Friday, December 19, 2014

Five for Friday: My Current Sports Nutrition

Tis the season to try all things new and see what feels good and what doesn't. I'm going to list this by category because there is lots of information.

  1. Pre Workout - Long Runs or Morning Workouts - Bullet Proof Coffee. I've tried all kinds of things over the years and this is what I find works the best. Last Sunday I had a cup of coffee ran 1:45 with the boys and never felt I needed anything outside of water at 70 minutes.
  2. All Day Hydration - I drink Nuun. I rotate flavors each time. It's simple cheap and it works great. And I salt everything.
  3. On the bike - Shorter rides I drink Hammer Nutrition Heed. I've always liked the mellow taste and it works great. For longer rides I take Generation UCAN and water.
  4. Recovery - I really like First Endurance Ultragen It works great and tastes good. I ran out the other day so mixed one scoop of UCAN Vanilla with Protein and One Scoop UCAN Lemon/lime hydration. It tasted great and worked well. That's an expensive recovery mixture.  I think I'll stick to Ultragen.
  5. Ok so what doesn't work for me: Hammer Nutrition Recoverite - Never feels good going down. Energy Gel of any kind. I'll save those for race day only. They work but I surely don't see the point of training with them. Larabar - I had one on the bike a couple weeks ago and still hit the proverbial wall hard.

It's a good life.....

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


I am a Jewell. There is a quality in the Jewell family around routine.

Good sleep
Up early
Hit it hard early getting the hardest done first

For me that means I do my focused workout first thing. I like it that way but it's hard to find riding partners ran7:00am on a Saturday.

This week because of schedule, the morning workout does not work. Instead of worrying too much I moved it to late afternoon. Last night I was running in the dark.

The more I think about it the more I like it. Get my work-work done early get my hard workout done later. Results to come.

It's a good life.....

Monday, December 15, 2014

Finacial Review

I've had some time on my hand and because it's the end of the year I think the best way to spend any extra time is on review. First and foremost in this review is a family financial review. I'm done looking at how much money I think I deserve or want. I'm looking at how much money I truly need to provide for the family and have enough left over to invest. It surprises me that I don't need to make as much money as I did to do this. I'm ambitious to make sure my family is fully provided for. I'm thankful that right now I get to do that on my terms.

The first part of the review is to look at security. Things that make me and my family feel safe.

  1. Cash - Did you know the average American family doesn't have $2000 for an emergency. That's crazy to me. We have enough cash to live close to 6 months. That's not living at our current level but in crisis you can't expect that.
  2. Home - We are lucky we bought low and in a real pinch we could sell today with large upside.
  3. Pension- Mary is a teacher.
  4. Life Insurance - I have two. Thanks Mary
  5. No Short Term High Interest debt - No Credit Card Debt, No Auto Debt
  6. Bonds - I have none and the next security investment I make will be in Bonds.

This is a good start to review what we have and what we want. Next up will be looking at what we are doing to live fulfilling lives beyond our working days. That may be a long time away of if we are really good may be something we can choose. We have the investments and have had them for 20 years. I'll be the first to admit that I never look at them. By next Monday I will have had a full review of how they are doing.

I share this with you not to say look at how good we are doing. I always think there is room to give Mary and I more certainty. The point is to show you how to do it. If you are in the average American household the first thing is get out of any credit card debt and as soon as you pay those off, use that the same money and start putting it into savings or some other investment you can access easily. That's how we did it. We paid off our cars and then took those would be payments and split them in savings and long term investments.

Special Note on Shoe Reviews. If you like the shoe reviews I've done and want to see more go to There you'll get a weekly shoe review from me. Hopefully all the other content we add will be of use as well. The real big content that we've been working on is still 30 days away but I'm happy to report that it's special.

It's a good life...

Friday, December 12, 2014

Five for Friday: My 5 Favorite Runs

Running has taken me to some amazing places. It's hard to have 5 that are tops but I'll give it a shot.

  1. Grossenseebach, Germany with my dog Scout. We had some really good times running in Germany. We would run from the house and just explore the multitude of trails around the area. I think our longest run was two hours together but most were 45 minutes to an hour. She was always ready to go and just loved to chase deer, hares and the occasional chicken. The area is famous for it's wild boar but we were lucky to never run into one of them. I will always remember those runs.
  2. Coast Highway Cardiff with Marco - We don't run together much anymore. He has his running buddies and quite frankly our paces have crossed paths. I used to slow down for him and now I'd have to run well above my comfort zone to run with him. I haven't changed that much but he has. We've had some amazing discussions on our runs and that's what always makes them great.
  3. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado - I've had some epic runs in that park. Once I was tracked by a mountain lion. That was fun. On another occasion a 90 minute run turned into 3 hours with a good 30 minutes in one of those classic summer thunderstorms.
  4. Eldoret, Kenya - Just outside of the city we started a run at a measly 8,000 feet and finished 15 K later at 10,000 feet. We were treated to a feast by the runners at the finishing camp. What was so cool is we were 50 runners strong. I was given a 15 minute head start and I finished 5 minutes behind the last group. I loved every second of that run.
  5. The first run I ever went on. I was tired of the routine of Snickers after school and decided one day to lace up a beat up pair of Nike shoes I had and go for a run. It hurt so much that I went running the next day.
It's a good life....

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Are You Ready to Run?

If you search through my posts you'll get a pretty good idea of what I feel about running, running form and running shoes. After the first few times I went running I knew I wanted to run the rest of my life. Saying so and doing so are two very different things as most of you reading this understand. Injuries, children, jobs and general lifestyle all play a roll in our ability to run. But more than all of that is sheer pain. Running hurts. It hurts when you are out of shape trying to get into shape. It hurts if your 16 years old and taking a 3 week break between seasons. It hurts if you are 50 years old and have a lifetime of running.

Because of this I am always on the lookout for something to help me run as long as I can. Kelly Starrett wrote an encyclopedia for athletes when you wrote Becoming a Supple Leopard. I learned of his methods much earlier in his MobilityWOD YouTube videos. His delivery is spot on for me and I absorbed a ton. Once the book came out, I dug into it and have used it on a regular basis. I always felt that there was something missing. Well this year the missing peace came out in the form of Ready to Run.

I honestly believe if you run, you need this book. It doesn't matter if you are 15 or 50, make or female this book, if you use it as a running tool will keep you running pain free for a long time. Why?

  1. Proper Efficient Running form is everything to a runner. 
  2. Running Form starts in your head and works down to your feet. 
  3. Running Form does not start with your feet or more importantly what's on your feet. 
  4. If you allow your body to get tight, because of running, working at a computer, flying around the world (read through this blog) or sitting on the couch watching the NFL on Sunday, your running form will suffer.  
This book makes staying properly balanced easy to understand. The 12 tests you should be able to perform as a runner are not difficult. They are simple to execute and measure and if you can't do them the rest of the book is dedicated to getting you to be able to to them. 

I'll give you an example. 

For weeks now I've been dealing with pain that is all related: 
  1.  Low back pain
  2. Tight Hips
  3. Tight Hamstrings
Before I bought this book a couple weeks ago I was addressing the low back with a a foam roller and a lacrosse ball. Since I got the book this is my routine: 

  1. Voodoo Floss - Hamstrings - Essentially intense compression on each leg. I do this 3 times a day. 
  2. Baseball to my hips - I've had the same massage therapist for years. Whenever Dave got to my hips I'd tense up and it took him a good 20 minutes to work out the tightness. I always had tears in my eyes from the pain. Now with the baseball I can get to the exact same area and do it daily. 7 days or so into it, it's almost painless now. 
  3. Couch Stretch - I've always done this but now after the baseball it's so much easier to do. 
  4. Foam Roll my lower back. 
Results - Low Back pain is gone, hip movement is awesome and the hamstring tightness is slowly but surely leaving my body. 

The only issue I have with the book and it's minor is Standard #2: Flat Shoes

I believe flat shoes in your every day life is the right way to go. Try to convince my wife who likes to look professional in school and she'll say you're crazy but I believe in the Flat Shoes all day view. I however disagree with the Flat running shoes. Kelly talks about going from Motion Control shoes (Casts for your feet) to flat shoes. There are about 100 steps in that process before you ever can consider this. I firmly believe in running in the least amount of shoe you can get away with. If that means flat great. But most everyone in the running world will fall between the cast and flat. Very few ever need the cast and very few can run daily in flat shoes. 

Other than that one piece I think this book is a keeper and belongs on the book shelf of every runner on the planet. It's that good.

It's a good life....


Monday, December 8, 2014

Running Shoe Review: Saucony Triumph ISO 12

Triumph ISO 12                                                      Triumph 11
Price: $150                                                              $140
Weight: Men's 10.3oz/292g                                       10.8oz/306g
Weight: Women's 9.0oz/255g                                    9.3oz/264g
Midsole Volume: Maximum                                      Maximum
Midsole Offset: 8mm                                               8mm
Category: Neutral                                                    Neutral

What we heard on the way to the review:

Runner: "Have you seen the new Triumph? Saucony is going after Maximalism (Hoka), That shoe is beautiful"

Retailer: "Oh we are selling it really well, that upper fits like a sock"

Competitor Magazine "Iso Fit Technology - A wrap system that creates near-custom fit with a soft inner sleeve and a floating cage that adapts to the precise shape and movement of the foot"

Saucony - The new Pro Grid Plus offers 20% more cushioning

A Comparison between equal level Neutral shoes

Supportive                                                                                                          Soft
Brooks Glycerin - Asics Nimbus - Saucony Triumph ISO 12 - adidas Energy - Hoka Clifton

Let's take a step back and talk a bit about Saucony. For over 2 decades Saucony has been one of the default women's running brands. All the way back to the first Jazz the fit of Saucony running was really good for women. In fact many brands have studied Saucony fit when they made attempts to create unique women's shoes for their own line. The most interesting thing is that Saucony didn't set out to address the woman's foot. In fact for all those years they used one last for men and women. The result of all this is a lagging men's business.
Brands as they start out unless they are women's only brand will skew heavily towards the men's side of running. Once that side of the business is established they turn concentration to women. To be more clear the brand is not going after men. Men are after new technology in their running shoes and are more willing to take a risk on a new brand. To have a brand like Saucony with more than 50% of their business with women is really unique in the running shoe world.

One shoe to break that mold for Saucony with men was the Kinvara. I'll talk later when the Kinvara 6 comes out in Fall 2015 but I believe and have for a few years that the Kinvara is the perfect shoe. So it excited me when I took my first look at the new Triumph and saw in it a great deal that makes the Kinvara so good. In fact it's clear to me that Saucony wasn't looking at Hoka but at their own shoe the Kinvara when they made the change to this Triumph. in doing so I think they give the runner looking at the Hoka Clifton another option to try.  When I finally got the chance to try it on it was instant, Saucony has a men's shoe. That's not to say that they are giving up on women. In fact I believe the Triumph is now positioned so well in fit and feel that it will work equally for both genders.
 Looking at the lateral side profile you can see a couple very big upgrades on the midsole. First is the constant ground contact flat bottom. This ensures that no matter where you strike the ground first (heel, midfoot, forefoot) that you will land on soft foam and be in contact with the ground until you toe off. The second thing to notice is all the articulation in the side wall. This ensures when you do strike that the shoe is smooth through transition.
 On the medial side of the shoe it's all business. Very little articulation. The idea behind this to create some support in the midsole. Virtually all runners have some pronation in their stride. The supportive medial side is just their to keep the foot tracking over the meat of the forefoot.
With this outsole view you see the full constant ground contact surface area. You can also see the lateral side release where the rubber pods from the heel though the forefoot match the articulation we saw in the lateral side view. The only draw back in this design is the center channel under the heel. It's just wide enough to collect rocks or sticks and narrow enough to keep them in your shoe until you stop to remove them.
At closer look you can see the deep flex grooves that get a bit wider to the lateral side. When you put these shoes on and walk in them you can actually feel the outole under your foot. It's similar to the feeling of socks with grippers on the bottom. You feel like you are almost sticking to the surface.
 The insole (sock liner) is molded to the last (same last as Triumph 11) and you can see the shape of the bottom of the last in the contours of this sock liner. There is good arch support medial and lateral and there is good feel in this liner. 200 miles in to the shoe and the sock liner held up well.
 Inside the shoe you can see the Iso Fit upper. It's a one piece construction sleeve. No traditional tongue to deal with. You can see here that the sleeve is there to fit around your instep and then it's sewed into the upper just past your arch. With all of this seaming I wouldn't suggest running without socks.
When you first see the shoe you can't help to notice the thick padded heel. I'm not 100% sure why they went so thick unless it's to make up for the challenges in the cage (see below). I will note that this skinny heel (me) runner appreciated the thick heel. If you have the rare wide heel I think this shoe will be a challenge to fit.
 Any time a brand goes to a cage system for the lacing it produces challenges. Because each eyelet is independent there is a tendency for one or two of the cage fingers to bend or twist out of place and for the footwear developer it takes lots and lots of pattern work to get it right. I think Saucony did a really good job figuring it out although there are a few things I would have changed. The very top (last) eyelet is positioned too far back. I believe runners with a high instep will struggle with this eyelet placing. There will be a strong tendency for the lace to dig into the top of the foot at the ankle joint. Personally I noticed it each time a laced the shoes but will admit to never noticing it while running. But I have virtually no instep which is why I believe there will be some issue. The other minor concern I had with the shoe is that there is one fewer eyelet row. The runner who likes a really tight fit will struggle to get this shoe tight enough. All that said, I'm super impressed with the cage in this shoe. I would not say it fits the precise contours of my foot but I would say it's really, really comfortable. From the first run to the last I never once had to stop and adjust the fit.
 One final note before I really dig into the results. The trend in midsoles at the maximum or over sized level is soft, really soft. I've been running on paths most of my adult life. In Germany or in Cardiff I would rather run on a soft dirt path than on a hard road. Until very recently it's been without incident. The first incident was last spring in a Hoka Rapa Nui. I was not more than 1 minute into my run (through the park across the street from my house) when a stick went completely through the bottom of the shoe and into the soft part of my forefoot. I pulled the stick out and blood started to flow. You can see in the picture above that it happened again. Lucky for me that the stick when out the side wall and not into my foot this time. Just something to be aware of in these new shoes. It's a good thing to check your shoes after each run to pull out potential hazards.

I bought this shoe with some trepidation. For years I worked with Saucony in my retail days. I loved the people there and the business we were building. But I never ran in their shoes. They didn't fit my foot at all and I always thought they were stiff and clunky. When they introduced the Kinvara finally I had a shoe I could run in. But only one. I was very pleasantly surprised by the Triumph ISO. My first run in the shoe straight out of the box, was a 5K time trial test on the roads. I felt the shoe reacted really well to the hard pace and held my foot well. 200 miles later I still have the same feeling. The shoe delivers exceptionally well for a maximum cushion shoe. It's really soft yet supportive. The constant ground contact is smooth and quiet on the road. You should not hear your feet when you run and this shoe will help make sure you don't. The forefoot is like butter the entire run. Long runs, hard runs, road runs, uneven path runs, the forefoot held my foot up and softened the blow. I really hesitate to say I liked the shoe for me. Typically if I like a shoe for myself it's not going to be great for all other runners. I learned early on to put my personal feelings aside. Working for brands I rarely liked anything for myself. The more I didn't like it the better the shoe actually did for everyone else. But I firmly believe Saucony built a really good shoe that I like and that millions will like too. I think the upper has enough room to fit most feet (high instep runners will struggle) and it has enough adjustment available. The midsole is full, soft and smooth. There is very little not to like in this new Triumph.

Triumph 11 vs Triumph ISO 12
 Strong similarities in the heel. The one change that helps in the smooth ride is they moved the Power Grid from between foam pieces (black shinny line in the center of the midsole on the right shoe) to just under your foot (orange piece on top of the yellow midsole). With this you get the full feel of the soft foam and having it closer to your foot makes the platform smoother at impact.

 You can see the difference between constant ground contact at the top and the plastic support bridge in the Triumph 11. I believe everyone will benefit from the full ground contact but I also know some will find this change to be too drastic. For sure there is an adjustment period going to full contact.
 You can see in the Medial side of the Triumph 11 that there is a great deal of supportive business going on. It's supportive in the upper and in the midsole with the plastic bridge wrapping up the side wall. Under the arch and through the upper the support in the 11 and 12 are equal. The 11 does it through the upper and that bridge where the 12 uses the ground (full ground contact) to provide the support. The big difference between the two shoes is in the forefoot past that bubble looking section in the forefoot. In the Triumph 11 pictured just above you see there is very little taper from that bubble to the tip of the shoe. In fact it's quite full and supportive all the way to toe off. (by the way I personally can't run in the Tirumph 11 because of that piece. It doesn't compress or flex enough for my foot and my foot gets really tired fighting it). If you go back up to the medial side of the Triumph ISO 12 you will see a dramatic taper from that bubble to the toe. There is a section on top of that midsole that is painted black which gives the thought that the midole is thinner than it is but with or without the black paint you can see the taper to much less foam.
Looking at the toe of the shoes in this photo you can see the effect of the taper. On the same last (Usually toe spring is built into the last) you can see the dramatic toe spring in the Triumph ISO 12 vs the Triumph 11. Because of this change I believe a good number of Triumph 11 runners will not like the unsupportive feel at this point of the gait. You will feel like you are falling off the shoe.  It's a big enough change to feel.
 Another caution in the new shoe is Fit. Saucony has always been known for a wide fitting toe box. The Triumph 11 actually fits slightly wide even for a Saucony. The Triumph ISO 12 does not. So if you liked the Triumph 11 for it's wide fit you will probably have to go up in size to get the same fit. Not impossible to accomplish but annoying.
Saucony talks about 20% more cushioning and attaches that number to the PowerGrid+. Yes they changed the material make up and the position of the Power Grid but it's not there where you feel the cushion. The 20% (If that's a true measure) is in the much softer midsole and in the constant ground contact.

To wrap it up a bit. If you run in the Kinvara but always wanted more shoe for longer runs or recovery runs you now have one. Looking at the Neutral shoe group above, if you feel the Glycerin or Nimbus are too stiff or that the Clifton and Energy Boost are too wide and unsupportive in the upper the Triumph ISO 12 is a great option in the middle of all of that. Also if you are like me and have struggled to find a Saucony shoe you like I highly suggest you give this shoe a spin.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Four Things

This is a game on the Internet and because I read one I guess I got tagged. I liked it so I'll play along. Assume if your reading this, you got tagged too.

Four Things People Have Called Me

  1. Pearl
  2. Jewell of San Marcos Creek
  3. Jeweller
  4. Super Dave
Four Jobs I have Had
  1. Grocery Store Stock Boy
  2. Busboy
  3. Bagged Ice for $.10/bag at age 12
  4. Managed a Godfather's Pizza
Four Movies I have Watched More Than Once
  1. Gladiator
  2. Animal House
  3. Caddy Shack
  4. Raiders of the Lost Ark - All of them
Four Books I Recommend
  1. Radical Leap - Steve Fabor
  2. The Lore of Running - Tim Noakes 
  3. The Power of Full Engagement
  4. Running With The  Buffaloes 
Four Places I have Lived
  1. Dunlap, IL
  2. Grossenseebach, Germany
  3. Sao Paulo, Brazil
  4. Cardiff by the Sea, CA
Four Places I have Been
  1. China
  2. Eldoret, Kenya (think runners) 
  3. Stockholm, Sweden
  4. Diving on the Continental Shelf in the Bahamas
Four Things I Don't Eat
  1. Fish Heads
  2. Liver
  3. Seaweed
  4. Candy
Four of My Favorite Foods
  1. In n Out
  2. Lasagna
  3. Pizza
  4. Snickers Bar
Four TV Shows I Watch
  1. Scandal
  2. NFL Football
  3. John Stewart
  4. Track n Field
Four Things I'm Looking Forward to In 2015
  1. Launching My Business
  2. Traveling with Mary and Marco
  3. Riding My Bike
  4. Walking Niki
Four Things I am Always Saying
  1. Niki - Come! 
  2. Yeah Right
  3. I Love That
  4. Good Morning
It's a Good Life.....

Monday, December 1, 2014

My Sunday Long Run

I have been waiting for this book all year Fast After 50. It will be a few more days before I have it in my hands. Joe has been blogging about this frequently and to have it all in one resource will be great. I'm confident there are insights in this book that I'm not 100% aware of yet.

I've been meeting a friend every Sunday for a long run. I love that run because we like the pace we set and we talk about running the entire way. Yesterday we talked a great deal about the Long Run and how it's the best run for runners. The coach (My running buddy) talked about how bonking is not a bad thing. That hitting the wall and stopping is cheating yourself of great adaptation gains. That pushing through is essential because it will happen in a race.

About two thirds into the run I was pushing through. Alone I probably would have slowed or stopped. I'm glad I had my running partner there to help me push through.


Our Sunday runs always start with a group. In the group there are 5-6 runners in my age group. It's funny to listen and watch.

Things 50+ runners say or do

  1. Everything Aches
  2. I feel better when running than I do any other part of my day. 
  3. I have the tightest "Insert muscle group" on earth. 
  4. Every car has a "The Stick", a roller of some kind, and lacrosse balls. All to work out the aches before or after the run. 
  5. My favorite line is this "I go to bed feeling great and I wake up injured, that's life after 50"

The Long Run - Get it done! 

It's a good life.....