Friday, August 30, 2013

Getting on the Maximalist Running Shoe Bandwagon - HOKA ONE ONE Stinson Tarmac - His & Hers

HOKA ONE ONE Stinson Tarmac
Product Review Coming Soon
His REVIEW is up

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

GQ's Jogging with James - Marathon des Sables


In a recent Bucket List post I included the Marathon des Sables as an event on my list. After watching the Jogging with James series from GQ Magazine, it is still on my list...



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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Doper Nation

I got around to watching the HBO Real Sports episode highlighting the Red Bull impact on sports and sports marketing. An interesting piece, but it really didn't tell us anything that most didn't already know.

What I did come away from the episode with, that caused me to think, was the closing commentary from Bryant Gumbel:

HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel


“Finally tonight, what are we supposed to do with Alex Rodriguez? Embrace him? Pity him? Scorn him? I can easily understand any or all of those reactions because I think he’s a liar and a fraud. But what I don’t understand are the expressions of shock and outrage over his alleged drug use because, frankly, this country’s crazy about drugs.

Modern Americans reach for a drug for any and everything – for problems real and imagined. It’s why we consume more pills than any nation on earth and why TV ads are relentlessly selling us Xarelto, Abilify, Stelara, Prodaxa, and dozens of other drugs we never ever guessed we supposedly needed.

Americans are only about five percent of the world’s population yet we take 80% of the world’s painkillers and a whopping 99% of the world’s Vicodin. We have four million kids on Ritalin, 22-million women on antidepressants, over 30-million adults on sleeping pills, 32 million on Statins, 45 million on another drug I can’t even begin to pronounce. The list goes on and on.

So think what you will of Alex Rodriguez but when so many moms and dads are active parts of a national drug epidemic, let’s stop crying that a ballplayer’s the one setting a bad example for kids. And let’s skip the expressions of outrage and shock because however you may choose to view A-Rod’s alleged drugs use, there’s no denying the ugly reality that that’s become the American way."

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Injury Update

Still dealing with Achilles & Peroneal Tendonitis, probably with no help from my participation in the Deep Pond Triathlon this past weekend.

I'm now 100% on the R.I.C.E program.

Toes Up!

Ice Pack 3-4x daily for 30 minutes



I am starting to feel some improvement. Hoping a week to ten days of concentrated R.I.C.E will lead me back to running soon.
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Gambling & Cycling

Back in the early 1900's the most popular sport in the United States was the Six-Day Bicycle Races staged in places like Madison Square Garden.

The sport slowly disappeared over the years, but it looks like it is making a comeback of sorts in an unusual place:

Keirin: Speed Racers on

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Deep Pond Triathlon - Racing Injured

First things first. This event is one of the best produced and executed triathlons I've done. If you are looking for a quality sprint race on Long Island next summer, this one should be on the list.
"The devil is in the details." As I said above, I really enjoyed this RACE. From arrival on-site to crossing the finish line I give the event outstanding marks. As I have experienced in participating, marketing and executing all levels of participatory events, every consumer has different pressure, passion and pleasure points, and events must excel in all areas to leave an impression and deliver an exceptional consumer experience for all.

Sign-up/Price:  Easy sign-up. Price is a bit steep when considering all factors discussed below.
Pre-Event Communication:  No pre-event emails were received after registration confirmation. The event setup a Facebook Group page to communicate and for others to share information. A good idea but not all racers joined and is not a proactive push of information to all participants.
Packet Pick-Up:  I opted to pay an extra $10 to pick-up the morning of the race. A nice option as I was traveling a good distance to the venue and the early pick-up options were not convenient.
Goodie Bag:  Average. Nice fabric 'backpack' bag (good to see events getting away from plastic bags). Run of the mill 'tech t-shirt' (all mass produced event 'tech t-shirts' are basically over-sized polyester women's underwear). Assorted inserts.
Venue:  Excellent. Easy to get to, good parking and gorgeous.
Course:  Outstanding. Excellent swim water quality and layout. Flat, fast bike course with airport runway section to make it unique. Trail run course with great mix of double-wide trail and singletrack. Well placed aid stations with good volunteers. Beautiful run around pond through woods.
Course Markings & Volunteers:  Excellent. Swim buoy placement was great, not just one turnaround buoy, but a line of evenly spaces makers to turnaround. Lifeguards and water safety personnel were in abundance. Transition 'in's & out's' were fair and well marked. Bike course markings were clear and a good number of volunteers/police stationed in good places. The run course had excellent markings with hazardous roots and rocks painted and easy to see mile markers. Great finish chute with clock and PA announcer.
Finisher Medals: Good quality. Better than most.
Post Race Food:  This is where the event could use some improvement. There were some cut up bagels, popcorn, hot dogs and assorted energy bars; no beverages, no fruit and no protein options.
Medical:  This is something no one usually notices until they really need it, but since I had an injury and needed some ice post-race this was a glaring misstep. A bunch of volunteers manning the medical tent with one first aid kit and when asked for ice the response was: "All they gave us was this little first aid kit and one ice pack, there is no other ice here." I sure hope they were not faced with a medical emergency.
Race Photos: Most race directors hire this out and have no control over quality. The group contracted for this event was terrible. Go here to see:  Race Photos
Post- Event Communication: As of three days after the event, no communication from the event. It is nice to get a thanks/congratulations email in the days after an event. It is also a good marketing tool to promote your other events and offer an incentive to sign up for next year.

OVERALL: I give this a race an excellent mark because other than the lack of ice or helpfulness at the finish line medical tent the other areas do not matter that much to me. For a new triathlete, those who don't attend a lot of events, people wanting reassurance and a little hand holding communication from the race director, good photos and good post-event nutrition these details might overshadow the positives. I'll be back to this race next year and will look for other Competitive Events Group offerings to attend.

This has been a summer of rebuilding my fitness, reintroduction to the sport of triathlon and recovery. After a spring of clearing up some health/injury issues, I set out to build fitness and attempt to find the joy and passion for racing again. I signed up for the Tri-One-On sprint race on Father's Day as my first race in almost four years away from triathlon. That race went well and I started catching the bug for racing again.

After seeing an email about the Deep Pond Triathlon I kept it in mind as a possibility as the summer wore on. Coincidentally, a friend of mind brought it up one night as a race one of his buddies had convinced him to do and said I should join them.

I signed up and the next week suffered a serious bout of Achilles and Peroneal tendonitis (that's what I get for picking tennis up after 25 years). It was so bad after one night of tennis I could not walk. I continued to do a little cycling and swimming but no running.

As race day approached I doubted that I would be able to do the race and was 99% sure I was going to pull the plug as to not worsen the injury.

But, I could not rid myself of the desire to compete. I finally hatched the plan to race all out in the swim and bike and pull the plug in T2 or walk the run.

Race day was an EARLY morning - alarm at 3:00am to meet the guys and drive to the race site.

I had been to the Schiff Scout Camp in 2006 to compete in a mountain bike duathlon, but did not remember much and did not realize its beauty until the run course as it was dark before the race start.

Arriving at the race site, packet pick-up went smooth, easy transition set up and some friendly people chatting about racing.

We headed down to the water for the swim and the scene was something out of a movie. Fog rising from the water as the sun started to crest the horizon across the pond.
Photo credit: Tom Mcgibbins of 631 films
I waded into the water to find nice warm water and proceeded to warmup the shoulders and find a swim stroke.

We were in the third wave, all waves separated by three minutes. Quickly after the first wave went off, I found myself treading water about three people back from the start line. Mentally getting ready -  no watch, no heart rate monitor, no bike computer...JUST GO as hard and fast as my body would allow.

The gun sounded and off I went full sprint to the first buoy. I had to climb over a few people who clearly seeded themselves too close to the front, but one of the aspects of the triathlon start I enjoy. Passing the first buoy I took a quick glance around to gauge placement and if I could find some feet to draft off - Nothing. No One. Nada. I had gaped the field by about 10 yards and was off the front alone. Huh?!

Settling into a good rhythm I set my sights on the next buoy. The course set up was fantastic with buoy placement at great intervals with the turnaround marker down a straight line.

I quickly caught the wave that started in front of ours and easily navigated the traffic maintaining a good pace. The burn was creeping into my shoulders and my mind wandered a bit, cursing my lack of consistent swim training.

With the shore approaching I picked up the pace unsure if anyone had latched on to my feet and wanting to be first out of the water. Mission accomplished.

Gingerly making my way up a good hill from the water to the transition area, I was overtaken by some other competitors, but knew it was best to be gentle with the foot. I reached transition and miraculously got my wetsuit off without much trouble. Helmet on, grabbed my bike and again gingerly ran/limped out of transition.

After a slow process getting my feet in my shoes and tightened (rust shows up in the minor details), I began to put the gas on a hammer on the bike. Rapidly picking off other riders, I felt the lack of focused training and speed work seeping into my legs, but was dedicated to burning all my matches on the bike knowing I would shut it down on the run.

The bike course was well marshaled, had great markings and directional signage, and a killer fast section on an airport runway. Flat, fast and fun on the bike I could not help grinning ear to ear with enjoyment.

I hammered back to transition and dismounted very satisfied with my efforts and felling surprisingly fresh. I wanted to finish the race. I pulled on my running shoes and gimped out of transition on to the run course.

I had a tough time getting my head around not picking up the pace as I felt great and my legs were eager to go. I heard the footfalls of approaching runners and moved over to let them pass by knowing I just could not risk it, besides, the growing pain in my foot was a stark reminder of the injury.

The run course was a loop through the wooded campground on dirt trails, some wide jeep trails and some singletrack. The markings on roots and rock obstacles were amazing. Great volunteers and course directions made for an enjoyable and beautiful run.

Having guys overtake me and run off into the distance was tough on the psyche. I knew a solid run (like the one I put down at the June race) would put me in a solid finishing position, but today was not the day. I soldiered on with a smile, and few pained grunts, determined to enjoy the moment and be happy to finish.

Crossing the finish line I was happy to have persevered and eager to find some ice and get off my feet. Unfortunately, there was no ice to be found, the medical tent had one ice pack and I opted not to take it should there be someone in more need then I. I did jump on the massage table to have the masseuse workout my calf and Achilles.

Once transition was opened up to get back in I sat down got changed and got my foot back in a brace. I found my friends as they came out of the finish area and we shared our experiences and accolades for the course.

In the end, a good race performance on a great course and a well run event. I look forward to next summer and being healthy to do it all again.

Now for some rest and serious recovery. Maybe I can get healthy and find some form to get in one late Fall race...


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Friday, August 9, 2013

This Race Makes Grown Men Cry

Oh, the pain and suffering of it all...

...but one great day in 2010!

Best of luck to all for a safe, fun & fast ride this weekend!

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Added Weight of Injuries & Recovery

When injury strikes and training takes a backseat to recovery, it seems like time stands still.

Even though I am getting in some workouts other than running (cycling, core strength, swimming), I feel like I am losing fitness and accomplishing less.

It may be the constant icing, stretching and injury maintenance as a reminder that I am not 100% weighing on my mind.

It is interesting that when healthy and on the go, I don't give (nor have time) to think too much about getting in a workout, I just do it, there are no limitations outside of my normal daily work and family obligations. Now, I have to plan around my injury and because it affects my general mobility it has become a burden.

It has only been a week and I am over it, but I also know I have a ways to go to be back to 100%.

Here is what I have been using and doing to aid recovery:
  • Opting to wear my running shoes as much as possible with a cushioned SofSole insert to lessen the impact forces.
  • Applying KT Tape to support the tendon while walking.
  • Heating before cycling, swimming and roller sessions with warm water or heating pack.
  • I'm staying away from too much calf stretching as I've read that it can cause tugging on the tendon - ouch. Instead, I've opted for my trusty foam rollers to roll calf muscles to loosen them up without too much tugging on the Achilles Tendon.
  • Eccentric heel drops – 3 sets of 15 reps, twice per day
  • Icing after cycling, swimming and walking (I also typically have an ice bag on for 20-30 minutes whenever I sit at my desk, get home in the evening and when I wake up in the morning)

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Healthy Lifestyles Cut Health Care Costs in Half

"Healthy Lifestyles Cut Health Care Costs in Half"
"Gym Memberships Should Qualify for HSAs & FSAs"
Mayo Clinic Director 
Click to Read Article:

Learn More at:

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Pain & Frustration of it All

It's inevitable.

If you run, ride or participate in any type of active sport, you will experience injuries and aches and pains that come along with challenging your body to get stronger, go further and be faster.
Right now, I am fighting some serious Achilles Tendinitis.

Yes, fighting!
Fighting because it is unwanted, unappreciated and uncontrollable.

This is not my first bought with an injury like this. Unfortunately, through the years, I have had the pleasure to experience Plantar Fasciitis, Achilles Tendinitis and Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS).

While looking high and low for any new wisdom on dealing with this most recent bought of Achillies Tendinitis I enjoyed this article from with pro triathlete Cam Brown:

 Injury often comes with the territory for IRONMAN participants, whether they be professionals or weekend warriors. Ten-time IRONMAN New Zealand champion Cameron Brown offers his advice.
by Annette Lee

Time to focus on the bike, swimming, strength training (can always use more core work) and healing completely before lacing up the running shoes again.

One product I am trying out for the first time is KT Tape
I'm hoping this provides some relief when I have to walk around and limit any stress on my achillies. I'll let you know if it works with a future product review.
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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Bike Race? Road or Dirt? The place to be...

If you race bikes, road and/or mountain, the Catskills are the place to be this weekend. You have two multi-day events in both road racing and mountain biking.

The Tour of the Catskills starts tomorrow with a time trial and then road races on some of the most scenic roads in all of America on Saturday and Sunday.

Sunday sees the return of the climb up Devil's Kitchen, the climb rises over 1400 feet over 3 miles and includes sections of more than a 22% grade.

If you are partial to the dirt and knobby tires, the Wildcat Epic 2-day race takes place just outside New Paltz, NY. While the course is nothing like those you'll find at ski resorts, it is a great route through some beautiful land with plenty of short climbs.

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