effort. Heck, back in 1996 the National Center For Biotechnology Information disseminated a study stating just that. I must admit that I was initially a proponent of the incline, since much of what I had read seemed to support it. However, after a while, I started having more trouble with my feet, feeling plantar fasciitis-like effects and similar discomfort. Turns out that the incline may have been the culprit.

So who’s right? Incline or no incline? What’s the answer for an average runner like myself?

Researchers at the University of Brighton in the United Kingdom wondered the same thing 15 years ago, so they tested a group of trained runners on treadmills and an outdoor track, measuring their signs of exertion. "The energy cost of running outdoors is always greater than running indoors whatever the pace," says Jonathan Doust, Ph.D., one of the study's authors. "The faster you run the greater the effect."

This is most clearly seen in the tactics of races like the Tour de France, where the peloton saves energy by sharing the cost of breaking the wind. "At the slower speeds of running the effect of air resistance is much less, but still measurable," Doust says. For instance, running at a pace of 6:00/mile outdoors will add 5 percent to the total energy cost due to wind resistance. This would show up as roughly five extra beats per minute on that runner's heart rate.

The study's final verdict? At paces slower than 8 mph (7:30/mile pace), no adjustment is necessary. "The difference is so small as to be meaningless," says Doust. Between 8 mph and 11.2 mph (5:21 pace), a 1 percent treadmill grade provides the right adjustment. At higher speeds you will need at least a 2 percent grade to offset the lack of wind resistance. Don't worry if you choose to ignore your well-meaning friend's advice. You'll simply run at a slightly faster pace than you could outside with less effort. Consider it a confidence boost.


Monday, December 12, 2011

2011 Hawaii Ironman

Did you get a chance to watch the 2011 Hawaii Ironman this weekend? What a motivating event! After watching it, every year I get the itch to get more serious about triathlon, maybe over the next couple of years it will become a priority again. We'll see.

Once again, Chrissie Wellington and Craig Alexander were the victors. At 38, Crowie was the oldest Kona winner ever. Chrissie made it 13 for 13 at the Ironman distance - that's domination. Crowie also became the first ever to win both the 70.3 and 140.6 World Championships in the same year.

Some interesting statistics regarding the 2 winners and this year's event:

  • Difference between his ride in 2010 and 2011: 15:30 faster this year
  • Crowie's margin of victory over Chrissie in 2009: 33:41, this year: 51:12
  • How many athletes who biked faster in 2009, 2010, 2011: 18, 11, and 1
  • 2 torn muscles at the start of the race
  • Place on the bike: 6th
  • Place leaving the Energy Lab: 1st
The thing that I really like about both of these athletes is that they are a class act all the way - while serious about the sport, they each show incredible joy in competing. And Crowie is a family man all the way, which is something I can really relate to.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

2011 Midwest Multisport Life Reader Of The Year?! (A Giveaway)

GU is bringing to market early next year…Roctane Ultra Endurance Drink!
Sounds great, right? Well…I’m bummed, because I can’t get it yet. AND there are only 29 sample tubs in existence!!!

It’s for you, readers. Specifically, it’s for my Reader of the Year.

Roctane Drink isn’t available to the general public yet, but in the company’s tradition of hands-on athlete development, they would like to extend exclusive product testing opportunity…to one lucky reader.

Light tasting, carbohydrate-dense Roctane Ultra Endurance Energy Drink provides athletes easily available energy with the superior rehydration combination of sodium and potassium. Taurine, Caffeine, and the proven Roctane Amino Acid Blend provide extra energy, reduce muscle damage and maintain mental focus, while Beta-Alanine augments muscle buffering capacity and performance to help athletes meet their goals.

In short, Roctane Drink is essential for any athlete striving to sustain peak performance through their endurance pursuits.

To reward my most loyal fan, Outside PR will send a tub of the drink to them, as well as a complimentary GU Sample Pack, to test out.

Are you the
2011 Midwest Multisport Life
Reader Of The Year?!
  1. Be or become a follower.
  2. Agree to write a guest review to post here on Midwest Multisport Life.
How to enter:
  1. Tell me why you think you’re my Reader of the Year. (Mandatory - be creative if you're a new follower!)
  2. Tweet, share on Facebook, send me a bribe, link on your blog, they each count for an entry.
That’s it, no more, no less.

Entries accepted through Sunday, December 18th, 2011,11:23 PM, CST.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011


According to the Urban Dictionary, stuff:

  1. Usually refers to something sexual. "What ya doin?" "I g2g I'm busy with stuff."
  2. A word that is a proper substitute for any other word. Present most often in one sided conversations, or when a conversation is running dry,the random insertion of "stuff" breaks the silence for as long as it takes to say the word. A: Whacha been up to? B: Eh, stuff. A: Do anything cool this weekend? B: Did some stuff. A: Buy anything? B: ...stuff.
  3. A man's genitalia, e.g. cock and balls. Damn, man...that baseball just hit me in my stuff.
  4. A girl that means alot to you... I love stuff.
  5. everything you can think of. wow that girl has nice stuff id like some of that stuff whoa! you see that stuff last night? i just stepped in some stuff
But that’s not the point of this post. If you were a follower of The Road [A Multi-Sport Blog] or Endurance Athlete Project, you may have been disappointed each time Patrick disappeared from the bloggyverse. Fear not, he’s back with some STUFF that might interest you. (There’s also the possibility that he may show up on the blog in a running skirt – who knew about that fetish? Thanks Laima, for pointing that out!) In a much appreciated move, he also includes links to the aforementioned blogs, a historical archive, as it were. He’s semi-regularly blogging about all kinds of stuff – head over and check it out.

The big question is: does the QPR Code work?

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

7 Weeks of Nightshade Deprivation and LoseIt!

About a month ago, I wrote about  an experiment wherein I stopped eating nightshades. Why? An article Laima mentioned over at Women's Endurance Gear posited that some of our problems (joint pain, some minor skin problems on my part, etc.) could be explained by an intolerance for nightshades. So we took the plunge and removed hot peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and potatoes from our diet. 7 weeks in, I didn't notice much of a difference, and, if you knew me well, you would know that hot peppers and hot sauce are a mainstay of my meals - I love the heat! Laima thought there might be some minor improvements that she could see in my skin, but it wasn't enough for me -- I'm back on nightshades. However, knowing that they could possibly cause problems, I'm being more circumspect in my usage.

It's been my dream for some years now to control my weight through self-control. However, I seem to hover just over the Clydesdale mark for much of the time. I really feel it when I run and at other times, though usually it's not a big deal. Yesterday I started counting calories again (I track them using Lose It! which I has used successfully before). In one day of restricting calories, I already feel a difference. Studies have shown that the longest-lived cultures do not eat a specific diet, but rather eat very little compared to our modern portions. I'll be sad to see the extra calories go, especially the second (sometimes third and fourth) glasses of wine, but I remember how I felt 20 pounds lighter, and it will definitely be worth it.

Midwest Multisport Life on Facebook

Monday, December 5, 2011

Forever Lazy

The one piece, lie around, lounge around, full body lazy wear!

You never have to get off the couch again.

Midwest Multisport Life on Facebook

Friday, December 2, 2011

Margaritaville Eyewear Traveler Product Review

2nd winter beard started!

“Wastin’ away again in Margaritaville
Searching for my lost shaker of salt
Some people claim that there's a woman to blame
But I know it's my own damn fault.”
-- Jimmy Buffett, 1977

If you’re of a certain age, and I certainly am, Margaritaville conjures up images of sandy beaches, salt water, swaying palm trees and good rum. As an endurance enthusiast, maybe not what you think of when sunglasses come to mind, but it might be something you should check out.

Margaritaville Eyewear Traveler ($179.95)

I chose the Traveler, because I was hoping to find a pair of glasses that I could use for running and cycling, yet wouldn’t be too “sporty” for casual wear. They certainly didn’t disappoint – incredibly light and comfortable, didn’t fog or slip when running, and look very cool, if I do say so myself. I have a wide face, so sometimes glasses are tight at the temples, but the flexible metal frames make them adjustable and comfy. The polarized lenses are a great bonus.

I'm not a big fan of sunglass leashes,
but this is a very elegant solution.

  • State of the art MPT (Margaritaville® Polarized Technology) nylon lenses
  • 100% UV A/B Protection
  • Proprietary lens finish which repels both oil and water and provides scratch resistance
  • Corrosion resistant forged alloy frame with heat sculpted polymer temple tips
  • SunGrip silicon nose pads and temple tip inserts
  • Integrated Margaritaville® Leash System
  • Ships with custom Margaritaville® Case and microfiber cleaning bag

Love that microfiber cleaning bag!

Margaritaville Forged Alloy is an engineered alloy of nickel silver and copper that creates a lightweight, yet extremely durable frame. It’s a malleable, corrosion resistant frame that is hypoallergenic, and provides a well fitting and easy to wear frame. Sungrip rubberized temple tips increase their grip when introduced to moisture, so when you're active your eyewear stays put! A Margaritaville® exclusive, this integrated loop and low profile leash protects your investment from a tragic sunglass loss.

Other features:
  • Nautical detailing includes elements such as custom starboard (red) and port (green) screws on all styles
  • Watching the Sun Bake” Temple Printing
  • Margaritaville® palm tree logo etching on all lenses
  • Margaritaville® palm tree details on the nose pads
Their warranty covers against manufacturing defects for 12 months from date of purchase. Scratched lenses and accidental damage or loss is not covered.

High quality sunglasses are rarely inexpensive, yet sometimes can be worth it, as the Travelers certainly are. Now’s a great time to get a pair for yourself, as they are having a 50% Off Sale! Head over to their website or Facebook for more info!


(Disclaimer: I was sent this product for free to review on my blog - courtesy of Margaritaville Eyewear, via Bubble Up. I did not pay for the item, 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.)

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Treadmill Training

This morning I was tired, it was 31 degrees, and I just didn’t feel like getting bundled up to run outside. Plus, I’m trying to finish a DVD that’s due at the library today (“Knight and Day” – seen it? Goofy, over-the-top - all in all, pretty enjoyable.) So I hopped on the treadmill. It’s the first day of many as we move into winter weather. Though I love getting outside, sometimes it’s just too dark and cold and wet and windy and I just don’t feel like it. Treadmill to the rescue.

Some runners consider treadmill running a lesser substitute for running outdoors. Going nowhere on a machine is not their first choice. It is only done when outdoor running is impractical. Some runners even refuse to run on a treadmill--dismissing the activity as not "real" running. Other runners view the treadmill for favorably.

There are Pros and Cons to Treadmill Running.


  • Treadmills are convenient.
    • One of the great things about running is that you can do it almost anywhere, anytime. But there are situations in which outdoor running is impractical and treadmill running is preferable. For example, if you often run before the sun comes up, a treadmill can spare you from having to run in the dark. If the sidewalks get icy in the winter in your area, a treadmill can spare you from a nasty fall.
  • Treadmills facilitate controlled and precise workouts.
    • Even when you can run outdoors, running on a treadmill may be preferable in certain circumstances. For example, if you want to practice running at your goal pace before an upcoming race, you can take advantage of your ability to dial in a precise pace on the treadmill and use it to get your body and mind accustomed to holding that pace steadily.
  • Treadmill running is effective.
    • Some treadmill haters argue that treadmill running is easier than running outdoors, hence not as effective. Research has shown that heart rate is slightly lower at any given pace on a treadmill than it is outdoors, but the difference is very slight, and you can counteract it by running at a 1 percent gradient on the treadmill. A recent study, however, shows that the difference between running outdoors and on a treadmill is pretty negligible, unless you run 7:30 minute pace or faster. So the 1% is probably unnecessary for most of us.

  • Treadmills are boring.
    • There is no denying the fact that, except for those few treadmill junkies, running on the treadmill simply is not as fun as running outside. One can argue that runners need to be willing to put up with a little boredom in their training once in a while, but there is evidence that the tedium of treadmill running could make it slightly less effective than outdoor running.
  • Treadmill running lacks physical variation.
    • Even for the most diehard treadmill junkie, treadmill running cannot wholly substitute for running outdoors. For example, the maximum speed of most treadmills is 12 mph, which is slower than sprint speed for most runners, making it impossible to perform sprints and very short, very fast intervals on a treadmill. Also, it is impossible to simulate downhill running on most treadmills, so one cannot use a treadmill to prepare for races with extensive downhill sections such as the Boston Marathon.
Whether you love or hate treadmills, for me ours is a go-to when I’m lazy, the weather is inclement, or I really want to watch a movie that’s not appropriate for my kids. At 4:00, when I usually run, the family is usually asleep, so my workouts also don’t take away hubby or daddy time.


Running, Skiing, and Endurance Sports -

REI: Gear for the Great Outdoors

UnderArmour - I WILL

Outdoor DIVAS - Adventure Gear for Active Women