Sunday, November 9, 2014

Favorite Things

It's been a while since I've done a Favorite Things post. And I've got some new favs to share!


Finis Instinct Sculling Paddles - I filled out a survey from Finis earlier this year and for doing so was sent these paddles. I had them for a while before I tried them out and when I did felt like and idiot for having waited so long. These are small hand paddles that cover only a small part of your palm and your fingers. There is a hole for you thumb and you should resist trying to "hang on to them", don't wrap your fingers around them trying to keep them on. They are held on by the pressure of the water. They will point out where you lose tension on the water immediately. Drop your elbow, they will flip right off your hand. They will help you get into an Early Vertical Forearm position. I love that you can use them for all strokes too. What I found is that I have my best grip on the water in breaststroke.

*A side note about regular hand paddles in general - I use them occasionally. And I've removed the wrist strap entirely, I've done this for years. In some ways it mimics the Instinct Paddles by not being able to rely on a strap to keep them on your hands. 

Nike Remora Fem Goggles - I read about these goggles in one of the swim magazines I get and went looking for them immediately. They're designed with "Soft Seal" technology, the gasket around your eyes is made of soft foam. The foam is hypoallergenic and non-toxic. It is much softer than the silicone gasket which you'll find on most goggles. I love these goggles!! I still get the goggle lines around my eyes but it's not as bad and goes away quicker than with my Vanquishers.

What I don't like about them is the strap, to me it looks cheap and who uses white straps on any goggles, and it's really stretchy? I changed mine out to a goggle bungee and that's way better.

Dolfin Chloroban® Swimsuit - I recently got one of these and so far I love it. Team Cambridge Triathlon Racing sent me one in solid red with white stripes that I had used some but I really prefer a print unless my suit is black or navy. So I found this one online and on sale so I grabbed it! I found mine on Sierra Trading Post for a great price!

I was using the Dolphin Uglies suits which I still really like but this fabric holds up a lot longer. The Uglies are really fun prints but they stretch out pretty quick, the prices on them are great and so I still get them. You can usually find them on sale when the new prints are coming out.


ICEdot Crash Sensor - This tiny yellow sensor attaches to your helmet and you pair it with your phone. It detects when there is an impact and triggers the app on your phone. A countdown timer starts and if it's not deactivated then the App notifies emergency contacts and even gives them a GPS location. I have one on my helmet, I hope I'm never in a situation where I will need it but it's good to know that I won't be laying in a ditch somewhere passed out and no one knows where I am. It hasn't been around long but take a look at the Reviews that it's getting!!

And speaking of that, something that I always do with the people that I ride with consistently. We exchange our spouses phone numbers and save them in our phones. Another situation that I hope never to be in, but what if you're riding with your friends and someone crashes bad enough that they can't continue or is unconscious. How are you going to get their "in case of emergency" person's number if their phone is locked? I don't know about you but I'd like it if I was in that situation for them to call Bill. Just a thought.

eFuel - I've used eGels by Crank Sports for ever, but until this year I'd never tried the eFuel. AWESOME!! This hydration product has it all. It has "double the complex carbohydrates, half the sugars and NO artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors." I could ramble on and on about it but instead I will say go to the link and read about it. My personal favorite flavor is the Tropical Punch. I like that it's not sickeningly sweet and it works.

I've used Cytomax and Heed in the past - stopped using Heed when I realized that the second ingredient in it is Xylitol, I've read too many bad things about it. Would never use any thing else anymore. And while you're on the Crank Sports page you should take a look at the eGels too.

Planet Bike Superflash - This was in my original favorite things post but I'm going to include it again just because it is so important to me to use a flashy light on your bike when you ride. And now with the winter coming on, it's even more important. Foggy rides or low light overcast days make it even harder for the cars to see us on the road. This light used to be touted as the brightest light on the planet, I don't see that anymore on the page but I've compared it to the ones that my friends use when they ride and it is much brighter. Visibility up to a mile. It's like defensive cycling. Be Safe Be Seen! Get a light!


Hoka One One Running Shoes - These shoes have saved my knees, period! Honestly I don't know what I would do if I didn't have my Hokas! They were designed by ultra runners and they have amazing amounts of cushioning. Some people refer to them as clown shoes because they have a built up sole. If you have any issues with knee pain and run in a neutral shoe you should go and check them out. I have two pair that I alternate and love both of them. Right now I have the Bondi and the Stinson (now replaced with the Stinson Lite). I think I'm going to get a pair of their racing shoes next. The Huaka!!
I don't have to kinesio tape my knees anymore with these shoes! Life is good!

That's pretty much it for new things, I hope you enjoy reading about them!

P.S. One of my readers and ICEdot Teammate was in a bad accident a few days ago, he was hit by a car while running. This is what he posted on his page:

"I should not be here, the guy was cutting corner through a restaurant parking lot to avoid the lighted intersection , he hit me dead center of his tundra . I had enough time to put arm up and jump while running . I flew up ten feet and spun into the bushes. I have several broken parts including my arm."

Please keep him in your thoughts as he heals! Get well soon!! Be careful out there everyone!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Running Season!!

Cool weather = awesome running!

The temperatures up north are already cold and sometimes miserable but here in the South we are just getting into the best time of the year to run! I have friends that live up North and say that they love to run in the heat. But do it for days and days on end in the summer here and you feel like you're melting. And don't get me started on the combined heat and humidity.

I did my first 5K of the season a couple weeks ago - The Great Pumpkin Run!! This race is put on by the Feist-Weiller Cancer Center and raises money for cancer research, a great cause! My second year to run this race. They do a really cool long sleeve t-shirt. This year it looked like this:

This year I placed 2nd Overall Female! Was really 4th if you count the two 13 year old girls who beat me, they have their own "Kids" catagory. One of the girls was a swimmer with COSST Varsity! I love it when I see our swimmers at the races. There were several other swimmers that I saw that morning too!

Jenna from COSST - 2nd Overall Kid's Division! She ran
a 21:22 - 6:54 pace!

I had a good race, tried to go out easier and negative split the run but failed, got too caught up at the beginning. It's hard when you see other women blasting off the line. Two came by right away, I caught both of them. Mile splits were 7:11, 7:19, 7:19. For a 22:20 and a 7:13 average. Last year it was cooler temperature, I went 22:32 for a 7:16 average. 

Nice shirts, nice age group award medals, and I won this for being "Runner Up". Yay!  

Haven't picked my next race - need to look at the calendar. Going back to work at the Sportspectrum next week! Time to sell some running shoes!!!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Hub City Hustle Triathlon Resurrected!

I've been negligent about posting about my last triathlon of the season, The Hub City Hustle. This race was my friend, Denise Joplin's first foray into race directing, and she did a really nice job. It was held on the same course as the old Mighty Magnolia Tri. The guy who used to put that race on decided not to do it anymore so Denise stepped up and took over the challenge. Long ago there was a race in Hattiesburg called the Hub City Hustle, I always wanted to go back and race it. It was held in the Canebrake Subdivision but once the neighborhood got developed and had too many homes it was moved.

I was in redemption race mode because of my fiasco at Meat Pie and wanted to do well. I drove down the day before, went by Belk to see the team there. Bill used to manage that store and I spent a lot of time with the staff there working on merchandising and helping out when Bill needed me. It was so great to see them all! 

Race Shirt!!
Then I drove out to the race site to pick up my packet, we were going to get our chips and swim caps in the morning.... There was going to be a *little surprise with the caps, I'll get to that later.  Passed out some race packets and then put the numbers on the bike racks. Got a volunteer t-shirt for helping!  Cool green shirt with the race logo.

Stopped by Corner Market grocery and grabbed some sushi (and saw that they carry Eternal Water - why can't we get it in Shreveport?) and went to the hotel to relax. I stayed at a Microtel by Windham... it didn't occur to me until I unlocked the door about the name of the hotel... Micro. The room was tiny, it felt like a European hotel, but it was perfect size for me! 

Race Morning:  
Drove out to the race, plenty of time in advance, as usual. Race announced that it was going to be wetsuit legal. Hmmm... should I or shouldn't I? I went ahead and opted to wear it since there was money on the line for the first 3 males and females. Rode the run course with Brinn and could tell that my legs were a little flat from the long drive down the day before. Whenever you have a long drive to a race it's a good idea to get in a spin on the bike or an easy jog after you arrive. I did neither, and I forgot to wear my compression socks for the drive. After the ride Brinn, Elizabeth, and I did an easy run out toward the finish of the run. Measured out a half mile and gave the girls some landmarks. Did a few pick ups on the way in and then finished getting ready for the race. 

Warmed up with Brinn as we swam across the lake to the start. The race has a point to point swim in a crescent shape along the shoreline. We did a few sprints on the swim on the way over. I typically do 20 strokes hard (about the distance of 25 yards). In masters swim, Kyle has us do 75's a day or two out from a race. He times each 25 and they go like this - first 25 like you would go at the start of the race, and then a 50 at race pace (settle in). So we did a few of these instead.

Denise offered an amateur/elite swim wave at the race so we could choose to go head to head with our competition instead of the time trial start that is typical at this race and how the rest of the age groupers would start. I decided to go ahead and go off in this wave. I kept my mind calm and didn't have any wetsuit issues. The best thing for me is to just not think about it. What I usually do is get it in my head that I'm going to have a panic and then it consumes my thoughts and gets me freaked. Sometimes singing a song in my head will help. Just before the start I said something out loud about needing a song and one guy said "Or you can always fall back on Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming." Used that one and it worked. Came out of the water just behind Brinn, I saw her hitting the beach. Stephanie was way up there ahead of both of us. 4th fastest female swim. 8:15.

*I forgot completely to talk about the swim caps!! So, from what I understand the logo caps that were ordered for the race arrived, but in kid's size!! So thinking last minute instead of just ordering a bunch of plain swim caps Denise thought outside the box and ordered a bunch of "Grab Bag Caps"! These would be the extra caps printed for a custom order by other teams or companies. We got to grab what cap we wanted and they were all different! I grabbed this one, because I love to swim butterfly!! I think it is a great idea and apparently I wasn't the only one. The Grab Bag Caps were a big hit! Love this idea! Good work, Denise!!

No issues in transition. Onto the bike where I quickly made up some ground and passed 2 girls who were ahead of me coming out of the swim.  

Our friend, Geneva!!! Miss you!
One of the people that I went to Belk specifically to see was our friend, Geneva! And when I told her that I was racing and showed her the course she said that it went really close by her house. She said that she and her girls would come out and cheer for me on the bike course! I saw them and waved like a happy child!!

I never felt like I really had the bike speed that I had earlier in the year, and I've pretty much come to the conclusion that it is because I hadn't been able to ride with the fast triathletes on Saturday's. I'm telling you, riding with them really helped my speed. 50-70 miles at 21+ will do that. *Note to self - ride long with the fast folks next year. Bike average, 20.6 - better than last year but rather pathetic.

Zipped into transition and had some fumbling putting on my running shoes. I use the Saucony Kinvara for my racing shoes. It's not a true racing flat, but I feel that I still want a little cushion for my knees. The downside of these is that they are kind of flimsy around the tongue and heel so they are hard to get on. Tri running shoes have the same little loop at the back of them like tri cycling shoes and I've had thoughts of sewing a loop of some kind on the back of them to make them easier to pull on. Oh, and putting some glide in the back to keep from rubbing makes them that much harder to grab. I heard Kyle (our Masters Swim Coach and Denise's husband) say, "hurry Ginger". Like I'm not tying to hurry....

Running out of transition I hear Kyle again on the loud speaker. "Stephanie is about 10 minutes ahead." - like I could catch her - hahaha!  If you knew him you'd know that he has a really dry sense of humor, this was his attempt at being funny. And then he said, "First Old Lady", another humorous comment. I thought it was pretty funny. I know that he is just joking and realizes that I may be old but I'm still pretty fast. Oh, and a volunteer said "second female". Now this was some good information! Was hoping for a top 3 finish and this was good news!

I decided to race "old school" which for me meant no watch and was trying the no hat also. Voting for the no hat? Nope, going back to the hat. My sunglasses were moving all over the place, I usually adjust the earpieces to be on the hat and it keeps them in place better. Learned that lesson. As far as the watch, no big deal because when I'm running hard I can't really see the numbers anyway to see my pace. I just ran hard, but it felt slow and mushy. I felt like I was running in slow motion on some of the punchy little hills on the course. I was surprised to see the results that said I averaged 7:33 miles. I didn't mind not wearing a watch, the only thing I missed was being able to look at the data afterwards. I find that I can learn a lot about what went right and wrong by seeing the numbers - especially the run splits. 

Now... since we all went first in a wave and the rest of the competitors went time trial style going every 5 seconds apart there was no way to know how you did until the last person is finished. And that is almost exactly what happened. Brinn and I went out onto the run course to cool down and cheer on the people finishing and we saw a girl that she told me had been her nemesis. She had registered the day before and I believe went off last. 

Cobb Mobb! Brinn and I after the race!

I placed 2nd overall by just 3 SECONDS! It was Brinn's nemesis that placed 3rd. We were really hoping to both be in the top 3. A little disappointing. And if you chose to race in the elite/amateur wave you weren't eligible for age group awards. (See my posting on Rose City where I discuss this policy.) 

Awards and Friends:
I got to see so many great people from Hattiesburg! Lots of friends turn out for this race. But there were a bunch missing too that I was looking forward to seeing. :(  Geneva showed up at the finish area with her girls, Alison and Stephi, so I got to see them all again!! 

Geneva's girls!!

Really cool awards that were custom made for the race, lucite and wood looking like a crank set! And a nice race logo etched pint glass... AND a check for $200 for coming in 2nd Overall Female. It almost paid for my travel (hotel and petrol)! 

Top 3 Females!

All in all a great trip! Getting to support my friend Denise at her venture into race directing - a good thing! Seeing old friends - bonus! 



My girls at Clinique and Connie!