Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Good eats

I have been trying a bunch of new recipes lately, mostly eating Paleo style, I am going to start taking photos and posting them along as we go.  The problem is not many of them last very long as they have been really tasty!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Team Sponsor: Powerbar

Another announcement can be found on the new blog about our newest Team Sponsor - Powerbar

Team Sponsor: Pearl Izumi

Check out this awesome new posting about our newest Team Sponsor - Pearl Izumi

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mental Toughness Tricks

New blog posting at my new home:  Mental Toughness Tricks

Setbacks, Training, and Progressing

Find my newest posting on my new blog:

Monday, February 20, 2012

Spring Cleaning and Moving Out

With the weather we have had recently (shhh it is supposed to snow tonight... ) I figured this would be a good time to refine my blog a little.  Along with trying to cleanup the look, I am moving!  That is right, I have jumped ship and will be migrating to wordpress.  Actually, why don't you head over there and let me know what you think.  New Blog

Please follow the blog, subscribe, and post there.  While I will be keeping both sites active a while, I would like traffic to dwindle down here and start up over there.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Product Review: Yurbuds

As someone who enjoys technology, I am always looking for products that address issues with the majority of other products on the market. I was recommended Yurbuds by a fellow athlete, so after a little investigation and a few emails, the folks at Yurbuds agreed to send me a pair of Yurbud Ironman Inspire Headphones to review for my readers.

I was excited to receive these headphones and I must say I am not one to normally run with headphones, but I was intrigued by the design and what they "claim."  I think the reason I do not use headphones when running more often is due to the issue that Yurbuds is supposed to solve... falling out while running. I will start the review off by saying my review is going to be all-inclusive from all aspects of the headphones.

This is where Yurbuds shine. The unique design is a bridge between an in ear headphone (think iPod earphone) versus an in-ear, noise isolating headphone that fits into your ear canal. Yurbuds are designed like an outer ear headphone for comfort, but include a rubber gasket that fits over the headphone and channels the sound into the inner ear canal. This unique design allows Yurbuds to "lock" into place. When inserting the earbuds, you place the narrow tube into the inner ear, and rotate the speaker base/wire end to lock them in your ear. This design allows the earbuds to stay in place when the cord shuffles around with your body movement.

You can see in the first picture, the Yurbud is inserted at a 90 degree angle to how it is worn, or parallel to the ground.  A simple rotation, and you end up locking it into place.  The next picture shows me pulling on the cord to show the tension and the Yurbud still in place.  

I have never been a fan of behind the ear headphones, as they typically make the tops of my ears hurt, so I have always been an in-ear person.  Regardless if I use the noise isolating or outer ear bud style, they always seem to come loose as I run, causing degraded sound performance as well as distracting me to re-adjust on the go.  At some point, I will just get frustrated and pull them out of my ears to go without.  

My test runs have resulted in amazing results so far. I have done some harder interval workouts as well as some long runs with zero issues of Yurbuds falling out or feeling like they are slipping.  I am one who sweats a fair amount, so having the buds slip out is something that happens quickly and quite often. I was surprised to never encounter any issues with Yurbuds feeling like they were slipping out of my ears.

Note these runs include both treadmill and outdoor run.  I also have used them with multiple layers, a hat, or without a shirt.  All cases resulted in the same result, uninterrupted music!  I typically run the cable up my shirt and out the neck of the shirt, but tested with the cord both inside and outside of my shirt.  All cases are equal.  The only complaint I had with the cord outside my shirt, is just the movement you would typically get.  Occasionally I would catch the cord with my hand, and even in this case, the buds did not pop out like an in-ear bud would have.

Another note about the cord.  It is constructed with a Kevlar cable.  This is another piece that some people may not think about, but you do notice after using for a while.  I did a number of runs outside when it was bitter cold.  The typical rubber cords get very stiff and rigid in the cold weather.  The Kevlar cord did stiffen up a little, but it was always quite flexible and never froze.  A small detail, but when someone puts this kind of attention into a small detail, you know you are on to something!

A+ for performance and functionality!

I am used to a set of in-ear noise isolating set of headphones that I typically use. As many know, an in-ear headphone can sometimes cause discomfort after extended use, even if sized properly. In order to isolate noise, it has to create a seal in the inner ear canal. Whlie Yurbuds are NOT noise-isolating, they do port the music to the inner ear, so you get some noise reduction. I believe the design is specifically built to allow the user to still hear their surroundings for safety. I am not one who condones using headphones while on the bike, so that case does not apply for me.  I understand the reasoning about wanting to hear your surroundings, but personally, I would rather take the responsibility and be more observant and have isolated music.

After some of my longer runs, I did feel a little discomfort in my ear due to the size of the ear-buds. It was not significant, I could just tell that something had been in my ear. I would rate comfort right in the middle of the range. The Yurbuds are not overly comfortable or un-comfortable. I am happy with how they feel after extended lengths of time.

Here is where things are going to get ugly. I am somewhat of an audiophile. While I am not as extreme as some people get, I have always been a big fan of music.  I like to listen to good quality music. If you go out an purchase an iPod, iPhone, etc. You get the white headphones which work if you do not want to spend money.  I am also one to watch for good deals and for 10-15 dollars more I can get a pair of headphones/earbuds that are many times better than what you get with your first purchase. I have a set of noise-isolating earbuds that I purchased about 3 years ago for 20 dollars. They have been awesome and are what I use for a benchmark. The sound they create is phenomenal for the price.

I understand that Yurbuds are not aimed at the audiophile, but more the athlete, so sound quality is compromised with functionality to hit a price point.

My feedback to the folks at Yurbuds would be to re-design the inner ear canal section of the cover. I would love to see this become noise-isolating. I think the headphones could also benefit from a better driver. I have found that I am missing some punch from the bass in most cases. The sound often seems muffled. I will say it is better than 95% of stock headphones I have used, there is a good room for improvement in order to better provide sound quality.  

Yurbuds go out to solve a problem for athletes and accomplish it hands down. If your concern is having your headphones secure in your ears, Yurbuds are for you. While they make a few different models, my review focuses specifically on the Ironman Inspire model. The Inspire Pro model includes a mic that can be used as a headset for your phone. 

One thing that crossed my mind was to find another pair of ear-bud headpones with better sound quality and remove the gasket found on Yurbuds to use on those. The biggest trick would be finding something with good sound at a reasonable price point that is also the same form factor as the Yurbud units. All in all, this could get to be quite costly, but could get you the best of both worlds. I hope that they hear feedback and redesign a unit to be noise-isolating for those of us who like to tune out and enjoy the music.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Week 2: Jan 23 - Jan 29

The past two weeks have flown by in the blink of an eye.  It was full of work, meetings, evening activities, appointments, and some training, and family health issues.

The past two weeks have been good to me for workouts.  I was out of town in Week 2 and missed my long ride (1.5 hours) so that was unfortunate, but in the long run, probably pretty insignificant.  Week 3 got hit over the head with a hammer.  I knocked out all workouts except one recovery run.  I felt that I would be better suited just recovering and taking it off that particular day.

Week 2 Totals:
Swim: 5950 Yards, 1 Hour 50 Minutes
Bike: 51.6 Miles, 3 Hours 0 Minutes
Run:  24 Miles, 3 Hours 22 Minutes
Total: 8 Hours 13 Minutes

Week 3 Totals:
Swim: 8200 Yards, 2 Hour 31 Minutes
Bike:  Miles, 4 Hours 47 Minutes
Run: 30 Miles, 4 Hours 04 Minutes
Total: 11 Hours 22 Minutes

There are never good times in life to lose a loved one, but I trust in knowing it was the right time.  My grandpa was taken in for pneumonia and ended up having lung cancer over the past couple of weeks.  He passed away this weekend.  I know he is in a better place now, but it is still sinking in for me.

Short post, but has my info.  Look for more a bit later this week. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Week-in-Review: Week 1 - Jan 16-22

This post is coming a bit late, and "unrefined" no pictures, just text, otherwise it is going to get too late to post it, so here goes.

The time has come to get serious about my 2012 seasons.  The holidays are over, the snacks are gone, the weight is not, and anticipation is building every day for what this season has in store.  I will be starting up my weekly reviews again to summarize the week in training, life, and happenings.

Let me start by saying I have a number of product reviews in the works.  I had an influx of them all at once, which was very welcome, but also a little daunting.  Keep an eye out over the coming weeks.  I will have the following:

  • H20 Audio Waterproof Case/Headphones Product Review
  • Brooks Pure Flow Product Review
  • Yurbuds Headphone Product Review
  • Finis SwiMp3 Product Review
  • and more...
Week 1 of my training plan.  This is the start to a 16 week program leading me into REV3 Knoxville.  You may remember my race-recap from last year and if not, just click the link.  I am thrilled to have this race on my schedule again this year.  It was a great venue and very well run.  It had a big race feel, without being chaotic.  The course was AMAZING!  I really would love to get my hands on a good HD Video Camera and record the route to play while I am stuck on the trainer, but I digress.

I am writing my own plans by incorporating a few different plans and process that have been adapted to my goals. So what does a typically week look like?  Great question!

Swims: I am feeling good in the water recently, not super speedy, but good.  I have some work to rebuild my endurance at speed.  In contrast, last year I swam 3x a week.  I have upped the volume some this year and have included a fourth workout.  I have given myself some flexibility on the 4th workout to float since I mostly swim over lunch during the week.

Bike: Build build build build. I think Chris Lieto could tell you the best that a strong bike does not always translate to overall results, but I realize that I have room to grow on the bike.  I have not hit my limit where returns start to diminish significantly.  After my accident last year, my break took its toll on my leg endurance.  I am getting it back, but I am sticking to my guns on bike workouts this year.  They will include 3 specific sessions to build during the week, and a longer ride on the weekend.

Run: All things considered, I feel pretty good about where I am at for my run.  I am not going to go out and drop a 20 minute 5k in the next month, I would be stretched to hit 21 flat I think.  I have been dabbling with the BarryP running theology from Slowtwitch and it has been good to me so far.  This includes 6 runs a week.  The concept is easy to understand when you fully "get it" but trying to explain it always causes me troubles.  You have 3 runs a week (3 recovery, 2 harder, 1 long) These runs vary in distance based on the length of your short runs(1:2:3).  IE Your short runs may be 20 minutes, the hard runs are 40 minutes, and the long run is 60.)

The goal is to get more running done in a week, without the added stress of bigger mile days.

So my week looks like this:

  • Morning Recovery Run
  • Lunch Swim
  • Evening Bike
  • Lunch Swim
  • Evening Hard Run
  • Morning Recovery Run
  • Lunch Swim
  • Evening Bike
  • Lunch Swim
  • Evening Hard Run
  • Morning Recovery Run
  • Lunch Swim
  • Evening Bike
  • Long Run
  • Long Ride
Add in daily core workouts (not recorded, just doing it daily)

Week 1 Totals:
Swim: 5500 Yards, 1 Hour 40 Minutes
Bike: 69 Miles, 4 Hours 2 Minutes
Run: 24 Miles, 3 Hours 29 Minutes
Total: 9 Hours 10 Minutes

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

2012 Revolutions

I have always been hesitant to use the term resolution mostly because I associated it with not being happy and wanting to change.  What better time for a resolution than the new year... a new start... a fresh slate... The only problem is the reset button on the scale does not take away the countless trips past the snacks on the counter, grabbing one delectable treat each time.  I do have weight-loss as one of my "resolutions", which I will get to in a while, but there are a number of things I just would like to see happen in 2012, so rather than calling them resolutions, I am calling them Revolutions 

Although one definition of resolution is:
the act of resolving or determining upon an action or courseof action, method, procedure, etc."  

I do prefer this definition to what it is in my head, but I have decided to take 2012 in the direction of revolution:
"a sudden, complete or marked change in something"

I am in the progress of making a Vision Board for 2012.  Sure some may call it corny, but it motivates me to do things, reminds me of my goals, and what drives me... without my negative connotation of resolutions.  I am very happy with life right now, I have an amazing wife and two baby boys that can make the worst day at work seem insignificant. Working with the Miracle Kids Triathlons in Minneapolis as well as the partnership that Rev3 has with Ulman Cancer Fund, I know that I am lucky to worry about when I will get my next workout in.  It puts things into perspective when you know there are others out there who just wonder if they will be around tomorrow.

It is no secret that my 2011 racing season was cut short.  That just drives me to make 2012 even better and enjoy it even more.

So without further delay, here are some of my 2012 Revolutions - 

  • Spend some time each day reading a devotional and bible verses, reflecting on what they mean to me
  • Be the best dad I can to Carter and Caleb
  • Cleaner eating - less sugar and sweets, more fruits and veggies
  • Limit eating out to no more than one meal a week
  • Smarter choices when I do eat out
  • Stay injury free!!!
    • Race weight by REV3 Knoxville 160-163 lbs (Jan 1 - 185 lbs)
    •   REV3 Knoxville Olympic - 2:15
    •        REV3 Wisconsin Dells - 2:15
    •         REV3 Cedar Point - Sub 5  
    • I recently read on Joel's Blog that he wanted to swim 250,000 yards in 2012.  That number seems large, but when broken down, only amounts to 4800 a week.  Did you know that a quarter million yards is over 10,000 laps in my pool?  It comes out to over 142 miles.. just over the distance of an Ironman race.  I am adding this to my to do list for 2012.
    • I also saw a lot of chatter about people doing a swim set: 100x100s.  Yep 10,000 Yards in one workout.  Yep... 5.68 miles!  Add that to the list as well.
    • Increase FTP on the bike - 260 is the target
    • Maintain sub 7s on a 10k
    • More sub 20 minute 5ks!

    Saturday, January 7, 2012

    REV3 Run Across America

    I am going to preface this post by saying how I am continuously amazed by the REV3 organization.  I am grateful to have gotten in with Team Trakkers in 2011, which has now turned into Team REV3.  One reason I keep interested in the sport is because I have passion behind what I do, and being able to surround myself with people with a similar passion is contagious.  It was recently announced that REV3 will be running across America!

    The Details:
    Starting Monday, March 26, some of the REV3 staff as well as some of the Age Group Team members will start their journey to run across North America from Oceanside, California to Washington, D.C., over 3000 miles, in only 21 days.

    The run is to raise awareness and $100,000 for The Ulman Cancer Fund.  Take a look at the page, read some of the stories, and be inspired!  I know everyone out there has their own situation and may only be able to donate a few dollars and a few others who could afford to add a few zeros.  Do not think for one minute that your contribution is too small.  Just as 3000 miles in 21 days is a large task, the only way to do it is in smaller segments.

    If you have been around long enough, or poked at my history, you will see how I got started in endurance sports... by setting a goal, something that seemed so far that it was almost out of reach.  This is a heck of a feat, and at first mention, I wanted to be a part!  Unfortunately I will not be able to join the team doing the actual run, but many of the AG team have vowed to run "along side" the team.  We will be logging our daily miles and encourage others to do the same.

    I challenge anyone reading this to make a pledge to run with the team during these 21 days.  Do you have a resolution to run your first 5k, first triathlon or marathon, or a seasoned veteran?  Challenge yourself during this period to run each day, even if it is only for a mile, you will feel much more tied to the cause.

    I have pledged to donate $10 for every missed normal workout starting today until they finish.
    I also pledge to run at least 1 mile each day that they are running with a $10 dollar donation for any day missed.

    Feel free to click the following banner to make a donation and support this great cause!

    Here are a few quick links to keep up to date with fundraising progress, Ulman Fund, and Rev3:

    Ulman Cancer Fund
    REV3 Triathlon

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