Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Saucony Kinvara Initial Take

I have been having some hip pain on my runs and spent the last couple of months contemplating reading up on hip issues in regards to running, etc. Long story short I stumbled on quite a bit of information on the internet about bare foot running. Being that my feet are rarely exposed to elements and even a short walk to the bottom of my driveway to the mailbox barefoot presents lots of ouches, weezes and whining I figured there was no way I would be able to run around with my feet completely naked.

A quick trip to Google and as it turns out I am not the only one that is looking to run barefoot but will not opt for running around with them fully exposed to all of the glass, metal, poo and many other dangers that I regularly encounter on a run. Below is a little bit of information on what I was looking at and what options seemed to be the best for newbie’s like myself that want to try it out without going full on.

The Vibram 5 Fingers.
These basically fit on your foot like a glove complete with individual toe inserts. Providing the same level of protection you would likely get from a pair of beach/river shoes these are the closest thing to being barefoot without actually going there. To say they are weird looking is an understatement. However, if you could get beyond the strange looks they did seem to be the best option for getting the full barefoot experience without actually doing it. My only concern with them was the cost and what if I did not like them. A more traditionally designed shoe would at least be able to be used as daily wearers if they did not work out.

Which leads me to my second option...

Nike Free+.
Nike proclaims these shoes will let your feet be free like feet want to be. Not sure if that is completely true but all of the reviews and feedback supported these as a great option for running. Close to the feel of running barefoot with a small amount of padding for shock absorption. Tried on a pair at the Foot Locker and took them for a spin around the Mall. Nice roomy toe box and fit was snug but comfortable. I particularly liked the way you slide them on like a pair of slippers as opposed to having the tongue and shoe as separate pieces.

Finally I opted to visit my local running store to talk to some people that are more familiar with subject at hand. Not knocking the guy at Foot Locker but his knowledge on the subject of running seemed minimal at best. After speaking with one of the guys there and since they sell both the Nike Free’s and Vibram 5 Fingers he suggested I also look at a pair of Saucony’s. Not familiar with these at all but he explained that they might be a better option for a new runner as they have better designed cushioning in the sole that is also just as light and will provide the same feel as the Nike Free. Tried these on as well and really liked the design of the mesh inner shell surrounded by some other opaque material. Provided a nice snug fit and felt great and very similar to the Nike Free’s.

After some deliberation and a few quick trips to Google on my iPhone to check the reviews I opted for the Saucony’s.

Later the next week…

OK, I went out last night for a run in the park in my new kicks. While I had already tried them out on a 3 mile run on Saturday it was right after a long bike ride with lots of hills work that made it difficult for me to make a judgment. Monday comes and a much better run than the first in them because I was well rested and truly had the opportunity to see how they felt.

They are fast and light. Shifting my weight forward as described by the guy at the running store helped keep my feet landing right on the flats and balls of my feet. I spent the first mile just trying to run at different speeds, adjusting my landing and also my legs on the follow through.

If I ran slower 9.5-10 Pace my foot would slip slightly forward in the shoe with each landing. Almost like I was hitting the brakes with each impact. Because I was running on a crushed rock path I could also hear and feel the ground slipping slightly below the sole.

Speeding up to 8-8.5 pace the slipping stopped but then I was moving very quickly. However, the speed felt very natural and comfortable other than cardiovascularly. My calves had also been recruited to support this new impact and I was quickly feeling the burn there and also my glute’s. I think the glute stress came from my feet making a much higher swing than what is typical in my other shoes. Almost touching my butt with each stride rather than swinging more pendulum like using a typical stride.

So mile 1 behind me I decided to stop and stretch and then do another 3 miles at the pace that I found most comfortable. Mile 1 paced at 8:05, mile two 8:12 and finally mile 3 at 8:20. By the time I hit that third mile I was ready to quit but suffered through it determined to see how it played out. I am not ready to run those paces yet on a regular bases and started to wonder if these shoes would be right for me. The natural feel of the shoe and speed that they seem to want to make me run at comfortably left me exhausted. I am still not going to put to much into this run as it was my first and I have a feeling there is still going to be a learning curve on how to run properly in something that is offers such a minimal amount of support.

For the time being these will be used only on shorter distances of 3-5 miles until I can either get used to them or retire them to cross trainers. The shoes overall are incredibly comfortable and I do feel great in them just unsure if I want to go that fast on my ‘easy’ runs. Part of the joy of running is taking it all in but for slow people like me 8 minute miles are saved for race days not relaxing jogs through the park. If my heart feels like it just might protest and jump from my chest and leave me doubled over evacuating the contents of my stomach then I am not sure how much value these have for me.

Jury is still out on the Saucony Kinvara’s.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Beer May Be a Better Option Than Water After a Workout

Just finished a hard workout? Before you grab a sports drink or water, you should know that researchers from Granada University in Spain say that having a beer may help you hydrate more efficiently.

Professor Manuel Garzon, a faculty member at Granada University, reported to the Daily Mail the results of a study involving 25 university students over the course of several months. The students were asked to do a rigorous workout on a treadmill in 104 F degree temperatures then asked to drink 16 ounces of lager and as much water as they desired. The other group received only water (as much as they desired). Full Article Here...

How does childhood obesity work?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 30.3 percent of children ages six to 11 and 30.4 percent of adolescents ages 12 to 19 are either overweight or obese. That's almost one out of every three kids in America.

The CDC uses the scientific Body Mass Index formula to measure obesity (they never actually use the word "obese" in their reports). A combination of your height and weight, a BMI score of 25 or higher indicates that you are overweight, while a BMI score of 30 or more indicates obesity. For more information on Body Mass Index, as well as a calculator you can use to easily find your own BMI score, check out How Body Mass Index Works.

Childhood Obesity (a BMI score of 30 or more) is a serious health risk. It can lead to all sorts of problems, from heart disease and bone trouble to social and psychological trauma. And the problem is growing. Today, twice as many children ages six to 11, and three times as many adolescents ages 12 to19, are obese than they were just 20 years ago.

So what's the deal? Why is this happening? Is it really a bad thing, and what can we do about it? In this article, we'll take a closer look at childhood obesity. We’ll find out who’s at risk of being obese, what the consequences are and what's being done to combat this national health epidemic.
Read full article here...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Winter Swim Improvement Workout #1

Now that the Tri season is over for me it’s time to work on some swim Improvement. I have been looking for well planned swim workout since typically I go and just do a 4X100 Warm up then 2X800 or 1X1600 then cool down. Not sure I am really getting any benefit from that. If nothing else it makes it very obvious that I am a triathlete and not a swimmer. Of course the multitude of toys, the terrible form and slow pace probably does not help either.

Active.com posted this in an email to me this morning, likely because someone saw me swimming and figured I needed some serious help. So my next swim will use this planned workout rather than my typical do whatever I feel like workout. Will also start using Swimplan.com to try and find more workouts. It would be nice if I could get down to 1:40 X 100M sustainable over 1600M. Currently I could probably do the 1:40 but that would also be the end of any effective workout.

Warm Up
300, breathe on your weaker side on even lengths

4 x 75, first 50 of each is kicking on your side, last 25 is swim
4 x 100, count strokes on first 25. Descend stroke count with each 100. Rest=15 seconds

Main Set
3 x 200 on cruise interval*
4 x 75, middle 25 backstroke, rest=10 seconds
4 x 50, descend stroke count, rest=20 seconds
3 x 100 on cruise, rest=05 seconds
4 x 125, breathe every 3 strokes. Rest=10 seconds
4 x 50 Free Golf**

Cool Down
200 Distance Per Stroke*** and breathe on your weaker side on odd lengths

*Cruise: An interval you can make consecutive 100-yard or -meter swims on with about 5-10 seconds rest.

**Free Golf: Count your strokes and get your time on each 50. Add these numbers together to get your "score". Attempt to lower your score each round by either lowering stroke count, going faster, or doing both.

***Distance Per Stroke: Extend and glide as much as you can with each stroke.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Low-Carb Diet better for Cholesterol

NEW YORK – Over the long term, a low-carb diet works just as well as a low-fat diet at taking off the pounds — and it might be better for your heart, new research suggests.

Both diets improved cholesterol in a two-year study that included intensive group counseling. But those on the low-carbohydrate diet got a bigger boost in their so-called good cholesterol, nearly twice as much as those on low-fat.

In previous studies, low-carb diets have done better at weight loss at six months, but longer-term results have been mixed. And there's been a suggestion of better cholesterol from low-carb eating.

The latest test is one of the longest to compare the approaches. At the end of two years, average weight loss was the same for both — about 15 pounds or 7 percent.

The key difference was in HDL, or good cholesterol: a 23 percent increase from low-carb dieting compared to a 12 percent improvement from low-fat, said Gary Foster, director of Temple University's Center for Obesity Research and Education, who led the federally funded study.

He said the low-carb boost is the kind one might get from medicines that improve HDL.

"For a diet, that's pretty impressive," Foster said.

The findings, published in Tuesday's Annals of Internal Medicine, are based on a study of 307 adults, two-thirds of them women. Participants were obese but didn't have cholesterol problems or diabetes.

Half followed a low-carb diet modeled after the Atkins' plan and half went on a low-calorie, low-fat diet. All attended group sessions to help them change bad eating habits, get more active and stick to their diets.

The volunteers had periodic checks of their weight, blood, bone density and body composition. After two years, there was no major differences between diet groups, except in good cholesterol. Why the low-carb diet had a bigger effect on good cholesterol isn't known, the researchers said.

As low-carb plans became popular, experts feared the diet would drive up the risk of heart disease because it allows more fat. The latest results suggest those concerns are unfounded, Foster said. In the low-carb group, there was an early rise in "bad" cholesterol, the kind that builds up in arteries. But after two years, both groups ended up with similar improvements to bad cholesterol.

The study's strengths include its size, length and its multiple locations — Denver, Philadelphia and St. Louis, said Dr. William Yancy, of the Durham VA Medical Center in North Carolina.

"These are results we should have a lot of confidence in," said Yancy, who has done similar diet research but was not involved in the study.

Foster, the study leader, said dieters should be less concerned about which diet to use, and focus on finding the support or technique — like writing down what they eat — that keeps them on track.

"It doesn't make a difference for weight loss how you get there," he said.

With the current obesity epidemic, more than one way is needed to attack the problem, Yancy said.

"Both of these are options. These diets work," he said.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Tri-Indy Race Report

Indianapolis, Indiana
United States
75F / 24C Overcast

Triathlon - Olympic
Total Time = 2h 53m 6s
Overall Rank = 295/447
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 35

Pre-race routine:

Had trouble sleeping the night before, finally dozed off at about 2AM. Back up at 5:15 AM. Coffee pot started, quick shower and 1oz Sunflower Butter on a Corn Thin. We stayed right on the Canal so it was pretty easy to get to the transition area.

Grabbed bag and hopped on bike for about a 1/2 mile ride. My air pump malfunctioned so I made sure to arrive early to avoid the rush to air up tires from one of the Vendors. Also paid off because I was able to nab a end spot on the rack that was assigned to me.

Setup transition then back the hotel to meet up with the family. Final restroom break and another bottle of water and I was off to the swim start which is roughly another 1/2 mile in the opposite direction of transition.

Time 34:06 | 1640 yards | 02m 05s / 100yards
Overall: 298/447
Performance: Good
Suit: No
Course: In a canal running through downtown Indy. Roughly 40 feet wide other than some occasional wider and narrower parts.
Start type: Dive Plus: Time Trial
Water temp: 75F / 24C Current: Low
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: NA


Water was much colder than I expected, glad I jumped in for a quick warm-up. I think this helped alleviate the shock had I just gone right on in. Family there to encourage me and root me on was awesome and I got really excited when I saw them at the start.

Forgot to put my goggles on when I dove in. Thank goodness they did not fall into the murky abyss. Quick roll over to my back, goggles on and off I go. Got carried away with pace for about 100M or so trying to find space to swim.

Once I found room I slowed up a bit and tried hard to work on that 2:10 pace I had been working on. Even at this slower pace I was very surprised at how many people I passed during the swim.

Spotting was great and my Wife and Kids were able to walk the Canal along side me. I gave them a big goofy smile every couple of minutes to let them know I was doing good. Tried telling them I love them but typically just drank water when I yelled out on the breath. Still was the highlight of the race seeing them each time I came up for air.

What would you do differently?:

Nothing...I worked on pacing at 2:10 and finished at 2:08. My practice spotting to the front and side worked out and I am very happy with the swim.

Time: 02:30
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good
Helmet on: Good
Run with bike: Yes


I put my Garmin in a ziplock and wrapped with a little tape at the base then shoved it in my cap. This worked great, I just ripped the plastic open on the run to the bike and clipped it on.

The family made up a couple of signs for me but it was really long and I struggled to read it all on my way out of transition. Gave me something to think about while I was out on the course. I love those guys.

What would you do differently?:

Put my sock on right side up the first time. :)


01:12:12 | 24.85 miles | 20.65 mile/hr
Overall: 253/447
Performance: Good
HR jumped a little high due to stress rather than effort. Settled in at about 155 for the duration of the ride.
Wind: Headwind
Course: Parts of the course were miserably rough with huge potholes. 1 railroad crossing that was filled with 2X4's in the gaps to try and smooth it out. Slight head wind for about 5 miles on the out and mostly flat.
Road: Potholes Dry
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right


I had a goal of 18MPH and averaged 20.7. I knew I was pacing pretty high and debated on slowing up a bit but felt really good so held steady. I am ecstatic about this pace and the bike. Had no idea I would be able to finish it up like that.

Had an equipment malfunction because of the rough roads. Sat up in the hoods to climb hill. Hit a bump and the right brake hood slid down the bar about 2 inches. Made for interesting shifting and braking. Most of my time was spent on the aero bars so not that big of a deal, just a little weird feeling the position.

Rounding the corner from loop one, I spotted my wife first and then my daughter noticed me. Pointed at her and made sure I had her attention. Very cool.

What would you do differently? Nothing

Time: 01:52
Overall: Good
Jumping off bike: Average
Running with bike: Average
Racking bike: Good
Shoe and helmet removal: Below average


Legs were a little wobbly on the dismount but started working again after about 100 yards.

01:02:29 | 06.21 miles | 10m 04s min/mile
Overall: 366/447
Performance: Average
HR Goal was 160 and I had to work pretty hard to keep it there. Creep set in around the 4 mile mark but I was almost done so I let it climb up to around 166. This would not allow me to run at a 8:30 pace but 10 was OK as long as I kept moving forward.
Course: Along the White River crossing over the bridge and down the other side on the way back. Mostly flat.
Keeping cool: Good
Drinking: Just right


Had to pee something terrible coming off the bike at the first opportunity on the run I found a spot to go. Wasted about 2 minutes, ughh, could not get it to stop.

Right thigh cramped about 2 miles in, quick stop and stretch and it worked itself out. Also thanks to the dude that passed by offering some encouragement, it helped. Also the lady with the Cowbell App on her iPhone at the turnaround was pretty funny. Gotta have more cowbell.

Cardio was great and never really felt winded but my legs were feeling like lead weights by about the 3rd mile. It took allot to keep them swinging and I opted to walk through the water stations at mile 4 and 5. This seemed to help and I felt pretty good towards the end.

What would you do differently?:

Run more!

Post race

Warm down:

Walked around for a bit and finally grabbed a seat to relax. Ate a blueberry muffin and chugged a water. Although muffins are not typically part of my nutrition plan, they looked good and I was hungry. Could only finish about half of it and started to feel a little sick, it was really, really good though and I struggled with the decision to chuck it or finish it. Ended up throwing it out.

What limited your ability to perform faster: Lack of training.

Event comments:

Great race and cool venue. If I don't do Steelhead Half Ironman next year I will back in Indy for this race.

Official - Sortable - Tri-Indy 2010 Olympic Distance Results