Showing posts with label Triathlon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Triathlon. Show all posts

Monday, November 5, 2012

Betty Designs Tri Kit Review

Running is my sport. There is no doubt about that.  When I dream, I don't dream about dunking a basketball or hitting a home run, I dream about smacking Meb Keflezighi on the ass, giggling, and then racing him to the finish in a 5K (winning, of course). But, during the winter, I do bike and swim. Not as much as I should to be a "good" triathlete, but enough to save my knees from the pounding that running "offers".
May this picture haunt your dreams

As it were, Betty Designs caught wind of my cross training habit and thought that I needed a bad ass Tri kit that made me look as bad ass as I feel in my head. If you either are run only, or haven't heard of Betty Designs, they offer unique, edgy and custom kit designs for swim, cycling and triathlon, in addition to a bunch of Men's and Women's cycling, triathlon and swim apparel. I honestly thought that they only made girl stuff (which, 80% of their stuff is girl stuff read: booty shorts) but they do have a few sweet guy things as well.  Betty has designed race kits for triathlon champions and teams such as Michellie Jones, Heather Jackson, the Zoot Sports Ultra Triathlon Team and the Nytro Women's Triathlon Team. (None of which are hard on the eyes....)  They also are one of the leading companies in custom kits as well.

When I first slipped the tri kit (outfit) on, I quickly realized it was the real deal. It was light weight and fit very true to size.  It was snug enough to make sure that sweat and water wicked away but not so snug that I wouldn't be able to father any additional babies.

It had a solid half zipper to let my main hair catch some breeze and rubber grips along the bottoms of the shorts so that they don't ride up and turn into a thong.  But, most importantly, they had just enough of a padded chamois in the crotch so that I didn't feel like I was wearing a diaper but still protected my giblets.

The shirt was a bit short when I'm running so it rides up a bit. BUT, I have a pretty long torso and most tri / spandex shirts do that to me.  So, I guess this one is no exception.



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One of Betty Design's latest campaigns is "where do you wear your Betty?"  Where ever she lets me? Well, I had essentially wore mine everywhere - so I decided to capture some pictures. I've worn it running twice (no chafing, stayed cool) and have wore it biking a handful of times (Chamois is nice, but not SOO thin that it causes issues). I haven't had a chance to take it in the pool yet, but based some "trial testing" below I think it'll do just fine.

So, what do I mean about wearing mine everywhere?  The other day I was out of town so I decided to do a bit of a indoor triathlon.  A little swimming, a little biking, and a whole lot of running.  What could be better? Naked 5K.....Beer Flavored skittles...  Nothing!

First things first, you don't want to pull a muscle because they are cold.  So, I wore my Betty in the hot tub.  Not only was I feeling suave in my sweet tri kit, I was giving all of the retirement ladies the one eye.

Baby, I've got enough fashionable spandex and 3 feet of love for the both of us
Also? Always wear protection

Next up: wearing my Betty in the pool.  After getting my love muscles warm in the hot tub, the pool water was mighty cold.  So, since I was making up the indoor triathlon rules as I went, I decided that some simulated swimming would be best.  Nothing says "I'm a real man" like kicking around in some 3" water.  But, just like I've always said, 3" is just fine - you just need to know how to use it.

It can't be the shorts that make my butt look big, can it?
Flip turns can be a bitch.  Do you think a swim cap is saving your head? No. Wear protection.

After a quick dry down and slipping on my shoes, my Betty and I were off to the gym.  Unfortunately, they didn't have any spin bikes like other indoor triathlons, so I wore my Betty on some recumbent bike.  Now, most people would say that the padded shorts weren't needed on this kind of bike because of it's wide seat. Obviously, they've never had numb giblets before.

Lord knows how safe the gym equipment was, so I made sure to have protection. Safety first.

Just like NASCAR, only less mullets.  Same amount of beer.
My crotch?  Glad you asked. Not a chafe mark on it. Thank you very much tri shorts.

Finally, the run.  Honestly, even though the shorts are made for biking, I LOVE running in the Betty kit.  The top is so cool it almost feels like I don't have anything on (which is always a good thing).  I was really surprised at how little I chafed.  It seemed like the shirt and shorts were compressed right where I needed them to be to avoid hot spots.

While on the run, the kit stayed super cool (No comment at the look on my face)
Can you believe that the lady in the gym looked at me funny?  I must have had a booger in my nose

Cranking out some 6:00/miles. 
Lady and her husband were probably STILL staring at me. They must have liked the outfit

After my hard indoor triathlon, (first place, what what???) as is always often the case, I needed to head to the office and do some thinking.

Pic was totally staged, I normally have a phone & am humming the ghostbusters theme
Usually have the helmet on though

Finally, I needed to put the Betty Designs tri kit to the ultimate triathlete test.  Removing all the hair from my body.  Legs?  Yes.  Arms?  Yes. "Other"?  Don't worry, no hair there to start with.  Let's just say that the tri kit passed this test with flying, skull and butterfly colors.

How many minutes do you save in T2 if you loose 5 pounds of body hair?



Monday, June 4, 2012

Triathlete = Olympic Level Athlete? Runner = not?


M-Dot Tatoo replaced with Rings....

When I was at my first cardiologist appointment, the doctor asked me all of the normal questions that you’d expect him to ask.  Things like: do you smoke (no), do you drink (well, it’s only 11am so not today!), and why didn’t you take off your pants for the exam??..... basically all the normal stuff.  I was going through my history of WHY I came in when the following conversation occurred:

Me: So, my heart would go bonkers while I run, blah blah, symptoms, blah blah, heart explode.
Doc: So, you’re a runner then?
Me: Yeah, I run a lot more than any normal person ever should.
Doc: So are you at an Olympic level?  (He is one of the more well-known docs and sees a lot of the pro athletes around town – to be clear I do NOT put off the pro vibe.)
Me: Oh no, I’m not THAT fast, I just do it for fun. But, I am relatively competitive at the amateur level.
Doc: Ok, because if you were an Olympic athlete or a triathlete we’d want to do a complete workup to make sure that you’re cleared to perform with sponsors, etc.

Wait, what?  Since when did being a Triathlete equate Olympic level athletic ability? (I’m paraphrasing above, but that was most certainly his intent with his comment)

Now, I realize the Triathlete vs runner vs cyclist vs swimmer “who is best?” debate is one that has certainly been made before and will go on during group runs and rides for many years to come.  Frankly, I don’t have an opinion one way or the other – but I certainly don’t think being PRETTY good at 3 sports is better than being VERY good at 1 sport. When you combine 3 sports, you create an entirely NEW sport that has a different skill set than each does individually.  The way I look at it, it would sort of like arguing that someone with a massive meth problem would just be “having a lot of fun” where as someone who does some meth, cocaine on the weekends, and smokes pot when watching American Idol needs an intervention. Just one? Aww, you’re fine. But three!? Oh wow, that is serious.

I think that the thing that frustrated me most is that as a runner (primarily), in this doc’s mind I was less of an athlete than a triathlete.  Sure, I don’t log 20 hours of workouts a week, but I do log 9 on a pretty regular basis – and I run 8 miles an hour.  In this example, triathletes are fortunate enough that bike rides take time.  Someone who is logging 20 hours a week in peak IronMan training is going to be logging 10 of those on the bike, likely all or most in Heart Rate Zone 2 – nice and easy.  It all adds up.

Furthermore, I’m not even sure duration is a good measuring stick for what is better. Olympic runners don’t log the 20 hours that moderately serious amateur triathletes do.  Yes, part of that is speed, but a lot of it is the inherent time training for 112 miles on the bike takes.

That said, many people have argued that some of the best athletes in the world are decathlons. These guys/gals are sorta good at ALL sports.  Could they outrun Usain Bolt? No. But they can sure out pole-vault him and can probably get to within 0.4 seconds of his 100m time.  So, are THEY better than everyone else?  Or, just like triathlon, is that a different sport all together?

What do YOU think? I know that I have a lot of triathletes who read this blog. Disagree with me! Tell me you’re better! Tell me you’re worse!  I’d love to hear it.

I will say one thing though.... Triathletes are certainly hotter.  Damn it anyway.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Garmin 910xt Review!

I try to be a gadget guy, I really do. For example, I know that Apple released a new iPad today that has twice as many jingles and does four times as many whatcha-doodles than the old one.  The problem is that I'm also incredibly cheap.  So, what inevitably happens is that whenever I need something I get the newest and coolest that is available......and then proceed not to get anything else for 5 years.  This is exactly what happened with my running GPS.

I had the old trusty red Garmin 305. I'd link up to the mothership and beam down more data than I could ever consume. The only problem was that more and more frequently, the Garmin would lose signal.  Fine when I'm talking to someone on the phone and I drop signal, but NOT fine when I'm cranking out 800 repeats.

So, true to form, when my old Garmin started to die, I bought the $400 version that came out only 3 weeks before. The Garmin 910XT.  State of the art!

The 910XT is a triathlon watch. In fact, it's essentially an upgrade to the clunky Garmin 310XT (and the 305 before that) It not only can track every single data point imaginable while running, but it can also do the same thing while biking and while underwater. The triple threat!  It boasts a 20 hour battery life that will put you through any Ironman training session that you can imagine.  It'll track and display pace/elevation/mileage/ pedal cadence/swim stroke/laps/etc etc etc. If you can think it, it does it.  And, when you're done doing it, you can upload it online to Garmin Connect or download it to the shitty Garmin desktop software.  I prefer the shitty software:



The thing that I really liked about the 910XT, and really the reason I bought it, was that it had a big screen AND it vibrates.  I didn't want to be squinting at one of the smaller more watch sized screens when I was plodding along.  Besides, I honestly think that there is a bit of a coolness factor with wearing a watch with some "girth". Lets all other runners know that you're serious.  But, even though it still has the same size screen as my old Garmin 305, it itself is actually quite a bit smaller and thinner.  So, still big enough to see when my oxygen deprived brain

It is thinner too!


Of course, the more I thought about the features of the watch, the more I decided that I wasn't using all of them to their maximum capacity!  I'm a runner, sure, and I ride my bike, but I'm not a Triathlete.  This was a problem.  So, I did some research and found that there are a few distinct things that set Triathlete's apart.  First, they shave lots of body parts that I don't.  Now, everyone manscapes, but these guys (gals?) take it to another level.  So, I decided to dive head chest first:

Yeah, that wouldn't work


Ok, not so good.  So the other thing that Triathletes do is lots of swimming.  Since I have a pool in my back yard, I figured this would be easy! Just take a nice cool early march swim with my new Garmin buddy.

Turns out, my water was like 50 degrees.  NO THANK YOU.
So, I just threw the watch in there to show you it is water proof. See? Waterproof.


So with my Triathlon career fading fast, I figured that I needed to pair my Garmin 910xt running with at least TWO MORE activities that would justify the higher cost.  Since I wanted to be able to do some pretty quick transitions, I tried to focus on things that I did around the same time that I ran (in the morning).  What better than to shorten up my morning routine with a little Garmin measured speed work?

First, I tried eating for speed. AKA: Speeting.  Don't get me wrong, I was good at it, but I had a lot of trouble with the breathing

Cinnamon Toast Crunch in 30 seconds? Yes!


Of course, the next step would be drinking for speed. AKA: Dreeking.  Now THIS is something that the skills could be easily transferable to something worthwhile. Second sport found!

The key is to relax your throat

Next up, brushing for speed.  Honestly, this was just messy.  Messy for the Garmin, for me, actually don't try this one at home.

My gums sure did get a workout trying to get this done fast. Look at the focus on my face!


Finally....well I think the picture speaks for itself.

I found my 3rd sport!

Overall, I really like the watch.  I'm glad that I got a new one before my old one died in a race and really screwed something up important.  Honestly, if I'm missing out on some training run data, no big deal, but if I go out too fast during a race and blow up, I'd be furious.

Pros:

  • Vibration on the mile markers so I know when they are even if I have my headphones in
  • Super bright, large display
  • Features that I'm used to with my 305


Cons:

  • Freaking $400
  • I really wish that I didn't have to keep track of a charger and a USB sync device.  Couldn't they combine these?
  • Did I mention FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS?




Monday, January 31, 2011

Chrissie Wellington Brooks T7 Racer

One of my favorite sayings is Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while".  Fortunately, I was at the right place (BrooksRunning.com) at the right time (a few weeks ago when the new Chrissie Wellington Brooks T7 Racer went on pre-order).  A few days ago, I was one of the lucky 200 people to grab a pair of the limited edition shoes at the surprisingly low price of $85.  SCORE!

Now, I’m honestly not one of these guys that ohs and ahs over shoes. I don’t watch much Bravo TV, I don’t wear skinny jeans, and I don’t even know what the color mauve is (Green? Purple? Orange?).  However, I have to say that these shoes IMMIDIATELY caught my eye when I saw them showcased at Ironman Arizona.

Oh, you didn’t hear about Ironman Arizona?  That is the race that Chrissie Wellington broke the world’s record for Ironman…..Wearing the Brooks T7.  So, I can only anticipate that when I wear these shoes, world records will fall.  Anything less than that will be considered failure.

What it will look like in my head (click to see my sweet head the sweet shoes)
I finally have man boobs "pecs"!
Photo courtesy of RunnerMark - Surprisingly, his had a girls head on it.  Strange



Here is what Brooks has to say about the shoe.  I've heard everything from they were "testing the market out" for a custom shoe like this to "there are only 200 of them, so you better not run in them because they'll be worth $800 bucks some day".

In late October, 200 pairs of the Wellington limited edition will go on sale for $85 on www.brooksrunning.com, more than three months before the standard T7 Racer’s launch on February 1, 2011. For each Wellington edition T7 Racer sold, Brooks will donate $25 to the Blazeman Foundation for ALS, a charity close to Chrissie’s heart.

They fit really snug - like a condom like a racing shoe should, and are SUPER light at 6.4 oz.  For comparison, my Brooks Adrenalines are 12oz.  They are a neutral shoe with no "support", so I'll probably only use them for races shorter than 10K, with the possibility of a half marathon in the future.

The shoes have a few cool features that none of my other shoes have.  The upper seems to be one large piece and it says BROOKS along the front.  The latter I'm sure only readable by people cheering as I'll be too busy breaking world records - with everyone else behind me.

Laces curve to the outside just like me for a better fit


Since Chrissie is a Triathlete, the shoes have loops on the tongue and back post to pull 'em on quickly.  I probably won't use that, but I thought it was cool how the tabs said stuff on them.  If I were designing the shoe, I would have put something good on the loops like "go faster, loser" or "why are you reading this? shouldn't you be running?".  But I'm sure what they put on there is cool too.


"Swim Bike Run" on the Tongue Loop
Sparkles on the shoe laces


"Wellington" on the back loop. British flag and "Fight for ALS" on the back


Overall, I really like these shoes.  I toyed around with not running in these shoes and instead keeping them for memento sake. You know, they might be worth some money some day.  But, I realized that since I didn’t have Chrissie’s signature on them they are probably just worth what I paid for them.  So, unless any of my blog readers have connections, I’ll probably just use them as a sweet looking race shoe.

Has anyone else bought something full intending on NOT using it??  I’ll admit that I was 50/50 when I bought these. 

My son wasn't nearly as excited as me during my photo shoot
Don't worry Child Protective Services, he only sleeps on his stomach when we are watching him

Monday, July 26, 2010

BRICK....a slice of humble pie

Humble pie - The stuff that is made from a mix of failure, a heaping pile of butt whooping, and a a dash of talent. Mmmmmm, tastes like high school.

I'm a runner. You see those shoes busting out of the road in my title bar? They aren't those fancy clippy shoes that snap into bike pedals - and they don't have Velcro. BUT, I'd like to get into biking. You can go lots further in an hour, the wind cools you down, chicks dig guys who shave their legs, and it is a nice break from the pounding that my legs take while running. Besides, biking is fun.

So, when my super nice Ironman next door neighbor offered to take me out on his brick workout (two sports after one another - swimming/biking or biking/running) on Sunday morning - I jumped at the chance. I had originally planned to run 14 miles, but I figured that since I wasn't training for a race I could switch it up a bit.....plus I knew that this ride wasn't going to be like when I rode my bike with streamers on my handlebars and a basket on the front. This was going to hurt.

We started out pretty early to beat the heat - 6am. This was good because I had a bunch of things that I needed to do in the morning (church, poop, yard stuff, the usual). Unfortunately, because of all of those things, I wasn't able to get schwety at yoga with Jeff and Lauren. Next time. When I met up with my neighbor I wasn't sure that I was going to have a fighting chance, but fortunately he decided to ride his 20 year old all steel Trek (picture to the right - note the shifters on the bar under the crotch!!) instead of one of his 4 other much lighter/faster bikes (including a 100% carbon fiber one). Overall we biked 20 miles: 16.9 MPH (18.7 MPH w/out the stoplights). It hurt...a lot. The overall MPH seems a little slower than I remember but that is mostly due to stoplights.

I'd honestly put my level of effort at just below a tempo pace. I was working. The one thing that I learned was that drafting by getting into a big line of bikes makes it a LOT easier. I could hold a 17 mph speed for a while with a normal effort....put me right behind him and it jumped up to 19 mph - with NO additional effort. Of course, this isn't legal in most triathlons. FAIL.

Ah, but once we were done with the bike, he was on my turf! (Meaning, the ground.) We did as fast of a transition as possible and were out for 4 miles. He is normally a 8:45ish runner, so of course I pushed the pace around 8:00 for the first 2 miles. hehe :) Overall, we ended up at 8:17 pace.

I really liked going out with him. We both agreed that we pushed each other harder during our weak sports than we would have normally gone.

What do you do to cross train? Or, are you a card carrying member of the Triathlon club?


Don't forget to enter my CSN $40 gift card giveaway!! You have until Wednesday to rack up as many entries as possible.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Brick!

Sometimes you are a sheep and sometimes you are the sheppard. Up until this morning, I was neither. I was neither leading nor following the triathlon herd. However, there are few moments in life where I am able to try something new that I have never been done before that is done so frequently by others (how can paternity tests on Maury seem so wrong but be so right?!).

This morning in the hotel I did my first brick workout. (Get it, Kool-aid Man jumping through bricks?? Brick workout?? Seemed funny when I inserted the picture...ohhh yeahhh.)

I'm honestly not sure if it was an 'official' brick workout. I biked for 10 miles on the spin bike and then ran for half a mile. Does that count? I'm thinking that if chef Boyardee gets to wear the funny looking white chef hat and call that red stuff 'food' then I get to count this one as my first attempt as a brick. I had honestly planned on running 2 miles but my foot was not feeling it. So, instead of trying to pushing through the pain I bagged it. No harm, no foul. Hopefully sports med doc will give me a solid pat on the back, a that-a-boy, followed by a chest bump for my restraint.

It was, in a word - HARD. I pushed it pretty hard on the bike so my legs were already starting to burn when I hopped on the treadmill. I felt really choppy while running the first minute or two, almost like I was not able to bend my knees the way that they should be bent. However, after 1/4 of a mile or so things smoothed out just enough for me to get my stride back before my foot started to hurt.

Overall, I think that the first brick workout was a success. It passed my usual barometer: I didn't die. Success. However, it seems that meeting my 2010 goal of completing a triathlon is going to be a bit harder than I first thought.

What a week! I am finally back home in Phoenix and am hoping to get back to a normal routine very soon. Doctors appt tomorrow - fingers crossed that I get good news.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010 Race Schedule and Goals

Well, this is it: The tentative race schedule for 2010. I’m sure that I won’t do all of these races, but these are the races where I’d love to toe the (port a potty) line. Please let me know if you have any of these races on your agenda and we can certainly stalk each other in person get together!

1/17: PF Changs Rock and Roll Marathon (C Race)
2/28: RnR New Orleans Marathon (B Race)
3/??: Random half marathon?? (A Race?)
4/17: Pat Tillman 4.2 Memorial Run (C Race)
6/6: RnR San Diego Marathon (A Race)
6/26: RnR Seattle Marathon (C Race)
7/??: Arizona Road Racers 5K (A Race)
8-9??/?? Sprint triathlon!!
11/??: RnR San Antonio Marathon (A Race)
11/??: Mi Amigo Turkey Trot (C Race) – This one will be based on where I am for Thanksgiving
12/??: RnR Vegas Marathon (B Race)

A Races I’ll be racing for a PR
B Races I’ll be running 20-30 seconds slower than my PR pace
C Races I’ll be treating as long training runs / fun runs

2010 Goals:

  • DON’T GET HURT
  • Sub 3:20 marathon (I believe they call these "big fat hairy audacious" goals)
  • Race any half marathon
  • Sub 19:00 5K (Another bigger fatter goal - probably harder than the 3:20)
  • Run a timed and accurately measured mile (Sanctioned race preferably)
  • Complete a sprint triathlon!!!

Up until this point, I’ve only held to a select few of my non running fitness goals (yeah, no one got postcards like I said I would send). I haven’t been lifting weights or doing core work but I have been stretching like a Russian gymnast. So, I’m going to work to do weights AND core 3x per week. If I am going to hit my 5K goal, core strength is going to be key.

Yes, you read that last one right. I’d love to compete in a sprint triathlon at some point this year. It will likely need to be late in the year, so I have a lot of time to answer all of the questions that I have AND get good at swimming. I doubt that I will be able to cannonball my way through the swim portion of the race!

Monday, November 23, 2009

IM Arizona: Spectator Report


“Wow.”

I think that I said that 5 or 10 times while my wife and I were watching all of the athletes race Ironman Arizona. “Wow” followed by some random triathlon fact. Or, even better, a random math calculation. “You know dear, the people who are still on the bike right now (3pm) will probably not get done until 9pm."

As promised, I spent most of Sunday in sunny Tempe, AZ (try to find a cloud in one of my pictures! It is like Wheres Waldo) watching the Ironman Arizona triathlon. It was not only the first triathlon that I've seen, but also the first time that I've gone to a race without going to specifically watch someone. I've volunteered, but never just went to hang out. That said, it was a BLAST. Here are a few of the highlights.

Speaking of volunteers, IM AZ had a TON of them. I believe that I heard somewhere around 3,000. For example, here is a guy whose sole job was to tell people when to turn around and do another loop or when to go to transition. His shirt was very descriptive: Pointer.

Since this was a loop race, it was hard to tell who was "winning". Moreover, I had a hard time telling if someone was doing well and looking like they should after 90 miles on the bike, or if they had only gone 30 miles on the bike and were having a very VERY bad day. Mostly I just judged people by the cover and assumed that if they had a teardrop alien shaped helmet, they were probably doing really well. Obviously, this guy is smoking fast.

IMAZ had lead motorcycles for the lead man / woman, and lead mountain bikes for men/women 2-5, but it was still very hard to follow. Here I am making my Ironman TV debut. Oh, I guess the leader, Jordan Rapp, (guy in the red tri-suit) was in there too.

The most amazing part was transition. It was quite a scene. One minute it was empty and quiet, the next, controlled chaos. The scene in pictures (click to make larger):

Leader coming into transition, shoes off

Bags, lots and lots of bags

Mostly empty bike racks

Mostly full bike racks!

Changing area for T2. Note that I didn't get near the womens change entrance. You're welcome.

Running shortly after transition


Watching transition made me so tired and hungry that I decided that I needed to do some carbo loading. Frozen yogurt. Glorious.


My wife and I cheered for all of the triatheletes, but since the day was getting a bit long we decided to go check out the leaders. We weren't there in time to see the winner Jordan Rapp cross the finish line, but we did get to see him in come into transition (see above). We did however get to see the female winner, Samantha McGlone, cross the finish line and set a new course record!

Overall the day was a blast. While I don't want to sign up for an Ironman right now, I could see myself wanting to do it in the future. Maybe during a mid life crisis. I'll drive there in my mid life crisis convertible!

In closing, to all of the Ironmen who may stumble across this post. A few questions from a guy who mostly runs:
  • Which part is the hardest? Of the bikers and runners that I saw, it seemed like the runners were the ones who were grimacing the most.
  • How much do those alien shaped helmets REALLY help? I would think that the discomfort of having all of that heat trapped in your head would offset any sort of air advantage.
  • HOW do you become "pro". There was an age group guy who came in 4th or 5th overall. So, I guess they aren't the fastest all of the time, right?
  • How often do you get flat tires? It seems like that was a major worry for everyone. (I guess there is a rule about having someone else carry your bike to the aid station? I felt bad for this lady.)