Thursday, December 27, 2012

"These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things!"

I thought I might share my favorite things with everyone!!


Love my Speedo Endurance+ suit!  Not exactly flashy but this suit lasts, and lasts, and lasts!  I've had my current suit for a year and a half and it still looks brand new!  The stitching has bleached out from the chlorine but the suit is in perfect condition!

I started using the Aqua Sphere k180 goggles this past summer.  They field of vision is much better and clearer than my Speedo or Tyr goggles and they didn't lose their anti-fog as quickly.  They are available with a clear lens too, but I prefer the smoke lens for bright sunny days and hiding the pain in my eyes in between tough swim sets in the pool.

I don't use fins too often but the Aqua Sphere AlphaFin is the ones I use if I do.  I've had other fins in the past and they rub my feet so badly that they caused blisters.  These are not only buoyant, which helps with your body position but they are also soft and flexible.

Coach Steve got me using the Finis Tempo Trainer.  I love this little gadget, it slips under your cap and helps with stroke consistency.  Highly recommended to help you with your timing.  I need to learn a lot more about stroke rate and maybe will write a post on it in the future.

I use the Tyr Catalyst Paddles when I'm doing pull sets. I think of pulling with them like a resistance workout.  I recommend not using the wrist strap and it will show you where your stroke needs improvement.  Advice I would give is not to use their "suggestions" on sizing. It says use the Small for Masters swimmers, so that's what I bought and they don't need to be that big.  If I were getting them today I would buy the XXS.  If you're a female go XXS or XS and if you're male don't buy bigger than a S. Mine are about 8+ years old and I did have to replace the tubing once.  

Living in the South there isn't much need for a wetsuit in races.  I maybe get to use mine twice a year for the first and last race of the season.  I don't wear my tri top super tight and I don't like the drag in the water so I use an Xterra Speedsuit and I love it. It has a "Beak-away zipper (no leash or lanyard is necessary) - simply flip the zipper up, and the speedsuit will peel right off."  


I love the Shebeest Triple S Short for cycling!  The company was bought out and the new line is supposed to launch in Spring of 2013.  I've been told that the SSS short will be in the inventory!  These shorts are durable and comfortable and never go see through!  I have had several pair over the years and look forward to getting more when the become available!  They have the Shelastic chamois that stretches with you.  Just a great pair of shorts!
Speedplay Pedals!  Love Speedplay pedals!  I use the X Series, they have unrestricted free float. "The float in X pedals helps to prevent the type of chronic knee joint stress that occurs when a cyclist's foot is held in a wrong position. X pedals adapt to the cyclist's biomechanics, preventing joint misalignment and overuse injuries." (from the Speedplay website). I've had the same pedals for about 10 years and they're still in great shape! If you have any kind of knee issues at all I would recommend them.  

If you ride in the early morning or at dusk you need a light.  At least a flashing tail light.  I like Planet Bike's Superflash.  It visibility is up to a MILE!  I've always used the red  1/2-watt Blaze™ LED plus 2 eXtreme LEDs for visibility up to 1 mile but now they make the Superflash Turbo.  It is a One Watt Power LED plus two red LEDs with the mile visibility as well.  

One of my all time favorite things is the ZeBug!  I have one strapped onto my handlebars.  My lips have a tendency to burn so I keep a lip sunscreen in mine. They're made by a small company in California.  I got my first one in a race packet back in the early 80's and looked them up online a couple years ago and was happy to see that they're still in business!!  You can special order them with a company logo too!!

I couldn't ride without my Cobb V-Flow bike saddle.  I've used this saddle for a long time. Once I tried one I never went back to any other, I have one on my road bike and my tri bike.  My first Cobb saddle was one of the original ones that he made by cutting down and altering a saddle that was on the market.  John Cobb is an industry leader in aerodynamics, you probably already know his name. The V-Flow was the first saddle he made and now there are several other styles. You should take a moment and go to his website and check them out!

One more bike favorite - Lizard Skin Handlebar Tape! It comes in two thicknesses 2.5mm and 1.8mm and now by demand a 3.2mm.  I have the 1.8 on my road bike (because I wanted grey) and the 2.5 on my tri bike.  I love the feel of this tape, it has a really good grip and your hands won't slip even when they're wet coming out of T1.  Comes in a lot of colors! Check it out, I know you'll love this tape!


Funny.. with run stuff I don't really seem to have as many favorites.  I do have my favorite brand of running shorts, etc. but as far as gadgets these two make the list.

I do love my Garmin 910XT though!  I got a Garmin to run with a little over 4 years ago and it has really changed my run training.  It definitely keeps me more honest with my training.  And since I've had it my pace in races has increased quite a bit.  I'm pretty sure that before I got it I used to think I was training a lot faster that I actually was!  I started with the 405 and that stupid touch bezel, hated it!  The humidity in the south made it almost impossible to get the touch activation to work.  So then I moved up to the 310XT so I could swim with it in races and use regular old buttons!!  And this past summer Bill got me the 910XT - this one is awesome, much better swim accuracy and some other nice features!

I pretty much always run by myself and use an iPod Nano.  I have playlists for Bike, Run, and Race.  I've been listening to music while running for as long as I can remember.  I love my little Nano, it keeps me company!

My very first little radio that I ran with (remember back in 1980) looked very similar to this.  Anyone remember these??


My last category of favorites is nutrition. I am rather picky about my training nutrition and these are the things I use and really like.

 Crank Sports E-Gel - I've been using these for years.  They have all of your needed electrolytes in them so you really only need water. (You should take your gels with only water.)  The packets are larger than your typical gels at 150 calories.  The Vanilla Strawberry Slam is my favorite flavor.  E-Gel comes in 3 other flavors too.  There is a nice little chart on their website where you can compare your gel to theirs.

Recover-Ease is by far one of my favorite and necessary nutrition items.  They also graciously sponsor me, I contacted them this past summer and asked about a sponsorship.  Recover-Ease is a post exercise recovery supplement.  It has a patent pending blend of Amino Acids which helps your body repair damage.  I have also found it to be brain fuel on really long workouts and races, it keeps your mind sharp and helps avoid Central Fatigue. Here is a link to my Blog Post that I wrote last summer.  (oh.. you can use the code: Ginger for a 20% discount on Recover-Ease!)

I also use SportLegs while training.  SportLegs help keep away the burn while training hard.  I use them in training as well as in long races.  Their website can explain it much better so I added the link.

By the way I keep all these in a Tic-Tac container while I'm riding.  Keeps them dry and easily accessible!

I also pretty much only drink Cytomax on the bike.  The Tropical Punch flavor is my favorite.  Sometimes I train with Gatorade G2 for shorter rides. I like the convenience of the small powder packs and can take a couple in my jersey pocket.

When I did Ironman Louisville I used CarboPro 1200.  This magic drink has 1200 calories in one bottle.  It's expensive for training (although I trained with it leading up to IM Loo).  For the race I took a clear water bottle and lined if off into 6 sections and then just monitored drinking one line's worth ever hour, giving me 200 calories an hour just in this concentrated but decent tasting liquid.

My other fuel sources when riding include Gu Chomps and peanut butter crackers. I like the Apple Cranberry flavor of the Chomps the best.


Aquaphor - what would my life be like without this magic ointment?  Aquaphor is probably one of the most versatile things in my gear bag.  I use it to prevent chaffing on the bike and with my wetsuit.  As a lip balm.  To prevent windburn on my face in cold weather.  On my dry chapped hands.  I've used it during a ride on a squeaky and annoying bike cleat. Aquaphor has been my primary sponsor for the last 5 years and being on the team has made me a better athlete by pushing me to race and train more consistently and faster.

ICEdot - I don't train anymore without wearing my ICEdot band.  It has my personal pin number that when texted to 5-10-20 will reply with all my important contact and medical information!  I am proud to be a member of Team ICEdot and look forward to representing them in 2013!  You can also go to the ICEdot Athletes page and find lots of informative articles written by my teammates!!

Wicked Fast Sports Nutrition!  The makers of Recover-Ease!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Swim Shape

The water temperature at the pool where I swim has been out of control for the last couple weeks. One day it was 87 degrees!! The Senior Group swimmers were getting so overheated that one of them actually got sick and threw up from getting overheated! The air temperature in the natatorium is also much too warm. This combination = BAD. They were getting out of the pool periodically and going outside to cool down.  Steam was coming off of them like they were on fire!

So workouts eased up, more drills and less high yardage and intensity. You've got to be smart under these conditions and the coaches did the right thing. Masters workouts have been averaging only about 2000 yards.

But yesterday morning the water was almost back to normal so at Masters swim we had a bigger workout.  4000 yards by the end of practice.  The main set was 8 x 100 - 4 on the 1:30 and then 4 on the 1:25. There was supposed to be another round after that with the intervals at 1:25 and 1:20. Coach changed our lane to 75's on the 1:15 and 1:20 descend (very doable). Usually these times would not be any kind of a stretch or issue for me to make the intervals (well... the 1:20's would have been). But yesterday.... UGH!  I made the 1:30's just fine, nothing spectacular in my times. The 1:25's... not so much. Came in on the first one on 1:24 peeked at the clock and took off again. Needless to say I backed the other 3 off to 1:30. Pathetic!

You can swim 3 times a week and lose some of your upper end fitness if you're just lolly gagging around in the water. Granted what we did in drills is very important and beneficial but what we missed in the more intense training showed up when the yardage increased.

Yesterday afternoon I felt the soreness in my shoulders and upper body starting to build. This morning when I woke up it felt like I'd done a heavy lifting session in the gym. I feel like a wimp!  Oh Boy... I can't wait until tomorrow morning....

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Training?? What's That??

I haven't been training much at all!  Still swimming 3 times a week (most weeks) and the occasional ride and run but that is pretty much it for the last 6 weeks or so.  I feel like a slug!

I have, however been working in Bill's store 3-4 times a week, merchandising and lifting boxes.  It feels like exercise - my shoulders and arms are telling me it's exercise.

This was his store on Black Friday!  This is the shoe department!

I still haven't signed up for a race. Need to get on that.  I wish there was a Jingle Bell Run here in H'burg!  Miss that one in Dallas!

And... I need some new running shoes.  Mine feel pretty flat.  I can't even remember when I got them, but I did train for Austin in them so I know they're ready to retire to lawn work!

My house is mostly decorated for Christmas!  I've got that going for me... which is nice.

How is everyone else holding up with their training over the holiday season?