Category Archives: technology
The holidays are coming! Eek! My list hasn’t even been tackled yet. Double eek!
If you are like me, you already know what to get your significant other who 1) likes to ride his bike, 2) is in grad school and 3) lives in a snowy, cold place. Ok, so I have this one a little easy. But other than buying him a case or two of Pamela’s lemon shortbread cookies and a 5lb bag of Snowshoe Brew, I might be at a little bit of a loss. Endurance athletes aren’t really all that hard to shop for, if you have a billion dollars to spend on them. I thought I’d make it a little easy for those quirky endurance athletes on Santa’s list this year, no matter what your budget.
- Energy-o-rama: A nice variety of energy treats will bring a smile to their face. It will also give them an opportunity to restock their supply for the upcoming season or give them something new to try. I bought Baberaham a grab-bag of energy foods a few years back that had all sorts of awesome stuff, and it gave him an opportunity to try new things that he otherwise may never have tried before. My pics: Kona Kola Nuun, a flask of First Endurance Liquid Shot, a Larabar or two (coconut cream pie and pb&j, perhaps?), and some Honey Stinger chews.
- Gift cards! Good places include:
Now if only Active.com had gift cards, too…
- Chamois cream – whether they use it already and have a favorite, or they haven’t yet dabbled in the down-under cream, a new tube or tub might get them rolling. If you don’t know where to start, check out my chamois cream review from a few months ago to narrow down some options. Want to give them comfort without getting too personal with their privates? You could get them a can of TriSlide or a few bottles of the TriSwim shampoo and body wash.
- Snapfish their season! My mom makes me really awesome collages every year. This year, after Rev3 Cedar Point, she made me the collest race recap ever. It had photos from their day as spectators, the course, and me on the run and at the finish. You can make all sorts of cool things with Snapfish, like calendars and stationary. Think about a two-in-one type of present: make them a calendar that they can use to log their training!
- New headphones– If they are like me, they go through headphones faster than they go through swim suits. OK, maybe that is because I don’t swim as much as I should… but I digress. H2O Audio has a pair of waterproof headphones for $45, and there’s these new tri-geek-gadget headphone covers called Yurbuds that lots of people talk about. The warranty of the Yurbuds is 90days which is longer than some headphones last…
- Underwear– No, not underwear like your mom gets you at Christmas. How about: a new sports bra? or windproof briefs? or a pair of compression shorts? Seriously, serious underwear. And if you think its weird to give your Secret Santa who also does marathons a pair of windproof briefs, then you obviously don’t know him that well… unless you live in Florida.
- Cross training gear– Get a medicine ball, Bosu ball, or a yoga mat. I’ve always wanted one of those at-home pull-up bars because I never can predict when the mood will strike and I’ll want to do Feats of Strength. It could be in the middle of eating pasta (but it’s usually NEVER in the middle of eating ice cream).
- A nice bottle of whiskey– I know I’m not the only endurance athlete that likes whiskey. Right? Right?!? Phew, at least I know Maggs does. My recommendation? Well, I have a lot of recommendations in this price range. But, particularly, I *love* Eagle Rare for a bourbon, Macallan 10yr Fine Oak if you like single-malt, and I’d personally love to try Hirsch 10yr in honor of my new coach, even though he’s not from Canada.
- New bike shorts– Who doesn’t need new bike shorts, anyway? Or tri shorts? or running shorts? Heck, it’s cold now; get ’em a pair of tights, like these ones from Louis Garneau.
- Miscellaneous gear– Do they have a nice bike pump? How about an at-home fix-it kit? Baberaham helped me put one together before I moved since we’d no longer be sharing gear. It included: a multitool, several new tubes, Bontrager tire levers, CO2 containers, a 3-4-5mm Y-type allen wrench, and all sorts of other useful stuff. Trigger Point is a sure-win for endurance athletes, since they are tools to aid recovery. Go to their Individual TP Products tab on the left to see the Quadballer (if you are gonna get one thing from Trigger Point, it should probably be this). If they are more run focused, get them gear to keep them running safe after dark, like a nice headlamp, a decent runnable reflective vest, and a hat/gloves designed for running.
- Sweet clothes– Whether its running clothes or every-day normal clothes, which for some reason endurance athletes don’t usually have a lot of, it’s safe to say that most everyone will appreciate the finer stuff. Take merino wool, for example. It’s warm, but very fashionable. Check out Icebreaker for some extraordinary active wear (that will seriously keep you warm with less layers and weight than polyester) and also for some stylish stuff, too.
- A few good cookbooks and some cooking tools– Get them started off on the right foot for 2011 with a few healthy-eating cookbooks and some new utensils they probably don’t have. There’s plenty of cookbooks to choose from, but make sure your choice is personal. If they are new to following a gluten free diet, get them something like Gluten Free Gourmet Cooks … series by Bette Hagman might be nice. I personally love the Comfort Foods book, but Baberaham isn’t such a soulful food person. And, if they don’t already have one, get them something nice for their kitchen to cook food in. I love my new Calphalon stainless steel multi-purpose saute pan. It has a lid, which is one giant step up from what my last saute pan had. Also check out their knife collection; everyone should hvae three good knives in their kitchen: a santoku or chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a bread knife.
- A different bottle of whiskey? This is probably the best bourbon I’ve ever had:
- While this is more the special person(s) [eg significant other, son/daughter, or kiss up to your boss because you majorly screwed off this year] gift, it’s still one that is difficult to tackle for most people. In fact, I can think of a million things to get my running buddies, but we can’t spend this much moolah on each other (if we spend anything at all, because- alas – we are either all or recently recoverying grad students). So, if your special person(s)’s an endurance junkie like me, here’s a few gifts they might just eek about in glee.
- New kicks ($100-150)- This is something that I know I can always get great use and appreciation out of. If you go this route, get ’em a new pair of their ol’ standbys. Don’t change it up, and if they aren’t happy with their current shoe, don’t make the decision for them. Instead, offer to take them to their favorite running shop and buy their new pair of shoes after trying them on.
- A new bike trainer ($150-1200)– Even for people who can train outside year-round, having a bike trainer gives an athlete the freedom to train when they want to, whether its 5 in the morning or 9 at night. I have become very fond of using the trainer, because I don’t have to worry about bundling up, being seen by cars, or even wearing a shirt (yes, I wear a sports bra… sheeeesh). CycleOps is *the* name when it comes to quality bike trainers, and they make such a wide range that it can fit almost any budget. Now if only I could get my hands on a Powerbeam Pro…
- GPS watch ($150-300)- If they don’t already have one (which I’m 99.8% certain most dedicated endurance athletes do at this point), upgrade their Ironman Timex watch to a shiny new Garmin 305.
- TYR Torque swimskin ($250)- For those tri-geeks out there- Got a significant other that aspires to qualify for Kona, or is doing any southern, warm season triathlons in 2011? This swimskin is WTC and USAT legal, and it has a wee-bit of compression to help keep things tucked in and streamlined. I had a few close-calls in triathlon over the last two seasons, where I wasn’t sure if the water would be cool enough for my wetsuit. It wouldn’t otherwise be a big deal, but my two-piece tri kit can act like a chute in the water. Plus, I hope to do some warmer-weather races in 2011, and having a swimskin would help me in my weakest of the three sports.
- Cover (some or all of) a race entry fee ($80-600)- Nothing says “I love you” than encouragement, and what better way to encourage your special person than by being an enabler?! I love enablers. They make me happy because they are just listening to the person they care about and helping them get to where they need to go a little easier.
- Want something a little better than just covering their race entry fee? Register for two people; make it a special day! Of course, that other person is you. Not only will you be showing your support of your favorite endurance athlete, but you’ll also be saying “I’m with you on this one!” And, if you reallllly care about that person… make it a Rev3 race. 😉
Of course, there’s lots of things you can get for an endurance geek. I’d like to think we’re the easiest people to shop for. But if you’re stuck, hopefully this list of ideas will help. You could also try to win a box of LARABARS for whoever is on your list, and I won’t tell… Hurry tho, the contest ends on Monday.
Hello, my name is Megan, and I am a recovering data junkie.
I’ve been clean now for nearly three weeks. My GPS watch has been stowed away in my suitcase since my trip to Florida, and I took the PowerTap SL+ out of my online shopping cart. My heart rate monitor is buried under eight boxes of latex tubes and hydration belts in the bike&run gear. I haven’t opened the 2010_training_log.xls file in at least fourteen days, three hours, and twenty-six minutes. And I am ok with that.
You see, I’ve been a little down and out. I have been feeling slow. Sluggish. Unfit. Whenever I head out for hill repeats, I feel like I left my legs at the bottom. I felt like I was pulling 8s when my minutes per mile were really 9’s. Every time I’d look at the instantaneous pace screen on my Garmin, I wanted to cry. Why was I going so slow and felt like it was so hard? My energy has been low and, well, I’ve just not been having that much fun. So I unintentionally forgot my Garmin on a run. and then I forgot it again. I just ran by feel. I ran with friends. I asked them to slow down. They complied. I ran an LT with Baberaham and fell off the back. Instead of pouting, I just ran in the rest of the three miles nice-and-easy.
And then I had a race: the Hancock Canal Run. 10miles of slightly rolling hills along the lakeshore. Do I wear the Garmin, or do I leave it behind? I wasn’t sure how fast I could do the ten miles. My previous best time was 1:10:14, and I ran that the first year I did the race (in 2007). I wasn’t comfortable with the thought of even coming close to that. I didn’t even want to try. I didn’t want to be disappointed, and I wasn’t sure I could do it. Not with the way I’ve been performing in my training. So I left the watch uncharged. Blank. Dead. And I brought along my new Timex watch.
No instantaneous pace. No beeps every mile. I just hit the lap button when I crossed the mile markers, and would hear the beeps of other peoples’ watches as I passed them. Steady, steady, mile after mile, my pace stayed the same, and it was ahead of the pace I needed to match in order to PR.
Don’t worry about that, I told myself. Run by feel.
Does this feel comfortable? I’d ask myself. Yes? Yes! Ok, well, stay steady.
Steady, steady, 6:50 after 6:50. I held the pace through mile 5. Mile 6. Mile 7. Mile 8. I stopped looking at the watch in the last two miles, running by feel and listening to my body. Does it hurt? Ok, now is the time to make it start hurting.
I crossed the line in 1:09:14. Nearly a minute faster than my previous best. Faster than previous years where I was doing focused run training.
Maybe I’m being a little dramatic. I don’t think I am nearly as data-junktified as a lot of other triathletes. But I am learning about the pleasure, and the benefit, of disconnecting. I don’t have a coach, so I don’t need to send anyone my power data. I don’t train with my heart rate monitor because, well, I don’t listen to it anyway. I am excited for the return to the rudimentary lap watch of the 20th century.
Don’t get me wrong, the GPS watch will come out for my long runs and hilly adventures. I like knowing how far I’m going before I need to turn around. Plus, it’s always nice to plot the map afterwards!
P.S.- I also don’t have a blackberry, an iPhone, or any sort of smart accessory. and I don’t really want one. I saw this article posted last Thursday on the competitor site regarding triathlete specific iPhone apps. Really? ROFLCOPTER. Not. that. connected.