Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Stuff I love

It's been years since I posted a few of my favorite things! What makes this whole swim, bike & run thing a little more comfortable or fun? (Besides the activities themselves, of course).

Swim:

1.) When I swim open water or with masters, there's a lot going on to keep me focused on my workout. Coach also prefers that I swim on my own, more times than I swim with masters. These are usually pretty long sets at a less intense pace. These workouts can exceed an hour, so how do I keep from going crazy, following the black line, back and forth? I love my waterproof ipod with short headphones (clip them onto your goggles). I don't know if this link is the exact one that I bought. If you buy one, make sure that you get the one that allows you to press the buttons while in the water. Some of the waterproofing companies say pressing buttons will void the warranty. I've been using mine for 10 months now with no issues. OH....and make sure you get the "flipturn" headphones. If you're a runner, having a waterproof ipod and headphones goes a long way when you get caught in the rain.....or even if you sweat profusely....like....ummm....some of us.

2.) SUNSCREEN: I am fortunate that I can swim outside all year long. In Colorado, we have the highest rates of skin cancer in the US. In 2004, I had skin cancer, and my Aunt died from melanoma two years ago. It was a horrible, horrible thing to go through. I've tried every sunscreen out there. They are all pretty much equal, except this one. I love Neutrogena's sunscreen because you can put it directly on wetskin. It's waterproof, so I can use is for Swimming, sweating or even just being in very humid places. 


3.) Just for fun! As a masters swimmer, we get to sign up for the FLOG or Fitness Log. Now, I already log my workouts in Training Peaks, so why would I log it again in the FLOG? BECAUSE I GET FREE STUFF WHEN I HIT MILESTONES! Who doesn't love free stuff? You get swim caps for hitting 50 miles, a string back pack for other miles, swim suits, etc. 

4.) For those of you open water swimmers, I've tried MANY wetsuits over the years. I have to say the BlueSeventy is my absolute favorite. Everyone will have a different preference, but I love the buoyancy of the Blue Seventy over the Xterra. I also love having bigger arms holes and a tighter fitting torso. (Tighter fit = less drag). 
5.) With all that time spent in the pool and bouncing between chlorinated pools and acid pools, and being in my late 40's, my hair gets JACKED UP. That was until I found Sebastian's Penetrait. This stuff has been a savior for my hair. This is supposed to be a weekly formula, but I use it every time I swim, and it keeps my hair from getting the pool frizz.

One warning: Don't google Penetrate....just don't. Trust me.

Bike

1.) Women and men both need a way to carry extra food, keys, cell phone etc. Finding one that's easy to open while riding and big enough without being bulky has been a challenge for me. I LOVE my Xlabs Rocket Pocket. (And lady friends, it's long enough to carry full sized tampons). 

2.) I hadn't bought a bike helmet since I started riding. That's a long long time. When I needed to buy a new racing helmet this year, I was stuck. Do I go with the brand new Rudy Helmet? That bad boy costs around $500-$600. My previous helmet was a Rudy, and I liked it. I started doing some research on helmets. I noticed that some of the pro women at Kona last year were wearing ROAD racing helmets instead of triathlon helmets. Why? Well hell. The triathlon helmets are very hot. When racing in hot weather, it can be uncomfortable, especially since many women opt for long hair---for very good reason. Have you ever notice that women triathletes have long hair? Ever wonder why?It's not a fashion statement. It's purely functional.  It's because we train so much. It's much easier to put wet hair into a messy bun than having to deal with styling short hair. BUT, I digress. While a road helmet, can give a rider air flow and the option of spraying themselves with water. I decided to go with the Specialized for even more reasons: It has a ponytail cut out! This one is their top of the line helmet, and it's still less than half the price of the RUDY. It's so lightweight and comfortable that it doesn't even feel like I'm wearing a helmet. The airflow is amazing and means no more over heating. I bought the white one to deflect the heat even more. (Picture shown is blue...no duh).

3.) Fuel. This crosses all sports. Infinit Nutrition has a number of products that I absolutely love. I need to give you warning. I've gone back and forth between using Infinit and NOT using the product. The reason for it is that their CUSTOMER SERVICE SUCKS. Over the years, I've contacted them 5 times via email and twice via social media. THEY NEVER RESPONDED. NOT ONCE. I would much rather give my business to a company that actually cares about me. Still, they are the only company (that I am aware of) that allows you to completely customize your sport drink. THAT's why I use their products. I need a lot of sodium and a lot of calories. When I order my own custom blend, I have them put very little flavoring in it. This allows me to create a concentrated blend without having an over powering taste. (I'm very taste sensitive). Another reason I love the products is because the product doesn't sour or change flavor when it gets hot. I can go out for a 5 hour ride, the drink will get warm, but it will taste just as good as when it is ice cold. Another product of theirs that I love is the Infinit Mud. It's a mocha flavored protein/carbohydrate drink. I have it every single morning at breakfast. I love it! Mix it with (in my case) coconut milk and ice, and it tastes exactly like an iced coffee drink. 

4.) Hands down the best salt tablet out there with 333mg of sodium per tablet. That's +100mg more than SaltStick. I rest my case. 
5.) More and more women owned companies are getting involved with triathlon. Women have different needs. We have different bodies and need clothes that are cut bigger in the hips and thighs while also giving us support on top. Coeur sports has all of that. I'm bigger on top and have struggled with finding a top supportive enough to hold the girls in place without restricting my ability to breath. Coeur has been the first company to offer a built in shelf bra that is strong enough for those of us who are C cups and larger. No more wearing a running bra that only leads to horrible chafing (after the swim. I mean really. Running bras are made for running NOT running after a swim!) I also need bottoms that are cut larger in the legs. The shorts offer seam free chamois, yoga styled waist band (no muffin top), and best of all....3 rear pockets on the shorts! THANK YOU COEUR!

6.) For fun! Strava started as a tool for cyclists, but it branched out into running. Now, we can upload bikes, runs, swims, and ANY other workout. The amazing thing about Strava is that State Governments are starting to buy their "hot spot" software. The governments buy the software to find where people are being the most active in an effort to make certain areas MORE Safe OR they use it a way to determine were to put in new pedestrian friendly paths. Now, that's the bigger picture. I use strava because it's SO FREAKING FUN. If you have a Garmin, timex or other device, your workouts will/can automatically upload to Strava. Every time you run/ride a segment faster, you get a virtual cup. When you run/ride a segment faster than anyone else, you get a QOM or KOM (Queen or King of the mountain). You can join challenges every month and set goals for yourself. I love it. It's fun. Also, it gives me a way to connect with people directly about their workouts WITHOUT posting it on FB. I am pretty sure everyone was pretty tired of me posting workouts on social media. NOW the only people that see my workouts are my Strava friends who are also currently training. It's a WIN-WIN.  Did I mention that STRAVA is FREE??

The Run

1.) By the time you get to the run, any little thing that can make you more comfortable, the better. To prevent chafing, I use Trislide, It's an anti-chafing product that goes on via spray, so your hands stay clean. The other benefit is that Tri-slide (when you spray your feet), makes getting on shoes a BREEZE. Shoes just slip right on! Wetsuit just slides right off! With other products, I've noticed that when I'm walking down to the shore, the sand will stick to my feet. I don't really want to hop on the bike with gravel stuck to my feet. Likewise, running with gravel stuck to you isn't a whole lot of fun. NOTHING sticks to trislide. NOTHING. 


2.) Fuel, once again. On the run, I take gels and salt tablets. Since I need 300 calories per hour plus sodium, it's a lot to carry for a half marathon and longer. I also struggle with taste sensitivity. I cannot take in sweet tasting gels. That limits the flavors that I can have. Introducing E-Gel. I can't rave about this product enough. First of all, each e-gel is 150 calories versus most other brands which are 100 calories. (The packs are larger, but I carry fewer, so who cares?). They have more than DOUBLE the electrolytes and have significantly more carbohydrates per pack. BEST OF ALL, they cost almost $1 per gel LESS. When I first bought the variety pack, I was extremely concerned about the taste. I thought they would be thrown away because they were too sweet. To my surprise, the flavors are more tart. They aren't sweet at all. I have had all the flavors now and love all of them! They also have a sports drink. I haven't tried it yet, but I will probably give it a try next year for my shorter distance races and masters swims. If you decide to try these gels, please use my member referral number: Member ID: 471293.  I can earn points which translate into discounts on my next purchase. I think you get a discount too. 

3.) For those of you who trail run or run in snow and ice, you cannot live without IceSpikes. Be safe. Keep your traction. In the winter, I run a series of 5ks often times on sheets of ice. IceSpikes is the BEST product out there to prevent dangerous slips and falls. These are spikes that screw into your shoes and can be removed without harm to your shoes. I just keep them in my trail shoes. There are no straps or coils that can move around while running. IceSpikes are the most stable option and MUCH better than using sheet metal screws because the IceSpikes actually grip the ground. 



WOW! I think that's it for now. Until next time, I'll also leave you with some of my favorite online stores.

Bike Nashbar Probably the best deals on the internet for tires, tubes, cartridges, even sunglasses. Check out their Nashbar brand products. Why spend $200 on sunglasses when you can spend $50 on a store brand?

First Endurance The multivitamin and the OptygenHP are probably the best products on the market. You only take OptygenHP for around 12 weeks leading up to your A race. (Make sure to order the Protype Multi-vitamins. The old version has both calcium and iron. Iron shouldn't be taken at the same time as calcium. The newer version removed the calcium and increased the iron because most endurance athletes have some varying leveling of iron deficiency.)

SwimOutlet Still the best deals for everything swim.

Road Runner Sports Been shopping here for years and haven't found a better source for running gear. It's still the cheapest running gear on the market. Shop the RRS brand. 


Have fun out there!

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