Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Make A Hero

Make A Hero logo

One of the most interesting things about the Olympics this year is that, while the Paralympics are getting more mentions, I have yet to see any of the events televised. Many of the Olympic sponsors have signed on to sponsor our Paralympic athletes as well. Very cool, but even cooler would be to see some of these amazing people strutting their stuff, not to mention a real validation of their often unsung efforts.

One of the ads I saw was for a website called Make A Hero: Helping individuals with disabilities enjoy the freedom of sports and recreation. It appears that the ad was slated to only run once during the Olympics, bummer as it is really powerful. Make A Hero’s mission is to grow awareness and generate financial support for individuals with disabilities. They inspire people with disabilities to “get fully engaged in the game of life”, build their confidence and help them regain their mobility and freedom through participation in sports and recreation.


Get more info on the Make A Hero website,  on Facebook,  and YouTube.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Week 13: The North Face Endurance 50K Training

Another week that started in SW Michigan--we are so lucky to have this cottage to use! Since I was working, I only got to the beach on Sunday afternoon, but Laima and the kids enjoyed it through Tuesday lunch. Good week overall, though lots of stormy weather made getting things in when scheduled problematic.

Monday: Core/20 Mile Ride
  • Woke up to thunderstorm and lightning, not a good morning for a ride. Thought about riding later in the day or after work was done, but never happened.
  • No core - day off per the program!
Tuesday: 8 Mile Run
  • So lazy today, didn't want to run, especially when I stepped outside and felt like I was aquajogging while walking the dog, incredibly hot and humid. Decided to go out for a few miles, felt okay, felt okay at 3, so stretched it to 4, then was tired coming back. Figures.
  • Laima and I were planning on another core session when we got home from Michigan, but just didn't feel like it after the drive, another day off (not per plan)!
Wednesday: OFF
  • Thought about getting a quick cycle before heading into the city for work, but woke up just a little late for it.
  • Next JCORE session - Fire Fit, and it was true to its name, we were sweating up a storm!
Thursday: 14 Mile Run
  • Laima and I had planned to run together this morning, on the trails down at Palos. Woke up to thunderstorms (well, I did), but Laima slept in a little bit late for us to get down there before serious heat and humidity kicked in. Postponed until tomorrow.
  • Hard Core was the next JCORE session and it truly was - much less cardio, but endless planks, especially side planks. This core program is really doing a number on my hips as well, I really need the work!

Palos Trail Collage

Friday: Strength/Core
  • Trail half marathon plus with Laima at Palos -- ran the yellow then orange trails. Relatively cool 71 degrees to start, never overly hot beneath the trees. Really a nice run and a good couple of hours together.
  • So sore from the run that we didn't do core when we got home, and the day slipped by with it being pushed farther and farther back until we agreed that we just didn't want to do it.
Saturday: 25 Mile Ride
  • Felt every one of yesterday's 14 miles, but it was a nice cool morning, light traffic, so I was happy I got out on the roads.
Sunday: Speedwork/Drills
  • Nada, went to bed last night feeling under the weather and woke up to more of the same today. More couch time watching the Olympic Games.
Totals: 47.69 miles, 5:36:19.

(Training Plan adapted from Jeff Horowitz’ Smart Marathon Training)

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Top 10 Tick Prevention Tips

Tick

Everywhere you look nowadays, ticks are being mentioned--it seems like an infestation is underway. Laima and I lived through a cyclical infestation in Florida, spending countless hours picking ticks off our dogs (worst was between the toes!). One scary fact we learned is that ticks can drop off trees, not just hide in long grass. Yuck.

Lyme disease is the fastest growing infectious disease and the most common tick-borne disease in the country, according to the Center for Disease Control, but there are numerous other diseases that ticks can pass along, as well. There is currently no full-proof diagnostic tool for Lyme disease, causing thousands of people to often go misdiagnosed and without appropriate treatment. Many sufferers of tick-borne illnesses are not even aware that they are victims of these diseases because they simply don’t have the facts. The Tick-Borne Disease Alliance (TBDA) is spreading the word about one of the season’s biggest dangers—the tick.

Tick - target lesion

Top 10 Tick Prevention Tips

Purchase tick-repellent clothing, especially clothing treated with permethrin, an insecticide that repels and kills ticks. You may spray your own clothing with permethrin or seek out brands such as Insect Shield, ExOfficio’s BugsAway or ElimiTick from retailers like L.L. Bean and Eastern Mountain Sports, which remain effective for up to 70 washes

Reduce the amount of skin exposed by sporting long pants, long-sleeved shirts and a hat

EPA-approved insect repellent should be applied to exposed skin

Venture in the center of woodland trails, and by all means avoid walking along any deer paths

Every time you’ve been outside, check for ticks while you are out and as soon as you get back

Never wait to shower. Bathing as soon as possible will help in removing unattached ticks from your body. Bath time is the perfect time to carefully inspect for any unwanted hitchhikers.

Take your clothes off and put them in the dryer at high heat for about 30 minutes to kill any ticks

Inspect your pets when they come inside from the outdoors, as they may be transporting ticks that can then transfer to you

Opt for light-colored clothing to make it easier to spot ticks

Neatly tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants legs into your socks when possible to provide an extra line of defense against ticks

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Just Ride: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike

Just Ride book cover

A former racer, Petersen has commuted by bike every day since 1980 – wow! Grant Petersen is the founder of Rivendell Bicycle Works, a brand known for its lugged steel frames, throwback designs, and emphasis on comfort and functionality in lieu of the light weight and technological advances espoused by race bike firms. Bicycling Magazine once dubbed him the “Retro-Grouch,” a term that has since been used both pejoratively and in admiration to describe him.

From the Rivendell Bike website  description: Just Ride is a collection of eighty-nine micro-essays ranging on topics dealing with riding, dressing, safety, health and fitness, accessories, upkeep, technicalities, and velosophy. The book is written for the Unracer—the rider looking for a reason to shuck the click-in pedals and uncomfortable bikes and grueling rides, without feeling like it’s throwing in the towel. It’s about riding your bike outside the strange and often dysfunctional influences of racing and having a better time on the bike because of it.

This is both a funny and also an instructive book. Petersen definitely has his viewpoint and, while I don't agree with everything, he makes some valid points. I lie somewhere between his retro-grouchiness and the weight-weenie approach to cycling. There are times for the laid-back, cruising or utilitarian bike, but I also love taking out my (relatively) lightweight Look - the bike makes me a better and faster ride than I otherwise would be. Definitely a great addition to your cycling bookshelf!



Grant PetersEn
About the Author: Grant Petersen is the founder and owner of Rivendell Bicycle Works and writes the Rivendell Reader. His writing and opinions have been featured in major bike and outdoor magazines, including Bicycling, Outside, and Men’s Journal. He’s commuted exclusively by bike since 1980, and lives with his family in Walnut Creek, California.

More information on this and many other fine books can be found on the Workman website.

Disclaimer: This product was advanced to me for review purposes, courtesy of Workman. 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.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

injinji Toesocks

The MANIFESTOE:
"...Forever committed to innovation
that allows your feet to live and
perform at their peak.


We are...a better way."

Recently, Laima and I received some injinji toesocks to try out (read her take over at Women's Endurance Gear). I've long been fascinated and repelled by toesocks, starting with my high school career in the 80s, when knee-high rainbow toesocks were favored by a certain subset of teenage girls (none of whom had time for me), More recently, I associated toesocks with the suddenly ubiqiuitous five-toed shoes, which frankly look a bit ridiculous to me. But still, the fascination continued. With the arrival of the toesocks a simultaneous arrival of UltraRunning Magazine, with an article on sock choice by Donald Buraglio (of Running and Rambling fame). In it he mentions that toesocks allow more air movement around the toes, keeping feet cooler--with the advent of really hot summer weather, this sounded like just the ticket.

injinji midweight mini-crew toesock
The Performance Series Midweight Toesock™ is designed as a padded interface for performance in any shoe, climate and terrain. It features a honeycomb design on top of the foot for added breathability and a light compression for proper fit. The Performance Series is engineered with Injinji’s patented AIS: Technology™ and built with superior fibers to keep feet dry, cool and comfortable.
injinji Lightweight Mini-Crew Toesocks
The Performance Series Lightweight Toesock™ is designed to offer a sleek and ultra thin interface for performance in any shoe, climate and terrain. The high-knit count enables the thin fiber to remain durable. The Performance Series is engineered with Injinji’s patented AIS: Technology™ and built with superior fibers to keep feet dry, cool and comfortable.
It takes some getting used to wearing toesocks--I still struggle every time to get my pinky toes in, as they are curled under quite a bit. Once on, however, good to go. It's a neat feeling to have the toes separated and wiggling around. Plus, on cooler mornings, I can wear them and slip on flip-flops to go out and get the newspaper. I'm still going to refrain from the five-toed shoes though.

(Disclaimer: I was sent this item for free to review on my blog, courtesy of injini, via Outside PR. 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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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hack Your Fitness

Laima shared this last week over at Women's Endurance Gear - burning 2,900 calories equates to almost a pound a week, and these 7 steps are pretty easy to incorporate into everyday life. Of the seven, I need to improve the most in 2 areas: working out with others and lifting weights.

Hack Your Fitness - burn more calories with tips from this infographic:



Tribesports: Hack your fitness


How many of these 7 do you normally do?

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Week 12: The North Face Endurance 50K Training

Monday: Core/20 Mile Ride
  • Felt good to ride again! Took it very gingerly at first, but then forgot about it and just rode. Minimal back stiffness when done, good sign.
  • Day 1 of JCORE: Accelerated Body Transformation--Fit Test, which wasn't overly difficult, but definitely showed there's work to be done, both in core strength and balance. The various exercises also showed how this will work the whole body; I was stronger in some areas than others. Looking forward to the next 40 days!
Tuesday: 10 Mile Run 
  • Schedule said 10 miles, I was hoping to get an easy 5-6 miles in and see how it went. Started off VERY cautiously, everything felt copacetic, so of course I took off WAY TOO FAST, realizing at mile 3 or so that I was running about a minute faster per mile than my desired pace. Dialed it back, but too late, instead of an easy 5 or 6 it turned out to be a difficult 4.5. Still glad to be running again!
  • Day 2 of the JCORE Body System -- 20 minutes and nothing he does seems very difficult, but the combination of balance, motion, and core work is proving more difficult than I had hoped for. No magic pill here, it will take 40 days of hard work. :)
Wednesday: OFF
  • Day 3 JCORE Body System: Today's workout really showed how weak I am in the butt and hips. Too much sitting at the office and while working at home!
Thursday: 10 Mile Run
  • After tasting 12 Rieslings and Rodney Strong wines last night, I had no intention of running this morning, but actually woke up this morning feeling just fine. Still didn't run, but will get a 10-miler in tomorrow.
  • A day off for the JCORE Body System--seems a bit early but who am I to complain?
Friday: Strength/Core
  • After Tuesday's disappointing run, I was hoping for a good one, and today delivered. Not that it was easy, but ran consistently and ended up feeling like I could have gone farther. Took MissZippy's advice and ran naked today, sort of, by not looking at my Garmin even once.
  • Another day of "Rev-Up" for JCORE, can really feel the whole-body workout this system gives.
Saturday: 20 Mile Ride
  • Just wasn't feeling it this morning, odd, because it was a bizarrely cool summer morning, no wind, nice weather for riding. Almost talked myself out of it during the morning dog walk, but mentally mapped out 10 miles and just went to see how it felt. Felt decent, but mentally wasn't engaged. Added a mile or so to the 10 miler and was happy to be home, though happy I got out as well.
Sunday: Speedwork/Drills
  • Opted for hill repeats over speedwork today - even though I clearly could be a faster runner, the hilliness of the Wisconsin course seems a more pressing concern at this time.
Weekly Totals:  49.73 miles, 4:44:50.

(Training Plan adapted from Jeff Horowitz’ Smart Marathon Training)

From Peloton Star

Feeling back on track this week. The Hero Rush on July 28th has been postponed until October, so I'm toying with the idea of racing the Winfield Criterium August 12th. Really intimidating idea, so I should face my fears and just sign up. WWSD (What Would SuperKate Do)?

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Run Into Summer Garmin Giveaway!

Run Into Summer Giveaway

Brownwood Acres, is celebrating summer running season by giving YOU a chance to win a year's supply of CherryFlex and a Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS! Five weekly winners will also win a 3-month supply of CherryFlex.
"CherryFlex products are made using our proprietary process that captures the health benefits of the entire cherry – including the skin and pulp – preserving the natural nutrients found in Montmorency tart cherries. Our unique production method allows us to produce our raw CherryFlex paste without extreme heat heat or harmful solvents. The result is 100% tart cherry and nothing else!"

CherryFlex ProSport Shots

FruitFast sent me the CherryFlex ProSport Shots 20 Pack. Made from premium grade, USA-grown Montmorency tart cherries, CherryFlex ProSport Shots is a simple way to get a quick boost while on the go. At 20 calories per pouch, it's just a quick pick-me-up for your body and, as it just tart cherries and glycerin, definitely not too sweet!

Enter the giveaway 
now through July 27th at the 

Connect with FruitFast on Facebook and Twitter!

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Camelbak Hydration Packs: Ultra LR, Marathoner, Baja LR

Camelbak 2012 Hydration Packs

Camelbak sent us three 2012 hydration packs to try out: the Ultra LR, the Marathoner, and the Baja LR. See Laima’s reviews at Women’s Endurance Gear.) We got these a couple of months ago and have enjoyed putting them through their paces.

The Marathoner  is a running hydration pack that features a 1/4 turn - easy open/close reservoir cap, a lightweight fillport, dryer arms, center baffling and low-profile design, patented Big Bite™ Valve, HydroGuard™ technology, PureFlow™ tube, and an easy-to-clean wide-mouth opening. This comes closest of the three to what I would consider a typical running hydration pack. One extremely useful feature is the adjustability, as the harness comes with hook and loop fasteners for the straps, allowing it to fit varying torso sizes (handy since Laima and I are such different sizes!). Extra storage allows nutrition and additional layers to be carried along. While this is a well-built pack, even with the adjustability, it just never felt quite right to me, a little snug.

The Ultra LR Vest  is my dream hydration pack. With the same adjustability as the Marathoner, you can dial in the fit to suit your body and comfort preferences. It features the Antidote Lumbar Reservoir with Quick Link™ System, 1/4 turn - easy open/close cap, lightweight fillport, patented Big Bite™ Valve, HydroGuard™ technology, PureFlow™ tube, and an easy-to-clean wide-mouth opening. The addition of the belt with pockets is what really clinches it for me, love having easy-to-reach storage on the front of a pack! This vest fit me personally just about perfectly, now if it could only run the ultra for me.


The Baja LR  is made of quick-drying materials, offering support even on your most epic Stand Up Paddle treks. This pack is similar to the Ultra LR, featuring the Antidote Lumbar Reservoir with Quick Link™ System, 1/4 turn - easy open/close cap, lightweight fillport, patented Big Bite™ Valve, HydroGuard™ technology, PureFlow™ tube, and, as is typical for Camelbak, an easy-to-clean wide-mouth opening. This pack also has a belt that wraps around the waist, offering easy to reach storage and something unique to SUP, a paddle holster! Combine this with an inflatable PFD and your safety issues are covered. We took this out on the Galien River for a family-friendly Stand Up Paddleboarding  experience – both Laima and I really enjoyed it and the easy adjustability meant we could share it as we traded off turns.

The search for easily-portable hydration is an ongoing effort by many companies around the world. Camelbak keeps pushing the envelope both in design and forward-thinking ideas. Whether you’re a soldier, a runner, a Stand Up Paddler, or just a parent that needs free hands chasing your kids around at the park, Camelbak has a hydration pack that will fit your needs.

“CamelBak® Got Your Bak™ Guarantee:
If we built it, we'll Bak it™
with our lifetime guarantee.”

More information can be found on the Camelbak website,  like on Facebook,  follow on Twitter,  and subscribe on YouTube.

(Disclaimer: I was sent these products for free to review on my blog - courtesy of Camelbak, via Double Forte. I did not pay for the items, receive payment for this review, or agree to give them a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the company website, the opinions are my own.)

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Unstoppables Project

The 2012 London Olympics are fast approaching and we'll soon marvel as highly-trained athletes from all over the world showcase their talents in a variety of athletic endeavors. There's a second event happening in London, one that doesn't get as much press or attention, the 2012 London Paralympics. I admit that I've never really paid attention to them, just perriphally making a note that they existed. However, paralympians such as Oscar Pistorius and Rudy Garcia-Tolson have been knocking on the doors of "able-bodied competition" and making the world take notice.

Unstoppables Pirates Team

UNSTOPPABLES is a project created to promote the value of sport as a means of self-improvement and a way of overcoming some of life’s obstacles while contributing to make a film.

It is a documentary that will tell the story of a group of amazing, passionate, fun loving, dedicated and socially committed cyclists who call themselves the “Pirates Team.” Led by Juanjo Méndez and Raquel Acinas, whom we follow as they train, participate and return home from the 2012 London Paralympics, where they are aiming for gold.

A truly exemplary case, where disabled and “able-bodied” individuals coexist without barriers under a single motto: to go for it and push yourself further than you thought possible, to take on life’s challenges. An example for others to follow their path.

The project is based on the idea that society urgently needs to share ways of overcoming its mental and social barriers in order to bring about a change of attitude and to discover the keys that will allow us to emerge stronger from our worst crises.




Get more information at the Imparables Documental website and follow them on Facebook!

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pop-Up Tour de France

Pop-Up Tour de France book cover

The Tour de France takes place every year in and around France. Since 1903, racers from around the world have ridden almost daily for 21 days or so, riding 2,000+ miles. Each day’s race is called a “stage” and a new winner is crowned every day. The overall leader is based on individual times aggregated as the stages progress. Along with the leader’s jersey, other titles up for grab are the King of The Mountain, the Best Young Rider, and the Points Leader (points are earned for reaching specified points the fastest). While the course changes every year, it has always finished in Paris and, since 1975, been completed along the world-famous Champs-Élysées.

Pop-Up Tour de France collage

Confusing, no? It can be, especially when you start reading or hearing about the variety of tactics employed both by the individual riders and the teams. With an event this huge, it’s somewhat hard to wrap your mind around everything going on.

Fear not. Author Pamela Pease has created a whimsical, yet highly educational, book about the Tour de France. Pop-Up Tour de France: The World’s Greatest Bike Race, from Paintbox Press, covers all the basics, adding history and other interesting tidbits, the author gives us the perfect intro to this amazing event. What could be better? Make it a pop-up! Now, while pop-ups may make you think of toddlers and thick board books, this tome is actually a true work of art. Beautifully illustrated, with historic images from posters to photos, this is a keeper.




If you’re a fan of cycling, you really should get this book. If you want a basic introduction, you really should get this book. If you need to explain the Tour de France to your children, you really should get this book.

About the Author: Paintbox Press founder Pam Pease is a design entrepreneur with a professional background in both the fashion and publishing industries. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art & Planning, and received a Master of Arts in 1998 from Syracuse University College of Visual and Performing Arts. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Design from North Carolina State University.

Disclaimer: This product was advanced to me for review purposes, courtesy of Paintbox Press. 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.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

TrekSta Edict Trail Running Shoe


When I opened the box that TrekSta had sent me, my jaw pretty much dropped to the floor. These are some flashy, good-looking trail running shoes! They have just the right amount of quirky design features along with that amazing red hue to make these, visually at least, one of my favorite running shoes to date.

Since I've had my TrekSta Evolutions for some time now, I knew that the shoes would be quality-made, super-protective, and comfortable. Beyond that, I had no idea what to expect. Here's what TrekSta promises:
The all new TrekSta Edict features sticky HyperGrip sole and exclusive nestFIT comfort technology. This lightweight trail runner combines the natural fit of a barefoot shoe with the protection and support the trail demands. A highly breathable upper mesh keeps your feet cool and dries quickly. A full-length nestFIT shaped nylon shank between insole and midsole povides plenty of protection from varying trail conditions, while a Thin TPU plate protects from rocks. The flat sole profile allows for more ground contact and better ground feel.




Out of the box, these shoes felt plenty stiff, which bodes well for trail running shoes, and I knew from previous experience with the TrekSta Evolutions that they would soften up and mold to my feet. I had expected the shoes to be somewhat heavy, as trail running shoes often are, due to the added protection, but amazingly, these are a nice lightweight shoe (10.9 ounces per shoe for the Men's size 9).

These are really a unique-feeling shoe. The cradling sensation, paired with the lightness of the shoe, made it seem like I was running in slippers. The shoes seem like they are a natural extension of my foot, though the cushioning and support are definitely there when you need them. Excepting the treadmill, I tried these shoes on every surface I could think of: cement, asphalt, grass, gravel, rock, singletrack, doubletrack. The Edicts handled them all with no problem, truly a great all-around shoe! The one slight issue I had with the shoes was some heel slippage, but using heel-lock lacing solved that problem. If you are looking for a more minimalist shoe that offers all-around performance, good looks, and feel awesome on your feet, take a look at the Edicts.

(Disclaimer: I was sent this product for free to review on my blog - courtesy of TrekSta USA. 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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Monday, July 16, 2012

Week 11: The North Face Endurance 50K Training

Monday: Core/20 Mile Ride
  • Not an auspicious start to the training week, woke up with my lower back very tight, almost painful, spasms not there yet, but threatening.
Tuesday: 8 Mile Run 
  • Back feeling better, but my morning walk with the dog suggested to me that I was not yet ready to resume training.
Wednesday: OFF
  • After a few days off for back pain, decided to take the bike out to not only see how it felt, but more importantly, how I recovered. Thirtyish minute ride felt okay, hope the back cooperates during the day and feels better tomorrow.
Thursday: 20 Mile Run
  • Bike ride might have been a bad idea, woke up very stiff. Kind of odd, my back didn't hurt much, just felt like it would start to hurt if I overdid it or turned wrong. Laima remembered we had Bengay, so I rubbed some in and like magic, most of the stiffness and pain went away. So lucky I have her!

JCORE System

Friday: Strength/Core
  • Woke up feeling better, but common sense told me that it was not yet time--more Bengay and taking it easy was the order of the day. Maybe a bike ride tomorrow and a short run Sunday to gauge where I am.
  • No core today, but....there is on the horizon. I got the JCORE System, a 40 day program to strengthen the core and, hopefully, lots of the rest of me as well. Depending on my back healing, I'd like to start this Monday - Laima said she would join me, so soon there will be a twelve-pack in the house!
Saturday: 25 Mile Ride
  • Probably could have ridden, but opted not to, resting and healing the back are a priority.
Sunday: Speedwork/Drills
  • REALLY wanted to run this morning, but decided that the whole week off was more important long term than a short run and possible re-injury. Some minor twinges on the morning dog walk confirmed it was good to wait.
Weekly Totals:  9.72 miles,33:58.

(Training Plan adapted from Jeff Horowitz’ Smart Marathon Training)

Definitely not the week I wanted, but I suspect it's the week I needed. The injury was a combination of factors, mostly stress due to work, some family stuff, and probably overtraining. After a week off, I feel refreshed mentally, ready to get back at it, and that's pretty important, as this second half of the training plan won't be any easier than the first.

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Mud Run Glossary

With many upcoming mud runs across the country this summer, CustomInk, who allow you to design T-shirts online, is offering a variety of fonts and artwork for runners to create “mud duds” for their race teams. CustomInk has also created a glossary of fun mud run terminology (some of my favorites below):


Bake n’ Cake – standing in the sun until the mud that covers you becomes a dirty crust
Belly Slop – when you wrongly assume a mud obstacle is slick enough that you can slide on your stomach, and instead plant yourself stomach-first in the muck
Birthday Suitors – those men who choose to complete mud races in various stages of undress, or in Speedos
Mud Suds – the well-earned beer you down after crossing the finish line
Stick in the Mud – what you become as a result of a Belly Slop
Tire-Ran-Ass-Sore-us – the creature you become after successfully navigating dozens of tires
About CustomInk
Founded in 2000, CustomInk enables people to design and order custom t-shirts and accessories for their clubs, companies, charities, family reunions, and more. Customers enjoy free design support from CustomInk's acclaimed service representatives, and each custom design is proofed by a professional artist to ensure it turns out perfectly – whether it's being printed on one t-shirt or thousands. CustomInk’s Design Lab provides a huge font library and selection of art, and allows users to upload their own custom artwork.
CustomInk sent us free shirts with their design on it as well as information on the Mud Run Glossary, via Warschawski.  They are nice cotton shirts from American Apparel. We were not compensated in any other way to post about their services.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Pearl iZUMi Fly In–R–Cool® Short Sleeve

Pearl iZUMi Fly In-R-Cool Short Sleeve

The Fly In–R–Cool® Short Sleeve features Pearl iZUMi’s innovative In–R–Cool® fabric technology to cool the body for optimal comfort. The top also includes reflective elements for low–light visibility, P.R.O. Transfer fabric with In–R–Cool® for optimal skin cooling when you perspire, is form fitting, and boasts sublimated graphics. This is not a light top and the black color made me apprehensive about wearing it in the heat of summer. But no problems so far and, when completely wet and dirty, as it got at the Warrior Dash, it continued to feel comfortable. Nice basic top that looks cool and does what you need it to.

Pearl iZUMi Women's Fly In-R-Cool Sport Tank

To see what Laima thought of the Women's Fly In-R-Cool Sport Tank, head over to Women’s Endurance Gear!

(Disclaimer: I was sent this item for free to review on my blog, courtesy of Pearl iZUMi, via Outside PR. 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, July 12, 2012

Three Things Thursday

Not sure I've ever done a Three Things Thursday....kind of exciting, right?

Hero Rush Illinois

Couple of weeks until Hero Rush Chicagoland! If you are a Chicago area runner, or just want to have some fun, head over to the registration page - use promo codes MultisportLife15 and WomensEndurance15 to get 15% off!

Bengay Pain Relief and massage gel

I woke up Monday morning with an aching, incredibly tight back. After a couple of days of taking it easy, icing it, it still has me hunched over, looking every bit my age and then some. Laima reminded me this morning about the Bengay Pain Relief and Massage Gel we had. Instant relief!

2012 Zooma Great Lakes Ambassadors

Not tonight but next Thursday is the kickoff for the Zooma Great Lakes event. Free yoga sessions AND you can meet the Great Lakes Ambassadors, including my wife Laima, of Women's Endurance Gear!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

RoadNoise Running Vest

RoadNoise Running Vest Collage

As I've mentioned before, I struggle to keep earbuds in place, yet have not found on-ear headphones that remain comfortable for long runs. Enter RoadNoise.

The story: The mother of all relays (Hood To Coast) is also the mother of invention. The founders’ favorite 24 hour race of the year requires runners to wear a reflective vest from 6:00 pm to 7:00am and, in 2010, banned the use of headphone/earbud type devices. Attempts to run without earphones but still with music were cumbersome, and led to the creation of Roadnoise. The first model was an attempt to find a solution to a specific race issue, but ended up as a pleasant way to enjoy runs, day or night. Roadnoise vests give you the ability to hear your footsteps, your breathing, and your surroundings along with your favorite music.

RoadNoise Running Vest Features Collage

Simple to use, the vest slides on over your head and is tightened using hook and loop fastener tabs on the sides. The speakers sit in front of your shoulders, with a wire leading to a central pocket, where you can house your smartphone or music player. Keeping the vest tabs tight minimizes bouncing. If you feel the speakers are moving too much, simply add some cloth or other soft material behind them in their pockets--simple solution! I really appreciated that the vest was already made for safe running with reflective material all over, but it also has spots to attach safety lights for further peace of mind. The mylar speaker cones are water resistant but are not made to be submerged in water. Before you wash them simply unplug the speakers and remove them from the pockets.

RoadNoise Running Vest at Night

The longest run I took this on was a 16 miler--the mesh weave allowed plenty of air to flow through, while the speakers delivered reasonable sound. Very lightweight and serving multiple needs, this is a unique and useful addition to your gear closet. Personally, I'd like the vest to be longer, down to near the waist, with padded straps that included pockets, like a good hydration or hiking pack. These changes would increase the comfort level for me and also allow me to carry more stuff. Still in all, a very well-made product that does exactly what it promises!

Check out the RoadNoise website,  like them on Facebook,  and follow on Twitter.

Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for review purposes, courtesy of RoadNoise. 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.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Compressport Compression Gear


Now that I’m training at a higher level of intensity and duration that I have in a very long time, protecting my body and focusing on recovery have taken the forefront. One of the things I’ve returned to is the use of compression both for training and also for the ensuing recovery. It has truly been a boon, as I’ve had few injuries where the compression has been utilized.

One of the issues I’ve had with compression material before is the stiffness of some products—often compression is difficult to get on and off. Add a lack of true breathability, and compression becomes less comfortable to use, especially during warmer days. Conversely, I might not be able to ride with shoe covers in the winter if I didn’t have typical compression socks on, so they definitely do have their uses.

I recently came across a company I hadn’t heard of before, Compressport. Started in France, now from Europe to Asia to South Africa to Australia, they are currently based in close to 20 countries. The Compressport products are the fruit of work between doctor, athletes and manufacturers specialised in medical compression. Compressport recently sent me a few of their products to try out and I'm happy they did!

Compressport R2 Calf Sleeves

R2 “Race and Recovery” calf sleeves are designed to reduce lactic acid and shock during training, along with protecting you from muscular fatigue and damage. After effort, the sleeves speed up recovery and leaves you feeling great. These are incredibly comfortable to wear both during training and after.

Compressport US Calf Sleeves

The US Ultra Silicone is the latest in their range. With its 220 soft silicon spikes which fully surround the ankle, the calf sleeve optimizes shock absorption and guarantees ideal support to the Achilles tendon throughout strenuous effort (helping absorb pain and tendon problems).

Compressport F-Like Full Leg

Maybe my favorite item of all were the F-Like Full Leg, if only how versatile they are. You can feel right away how the full leg compression supports you from ankle to the top of the legs. I wore these after my first 50 mile bike ride and consider them a prime reason why I recovered relatively quickly. I can definitely see wearing these after longer efforts during the summer, but also as an additional layer in the fall, winter and spring.

Compressport Visor

Also very cool was the visor they sent along - highly adjustable, light on the head, with a cool green under brim material that dampens glare when running in full sun.




Each one of these products is very well-made, and after repeated uses, laundering and, yes, even drying, still appear as new as the day I pulled them out of the packaging. By far the most impressive thing, besides performance, is the fact that they go on so easily, sliding right on with little struggle. Even though it’s not a tight fit to get on, these sleeves and full leg products clearly had full compression, with all the benefits. Very cool, not sure how they do that!

These products are well-worth searching out--more information can be found by perusing the Compressport website,  following on Twitter,  liking on Facebook,  and subscribing on YouTube.

Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for review purposes, courtesy of Compressport. 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.

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Week 10: The North Face Endurance 50K Training


Monday: Core/20 Mile Ride
  • Most interesting ride yet, along lake and farm roads in southwest Michigan. Rode through Union Pier, New Buffalo, Three Oaks, and Lakeside. Asphalt, cement, gravel, and dirt - you name it, I rode it this morning.
Tuesday: 8 Mile Run 
  • After yesterday's good ride, unfortunately, not a pleasant run. Took off way too fast and paid the price. Incredibly, found I had to make myself slow down more than a few times, was sucking air for much of the time. Total rookie run. Add in humidity and biting flies and the picture is complete.
Wednesday: OFF
  •  A day spent at the in-laws' pool, enjoying the 4th with my family - good food, good wine, enjoyable water temps and a gorgeous summer day, really relaxing!
Thursday: 60 Mile Ride
  • With temps pushing (or surpassing) 100 degrees everyday now and a heat advisory in effect, I thought I'd skip my 60 mile ride today and make up the missed 18 mile run from last week on the treadmill. Had a snack, walked the dog, and got set up with a movie, water, and more snackage. Decent run, neither too difficult nor too hard, but mentally I just didn't have it today. Wanted to quit many times, but kept bargaining with myself, finally stopping at a nice even 90 minutes. Glad I tried, bummed I didn't make it, but I'm really trying to find the balance between listening to my body/brain and pushing past my laziness. Hopefully I'm making the right decisions.
Friday: Strength/Core
  • Another day by the pool, not sure if it's helping me with my fitness at all, but it's fun to spend time with the kids in the water. Too bad it's not a longer pool, could potentially get some laps in and train for a triathlon. :)
Saturday: Tempo 8
  • HOT! 79 degrees and humid at 4 AM. Still a decent run, though my feet felt overly warm the whole time - TNF tech socks and PureFlows otherwise a good combination. Ran shirtless and wrung out a small puddle from my shorts when I got home - serious sweating today.
Sunday: Speedwork/Drills
  • Really should have gotten my speedwork in, but instead got ready for our 2 year old's brunch, which we had at the family cottage in Union Pier, MI. Gorgeous day for it, as the 100 degree temps of the week were replaced with comfortable temps of around 80 or so.
Weekly Totals:   45.02 miles, 5:09:29.
(Training Plan adapted from Jeff Horowitz’ Smart Marathon Training)

Monday Weigh-In -- Original Weight (Day 1): 209.6, today 206 - still ups and downs in my quest.

This is a week that has shown quite markedly how weak I am mentally. Even on runs and rides that should not have been difficult at this stage, I struggled, mainly due to negative thinking. On the other hand, it has been a LONG time since I pushed myself this hard physically, so a certain amount of mental burnout should be expected.

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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Arctic Ease Cryotherapy Wraps

If you've been following my Monday training posts, you might remember that I struggled with some leg injuries last week, with some symptoms of plantar fasciitis and, more worrisome to me, ankle tendinitis. I've not so slavishly followed the typical RICE protocol (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate), which usually does the trick for me. This time I had an added weapon in my arsenal, Arctic Ease.


Arctic Ease® wraps are great to use on joints, arms and legs. They come in four colors (white, pink, black and blue) and they are 4″ by 60″ (4 in. by 5 ft.). The wraps are ready to use right out of the resealable package, are odorless (contain no medications, menthol or alcohol) and cold at room temperature. The wraps stays in place without tape, clips or adhesives. They come in a reusable pouch that stores anywhere – no refrigeration required (do not freeze). Nontoxic, latex free, biodegradable and safe for the environment as well.

A caveat. The first time you pull these out of the pouch, they have a strange, almost creepy feeling. The wraps are somewhat slimy, almost viscous, and I struggled to find the end in order to unroll it for use. Maybe it's just me.

But the question is, do they work? Absolutely. After the initial strangeness, Arctic Ease wraps feel like a frozen ace bandage, a you can wrap them as tightly or as loosely as you like around the affected area - in my case, the ankles. Then, the cryotherapy speeds cooling relief to assuage soreness. Sitting down, this one product gave me all four components of RICE in one easy package!

Definitely a recommended product if you suffer from aches and pains, or need a more efficient recovery system from common running injuries.



They obviously have a good sense of humor and a relaxed corporate culture, as you can tell from this Twitter post:
"It's Friday, you know what that means? Coffee, you're on the bench. Alcohol, suit up."
For more information, visit the Arctic Ease website, follow on Twitter, like them on Facebook, and subscribe on YouTube.

Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for review purposes, courtesy of Arctic Ease, via Steinreich Communications. 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.

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Friday, July 6, 2012

Zooma 2012 Great Lakes Ambassadors

Laima of Women's Endurance Gear - 2012 Zooma Great Lakes Ambassador

For those of you who follow Laima over at Women's Endurance Gear, you already know that she was selected to be an Ambassador for the 2012 Zooma event here in the Great Lakes region. As a family, we are incredibly proud of her for stepping up not only to participate, but to lead as well!

The ZOOMA Great Lakes Half Marathon and 5K will take place Saturday, October 20, 2012 at the The Abbey Resort and Spa, located in Fontana, Wisconsin – Lake Geneva (90 mins from Chicago/ 45 mins from Milwaukee and Madison). The ZOOMA start, finish, and post-race party are all at the resort; the out-and-back course stretches through the small, lakeside town of Fontana and along the shoreline. Although there are definitely some hills along the route, the views will lift you up, as will the thought of post-race festivities—followed by a hot-stone massage at the Avani spa or s’mores onsite at the resort. Entry gets you:
  • Entry into a professionally managed half marathon or 5K race;
  • Complimentary training programs from AnotherMotherRunner.com;
  • Water and Cytomax Sports Performance drink on the course;
  • Water, Cytomax Sports Performance drink, Muscle Milk Light and food at the finish line;
  • GU Energy Gel station along the course;
  • Wine from Barefoot Wine and Bubbly at the After-Party Expo;
  • Necklace designed exclusively for ZOOMA by Satya Jewelry for half marathon finishers;
  • Post-race massage, shopping and live music at the ZOOMA After-Party Expo;
  • USATF-certified course;
  • ChronoTrack timed race results.


Joining Laima as 2012 Ambassadors are Amy Bax of SecondCityRandomness.wordpress.com, Courtney Franson of RunCourtRun.com, Marcia Kadens of MarciasHealthySlice.com, Kimberly of OutsideMyHead.com, Jess McMullin of RunWithJess.com, Meghan Schacht of The Perfect Compilation Tape, Kimberly Skaff of IlaxStudio.com/blog (she and I actually work together at GSA!), Bobbi Welch of ZeroTo26Point2.blogspot.com, and Maggie Wolff of MagMileRunner.com.

Visit the Zooma 2012 Great Lakes Ambassador page  to read their bios and visit each of their websites for a discount code for the Great Lakes race!

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Stand Up Paddleboarding


Last summer, we had a sort of introduction to Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP), enjoying some paddling time on my brother’s windsurfing board on the lake near my parents’ house in Lithuania. Camelbak recently sent us some hydration packs to test out, including the Baja LR, a SUP-specific model. That meant we HAD to find a place and make time to go.

While in Union Pier this week, we finally stopped at the Third Coast Surf Shop's  Galien River Kayaking and Paddleboard Rentals. We’ve driven past this location maybe in the hundreds of times, discussed kayaking or SUPing, but have never done anything about it. Well, this time we did.

Galien River Kayaking and Stand Up Paddleboard Rentals

Minimal paperwork and $20 later, we were the proud renters of a SUP, PFDs for all of us, and an adjustable paddle (which we never adjusted). We opted to stay in one stretch of the river, close to the put-in, so that we could keep an eye on each child as they took their turn and for safety.

The whole family had a lot of fun, some of us even went in tandem. SUPing is not overly difficult for short stretches and on calm rivers, but I can see how this could become difficult quite fast. Now we just need to find money in our budget to get one for the family – this would be perfect to keep at the cottage.

Or, maybe, there’s a SUP company that wants to send us a demo model? Anyone? Anyone?

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Other Tri

The Other Tri: Red, White, and Blue

The Other Tri:
Red, White and Blue
Happy 4th of July!

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

2012 Half Year Report


Pretty hard to believe that half of 2012 is gone, the time has really flown.

The nitty gritty. My goals for the year are a 1,000 miles running and 1,000 miles cycling, which should put me at 500 each at this time. Actual distances completed so far are:
  • Running:324.32 Miles
  • Cycling: 592.11 Miles
Slacking a bit on the running, but following the Smart Marathon Training plan for my ultra this fall should help me get closer to my goal in the second half of the year. Relatively little to report on the injury side, which, of course, is good news. Lost some time here and there to some ankle tendinitis, usually from doing something contrary to common sense.

Lots of good product and book reviews so far as well: Drymax Sport Socks, Iron War, Halo Headbands, Pearl iZUMi Thermal Arm Warmers, Brooks PureFlow running shoes, THRIVE vegan books, Smart Marathon Training (which I adapted for my ultra training), Patagonia Long Hauler shorts, CLIF Builder's Protein BarsPocketFuel Naturals Nut Butters, and so many more. Check out my Product Reviews page as well as the Books/Media page for the entire oeuvre.

We had a great time skiing and snowboarding at Breckenridge for Spring Break! Laima and I participated in our first mud run, Warrior Dash Illinois. I became a FitFluential Ambassador, as did Laima.

Our family checked out canoeing as well, spiffing up an old canoe pulled out of my in-law's back yard.

From April 30th on, my training has all been geared towards my first ultramarathon, The North Face Endurance Challenge 50K, in September. Exciting stuff!

How has your 2012 shaped up so far?

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Week 9: The North Face Endurance 50K Training


Monday: Core/20 Mile Ride
  • Great cool morning for it, but really windy and, as is usually the case in the Midwest, always felt like a headwind. Starting to feel like I might need a bike fitting again, lots of tension in my upper back and neck lately.
Tuesday: 8 Mile Run 
  • First run in Mizuno Wave 15s - unsure about 8 miles right out of the box, but amazingly comfortable. Will have to consider these for the ultra after a few more runs. Took off way too quickly, which I haven't done in a while, but these shoes make me want to run fast!
Wednesday: OFF
  • It's funny when my day off actually feels needed, totally random. Today was such a day, just wanted to keep a low profile and take it easy. Good timing! Some aches and pains make it seem not too bright to have run 8 miles in new shoes -- we'll see.
Thursday: 18 Mile Run
  • Woke up withsome ankle tendinitis, sore top of ankle from twisting it on a root Tuesday, and other aches and pains that didn't bode well for a run. RICE today and some foam rolling, hoping for quick healing and back out on the roads/trails soon.
Friday: Strength/Core
  • Woke up early, walked around, but enough issues to not chance it - 18 mile run scrubbed for this week. Frustrating as I have not had too many issues during this training. I don't blame the new shoes, I blame myself for not running smart. Hopefully speedwork on Sunday will still be a go.
Saturday: 25 Mile Ride
  • Rain overnight, but mostly dry, so it did not dissuade me from riding. Warm and humid but not hot yet at 4 am. Saw the aftermath of a horrific crash as I rode along the expressway frontage road, not a good morning for those people. Felt good to get out and exercise again, not an easy ride but felt decent.
Sunday: Speedwork/Drills
  • Wasn't sure I wanted to do speedwork this morning, but tired of not running. Plan called for 10x400 interval, 200 recovery, I did 6. Didn't want to injure myself further, struggled with the operation of the Garmin (duh) and...don't know why.
Weekly Totals: 57.88 miles, 4:31:50.

(Training Plan adapted from Jeff Horowitz’ Smart Marathon Training)

Somewhat disappointing week running wise, injuries definitely got the best of me this week. Symptoms include some plantar fasciitis in right foot, ankle tendinitis in left foot, and general soreness over parts of my legs. Definitely need to start a stretching regimen and, more than anything, need to drop some of this extra weight. Not all gloom and doom, however. Laima and I got our Wednesday dinner comped at our local bistro, Zest, and then tasted 9 new wines Thursday, from Alsace and Vinho Verde in Portugal. Had a nice afternoon at my in-laws' pool Friday, which was a good way to end the work week.

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