Thursday, February 24, 2011

Kids, Keys and Car!

It’s inevitable really no sooner do I put something down in writing then my plans change! Sometimes it’s for the bad this time it’s for the good! I think I mentioned my in laws are in town from England, their annual trip albeit this year a little shorter at about 8 weeks, it’s all good though. Through the power of iChat they’re not strangers to our kids and they’re now at the age (3 and 6 years) where my wife and I can leave them with their Grandparents with no concerns, so it is a case of here are the kids, here are the house keys and here’s a car to ferry them around…seeya in a week!  And that’s just what we are doing! So come the weekend of the March 6th I will not be running the PCTR Malibu Creek race I will relaxing here:


Shame about the silly looking handrails!

This is going to be followed by a week spent Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks, some hiking, some relaxing and some quality time sans kids with Ms Q!


Thor’s Hammer


Zion Canyon

Yep sometimes things do change for the best! Although the weather forecast is not so great; snow storms are expected so we may end up seeing a lot of this:

Bryce Canyon NP 011

Oh well, that’s why they invented Gore-Tex!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Review: Eyes Wide Open; the making of Cyclepassion 2011

sweatngears_cyclepassion_fabienneheinzmannSome time between Christmas and the New Year I was trawling through Twitter and Markus from Cyclefilm, who I follow, threw out the request for reviews of Eyes Wide Open…I was on that like a fly on honey, a week or so later the DVD arrived. Cyclefilm provide some of the footage for the Sufferfest Training Videos that I have talked about in the past, and who produce some wicked cool cycling videos of their own including the Recon of the L'Etape 2010 - The Road to Tourmalet and Liz Hatch; Come ride with me!, Recon So what’s the premise well Cyclepassion well it’s best described as what happens when eight elite women pro-cyclists trade in their lycra for latex, lace & leather to pose for the 2011 Cyclepassion Calendar. I think the appeal of this movie is best summed up by the founder of the Cyclepassion, Anke Wilken ;

“…cycling involves gear and technology, to us women it’s a mystery how men can admire bit’s and pieces of their bikes for hours

Now that being said there is more to it than watching some very talented women pose with bikes, each photoshoot provides somewhat of an insight into these athletes psyche, their background in the sport and their training. Interesting there are some really candid moments where they talk about insecurities and fears in their chosen sports. Drawn from across the raft of cycling, including Cyclocross, MTB and Road you get a glimpse of what goes on behind what is perceived to be the glamor of being a professional bike rider. Glamor and glitz it aint!

In no particular order the riders are:

Willow Koerber (USA) - Trek/Subaru - MTB
Heather Irmiger (USA) - Trek/Subaru - MTB
Liz Hatch (USA) - Lotto Ladies Team - Road
Veronica Andreasson (Sweden) - Lotto Ladies Team - Road
Julie Krasniak - (France) Look - Road
Fabienne Heinzmann - (Switzerland) BMC - MTB
Mona Eiberweiser (Germany) - CentralPro - MTB
Hanka Kupfernagel (Germany) Road/Cross

Here are a couple of sneak peeks from the Cyclepassion Website

The Making of Cyclepassion from markus ★ on Vimeo.

The Making of Cyclepassion II from markus★ on Vimeo.

The wall calendar has long since sold out…go figure right but there are some desk ones left and of course you can pick up the Eyes Wide Open which is now on sale! Trust me the miles slip by on the trainer watching this!

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

Friday, February 18, 2011

‘bout halfway!

Well I am about halfway through the first three months of the year…time flies right. And I thought it would be an opportune time to check and see where I am on my New Year’s resolves. I have nearly almost, finally, kinda, shaken off this horrible cold/cough thing, I occasionally splutter but pretty much I am back to the norm. I took a week off but I am not too fussed as I am not really training.

So this week I restarted the Natural Running Transition and I paid attention to the book’s intervals and had so far managed to avoid shredding my calves! Always a bonus! So far this week Monday through Friday I have alternated stretches and core strength with pylometrics, lots of running on the spot and my jump rope skills are getting better. There’s also some really short but fast speed intervals, we’re only talking 200m or so but at 6:00 min mile pace, I could go a bit faster but the treadmill can’t! But don’t let me lull you into think that it’s easy some of these things are nigh on impossible, here’s a good example, go on try it, go on I’ll double dare you!


See, told you! Sorry about the poor photo.

So looking back at the To Do list, definite progress!

Started the transition to forefoot running – Check!

Lose 20lbs – well I am down about 10lbs, so that’s half down – Check!

Doing the good stuff; foam roll, yoga, stretch – Check(ish)!

No new kit in Jan, Feb or March! – Well other some awesome stuff on it’s way to review, I slipped off the wagon just a little, but hey needs must!


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Fat zero!

My week has swung from cold sweats, hot flushes, coughing like I was trying to turn my lungs inside out. working 12 hours a day on a couple of them trying to catch up after taking Monday and Tuesday off to spending Friday night at Emergency Care and Saturday night at Home Depot buying of all things; a toilet seat! Yes life is a roller coaster!

As for that running thing well, unfortunately not much of that this week. I did receive an awesome pair of CEP compression shorts to review…which is of course to follow! All things being equal I hope to be back in my runners and these new shorts next week.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend,  I would be resting but my in-laws arrive tomorrow for their annual snow-bird migration!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Birthday #4


641 posts later!

Phew whew knew I had that much to say!

Thanks for following, reading and commenting…I never envisaged it would get to this grand age…just goes to show right!

A few more miles and a few more races wiser and a revised set of goals for this year!

Let’s see what happens between now and five candles!

I have posted a list of maybe’s on the right…maybe I’ll see you there?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hydration conclusion: what to wear when and why…

It struck me that this is probably the most useful post of the series especially given that it’s taken 8 months! Yeah pathetic I know! But in my defense the cat ate my homework, I lost my book, the dog was sick and blah blah blah….

So here are my humble options based on my favorite pieces; UD Wasp, UD FastDraw Extreme (Handheld), Mutant and H20:

For run between 1-2 hours

  • Run is supported; gas station etc; UDHH, Mutant or H20
  • If fluid is likely to freeze: UDHH
  • If likely to trip over; UDHH, use bottle to break fall
  • If you prefer two drinks; H20
  • Do you want a gel flask; Mutant
  • Carrying clothing that you might remove after start; gloves hat armwarmers etc; Mutant
  • For races where you want minimal stuff; H20 or UDHH
  • Prefer hands free; H20 or Mutant
  • Prefer waist free; UDHH

For runs 2-4 hours:

  • No 7/11s on the route but maybe a garden hose; Mutant
  • Is fluid likely to freeze; UDHH x 2
  • If likely to face plant; UDHH x 2
  • If you prefer two drinks; UD handheld x 2 or Mutant + UDHH
  • Do you want a gel flask; Mutant
  • Want hands free but race light and don’t mind messing with lids; H20
  • Carrying more clothing for unforeseen changeable weather; Wasp
  • Likely to get chase by small dogs; UDHH x2 drink from one squirt from the other

For runs 4 hours+

  • Run is unsupported in everyway, no gas station, garden hose, nothing; Wasp + UDHH(s) (Optional)
  • Is fluid likely to freeze; UD Handheld x 2 + Wasp half full, decant asap
  • If you prefer two drinks; UD handheld x 2 or Mutant + UDHH or Wasp + UDHH
  • Do you want a gel flask: Wasp or Mutant + UDHH x 2
  • Carrying a lot of gear; map, food, cooker, kitchen sink; Wasp
  • Likely to get chased by anything larger than a small dog; Wasp – bearspray, mace, flare gun, canon!

As you can see the list is pretty endless as are the permutations, some people hate having things in their hands, some don’t like things around their waists and other dislike packs, of course if you plan you route well enough and can run past enough water fountains then you should be good without anything I suppose, Personally I have raced in all but the Mutant, I worn the Wasp for 24 hours plus with no problems and carried handhelds for the same distance, I have refilled my H20 bottles multiple times during a marathon, what I am trying to say is there are no hard and fast rules… the main things to remember are (1) drink and (2) don’t try it on race day!

Of course if you’re likely to fall over when it’s frozen and your being chased by something larger then a dog, well, maybe you should think about going to the gym instead!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Review; Ultimate Direction Solitaire

imageA lifetime ago, well last Summer I set out to review options for hydration packs, well things conspired against me and combined with a helpful tidy (resulting in a box of stuff disappearing) of my running kit during the fall meant that one piece went unreviewed, so without fanfare but with much delay I bring you the review of the Ultimate Direction Solitaire.

This is one of several waistbelts from UD and it really is a no-nonsense variety. It does pretty much everything it says on the box…but I will save my conclusions for later, so on with review.

As mentioned this is a no nonsense type of belt, it’s pretty stripped down and has a few bells but no real whistles, the belt is made from webbing fabric, think rucksack, it has a foam back but there is no sculpturing or shaping to it. It has some reflective piping along it and it fastens at the front by way of a simple buckle. The excess webbing folds up neatly and tucks away within elastic loops, this is a feature on most if not all UD products and it’s one of those things that is so simple and so effective that you think you would see it everywhere? Maybe it’s patented? On the outside, to the side, on each side, basically above your hips there is a zippered pocket, big enough for a couple of gels, a small phone (not a iPhone or Blackberry)  or your keys. When your hot the belt breathes easily enough and doesn’t pool the sweat which is a concern with belts; I noticed no problems with chaffing etc.

Moving to the rear, this is where the action is. The Solitaire as you can see is a bottle holder and it carries the larger of the two bottles that UD sells; 26oz, and which comes with their standard kicker valve, check out my review of the bottle here. The bottle is held in place by a sleeve, there’s nothing keeping it in place except friction but it does stay in place, in fairness my running has not been as rugged in recent months as is has in the past, but even with some deliberate jumping about from side to side somewhat like a crazed hula hooper with no hoop, (much to the amusement of a couple walking their dogs!) it stayed in place. Above the sleeve there is a smallish zipped pocket, this you can fit  a phone in, as well as some armwarmers or maybe an ultralight waterproof jacket, I can get my Marmot jacket in it but that’s because it folds down to the size of a pack of cigarettes, there’s also a little key hook. On top of this pocket there is a meshed velcro pouch. Finally there is a hanging/drying loop.

It rides comfortably enough, out of preference I prefer it on my hips that round my waist and this is where is loses out versus the Nathan Mutant, there is no elastic in the belt so there is no give in the tightness. From experience waistbelts are worn at their most comfortable when they are  at their tightest  but not constricting, for me it’s a really fine line. I need that little bit of give because when you have to move in a slightly different alignment to jump those roots or extend over those rocks and a belt that has no give or take cannot absorb those subtle changes.

Like I said this is a bare bones no frills waistpack and it does do exactly what it says on the box but for me it is a little too no frills. That being said don’t discount it too early because it’s very functional.

This belt is available in several colors; red, blue and black and through multiple online outlets it’ average retail is around $40. If you choose to pick one up check out Wilderness Running Company and don’t forget using ‘Quad10’ at the checkout will save you 10%.

This is the last review in this series, although because of the spread of months (!!!) in between them I will write up a conclusion. You can read my other Hydration product reviews here:

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

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Hobbling and Hacking!

So this week I started Week 1 of the transition to midfoot running following the plan laid out in the book. It started on February 2nd which threw me off a day as that was a Tuesday but no matter I thought. Day 1 was all about stretching and core strength, a solid work out that lasted about 30 minutes. Day 2; 3 sets of jump rope, running on the spot, high knees and butt kicks and here is where the plan was derailed I had forgotten to write down how long each set was…oops! I started with 5 minutes of jump rope, when was he last time I did jump rope oh probably 1974! I soon realized that 5 minutes of each would soon blow through my lunch break so I decided to drop down to 2 minutes each and a good job too. I finished up, stretched out and headed back to the office. Out of interest and for future reference I check the book on how long each interval should be; 20 seconds! oops I thought, oops indeed. The next morning my calves were singing a song, the day after that they were screaming!

The screaming continued through the week until I got I hit by the flu train, I crawled into bed at 7:30pm Friday night and crawled out Sunday afternoon…a couple more days and I should be ok to start week 1 again!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Stats and shoes!

Well that’s January then!

Not bad, not great either I missed a couple of days and got caught short on a few others, I had a good early half marathon and mixed up all the training, could have visited the pool a bit more and should have visited the yoga mat a lot more! Work has been super busy so I have had to cherry pick my “social” activities, oPad, i8this and Facebook got 86d, Twitter and WwF went much the same way, even the ever present blog took a hit this month and I daren’t even look at my reader…it’s about priorities right and sometimes things just have to give, but I did keep up tracking my food and I have dropped about 6lbs this month! Strangely January had the fourth highest hits and views over the last 12 months…so thanks for hanging in there!

I’ll spare you the last weeks stats but here are the months totals:


I also got to put some miles on my Ronald McDonald shoes:


My Brooks ID membership expired at the end of last year and I had a little blitz including a pair of ASR7s, a pair of Cascadias and a pair of Green Silence. I love the GSs the ASRs are ok and the Cascadias have not come out the box…and here’s the problem!

I am spending all my time in Kinvaras (love, love, love this shoe!) I have the GSs to rotate through and a pair of Sir Isaacs to roll into and all these “big” shoes as I call them are being somewhat ignored…add the that the two brand new pairs of Salomon XT Wings and the Wings 2 pair that are sitting neglected in the closet with around 150 miles on them and you can see the issue…I am thinking a trip to eBay may be in my future!?!

Then I get an email from Saucony


Hells yeah…and check out that last shoe on the list a trail version of the Kinvara, the Peregrine….freekin awesome!


A low profile trail blazing shoe that’s a must-have for the outdoor runner, the Peregrine boasts the minimalist DNA of the award-winning Kinvara. With multi-directional lugs and a high traction rubber outsole, the Peregrine will have you flying over hills, dales and rugged trails with confidence

I know Valentines is a ways off but I think I am in love!