Wednesday, November 16, 2011



words/images Judith Ecochard

Though what constitutes an "endurance" sport is relative -one person's sprint is another person's 70.3 Ironman...

We think there are some universal truths that can help anyone achieve their PB (personal best).

Socks seem soooo basic-but can make the difference between comfort and sheer misery (every finish a race with a blister-ugh!!!).

For longer distances-like half marathons and up-we ditch the sockless racing flats and opt for the cushioning of our regular Newton running shoes-and the moisture wicking running socks by Dahlgren's-made with the proprietary ECO-Dri™/alpaca/merino wool combo-that regulates our feets' heat/sweat...and fit perfectly. Worth the $15.95!

Cooler temps now- mean a selective addition of layers -and the fingerless gloves, gaiters and multi-functional snoods (circular tubes of fabric, fyi)-made out of techy moisture management CoolMax® fabric -with UV protection--- by Spanish company Buff-are versatile and great patterns and colors.

We wear on their own all the time---as they are iPad friendly-but technically-they are watersports gloves-made of  Power Stretch fabric

Headband-seamless $13-great helmet liner

Snoods -Lyocell Buff® Infinity Scarves---worn many ways

Made of tencel-textile derived from wood $37-$57 for reversible

just the right size for under helmets

We wrote about SEASONFIVE's water impervious basics originally targeting watersportier types-awhile back.

We thought this heavy weight crew neck long sleeve and armlets are perfect run/bike basics- for getting in the training jaunts during early winter's cold sweat inducing nippy wet weather.

Water resistant par excellence- a handy addition to our bike wardrobe as we like to wear fitted vests and techy long sleeve tees.vs longer jackets that are not as aerodynamic.

GORE-TEX™ running/bike wear has been sold in Europe---and now they are bringing it home-so to speak....



AND---as GORE-TEX® -we think-dominates the waterproof/breathable market-if one goes by the  number of top tier companies that rely on this company-W.L. Gore & Assoc., Inc.- for innovative textiles that perform includes brands we rely on...

And guaranteed too! By Gore-Tex!

New for us-was the Active Shell Stretch Laminate-that's compact, waterproof /windproof 3-layer laminate-with great hand feel----and also great for high mobility/fast paced endeavors.

Arc Teryx

We have a New Balance 360 Degree Running jacket-a lightweight-nylon number...decorated with the 360• Enhanced Visibility by 3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective Material---and consider it the most important addition to our wardrobe this year.

We know when we drive around in rural areas-we can barely see the dark clad joggers//bikers/walkers after 5PM with this Daylight Savings stuff.

No wonder there is so much road kill.

Since we don't want to join that sad, dead bunch-we  are keenly aware how important it is to be easily seen---in advance.

AND - we feel a whole lot more confident-running the miles-knowing we are meaningfully visible while on the roads without street lamps.

FYI:  New Balance is just one of dozens of apparel companies that use this reflective logo accents on many items shine on- integrated into the doesn't wash out.

180's is known for its earmuffs-and winter gloves-but is introducing a year round accessories lineup with its new line of technical running/biking shirts, jackets, compression sleeves and hats.

arm $40/calf $40 sleeves UPF 50+-cooling at wrist points and inner biceps

wide sweat band $15 UPF+50

What makes this launch so much more interesting is that the 180's pieces are tricked out with technology called QuantumCool-an application that lowers skin temperature-by up to 3 percent...and starts to work as soon as you begin to sweat.
training hat $30-tech stretch for comfort

Hats-with pulse point cooling element in the sweatband-at the temples. UPF30+
With the QuantumCool targeted at the critical cooling points on the body.
Golf Hat $30

Training Run Shirt $45 flatlock seams-Q.C at neck

$45 Training Run Shirt

Cycling Jersey $55 QC at neck

QC at neck, inner biceps, and cuffs/wrists

Cycling and Running Jackets pack well $70-with two way locking zipper, reflectivity, articulated arms, wind/water resistant

color options

2XU Compression - tights and calf guards probably gets the most wear of clothes we own-besides our denim jeans/tee/Frye boots uniform.

There are other brands that offer compression apparel on the market-but with proprietary fabrics, primo manufacturing,  and a lot of science/body mapping used to conjure up their unique designs-2XU Compression has rightfully earned its highly regarded reputation in the international athletic world.

Since our attendance at an informative media preview last year-we've seen athletes and those in training wearing some form of this brand-or wishing they were- after those triathlons we've done.

2XU Compression wear- is divided up into categories-purpose driven-ranging from some to a lot of compression:

Perform/Pure Active -breathable, excellent moisture management, flexible-with just enough support for our workouts...

XForm-Active-Recovery-powerful and breathable garments with added graduated engineering for extra support, comfort and more efficient delivery of oxygenated blood to fatigued muscles---and ReFresh---great for those looonnnggg jaunts-especially the compression race socks--- and after intense workouts for recovery.

How we select-by activity-including specific garments for swim, bike, run, triaths...and thermal.

This CLIF gathering covers just about all our nutritious needs.
There is nothing like food poisoning to discredit all those hours of training for the podium. Not big on the culinary efforts, we are still very wary of what we eat a week before we race...not belonging to the hearty stomach group that orders in pizza, the night before a 70.3 Ironman.

What we trust----

Clif Shot Bloks® are like oversized gummy bears -kinda---but are ideal on the run part of triathlons.

Available in fruity flavors-that taste yummy-including tangy Citrus-(eight choices in all including caffeine blessed flavors and sodium loaded Margarita-200 calories a pack)-we grab one in transition--- the pack rips right away- on the go. Easily digestible-and no copious amounts of water required either-this is our energy source on the run besides de-fizzed Pepsi.

We know there are those major food groups-but we eat so many of organically blessed, original CLIF Crunch bars-we feel we should get a set of dishes just for the family friends' who were kosher and had three sets of separate dishes for dairy, meat, and Chinese takeout food.

It's not just us that make the bars bestsellers...we noticed a guy eating the Chocolate Chip one in the subway yesterday, our pal the college D I basketball coach told us his team devours them all--- Clif  Crunch and Clif Bars- except "they don't like the carrot(cake) one..."---and our movie going gal pals eat the Clif Bars --- instead of popcorn.

Our latest obsession are the Crunch ones-with 70% organic ingredients-and 23 vitamins and minerals-plus fiber and protein in each bar---they are the delicious alternative-with just the right amount of crunch---to a lot of the junk carbs we could have been eating. The mini-Clifs snack size= our fav holiday-Halloween...treat.

Holiday wise also-the repeats of the wintry flavored CLIF Bars Peppermint Stick. Spiced Pumpkin Pie, and Iced Gingerbread...on sale through December.
We tried them all-crunchy texture-organic oats, rice crisps...and chewy-via the organic date paste in the Peppermint -all the flavors are authentic---good nutrition, pronounceable ingredients= tastes good.

Long training jaunts in humid hot weather-had us re-thinking the water only strategy.

User friendly-the GU Electrolyte Brew™ tabs---aren't cloyingly sweet...and have a balance of electrolytes leg cramp preventing potassium/sodium- and carbs that are easily consumed pre-run...or while cycling those two hour plus training rides.

We always have a GU gel taped on our tri bike-and during races -we layer them on...with the Roctane Ultra Endurance Chocolate Raspberry-with caffeine-our fav. Water is needed---after downing...but we always feel an immediate surge of energy that we feel has made a difference in finishing a bike ride with enough strength for a decent run time-vs. feeling spent-a feeling we had on our first ever triathlon.

Easy to open/one hand packet too.

When we attend Holiday Fairs for media-we don't expect to discover genius beverages...but if there ever was a case of souped up water we wish got delivered as a gift-OMEGA WATER is it...blessed with Omega 3's  ---in zilcho calories-really good tasting/refreshing/satisfying fruity flavors.

There is a host of science behind exactly how the fish derived Omega's in Omega Water get from there to there---

Bottom line-at 100mg Omega 3 per bottle-IMHO-the ideal way to get that essential nutrient-plus 6 other vitamins too...
FYI: priced competitively -available at Duane Reade, Wegman's, Amazon etc.

Anyone who has hiked in knee deep snow with a bone chilling wind chill-or raced in 100F• plus heat index-doesn't need any scientific study to know that drinking hot beverages -or chomping on ice-helps regulates body temps for 30 minutes or so- in a good way.

We saw this Stanley Nineteen13 ONE HAND 6 HOURS HOT Vacuum Mug (16oz-$28)  at the most recent OR...and though we haven't demoed-it's obvious how handy this is for winter sports adventures...and summer it'll keep beverages cold also.

Dishwasher safe, removable grit guard, and just the right size for car beverage holders and bike cages.

6 Hour HOT Vacuum  Bottle-Color options $28

easy clean

Unbelievably-except for only two of the triathlons we have done...we always manage to make a wrong turn somewhere along a race course...even in the swim part. Yes, time to take the guesswork out---

The Timex Ironman Run Trainer GPS Watch offers a user friendly all-in-one GPS wrist device that-yup tells the time...but also gives up real time speed, pace and cadence-featuring ANT+ technologies (a wireless sensor that communicates with heart rate and foot pod sensors, hydration/nutrition timers etc)-to keep us on the course AND on track for a PB.

straps with punch holes lets skin breeze

And all that data-is downloadable via the coach fav Training Peaks. ($225, $275 w/ HR Monitor Chest Strap)

TIMEX Ironman Target Trainer- with TapScreen™ technology- easy lap/split recording-great for interval training on a measured course as the Target Time Pacer gives fast/slow pace audible alerts as the laps go by.... ($125-with chest monitor)  


SUUNTO-the computer like watch we use-is about 2 years old---and came with a thick user manual that we could barely figure out. Mercifully, the customer service was (is) awesome.

Now-the new SUUNTO time keepers+ are more intuitive-with the new runner friendly Quest Pack -including a Dual Comfort Heart Rate Belt (IMHO most comfortable HR belt we have ever tried), customizable watch display-nine language options, Foot POD Mini and a Movestick Mini (to personalize, download and create training plans- on
What you get =a highly accurate (really!) and responsive measurement of speed, distance and cadence...wirelessly.

Appreciate the 3 button interface-user friendly, humanly intuitive... too. $329

After we paid -like a month's mortgage payment to ship and insure our tri bike-that's worth waaayyyy more than the family car...hence we forked it over...
We decided to only drive to future competitions. With our bike clipped on a bike rack. At Yakima, we were motivated to see what they offered at OR...

The dominant player in the bicycle mount market- their top of the line trunk bike racks can work on any car make and model  (3 sizes available $359-$439)-are easy to install-tool free -in about 5 minutes (FYI we haven't tested THAT)- and un-install if switching vehicles.

Whispbar-is their new buzzed about aerodynamic roof rack- for 2011-and is a quiet, efficient-fuel wise- that reduces wind drag-and also, is easily transferable and compatible with 70% of the current Yakima line (via Yakima's Smartfoot Technology). ($349-$499).