Sunday, January 31, 2010

It's on like Donkey Kong!

Yesterday was my long tempo run, 8 miles at 7:05, first and last are a warm up and cool down. My mind wasn’t in it, in fact I had said on Twitter…

Tweetbitchin So after some procrastination I just got changed and got on with it. I knew within a quarter mile it was going to be good run. The route takes me around my local neighborhood; there are some short steepish hills both up and down and some longer sweeping ones too, as well as some traffic lights that I have to stop at and where I pause my Garmin. The miles were just clicking by and when I hit the end of mile 4 in 28:06 I knew it was going well and I decided to keep the pressure on I clocked through the 10k distance and hit the lap counter, this would completely throw me off at mile 7 but I wanted to see where I was at for the 10k. I finished the 7 miles in 50:03 and then added the eighth mile in 6:56 for a total of 8.21 in 56:59 just under three minutes faster than my run on Thursday which was over a quarter mile less.

SundaytempoMy 10k came in at 42:48, needless to say I am happy, ecstatic, cartwheeling around the lounge, that’s 5:05 minutes off my PR…as for next Sunday, oh yeah it is, as they say, on like Donkey Kong!

Friday, January 29, 2010

A week in review…or a week of reviews!

Phew, wow what a week, sorry for all the reviewing, I got a bit behind and the only way to get through it was to shotgun it out. Still it’s all good stuff so if you have a minute check out. Anyway well normal service will now be resumed, I have a couple of thing left in my review box but I’ll be putting those out over the next couple of weeks.

So it’s Friday, how was your week? Get some good runs in? I hope so. Mine went pretty well. Monday I had beach path intervals, 2 mile warm up, 5 x 1200 @6:05 mile pace 1 mile cool down, I had heavy legs and the closest I got was around 6:29, I was surprised given that I had had Sunday off? It was inevitable my running has been on the up and up and sometimes you just need that body check to keep you in place. Tuesday I hit the pool, 1000 meters in 40 minutes and that was that, I need to work on my swimming endurance and style probably but I am book marking that for now. Wednesday late night in the office…enough said!

Thursday I was back on my faux track, the beach path, I had an 8 mile short tempo scheduled, 1 mile warm up, 6 mile at 7:05 pace and 1 mile cool down, Conditions were perfect and with little breeze the temp was around 65, the sun was out but there was high cloud, I really nearly almost so close I can touch it nailed my splits;

Thursday tempo

I finished the 8 mile run in 59:53, that’s a first for me a best I can remember 8 miles in under an hour, so I was really happy. I also got this awesome sunset as a finishing bonus. Interestingly, or should I say frighteningly to hit a sub 3:00 marathon my splits, each and every one of them. need to be at 6:51!


Tonight I hit the gym, Friday night…it’s gotta be one of the quietest nights of the week, nothing major a good legs work out and plenty or stretching.

Tomorrow I have another 8 miles scheduled, long tempo this time which means a slightly slower pace and that ends Week 10. My Spring ‘A’ race is next week, the Redondo Beach 10k, I upped from the 5k to the 10k, for two reasons (1) I don’t think I have it in me to hit a sub 20:00 5k and (2) this race is actually the race where I set my 10k PR three years ago, my 10k PR is probably the worst one on my running resume so, while not making any predictions, let’s say I am looking to improve by some and a bit!

That will end this training cycle, depending on next week I think it’s been pretty successful in bringing some pep to my pace, I’ll be doing an analysis, of course, after the event. The next ‘A’ race will be the Rock ‘N’ Roll in June…there are a few things coming down the pike which might put this under some real pressure including a job change (for the good) the impact of which is hard to measure at this stage…we’ll see?!?

Roubaix shower cube The Sufferfest draw was held this evening, the answers were Walter, see this post and Shower Cubicles see the pic to the right from Wikipedia, the winners were: Wes and Kevin, email me at quadrathon at gmail dot com and I’ll send you the code, good luck and remember to post a review once you’ve stopped shaking!

And that kinda wraps that up. I have some more Giveaways coming up in the next week so stay tuned, especially if you have cold feet, sore knees and/or live in or near Nashville or Tennessee…all will be revealed!

Have a great weekend and those of you in the 20/20 challenge don’t forget to send me you weigh in numbers.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Review; Moji Knee

mymoji We all have sore bits, and we’ve all sat in the evening with a bag of frozen peas on sore bits, it’s ok you can admit it, you’re among friends.

If you’re lucky somewhere along the line you’ve picked up a flexible ice pack that you’ve strapped on by way of a tea towel and if you’ve been really lucky you may have one with some rough fabric and an inch of Velcro at one end!

Well as Dylan once said the times they are a changing, well they are at least for your knees…say hello your new best friend, the Moji!

From their website:

…“Moji products apply 21st century technology and materials to create innovation in the icing category. A host of published research supports icing (aka "cold compression therapy") as one of the simplest, most-effective, and critical measures toward post-workout recovery, injury prevention, and rehabilitation”…

So here’s the lay person’s review. The Moji comes as a two piece kit; the cold cell unit and the Compression Wrap, they’re presented in a simple plastic envelope which allows you to store the cold cell in the freezer without issue (issue = leaking stuff i.e. ice cream!) you can tuck the Wrap in your sports drawer. Let’s review each piece individually;

coldcell The cold cell is designed as a circular, jointed unit that allows it to mold itself to your knee, each cell contains proprietary gel which is designed to retain its temperature for at least 20 minutes post freezer and not freeze solid and in fact it doesn’t even become that stiff.

One one side it’s covered in a soft fabric which is gentle on your skin and has the ability to remove any moisture. The flexibility actually allows you to envelope your knee and actually target the whole area with, well, cold!

The back side has the soft loop end of Velcro which attaches to the wrap.

wrap The Wrap is made predominantly from PolarTec fabric, it’s an X shape with a wicking knee panel and has four straps that wrap around, in fact they act as compression, did I mention this week that I like compression…I think I did once of twice, to your knee to add additional support. Silicon stretch tabs with velcro ensure that the Moji stays on, so you can walk around with the risk of it slipping down. In fact you can jump about with it on while chasing two kids around…been there done that!

Its a bit bulky but ladies with a long skirt or men or women with loose pant could easily wear it underneath without issue…or just wear shorts and to hell with the funny looks, when you're 40+ like me who cares!

The Cold Cell attaches to the Wrap by way of several Velcro “stripes” and these effectively hold it in place within the wrap; it’s very simple and very effective.

Moji’s website provides lots of info in their Interactive Library, articles not only on icing but also, ironically on warming up, there’s a blog, videos and of course a shop where you can order on line. Currently the Moji is available as a knee wrap and a back wrap, a leg wrap and shoulder wrap are scheduled for release this year. There are several retail outlets scattered across the US and one in Canada. The knee wrap is priced at $89, the back wrap is $129 and there are several accessories as well. Clearly this is not a cheap purchase but it if you are prone to sore knees (or back) this could very well be an investment for you.

I suppose the question I should ask is would I have bought it, well, the answer is probably not, (although I am such a gear junkie that just maybe I would have?) but this is based the fact that my knees, while occasionally sore are not as much as a major issue for me as they are for some. If you are someone who has or is having problems then this really could be a sound and solid investment.

This product was provided free of charge by Moji. See previous gear reviews in the sidebar on the right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Review; Sugoi Piston 200 Compression Tights

Piston200 I am not going to espouse on the benefits of compression, you can read all about it here, the one thing from Sugoi’s website that I will quote is…“targeted muscle groups are isolated and fully encapsulated, resulting in muscle vibration reduction. The muscle group is stabilized by the garments, resulting in less immediate fatigue and reduced chance of injury” this review will be basically focus on form, fit, function, and that’s enough of the alliteration!

In terms of form, these are a well constructed pair of tights. The construction has flat seams to avoid creating those ever so welcome chaffed bits with contrasting white stitching and comprise 8 panels which are designed to sculpt to your body. I should point out that I am only talking about the men’s versions here and assume this is the same for the female version. There is a discreet logo on the thigh and some reflective bits on the back on the thighs (illuminated in the photo). Sugoi’s compression fabric has, according to the website the lowest weight per square inch.

Fitwise, I opted for Medium in size and they are certainly a snug fit; kinda the point of compression clothing! While I don’t have huge feet (size 11) getting them through the foot opening takes a bit of a wiggle, something to consider if you’re feet are larger than this or than usual. I have discovered through trial and error that rolling them on seems to give you the best fit rather than pulling them up, which simply stretches them and then they ride down as you run…can you say saggy crotch!

Additionally, and again this may be body specific to me, that the depth from crotch to waist is not huge, I prefer things to go around my waist and not my hips. Rolling them on overcomes this to a degree as does using the tie cord in the waist band. Also tucked in the waist band is a teeny tiny key pocket, very old school but effective enough. From personal choice I prefer not to go commando and to that end I use a pair of Transitives from Asics without issue.

Function; as mentioned they are certainly supportive enough, the compression is very effective, so much so that I opt out of wrapping my knee in KTTape when I wear them. The fabric is not the thickest and while they add some warmth and are warmer than shorts alone they may not be thick enough to be used in full out winter mode, remember SoCal doesn’t really have winter and the coldest I have worn them down to is probably mid 30F’s Sugoi actually offer specific thermal tights for this purpose for those of you in the colder climates.

So in summary these are a great all round pair of compression tights, my only real criticism is the shortness of the crotch to waist issue. But don’t take my word for it, they were recently (Dec 2009) awarded by 220 Triathlon, a triathlon magazine from the UK, the "Editor's Choice Award". Available through Sugoi’s own website or through multiple distributors on the web these retail for $90.00 although I did find them on sale for $61.99 here, get ‘em quick.

Sugoi are pretty social media savvy, here is their You Tube video on their compression clothing lineup;


These tights were purchased at a discounted rate available though Sugoi to their Brand Champions, applications are still being taken here. See previous gear reviews in the sidebar on the right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Review; The Sufferfest Downward Spiral

sufferfest image I picked up the Downward Spiral last December, and have been using it as a cross training session most weeks, I had a period of sunny days when I was on the road riding hills but this pretty much has been kicking my ass since then. I guess the clue really is the catchphrase:

“I will beat my ass today to kick yours tomorrow”

So what is the Downward Spiral, well other than a trip through Dante’s 9 levels of hell, although you only actually get to reach level 9, then 10, then 11 in the second half! But I digress. It is a one hour structured ride using race footage and point of view (think helmet cam) from two UCI spring classics Paris-Roubaix and Fleche-Wallone interspersed with some downhill mountain biking from the Slovenian National Team complete with some massive air, a pleasant bimble through the Oregon woods; you can almost smell the pine. Some crazy crit racing from Melbourne, Australia and super cool cooldown with footage from Gorilla Bikes in Zurich, Switzerland. Everything comes complete with a kick ass soundtrack and shall we say some “motivational” verbiage along the way! The structure of hour is as follows

Approx 10mins warm-up featuring two 30 second jumps.

2:00 min interval / 2:00 recovery

1:45 min interval / 1:45 recovery

1:30 min interval / 1:30 recovery

1:15 min interval / 1:15 recovery

1:00 min interval / 1:00 recovery

0:45 sec interval / 0:45 recovery

0:30 sec interval / 0:30 recovery

0:15 sec interval

5:00 recovery

Repeat interval set

4:00 warm-down

Simple right! Oh yeah!

Well in the spirit of a picture is worth a 1000 words consider yourself off the hook! Here’s my SportTracks output from my last ride.

Sufferfest 1_15_10

Now bear in mind I ride a 5-6 year (average at best) old Raleigh on a 4 year old trainer. Need I say more; actually I think I smelt burning during that last set of intervals! Of course you don’t need to turn your lungs inside out riding and you can mix it up and just enjoy the footage and even turn the volume down on your pc and listen to something else, play with it, enjoy it, tame it!

Finally the best thing about this is the price, $9.49, that’s it. It’s a download so you get instant gratification after typing in your digits, there is a class version for $15.49; personally I like to keep my suffering private! It’s optimized for viewing on a pc screen or iPod/iTouch so the download is fairly quick, I’ve watched without issue on 17” MacBook but it works on Windows also. There’s quite a movement sweeping behind the Sufferfest with a website which has a blog and pictures of riders “torture chambers” posted, there is a Facebook page and they’re on Twitter. Brett from Zen and the Art of Triathlon interviews the creator, you can listen to that interview here.

Finally if you need convincing just look at the trailer…

Now if you have made it to the bitter end of this review well done, here’s your chance of a reward. I have two copies of The Downward Spiral to give away. Here is all you have to do. Post answers the following two questions in the comments section. You have till Friday 5pm PST, all the correct answers will be put into a hat and then on Saturday I’ll draw two winners! Enter if you dare!

Question 1 What is the name (name not model) of my road bike, I mention it in my blog…somewhere!?

Question 2 What has a plaque mounted on it to commemorate the winner of the Paris – Roubaix?

I’ll be reviewing the second video Fight Club next month…I am just working up the courage!

This product was purchased. See previous gear reviews in the sidebar on the right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at

Monday, January 25, 2010

Review; VitalSox Recovery & Running Socks

runners After my reviews of compression socks last year I am a complete convert to the performance benefits both during and post exercise Joe Friel is heading the same way, you can read his views here. I was contacted by Vital Sox at the tail end of last year and earlier this month I received two pairs of socks from them; VitalSox Compression Socks for running and recovery and VitalSox Ped Lightweight for running.

Based on the patented technology of The Recovery Sock; which redirects the blood from your lower limbs towards your heart in a quicker fashion than would normally happen, from The Recovery Sock website; “…these garments will help to avoid venous stasis (blood pooling in the legs) and swelling. Compression is particularly helpful in depended areas of the body, such as the feet and lower legs where gravity has a greater effect on blood return. Improved blood flow after a workout results in enhanced nutrient delivery and removal of waste products to and from muscles. This creates a situation optimal for muscle repair, reduced stiffness and heaviness in the legs and possibly less soreness…”

The one criticism I had was the lack of padding that would allow me to run in them, for preference I prefer my socks to have some cushioning. Vital Sox have addressed this with the inclusion of Absorber Extreme Cushioning System, (AB-X) this is a designed to provide “long lasting and constant shock absorption”. The question is does it work?

Having run in both the styles I have to say yes it does. Let me break things down; both socks have a series of pads built into the sole and heel area, specifically at the points of impact, at face value it is minimal but it is very effective in providing cushioning. The toe is seamless to minimize any possibility for hot spots or blisters. There is a tight band that runs around the arch and over the upper foot to add some support to your arch as you run; this support is designed to minimize foot fatigue. There is a smooth seam on the heel and this is where they depart in design. The shorter pair end as a “no show”, a little shoe or an ankle sock, my preference is for the latter two types and my sample pair were ankle height. These had a solid ribbed body ending in a rolled top which was logo’d for those of you that care and a not too tight opening.

compression The full height compression socks, has the similar ribbing and then ended below my knee. Fitwise these easily reached all the way up my calf to below my knee. I had the size large and my calf measures 18' from ankle to below the knee, they could have gone a little higher maybe another inch or two if you have long calves or are taller than me (I am 6’1”). I wore the compression socks several times overnight and they retained their tension very well and also for a whole day post run as well with similar results. Since reviewing ProWash last year I use this pretty much exclusively to wash my sports clothes, Amazon has a great reoccurring deal on it, (see side bar or click here) and then leave them to air dry, they retain and return to their shape very well from this. Finally both socks contain Silver Dry Stat and Micro Supreme which contribute to there wicking, warming and cooling properties; FYI Dry Stat is also used in Salomon clothing that I own and is very effective.

VitalSox also offer cycling, court sports (tennis, squash etc) and multipurpose versions (hiking, basketball etc) which I assume are equally effective.

Overall while I am not running monster miles at this moment I have been very impressed with both the compression sock and the running sock, so much so that I have just ordered some more pairs of the Runners, afterall; man cannot live by samples alone!

Available through various distributors I found the Compression Socks through for $31.99 and the Runners available from for $8.95; the latter of which is where I ordered mine from.

These products were provided free of charge by VitalSox. See previous gear reviews in the sidebar on the right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at

This is going to be a bit of a review week so hang in there, normal service will resume shortly!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

20/20 Challenge Week 1


Well the votes, are in, well they are not votes but you know what I mean! It seems the weather, travel and a some status quo have all taken their toll.

It’s ok we have another 10 weeks to go and this is early days. All things being equal not a bad week for the first one and especially as I seem to have won…er not quite the point here folks! Still all is not lost as this means I get to claim the $20 RRS Gift Certificate from, well, me! So that was easy and painless, next week someone will need to put their hand in their pocket, you can follow who has here.

I got a couple of emails asking how this exactly will work, so think of it like a pool and each week the winner claims from it; RRS allows you to send a Gift Certificate to someone else, so starting next week the winner will claim from the pool proper, no more claiming your own!

MacncheatOk moving on. Today I posted on Twitter that I was making Mac-n-Cheat and someone asked for the recipe. so here you go. it’s a dead easy recipe, and is way healthier than your typical Mac –n-Cheese. You will need:

6-8 medium to large carrots, box of pasta, half block of good cheese, I prefer cheddar, the quality of the cheese offsets the lack of quantity. Ratio the carrots to cheese at 2:1.

Boil the carrots until they are soft enough to puree and them, well, puree them. Using the same water boil up the pasta, drain and then mix in the puree and the cheese and voila. Significantly less calories then your typical version and for fellow parents it’s an easy way to get one portion of veggies inside picky kids, and if I say so myself it’s really tasty too!

Here starts Week 2, let’s get it on, off!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday roundup…

Well we’ve been having a bit of rain round here lately, on and off all week, mostly on. It’s not a bad thing per se other than the lack of drainage and the flooding and the mudslides, but other than that it’s all good. That’s why the invented the treadmill.

With Monday being a split holiday in our household; I was off my wife not, I headed off to Santa Barbara Zoo with the kids to run laps around the flamingos and them.

Tuesday night was scheduled intervals, so off to the gym I headed I fully expected to be limited in time but I managed to get my whole session completed in one go 2 mile warm up, 4 x 1200m 400 rest, 1 mile cool down.

Tuesday IntervalsWednesday I should have hit the pool but I didn’t get out of work till 9:00pm and would not be at home for an hour and I had to be back at work for 6:00am the next morning so I just bagged it.

Thursday it was still raining hard so I was back at the gym, it was a short 5 mile tempo run; 1 mile warm up. 3 miles at 6:35 pace and 1 mile cool down.   I was really feeling on top of my game despite not having that much sleep and just let if flow on the treadmill.

Thursday tempo I managed to pull off negative splits through the tempo 3 miles and was pleasantly surprised ecstatic with my mile splits, I was actually faster than the prescribed pace and hit a new unofficial PR (previously at 6:15) , yeah it’s on a treadmill, but, well, we’ll see in a couple of weeks.

Thursday splitsTonight I did hit the pool for a 1000m and then polished it off with some weight training on the legs and a spell in the whirlpool! Remaining this week is a long tempo run of 10 miles scheduled for tomorrow, fingers crossed the rain holds off!I have been a bit hit and miss on my Sit up/Push up/Squats challenge  but I am slowly improving, not surprisingly pushups are the hardest!

Sage I picked up this recommendation from Mike over at the DDRTP and placed an Amazon order. During the week this arrived, it’s a spiral bound edition, I have only really flicked through it so far but I want/need to improve my flexibility, typically I do stretch after each run but with the work on my core etc I need to add this in to avoid being overwound, what I do like about the book is that you can make the sessions asIMG_4429 long or short as you like, it’s broken down into body areas and there is a section that is divided into focusing on power, strength, flexibility and mental focus. Also in the mail this week was my Brand Champion road racing kit that I ordered from Sugoi including the limited to BCs edition only singlet and arm warmers and a pair of their 42k shorts, so now I am can at least look the part, still there is a lot of value in visualization and the self confidence from simply adopting the attitude of “what would a xxx (insert specialist) do and work it out from there, trust me I have used this and it really works, even in non sports scenarios; think interviews or presentations and the like, the brain is a seriously powerful tool!

This weekend sees the first weigh in for the 20/20 challenge; remember you need to have your number emailed to me by Sunday night, there are 10 players so that’s $200 up for grabs! I’ve been pretty mindful all week and already feel some impact…let the games begin.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Review; Men’s Health Ultimate Smoothie Selector

This may be the cheapest product that I will ever review but even so it is also quite possibly the tastiest! I should caveat that unless you are an iPhone owner or an iTouch user (I am the latter) you can probably skip the whole thing and look out for next post.

So I was cruising through the iTunes app store and I came across the Men’s Health Ultimate Smoothie Selector; so what’s not to like – I am a man; check, I am interested in my health; check, Ultimate; I think I missed this for Ultramate, check, Smoothie; yummy, check, Selector; check. Price 99c, err ok!

Having played with it for a few weeks now I have to say that it certainly lives up to its name. The main functions provide you a menu of over 100 smoothies that address; Breakfast, Dessert, Health Booster, Meal Replacement, Pre Workout and Post Workout. I am assuming that this is a growing database as when I am offline my iTouch attempts to connect to the internet and complains when it can’t. You can search and sort Alphabetically, by Rating (you add the rating) by Date consumed or by Goal; which are the categories listed above. You can create and save your own recipes. There is a section with 25 tips on how to make them; how to avoid too much liquids, what ingredients do what i.e. peanut butter for protein, blueberries for antioxidants etc.

Also included for each recipe is the caloric info and the breakdown of protein, carbs, fat, sodium and fiber, important stuff if you watching these things!

So the proof is of course in the blender! Well I’ll spare you all the lip smacking suffice to say, with the exception of avoiding the ones I know will be a miss; green tea and coffee based, everything is a hit so far.

As mentioned it only costs 99c so if you're all “i”d up give it a go, if you thinking about buying a new phone or changing carrier…well that’s a whole different conversation altogether!

This product was purchased. See previous gear reviews in the sidebar on the right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at

PS I omitted to add that while not so taken with drinking POM "neat" as it were, it goes really well in the blender, you can read my
POM review here.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Legs Akimbo; running and knee alignment

A little video taken after a session on my bike trainer last Friday. I glanced down and I noticed how visible the kneecap tracking to the side was, this is an ongoing issue I have, you can read my all about my 2007 ITB issues here , genetics and all that, and running only exacerbates the problem.

As I explain, running tightens your hamstrings, this can pull your knee cap off alignment and is often the cause for ITB issues and runners knee.  This is why I add cycling into my training programs.

Sorry for the darkness of the video but I think you’ll get the idea.

Friday, January 15, 2010

This ‘n’ that…

It’s late so here’s a general round up of the week:

Took Monday off after last Sunday’s race.

Nailed my Intervals on Tuesday 6 x 800m all within my 6:25 - 6:47, I am still short of my target pace but I am getting there, slowly but surely

Wednesday; I hit the pool, pushed for time as there was a lesson waiting, it was drills, legs, float, fins on, fins off, up down, up down, 1000m done! Not far by tri training standards but hey!

Thursday; met up with Billy (LARunr) for a great mixed tempo run on the beach path, 8 miles, again short of target pace of 6:35 by about 20 seconds, but again I am getting there.

Tonight; Sufferfest time! An hour on the trainer having my butt kicked on the Downward Spiral…it’s brutal and that’s all I have to say, I’ll be posting a review next week and have two copies to giveaway in a competition; enter at your own risk!

In other news, I am having issues with my Kayano 16s, not long after I got them I developed a pain in my heel, not while running but the next morning or after being in chair for a while when I started walking it would be tender. I have reverted back to my 15’s and I picked up another pair in the sales. I’ve also been running in my flats with some effect and focusing on both form and function, I find myself going back time and time again to the Newton website…hmm we’ll see!

Tomorrow I have an 8 mile tempo run, an hour on the local roads and that closes out this week of training. I only have 4 weeks left on this plan. I’ve decided to do the 10k at the Redondo Beach Super Bowl race rather than the 5k, it’s one week ahead of the end of the training plan but it is the race where I set my current 10k PR, no predictions yet other than an improvement!

I fell off the wagon in my own Situp/Pushup/Squat challenge but I am back in the saddle, talking of challenges don’t forget to email me your start weight if you signed up for the 20lb/$20 Challenge…move over Howie Mandel! There seems to be some confusion mostly caused by me! The basics are it’s a percentage loss challenge not pounds. Everyone buys a $20 RRS card and each week one person will win one from someone else…you only buy one each and when they are all gone it's over, if you’re still confused, don’t worry you’ll get the hang of it as we go!

Finally I’ve a whole bunch of reviews in the pipeline, but I am going to eek them out one a week or so…lots of good stuff for y’all!


PostScript from Saturday Jan 16th

I had an awesome 8 miler today, even after Friday nights Sufferfest I managed to just miss the 8 miles in an hour by 36 seconds, that the fastest I have been in a long time and was 40 seconds faster over today’s hillier course than last weekend’s race!

1-17-2010 12-14-01 AM I also nailed my SPS Trifecta tonight…yep I am back in the saddle!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

20lb lost, $20 spent!

So as mentioned in this post I am aiming to lose a bit of weight, 20lbs to be precise, that will put me in the high at 16olbs, it’s a lofty goal but most of mine are right! So here’s the deal, to join me in this challenge you need to buy in, a $20 Gift Card to Road Runner Sports gets you a seat at the table. Why RRS? Well they have a good selection of most things running and you can order the card and whatever you want to buy on line so there’s no hassily lines etc.

Here are the rules:

  1. This is a weekly challenge based on percentage body weight lost
  2. It will operate on the honor system, you’re only fooling yourself
  3. It will operate 1 week per competitor, i.e. 9 players equals 9 weeks
  4. You need to email me, quadrathon-at-gmail-dot-com, your start weight no later than 5pm Sunday January 17th
  5. You need to email me no later than 5pm the following Sunday and by that time each successive Sunday thereafter your new weight…you snooze you lose
  6. The winner of the week will be announced Monday or Tuesday
  7. The winner will receive a Gift Card from a fellow competitor which they will nominate; obviously the first Card you win will be the one you have to start with
  8. No sandbagging week 1!
  9. Winners and Gift Card givers can negotiate off line as to actually sending the cards etc
  10. If you’re over the border or overseas email me and we can figure something out I am sure
  11. Don’t do anything silly, be healthy and if in doubt stop

The idea here is that potentially if you’re doing well you can earn two, three or five gift cards, $20 will get you some gels or maybe a pair of gloves $60 may get you a nice jacket, $100; that’s a new pair of shoes!

Based on the earlier post these are the folks that are interested, including me there’s $220 already! Confirm by comment below and we’ll start from this weekend!

Billy Burger, Plain Runner, Run to the Finish, Jennifer, Tri James, Velma, S Baboo, Lindsay, Ms. V and Bootchez

Public peer pressure…don’t you just love it!

Monday, January 11, 2010

13.1 Marathon; Los Angeles

P1010465Last month the organizers of the 13.1 Marathon contacted me, would I be interested in running the inaugural race and giving away a race entry; you bet I was! This would be my third run of the week after a short tempo run on Wednesday, I took Thursday, Friday and Saturday off. This is actually the first road race in 15 months, the one prior was in November 2008 and my second since the LA Marathon in March 2008. It’s been a while!

I had a plan, had! 10 miles at 8 minute miles then 3 miles at 7 minute miles or as close to it as I could, had! In the end you could sum this race up as; I went out too fast, way to fast.

My splits tell the story way better than I can:

131Marathon Can you see where the wheels fell off, can you hear them falling off!

So what did I learn?

*Stick to the plan but be flexible; I actually realized by mile 3 I was off so I switched it to a steady state run. I knew the last three miles were going to be hard, it was warming up and my legs are not what they used to be, not surprising after 7 weeks of training blah blah blah.

*I need a lot more leg strength! Wes commented on my last post that as you age you loose muscle mass, I need to work on that…a lot!

*I need a lot less body weight…more of that this week!

*The reality is it’s actually my longest run since September, the first 10 miles (1:17:21) were quicker than my last 10 miles two weeks ago (1:18:20) by 59 seconds…so that’s good. And I would have bested my existing 10k PR as well!

*I discovered that I run a lot better (read easier) when I am step with someone, maybe I need a training buddy?

*I need to get some street running clothes! I had lots of Salomon or Atayne but I need some shorty shorts and a singlet!

*Having folks scream and shout at you, especially ones you know makes it a lot more fun; check out these lunatics!

Danica (ChicRunner) and Billy (LARunner) cheering me and 2670 other people on!

As I was comp’d the entry, it’s only fair I write some about the event. It was the inaugural running of the race and I have to say it was excellently executed. There was a big turnout with 2671 runners running the Half Marathon and more still (I can’t find a number?) running the 5k. This meant that the area around the start line was a little chaotic for parking, but that’s Santa Monica and Venice for you; parking is hard at the best of times. There was a great vibe at the start and not the annoying too loud music, a runner sang the National Anthem and even though it’s not mine it always sends a shiver down my spine! There where plenty of photographers and videographers; fingers crossed I get a decent photo (not holding my breath!), there were well stocked Aid Stations roughly every mile and there were a lot of volunteers. There was no expo and packet pick was the three days prior; this can be good and bad but it worked out really well for me, but there was a finish line party, plenty of food and drink, a couple of local clinics were even doing massages! A nice tech shirt; but shame about the color (black) and a fancy piece of bling. Overall it was a lot of fun so if there is one local to you check it out! You can find other reports from Penny, Nina and June soon if not already.

Billy Danica LA Bloggers…nobody wanted to get that close to me; I was pretty icky at this point

So when it’s all said and done I had said before that I was aiming for between 1:40 and 1:45, I chiped at 1:43:26 and placed 40 out of 186 in my age group, it was a solid-ish opening race to the season; I got some reminders and I got some lessons and I got to see some friends who I normally only chat to on Twitter or through Blogs and Facebook. So all in all a great way to spend a Sunday back to the training plan!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Speed of Lite!

optics My last post, where I documented my increase in pace, got me thinking. It really got me thinking what do I need to get faster, I am, after all, looking for every edge I can but the reality is that I am forty cough-cough year old so there is a limit to the improvement.

Like most people I put on a little ‘Christmas Pudding’ or should I call it padding! In fact since September I have probably put on, depending on the day, somewhere between 15-20lbs! This is the downside of eating like you running 50 miles a week and actually running nothing, teens and now early twenties! Now there’s a correlation here heavy equals slow; well to a point. I remember reading somewhere an article which indicated what you can expect to gain per pound of weight lost!

After a bit of rummage on the interwebthingy I turned it up and the details are quite amazing; for every pound you lose you can expect a gain in speed of 2 seconds per mile, 2 seconds per mile, what’s that you say well if you lose, say, 5lbs: over a 5k that’s 31 seconds, over a 10k that’s 1:02, over a Half Marathon that’s 2:11 and over a Marathon 4:22!

If I apply that to my 5k PR from 2008 when I was probably 10-15lbs lighter that extra 5lbs would reduce it down to 19:10. So let’s extrapolate that; I need to lose; well I actually want to lose, 20lbs, over a marathon that’s 17:28, 17:28! Well, I’ll take some of that please, that’s completely free time, which off of my existing marathon PR would get me under the 3:30 marker in fact that makes me pretty close to 3:26, so what that really means is I need to go a bit more than one minute per mile faster that I did in June of 2007!

Am I being too simplistic, maybe, but it strikes me that a combination of the weight loss and the speed training from the FIRST plan may just get me to the finish line with a 2:**:** on the clock face?

Now if I was to throw together a little weight loss competition who would be interested?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Chasing Cyclists!

Monday night…must be Intervals! Today actually marks my halfway point in this training cycle. Tonight was almost a repeat of my first training session a scant 8 weeks ago; time flies when you’re having fun. Now the proof is in the pudding so I thought I would look at Day 1 in comparison to Day 56. Day 1 called for a 1o minute warm up, 8 x 400m intervals at a 400m target pace of 5:45, 400m Rest Interval, 1 mile cool down, in other words something like this, (intervals highlighted in blue);

11-23 Intervals

Started out fast and then slowed, I then I ranged between 7:11 to 7:38, not bad but really nothing special. So eight weeks later it’s a similar workout; 2 mile warm up, 10 x 400m intervals at a 400m interval target of 5:45, the target pace is derived from the tables in the FIRST 10k plan are is based on my 5k PR of 19:42, 1:30 Rest Interval, 1 mile cool down, tonight’s run resulted in the following (intervals highlighted in yellow);

1-4 Intervals

Started out, got distracted on the second Interval, got into my groove, then fell out on number 7, hit my stride in 8 and 9 and then there was this cyclist. They’re great on their beach cruisers rolling along, oh yeah I went for it and chased this bike down the beach path like my hair was on fire and they had the only cup of water in town! I caught them and then I heard the greatest sound in the world, beep beep beep! Interval over! Much closer to the required 5:45 pace and no puking on my shoes…result!

So if the proof is in the pudding I would say that this is a large bowl of it, clearly I am getting faster, just how fast remains to be seen but having got on the scales this morning pudding is the last thing I need, to get to my race weight I need to cut off one leg or one and half arms…perhaps not the best thing for runner, maybe I’ll just skip desert!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Review; POM Wonderful

pomtruth So the good folks at POM Wonderful sent me some POM pomegranate juice to try…which I did! Much like a lot of folks during the summer and fall! Yeah I am really behind in this one!

And so on with the review. POM Wonderful products are backed by $32 million in medical research. From their website:

There has been a lot of talk lately about the role of pomegranates in promoting heart health, prostate health and proper erectile function. But while these results are promising, keep in mind that all of the research has been done on POM Wonderful products. Our juice comes from a unique pomegranate variety (the Wonderful), which is grown in a unique location (California), and which is juiced with proprietary technology (ours!). No other pomegranate juice can claim these distinctions, and no other brand has been clinically tested”.

There has been a lot of publicity about pomegranate juices anti oxidant properties, again from the website; “With uniquely high levels of powerful antioxidants, POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice has demonstrated a superior ability to neutralize harmful free radicals. This study was conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and published in a leading food chemistry journal. POM Wonderful was far and away the top performer in terms of antioxidant potency, defined as the ability to neutralize free radicals”.

They’re also big on Quality…POM is the only brand that can guarantee 100% authentic pomegranate juice because they are the only brand to grow, juice and bottle their own fruit. There are no middlemen.

POM is the largest grower of pomegranates in the United States; they have planted over 18,000 acres of Wonderful variety pomegranates in San Joaquin Valley in Central California. POM Wonderful supplies nearly 90% of the nation’s fresh pomegranates and ships to over 55 countries! WOW!

This may not sound like important facts but having watched Food Inc recently (I suggest you do to, if you’re a Netflix subscriber you can stream it right now to the computer you sitting at or your Roku box) this reduces but when you add in that they only use their own fruit and that the bottle only contains pomegranate juice and natural flavors (I would like to know what the natural flavors bit means though). They stress the 100% juice content on their packaging when compared to other juices that contain some or all of the following; (my research) modified acacia gum (a replacement for corn starch) or asorbic acid (sugar) or lecithin (a fat) as a side note lecithin is recognized by the FDA as a Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) and as such is exempt from Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) food additive tolerance requirements, in the EU is is awarded an ‘E’ number…just saying!

They have a great website, it’s content rich with facts and figures, recipes, a community section and they’re always running competitions.

The taste of POM is quite unique, it’s quite a heavy juice, both sweet and tart but not citric in flavor, think cranberry not grapefruit. To be honest I found it a bit cloying in the mouth and I struggled to drink an eight ounce glass, this was pretty much the consensus in the house…we’re an apple or grapefruit juice kinda house!

So in summary, lots of health benefits, great home grown quality and a low carbon production footprint with a unique taste, the taste missed my mark but it may hit yours which brings me onto my next review!

Product kindly supplied free of charge by POM Wonderful. See previous gear reviews in the sidebar on the right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at

Friday, January 1, 2010

2009; a year of acronyms and more!

And so in time honored tradition this is the reflection post! At face value 2009 was a year of two halves…well that’s kind of obvious I suppose…maybe two halves of the spectrum would be a better description! Put more succinctly it was a year of acronyms, a year of DNS, PR, DNF and R&R. Either way it was not really the year of racing that I envisaged this time last year.

It all stared with my original ‘A’ race; Twin Peaks 100k in February, being cancelled due to winter storms, I switched and upped the ante with my registration for September’s Angeles Crest 100!

I had successes at a shorter distance; early in the year. I was able to reduce my 50K PR down by a total of 34 minutes with my fastest finish of 5:49:53 at PCTR Sycamore Canyon in March. April saw me return to Leona Divide to run my qualifying 50 miler for AC100, best described as a bad day in the hills, GI issues messed up the second half the race, I finished in unspectacular fashion, but I finished and that was what I needed.

Training for AC100 took me through the heat of the SoCal summer, I completed some of the longest training runs I have ever done on some of the hottest days of the summer, most went well, some not so, with me bailing out in temperatures in excess of 110f. Good friends agreed to crew and pace for AC100 and even flirting with overuse injuries I was approaching readiness as race date neared.

With three weeks to go the announcement of AC100s cancellation hit hard. I scrambled to find an alternative, and a trip to Oregon followed at the end of September to race 100 in the Hood, online friends rallied to my aid stepping up as crew and pacers travelling from Portland and Washington state. I had a superb day apart from…well you know the rest!

Two months off followed as I transitioned from crutches to air brace to ace bandage. My R&R forced me into the pool…a lot, in fact more than ever and I found myself getting faster and going further although by most standards I am still slow and short.

I was back in my runners at the end of November along with training to re-acclimate with going a bit faster than the 10-12 minute miles; a speed which months on the trail had left me with. And now I am moving, at increased speed towards my 2010 goals.

2009 was also the year of more. Looking back at my training log, this has been a big year; even with 2 months off I managed over 3000 miles in a combination of swim, bike and run. I blogged more, started a podcast which by way of a miracle aired on average every other week and I hosted the Runners Round Table several times. I made more friends both real and virtual. I took more photos…lots more! I reviewed more stuff, I was accepted as a Sugoi Product Champion and developed a great relationship with the Wilderness Running Company. New for 2010 I’ll be writing product reviews for Finally I was selected by Endurance Blog for 2009; thanks to everyone who voted.

A bunch of stuff happened on the personal front as well, I don't usual write about those things; house rules, but we moved house, our eldest started a new school, started new jobs and even managed a vacation!

And so with 2010 up and running, as per my profile, let’s see if I can get a bit closer to the horizon, may this be the year that you reach your goals!