Saturday, December 9, 2017

Work and Fun

Work has kept me quite busy. Between the three major work project I have it can sometimes be overwhelming. When I get to reflect though it’s actually plain fun. I work with athletes who challeng my own ability. I work with running shoe companies who trust what I have to say. I work with new companies trying to bridge the gap between concept and commercial product. I was interviewed a few weeks ago on two of these projects. You can listen here:

It’s a good life....

Thursday, October 5, 2017

New Recovery Item

5-6 years ago while at Zoot I got a call. The guy on the other end of the line said “So and So said you are the guy to talk to”. So and So were well respected names so I said “come on in”. This guy had this sample of a motor and a long story. Not long after that he was back with a workin sample I could put on my foot. I was sold. We tried for almost 2 years to put his motor into a Zoot shoe. We needed to modify the shoe and he and his team needed to get the motor smaller. The parent company of Zoot was fully behind the project but in the end things fell apart.

In August of this year I received an email from my friend (the guy who first called me) asking my size and address. My new Footbeat shoes arrived. The group had tried to work with other brands to no success. They decided to do it all on their own. What is it?

First and foremost it’s a medical device. An orthopedic surgeon wanted to create an easier and more effective way for his patience to recover from surgery. With the FootBeat shoes on, you turn the motors on by remote. A motor is in each shoe. The motors simultaineously lift a platform up at pre set intervals. That platform pushes on your arch. It’s a soft push. The push is enough force to generate blood flow. When a patient is in recovery they are usually sitting or laying down. Blood pools in their feet. The reason for this is a small valve just above your foot can’t open without sufficient blood pressure. The same thing happens to you when you fly. So this little motor lifts the platform which creates enough pressure to create blood flow. Patients recover faster.

It turns out, the same thing applies to athletes. Athletes work hard, then go to their office sit down and circulation to the legs slows down. Recovery is hampered. They then go out the next day and do it again. For a runner this is where injuries happen. Have you ever noticed with your injury that it didn’t happen suddenly. You felt it combining. That’s because every time you run you strain that connective tissue that gets injured. Not some times but every time you run. The body is created to repair thost little micro tears you create. But when you do it day after day the body can’t keep up and the micro tears turn into injury. That’s why all injuries are over-use injuries. The Footbeat shoes with their loud motors, push restorative blood. That restorative blood helps to repair those micro tears every day. You can do the math.

I’ve had my FootBeat for 8-9 weeks now. I’ve learned to use then for more than just recovery.

1. I use then for 10-20 minutes before I run. My legs feel absolutely fresh.

2. I use them for 10-20 minutes after I run. For obvious reasons.

3. I use them at night for 30-40 minutes. I dont’ wake up sore or tight.

4. I wear them on the plane. I got off a recent flight to Berlin with legs that felt like running was possible.

These things are not perfect. As mentioned they are loud. There sometimes is a cross in connection if your phone is too close to the motors. They then won’t be working at the same time. The shoes could be better but their not bad.

If you are coming to Kona or Arizona try them out. There is a simple test. One leg on, one leg off for 20 minutes or more. The one leg on will feel fresh and alive. The most common description is “Lighter”. The other leg will feel normal whatever that is.

I’m so happy to see this item come to the market. I’ve been in the product business for most of my life. While spending 12 years at RRS my job in part was to find the winners. The products that would make a difference in the business. I learned to concentrate on the runner and was usually right in my decisions. I rarely if ever called anything breakthrough. Recovery boots are these big sleeves you pull over your legs and the plug into a wall. They squeeze your legs reducing blood flow. When they release the blood flow rushes back in. The squeeze can be uncomfortable. The boots don’t squeeze your foot which by the way is the furthest from your heart. What hurts the most on most runners? You can get all of this for $1200. With Footbeat the blood flow is pushed from the foot. This makes the circulation complete. It’s the blood flow in the boots and in the Footbeat shoes that creates the recovery not the squeeze. That is scientifically proveen. With Footbeat, no squeeze and they are $450. That’s kind of breakthrough. Do the same thing, easier and less expensive.

I have to be honest here. Footbeat asked me for help in sport. I’ll be in Kona helping them lauch to the triathlon world.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Running in Big Bear Lake, CA

I've always enjoyed Big Bear Lake, CA. Some of my best triathlons from a performance standpoint occurred in that area. It's where I learned how to ski. It's also where our sone did cross country camps with his club team leading into the season. So when a couple friends said they were running a 50K there I asked to tag along.

We were only there from late Friday afternoon to early Saturday afternoon. My friends were up early to catch a shuttle to the start of their race. I went with them and started my run from the finish line of the events for the weekend. At the time 6:30am two 100 mile finishers had come in.

My plan was to have some coffee and a little to eat before my run. I walked down to the coffee shop and they were closed. It would be 30 minutes before they opened. I was dressed to run. In other words I had shorts and a shirt on. It was in the mid 50's and I didn't feel like hanging out for 30 minutes. I decided to run on an empty stomach.

The sunrise was both beatiful and warm. It was actually quite easy to warm up because the run started with 3 miles of climiing to Skyline road. It wasn't so steep I couldn't run, but it was plenty steep. Once at the top it leveled off for a bit and then went up some more. It tops out at 7,940 feet above sea level. 

About 3/4 of the way up the first climb the 3rd place 100 mile runner came by with his pacer. His pacer asked "Is this the way?". I can only imagine what it feels like at 97 miles into the race. The course markings parobaly seem slight. Especially if you happen to miss one of the markings. I assured them they were on the right path. Funny story the guy that won the race went off course and ran 6 extra miles. That's kind of insane. 

It's always fun to come up on things unexpected. I did not expect to find a USMC recreation center on my route. It's a place where Marine families can come to camp, ride mountain bikes, hike and simply enjoy the fresh high mountain air of Big Bear Lake.

My friends cut there run short. I was walking to the finish line long after my run. I thought I would have at least an hour to sit and watch the ultra runners finishing. I was almost to the turn to the finish line when my friends pulled up to pick me up. They cut the course short because they were mentally out of it. We went back to the condo, they showered and we had a great lunch. 

Totally fun 22 hours in Big Bear. I can't wait to go again. 

It's a good life...