hoka oneone - bondi b - product reviewHoka OneOne…..what is there to say?  These shoes have been a revelation for my feet, ankles, calves, hamstrings/quads, glutes and hips.  Let us not forget the mind because without these there would have been days that I would have contemplated not running at all because the body felt to beat up to lace up the shoes and hit the roads again. When I first started using the Hoka OneOne brand it was with the Stinson and Mafate, which I reviewed here, but then I realized that the miles would be piling up as I headed toward Lake Martin 100.  When I took out my handy-dandy Google Docs and sorted through the color-coding I realized that I would have close to 300 miles on the Stinson and at least 113 on the Mafate before the race.  Throw in another 300 or so miles and I was worried about how the shoes would feel by the time March 29th-30th rolled around.  I decided to go out and purchase the Hoka OneOne Bondi B as a compliment to the other two, but also because it was on sale and I had a discount code to the Running Warehouse. The Hoka OneOne Bondi B had a completely different feel than the Stinson or Mafate when I first put them on and it worried me.  Could these possibly have the same pillow feel that the other two shoes did?  What if I disliked this model and my Hoka OneOne love would be gone.  The first couple of runs with them and I was not as pleased as I had been with my experience with the Hoka OneOne brand.  The shoes just felt wrong.  They were very stiff but I kept putting them on in the hopes that all that was needed was a breaking in. After about 50 miles the shoes finally started to represent my previous experiences and I was getting happier and happier each time I put them on my feet.  While the feel of the shoe was not ideal at the beginning what I did notice was that they were still doing what they needed to do in terms of keeping my legs as fresh as they could possibly be considering I was coming off of Rocky Raccoon 50 and heading toward The Cowtown Ultra and an 86 mile week.  My recovery was not hampered one bit by the uncomfortable feel of the shoe. When the miles exceeded 50 the comfort returned and it dawned on me that the Hoka OneOne probably required a longer break in time due to the fact that while the shoe is light the platform is large and may take longer to break in.  When I laced up the Bondi B for The Cowtown Ultra I felt confident that they would take me from start to finish without any issues.  My belief was confirmed when I ran the first 25 miles while pacing Karen to a 10 minute marathon PR and then the last 10k at a pace nearly 1:30 less than the first 25 miles and my feet did not hurt and my legs felt as fresh as they could at that point. When Lake Martin 100 starts the Bondi B will have accumulated 221 miles which would make them ideal for that race.  The Stinson will have amassed 334 miles and the Mafate 160 to that point.  I will probably bring all three with me and make a determination based on the course and how technical it is.  Then again maybe I’ll just buy another pair of Hoka OneOne shoes, but I’ll be sure to get past 50 miles before I decide to bring them to the race. In conclusion, the Bondi B is a quality shoe and one that should be in your bag of tricks.  The Heel-Toe drop is different from the other two at 4.5mm versus Stinson (6mm) and Mafate (4mm).  The Bondi B also is the lightest at 10.8oz.  Having a set of varying drops and weights allows you to maximize your training by not stressing the same muscles while running.
   
Published in Product Reviews
Wednesday, 31 July 2013 09:25

Tru Glass Top Waffle Maker Product Review

[caption id="attachment_8685" align="alignright" width="280"]tru glass top waffle maker - product review - waffles The Tru Glass Top Waffle Maker[/caption] The Tru Glass Top Waffle Maker was a true steal of a deal for me.  As some of you may know Karen and I sold our house and downsized into a town house (which by the way was the best decision ever made - other than marrying her) and with any move comes trips to Bed, Bath & Beyond and Home Depot if we have enough time. As luck would have it we were in Bed, Bath and Beyond looking for new containers for our Magic Bullet and I can't help myself but I gravitated toward the waffle markers.  I have a Hamilton Beach waffle maker that has a broken clasp.  It works like a charm but it is getting up there in years and maybe there is a better waffle maker out there for me.  I started looking at prices and of course the Cuisinart jumps out at me but that price is way up there and it doesn't make sense financially to buy this waffle maker unless it is going to make the batter, cook and clean for me with the touch of a button. I moved past that and noticed a yellow tag on another model.  What exactly does this yellow tag mean and it says 20% off.  That is a good start.  I have a $5 off coupon as well so I am already saving $13 on this $40 waffle maker.  I look on the shelves and it is nowhere to be found so I ask a sales associate about it. He leaves and comes back and tells me that since it is the last one and there are no boxes it is 50% off.  WHAT?  So from $40 to $20 to $16 to $11?  I don't care if this waffle maker is horrible it is coming home with me.  With tax the final cost was less than $15.  WIN! I got the true glass top waffle maker home and immediately went to work.  Figuring I know all there is to know about waffle makers I plug it in.  It heats up the light goes off alerting me to its readiness and I pour in my batter.  A few minutes later the light indicates that the waffles are ready and I open it up and they are ready in the center but a little raw on the edges.  Not bad for a first attempt.  No complaints but I am still loving the Hamilton Beach. Some time goes by before I decide to operate the Tru Glass Top Waffle maker again and this time I am going with blueberries.  I go through the process and pour in the batter and something looks wrong but I close the top anyway.  The light goes off but I leave them in there for a little longer because of the moisture caused by the blueberries I have to cook them a bit longer.  Well after a few minutes I open up the lid and there is batter stuck to the top and the bottom.  Forgot to oil the waffle iron despite its claims of a non-stick surface.  I am not having a good time with this waffle maker but I am not deterred and will try again. The next time I use it I remember to oil the waffle maker because I am going with waffle hash browns.  The oil is a must.  After the Tru Glass Top Waffle Maker is ready I rub coconut oil on it and place the shredded vegetables in it.  A few minutes later and the perfect hash browns come out. VICTORY!  I then go on to make banana nut waffles as well as corn tortilla waffles and both come out great.  I am starting to be convinced that the Tru Glass Top Waffle Maker is the newest gadget in my kitchen and that the Hamilton Beach may soon get retired.

Tru Glass Top Waffle Maker Pros/Cons:

Pros: 

  • Makes two 6" waffles rather quickly so turning out a bunch for the family is fairly easy to do.
  • Heat control knob in center of the waffle maker allows you to control the temperature of the waffle iron.
  • Light indicators are easy to see from across the kitchen
  • Clean up is quick and easy.
  • Doesn't take up a lot of space in the cabinet.
Cons:
  • The glass top gets HOT and if you forget that you have just used it you can burn your hand (speaking from experience.)
  • Despite the claims of non-stick there is still a need for oil.
  • No clasp to keep the lid closed so if you are making a fruit waffle you need to put pressure on the top with something heavy.
Overall: As I mentioned earlier the Tru Glass Top Waffle Maker may soon be a permanent replacement for the Hamilton Beach I love.  This is a terrific waffle maker that makes crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside waffles with little to no fuss.  If somebody were to ask me if they would recommend this waffle maker at the original price of $40 I would say yes.

Waffles Made Using The Tru Glass Top Waffle Maker

 
 

What Kind Of Waffle Maker Do You Have?

 
[caption id="attachment_8638" align="aligncenter" width="300"]blog school - blog genie - website Learn To Make Your Blog Better With Blog School From Blog Genie[/caption]  
Published in Product Reviews
[caption id="attachment_8088" align="alignright" width="300"]Keuring - product review - coffee maker Not Very Big In Stature[/caption] Full Disclosure: This is a review for the Keurig Mini K10 Coffee Maker that was sent to me for free. Staples provided me with these items for review. The thoughts and opinions expressed are strictly my own. Feel free to shop their entire line of Keurig Coffee Makers and K-Cups online. I did not pay for this product and was not asked to provide a positive review in exchange for the product. Keurig has been a part of my kitchen for a very long time. As a matter of fact  I cannot remember a time when a Keurig wasn't a part of my life.  I have flirted with not drinking coffee at all and only tea.  I have also switched to drinking Pero but all the while the Keurig has been used as it is much easier to get hot water from the machine than turning to the microwave or boiling it on the stove. When Staples contacted me to review the Keurig Mini K10 I was all over the opportunity and it was for a couple of reasons:
  1. My Keurig maker was making funny noised and I thought it would be on its last leg and so I was ready to shop for one.
  2. It would go perfectly with the review of the I was doing for them.  Make it a breakfast review and since breakfast is my favorite meal of the day at any time of the day it just made sense.
[caption id="attachment_8091" align="alignright" width="300"]keurig - product review - coffee maker Much Smaller In Size But Still Makes A Hot Cup Of Coffee[/caption] The first thing I noticed about this particular Keurig (this is my third by the way) was the size.  It was tiny and reminded me of the Keurig coffee maker where I get my hair cut as well as the types of coffee makers we see at a hotel.  The next thing I noticed was the base, where you put your coffee mug, was made of a cheap plastic unlike the larger Keurig's I have owned.  Lastly, was how well does it make a cup of coffee and we will get into that now. With the larger Keurig I had to make a large and a small cup to create one mug of coffee.  Keep in mind that I don't make the largest cups and use a typically sized cup of coffee that you can see in the picture above.  Having to run the machine twice did a couple of things.  1) Made me wait and patience is not really a virtue when you want that cup of joe or tea first thing in the morning. 2) Made the water in the reservoir run out faster.  This was frustrating but the mini Keurig doesn't have a water reservoir so this would be faster right?  Wrong.  Just because there is no water already there this also means that it does take time to pour the water into the top of the machine and then wait for it to heat and then dispense.  All in all I thought it would be faster but it turned out to be about the same amount of time. 2-3 minutes to create a hot cup of coffee. Since it did not make a faster cup of coffee there has to be some redeeming quality to the mini Keurig but it didn't lie in the fact that it could hold a larger cup in the stand.  I tried to put the same sized cup used in the larger Keurig in this one and it didn't happen.  I had to lean the cup into the machine and hold it there while the coffee was produced.  Remember that it took 2-3 minutes to make the cup, so now I was standing there when I could have been making breakfast.  I am all about efficiency and this wasn't efficient.  But Jason, you could use a smaller cup.....true but now I don't have the cup of coffee I want but instead the cup of coffee that Keurig wants me to have. Before you think that all is negative about the mini Keurig allow to showcase the positives of the machine:
  1. You don't have standing water in your kitchen in the reservoir so you know that the water you use is fresh.  This may not be important to some but the older Keurig would have to be de-scaled and that is because it had standing water that could collect minerals and deposits.
  2. The size is ideal if you live in an apartment or if you have a small kitchen and counter space is at a premium.
  3. Making a cup of coffee is as simple as lift, pour, close.  You don't have to measure the water because you are pouring the water from your coffee cup into the machine directly and then you are done to do what you need to do for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Variety of coffee that is available for this machine is outrageous.  You can get any flavored coffee, tea, or hot chocolate that you want and when you are done you just throw out the Keurig K-Cup.  Why is this a benefit?  You don't have to grind beans, take out a coffee filter or spend time sweeping your floor because you dropped the grinds on the ground.
I understand that there are those out there that love grinding their own beans and running the Mr Coffee Maker and I have no issues with that at all.  I myself love the French Press but that is not always a workable solution.  With a wife and step-son as well as work and training obligations all seemingly hitting at the same time of the morning having the access to a Keurig (mini or larger version) is a great option. Would I recommend this product?  I would recommend this product to anybody who wanted the convenience of the quick one cup coffee maker.  For the person that is going to have company over for brunch of waffles and eggs and fruit and juice then this mini Keurig or even the larger Keurig are not ideal as you are only getting one cup at a time.

Do You Own A Keurig?  Which One?

Published in Product Reviews
[caption id="attachment_6262" align="alignright" width="200"]oakley_splitjacket_sunglasses_lancearmstrong_productreview Lance Armstrong Sporting The Oakley Jawbone[/caption] Oakley Split Jacket sunglasses.....have you ever seen them?  Of course you have.  Lance wears them.  You know the ones with the yellow on the bottom to match his Livestrong company colors.  You have probably seen them on more than just Lance and wondered, like I did, if they were worth the hype and in the end really the cost.  I fortunately, or unfortunately, happened to be in the market for sunglasses and started shopping around. Let me take you back a week and tell you how this whole thing started.  I had just finished my fastest ride on the 60 mile course I have around my house and put up a decent 20 minute run.  I was feeling good and loading my bike into the Team Baha car when I put my sunglasses ear piece into my mouth so I could have use of both hands.  It was then that I tasted metal.  I looked at them after I was done loading the car up and notices that the bars were breaking through the rubber ends and I knew immediately it was time to go sunglass shopping. I am a cheap skate when it comes to sunglasses because I know that with the sport of triathlon it is very easy to leave them at a race, leave them at a hotel, break them as we change from cycling to running.  There are a ton of different ways to lose or break so I tend to be somewhat cheap in terms of pricing, but I still want the best.  The last pair I was using were a prize from Jen over at the blog Miles, Muscles and Mommyhood won over two years ago. [caption id="attachment_6261" align="alignright" width="300"]oakley_splitjacket_sunglasses_review Source: Oakley Vault[/caption] As I was sitting down to do some research I had a few must-haves:
  1. Interchangeable lenses.
  2. No slipping when my face would get sweaty.
  3. Matching colors to the Cook Train Eat Race racing kit.
  4. Travel case.
  5. Price.
I contacted Marni Sumbal of Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition as I knew she was an Oakley Ambassador and asked her what pair she would recommend.  I did not give her my list and just let her choose which ones she thought were best.  From there I could make a decision.  Marni did not disapoint and gave me a list of the ones that she likes and different pairs that her husband, Karel, really enjoys riding with.  Then she gave me the best bit of information I could have asked for and told me to visit OakleyVault.com.  This is where Oakley puts their products on sale and it was a home run. As soon as I got there and clicked on men and eyewear there they were staring at me like an epiphany.  The blue stood out as I knew it would match the race kit, then I noticed the price.  $89.99, down from $260.  It was as if my hand took control of my brain and immediately went to add to cart, filled in the information, paid for express shipping (still came out to barely over $100) and they were at my front door before I knew what had happened. I must have refreshed the tracking information every 3 hours for the 2 days it was going to take for the sunglasses to ship from California.  When the door bell rang and the man in brown handed over the package I ripped it open and knew immediately that I had made the right choice. These sunglasses were everything I wanted in a new pair of sunglasses.  The lenses are interchangeable, there was a hard case for traveling with an extra pair of lenses and the blue matched the race kit perfectly.  Next was to test them out. The first few times I used them were on a few runs.  This is where I figured I would put them through their paces because with running I would be bouncing up and down and this would allow them to slide across my face.  As I ran and was sweating in the Texas heat I was amazed that they never moved. Not one slight movement and better than that is that they are so lightweight you barely notice they are on your face. The one downside that I have to get used to is having a bottom frame on the lens.  I have been wearing sunglasses without a bottom frame for the past 4 years and the first time I looked down to see my pace on my watch and saw the lens frame I was freaked out.  I did not know what it was I was looking at and was confused for a moment.  The answer to this:  raise my arm up just a bit more and run in them a couple of more times.  Now I don't notice the bottom frame. So they passed the run test, but lets see how they work on the bike.  Yesterday I had a simple 1 hour recovery spin and would have done this on the trainer but went out into my neighborhood and took the Oakley Polarized Split Jackets with me.  I found them so comfortable that I never pushed them up on my face and when I was heading into a headwind I did not feel any wind coming up under the bottom of them because of the frame touching my cheeks.  Perfect. These lenses also have a venting on them which is great as well as the sunglasses never fogged up with the heat, humidity and sweat pouring onto them.  It is amazing when you focus on these things that you take notice and in this case taking notice meant nothing to see. I am very happy with this purchase and want to say Thank You to Marni for helping me out in choosing these sunglasses.
Published in Product Reviews
Wednesday, 30 May 2012 14:23

RooSports Product Giveaway

[caption id="attachment_5979" align="alignright" width="259" caption="Guess Karen's Time at the RnR San Diego 1/2 Mary To Win"]roosport_running_pouch_giveaway[/caption] As you know - I am not a big fan of race belts on the run.  They tend to ride up on me and end up sitting under my chest like an oversized heart rate monitor... not good for race pictures but awesome for a laugh. I thought it would be good to invent something simple that could carry my fuel, and my keys and any money.. and of course the same week I came up with this brilliant idea, I saw the RooSport at the Cowtown Marathon Expo. I was really nervous about using this because I am the chafe queen and anything that can chafe me - will.  This thankfully did not.   The product is quite simple. There is a magnet that snaps the pouch to the shorts and stays in place while you run. I placed my key in the zipper pocket and in the velcro pocket I had 3 gels (with room for more). My fuel was easily accessible and the pouch stayed firm in place with nothing flying out.  I have run over 13 miles with this pouch and have had no issues with it.   Comparing this product to SpiBelt - the SpiBelt bounced all over and drove me nuts- this product stayed in place and the bounce was minimal.  The price is comparable at $19.95. Overall I am happy with this purchase - and want to give you a chance to try it out too - so I am offering a give away - with a few simple steps for you to win:  
  1. Go over and “like” RooSport On Facebook
  2. leave a comment with a guess on my predicted finish time for this weekends RnR San Diego Half Marathon
  Who ever comes the closest - gets to try this out - winner will be announced by Jason on Monday.   Happy Guessing!  
Published in Product Reviews
Thursday, 23 February 2012 12:24

Aspaeris Pivot Shorts Product Review

Aspaeris Pivot Short aspaeirs_outer_shortsSince I have become a Tough Chik, I have branched out and been able to try new products. My most recent product purchase was the Aspaeris Pivot Shorts™   I have worn compression pants and capris in the past, and loved them but had several issues with the seams on them splitting in various places, and after numerous exchanges, and returns, I gave up on them.  When I saw that the Tough Chiks were getting these - I figured I should at least give it a shot. I ordered the basic black pair and got them within a week. I received them on my scheduled boot camp night so I figured I would give them try.  Well - imagine my surprise when at bootcamp they decided it was hill training night. I am NOT a fan of hills, but I was running like a superstar to the top of the hill and back and beat all the others and came home and still felt great...was it the shorts?  A few days later I put on the shorts again, and took them out on a longer run, and when I started the run, the shorts were tight enough to make me feel like they put me in the right form when I was running.  Today as I was reviewing the website I actually read about the product:
Aspaeris Pivot Shorts™ are actually two pairs of shorts bonded together. The Outer Short is a high performance compression short designed to support your muscles. The Inner Short features our breakthrough, Dual Sensory Compression Bands™.These cross-knit bands guide your muscles into the proper position, thereby improving your pivot performance, which helps prevent ACL and hip injuries.
So -- there you go.... they were putting my muscles in the right position and making me run with better form. I have enjoyed these shorts so much, that I actually threw them on for a race this weekend, under some shorts (it was raining and cold and I wasn't sure how cold or wet I would get).  I had my best run EVER. I ran a comfortable half marathon at 1.52.05 with no aches or pains, and ended up 2nd in my age group.  I actually felt so good - I was out on the road the next day running again.  I will be ordering more of these soon - and hoping they make capris or pants soon.   If you ladies out there want to try these - use this coupon code for $10 off - NOACLHURT at www.aspaerispivotshorts.com - you wont regret it!   Happy Running!
Published in Product Reviews
Tuesday, 27 September 2011 11:44

Speedfil A2 Product Review

I have been clamoring for the Speedfil A2 ever since I saw the product on the Speedfil Facebook page.  I commented on their wall multiple times trying to find out when it was going to be sold to the public.  I was excited to find out that September 1st would be the day of its release.  With a late season schedule that included 2 Olympic distance triathlon and 70.3 Austin this would be a great way to train and practice for using a product I would be sure to use during Ironman Texas. I have had the A2 for a few weeks now and wanted to put it through a few long training rides outdoors and also test it indoors on the trainer as practice.  I also exchanged ideas with Jeff Irvin (you know the guy that sunk my BQ battleship by telling me I needed to run 5 minutes faster than I thought I had to.)  He wanted to know a few different things so I'm going to breakdown this product review into pieces so that I cover all the bases and you have all the information you should need to purchase this product. [caption id="attachment_4240" align="alignright" width="225" caption="A2 mounted with zip ties to El Diablo"]speedfil_a2_hydration_system[/caption] Installation:  The first time I rode outdoors with the A2 it was strapped to my bike using zip ties.  The ties worked well but the bottle would slide to one side or the other I noticed.  It was not completely out of the aero bars but it was enough to bother me to have to reach down and adjust it.  Also, with the zip ties the bottle was completely horizontal and this caused a problem in getting liquid into the straw for me.  As the ride went on and there was less and less liquid in the bottle it became harder and harder to get full sips in.  I have trained my body to get three long full sips in and this was only giving me one before I had to open the pour spout and push the straw down into the liquid. After doing some research I noticed they had the cage mounted using a King Cage Mount .  I ordered one and it was delivered in time for the second trip outdoors.  This was to be a four-hour ride so I knew I would be able to put it through its paces.  The first thing I noticed was that the bottle sat further back and thus a shorter straw could be used.  The second item I noticed was that it was tilted enough that the liquid would always be at the bottom of the bottle.  For me the king cage mount is a must. Usability:  The A2 is very simple to use but you need to be careful with how the straw is placed into the bottle.  By this, I mean you need to ensure that the straw is tilted down into the liquid.  If it is tilted up then you will have a tough time getting enough liquid into your straw and can become easily frustrated.  If your straw is placed properly then getting liquid out is not different than the down tube Speedfil product. My suggestion for the straw length is to not cut it immediately but rather wait until you have used the product a few times first.  As Patrick pointed out to me it is easier to come up than to go down (TWSS) to get to the straw. Refillability (Is this a word?):  As you may know the bike portion of an Ironman race can take 5 or more hours depending on your ability as an age grouper.  If you are on the bike for 6 hours you need to make sure that you have liquid and constantly stopping to refill is not the best idea since it is still a race.  Thus you need to be able to get your hydration/nutrition into your body as efficiently as possible. The A2 allows for this efficiency.  If you have a down tube mounted Speedfil you know there is a rubber gasket that you can puncture with the top of your water bottle and fill up.  It is very easy to use except that you have to reach down while going down the road but the rubber gasket makes it easy to not have to many moving parts. The A2 is also refillable but there is no rubber gasket.  Instead there is a piece that you slide open and then refill.  This opening is not difficult to operate but you must remember to open it before grabbing your water bottle.  I did the opposite and while it did not slow me down it resulted in extra movement on the bike.  My suggestion is that when you are ready you open the bottle and then grab the refill liquid. [caption id="attachment_4242" align="alignright" width="290" caption="Liquid is flat and will eventually not fill in straw"]speedfil_A2_hydration_horizontal_mount[/caption] Cleanability:  The A2 Speedfil is really nothing more than a top with a straw.  You can use any standard size water bottle you want with it.  The first time I went out I used the water bottle that comes with the system and the second time I used a larger bottle.  The size you use will come down to distance of race and preference. As for cleaning I put all the pieces (except for the straw) in the dishwasher and each time they came out perfect.  This makes life easier since you most likely have multiple bottles to clean when you get home and being able to toss it in the dishwasher makes life simple.   Overall Review: I think this product is excellent.  There are a few things that you need to workout first but once you have it should and will become an invaluable piece to your bike. For me, I plan on using only this water bottle for Olympic distance races.  For Half-Ironman and Ironman races I will fill up the A2 with liquified EFS Liquid Shot.  Having  the A2 allows me to put my tools and spare tube in another water bottle in a cage attached to my saddle and hopefully avoid the scenario I faced during the Austin Triathlon. Since I have the down tube Speedfil as well having the A2 allows me to complete a half-ironman without having to stop or slow down through water stations since I can now carry all my liquid with me on the bike. My suggestion is that if you are looking to race and not just finish then this product is a must have.  No reaching behind you, meaning more time in aero, alone is worth it. The cost is ~$60 and is worth the spend.    
* Disclaimer:  I was not paid or provided this product for review.  I will receive nothing for providing this review.
Published in Product Reviews
A few months ago I was contacted by Bull Publishing about reviewing the book Nutrition Periodization for Athletes by Bob Seebohar and I could not turn down the opportunity to review the book.  Just the words nutrition and athletes in the title alone led me to saying yes before the question was finished being asked. Once I got the book I couldn't wait to read it and all of this excitement was based on Bob Seebohar's resume.  Read Bob's resume right here: Bob Seebohar, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., C.S.C.S., is one of the first Board Certified Specialists in Sports Dietetics and is a Sport Dietitian for the United States Olympic Committee where he provides nutrition expertise for Olympic athletes. He is one of the foremost experts on nutrition for endurance athletes and is a regular speaker at many national level conferences as well as triathlon and cycling coaching education clinics. Bob is also an exercise physiologist, a USA Triathlon Certified Elite Coach, a NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and a competitive triathlete and runner. For me this book broke down into two segments which were easy to understand and difficult to understand.  The easy parts of this book focused on what to eat and how to eat with a focus on periodization plate.  The difficult segments focused on nutrients but in a much more scientific manner that required me to re-read pages just to make sure that I understood it. When all was said and done though the periodization plates really made a difference in my understanding of what Bob was speaking about.  The plates are broken down into lean protein and healthy fats, fruits and vegetables, whole grains and sports nutrition products.  It just doesn't end with a diagram of a plate but also is broken down into pre-season, in-season, taper and off-season.  By being able to follow these plates I was able to control my food intake which resulted in a loss of a few pounds and getting me down to race weight. The plates are not all there is though.  The author speaks about eating when hungry and eating to satiety.  When I first started figuring out the nutrition aspect of my training and racing I focused on eating every 3-4 hours.  I figured that if I was awake from 8am (after training) to 8pm that I had 12 hours of eating and needed 4 meals so I did the math and said I needed to eat every 3 hours.  I followed this religiously and was eating at times where I wasn't hungry but thought that I needed to eat. After reading Bob's statements about eating when hungry my habits changed and I was able to put the periodization plates to good use.  I would, and still do, eat until I was full and then stop.  I stopped looking at the clock and focused on my hunger queues.  Interestingly enough I was still eating almost every 3 to 4 hours but because I was eating according to the plates I never noticed the clock, nor paid attention to it. In addition to the Periodization Plates Bob uses FuelTarget Zones.  This is a method where you eat from the inside out, and essentially ask yourself three questions: 1) Where is my protein and healthy fat? 2) Where is my color? and 3) Where is my whole grain?  These questions are at the top of my mind each time I prepare a meal for myself or my family.  As I work from home I am allowed to examine and analyze my food to ensure that these questions are answered properly as well as making sure that my plates are lined up properly. These were the main takeaways for myself but Bob discusses nutritional supplements (which led to this post) as well as special considerations for athletes.  These special considerations discuss dehydration, heat cramps, hyponatremia, immune system depression, vegetarianism, travel nutrition, inflammation and iron deficiency anemia. I think all of these topics I have had a 'relationship' with in the past year and more than likely so have you.  With that being said I am not going to go into these discussions but will allow you the opportunity to win a copy of the book for yourself. [caption id="attachment_3742" align="alignright" width="300" caption="That is my copy on the left and what could be your copy on the right."]nutrition_periodization_for_athletes_bob_seebohar_giveaway[/caption] Bull Publishing is allowing me to host a giveaway.  So as with any giveaway there are rules so here they are (leave 1 comment for each):
  1. You must be a follower of my blog.  To sign-up go right up there on the right hand side and click the RSS feed or the Email icon and become a follower.
  2. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube.  Again they are all up there on the top right or just click the link and you will be taken there as well. (worth 3 entries = 1 for each)
  3. Register for the Cook Train Eat Race Gazette by clicking the link.
  4. Go to Bull Publishing on Facebook or Twitter and tell them that CTER sent you (worth 2 entries = 1 for each)
  5. Post the giveaway on your blog, Facebook or Twitter with a link to CTER in each medium.  (1 entry for each)
  6. And for 2 bonus entries: Guess my goal time for 70.3 Longhorn on October 23rd.
That is an opportunity to have 12 entires into this giveaway for a book that has become a vital part of my nutrition understanding.
This giveaway ends on Sunday August 28th at 10am CST and the winner will be announced on Monday.
If you have any questions feel free to email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Thank you.
Published in Product Reviews
Friday, 29 July 2011 13:41

Endurance Athlete Meetup

[caption id="attachment_3317" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Products from GU, Recharge and Marathon Bars"]GUEnergy_Recharge_MarathonBars_Meeting[/caption] When I was at the Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference in Boulder, Colorado back in June one item that I learned that really piqued my interest was to host a meetup of friends, family and other athletes from the area to test products out and try to put together a review for the companies.  Of course, in order to make this happen you have to check the schedule of those you want to invite, check your schedule for training, and make sure that your wife is ok with having strangers come over (but not necessarily in that order.) After getting approval from Karen I emailed a few of the companies that I have had direct contact with along with two PR firms (Jen and Julia of Fresh Ideas Group and Scott of Outside PR) to see if they had companies that were willing to send me products to hand out and have people comment on.  Every company was more than happy to send me items and from the moment I got my final response the UPS / FedEx guy and I became pals.  Almost daily another package showed up at my doorstep and it was amazing.  I never imagined this many boxes in my house where I wasn't moving (still haven't sold house by the way) or trying to pack away Christmas decorations. I am going to do my best to recap everything for you, but let me just say that it was a great time hanging out with like minded folks who took a real interest in all the products and items that were on the table for them to test and take home. The lineup of products included the following:
Throughout the day we sampled each of the protein bars, tortilla chips and My Fit Foods (I did not eat this but it smelled great) and washed it all down with Recharge, HoneyMilk and Herbalife smoothies.  The conversation was great and the company was better.
My review of a few of the products that I had never used before:
Salba Seed: This is a terrific product.  Straight from their website is the following: Salba is the richest whole food source of Omega 3 fatty acids and fiber found in nature. Gram for gram, Salba provides eight times more Omega 3s than salmon, four times more fiber than flax, six times more calcium than whole milk, 30 percent more antioxidants than blueberries, and muchmore. Salba is all-natural, has no trans-fats, very few carbohydrates, and is certified Non-GMO, Vegan, Kosher, and Gluten-Free for those who suffer from celiac disease. Learn More
The tortilla chip were incredible and come in three varieties (Organic Yellow, White or Blue Corn.)  I thought I might get a different taste because of the salba but there is nary a hint of the seed in the taste although you can see it clearly.  I was enamored by them and so was the 7 year old son of my boss and I'm not sure his hand came out of the bowl but we were losing chips out of the bowl.
Here is the crazy thing about Salba and the products we received:  The salsas were better than the tortilla chips and each salsa was better than the last.  We were able to sample Mild, Medium and Hot.  I love my food spicy but wanted to see what they thought was mild.  I tested it out and it was bland for my taste buds but it was good. There were chunks of tomato in there and this time you could actually taste the salba seeds.  The medium seemed to reflect the same taste as the mild with no discernible difference.  Then I got to the hot and while it did not make my eyes water or nose run it was the best of the three.  I would say the hot is more of a medium salsa but the flavors all melded together nicely. I cannot wait to make a jar of overnight oats and put salba seeds instead of chia seeds to see if there is any difference in taste and texture.  After that we will be putting salba seeds on my daily nut butter and jelly sandwich to get that little bit of extra texture. My recommendation is that you click [HERE] and [HERE] to find out where you can buy Salba Seeds and products and add it to your diet. [caption id="attachment_3319" align="alignright" width="300" caption="RoadID, HydraPak, Ryders Eyewear"]RoadID_Hydrapak_Ryders_Eyewear[/caption] Recharge: This is an all natural and organic juice drink made by the R.W. Knudsen Family Company.  Let me just say that they are generous as I received 5 boxes of their product.  I was able to handout all of their flavors which include: grape, green apple, lemon, mixed berry, orange, organic lemon, tropical while sampling the grape and orange.  Karen has been drinking the tropical. My first action was to look at the nutrition facts because it is labeled as hydration for all out performance.  To me that means that it has all the calories and electrolytes I need to get me through a bike stage in a Half-Ironman or Ironman race.  This product falls short there as there are only 70 calories, 18g of Carbohydrates and 25mg of Sodium in the drink, but where it does excel is in the flavor department and all natural ingredients. I was immediately taken back to my childhood when I tasted the grape and orange.  The flavors were in fact that of a juice drink and the ingredients prove it: Ingredients: Filtered Water, White Grape and Apple Juice Concentrates, Herbal Tea (Water, Hibiscus Tea), Natural Flavors, Natural Orange Extract, Sea Salt. I would not use this product to replace the Prolong or EFS Liquid Shot but if you are a Gatorade G2 drinker then I would drink Recharge instead as it has the same calorie count and similar carbs but this is natural where G2 is not. My Fit Foods: I cannot make any claims to the taste of the food but I can tell you that my kitchen smelled as if I just cooked (laugh with me here!)  In all honesty the food was consumed by the bowl full and after every time somebody put a fork in their mouth they exclaimed how tasty it was.  I have been to My Fit Foods before I became a vegetarian and I can say that there food is excellent.  It is prepared that day in a designated kitchen and in a container that you just pick out of the refrigerated container and heat up when you get home. There are a couple of items sold at My Fit Foods that had the pleasure of sampling while at the CapTexTri Expo.  The products were the Perfect Fit Cookie and the Boundless Nutrition Energy Bars.  You can find more information on both [HERE] but I can say that the cookies never stood a chance and the bars are moist and tasty. [caption id="attachment_3323" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Karen of Team Marathon Bar and Shannon of Team Aquaphor showcasing products"]Team_Marathon_Bar_Aquaphor[/caption] I still have not had the chance to try the HydraPak gear as of yet, but will do a review of the product line as I use each item.  I don't think you need a review of HoneyMilk from me as my love of the product is evident in my tweets, posts on Facebook and pictures and words on this blog.  There was almost a riot over the Road ID jerseys and Ryders eyewear but I think everybody came away unscathed.  There were two varieties of the sunglasses and both looked really cool and Karen looks great in one of the pair that we delivered to us.  The GU Energy gels and electrolyte tabs do not need a review but the flavor of the chocolate raspberry was outstanding as a new flavor for me.  The ladies loved the Bondi Bands and if I had hair I probably would too.  As for Tri-Clips I had a hard time giving their items away but I already own the clips, the seat cover and have a transition mat so I painfully let them go and each person that received one of the items was very happy. [caption id="attachment_3320" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Each person walked out with a gift bag and much more"]Gift_Bags_Giveaway_Reviews[/caption] The Marathon bars that we had to share were very good and reminded me quite a bit of the PowerBar Harvest Bars I had been using.  If you use PowerBar then try to switch it up and use the Marathon bars and determine for yourself which you like better.  As for Herbalife, you all know my feelings about their products.

I would like to thank all the companies that mailed me products to test out along with sending thanks to all those that attended.  I had a great time, hope you did to and I look forward to hosting another event in the near future.

Have you hosted an event and what were your thoughts about the process?

If you owned a company would you want to showcase your products in ths type of setting?

Published in Product Reviews
Thursday, 12 May 2011 15:31

Triathlete Buyer's Guide Review

   

Triathlete Buyer’s Guide Review

  Before I begin my review of the Triathlete Buyer’s Guide I want to thank Rita Barry for thinking of me to review the guide as well as Triathlete Magazine for allowing me to review their guide. The Triathlete Buyer’s Guide is a magazine that allows triathletes, both beginners and podium finishers, to get a look at reviews of 298 different products.  Think that 298 products is a lot?  Consider that there are products I own that were not even in the magazine, but you can get a very good feel for what is out in the marketplace and get a very detailed review of each item. In the swimming portion of the magazine the magazine reviews goggles, and then there are pages of wetsuits. The goggles section could have been a bit bigger.  The two pairs of goggles that I recently bought are not in the magazine.  It is hard to fault the editors because there are tons and tons of goggles in the marketplace.  The one item that the reviewers do discuss is the raccoon eyes that we all suffer from. The review of each wetsuit is detailed and gives you a clear idea of which one will work best for you and your talent level.  One of the best parts of the reviews is that it is at all different price levels as well.  You can find wetsuits from $150 to $750. While the swim section is nice it is in the bike section where the party in your mind starts to happen.  You start immediately with pages and pages of bikes and in all honesty each page is better than the last.  The editors got this section correct without a doubt. You see Cannondale, Quintana Roo, Scott, Specialized, Felt, Look, Blue, Argon, Ridley Dean, Kestrel, Trek and other bikes I have never heard of.  The prices vary from a beginners budget of less than $1,500 and go as high as $11,000. Just when your mind begins to process the bikes you are hit in the face with shoes.  Shoes may not be a big deal to you but when you begin to see all the various types and how different shoes can be.  The best part of the cycling shoe section is the editor’s choice.  They selected a shoe that is not overly expensive but acts like one that is and I appreciate that as a triathlete on a budget I am always looking for the best product at the lowest cost. You are then thrown into the helmet world.  This magazine came at the perfect time for me as I was looking for an aero helmet after racing 70.3 Oceanside as I figured this would be the cheapest way to gain speed.  The Louis Garneau Vorttice spoke to me immediately and I got an LG aero helmet that was similar but not exact.  I can say that there description of the helmet was spot on so I think that I can say that their reviews of these products can be taken to heart. Just when you can’t take it anymore the next few sections of aerobars, saddles, components give you more to think about and then WHEELS.  I can say with honesty that I spent the most of my time here.  I poured over the wheels section for hours, just dreaming of how they would look on El Diablo.  I knew about Zipp and Easton, but learned about Oval, DT Swiss, Madfiber and HED Jet.  It did not stop there as ther were more brands and then you could review clinchers and tubulars as well.  Let’s not forget the disc wheel.  This was no doubt the best part of the magazine, but it makes sense since we spend the most time on the bike during a triathlon that the magazine dedicate the most pages to this sport. I started my life in endurance sports with running and consider myself a runner so this portion of the magazine spoke to me.  There are shoes everywhere, and not just shoes but RED shoes.  There were so many brands that you can’t even begin to comprehend it until you have read it 2 or 3 times. In the pages I found the K-Swiss Blade-Light Race shoes that I purchased at the Rock and Roll Dallas Half-Marathon Expo.  The description is spot on, just like the the Louis Garneau aero helmet.  The one pair of shoes that stood out to me were the Brooks T7 Racer and more than just talking about Chrissie Wellington wearing them but I know how much I love my T6 racers and it makes me want to pick up a pair of T7s. The running section also includes sunglasses and watches, but reviews don’t end there.  You get insight into race apparel and my favorite:  nutrition.  The nutrition goes over all purpose nutrition as well as hydration and it actually introduced me to new products that I had never heard of before. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned vet this magazine will open your eyes to various products.  You will also get an editor’s choice in each section along with costs, which is a tremendous help in making a decision. If you have ever been to a grocery store while hungry you know that you have a tendency to buy things you don’t need.  Keep that in mind when you decide to open up this magazine.  No matter if you just purchased or are looking to purchase you will want something from every section and quite possible every page. I have no doubt that you will enjoy this magazine and if Triathlete decides to publish one every year I will be sure to pick it up and see what is new in the triathlon world.

If you’d like your very own copy of the 2011 Triathlete Buyer’s Guide, just leave a comment on the post on Fitblogger [HERE] and they will randomly pick one lucky winner on May 20th. Open to US and Canada.

Published in Product Reviews
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