Thursday, November 20, 2014

Blue Shoes

The back of my Land Rover looks like a mobile running store. I have three canvas bins that have run gear, tri gear, and an overflowing supply of running shoes. I can almost always piece together a complete ensemble to go out for an impromptu run and always have additional layers for colder weather. For the second time since my accident in July, I was going to attempt some speed work inside. Don't be a treadmill hater--the temps were crazy low, and I'm not about to take a spill on the ice with a set of ribs not quite healed. Nevertheless, I got to the gym with a set of clothes I'd packed in my gym bag along with come Generation UCAN to fuel my run. All set, or so I thought.

At the gym, I started to change into my run gear, and realize I had no run shoes in my bag. I have forgot run socks before and improvised with black dress socks, but you can't substitute run shoes. In this case, it's a good thing I have a mobile running store out in the parking lot. I head outside and sort through what shoe matches the workout I was thinking of. I have at least a dozen pairs of running shoes; some with worn tread, some for long distance, some for speed, and some race flats. My most everyday "go to" pair of shoes lately are the Adidas Energy Boost shoes--I love them, but both pairs were at home. I pull out a pair of Adidas Adios Energy Boost shoes--built for speed.

As I start putting the shoes on inside the symbolism hits me. The last time I pulled these out of my bag was for a race, but they never made it on my feet. They were lined up on my towel in the transition area of the Rocky Mountain State Games. Yes, that race where I made it out of the water, onto the bike, and crashed so hard it sent me to the hospital. The only other time I'd worn them in a race was earlier that month at a 4th of July 5k. That was a much better day as I came in second in my age group.

Perhaps with a mixed set of emotions, I strapped them on for my speed work. This week was four months from the crash and I've only really been running for the last few weeks. Baby steps. After a two mile warm-up, I decided on Yasso intervals. In later stages of normal training, I would do eight to ten 1/2 mile Yasso intervals. Today, I was thinking 4-5 and mustered only four. While the time on my feet running has progressed and my heart rate has stabilized a bit on running in a 9:12 per minute pace, running fast is just not there. Interval paces wound up being; 6:30, 6:15, 6:30, and 6:15. I probably could pushed a bit faster or tried another 1/2 mile, but my conditioning is just not there yet. Four months earlier, I could do several of these and was pushing myself well below a 6:00 per mile pace. At times, I was critical of my performance on this day and frustrated that I was so winded. Then I remembered that the crash collapsed one of those lungs, and I spent eleven days in the hospital.

"DON'T BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF,!," I mentally muttered to myself.

The ribs are not entirely healed and a dull pain still radiates along my right rib cage up to my right shoulder which was separated. The good news is that I have been diligent with my physical therapy at Steadman Hawkins. I still go there once a week, and have daily exercises I perform religiously. My P.T, John, has me now doing six different band exercises and planks. When I first went in, my right scapula "floated" around my back. This last Monday, he told me he was impressed with my progress and added in some plyometrics catching a weight ball and flinging it back. I cringed when he told me what we were going to do, but my shoulder was able to handle it. Progress!

Anyhow, next week is Thanksgiving, and I've got mixed emotions about my normal ritual of racing in the local 5K. Race is probably the wrong word to use. We shall see if my stubborn competitive self can strap on the blue shoes and try and "run" the 5k versus "racing it."

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Like a Glove: Eddie Bauer Run Gear Review

Everyone owns a little bit of Eddie Bauer. A shirt, winter jacket, or a pair of gloves in the hall closet. For me, there's a duffle bag that's been all over the world and a pair of gloves that are guaranteed for warmth. Eddie Bauer is known for quality and durability, but they've never been a place I'd shop for my run gear...until now.

Eddie Bauer is now marketing their First Ascent line for running.  Many of the qualities I would expect are found in three products I recently tested. Being based in Colorado and entering the cold part of the season, there are many long runs ahead as I start training in December for my fifth Boston Marathon in April. I have a love-hate relationship with the elements. A light rain is nice on a warm day, but a downpour in a race is not fun. Light snowfall can be a religious experience, but sub-zero temperatures combined with wind will tempt your faith.

I tried out three products in the Eddie Bauer line. A 1/4-zip pullover shirt, Hangfire Pro Hooded Jacket, and Men's Touchscreen FluxPro Gloves.

Pullover Shirt

The Ascent 1/4-zip pullover shirt as they say, "fits like a glove." I normally wear a large-sized shirt in a dress shirt, but when I'm running, I don't like a fit too tight, or too "blousy" either. Too tight combined with the wrong seam can literally rub you the wrong way over a twenty mile training run
1/4-zip pullover shirt
or race. No pun intended, this has an "athletic fit" and was extremely comfortable. Eddie Bauer states, "Next-to-skin crew features exclusive FreeHeat™ Pro polyester/spandex. The cutting-edge fabric actively generates additional heat when worn against the skin by harnessing kinetic ultraviolet energy." Silky smooth, this is one comfortable long-sleeve shirt that will get a lot of miles this winter.

Additionally, the shirt features

MODIFIED RAGLAN SLEEVES. Excellent range of motion
STRATEGICALLY PLACED SEAMS. Prevent chafing when layering or running long

And two of my favorite features in a winter long-sleeve shirt; thumb holes and a mock-turtleneck zipper to keep the neck warm.

Hangfire Pro Hooded Jacket

I wrote a post awhile back called the "Sore Nipple Calculator." In that post, I summarized what type of clothing I'd need based on the weather forecast for the run. I have gone "long" in Colorado in blinding snow and single digit temperatures. When it gets that cold, you need a good shell jacket.
Hangfire jacket, 2014 Boston Marathon Cap, Fluxpro gloves, Adidas Energy Boost, and Oakley Sunglasses.

The Hangfire jacket sports many of the same features as the 1/4-zip pullover; soft, breathable fabric with extra attention to detail on seams, a drawstring hood that works, thumb holes, and an iPod eyelet inside the chest pocket. Additionally, the jacket boasts;

Ultralight Flexion four-way stretch performance shell of nylon/spandex/polyester offers superior flexibility and breathability, and is wind- and water-resistant. StormRepel® durable water-repellent (DWR) finish beads water so it doesn't soak into the fabric. Streamlined design eliminates bulk while allowing full range of motion.

Depending on the weather, I will opt for race hat, light wool cap, or heavy wool for my head. When weather turns during a run, it's nice to have a jacket with the hood to add a few more degrees of warmth, or to protect the head when precipitation starts to fall.

Men's Touchscreen FluxPro Gloves

Back to my point of the "Sore Nipple Calculator," I currently have various weights of gloves I use depending on how cold it is outside. The Eddie Bauer Men's Touchscreen FluxPro Gloves are crazy comfortable and feature a fully-conductive palm fabric that has a grip you would expect on a pair of NFL receiver gloves. Taking the above picture in Roxborough State Park in Denver, the snow was falling lightly and temperatures dipped to 14 degrees. The touchscreen gloves actually worked when navigating my phone to capture the pictures--many gloves boast this claim, but these worked with the phone without having to remove them.

As I write this post, the trees outside my window have turned crimson red and and golden and have started to Fall. Temperatures are in the teens and expected to go lower. The mornings are getting cold, but I've got a few more tricks in my bag to keep me warm on my way to the Boston Marathon.

Note: The products above were provided for review. There's no compensation for this post other than the words above. As always, I will tell you whether I like the product or not. In this case, very impressed. If you doubt this disclaimer, you clearly didn't read my review of Nike's latest Gyakusou.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Three Things Thursday

I'm starting to feel like a broken record. Slow going on the recovery, but depends on whether you view the glass as half full or half empty. A few thoughts on a gorgeous autumn day in Colorado.


I've now had a few runs in my rehabilitation since my accident in July. I have yet to really open up the carburetor...until this week. When I'm in training, which is most of the year, I spend 1-2 days a week with an aggressive run with Tuesday or Wednesday as a speed day. Perhaps a bit too early, but I tried a few intervals indoors this week with my typical routine; warm-up two miles, strides and drills, intervals, and a cooldown. I wound up with two 800's, 400, and a 300 ranging in pace from 6:15-6:30 minute per mile pace. While those numbers may sound encouraging, I left the gym a bit discouraged knowing that pre-accident, I was running 800's comfortably at a 5:30 or faster pace. My lungs just aren't there yet.  Some big video of the strides in the gym.

Good Mail Week

A boost to my running mojo this week did come in the mail with my Confirmation of Acceptance
into the 2015 Boston Marathon. Oh happy day, and oh panic day. This means I have another month to build some level of conditioning to formally start my typical 16 week program sometime mid-December. #gulp

Question of the Week

This was a good one from a reader who asked me, I haven't trained for my upcoming marathon, and the furthest I've run is 13 miles, I need some "professional advice." My answer was you made two mistakes, not training, and using me and professional advice in the same sentence. I am not a coach nor do I claim to be (but I do play one on T.V.)

After giving it some thought, I DM'd my email and plan to talk by phone. My thoughts are;

1) This is not recommended.
2) How much did you pay? Can you defer (probably the best answer.)
3) When was the last time you ran 20 miles? (I think I know the answer.)

Regardless of the answers, you certainly can't "RACE" this marathon or have any speedy goals. Having said that, we have all seen marathon runners who come in at the five hour mark or slower. Some I've seen don't look like they've trained at all yet finished. I think it is possible if you slow it WAAAY down close to a walk. Take a bunch of pictures along the way, and insert plenty of walk breaks.

How would you answer the question?

About Me

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Average guy w/ an above average appetite for marathon racing and triathlons. Ran my 5th Boston in '15. 3:21, 1:29, 19:21 PR;full/half/5K Opinions & wit are mine