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Have you ever (come on, all of us have done it) made an impulse purchase of exercise equipment or a food product that made claims to do fantastic things for your health or fitness?

 

This purchase may have been made years ago or recently.

 

The product may be a total bust - even if you used it as directed, you won't get the six-pack abs.

 

The product may actually work, but you don't use it. It sits in your house taking up room, gathering dust or you use it for some purpose other than what it was designed to do.

 

Tell me your story ~

756 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: exercise_gimmicks, nutrition_gimmicks, impulse_purchases

I received this e-mail from one of my athletes in Kona preparing for the Hawaiian Ironman:

 

Bad news – My new custom, casted orthotics which arrived last week are not good; got a big blister on the lateral side of my left foot.

 

I wrote back:

 

See if you can duct tape your foot in the area of the hot spot. (Of course cover the blister so the duct  tape doesn't tear the skin  off.) Baby powder or talc the edges of the tape to keep the sticky stuff from gathering dirt.

 

Today’s feedback:

 

Blisters not a problem ... love the duct tape.

 

This foot care trick is used often by ultrarunners and hikers.

1,054 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: foot_blisters, duct_tape

When I was in Hungary for the 2010 ITU World Championships and Congress, I had the opportunity to eat some traditional Hungarian food. When I visit a new country I try to eat the foods that are typical to that country or region. On one evening, several of us visited an excellent restaurant, Babel.

 

Just for you, blog readers, I brought home a menu and photos of the meal. The boldface print is, of course, Hungarian. Take note of the number of special characters. The English translation is second, followed by a recommended wine. I did not go for the wine with each course or cheese plate options. Sadly, I don’t have a photo of the second course. The dill foam was fantastic.

 

magyar menu hungariqn menu

 

barackos kacsmáj torta mandulaá ropogóssal, kacsamájhab és chutne

apricot duck foie gras cake with alrnond crisp,

duck foie gras foam and chutney

dobogó mylitta

 

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céklás galamb consommé cékla zselével galambmellel és

wonton tésztában töltött galambcomb rilettel

beetroot pigeon consommé with beetroot jelly, breast of pigeon

and wonton pasta stuffed with pigeon rilette

 

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pisztráng kárpáthy módra tök pürével, kaporolajjal, kaporhabbal,

folyaml rákkal, gombával és rák jus-vel

"karpathy" trout with squash purée, dill oil, dill foam, crayfish, mushrooms,

and crayfish jus

laposa juhfark

magyaros borjú szűz pirított csontvelővel, bébi poréhagymával,

cukorborsóval, lecsóval és burgonyával

Hungarian veal tenderloin with sautéed bone marrow, baby leeks, mangetc Hungarian "Iecsó" and potatoes

vylyan cabernet franc

 

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almás pite aludttej fagylalttal

apple pie with curd milk ice cream

demeter zoltán tokaji cuvée late harvest 2007

 

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*sajttál

cheese plate

kiss gábor rnerum 2006

946 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: pigeon, hungarian_food, bone_marrow

As we head into the last quarter of the year, some triathletes are racing while others are taking a break before beginning a new training block. Those that are taking a break will often ask, “How can I keep some of my hard-earned speed, while still taking the break I need to allow my body to recover?”

 

No one, not even the world’s top athletes, can maintain race form all year round. Though you can’t keep top form all year, you can minimize fitness losses. One way to keep some speed work included in your running, without doing mentally and physically exhausting intervals is to include race-pace, or slightly faster, running in their program at least twice per month. Some will include these intervals once per week.

 

You can do this on the road if you have a monitor that displays pace or you can go to the track. After a good warm-up, do 3 to 6 fast run segments that are 20 to 60 seconds long. Make the fast segments at race pace or slightly faster.

 

These short, fast run segments keep your legs and head used to the feeling of running fast without the fatigue of interval sessions reserved for race season.

 

When you go to add speed work back to your training mix, you'll find the time required to feel like running fast again is significantly reduced, compared to when you spend your off season running slow, easy miles.

561 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: running, triathlon, running_speed, off_season

In just a few days, triathletes from around the world will gather in Budapest Hungary for the Dextro Energy ITU World Championship Grand Finale. In a Twitter post, I posted a link to the USA Triathlon press release noting that Team USA is sending more than 400 of the nation’s fastest athletes to compete in sprint and Olympic distance non-drafting triathlon; aquathlon; paratriathlon; and junior, U-23 and elite draft-legal World Championship events. Check this list to see if anyone you know is racing next weekend.

 

On the official site for the Grand Finale you can see inspiring video showcasing clips from races around the world. In addition to a full schedule of racing, the international governing body for triathlon gathers for the annual congress meeting and various committee meetings. I was elected to the Constitution Committee a few years back and will attend the related meetings.

 

Of course it’s always fun to stay and watch all of the world-class racing too – best wishes to all racers.

 

I see from the weather predictions that I need to pack rain gear. It’s looking like high 60s, low 70s and rain for some of the days. 

657 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: usa_triathlon, itu_congress, itu_world_championship

On Friday I took my LOOK to the Peloton Cycles bike spa for an end of the season visit. The short story is that Stewart Pomeroy found several issues that required more TLC, so I left it at Peloton for all necessary repairs and adjustments.

 

As luck would have it, the Specialized demo truck was in town for some test-ride opportunities. Lucky me, because Steve Marshall (Peloton manager) coordinated a deal with Scott (last name?), the demo truck driver, that allowed me to take the Specialized 2011 Epic Carbon 29er (aluminum rear triangle) for a couple of rides.

 

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I’ve wanted to try a 29er for awhile now and this was a great opportunity. Here are the things I noticed:

 

What I liked

  • One of the best advertised features of a 29er is the ability to roll over rocky, technical sections with greater ease – when compared to a 26-inch wheel. Without a doubt, it delivered in this category.
  • With the longer wheel base, bigger tires and longer cranks (compared to the LOOK), I felt I had more time to view a section of the trail before picking a line. (Yeah, I know some people will say “just tank over everything with those big wheels,” but I prefer to be more selective) 
  • With those longer cranks, wheel base and bigger tires I was able to power my way (standing and seated) over obstacles. The LOOK would have shown me more action and in some cases popped me off.
  • It was easier to balance and I felt stable. Not once did I feel I would pitch over the handlebars.
  • I did ride some rocky sections I haven’t been over on the LOOK.
  • Sometimes the LOOK is a little twitchy. There is no twitchy in a 9er.

 

What surprised me

  • I didn’t think I’d have enough low-end gears with the 2 x 10; but for as much as I rode (on the bike some 6 hours in two days) I was fine.
  • I’ve been told 29ers were hard to handle tight corners; but I didn’t find it any more difficult than on my LOOK. In fact, there is one tight right corner that I’m 50-50 on the LOOK. I made it on the 29er.
  • The rear tire had very low profile tread. For the trails near my house, I thought I’d be spinning out a lot with this tire selection. I didn’t. Some small adjustments in body weighting on the bike and I was able to ride the sections I normally ride. Perhaps with a more aggressive rear tire, I could ride sections that I haven’t rode on the LOOK?
  • The last time I rode a bike with “the brain” technology, I didn’t like it. I could feel it switching on and off and there were times I thought it switched one way or the other and I didn’t like the switch. Specialized has improved this technology in the past few years.

 

What I wasn’t crazy about

  • With longer cranks, it seems like I was pedal striking a lot. I think this could be worked out over time and just learning a new riding style. (It also requires a new level of trust in the equipment. I wasn’t sure I could ride the 29er through some sections. With hindsight, I think learning the bike’s capabilities would allow me to ride more sections.)
  • At 2.84 pounds heavier than my LOOK, at 27.92 pounds, on the longer climbs I felt the extra weight. (I know, I know, just lose 3 pounds of a$$-fat and it is a break-even deal.)
  • There were some parts of the trail that the bike didn’t feel responsive and light. I’m accustomed to a light and responsive feel to the ride.

 

It was a great couple of days on the trails and fun to try a new bike. There were lots of people were out today. We started with eight of us (see more photos below) at the Coyote Ridge trailhead and we met another five people we knew out riding.

 

Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend ~

 

 

Below, Steve and Paul Douglas.

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Left to right: Eric Houck, Todd Singiser, Ryan Lewandowski, Bill Danielson

 

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Above, Eric going up, below...coming back down.

 

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Valley view...

 

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4,009 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: mountain_bike, look, specialized_2011_epic_29er

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been working on a two-part column series addressing acclimatizing to heat and humidity. You can find Part I at this link and Part II here.

 

The volume of information available on body temperature regulation, performance and all issues related is overwhelming. Boiling the information down into two columns was a challenge.

 

In my research review process, I found the information posted in the last blog, letting you know that there are gender differences in sweat rates.

 

Another interesting tidbit I wanted to share with you is from a University of Oregon research paper titled “Heat Acclimation Improves Exercise Performance”. The study was designed to examine the impact of heat acclimation on improving exercise performance in a cooler environment.

 

Twelve trained cyclists completed VO2max, time trial performance (I’m not sure of the time or distance) and lactate threshold tests in both a cool (13 C = 55 F) and hot (38 C = 100 F) environment both before and after a heat acclimatization program. Those results were compared to eight control subjects that completed the same tests before and after; but their exercise program (identical to the 12 subjects) was conducted in cool (13 C = 55 F) conditions.

 

You would likely expect the heat acclimatized group to improve in the hot conditions, compared to the control group – and they did. What you might not expect is that the heat acclimatized group improved performance in cool conditions after the heat acclimatization program.

 

While the control group had no changes in any of the test parameters in the second round of testing, the heat acclimatized group saw some impressive changes:

 

  • Time-trial performance by 6% in cool and by 8% in hot conditions.
  • Power output at lactate threshold by 5 % in cool and by 5 % in hot conditions.
  • Plasma volume increased (6.5 +/- 1.5%).
  • Maximal cardiac output in cool and hot conditions increased (9.1 +/- 3.4% and 4.5 +/- 4.6%, respectively).

 

Their conclusion was that heat acclimatization improves performance in temperate-cool conditions.

 

Interesting.

814 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: acclimatization, heat_humidity, acclimatizing