Monday, September 30, 2019

Nike Vapor Fly 4% Flyknit and Next %

What a week in endurance sports. It’s championship season and the athletes are putting on a show. The cycling world championships did not disappoint and the track and field world championships are just getting started. The best thing all week was Sunday in the Berlin Marathon.

Keneisa Bekele is the most dominant runner we have ever seen. 11 times he won the World Cross Country Championship. He still holds the World Record for the 50000 and 10000 on the track. The one place where he struggled if you can call it that is the marathon. He had run very fast and won a few races but he ran into the greatest marathoner we’ve ever seen in Kipchoge and it affected his running. He changed all of that in one race on Sunday. Nobody expected a world record type day. Kipchoge wasn’t racing and nobody in the field was close to 2:02 on paper. The opening stages of the marathon proved that out. At 25K into the race Bekele and Berhanu Legese were on 2:02 pace not world record pace. Things changed from there. Legese ran 14:09 between 30 and 35K putting a gap on Bekele. Bekele ran 14:20 for that same 5K which was his fastest of the race but put him behind. Bekele wasn’t done, he ran 14:15 from 35 to 40k passing Legese and all of the sudden he was on world record pace. It was a beautiful thing to watch, 2:01:41! Two seconds off the World Record. Watch it below.

The women’s race was something special too! It came down to a sprint through the Brandenburg Gate but the camera work was terrible. Ashete Bekere won in 2:20:14, Mare Dibaba was second in 2:20:21.

As I said, the cycling world championships were simply fun to watch. Team USA shined the entire week. You can read all about them at The conditions on Sunday for the professional men were down right extreme. Cold rain might be the worst conditions to ride a bike in. By the end of the race there were only 20 or so who actually finished. If you aren't going to win and you don't have a teammate who might win there is no point suffering in those conditions.

My Weekend
I raced twice this weekend.

Race #1 - Crazy 8's 5K
The race was held in the park where a young runner named Chelsea King was abducted, raped and killed. A week or 2 after that happened 3,000 people showed up to finish Chelsea's run. It had been almost 10 years since that day and almost 10 years since I had been back in that park. I had to catch my breath as I started my warm up.
This was the 3rd cross country race for me this year. The first 2 were solid but I was finishing behind people I thought I should be able to beat. Saturday the race came together well for me and I finished ahead of everyone I thought I should. I wore the Reebok Float Ride Fast a shoe built with a Pbax midsole with a really good outsole on grass and hard pack sand. The shoes worked great.

Race #2 - Mission Bay Triathlon
My first and only triathlon for the year. I chose the sprint distance which was a 500m swim, 17K bike and 5K run. The swim felt comfortable. I swam hard and my swim fitness responded. Coming out of the water I realized I had forgotten how tough that parking lot is. My feet were not liking the surface. The race is such that you have to leave transition in the morning by 6:30. My race didn't start until 8:10. I run up to my bike surprised that someone has set their bike on top of all my stuff and set up his towel and shoes in front of his bike and mine. I got my wetsuit off easy put my helmet on and started wheeling my bike out. Oops, forgot my shoes were not attached to the pedals. Back to the rack put shoes on then wheeled my bike out. It took me about a minute to catch my breath on the bike but then I found a rhythm. I passed some guys in my age group and some guys passed me. The bike was over before I knew it. Off the bike barefoot my feet were still hurting from the first transition. They liked the second even worse. Get to my running shoes and the guy has thrown his wetsuit over my shoes. Whatever, I struggle to put my shoes on but finally get them on. The run is on concreate the entire way. I thought after my hard race the day before this one would hurt. It didn't, in fact it felt great. I was flying and passing lot's of athletes. I think I passed 4 in my age group. I finished 40th overall and 4th in my age group. A good solid hour of racing. The reason why my legs didn't hurt is the Nike Vapor Fly 4%. It has the same midsole material as the Reebok with the carbon plate in the forefoot added in. It's the shoe that Bekele used in Berlin. I felt at the finish that I could keep going at the same pace I was running. It's not that I didn't push hard enough because I was pushing the run hard. It's simply that my legs didn't hurt.

I knew that about the Nike shoes. Most runners say this about the shoe "I don't know if I am running faster in the shoes but I know I'm not beat up like I would be". I had done one run in the Vapor Fly's. I didn't feel it then buy I do today. My legs do not hurt!

Monday, September 23, 2019

Hiking in Place of Running

On December 1st this year I’m signed up for an end of the year 50K trail race. On Friday I did one of my key workouts leading up to the race. I’m not “training” for the 50K I am simply preparing my body to have a good day. So, Friday a friend and I drove out to our local mountains and did a 5 hour hike on the Pacific Crest Trail. It was all done between 4,500 and 5,000 feet of elevation. The goal was simply to put time on the feet. We were home by 12:30 in the afternoon and in general I felt really good. Nothing was aching, I wasn’t starving and I think I did the hydration correctly.
On Sunday we ran on our local trails. The goal was to find as many hills as we could to run up and down. My biggest issue in the 50K will be the down hills. They will beat me up. Right now I’m working on building some resilience in my legs by running down hill. Our run covered 9 miles and we climbed and descended 1,l00 feet on really soft wood chip trails. We had 3 climbs just over 10 minutes in length and a bunch of shorter ones. The run felt outstanding and gave me really good confidence from the hike on Friday. 90 minutes of running doesn’t seem too long after 5 hours on the feet two days before. 

Looking forward the next couple weeks from a sport perspective. This week are the UCI Cycling World Championships from Yorkshire, England. Next week it’s the IAAF Track and Field World Championships from Doha. 3 Weeks from now is the Ironman World Championship and the Chicago Marathon. 

The hype leading in the the Ironman World Championships is growing. Probably the biggest event leading into this year happened on Saturday. Cam Wurf destroyed the field at Ironman Italy. The most glaring figure is his 2:45 marathon. His task is quite simple in Kona. Swim well, ride to the front by Hawi and then ride away on the way back. . Finally he needs to run strong from the start. He doesn’t have to run 2:45 but it wouldn’t hurt to run 2:45 for a really long time putting pressure on every body behind him. One thing for sure the conditions won’t be overcast,windless and cool like last year. The windier it is the more it favors the really strong cyclists which should be good for Cam.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

A New World Record

This guy in the picture picked up triathlon roughly a year ago. He did his first races this year and qualified for the 70.3 Worlds next year. His running form is nothing to love but his determination is. He’s running under 1:30 off the bike for 13.1 miles. That’s darn good!

This brings us to the World Record set Saturday in Copenhagen. 58:01!!!!!!!!! Geoffrey Kamworor ran 13.1 miles or 21K kind of really fast. Simply amazing. Soon Kipchoge will attempt to run under 2 hours for the marathon. As soon as he does this, watch how many others do it.

Primoz Roglic won the Vuelta Espana. He did it in methodical convincing fashion. He took the lead and the simply defended his lead convincingly. All the others were simply racing for the podium. On Saturday in miserable conditions his Slovenian countryman crushed the field in the mountains to win and secure 3rd place overall. What’s amazing is Tadej Pogocar  20 years old. That’s one year younger than my son. He’s got a huge career ahead of him.

Listening - I’ll start with the Science of Sport Podcast - Last week they did a podcast on all of the ways athletes cheat to win. It was a fascinating listen but what made me laugh in jest was the listing they gave. 7 things you must do if you want to cheat successfully.

  1. Never Take a Test You Can’t Pass
  2. Have Money 
  3. Have Friends in High Places
  4. Own the Narrative
  5. Have Asthma - A Theraputic Use Exemption 
  6. Attack Anyone Who Accuses You
  7. If you are English Speaking - Blame the non-English speaking people “It’s not me it’s them”
In sport we don’t have to look too far to see all seven. Go back to the days of Lance and these are the tactics he used. Now get out of sport and look at the current President of the USA. I’ll let you draw your own opinion. 

The Morning Shake Out was a really serious discussion on eating disorders and other disorders. The two guests, bad ass Spartan Racer, Amelia Boone revealed earlier this summer that she’s been dealing with an eating disorder since she was in high school. Brad Stulberg who has written some really good books and writes for Outside Magazine divulged his own obsessive compulsive problems. 

It really made me think closely about my own compulsive nature. When I did my first Ironman in Kona I worked my rear end off, literally. I was the same height I am now 5’10’’ but I was 129lbs. If you go back a few posts I was 160lbs in June of this year. There were days in the past where that 129lb body was something I really wanted. It’s when I was really fast especially running. I change my “diet” often but more than anything I under ate. Sure I was training heavily but I got really tired eating so I simply didn’t. I know for certain I still lean that way. What I’ve done to help myself out is created an account with My Fitness Pal. I log my food intake on a regular basis and my Strava account is linked to it. I do this to monitor my calorie intake and my macro nutrients. I wish these apps were available 15 years ago. 

It’s a good life........

Monday, September 9, 2019

Training in the Nike Vapor Fly Next%

What a week it’s been personally. On Monday our beloved Chocolate Lab Niki died kind of suddenly. I say kind of because the signs were all there that she was still very weak from her rat poisoning 2 months ago. I didn’t read them too well. I’m happy that I was there with her when she took her last breath. It saddens me at the same time because I couldn’t help her. To make the week even worse, two days later one of the hoses connecting water to our bathroom sink broke flooding our bathroom and bedroom which then flooded the garage below. That made twice that I had to run upstairs to inform my wife of something rather shocking. With the dog I had to wake her up, with the water I had to get her out of the calming bath she was taking. 

Then on Thursday night I boarded a flight to the east coast for work. The 5th Ave Mile was this past weekend and it’s the second time I’ve worked this event. I love this event for a number of reasons and I’ll tell you stories. 

Racing Hard 
The event is broken into wave starts. In each start the runners are racing against equal competitors. The majority are broken up by age group and gender. So, men 40-49 are racing together and women 40-49 are racing together. Over 60 they combine the genders. There is also a media race, a first responders race, then a few invited elite races and then finally the professional race. 

Track Jenny aka Jenny Simpson
She won the race for the 8th time and set a course record in doing so. She so loves running this race and it shows. The community just loves her. 

Nick Willis 
He won a record setting 5th time. In both professional races it’s important to know the course in detail. The road is not flat and not just because there is a hill. The road is crowned in the center. There are manhole covers, subway vents, pot hole repairs and some full on pot holes to navigate. Nick knows all of them. 

Jeff Dengate 
He’s the Editor and Chief at Runner’s World. He’s training for the Chicago Marathon so he had a long run to do. He ran 20 miles before his race then jumped in the the Media Mile. He did so donning the new racing flat from New Balance the Fuel Cell 5280. I was very impressed 

I had a great run on Saturday doing a lap of Central Park. It’s roughly 8 miles round trip from my hotel. I can’t help but to do my job out there when I’m running. I’ll talk a bit later on this but I was blown away by the number of people doing a training run in the Nike Vapor Fly 4% and Vapor Fly Next %. That’s simply a large amount of money being spent on a shoe that simply won’t last too long if you run every day in it. 

The 5th Ave Mile was not the only race this weekend. 

Ironman 70.3 World Championships - Nice France
I had a few friends doing the race but I haven’t had the chance to talk to them about their race. Maybe I’ll hear from them this week. 

On the professional side there were some outstanding performances 

Daniela Ryf - There’s not much else to say, she dominated the race again. Her 5th win in this race and this time by almost 4 minutes. 
Chelsea Sodaro - She finished 4th in her first World Championships. More impressive is that she got off the bike in 10th place and ran herself into 4th. She spent a couple years chasing a professional running career but recently switched to Triathlon. Watch out for this girl. If she can stay healthy she will be a force in the future. 

Gustav Iden - Who? Nobody picked him. Nobody interviewed him or mentioned his name in any lead up to the race. Good thing he didn’t pay attention. He won! 

Alistar Brownlee - He’s the most fun to watch race. He’s won two Olympic Gold Medals racing hard and that’s how he races all the time. 2nd place to him is losing. He’s racing in Kona and will be out of the water early. If he races Kona like he races everything else he will change the tactics that’s for sure. 

Rudy Von Berg - An American who lives in Boulder but who grew up in Nice. The hometown guy does good. Put another way there are three World Champions who finished behind Rudy. 

Vuelta Update 


The Morning Shakeout Podcast - I think Mario is the best interviewer in running right now. He has a great way of really getting his guest to dig deep. This week he talked to another like minded shoe geek Brian Metzler. It was fun to listen to both of them. One thing Brian said that I fully agree with. I’m paraphrasing here. He basically said that all the shoe reviews out there on the web are pointless. I agree and will add this: Every runner is different. Every runner will feel the same shoe differently. There isn’t a singe running shoe reviewer today that pulls that out. Most talk about how the shoe felt and worked for them. I will admit that some of the reviewers are entertaining butout side of that don’t pay attention to what they have to say. You have to find the shoes for yourself and if you need help, go to your local running shoe store. 

I also want to give a shout out to my podcast friend Tawnee Gibson. She’s had the maximum ups and downs with life.  I will admit I stopped listening to her podcast while she dealt with all of this. The Brock and Lucho show just didn’t have the same vibe. Listening to two guys talk about training and racing was simply too much. It’s great that Tawnee is back with Lucho. They make a great pair. More importantly it’s great to hear that spark in Tawnee again. I’ve missed you. 

It’s a good life... 

Monday, September 2, 2019

Things This Week - Fast 800 Meters, Carnivore Diet, Vuelta Espana

It’s a been a rough week trying bring my fitness back up. I took a few days off to get some old man cancer screening done and to rest my aching knee. Looking back I didn’t give my body enough time to recover from the screening. This was the big one where I was given enough sedative to not feel a darn thing. I thought my body was bouncing back fine. My HRV was on the higher end of good and I felt ok. Then Wednesday the HRV crashed and stayed down for 3 days. Did I stop, no I simply slowed it down. Then on Saturday I raced the Balboa 4 Miler cross country race.

The race sucked. I started slow and didn’t really pick it up. Mile 3 took forever or it just seemed to. I essentially jogged in the last mile. I was a full minute slower than last year and finished behind runners I was ahead of last year.

The one thing for sure as you age, your body just does not bounce back like it used to.

What I’m Listening to

Triathlon Taren Podcast - You can find it where you find your podcasts. This week Taren interviewed Pete Jacobs the 2012 Ironman World Champion. That race for Pete was very impressive he went really fast on a hot, windy day. What we didn’t know then but learned later is that Pete was battling chronic fatigue. Turns out the cure he found was a complete Carnivore Diet. He only eats meat, fish, eggs and salt. He’s back to racing and racing well. The interview with Taren it a great listen.

The Science of Sport Podcast - You are looking for the one hosted by Ross Tucker - He’s a brilliant sports scientist and his podcasts don’t answer the questions they simply make you think deeper. So far he’s covered running shoes, Caster Semenya, Riding Clean in Cycling and a few other gems.

What I’m Watching
1. The men’s 800 meter race at the Diamond League Zurich on Thursday night. Not only did Donavan Brazier run fast but he ran brave.

2. The Vuelta Espana - It's a completely different race then the Tour de France. There's less overall pressure on the peloton and because of that and because of the Spanish way of putting on 3 weeks of cycling it's a totally fun race to watch. This year the red jersey (Not yellow) has changed riders and teams on almost every single day. There are four riders favored and close together overall but the way the race is set up it allows for opportunists who simply want that jersey for a day. I watch all my cycling on the NBC sports app. I pay $50 a year and I get most of the cycling in the world. You can also just watch the recap on you tube. Search NBC Sports, Vuelta and you should find the daily updates.

3. UTMB - The Ultra Trail Mont Blanc is the biggest and may be the most important ultra trail race in the world. The champions list is a who's who of the global sport. The main race, 170K (105 miles) was held Friday into Saturday. This event is different in every way compared to a standard ultra trail 100. First off in most ultras you are allowed to use pacers after a certain point in the race. A pacer gives the runner someone to talk to, to feed off and of course to pace off. At UTMB you are on your own. On the flip side at UTMB you run through quaint mountain towns that are packed full of fans. There are points along the way and especially at the finish were the leaders run through Tour de France type crowds. The men's race was won by Pau Capell from Spain. He literally ran away from everyone else at kilometer 1. He lead the entire day. On the women's side American Courtney Dauwalter who dropped out of the Western States 100 after suffering a debilitating injury took the lead midway and never looked back. She finished ahead of all American men but one. She gave a great interview the day after the race:

What I'm Reading - I'm a bit behind in some of my reading. I'm just getting to the Sports Gene by David Epstein. He was on the most recent Science of Sport Podcast talking about his latest book. I thought I should jump on the first one before I read the second.

Finally I leave you with my little gem product for the week. Sports Hydration is simply full of choice and most of it is full of sugar. When I ride or run with hydration other than water I drink Ultima. It's strictly an electrolyte mix, with no sugar. It's relatively cheap too.
That's it for this week. I'm off to the 5th Ave Mile in NYC next weekend where the queen of the road mile Jenny Simpson will attempt to extend her streak. You can watch the race live on NBC Sunday. 

It's a good life...….