Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Team Trakkers Motivational Songs

Recently the team lit a post on fire with responses of what music gets everyone fired up for training or racing.  The official (and growing) list of Team Trakkers 2011!

Journey - Don't Stop Believing
Eminem - Not Afraid
Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run
Metallica - Fuel
Muse - Stockholm Syndrome
Fall Out Boy - I slept with someone in Fall Out Boy and all I got was the song written about me
3OH!3 - Love 2012
Pink - Raise Your Glass
Tiffany - I think we're alone now
Debbie Gibson - Shake Your Love
Metallica - One
DragonForce - Through the Fire and the Flames
Kanye West - Power
Sir Mix-a-Lot - I Got Game
Metallica - No Remorse
Drowning Pool - Bodies
Bennasi Bros - Rocket in the Sky (Naan version)
John Parr - St Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)
Tom Petty - Runnin' Down a Dream
Kenny Chesney - When the Sun Goes Down
Jay-Z - Run this Town
Rihanna - S&M
Lil Wayne - I am Not a Human Being
Eminem - Lose Yourself
Dwight Yoakum - Thousand Miles from Nowhere
Cravin Mellon - The Grate Procrastinator
Skillet - Awake & Alive
Hawk Nelson - Live Life Loud
REM - It's the End of the World As We Know It
Zac Brown Band - Chicken Fried
Guns 'n Roses - Welcome to the Jungle
Pop Evil - 100 in a 55
Three Days Grace - Pain

Monday, March 28, 2011

Weekly Ramblings - 3/21/2011

Well workouts for the past 2 weeks have been minimal with our recent move.  Luckily week 8 was a recovery week, and week 9 was supposed to get back into build, but my time has been stretched thin trying to get things settled in the new place. I am going to leave off my volumes, let's just say I should be good to start back in on my building this week.  My long run yesterday was going to be around 90 minutes and ended up being a few minutes short, but I covered around 11 miles, so the pace was quick.  I felt good building some distance at speed and know that I have not lost much from the longer recovery period.

We are getting settled in the new place, there are still boxes around, and I still have problems finding where things are stored, but at least they are stored.  Why is it that when there are piles of junk, you can find exactly what you want, but when it is organized, you have to look everywhere twice to find what you are looking for? 

I am building up my 4000, slowly, but since weather has been gross, I am not in a huge rush to get it built when I know I will be inside for a while.  I am still waiting on one part to arrive so I can do the full build.  I will probably take it in to have the brakes setup properly, this is one wrench skill I lack.  Hopefully the shop will let me watch as they adjust them so I can do it in the future.  The 4000 has a brake system that is a bit different than the standard. 

I am officially registered for my first race of 2011.  It is a sprint race the weekend before Knoxville.  This should give me a good idea of what to expect.  It is a simple 300 yard serpentine pool swim, 25k bike, and 5k run.  I have been doing well in the pool on my interval sets.  I fully expect to be sub 1:30/100 yd over 300, putting me at faster than a 4:30 swim pace.  I think this will put me towards the front of the group for the swim. 

Without having been outside on the bike, I cannot say what I am expecting.  A 25k translates to 15.5 miles.  The course looks to start heading downhill for the first few miles and then a gradual climb over the middle miles.  Since it is mostly an out and back with only a few turns, I fully plan on pushing the bike hard.  I had an issue last year with racing at a higher wattage.  For some reason my legs mind cant get over the fact that I may be cruising 23 MPH on 200 watts and I cannot muster the leg power to bump it up.  I have raced one race at 209 watts, but everything suffered past that.  I wonder if it is because my season last year spiraled downward as the year went on?  We will see... Say I hold 20 MPH, something I think is a quite realistic goal, that would put me in around 46.5 minutes. 

Talk about 2 minutes total for transition.

Then the run.  Ahh my first "shot" at a 5k this year.  I want sub-20 so bad it makes me cringe every time I think about it.  Sub-20 (on a real 5k course) is like my pot-o-gold at the end of a rainbow, it is the box at the back of the top shelf that I can almost reach, but have to get the chair to ever get it.  Lets say I can dial this in at even 21 minutes.

It doesn't require a math minor (albeit I do have one... yeah yeah yeah nerd I know) to add up the above predicted times 4.5 swim + 2 transition + 46.5 bike + 21 run = 1 hour 13 minutes.  Odd... this seems to be right at the same as my finishing time last year at New Brighton, which was a half mile swim.  Well that is because the bike is very conservative and where I am going to make up my time.

I don't want to kill myself before Knoxville as that has been my training, but my heart lives for uncomfortable.  That burning pain in the pit of your stomach that is ready to make you look like an idiot as you cross the finish line emptying your stomach.  Call me crazy, but there is something about the burn of your quads on the bike aching to be "that guy" who is just hammering it.  I am not the fastest runner by any means, so I know I have to push the bike without killing my run.  I know my race setup is fast. My position... well I again reference Lil Jon - "Get Low" That about sums it up. 

I have pre-race jitters just typing this up.  I am ready to race, almost where I want my race weight to be, and fitness on the up... I am feeling good.  My biggest concern for Knoxville, is that I run a good race.  The distance is new to me, so I am intimidated about pacing.  I will be on the course for almost twice as long as my sprints.

I am pretty pumped to know that our TYR Category 5 wetsuits are on the way shortly as well as our race kits.  I am looking forward to representing this team and their sponsors for all they do for us. 

Stay tuned this week for the unveiling of Project X... Finally I know :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Weekly Ramblings - 3/7/2011

Build week - I was not sure what to expect, well first I didn't expect my run on Tuesday to say 38 minutes.  Really?!? That is hardly worth getting dressed for. Luckily Tuesday was before some snow, so I had good footing.  It was certainly nothing to look down on.  A roughly 10 minute run to the nearby "lake" or pond that has a pretty nice 1/2 mile paved path around it served as my warm-up.  The next 18 minutes were ones to remember.  18x30 seconds at Lactic Intervals, 30 seconds recovery.  I don't know about anyone else, but after a few hard efforts, I know my brain is missing oxygen because it gets hard to think.  My mind goes 100 miles an hour normally, but simple things such as breathing, hitting the lap button, and trying to remember what lap I am on, and worse yet what lap pace I ran last section begin to slip away.  The run home was a bit longer than 10 minutes because I think I left my legs at the lake!  I will think twice about thinking this workout seemed out of place next time.  

The swims all week were 2500 yards, a good jump above what I had been doing.  This makes getting them in over lunch no simple task.  There is no messing around time for the hot tub or sauna.  Do you ever see those people at the gym who are always in one of those locations, I sometimes wonder if they do workout or just use the hot tub or sauna.  Speaking of sauna, guys here is a simple rule, it could be number 11 on the list hung outside of the room.  
11 - If you are inclined to use the sauna naked as a blue jay, please create a barrier between your contact points and the bench.  
(We do not want to see sweat outlines of your anatomy.)

This was do or die weekend for packing, so my long workouts on Saturday and Sunday were replaced by loading boxes and hauling things up and down steps.  Only a few days until we move!

Week 7
Monday: S- 2500 Yards (48:33 Minutes)B - 21.81 Miles (76:26 minutes)
Tuesday: R - 5.23 Miles (39:35 Minutes)
Wednesday: S - 2500 Yards (48:11 Minutes), B - 18.01 Miles (61 Minutes)
Thursday:  S - 2500 Yards (41:23 Minutes), R - 6.1 Miles (47:23 Minutes)
Friday: B - 23.71 Miles (72 Minutes)
Saturday: Day Off Packing
Sunday: Day Off Packing 

Swim Totals
2 hr 18 min
Bike Totals
63.53 Miles
3 hr 29 min
Run Totals
11.33 Miles
1 hr 27 min
Total Volume

7 hr 14 min

Well Monday was awesome on many levels, partially because we are so close to moving and things are all falling into their respective places.  We had to go pick out a washer and dryer, not my ideal way to have to drop a chunk of change, but it was needed, especially to clean my workout clothes!  Whew!  I had been home earlier in the evening or late afternoon and nothing had been delivered, but when we got back, a large box from none other than Kestrel!  

My 4000 came in SUPER fast!  Holy cow.  Too bad I was exhausted and about got it out of the box and gave up on it.  The good thing is I still am able to bike while I am putting it together and getting it all ready to roll out.  I hope to have it built up in the next week or so, but some things are in the works.  I need a new ISM Adamo Saddle since it permitted me to do my first 2 hour bike ride inside on the trainer.  There is another *secret* part that will be going on the bike, but I cannot tell you more.  I am sorry!  It would not be a secret then!  It will probably end up getting pushed out a bit further than I would like with the move and a delay in one of the parts, but I am looking forward to getting this ride outside!

The workweek was a blur with a lot of issues going on.  I managed to get my workouts for the week in, but I missed my weekend long workouts, 1:10 run and 2:15 ride due to packing boxes.  I am super excited to move, but I know my workouts will be tough this week since I will be time crunched with the move.  

Look for some small updates and maybe a post here and there, but this week will be full of activities, I even had to write a schedule out in addition to my workout schedule to see how I can manage to squeeze everything into the hours available.

I have been slacking like crazy on keeping up with blogs.  I am able to keep somewhat of an eye on Twitter, but I feel very disconnected the past week.  My blog to-read list is growing hourly!  I am even disappointed that I have not been able to get in my Recovery Pump all that much even after an 11 mile run or a 2 hour ride! 

I saw on someone's facebook that Knoxville is only around 60 days away! Holy cow, I feel like I have a lot to build to before I a am "ready."  By ready I mean to perform how I want, not to complete the distance.  Although it will be my first Olympic distance, I want to see what my body is capable of pushing.  

Friday, March 11, 2011

Compression Primer

Endurance athletes seem to be quite interested in new products to make them faster or perform at a higher level, some are even willing to pay a premium for them.  I wanted to write up a post that talks about one of these areas that may not be terribly new, but can be quite a source for confusion if you have not done your research... Compression!

Compression clothing is nothing new, in fact it has been around the medical industry for a long time and used for multiple reasons.  This product area has been ever growing in the endurance sport area to provide similar benefits to you as an athlete.  This posting will talk about many of the high level topics regarding compression in general and I will do some product review to follow based on my experiences.  I will be focusing on leg compression, although compression for the arms and torso does exist.

What is compression clothing?
Well, compression is applying force to compact an area or object. Take this idea and add it to clothing and we end up with a garment that is meant to apply pressure across an area of the body.  Medical grade compression clothing has been used to increase circulation in extremities.

How it works?
The best way to explain it can be summarized fairly easily without having a degree in fluid dynamics, although you could get a more scientific explanation than I will present, but that is not for everyone!  Remember when you were a kid, or maybe just a few months ago when you were running a garden hose without a nozzle on it.  There are a few ways to make water flow faster.  You can either turn the water pressure up at the faucet, or you can increase the pressure in the hose, by allowing a smaller hole for the water to exit.  If you turn the water on low, water flows freely from the end.  If you were to add a nozzle at the end or even your thumb to block some of the flow, the water exits the hose much faster than with a larger opening.

Think of your veins like the water hose.  We are making the water leave the hose by making more pressure in the hose.  Since we do not have a valve to control our veins, compression clothing helps to apply pressure on your legs typically to make the veins smaller, thus forcing blood to flow faster through your legs.

Ok so you now have the basic idea that compression clothing applies pressure to your legs to make blood flow quicker.  That is great, but why do we want to increase circulation?  Increased circulation allows fresh oxygen to be pumped into our muscles.  The more fresh blood that can be pumped through the body, the quicker nutrients are delivered to damaged muscles for recovery and lactic acids are flushed out.  Are you following the big picture now?

Compression > Increased circulation and blood flow > Enhanced Recovery > Fresher muscles

Why is it important to me?

The best part is that compression is applicable through all of the skill levels from beginner to experienced professional.  You may be an endurance athlete of many years, but I am sure you remember a time when you started exercising.  Think about it a minute...the first trip to the gym to lift and the stiffness that followed, your first run on a treadmill and how difficult it was to stand up from a chair for a few days, your first marathon and regretting the split level home which requires you to navigate steps, or maybe even your most recent 20 minute FTP test has made you walk funny.  These are just some of the reasons compression can benefit anyone at any skill level. 

Expending energy through a number of ways requires action from your muscles, when you are looking to increase the efficiency of those muscles, you are bound to experience some damage to the muscles, that is part of the process.  Break them down and let them recover, do this enough times and you will build strength or endurance.  Compression is not only for endurance athletes who run and bike hours at a time.  It can also be beneficial for a weight lifter or someone looking to add muscle.  The concept is the same, we are breaking our bodies down to get stronger and more efficient.

Have I made it clear that ANYONE can benefit from compression?  Good!

Why should I care?
No this is not a misprint!  The last section said why it is important to you, this section is why it is important to your body.  Yes we have discusses the benefits of what compression does, now why should you care?  Well to put it simply, to make yourself better.  If you are like the rest of the population, you are living in a world with a finite amount of time.  If you are not, please let me know as I have a few things I would like to discuss with you.  Maybe you are casual athlete who enjoys exercise to keep in shape (wait I thought round was a shape?) or maybe you are someone who can dedicate hour on end training, I will explain how each level get something from it.

Beginner - You are new to exercise or maybe endurance sports, looking to do an event for the first time
- Reduce soreness as you get your muscles active and in the habit of exercise
Novice - You have been working out fairly regularly, but want to get more serious without "being crazy"
- Increased intensity workouts, leaving you feeling sluggish in the other areas of life
- Minimize the impact of exercise on the rest of your life
Intermediate - Time crunched athlete, optimize the time you are not working out for full recovery
- You need to be 100% for your next session because your time is limited and your workouts are intense
Advanced - Significant training load, maybe training for long distance events
- You are asking a lot of your body, trying to keep up with nutrition and balancing life with long distances
- Thursday's track workout may impede your Saturday long ride.  Nutrition is on, but your muscles are slow to recover regardless
Professional - Recover muscles between intense sessions to allow for the highest level of quality workouts

As you can see, this ranges from the person starting to go to the gym to the professional who spends 30+ hours a week working out.  The main purpose, to get the muscles back to normal as fast as possible.

Since we have covered how it works, why it works, and who it works for, let's branch into some of the products available.  The clothing comes in a number of names, shapes, sizes, and options.  What differentiates between each?  While I will save you the specifics of my experiences so far to remain objective in this primer, do check back for my reviews of the products shortly.   

Brands -  2XU, Zoot, Sugio, Skins, CEP, SLS3, Recovery Sock, and the list goes on
Shapes -  Tights, socks, shorts, calf sleeves, bibs, etc
Grades\Patterns - Varying levels of compression though each brand, this relates to how much pressure they apply when worn.  This is partly subjective to the size of your leg in the clothing, but you understand that part (Fat guy in a little coat anyone?) As far as Patterns go, some compression is straight throughout the garment, others are gradient which changes say from the ankle to the knee.

Picking an application:
Let's start with the obvious, a sock is not going to help your quads recover nearly as well as tights would.  Determine what are of the body you are looking for.  When I first started it was my quads that I was trying to help, so I picked a pair of tights.  Since then I have shifted my running style and now find that my calves tend to be the most noticeably sore area after a run, so a pair of socks may be sufficient.  I will not go to the point of telling you which is best, but only offer some of these observations in my experience.

Tights - Great for full leg recovery, if you are a hot sleeper, this may not be a good choice if you want to sleep in them as your legs may get quite toasty depending on the material.  Can be worn under pants during the day if desired

Calf Sleeves - Specific focus area, can be sized to fit your calf, can be discretely worn under pants at work or when out and about

Socks - With many brands and styles out there now, you can get them in a variety of colors, black works great for someone looking to wear them during the day at work.  Provides more coverage than the sleeve.

Shorts - I only list shorts because I have seen multiple brands come out with new bike and tri shorts that are advertised to have compression.  This plays into the active vs recovery benefits of compression.  I am only aware of the Under Armor Compression under garments that come in a short or brief style

Air Leggings - If you have had a surgery, these are similar to the leggings they will put on your legs to prevent blood clots.  Some companies have branched into the endurance sort market with units you can use at home. 

Stay tuned for product reviews and maybe even a giveaway?!?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Weekly Ramblings - 2/28/2011

Another solid week.  Some hard efforts in the pool, testing week on the bike, and some hot runs.  Well the runs were hot in the sense of pace, not temperature.  My swim TT on Thursday got me out of my comfort zone and moving quickly in the water, something I am not used to, but it gave me a whole new perspective on hard workouts!  I think I really need to focus on form some more and maybe get some paddles to build my pull muscles.  My bike FTP has gone up again which shifts workouts, ones that were easier before are now taking some more effort.  Like Greg LeMond said, "It doesn't get easier, you just get faster"

Week 7 kicks off my Build phase.  Overall the first 6 weeks have gone well and I have seen gains.  I am a bit shocked that I am 1/3 of the way to Knoxville on this plan, but looking forward to the season kicking off. 

Week 6
Monday: S- 2200 Yards (40:27 Minutes)B- 14.69 Miles (51:06 minutes) - 20 Min FTP Test-238 Watts
Tuesday: R - 8.65 Miles (66:29 Minutes)
Wednesday: S - 2200 Yards (43:38 Minutes), B -16.11 Miles (56:26 Minutes) - 5 Min FTP Test-281 Watts
Thursday:  S - 1600 Yards (26:19 Minutes), R - 8.06 Miles (60 Minutes)
Friday: B -  20.61 Miles (71 Minutes)
Saturday: R - 11.04 Miles (93 Minutes)
Sunday:  B - 34.05 Miles (120 Minutes)

Swim Totals
6000 Yards
1 hr 50 min
Bike Totals
85.46 Miles
4 hr 58 min
Run Totals
27.75 Miles
3 hr 39 min
Total Volume

10 hr 27 min

I don't even remember much since I did not write this as the week went by, but it was a busy week.  Everything with the move is picking up speed, we got our place rented out in only a few short hours, and things are getting packed to move.  In addition to an awesome week training, I have been super busy at work, thankfully my workouts let me vent some of my stresses when I get home!  

This update is going to be real short since I cannot remember much, if it wasn't logged on a Garmin it is slipping my mind! 

I have been slacking like crazy on keeping up with blogs.  I am able to keep somewhat of an eye on Twitter, but I feel very disconnected the past week.  My blog to-read list is growing hourly!  I am even disappointed that I have not been able to get in my Recovery Pump all that much even after an 11 mile run or a 2 hour ride! 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Salmon Fillets and Spinach with Strawberry Salsa

I decided to make this with some salmon we had in the freezer, unfortunately it was not as good as if it would have been fresh, but overall this dish combines a bit of sweet and citrus with a wilted spinach to compliment the salmon filet.


  • 4 Salmon Fillets - skins removed
  • 1 tsp Lemon Zest
  • 1 lb strawberries - diced
  • 2 kiwis - peeled and diced
  • 1 cucumber - diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely minced
  • 2 T Chopped Fresh Mint Leaves
  • 2 T Lemon Juice
  • 1 lb baby spinach - rinsed, not dried
  • 1 T Lemon Pepper

 Preheat oven to 350.  Place salmon fillets on a baking sheet, sprinkle with lemon zest.  Bake 15-18 minutes

Combine strawberries, kiwi, cucumber, jalapeno, mint, and 1T lemon juice in a bowl and toss until uniform.  Do not cut your finger like I did, there you have been warned!

Heat a large pan with high sides over medium heat.  Add the freshly washed spinach, water should still be dripping from the leaves, cover and cook 5 minutes until wilted.  Add 1 T lemon juice and lemon pepper to taste. 

Place salmon on top of greens, top with salsa.  Serve immediately.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Nutrition Woes

You may have read my Weekly Rambling 1/31/11 that included Superbowl Sunday... yeah the one with the Smores dessert pizza that I oinked out on!  I thought about this post after reading a few articles and threads online about nutrition for endurance athletes.  It is no secret that shedding a few pounds helps performance, most if not all endurance athletes have thought about how their weight affects training, racing, and even everyday life at one point or another.  I have been clearly trying to cut out some of the junk from my diet to make a gradual transition into the season and get closer to that Racing Weight that we are all trying to hit.

Take a look at Andreas Raelert at Kona in 2010.   This guy is chiseled to the bone.  Is that realistic for all of us? Probably not, just as some people are born with an inherent ability to excel at one thing or another, we are not all graced with a metabolism that allows us to easily keep off pounds or lose what we have put on in the past. 

What became very apparent to me is not that we do not know how to do it, we have read the books, we have counted calories to make sure our body gets the nutrition it needs, but that there are things that get in the way of that.  A year ago or so my wife and I were discussing how every weekend seemed to be another excuse, so and so is coming to visit, so we will probably go out to eat.  Well Billy and Suzy are having people over, so we will probably eat crappy that day.  I am now realizing more and more, they are just what I called them, excuses.

The inspiration behind this post came from seeing someone post a thread about critiquing their nutrition habits.  I found that people are quick to jump on adding their two cents, yet by typical standards many cannot follow the same advise they provide.  I am in no way taking a dig at people for supplying comments, I think it is great to get multiple other opinions because maybe someone else can provide something we simply overlook.  I just found it amusing for some reason.

It is simple:
Calories In > Calories Out = Surplus = Weight Gain
Calories In < Calories Out = Deficit = Weight Loss (at some point also decreased performance)
Calories In = Calories Out = Neutral = No change

Since we have all seen the above equations, how do we stop making excuses for ourselves?  Try some of these helpful hints to eliminate some of your excuses.

  • Excuse 1: We are going over to someone's place to hang out.
    • Prepare food to take with and share.  Depending on the activity, find some healthy snacks you enjoy and can share with others such as Veggies and Hummus, Guacamole, or Fresh Salsa. 
  • Excuse 2: We are traveling a long ways.
    • Pack some snacks that travel well.  Try these homemade energy bars, lara bars, or fruit and veggies, a small cooler with some turkey and peppers for roll-ups is one of my favorite.
  • Excuse 3: We are going out to eat with someone.
    • Do your homework in advance.  If it is a chain restaurant, look up the menu online on their webpage or use the Livestrong Nutrition Guide to look up the best choice.  
  • Excuse 4: I have a sweet tooth and nothing works unless I have something sweet
    • Try some of the Chocolate Cheerios, these have become a staple, I keep a bag at work for an after lunch treat to satisfy that craving.  Also see that a piece of dark chocolate is a good way to remedy this.
I have been preparing this topic for a while and it slipped away, but I was reminded after reading Annie's Blog about her journey.  Many people ask what program she used, and she replied with something I could not agree more with, "It's not a program, I don't believe in programs, because they have an end. It is a lifestyle change."

I had set a goal on New Years Eve.. yes that was prior to the S'Mores pizza fiasco... to lose some weight.  At the time I was around 173 pounds.  This was a weight I used to think was my "ideal" weight, meaning I could eat without being too picky and exercise on a regular basis, but not crazy endurance sport like hours.  Having read the Matt Fitzgerald book about Racing Weight, I decided this is the season to race at a lower (yet still healthy) weight, and do it properly.  Last year I dropped to 163 at my lowest, and was physically exhausted, I am not sure how many hours  week I was putting in, but it was probably to the tune of around 8 or so.  I did it by basically depriving my body of nutrition, which lead to fatigue quickly.  This would explain why my performance flat-lined or got even slower as the year went on.

After seeing that trend last year, I knew something had to give.  I have taken a whole new approach to nutrition and am feeling great!  2/7 Weekly Ramblings outlined a typical day for me now.  As you can see, I still include snacks, I love Laughing Cow cheese with some pretzels or Wheat Thins.  I also still get some sweets, be it Dove Dark Chocolates, ok you got me, I also have some of the Butterfinger Chocolate Eggs, and yes last night I had a bowl of frozen yogurt with toppings (choc syrup, butterscotch chips, coconut, and caramel)

The most important part is the most basic principle, calories in < calories out to lose weight.  I don't know my exact numbers in and out, and frankly I have not added up workout caloric expenditures, but I have been able to judge by my energy levels that I am getting what I need without starving my body.  I am now at 160, a goal I had set for my Rev3 Knoxville Olympic race.  While I have met the goal, still have the energy for workouts (and my hours are growing above 10/week), and love seeing some definition, I do know I am not at my ideal race weight.  I still have plenty of body fat that could go.  A steady course on nutrition combined with consistency in workouts should allow me to continue shedding that excess fat and convert some to muscle as my strength and endurance goes up.

The most exciting part is yet to come.  How do these results translate to racing?  I just completed my FTP tests again and both my 20 minute power and 5 minute power increased by over 10 watts each.  As my wattage continues to grow, and body weight drops, I see my watts/kg growing.  I have been able to push the bike pretty well in the past on lower numbers, so I am itching to get outside and see how much it has given me in the real world!

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    Product Review: First Endurance Ultragen

    Although I will put a disclaimer out that First Endurance is one of the team sponsors for Trakkers, I am not afraid to take an open look at a product and let you know how it worked for me. I am a firm believer that just because just because a product is good for one does not make it good for everyone. This is my first experience with First Endurance products, so look forward to more reviews of some others in the future as I work them into my training regiment. 

    I had heard stories, read reviews and tweets, everything except actually trying Ultragen.  My typical recovery drink has been about 12oz of Skim Milk mixed with Hersey's Chocolate Syrup.  It is a good treat after a workout, not too expensive to make, and we typically have milk in the house.  Recently, I have not been terribly sore, maybe because many of my base workouts are not super high intensity, but my volumes have been higher than normal so I do find a need to recover properly, especially after a longer run.  This seems to be my nemesis and takes the longest to recover from, especially if the pace is slightly hot.

    About the Product:
    Here is the snippet from First Endurance about the product:

    A list of all ingredients and nutritional information:

    Supplement Facts
    Serving Size: 2 Scoops (91g) makes 12 fluid ounces
      Amount Per Serving %DV
    Calories 320 
    Calories from fat 0 
    Total fat 0 g 0%
    Cholesterol 0 g 0%
    Total Carbohydrate (100% from Dextrose) 60g 20%
    Sugars 60 g **
    Protein (from Whey Protein Isolate, Milk Protein Isolate, Hydrolyzed Whey Protein) 20 g 40%
    Vitamin A (as beta-carotene) 2,500 IU 50%
    Vitamin C (as ascorbic acid and calcium ascorbate) 400mg 670%
    Vitamin D (as Cholecalciferol) 200 IU 50%
    Vitamin E (as natural d-alpha tocopherol) 400 IU 1250%
    Vitamin B1 (as thiamin mononitrate) 8 mg 500%
    Vitamin B2 (as riboflavin) 8.5 mg 500%
    Niacin (as niacinimide) 20 mg 100%
    Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxine hydrochloride) 8 mg 500%
    Folate (as folic acid) 200 mcg 50%
    Vitamin B12 (as cyanocobalamin) 6 mcg 100%
    Biotin 150 mcg 50%
    Pantothenic Acid (as d-calcium pantothenate) 20mg 200%
    Calcium (as Calcium carbonate, calcium ascorbate and from Whey Isolate and Milk Isolate ) 500mg 50%
    Phosphorous (from Milk Isolate) 105mg 11%
    Magnesium (as magnesium oxide) 250mg 65%
    Zinc (as zinc oxide) 7.5mg50%
    Chloride (as sodium and potassium chloride) 150mg 4%
    Sodium (as sodium chloride and from Milk Isolate and Whey Isolate) 350mg 15%
    Potassium (as potassium chloride and from Whey Isolate and Milk Isolate) 200mg 6%
    BCAA's† (Leucine, Valine, Iso-Leucine) 4.5g *
    Glutamine† 6g *
    *Daily Value Not Established
    **Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

    † Typical Amino Acid profile
    Glutamine 6000mg
    Isoleucine 1163mg
    Leucine 2135mg
    Valine 1211mg
    Tyrosine 806mg
    Threonine 1135mg
    Alanine 866mg
    Gycine 392mg
    Aspartic Acid 1817mg
    Cystine/Cystein 272mg
    Serine 1054mg
    Lysine 1738mg
    Methionine 479mg
    Phenylalanine 806mg
    Proline 1597mg
    Tryptophan 324mg
    Histidine 476mg

    In a nutshell, Ultragen is packed full of nutrients to help your body recover properly.  A 3 to 1 ratio of Carbs to Protein makes sure you are refueling your muscle stores and are giving them the right amount to rebuild for the next workout. 

    Why I Am Hooked:
    I tried the Cappuccino flavor first.  I now understand the hype around this!  It was great.  I only ever got a small smell of protein drink, but none of the taste I typically associate with a protein or recovery drink.

    The second thing that I really like about Ultragen is that it mixes well with water.  Chocolate Milk requires lets see.... milk, and leaving that out in the warm weather at a race is not recommended.  Protein powder always seems to work better when mixed with milk and not water, or tastes better at least, here again the same issue.  Ultragen is great because you could pop a scoop into a water bottle, then post race fill it up with water and be ready to go without worrying about getting ill from spoiled milk.   The critical time to consume the recovery drink is within 15-30 minutes post-workout.  Unless you are racing in your backyard, you will probably be able to find water more easily than milk in that time frame, especially when you are waiting for the awards ceremony!

    I am glad to have tried Ultragen and will continue to purchase and use the product.  I have seen how well my muscles are able to recover and be prepared for the next workout.  I am glad to see products being developed that stick to their claim and perform!  Looking forward to trying some of the other flavors in future orders!  This stuff is tasty!

    Weekly Ramblings - 2/21/2011

    Although a day late, better late than never!
    This week was getting back into base training, although I had some issues with scheduling due to a crazy end of the week at work plus being on-call.  Regardless, I managed to get my 3rd swim in on Saturday morning, but lacked my longer run and bike this week.  I will just chalk it up to getting some recovery for my FTP tests this week.

    Week 6
    Monday: S- 2000 Yards (28:32 Minutes)B- 21.08 Miles (72:26 minutes)
    Tuesday: R- 6.62 Miles (54:53 Minutes)
    Wednesday: S- 2100 Yards (40:12 Minutes), B- 17.56 Miles (61:37 Minutes) 
    Thursday:  R- 7.60 Miles (61:54 Minutes)
    Friday: B - 22.27 Miles (80:44 Minutes) - Used last weeks numbers since I did not have sensor hooked up
    Saturday: S-  2100 Yards (34:24 Minutes)
    Sunday:  Day Off

    Swim Totals
    6200 Yards
    1 hr 43 min
    Bike Totals
    60.91 Miles
    3 hr 45 min
    Run Totals
    14.22 Miles
    1 hr 56min
    Total Volume

    7 hr 22 min

    I am alright with this weeks numbers, it was a crazy week, and I can use the recovery.  As busy as I was over the weekend, I managed to negate the effects of eating out a few times.  We had Granite City Friday night and PF Changs for lunch Saturday.  Both were delicious, but I felt a bit guilty, plus Subway Sunday night.  As if that wasn't a shock to my system, I made some 7-layer bars (actually 6 due to not putting nuts in)  They are made with graham cracker crust, butter, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, sweetened condensed milk, and coconut  shavings.  They were amazing, so amazing I ate nearly the whole batch this weekend with only a tiny bit of help from the Mrs.  For not having 2 workouts, I was glad to see the scale Monday morning was right what I wanted to see (optimistically, not just factoring in the foods consumed.)

    The week was rough at work with some major support issues especially towards the end of the week, plus having to log in and work over the weekend!  UGH!  I did manage to get some time to work on this new secret I have yet to unveil, called Project X.  Yeah yeah not real original, but it works.  There have been some guesses, none have quite gotten it right, but I have hinted to it in the past either on the blog or on Twitter at @jvanistri

    One of the closest guesses was that I got my Kestrel bike in from Trakkers.  While I did make up my mind that I will be going with the Kestrel 4000, because it is one sexy machine, that was not right.  The day I announced the secret, was also the day I put my order in for the 4000.  I went with a 50cm.  Yes that is correct, a 50cm, I still have sticker shock hearing that since I have been on a 54 P2.  I have checked, double-checked, and triple-checked, and all signs say that I am good to ride on 50, which should allow me to get some good drop and position out of it.

    If you happened to miss my announcements on Twitter, here are a few pics to tease.

    On the way to the bike shop to chop chop.

    Lil Jon says it best "Get Low"

    I have another piece arriving today, and hopefully some of the finishing touches to arrive later this week before the big unveiling. Sunday night I about gave up on my wrench skills and was going to take the bike in for some adjustments on Saturday, then patience struck, I walked away a while, and came back to get everything working. 

    The weekend was also super busy because we I finally got unlazy and listed our place for rent since we are moving in 3 weeks!  I listed it around 7:30 AM on Sunday, by 4:30 we had renters.  I could not have imagined it would be this easy, and the best part, it is a 2 year lease!  Heck Yeah!  Our place is nice, there is no doubt about it, and it shows well, so I figured it would be popular, but I was not ready for it to go in such short time, but I will not argue.  I realize that I am doing something that they explained on NCIS called a positive complaint, or something like that.  I am making something great, sound negative.  Their best example, "My size 2 jeans don't fit anymore, they are too baggy!"  That cracked me up.  Now we just have to focus on packing and getting stuff moved to the new place! 

    This team I tell ya! What a positive group of people ready to offer encouragement at the drop of a pin.  They are fired up for training, and some are even racing already!  Lucky ducks! Make sure to look at the Trakker Blog List to see what they are up to.  On another positive note, I happened to be the lucky winner of not one but TWO of Kelly's Spring Giveaways.  I am super pumped.  The first is a gift card for CSN Stores.  I have been wondering how we are going to fill up some space in the new place, maybe I will buy something for the home there.  A nice wine rack maybe? Or a hall bench with storage, need to do some more looking for what they have to offer there!

    Secondly, I am thrilled to have won the RunningFood one as well.  I have had some chia before, and while I do not expect to run endless miles like many who read Born To Run do, I do believe in the benefits it can offer.  I have mixed it before with yogurt for a little extra.  This will be my first experience with RunningFood, I will be sure to let you know how it goes!

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