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Friday, April 30, 2010

Self-Sabotage ?

While cruising the web, I ran into an interesting question on peertrainer. The post was titled "Positive Psychology" and Stopping Weight Loss Self Sabotage. I am making a leap of faith here and please correct me if I am wrong, but I would be willing to bet that most of us do the right things most of the time.

However, sometimes I do things that I know I will regret. I know this before I even do them yet ‘sometimes’ I still do them. Just to continue with the peertrainer thread, sometimes I eat food that I know is bad for me and I know I will feel bad for eating it. I understand that this is not a healthy way to view food (however, that is for another discussion).

Here at work people go out to eat every day. I almost never want to go out to eat. I do not enjoy the experience. I do not see eating out as entertainment. I would much rather go to the gym for my lunch hour. However, sometimes I do go out to eat and since this is southern Mississippi it is almost always to a buffet. There are so many all-you-can-stand restaurants here it is ridicules. Before I even head out of the door I know that I will eat more than I should. I know that I will be lethargic during the afternoon. I know that I will feel guilty for overindulging. This behavior is not that hard to overcome. I might go out to lunch 3 times a year. But I still do it sometimes.

On the other hand, the evenings are almost always a difficult time for me. Although my home is devoid of ‘bad’ food I can create something less than optimum if left to my own devices. I was turned on to something called ‘Nasty snack’ a few years ago. It was originally straight margarine with granular sugar and flour all mixed together. Now I never liked that concoction but I created my own which I call ‘snatch’. Snatch is peanut butter with a couple of heaping tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar. Mixed all together it forms a sugary, fatty paste. This is what I crave when I want something sweet. I will usually feel guilty for having this calorie dense food in the evenings. (3 tbsp peanut butter = ~600 calories + 3 tbsp of confectioners’ sugar = ~100 calories = TOTAL 700 calories).

So, why do I sometimes do these behaviors? On peertrainer the following question was posed:

What has to be true in your life in order for you to sabotage your weight loss efforts?

I think this is an interesting question and I have thought about it for the last day or two. For me, I deviate (sabotage) from the plan when the following are true:

1. I am idle. The plan is empty for the day (or the plan has ended and there is no near term goal in place).

2. I have done some major exercise and I have not eaten properly. I am in a caloric deficit for the day or the week.

3. Following number two, I have a false sense of entitlement. I work hard so I deserve an indulgence.
I am sure that there are other fundamental reasons and these reasons are just on the surface. I might have missed the scope of the article by being so granular but I still found value in investigating my actions. Just identifying these reasons I think that I can be at better curbing the behavior.

For the snatch eating, I need to not be idle. I have plenty of stuff to do and if I am busy then I do not indulge in these behaviors. Also, I need to have something that I am working towards.  If I have worked out hard and not replenished my calories with good, healthy food then I get cravings. And last, I need to always reward myself with positive actions and not self defeating actions.  I need to think of the benefits of not doing the negative action. I need to think of how not doing the negative action brings me close to success.

I think it is an interesting question and it does not only apply to diet. On peertrainer the article continues to explore the question on a more global life scale.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Unscheduled recovery week

After this weekend’s big bike volume this week has turned into a kind of an unscheduled recovery week. I took a couple days off for the legs. They were shot. I also had to work some late hours that did not allow for an early morning workout. And just yesterday I had to miss a lunch swim do to work constraints. For the week I still got a good tempo run and a good bike interval workout and a good open water swim but the volume has been much less than previous weeks. However, I am listening to my body more. I am training smarter.

There is another race this weekend and it seems as if half of Hattiesburg is racing. The Crawfishman is a great race with wonderful food and drink. It is also within driving distance so you do not have to stay the night in a hotel. Besides, I doubt that there is anywhere to stay in Bush, LA.

I have been encouraged to do this race for the past 3 years but I have just been unable to get it on the race calendar. I checked the online registration this week and it is closed. But, I would not have done the race anyway.

This is for another topic regarding peaking and retaining the peak for racing, but I don’t think I could put together a stellar performance.

I raced a lot of races last year and I enjoyed every minute of it. However, there were one or two races that I was not at my best. I look back on those races and although I gained knowledge from the experience and enjoyed the camaraderie I was just not able to perform to the best of my ability.  I still might ride down for the race to be the official Hattiesburg photographer.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

TIPS: Where do you wear your timing chip?

At my last race I noticed the timing chips on people’s ankles. I remember the first time that someone handed me one of these straps. I was not sure what to do with the thing. Where do you put it? Oh, on your ankle. Well, which ankle? It doesn’t matter.

It might be a minor consideration but it does matter where you put the timing strap. If you look around there is no consensus. I was looking at pictures of the pros on this site (not in English) to see if the pros had a preference. Nope - the pros don’t do it uniformly.

Andreas Raelert (GER) – RIGHT

Chris McCormack (AUS) – LEFT

Dirk Bockel (LUX) – RIGHT

Pete Jacobs (AUS) – LEFT

Andy Potts (USA) – LEFT

Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) – RIGHT

Maik Twelsiek (ALE) – RIGHT

Mathias Hecht (SUI) – RIGHT

Eneko Llanos (ESP) – RIGHT

Luke McKenzie (AUS) - LEFT

Does it just not matter? Well, it matters to me. There is a very remote chance but the sprocket, the crank arm or even the chain can pull the timing chip from your ankle. And even if these rotating parts of the bicycle drivetrain do not remove the strap from your leg the rubbing would definitely be distracting. I had a timing strip strap that did not fit just right and the end of the Velcro was not held down. This little tab would brush the drivetrain on every rotation. Nothing bad happened but I was ‘worried’ about it the entire ride.

When I checked out the photographs of the pros I was certain that they would all have their chips on their left ankles. I was surprised to see that there is no rhyme or reason.

But, I always wear mine on the left.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sunny with a chance of bonk.

Although there was some horrible weather in Mississippi over the weekend, the southern part of the state was spared tragedy. I flip flopped on what to do with the inclement weather. I wanted to do a group bike ride but that was not going to happen. I then decided that I had better get a run before the rains set in – I changed into my running clothes and walked out side. I was met with dark skies and drizzle. The hard rains soon followed.

I jumped on the trainer. I had confidence from Friday's trainer ride. I had accomplished a particularly hard workout. A break though on the trainer if you will. I had recovered from the ½ ironman and my body was in super compensation mode. Maybe I should remember this for next time – maybe I need an over-the-top workout to taper off of for peak performance.

Anyway, back on the trainer I had another great workout. This time it was a tempo workout above and beyond anything I had done before (on the trainer). I was feeling strong. A little later in the day I caught word of a group ride for the afternoon.

I jumped on this ride and it was all hard intervals. It was impromptu but we started doing ½ miles ON (ALL OUT) and then ½ miles recovery (VERY EASY RIDING). I am not sure how many repetitions we did but we were spent by the time we completed the 25 mile ride. We decided to meet up again the following morning at 6:30AM.

On the morning ride, moderation was the name of the game. However, that was buried immediately. We started out fast and everyone could feel the prior day’s ride in their legs but that did not stop us. The previous day we noted that the recovery was lasting longer than the working set. It simply takes less time to ride a ½ mile fast then it does slow. So we upped the ante and did a mismatch of 2 on / 2 off and 1 on / 1 off. These were grueling. Two minutes was a little too long of recovery and one minute was not quite long enough. At the turn around point we formed a pace line and did one minute pulls each. This was just about right with the workload / recovery. You killed it for your one minute and had to hang on for the two or three minutes of hard recovery. We finished the 25 mile ride and slipped our running shoes on for fast hard brick.

We all started out quick – maybe a little too quick. Even though we were running on the trace there is a slight elevation change. We picked “down hill” first. I clicked off the first mile in 6:32 and held on for a 3 mile average of 6:41. Not a bad effort considering the hard riding. It will be interesting what I can do in a sprint / Olympic race this year.

I was home by 8:30 AM and took care of my weekend chores. But the day was just too nice and I joined the afternoon group ride.

This ride is generally an easy to moderate pace outing on the trace. At a minimum it is 30 miles of conversation but it can turn into much more. That is what happened on this day. I always try to prepare for all situations by packing enough nutrition. I threw 2 gels in my back pockets and topped off the sports drink from the morning ride (with water).

I was still feeling strong and time trialed the 5.5 miles to the trail head. I was riding strong. The group ride started slow but quickly gained speed. We (almost everyone in the group) were holding on for dear life by the time we reached Sumrall. This is where the riding got tough. I decided to add a “couple” of more miles. This ended up being 20 miles of high winds and hard hills at a fast pace.  In addition, these just happen to be the hottest days of the year.

I took the two gels during the ride but it was simply not enough to sustain the effort that I was putting out. I was bonking. I started to struggle on this ride. Soon there were only three of us riding in the country side of Mississippi. I started to lose pace at about 35 miles into the ride (mile 30 of the group ride since I rode 5 miles to get to the trail head). I was running on fumes. The two strong riders did wait for me a water stops, etc but I was losing steam fast. I was day dreaming of pizza and ice cream for the last hour of the ride. Once we got back on the trace the two other riders dialed up the pace again and I thanked them for the ride. I drifted back to my pace which happened to be a slow crawl.

I rode the last 6 miles home at about 15 miles per hour. My cardio was in check and my legs were not aching. I just did not have any fuel. I was glad to see my street come into view.

Once I arrived at home, all was better. I made a post exercise shake and grilled some chicken on the patio. I would have normally eaten this on a bed of salad greens and spinach but I selected whole wheat buns this time. I wanted some carbs! It was delicious and I ate too much (2 sandwiches). I also had some cookies a little bit later. I started to drift off to sleep while relaxing on the cough and turned in for the night around 8:30.

I was spent. I say this every spring – “These are the best days of the year”.

Monday, April 26, 2010

70.3 New Orleans - 2010 - Lessons Learned

Cool down!

I know that I am beating a dead horse but I do think about these things.  They allow me to race better next time. My lessons learned from 70.3 New Orleans 2010 are as follows:

1. PRE-RACE: Plenty of time this year. There was no long walk to the swim start line. My start time was also nearly an hour later than last year. Pre-race set up is an experience that you learn. I am much better after having a lot of races under my belt. I was even able to assist a few people in transition prior to the race. I have made lists of what I need in transition (I will follow up with this in another post) and this takes much of the anxiety out of the situation.

2. SWIM: I watched the conditions worsen for more than an hour. Last year I do not think I would have had success. This was the first open water swim that I have done this year. Once again I had to draw upon experience. I have had bad swims. I have had good swims. I have learned that I need to swim my own race. I have built up a comfort level (confidence level) with swimming. I might not be the fastest swimmer out there but I will complete the swim and be able to contend with any situation that might arise.

3. BIKE: I was able to stay within my heart rate zones. I was comfortable. I was tempted to push the pace (and I did when the wind was at my back). But overall, once again, I raced my own race. I still need to determine where that fine line is on the bike. Did gaining a few extra minutes on the bike cost me 10 minutes on the run?

4. RUN: I am a better runner than last year. I took a minute per mile off of last year’s pace. However, I wanted 2 minutes per mile. Maybe I was naive in my run goals. The heat was a factor. Maybe I should have run more at the hottest times of the day to build some heat acclimation. The heat from this race will feel like a winter’s morning in two months.

5. ENJOY THE RACE: Once out of the water I had a good day. I enjoyed the challenge of trying to reach my goal. I was able to keep positive even though I knew that I was not going to have a 4:59. At the end of the race I did say (and it is on video) that "I never want to do another long distance race again". I think I say that at the end of every race! I still want to break 5 hours and I am looking around for another race.
All races are different from year to year. In this race the swim was rough, the bike was faster and the run was about the same. Well, the run was hotter but only because I started it an hour later than last year.  And the tranistions were much shorter.

By the numbers:

Improvement 2009 – 2010


I 'lost' 3  minutes in the swim (from my projected time).  I 'lost' 90 seconds from a bathroom break.  I wonder if I could have pulled that extra gear knowing that I only needed 4 minutes (instead of 8 minutes) to reach my goal?  I knew that I was not able to run 30+ seconds per mile faster but could I have willed myself to run 17 seconds per mile faster?  I just don't know.

Recovery: Last year there was a tri team that had a kiddie swimming pool filled with ice water that their athletes were using to cool down. I wanted that last year but it was only for their athletes – I asked. This year, they had this set up in the medical area. Once I discovered this I made a bee line for the water. I definitely did not need an IV or anything by I wanted to cool down and start my recovery. The medical staff was awesome and I submerged myself for about 5 minutes. It was painful on my feet but so refreshing everywhere else. I highly recommend the ice baths!!!

Checking Race Results

Friday, April 23, 2010

Race Report - RUN - 70.3 New Orleans - 2010

T2: 1:54

The run – TIME: 1:46:08 SPEED: 8:07 RANK: 218

I stopped just short of the dismount line. I unclipped from the pedals and put weight on my legs for the first time in two and a half hours. The legs were strong. There were no wobbles at all. This gave me confidence for the start of the run.

I ran with the bike through the transition area. I passed several people that were walking. One person was walking with their bike in my transition row and I politely said on your left. He moved over and I sprinted to my bike. I quickly racked the bike and took my helmet off. I also sat down to put socks on for the run. I did not want my feet to be the limiting factor on this run. I removed the gps watch from by bike and carried it in my hand. I would put it on my wrist while on the move. Socks on, shoes on, visor on and a gel stuffed in the back pocket of my unitard. I was off.

I looked at my watch and did some quick calculations. My stop watch indicated that I was 3:22 into this race. In my fantasy world I wanted to run close to my marathon pace – that is about 7:10 – which would be just less than a 1:35 half marathon time. I had a couple of minutes to spare.

As I had planned all along, the run is where I was going to “WIN” this race.

I thought to myself, “You have put yourself in position. Now just execute!”

And execute I did. I ran out of transition at a solid pace. Everyone seemed to be running well. In many races, at this distance, there are people walking and cramping right out of T2. This did not seem to be the case this time. Everyone was running well. Everyone was running right around my pace. I could feel the heat. Looking back I did not notice the temperature on bike at all. The bike was not like some of the middle of summer rides were you are dripping sweat on the top tube. I did not even wear a head band or anything on the bike. But at the start of the run I could definitely feel the heat.
Feeling strong

I started to slowly gain on some of the runners but it was slow going. I looked at my gps watch and I was a little faster than I wanted to be – I was running at a 7:05 minute per mile pace. I also needed to pee. I saw a single port-a-loo at the 1 mile water stop. I ran up to it and it was occupied. I knocked on the door and someone said just a second. Thankfully they were quick. I jumped in and unzipped my unitard. Let me tell you – using the facilities in a unitard is not the easiest of endeavors – but I managed. I have never needed to use the bathroom in a race except for the ironman. I guess I had drunk enough water during the bike (and probably some during the swim). It felt like I was in there forever. Actually it was only a minute. Yes – I timed the break. From stop to start it took almost a minute and half for this pit stop. I ran out of the port-a-loo and grabbed a cup of water at the water stop.

From that point on I never saw low 7 minute miles. I knew that I still had a shot at sub-5 but it was going to be difficult. I tried to draw from my training and dial back the run, but only a small amount. I was not going to give up much. Mile two clicked off at around a 7:30 minute per mile pace. If I could maintain it would still be close – real close.

The heat was now really starting to be a factor. I was not sure why I was not able to maintain my paces. After all, I had run a low 7 minutes per mile pace for an entire marathon only a couple of months ago. That is when it hit me. I had run that race when the temperature was in the 50’s. Not only that but I had finished that race by about 10AM. This half ironman run did not start until noon.

I was drinking ice water at each water station to cool off. I saw a lot of people dumping water over their heads. I was already starting to hear squishy shoes as I passed people. I never douse myself with water. I cannot stand water logged feet on a long run. To me that am just asking for trouble.

At this point, I guess from all of the water my stomach started to ache. Once again, I have never had these kinds of issues during a race. I was still very hot by I tried to limit the amount of water I was taking on. I was still drinking but not as much. I did discover a solution. At first I was holding the ice in my hands as I ran. From experiences training during the summer I know that my hands act as radiators for my body. It really has a cooling effect. However, the ice in my hand was not lasting long. It was melting fast and dripping all over the place.

Sprinting it out

The solution that I settled on was to run with the cup of ice and hold it in a claw like fashion. I put my fingers inside the cup and clamped the outside of the cup with my thumb. The ice lasted longer and I still got the cooling effect. It is kind of gross but, if necessary, I was also able to drink while running.

The ice was still melting fast as it pulled heat from my body but it would almost last until the next water station. Now, I was only drinking when I was taking gels. The stomach was still hurting but I knew that I had to continue to fuel my body. Last year I was doing walk breaks later in the run. I was stronger this year. I kept up my revised pace and I would not allow for myself to let 8 minute miles slip away. In the end it did but …
Over and out.

Running down Esplanade I only had a few miles left and I thought to myself, “There will be no walking during the last 3 miles of any race!” When crossing the mile twelve marker I made the decision. I picked up the pace. This was the fastest mile since mile 6. I knew I had a little bit in the tank and I wanted to tap it before it was too late. I was not able to run as fast as I wanted to but I did see improvements in my physical and mental abilities.

TOTAL TIME: 5:08:32 RANK: 235/1655

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Race Report - BIKE - 70.3 New Orleans - 2010

T1: 2:37

The bike – TIME: 2:39:34 SPEED: 21.1 RANK: 403

Immediately following the swim, there were wetsuit strippers inside transition. However they were located in a sandy / grassy area. I did not want to start the bike covered in grit. I thanked them as I ran past. I did the foot stomp method and it was fast and efficient.

I thought my postion was a little more aero.  I have some spacers I might removed.

I set up a few alerts on my gps watch. I have never used these so why not try it on race day. I set a lower limit on my heart rate at 150 and an upper limit at 165. I know that this is a huge range but I wanted to stay just below 160. I guess I should have fine tuned the alerts. In a shorter race last year I averaged 171 BPM for a 27 mile bike (The Heart O’Dixie). So I know I can maintain a higher heart rate. But that race had a shorter run (7miles).

I also set an alert for every 7 miles (56 / 7 = 8). The watch would take a lap and remind me to take a gel. In addition I was going to monitor the speed for each of these 7 mile laps and how they compared to my overall average. This worked out well except for the differences in time it took to cover 7 miles. I knew the wind was in my face after the first 7 mile spilt. I hoped that I would be able to make up the time.

The bike was uneventful. That is a good thing. Starting so late in the race there was always someone to pass. I was able to constantly reel riders in and benefit from the few seconds of draft. I don’t know if it really makes much of a difference but I tried to take advantage of the situation.

I also know that I could have gone faster. And, I know that I would have gone faster if I would have been near racers of the same speed. They would have pushed me. This was actually a good thing. The bike portion of the race for me was simply to put in a measured hard effort so that I could put in a good run at the end. I am still not sure where this line is located.

The race started out in a residential area with several sharp 90 turns. Everyone was taking this easy. Then the race opened up on as you rode along the lake shore. You quickly came to a large draw bridge that is the steepest hill on the course. The only other hill is a large overpass. After that, like I said, the bike was uneventful. I successfully procured water bottles at each stop and consumed my gels. I also had some power bar pieces from one of the aid stations. Towards the end of the bike I made myself take some more water into my system. I had only had 3 bottles and I am usually a big drinker.

One of those 90 degree turns

I had 8 gels taped to my top tube. I consumed a get immediately after the swim in T1. I left 4 gels still attached to the bike. I think the power bar pieces made up for the calories that I missed. I think that a gel every 20 minutes is not necessary. However, I have read that you should take in as many calories (within reason) that your body will allow. I can definitely take in the calories.

In the last leg of the bike I let the intensity drop. I wanted the legs to recover. At the end, I came to a full stop just before the dismount line and I unclipped. I jumped off of the bike and my legs were solid! In the past I have had that shaky leg feeling but it was not present today. That let me know that the legs were in good position to take on the run.

SPLITS (every 7 miles)

1. TIME - 23:40 SPEED – 17.7 HR AVE - 157
2. TIME - 20:41 SPEED – 20.3 HR AVE - 156
3. TIME - 21:36 SPEED – 19.4 HR AVE - 155
4. TIME - 19:28 SPEED – 21.6 HR AVE - 156
5. TIME - 19:12 SPEED – 21.9 HR AVE - 157
6. TIME - 18:06 SPEED – 23.2 HR AVE - 157
7. TIME - 19:16 SPEED – 21.8 HR AVE - 153
8. TIME - 16:59 SPEED – 21.6 HR AVE – 150 ***

*** 6.12 miles by my watch – a little short

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Race Report - SWIM - 70.3 New Orleans - 2010

The swim - TIME:  38:21 SPEED 1:49 RANK 500

What a difference a year makes. Last year the lake was as smooth as glass and I was terrified. At this point I had never had a “good” swim in any race – ever. The 1.2 mile point-to-point swim looked like miles and miles. I had a rough swim last year – read about it here if you like.

If it had been these conditions last year I am not sure if I would have even started the race. At the race briefing the day before the officials repeatedly said that you could skip the swim if you were uncomfortable – you would just not be eligible for an age group awards, etc. I understand but then that really is not a triathlon is it?

Anyway, I had an hour and twelve minutes to watch wave and wave start. At the start of the race the water was a little rough but it progressively got worse. I was watching the flags and they were getting whipped around. The conditions changed in that hour. I saw a few people call for help before my wave was even lining up. Their race was over.

To make matters worse there were four 90 degree turns on this course. And I am sure you know how everyone bunches up at a turn buoy. And in these conditions it was even more congested. I liken it to riding on the bike – you know how everyone is spread out pretty good and then you hit that big hill and the better riders pull away. This leaves everyone else struggling up the hill and bunching up. This is what was happening at each buoy – times 4.

From ernestov on garmin Connect (not my swim - I was probably all over the place)

I like to breathe on my right side and this was into the swells. It took me about a quarter of the race to get the timing down so that I could take a breath without a mouth full of water. While I appreciate all of the safety boats and such the smell of diesel was in the air. This was not very pleasant.

It was very difficult for me to sight in these conditions. I was way out to far into the lake and had to angle back hard for the second buoy. Even in the best of conditions I am not very proficient at sighting. I stick my head up and lose momentum. In these conditions I had to come to a complete stop and really look hard to see the line.

Drafting during the swim – yeah right - this was just not possible for me. I did bump into a number of people but being able to benefit from better swimmers was not going to happen.

After making the turnaround I once again veered of course and was closer to the shore than I should be. There were a lot of people off course with me. The swells were pushing us towards the shore and I drifted to my right. I had to make another hard correction to get around that last buoy.

As I neared the swim exit I saw people walking and I stood up. I could barely touch and had to do that tip-toe walk thing. I should have just swum a few more yards before I stood up. Once I got my footing I was able to run out of the water and into transition.

I was really not prepared for the swim this year. I have not done any open water swimming since last August (IMKY) and I have used just about any excuse to skip the swim workout. Don’t get me wrong. I am not making excuses – I take full responsibility for the lack of training. I could have done better.

All things considered I would not say this was a bad swim. In fact, not long ago this swim would have been a disaster. I can now look back and use this race as a confidence booster. With that I am pleased.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

70.3 New Orleans - By the numbers

I am a little slow getting a detailed race reported completed.  The race with the heat took it out of me and I have hit the hay pretty early the last couple of days.

Transition - Race Morning

But by the numbers;

Swim: This was a rough swim. These were the worst conditions that I have ever swum. There were no whitecaps but the swells were large enough to toss me around, take on water and not sight very well. In addition the swim was an out, a large rectangle and then back kind of swim. There were four 90 degree turns around buoys and starting at the next to last wave meant lots of congestion.

Last year: 40 minutes. Goal time: 35 minute. Actual time: 38 minutes. In better conditions I could have achieved my goal time. All in all, considering the conditions I am happy with the swim.

Bike: This year there was a head wind going out. This is much better mentally. I wanted to race the bike in a rather conservative method so that I could “win” my race with the run. Once again, starting so late in the race (1:12 after the race start) means you don’t get passed much and that there are hundreds (thousands) of people in front of you. I was constantly passing riders and truly flying on the way back. Having a tail wind push you back to transitions was actually cool.

Last year: 2:42. Goal time: 2:40. Actual time: 2:39.

Run: I was in position to reach all of my goals. It got HOT on the run. I let the race slip away. I still have lots of room for improvement.

Last year: 2:01. Goal time: 1:35. Actual time: 1:46.

Total Race - Last year: 5:30. Goal time: 4:59. Actual time: 5:08.

I had a good race and I believe that I did better than the numbers indicate. I am a better athlete this year than last year. This was just a harder race.

Monday, April 19, 2010

70.3 New Orleans - And the winners is ... Andy Potts

I had a good race - I imporved on all aspects of the race (report to follow).

The day before the race I happen to meet (and by meet I mean rode in an elevator) with Andy Potts. I said coyly, “You look familiar.” To which he said “oh yeah”. And then I extended my hand and introduced myself and Andy did the same.

He went on to lead the swim by more than a minute. I saw him leading on the bike and he eventually won the race!

I’m not calling it a man crush but it was pretty cool to rub shoulders with the elites.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

70.3 New Orleans Race Strategy 2010

Have I learned anything from my past experiences? Last year this was my first big race. I was excited and apprehensive. I was sacred of the swim portion in the lake. Since then I have raced a dozen or more times (running and triathlon). From my lessons learned:

1. PRE-RACE: I do plan better. I am bringing better pre-race and post-race clothing. I am also bringing more appropriate running shoes (my shoes from my marathon).

2. SWIM: This race last year was the last “bad” swim that I had. After this race I was more mentally prepared. I was able to swim my own race. I will be starting an hour later than last year. There will be a lot of people in the water in front of me. I have been in this situation before. I may not be the fastest swimmer but when starting from the back I am faster than everyone in front of me. There will be people really struggling (I can empathize). I think (hope) my race experience kicks in and I am able to meet my time goals. Fear – My swim volume is nothing compared to last year. I have not swum in the open water since August. But I am a better swimmer. It is rumored that the swim was long last year. Last year: 40 minutes Goal: 35 minutes.

3. BIKE: My bike volume is nothing compared to last year. I have only rode 50 miles twice this year. I am not going to race this year at the same intensity as last year. However, I think I am a little faster. I want to clock in with the same bike split. I have my GPS set to auto-lap every 7 miles (56 miles / 8 = 7 miles) to remind me to take a gel. Last year: 2:42 Goal: 2:40

4. RUN: Much better prepared. This is my experiment: What is harder? Run a half marathon and then run a half marathon at the same pace (which is what I did at my marathon) or bike 56 miles and then run a half marathon? I am going to attempt to run the half at my marathon pace. This is going to be a challenge. Last year: 2:01 Goal: 1:35.

5. ENJOY THE RACE: I won’t stop and smell the roses but I will enjoy the spectacle.

So there you have it in a nut shell. Last year I did this race in 5:30 and this year my fantasy goal is 4:59:XX. This time goal is just out of my reach and I do not think I have taken the necessary steps to step up and hit it out of the park. But if I am able to execute perfectly and nothing unexpected jumps up the time will be as follows: RACE TOTAL = 330 minutes – 5 minutes (SWIM) – 25 minutes (RUN) = 300 minutes or 5:00 half ironman.

Friday, April 16, 2010

70.3 New Orleans - 2009 - Lessons Learned

Lessons learned from 70.3 New Orleans 2009. (reposted from last years race report - more from this race report swim, bike, run).

  1. PRE-RACE: I did not really anticipate just how many people were going to be at the start of this race. I should have arrived at transition a little bit earlier. Although the walk to the swim start was only about a mile and a half I really think walking bare foot started me off on the wrong foot (so to speak). Also, the shoes for the run were just plan silly. By selecting 'light and fast' shoes to save a few seconds per mile it cost me tens and twenties of seconds per mile. For these longer races I have to go with a cushioned trainer. I already knew this but was blinded by some artificial time goals - that was a mistake.
  2. SWIM: My swim wave was larger than some of the local triathlons that I have been in - I got very disoriented and claustrophobic being in the middle of the churn. I never thought that I was going to die or drown or anything like that - but my breathing was out of control and I was struggling. Looking at my heart rate for the entire race - it was the highest during the swim - for all of the swim. I know that this not only cost me minutes on the swim but minutes on the bike and minutes on the run. I need to continue to be more confident in the water - not just with swimming but in positioning myself with other racers. This will be one of the toughest to improve on - a few days after the race (or really just a few seconds out of the swim) it is hard to imagine getting that messed up just swimming. I did hear of several racers climbing out of the water in disgust and throwing there goggles off. Knowing what I was feeling that could have been me. I am going to try and do as many races this year to help build that 'swim race' experience.
  3. BIKE: I did pretty good on the bike. I was walking a tight line on keeping the pace up and saving energy for the run. At this point it is hard to tell if I pushed too hard or not hard enough - my run was off and was going to be off regardless. On the back half of the bike - into the wind - my effort dropped. I will work on the mental toughness required to keep the pace up! I have done a lot of bricks this season but none at race pace - In need to throw in a lot of race pace bricks.
  4. RUN: I never got into a groove on the run. My feet were sore before I even left transition. However, even if I was feeling great (and my lungs and legs felt pretty good - but not great) I am still not sure if I would have been able to find that extra gear. When I ran that half marathon in the fall my heart rate was up near LT. This run was low zone 2. I'm just not sure if I could have picked it up and raced the run. I just ran it. Once again I need to have some race paced bricks and work on the mental toughness to deliver in these conditions.
  5. ENJOY THE RACE: I do a pretty good job of this but why not push through the pain, run a fast race and enjoy it the entire time. After all, I am doing this because they are fun. I need to live it up more - my pay check does not depend on my race results - it is okay to have fun.
Things that I did right.

  1. I tested my boundaries successfully. No injuries. I enjoyed the experience. At the time I was not sure if I wanted to continue this long distance racing after this year. A day or two out and I can't wait to test myself again.
  2. Swam in a wetsuit with out problem. Sure I had problems in the swim but it was not because of the wetsuit - if anything the wetsuit gave me confidence. I would probably be more scratched up if I did not have the suit on.
  3. Nutrition and hydration never caused me any problems. I took a gel just about every half hour once I was out of the swim. I taped them to the top tube of my bike and that worked great. I took them prior to the water stations on the run and that worked great. In training I took them every 45 minutes but I think 30 minute is just about right. I drank lots of water during the bike and run. I never had to pee but I also never really felt thirsty. The April heat was not a problem - of course I did not fly into town from some snow covered part of the country. I was also done with the race by 1PM - before the real heat of the day.
  4. Transitions went well. When I saw the size of the transition area I thought that there would be no way to do this fast. I thought 4 minutes a piece would be tough. Well, my bike placement was exceptional and that allowed for me to have both transitions combined come out to less than 6 minutes. I still need to learn to do the flying mount / dismount.
  5. Recovery was much better after this race than even the half marathon that I did in the fall. This race was a much longer duration (4 hours longer) but the intensity was a lot less. Also, I only had one beer at the race finish. I am sure that the beer negatively affects my recovery.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Weight Loss - Really?

This was sent to one of our university mailing lists and I thought it was ... well ... ironic. If you are interested in weight loss supplements I guess that is the place to meet.

Health, Wealth and Weight Loss

Upcoming Events:
Saturday, April 17th, 2010
9:00 AM at Shoneys of Hwy 49 South
Hattiesburg, MS

Saturday, April 17th, 2010
11:00 AM at McAlister's on Mayfair Road (Behind Taco Bell across from Wesley Medical)
Hattiesburg, MS

Plexus Slim when used on a daily basis promotes
  • Loss of weight and inches by burning fat, not muscle
  • Healthy blood sugar levels
  • Healthy cholesterol and lipid levels
  • Healthy will power over food choices
  • Safe and Diabetic friendly

We will discuss the comp plan $$$ and all guest will be invited to sample Plexus Slim!!

Please send this info to your new Ambassadors.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

REVIEW: Innovations CO2 inflators

Since I had a flat last weekend I thought that I would give a short review of a couple of CO2 inflators. On my old road bike I always carried a frae pump. My old road bike was aluminum and had a traditional geometry. The frame pump was spring loaded and would fit under the top tube. My current road bike is made of carbon and the geometry is compact. My frame pump does not fit on this road bike. Furthermore, the frame pump does not fit my triathlon bike either.

Ultraflate PRO

So I made the switch to using disposable CO2 cartridges. I like to think of myself as being very green. In addition, I do not like to use items that are disposable due to cost. Since I ride primarily on a rails to trails I do not encounter the road side hazards that I would if I were on regular streets. I am going to jinx myself but looking back I have had an average of three flats a year. Considering that I ride over well over 5000 miles a year that is an acceptable cost to me.
Ultraflate PRO with cylinder

The first inflator that I us is an Innovations Ultraflate PRO. I have had this inflator for several years (in fact I could not find this particular model on the Innovations website – it may be discontinued). I like this inflator for a couple of reasons.


1. It is small
2. It is light (55 grams)
3. It is easy to use


1. Will not fit HED3 carbon wheels
This inflator has a cylinder that you can put a CO2 cartridge in and then tighten the cylinder to puncture the cartridge. This allows for the use of threadless cartridges. Although the cylinder is designed for use with only 16 gram cartridges you can put paper in the bottom of the cylinder to take up excess space. This will allow you to use even cheaper 12 gram threadless cartridges. You can also ditch the cylinder and thread a cartridge onto the inflator head.

Ultraflate PRO- 55 grams

And as I have said, this inflator is easy to use. The inflator head acts much like a floor pump head. You screw the CO2 cartridge unto the inflator head. Next, you push the inflator on the tube stem and pull the metal lever out. The inflator is now locked on to the valve stem. There is a small red button under the metal lever. This is used to regulate the amount of CO2 injected into the tube. Once complete you simply push the metal lever back to the original position while pulling the inflator from the stem. This inflator has served me well. However, it will not fit my race wheels.

Microflate Nano

So now I carry an Innovations Microflate Nano CO2 inflator for my triathlon bike (well most of the time I carry it – last weekend was the exception). I selected this inflator for a number of reasons.


1. It is very small (this is one of very few inflators that can be used on HED3 wheels)
2. It is very light weight (23 grams – that is less than a gel)
3. It is easy to use (although not as easy as the Ultraflate PRO)


1. Must use threaded cartridges
Let me elaborate on each of these points. My race wheels are HED3 carbon wheels. These were designed before long valve stemmed tubes and have a molded cut out area. This area only allows a small pump head to fit. Many CO2 inflators, and floor pumps for that matter, will not fit into the recessed area of the wheel. My older inflator, the Ultraflate PRO, will just not work with my race wheels.

I also like the small physical size and weight of the Nano inflator. I have mounted this inflator a number of places on my race bike. I have used Velcro to attach the inflator and a CO2 cartridge under my aero bar pads, stuck them in the tiny back pocket of my unitard and stuck them in a small camera bag that I have zip tied to the back of my seat. A larger inflator just would not have worked in all of these situations.

Microflate Nano - on a normal wheel

Now onto the easy of use. The inflator does take two hands. Make sure that the valve is open on the tube stem. With this particular inflator you screw the CO2 cartridge all the way onto the inflator head. Then you have to press the inflator nozzle onto the valve stem. While press down hard, – I like to wrap my hand around the entire wheel and hold the inflator tight to the stem, slowly unscrew the CO2 cartridge. This will allow the CO2 to enter the tube. Do not let the nozzle lose contact with the valve stem. If you do lose contact with the stem then CO2 gas will be released into the atmosphere and not into the tube. You saw Chrissie at Kona right?

Microflate Nano - on a HED3

With the small size and design of the inflator there is one huge drawback. You must use threaded CO2 cartridges. This may not seem like a big deal but it is the reason that I do not carry this inflator on my road bike or most training rides. Threaded CO2 cartridges are many times more expensive than the threadless cartridges (like $4 or $5 each). You have to buy the threaded cartridges at bike stores while the threadless cartridges can be purchased in large discount stores in the air rifle section (sporting goods). Last year I bought several dozen 16 gram threadless cartridges on clearance at an office supple store. They were deeply discounted.

Microflate Nano - 23 grams

In conclusion both of these inflators get the job done. The Ultraflate PRO is easier and cheaper to operate. It is almost fool proof and if I am using 12 gram threadless cartridges then it cost about 30 cents per cartridge. The Microflate Nano is more versatile. I can use it on all of my wheels but at a much greater cost.

When it all comes down to it I really do not care how much I have to pay to keep me from walking miles in my cycling shoes!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Recovery after a hard weekend.

On Monday my legs were shot! I took the morning off- It was planned. I really did not sleep in I just did not jump on the trainer. Lunchtime would be in the pool.

The pool was a little crowded – not much but Chad and I had to share a lane. I am fortunate that I rarely have to share lanes. There just are not than many swimmers at lunch. So Chad and I decided to swim in a circular fashion.

We played a game where I would start first and he would be right behind me. Now I am not a blaze in the pool but I am a little faster than Chad. The game was that we would stop the set whenever I caught him. I was not sure how many laps this would take.

The game forced me to pick up the pace. I was swimming at a good effort but my stroke count increased. I tried to keep the strokes at 17 while maintaining speed. I was able to catch him after 7 laps (6 laps for Chad). We played this game 3 times.

After this game I did some 100 yard repeats – fast. The first two were great and I was coming in about 5 seconds faster than normal. I think I can chalk some of that time to the fast paced ‘warm-up.’ But after that the times fell back into the usual range. The swim felt strong.

The Fitness Assessment results were posted. I was pleased with the results except for that dang agility test. Among all men I ranked 2nd in flexibility, 3rd in sit-ups, 4th in pushups and 20th in the shuffle run. Overall I was 5th. Richard was ranked 10th and Vic was ranked 15th. We had a good showing.

Due to the taper the STADIUMS have been cancelled for this week.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bad mojo and starting the taper.

“What are the chances” I asked myself? I met the group at Jackson Station at 8AM. I was on my race bike. I do not have a saddle bag for my race bike. I do have a patch kit that I stick in my jersey pocket. Well, I forgot the patch kit.

I arrived at Jackson Station and immediately realized my mistake. I did a quick analysis. The bike has newer tires. We would be primarily on the trace. I have not had a flat in months. I should have known better.

I mentioned that I was going to be “riding naked.” The group reassured me. After last week, they had me covered. I was not with them last week but I guess there were three flats last Saturday. Raland told me he was carrying 3 tubes. I felt reassured. I hoped that his over preparedness would offset some of my bad mojo.

Robin, the one who orchestrated of the pump and run challenge commented on my 70% bench press. He called me a “Pocket Hercules”. I do not know that phrase. I was not sure if this was ridicule or praise. I looked it up later that day. What a compliment. Naim Suleymanoglu.

Today’s ride would be a moderate ride since many of us would be racing next weekend. The only question was moderate for how long? We made our way west along the trace. After a few miles we jumped on 4th street and headed towards cane brake. I was at the back of the pack but the pace truly was moderate. Although my running game is spot on I do not feel my bike is where it should be. But I was in the pack and not suffering. I felt like I could ride this pace all day – or at least 56 miles. After a couple of loops we headed back to the trace and headed west again. We would take a quick pit stop and then tackle Epley Road. This is a fast, hard, hilly road that we have traditionally conducted king of the mountain type challenges. I have contested this title in the past but not recently. Lance and Keith got a break on the group and they were hammering hard. So much for the moderate pace.

Raland was about 10 yards ahead of me and I was going to try and jump on his wheel. I was looking at my heart rate and I did not want this ride to climb into the red zone. I hung back and raced at my half ironman pace. Robin was behind me and got tired of watching the break pull away. He flew around me and I grabbed his wheel. He reeled in Raland and now we had our own pace line. In the draft I was near the top of my ‘moderate’ heart rate. I was thinking that I would not have much of a pull. Then Robin started to drop me. It was almost like I had the brakes engaged. Robin opened a gap of a few feet and I pulled left to let Raland jump on his wheel. I just didn’t have it!

I slowed down a little bit and realized – yep – the front tire was flat. It was like the brakes were engaged. I turned around and removed the wheel. I had nothing on me. I tried to roll the tire off of the rim but I just couldn’t get it started by hand. Then I remember a tip I had heard long ago. If you have nothing then you can use the skewer quick release handle. Although this might have damaged the tube during removal it did allow for me to remove the tire.

Sam and Chris rolled by in a few minutes. More of my friends. They stopped and gave me a tube and CO2. I would return the bag and inflator when they passed me back. For whatever reason I could not get Chris’ CO2 inflator to work. I also damaged the tube Sam had given me. I was not sure what was going on. I have changed my share of tubes before. I have no problems in this area.

A few more minutes passed and then Lance and Keith came by. I had to flag them down. I am normally the guy who is prepared. I am the guy that has extra tubes and CO2. I felt bad for being so needy. I got another CO2 inflator and tube from Keith. The bad mojo was gone.

It took another couple of minutes before Raland and Robin went by. Robin said – “Oh that is what happened to James”. I told them that I had everything I needed and they rolled on. I finished up the tube replacement and started back towards Epley Station. It was not a minute until Sam and Chris roared by. Sam told me to hop on. I grabbed his wheel and we let Chris carry us home. I was out of my ‘moderate’ pacing but I was not going to blow up.

I did not get all of my planned miles. I also canceled the brick. I just headed home for some yard work. I got the lawn mowed. It made me think – Is there still snow on the ground in some places? I bet that there is.

Sunday brought a short personal duathlon. I just king of winged it. Someone had suggested an easy 30 minute run followed but a 2 hour ride and then another 30 minute run. I did not think I had the ride in me so I altered it a little bit. I also put the unitard on for the first time since August of last year (my ironman). The suit is a little tight in the chest and a little loose in the waist. I’ll take that but I should look at getting another suit.

I ran 5 miles at my marathon pace (average 7:11 pace) and then jumped on the bike trainer. I thought 45 minutes at race pace would be a good training session. My legs were tired. I was not able to push ‘race pace’ on the trainer. I dialed it down to an easier level and rode the trainer for 30 minutes. The thin pad in the unitard was noticeable. Immediately after the trainer ride I did another 5 mile run (average 7:06 pace). I was pleased with the running but the cycling was less than desired.

70.3 New Orleans is next weekend!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Fitness assessment –

From –

Main Entry: assessment
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: evaluation

Synonyms: appraisal, computation, determination, estimate, estimation, judgment, rating, reckoning, valuation, value judgment

The Payne Center had a fitness assessment at the gym earlier in the week. It consisted of a one minute max push-up, one minute max sit-up, an agility test (running sideways between cones), and a flexibility test (sit and reach). I was out of town for work during the day when my comrades did their assessments. I was told of all of their numbers. There will be a public ranking (you had to elect to have your results posted – we all did). Fortunately there was another round of assessing after work. I did not see the word competition in that list of synonyms but that is what this ‘fitness assessment’ became.

I had a rough idea of the best scores for Richard, Vic and Chad. I was told that Richard was an animal and killed the events. I was worried about the agility test. I just do not change directions very fast and my coordination leaves something to be desired. In addition, I know from running 100 yard dashes that I am not the fastest horse out of the gate. I can easily get beat in the super short stuff. My saving grace is that these quick people fade after a set or two – my endurance is better.

But for this agility test there are no repeats. I was going to save this test for last. I tackled the push-up challenge. I was thinking that my 70% bench pressing just might help me in this area. Since this was a speed test there would be no perfect push-ups. There would be a lot of momentum – no down for 2 seconds / up for 1 second slow burn / good form push-ups. I knew that Richard had blown this test out of the water with a number in the 50’s. They had yoga mats that you could use. I pushed mine aside. I did not want to slip. I assumed the position and went full bore! The guy counting told me when I was at the 45 second mark – a paused briefly – I was not sure what he said and then I cranked out another dozen. I finished up the first challenge with 79 push-ups in 60 seconds.

Next was the sit up challenge. Fortunately the person counting also held your feet. This was also damn hard to go all out for 60 seconds. I asked her to tell me at the 45 second point. I sprinted it out and I ended up with 60 sit-ups in 60 seconds. This was tough.

As far as flexibility, this was my ace in the hole. I knew that I was damn good at the flexibility task. I do not know why but the sit and reach is a strong point. The sit and reach test measures your lower back and hamstring flexibility. I believe that most runners have tight hamstrings but I do well in this test. Other aspects of flexibility are tough for me. I cannot do a backbend – my arms will not rotate very far past my head. But I am golden with the sit and reach. I remember excelling in this all the way back to grade school with the Presidential fitness tests. I asked the girl conducting the test what the best number she had seen all day. She said 17 inches – but that was for a girl. I told her that I would beat it! She did not think so. Using the sit and reach box (26 cm is touching your toes) I was able to push the little measuring device 43 cm. According to a measurement above 34 cm is excellent for adult men (above 37 for adult women).

Now it was time for the agility test. This would be my Achilles heal, so to speak. My legs were already a little tight from the bike intervals of that morning. I saw where the cones were located and approximated the distance in another part of the gym. I did a few practice tries. I knew that Vic was around 19 seconds and Richard was 18 something. I gave it my best and scored 20 seconds flat. This is an area I need to improve on.

This assessment was a lot of fun. I think that I will try to recreate this test periodically to see exactly where I stand.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

TIP - Gels on top tubes

Gels on top tube

Last year when I was at ironman Louisville I saw almost two dozen gels taped to a single bike. That many gels might be overkill but if you have done any moderate distance races then you might have thought about taping a couple of gels to the top tube of your bike. Placing the gels in this fashion facilitates taking gels while on the move with few hysterics. You can reach down with one hand to pull the gel from the top tube which also removes the top tab. You don't want to liter. This is not only bad but it is also a penalty. Once you have torn the gel free you then simply squirt the caloric goodness into your mouth. Next, stuff the empty wrapper into your aero water bottle. Once again no littering – that penalty thing and you are done. That is it. No fuss no muss. You didn't lose a single valuable second taking in the calories since you never got out of your aero position.

Last year at the half ironman in New Orleans I had eight or nine gels on my top tube. That might have been excessive but my stomach can take it. This allowed for me to stay away from the liquid calories. I am fine with the sports drink on the bike. But on longer events the Gatorade and stuff can leave me bloated. This can detrimental to the run.

However, most gels come in a foil type wrapper and they have sharp corners. In that half ironman race last year I must have taped one of the gels slightly askew, they were definitely off center.

Sharp pointy tips

While turning the cranks at close to 100 revolutions per minute my left leg was rubbing across the corner of one of the gels. If this occurred just once or twice I don't think it would have mattered. But multiplied by tens of thousands of times – this sharp tip started to slice a gash into my leg. Compounded with the sweat and grim of the road it became uncomfortable. I don't think this had any bearing on the outcome of the race but now I take precautions.

Removing sharp corners

Now with just a little bit of forethought and planning I cut the sharp tips off of the gels before I tape them to the top tube. Take a look at the gels and it is easy to see how much of the foil is not necessary. I use scissors to round off all of the edges. In addition I also trim the top of the gel. This makes it even easier to tear it open. During this years 70.3 New Orleans race I plan on taking a gel about every 20 minutes. This means that I will tape 8 gels to my bike. All of these gels will have rounded corners.
Close up of nice rounded corners on the gels

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Adding reps to the Pump and Run

At the start of the week I got back in the pool. Counting strokes and working on efficiencies is making swimming easier than ever. I am not adding much speed but the effort is reduced – and I am not losing any speed.

I also retested the 70% body weight bench press for the Pump and Run competition. After last weeks math snafu (I added too much weight – around 87% but thought that it was 70%) I wanted to see an increase in reps. The work out zone was empty so I did not have a spotter but considering the light weight I would be okay.

The bar did feel light this time and I decided to work a plan. I did a brief pause at every 10 reps. I took just an extra second at the top of the lift. Ten reps went by easily. Then twenty reps - no problems. The last time that I truly tested this weight range I got 36 – which was up from 32 two weeks prior. This time I blew through the 30’s. I was hoping for 40 reps but I was unstoppable. I ended up with 50 reps – the last one was difficult but with a spotter I could have muscled up one or two more.

Now for the math – 50 reps X 20 = 1000 seconds. That is 16:40 deducted from my 5k time. If I can put up another 10 reps then I do believe that I will be into the negatives. But, anther 10 reps are a long way to go.

KC asked me what kind of recovery shakes I like to drink. To be honest I usually don’t drink anything but prefer to have a meal. On the weekends when I am home that meal is almost always a big bowl of oatmeal with a huge dollop of peanut butter. I know you are supposed to have simple sugars and stuff after hard cardio sessions but I simply enjoy the real food.

Now, if I have a truly hard session I will make a shake to get some quick calories and this past Friday was one of those occasions. With the Ryders sunglasses KC had also sent me some GU BREW recovery powder. This powder claims that it has “the best protein, the most amino acids, optimal carb blend, essential vitamins and GU’ great mellow taste.” I am not sure about all of that but I it was pretty damn good.

I did, however, mix it up (pun intended) with a whole bunch of crushed ice and about 2 cups of Almond Milk. The vanilla almond milk mixed with the strawberry watermelon GU BREW was fantastic. With the ice and almond milk I go two shakes out of the mix which I drank over the next 30 minutes. After that I had my normal oatmeal concoction.

I can’t comment scientifically on whether the recovery aspects of the shake helped any more than real food but the drinkability was right on.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

REVIEW: Ryders Eyewear Tangent Sunglasses

I received a set of Ryders Eyewear Tangent sunglasses in the mail on Thursday. I won these from KC over at 140.6 Miles . KC is an extraordinary athlete (she rode over 12,000 miles last year). She has also done the Boston Marathon many, many times and is training for her first iron distance triathlon. In addition to a great blog she has almost replaced my Pandora radio account with her play lists. We happen to be about the same age so we have similar tastes in music. I’m listening to some beat heavy techno while I type this …

Anyway, back to the sunglasses. I was shipped the Tangent sunglasses by Ryders Eyewear. I do not see this particular pair on their website but I did find the pair on several overstock type internet retailers. I think that these Tangent sunglasses are the same as the current Hijacks. What I was not aware of is that both of these sunglasses (the Tangents and Hijacks) can be purchased with 3 sets of interchangeable lenses – instructions for taking the lenses are located here. Taking these lenses out is by far the easiest interchange lens sunglasses that I have ever had. I have been wearing a set of cycling sunglasses from Nashbar that came with gray, clear and amber lenses but I never take the amber lenses out. It is just not worth the effort required. I am always afraid that I will snap the lenses in half while taking them out or putting them back.

So I had Good Friday off of work and I wanted to get some riding in – the day was beautiful. Now I am a glasses wearer and I only wear contacts when I exercise. And by exercise I mean something longer than an hour or two. So I put my contacts in and suited up for a 50 mile bike ride at moderate intensity. The sunglasses have adjustable nose pieces that can be moved in and out and back and forth. I am sure that the nose pieces are a flexible wire that is covered in a thick pliable rubber. In fact, this rubber coating is said to become tacky when wet (like from sweat and stuff). The sunglasses fit my face right out of the box and needed no adjustment what so ever. I can not comment on how often the nose pieces could be adjusted before their elasticity gives out – but this adjustment should be a set it and forget it type adjustment.

On the bike -

I headed out towards Bassfield. The sunglasses fit my face well. I have had troubles with fit with a lot of glasses, both corrective vision and sunglasses. Many times they will sit too close to my face and my eyelashes with brush the inside of the lens. These sunglasses sit a comfortable distance from my eyes. They also do not rest on my check bones. Looking straight ahead they fill about 90 percent of my vision. I can only see around the glasses if I make an effort to look straight up. Then I can see above the glasses. While riding in the aero bars, on the tri bike, this is more pronounced. Riding the race bike my head is tilted down more. I would guess that instead of my head being parallel to the ground my head is rotated down about 10 degrees. This allows me to see over the top of the glasses easily when I look up the road. I actually do not find this distracting my others may not like the unobstructed view between the top of the sunglasses and the bottom of the helmet. I have not worn the sunglasses with my race helmet which fits tighter to my face and my road helmet. I will have to try this out before my next race (two weeks until 70.3 New Orleans).

As I said earlier I only wear my contacts when doing exercise. I always wear them during triathlons – I can’t see very well during the swim portion without my glasses. One of the reasons that I do not wear my contacts all of the time is that my eyes are very sensitive wind and dryness. When wearing contacts, even if it is dark I will be wearing amber or clear lenses. If my eyes start to dry out it is very uncomfortable and distracting. I experienced no discomfort while wearing these sunglasses. That is saying a lot. There is a fine line between the sunglasses sitting too close to my face and not allowing too much air to circulate between the lens and my eyes. My eyes were not dry and there was no fogging. I was surprised at how well the glasses worked on the bike.

On the run -

When I finished the 50 miles I immediately ditched my cycling shoes and put my running shoes on. I shelved the helmet and put a running visor on. I am trying to transition over to ‘summer feet’ so I did not both with socks. My body temperature was up and I wanted to put in a good effort after the bike. This was just as much for mental toughness as physical toughness. I put my self in difficult positions so that I have to step it up and overcome – therefore I am not always successful. I had a good bike but I need to continue to succeed. I headed out the door with only a change of shoes – the transition was only about a minute.

To make a long story short, I finished up the 5 mile ‘hard’ brick at a pace faster than I thought I could run. What can I say about the sunglasses during the run? When I am running hard I tend to notice things – this is something that I am working on. Not wearing socks I immediately noticed that I do not have ‘summer feet’ right now. I am soft from the winter. I developed two small blistered – one on each foot in the same place. I noticed that my hamstrings were feeling better while running at effort this week – much better than last week.

But what about the sunglasses? I got nothing – nada – period. There was not that annoying bouncing up and down where you have to tuck the ends of the sunglasses into your hat to calm them down. There was not a noticed gap between visor and sunglasses. There was no fogging or trapped stream forming on the inside of the glasses. The sunglasses just worked. Nothing more report.

Style –

I would not have picked the olive green if I could have selected from the entire Ryders line-up. But that would have been picking from pictures on the internet. After I got them I actually like the olive green. It is not an army green color like I thought is was going to be but more of a translucent green. In fact you can see the sunlight illuminating the rims of the sunglasses. I like the look. However, if I were to choose from the entire line I probably would have picked the BRIGHT orange Hijacks. I like the flashy colors.

DISCLAIMER: Although this product was given to me I was not asked to write any kind of review. I have simply provided my honest opinion of the product. Please take my experience with the product at face value. Your mileage may vary.