Friday, February 20, 2009

Under Armour Revenants: Like a Hug for Your Sole

I got my new Under Armour Revenants (they're running shoes) a few weeks ago - I've had them for almost a month now and have put about 100 miles on them - I would have done more but I got sick and haven't been able to run for a week.

For the past 2.5 years after suffering 2 stress fractures - I have only run in what I refer to as my 'Old Man Sneakers' aka my Brooks Addictions. I got the Brooks because I have flat feet and need a motion control shoe - they kept everything straight but I would replace them every 300 miles or every 3 months. Most of my past pair of Brooks are still almost brand new - because I only wear them running because they're ugly and not too comfy to wear outside of a run.

Sorry - back to the Revenants...

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My Revenants: Resting comfortably on the bed.

I don't really know what the name of the shoe means: REVENANT, I"ll have to find out- but they're awesome - it probably means that plus something like 'made with the essence of Chuck Norris' power and crushing ability'.

I'm just guessing but I'm usually right in these things.

Inserting this later (I like #3 the best): REVENANT from Wikipedia:

  • Revenant (folklore), a folkloric corpse that returns from the grave
  • Revenant (fiction), a creature brought back to life to fulfill a special goal
  • Revenant (band), a death metal band
  • I didn't care for the innersoles that were in the shoes - I generally mess with every pair of innersoles I've ever had, they were too cushy. I put my old innersoles in - sort of like putting a sportier tire on a car, subtle difference - but it makes me happy. Actually, it was like putting really smelly sportier tires on a car - but I'm more concerned with fit and feel and I am at finding or keeping my friends. I hardly ever wear socks and that stinks 'em up good. My dog loves them.

    The shoes run true to size. In Nike I've worn 11.5, in Brooks 11.5, in Zoot 11 and in KSwiss 10.5. Since I didn't want too much toe room - I got the 11's and they fit perfectly. There isn't a tongue in these shoes - it's a piece of stretchy fabric where you slide your foot into, they call that feature a Footsleeve, I would have called it 'mamas hug for your foot' - my mom gives good hugs but Footsleeve sounds like it would fit better on the shoe.

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    My Revenants: Relaxing in a nice chair with the Wall Street Journal.

    I run on road and sometimes the side of the road and sometimes on a trail - in California nothing is dead flat, so each run has at least 600ft of elevation gain and since I live next to the ocean - I also have the same 600ft of descent.

    This means the soles have to have good traction (the Brooks don't but the Kswiss does) AND they have to be flexible enough to climb some steep hills (15-20%+) (the Brooks aren't but the Kwsiss are, but a tick too flexy since my feet generally feel pretty tight after a long climb up) AND they have to have an upper sturdy enough to keep my foot from slamming forward and wrecking my toes which my daughters painted and left them looking like I've been attacked by a very very small serial killer.

    Note: I let them paint my toes because Greta wasn't home and it takes them about 30 mins and I know that i can take that paint off before I swim but sometimes I've forgotten to do that in the past and feel quite awkward on the pool deck.

    SOoOOoOOOOo.....

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    My Revenants: Shoes that run even better than they look and they might get this pretty little lady.

    The Revenants, despite their somewhat cryptic and mystical name do the following:

    • Fit well, true to size
    • Have a sold ride for a runner who needs a neutral shoe - but not overkill
    • Work well on trails and even better on the road - no matter what direction you're headed: up and down and even in between
    • Look awesome
    • Are well ventilated, better than any other shoes I've run in
    • Made by Under Armour, a company that must use the essence of Macca AND Chuck Norris in their materials

    IN CASE YOU'RE DOUBTING ME:

    In fact, these are the only running sneakers that I wear all of the time - I just went to a web analyst conference and despite the rest of the crowd wearing nice suits and pointy shoes, I wore my red and black Under Armour Revenants. Which was good because a Nike guy was there wearing some ugly Nikes AND I showed them to a lot of folks with the awkward opening line of cocktail conversation and I'm not kidding:

    Me: hi

    Other person: hi

    Me: did you see my new Under Armour running shoes?

    Other person: "no, (looks down) but they look nice." "I love their (insert UA Product)" OR "my son/daughter has a lot of their stuff".

    Me: yes... (goes into 3 min chat about me me me).

    Other person: but why would I get a shoe from a company that just started making them? (I got that question last night)

    Me: um, you know their clothing is top of the line and they've had athletes testing these for a while, not to mention folks like myself who are providing feedback on them - unlike other companies I've used, they get it, they want you to run in their shoes and they made a superior shoe out the door. They're attention to detail and style are industry leading, rather than having great style but no substance. For instance, the Footsleeve, which provides a solid fit and provides a secure ride fits so nicely that I barely have to even tie the laces - which by the way are perfectly cut to be not too long nor too short. How many times have my old Nike's had the tongue slide over during a run and then had to be adjusted, about 3,200,209.

    Nevertheless, I don't think I freaked anyone out - 100% percent of the people I spoke with gave me their business card. I suggest you look at your sneakers and decide whether or not you could wear them to your next business conference and start conversations with 'have you seen my new (shoe on your foot)'. Ben Collins, Chris and Matt Lieto are not included here.

    In conclusion - if you need something new for your foot and run in a motion control shoe that you won't be embarrassed to wear after you're done - try the Under Armour Revenant .

    Sunday, February 15, 2009

    The Peanut Butter and Chocolate Kids

    MOST of you know Sada and Piper - the 2 kids. 

    They're awesome and great and fun and a lot of work but not as much as boys are to raise.  The work will come later when Barbies are less important than the local Jr. High Ken or whatever his name is. 

    They were pretty much made from the same recipe: 2 same parents, nearly the same time in the oven (they were originally due to be born within 2 days of each other - except different years) and tequila was involved but I'm not sure, there are only rumors about that.

    Sada likes to bike and Piper likes to run while we bike. 

    Sada changes clothes 3,203 times a day and Piper is content to wear a tank top.  No pants.  This should make her a popular girl. 

    October2008 015Sada's hair is straight and Piper's is nothing short of being voted 'most worthy of a mad scientist'. 

    Piper will likely be competitive in team sports and Sada will be a superb individual athlete (I've got my eye on cross country). 

    They compete to see who can get their jammies on first or who can get out of the tub or who can finish their dinner or who can run the fastest. 

    The generally are best friends and sometimes better enemies. 

    For Valentines Day they got some peanut butter and chocolate hearts (like the size of your hand).  Piper got hers and just started eating while Sada left hers on the table for after lunch.

    I cut a part off for Piper leaving the rest on the counter and she simply thought I was breaking it in two for convenience sake.  She returned to the room after finishing the first half with the 2nd.  Sada took a piece and finished it and didn't ask for more.  Today at lunch Sada got another piece but didn't want to finish it, placing it on the shelf, while Piper hounded down the last few morsels of her candy. 

    I thought it was funny but thought they were both great kids for being so different.  I'm probably a lot like that with Greta - since we don't have much in common except for our house, our inability to buy a reasonable car and our love of movies.  She is an artist who can't divide 2 numbers but I can be told a story about the goal of a business and figure out what the numbers and all of their components need to be - but don't ask me to design a square. 

    In case you wondered how this is related to triathlon - it really isn't except it is really hard to go out and train for 3-4 hours and leave these kids and my wife behind - except I wouldn't be happy and I'd have to run around the house 3,219 times in order to burn off the excess energy and I might not appreciate all 3 of them as much as I do. 

    I went out for a ride yesterday - finally a short 3 hour or 50 miler and after 2 hours in Z2 with Zone 3 hills (see - I didn't miss a post without Z3) and rode really well.  After 2 hours though I wasn't feeling good and took the final hour easy - riding it in Z1. 

    Today I'm home sick with a chest cold but got to spend the full day with all 3 of them and didn't have to worry about getting in a workout.

    That was nice but I didn't get faster.  Not like Kristin Sanders fast.

    Wednesday, February 11, 2009

    The Other Inconsistent

    I’ve almost beaten the inconsistent training issue:

    1. Not getting work done and having to skip a workout
    2. Not getting enough sleep and having to skip a workout
    3. Not doing my workout in the morning and then not wanting to do it later
    4. It’s too cold so I don’t want to swim
    5. I hate swimming so I don’t want to swim
    6. I had a terrible workout and I’m depressed and don’t want to do a workout
    7. I had 2 bottles of wine last night and I really don’t want to do a workout
    8. I think I’ve gone too hard and I need to skip this next workout cause I feel tired
    9. I’ll skip it today and make it up next (insert day here).
    10. I think I’m getting sick so I’ll skip the workout – though it is hard to discern between an oncoming cold and allergies sometimes.

    Those are the excuses that kept me from being consistent with my run at the end of last season and it kept me from it again in the pre-season this year.  I also missed a month of swimming because I was tired of being the worst swimmer with no sense of improvement (but I did find that swimming 4x a week at masters for 2-3 weeks will fix that quickly). 

    I even did this with a coach but not this year. 

    I’ve learned a lot from Ian and Ben – watching them do each and every workout and digging deep when necessary.  Slowly but surely it’s working and I’m past most or all of the excuses and I know my bad habits better.

    Now I’m just struggling with what seem to be consistent workouts and I’m not sure this is much different for others. 

    For instance:

    • Saturday’s ride was pretty good.  Felt good, strong on hills and flats, didn’t get dropped.
    • Sunday’s run was brutal (see #7) – I did finish 10.5 miles for a Z2 run but it was at the bottom of Z2.  I actually didn’t go too slow (7:40s) but I felt like I was walking.
    • Tuesday’s run was good – 45 mins and even got below 6 min miles for a bit.  Tuesday’s swim felt awful.  Slow and sluggish – tired, but I did it.
    • Wednesday’s spin was rough – I couldn’t turn the pedals and 260w felt like 360w.  I did come around on the final effort but I suffered in the middle a lot.  Wednesday’s swim was good – I didn’t miss a single lap, I wasn’t dead last ever and the 50 and 25 sprints at the end didn’t crush me – I CRUSHED THEM. 

    So there, now I’ve got this new inconsistency to face.  I’m trying to eat and drink consistently – sleep seems to be the only component that I’m just having trouble with.  Lots to worry about and sometimes I’m not worried but I’m so excited for the day’s run that I wake up at 2am and can’t sleep until 4am – I can’t stop thinking about my upcoming bike or run (never do I wake up excited for the next day’s swim because I have no idea what to expect). 

    So there.

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    Sunday, February 8, 2009

    A Whoopin

    I did get one Saturday on a 63 miler.  I did a group ride but there were a lot fewer casual riders and maybe 8 of us total – so hopefully, I thought, this would be a ride with a faster pace and some good efforts.  I finally brought my TT bike out on the road – but I didn’t bring my hill climbing gears (12-27) and had an 11-23 instead, I figured I’d just suffer and catch on.  3 of us also had TT bikes which would mean some good ‘this will kill you’ efforts once we got out into the flat area near the Nicasio Reservoir.  I learned that one of the guys with the TT bikes was Matt Lieto- one of the many Kswiss sponsored pros. 

    We had a great rollout and didn’t waste a ton of time waiting for folks. We hit climb #1 and I felt pretty good despite having done a few hill climb efforts the day before.

    TANGENT:

    See: hill repeats – you just can’t see the rain.  each climb was 8 mins up and 3 mins down.  Guess what zone?  That’s right Z3 or 300w.  It’s actually getting easier.   If you could read that bubble – it says 50rpm (the goal is to ride 45-55 rpm), HR 170. 

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    END OF TANGET:

    3 of the ladies on the ride got dropped and Matt went back to get them while I kept going with a few others – there’s always a regroup about 1.25 hours into the ride.  Once we got regrouped – we started throwing down a little and one guy took off AND OF COURSE I have to follow.  Then Matt comes around me like I was going backwards – except I was doing about 26.  So I hopped on his wheel and he just kept going for 5 MORE MILES.  Below is a shot of a point in time where Matt was pulling me:  my speed is 33mph and my HR is 173.

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    and here’s another shot from a mile or two down the road: 26mph and hr 171.  Owee.

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    We eventually re-grouped at 2 hours into the ride and the rest was relatively tame where we rode a solid 22mph or so all the way home.

    This was the last of the group rides I’ll do – no guidance from my coach except for ride 3.5 hours and have fun. 

    Sat night was spent sampling a wine shipment we got from Cave B wines – which made this morning’s 10.5 mile run a bit rough.  Luckily I was supposed to run easy and ran about a 7:40 pace at the bottom of Z2 – AND my fastest mile was my last. 

    I’m looking forward to a long day of work tomorrow and not a single minute of having my HR over 90.

    Wednesday, February 4, 2009

    How Cold is too Cold? PLUS: Broadway Musical Tryouts?

    In the past 60 days we've paid over $1,000 to heat and provide electricity for our home.  It's not a great house as far as energy efficiency is concerned - I can see outside underneath the doors, there are skylights that are about 20+ years old and we live 1 yard from the ocean.  We don't run around with the lights on and don't leave anything on unnecessarily at night.  We also get sun on the house from sunrise until maybe 30-45 mins before the sun falls into the ocean.  It's even got insulation - our last home here didn't!  So I wear a hat and sometimes a running jacket or sweatshirt and always sweatpants.  Piper wears a bathing suit or a tank top and shorts (she apparently is from another world), Sada is in between and Greta, even though the heat IS ON FULL will wear boots and what I call 'a poofy vest'.  Oh yea, when the temp outside goes over 80, the girls all completely melt.  Like old people. 

    It's one of the many reasons NOT to live here - but unfortunately there are many other reasons to stay.  Moving to Seattle with the cold and wet and dark and dreary and sad and depressing and miserable and icy winters is not on my list of fun things to do, but I will look forward to the monthly bill from Puget Sound Energy.  I also know that as a home owner in the near future - I will look at solar as an option - though I'm not sure if there is enough sun year round to warrant the investment, but I'm willing to investigate options and suspect Mr Obama will make it worth my while.  The only problem is that in the northwest, a bunch of the power is generated through hydro - and it's cheap.  Homes are newer (ours will be newer or NEW)  and therefore more energy efficient and gas (natural) I suspect is cheaper, so the financial incentive to go after alternatives is not really very high. 

    I've also felt under the weather lately - no power or energy and I could hardly catch my breath while swimming on Monday afternoon.  So I've cut back, nothing on Sunday, nothing yesterday but had a decent swim today - not great, but decent.  Tomorrow I head out again on a run to see how I feel.  Nothing too intense - but 3x12 mins in Z3 and then a bunch of exercises and pick ups. 

    At the bottom is an example of some of the stuff I'm doing - when it's demonstrated in person you aren't sure if some of the things are right out of a broadway musical or you're trying out for the 'gayest thing a grown man and father of 2 girls and husband to a hottie could ever do in public' contest.  I'm sure that last sentence was offensive but if you watch the video and imagine me trying to do some of these things, then who is really offended? 

    I also found out that I am incredibly uncoordinated when it comes to doing a drill with my feet.  I just about beefed it a few times.  I will also not be racing in London at the 2012 Olympics. 

    There are some dandies at 1:18 and 3:50 and 4:30. 

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    Sunday, February 1, 2009

    A Ride to Suckville

    Gosh. 

    The past 3 days of workouts have sucked.  First Satan tripped me on my run the other day - then I got all geared up to take my TT bike out a ride on Saturday.  3 hours and about 50+ miles to cover - I even was up at 6am so I could be on the road and home by 10:15 so Greta could take Sada to a birthday party.  I was actually going to ride pretty easy with no Power Tap - just ride as  I felt - which hopefully wasn't like a slug or a turd. 

    I get about 20 mins down the road and I feel a thump, thump, thump - but no flat, my tires had air in it.  Something must have been rubbing - so I stopped.  THERE'S A BIG FAT BLACK TACK in my tire.  The tire didn't lose any or much air because I've got a pair of Dura Ace wheels that work with tubeless tires - so as long as there is a decent seal even with a regular tire - it holds air for a little bit.  I pulled the tack out and there went the air. 

    Soda had JUST got me 3 new tubes the day before - this must have been karma, I always got flats when I had a bunch of extras in the garage - but when I've got 1 left - I am fine for months.

    NOTE: I forgot to mention that I popped my tire in spin class the other day.  But I patched that and it worked fine - this patched tire was on a different bike.

    TTI only had C02 with me since the Transition doesn't really have a great place for a pump or at least the one pump I have - see picture (I've since taken out the water bottle cage and now have a pump there in the middle and use a carbon water bottle thingy behind the seat - which I sort of think is dumb unless you're racing ironman distance races because you never need that much water and in 70.3 races you get water handed to you 3 times on the course if you're that slow (that would give you about 4 big bottles for 56 miles).  Though in a sprint race last year I did see a guy with two big bottles behind his seat - full to the top- for a 14 mile bike. 

    ANYHOW....

    So I used the CO2 and replaced the tube. 

    Then I got going again.

    Then I feel - thump, thump, thump.

    AND THERE ARE 2 TACKS in my FRONT WHEEL! Kelly and Courtenay would be issuing a small battalion worth of choice language here. 

    So at this point I figure Satan has me again.

    He, Satan, told me to leave my cell at home because when is the last time I've called home - never in the past 10 years.

    Oh yeah, I didn't get the tube all the way in - cause the tires on this bike are super new and not stretchy and a little bit of tube got caught between the tire and rim.  So I had to deflate the tire, tuck in the tube but having already inflated the tube - I weakened it and when I went to inflate it with my OTHER C02. It exploded. 

    So I'm out 2 x C02, 2 tubes, and I've got 2 tacks in my front tire. 

    It turns out that someone threw about 2 dozen big black tacks in the bike lane.  I'm sure that person also works for the IRS and I'd like to punch them double.

    I limped my bike back towards larkspur where I figured I could find a phone at the racquet club there - but I saw a guy on a bike waiting for some folks to show for a ride. 

    It's 8am and I've ridden 20 mins and I'm already calling for a ride. 

    I showed the guy my tacks and used his phone to call Greta.  Satan obviously didn't get everybody.

    I also flagged a cop down who went and found all of the tacks and got them OUT of the bike lane. 

    Then I pulled the tacks out of my front wheel - which was holding air just fine - it just wasn't ride worthy with the thumping and clickity clack of the tacks.

    All the air came out in a nice hiss, a rather poignant summary of my ride. 

    So I found a patch of sunshine to sit in and I watched Wall-E on my iPOD for 30 mins while I waited.

    Then today I figured I'd get out and ride a different bike on a different route.  I got through the tack zone and got to the base of the Alpine Dam climb.  I got my Power Tap to 300w and rode up the hill.  I saw a guy up ahead and got all silly and passed him going 450w but quickly red-lined it and had to go back to 300w - hopefully he didn't see me just about detonate.

    Then I got to Alpine Dam - about 35 mins to the bottom of the climb and 30 mins to the dam itself.  Then I rode to the top - but I didn't feel great and my HR was like 170 for much of my ride and I caught a group of guys out riding  but they got all silly and I was doing 350-500w at times which did not feel good - so I sucked it up, let them go and rode a happy 300 to the top.  But I felt bad. 

    Then once at the top I got to enjoy a gravel covered descent for only the sharp corners - little gravel left on the straights for some reason.  Just the corners.  As I was rounding one of those super fun big drop high G corners - my back tire exploded.  Which made sense because I only had one tube left and that was it. 

    I changed it.  Rode home easy until I saw this guy all kitted up with NO HELMENT who wouldn't stop looking behind him and when we got to the hill that took us over 101 and into Tiburon- I totally punched it and taught him a real lesson.  Turd-riding-helmet-less-white-bootie-wearing jackass. 

    I went home, asked Soda to get me a half dozen tubes and took a 2 hour nap with Piper. 

    I did set 2 new Power records - a 10 min and 30 min record - so at least I did something despite the flats, turd riders and feeling a bit under the weather.