Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Steve Prefontaine

During his brief 24-year life-span, Steve Prefontaine grew from hometown hero, to record-setting college phenomenon, to internationally acclaimed track star. In a similar span of years since his death in 1975, Pre has become the stuff of enduring legend.

His rare combination of talent, discipline, determination, and star-quality with a human touch made Pre the idol of those he called "his people" — the devoted fans who came to watch him run and entered into the performance with roars of encouragement, "Go Pre!"

At no place is the celebration of Steve Prefontaine and his story more personal than in Coos Bay, Oregon, where he was born in 1951 and discovered his gift for running fast and far as a student at Marshfield High School. Here, he developed his hunger to be the best in the field, and more, to do it with style—to create beauty when he ran, to show people something they had never seen before.

Steve Prefontaine is honored every year at the Prefontaine Memorial Run, a challenging 10K road race across one of his old training courses, with its finish line at the high school track where he first competed. This is where he tested his mettle and felt the possibility of greatness, and his hometown saw greatness, too. We warmly invite you to come to Coos Bay every September and run where Pre's legend began.

Forget Rocky Pre is inspirational to all endurance athletes.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Height of Heel Matters in Prevention of Foot Pain

Study Confirms
New study details biomechanical changes in foot
associated with high-heel height

ROSEMONT, IL, Dec. 3, -- For years orthopaedic surgeons specializing in foot and ankle care have been warning women about the perils of wearing high heels. High heel wearers risk foot injury, muscle imbalance, bone deformities, knee and ankle joint problems, bunions, hammer toes and more. Now a new study featured in the November issue of Foot & Ankle International (FAI), the official scientific journal of the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) details the biomechanical changes that occur in feet during high heel wear and the correlation between the heel height and amount of pain, pressure and strain it puts on your feet.

The study measured plantar pressure and soft-tissue thickness simultaneously using a load cell, a device which detects foot pressure, and a linear-array ultrasound transducer. Twenty one healthy men and women participated in the study. Measurements were taken with each participant standing barefoot on wooden blocks of 2 cm, 3 cm, and 4 cm in height placed below the heel. The study results revealed a significant increase in pressure on the metatarsal heads (the ends of the metatarsal bones that connect to the toes) as the heel height was raised. This increased pressure contributes to pain, callous and bony deformities. The study authors suggest limiting heel height to no greater than 2 cm (.8 inches) as well as the use of padding at the ball of the foot can significantly reduce discomfort and risk of injury to the metatarsal heads.

Chung-Li Wang, MD, PhD, an AOFAS member and co-author of the study adds, “This study demonstrates the close association between heel height, plantar pressure and soft tissue compressibility. This is helpful in the prevention of pain and damage to your feet from inadequate heel height.” For those who like to wear high heel shoes, Dr. Wang offers the following advice, “Frequent removal of the shoe, unloading her/his foot, choosing a shoe with wide toe box, and adding a pad under the metatarsal head could be helpful in reducing discomfort.”

The AOFAS website contains public education resources on the care and treatment of the foot and ankle, including a section titled: Smart Tips for Wearing High Heels. Tips include:

Wear a shorter heel. A 2-inch heel causes fewer problems than a 4-inch heel. A shorter heel will give an elongated appearance if it is a thin stiletto type rather than a thick or chunky heel.
Try to save the use of high heeled shoes for functions where you will not be on your feet for extended periods of time; treat them as a limited privilege accessory.
Take your designer shoes to a pedorthist to have them custom fit to your feet. They may be able to stretch the toe box to better accommodate your feet.
Try wearing a larger size than usual and insert heel cups into the backs for a better comfortable fit.
Wear open toe shoes instead of a similarly styled shoe that causes discomfort in your toes. Partially open toe shoes have become more acceptable in many work environments, allowing you to further customize your shoes to your feet.
Remember that however appealing high heel, high fashion shoes are, your feet need to carry you around for a lifetime. Treat them kindly!
Following the above tips as well as the study data which suggests limiting heel height to no greater than 2 cm (.8 inches) will go a long way in reducing foot discomfort.

The Art of Winter Training | Trifuel

TriFuel comes through again with this great article about winter training.
With the changing weather, shorter days and holidays, training through the winter months is more art than science. Many athletes see the winter as a time to get ahead and start building a base for next season. However, with the obstacle mentioned above, that can be very difficult, but it’s not impossible. Here are some strategies you can use to avoid winter burn out and come into the spring feeling stronger than ever.
First, don’t think of base building in terms of big training days. Doing a 4 hour ride and 1 hour run on Saturday is most likely out of the question. Even if you can do that on the trainer and treadmill, you will likely go insane after 3 sessions. Instead, build your hours throughout the week. Putting in 6 hours on the bike is possible if you are willing to get on the trainer 3 to 4 days a week. Doing this you can keep the sessions short and focused. This principle works for running as well. Linking together 5 days a week with 1 to 3 hours per day will give you a great base. Plus by doing several sessions you can work on everything from endurance to power to form. This brings me to my second point.
Too many athletes go into what I call Total Base Mode. Every workout is at the same intensity, zone 1-2, in a misguided attempt at building base. Think of your training as a spectrum from speed work to base work. Sure, you can focus on base, but you can’t completely exclude speed or LT work. Many athletes make this mistake and come spring their leg turnover is slow and their ability to do threshold work is minimal. If you do 1 to 2 speed sessions a week, each only an hour at most, that is sufficient to remind your body of what a hard effort feels like. These sessions are practically tailor made for the trainer or treadmill since they are short and highly focused. You can start with intervals, 2 to 5 minutes in length and work to 20 minute single efforts. These don’t need to be super hard, or super specific, just get your heart rate into zone 3 and 4.
Last, you can do big days if you are willing to do either other sports, or multiple bricks. I am a huge fan of cross country skiing, specifically, skate skiing. It is an incredibly difficult sport that works every part of your body. In addition it won’t beat you up since you’re gliding on snow. In addition, skate skiing will force you to work in every heart rate zone as going uphill or going faster requires a lot of work. I get most of my hard sessions done on the snow and it has always paid off. A ski session of 2 to 3 hours will drain you if you’ve worked moderately hard. Another option is snowshoeing. Putting on snowshoes and walking through deep snow is a great way to build strength in your legs and hips as well as increase your increase your aerobic capacity. The other way to get in a long session is to do run/bike/run/bike, etc. bricks. The key is to keep these in zones 2 with some zone 3 as well. Also, you want to make sure that between the bike and run you towel off completely. Don’t go running in the cold when you are still dripping with sweat from the trainer. Take the time to towel off and dress appropriately. Failure to do this is often met with sickness.
The challenge of winter is in keeping yourself motivated and consistent. Making a few adjustments in your training will allow you to make it to spring with your mind and body feeling strong.
Train Hard, Train Smart, Train Safe,
Coach A.J.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Survival Lessons

From Wild Snow
Trying to get out the door for a trip up to Aspen and some boot customization work, but thought I’d post a few Friday tidbits.
Unless you’re in a fairly large group (three or more) close to civilization or the parking lot, it’s a good idea to be prepared to survive a night out. If you’ve got enough clothing and a shovel, it’s possible to dig a snow cave and sit out the dark hours, but doing so is problematic because your clothing gets wet while you’re digging the cave. Nonetheless, a couple recently survived an unplanned night on Mount Rainier by using a snow cave. Outside of Aspen, another couple survived a stormy night out just yards from a hut. Due to a storm they couldn’t find the cozy shelter, and did an open bivvy in their sleeping bags which from news reports sounded marginal. And sadly, up on Mount Hood a group of three did not survive, and it’s assumed at least one person in the group ended up in an emergency bivouac somewhere on the mountain — a bivouac that obviously did not work out.
My theory has always been that having a good shovel and decent clothing could get me through nearly anything. But I do throw in a bivvy sack now and then, when I’m in a small group and our plan takes us deep into the backcountry away from an easy egress.
A snowcave may be the best of survival shelters. Some tips for digging one when you’ve got minimal gear, and surviving after you dig:
1. Find a wind swale, cornice face or treewell face where you can start digging horizontally. This saves you from burrowing like a mole and doing the extra digging required if you need to go down then sideways. Also, branching a cave from a pit means you run the risk of the pit filling back up from wind drift, and trapping you in the cave or at least making exit difficult.
2. If you find a good semi-vertical face to start digging, test and see if you can cut uniform blocks with your shovel. If so, start with a fairly large opening, and enlarge into your sleeping chamber as soon as practical. When all is ready, wall the opening back up with the blocks, leaving a small door opening.
3. In either case, be sure to make your sleeping chamber higher than the door, so it’ll trap warm air from your body and breath.
4. Before starting work, strip off ALL non-essential clothing and store so it stays dry — especially any down gear. If you have hardshell layers, wear them over nearly nothing while you’re working. Once you’re digging inside the entrance tunnel and beyond, you’ll be amazed how warm you’ll get.
5. Once in the cave for the night, place dry clothing next to skin and damp clothing on the outside. Sit on your backpack. Keep your boots on but loosen as much as possible. If you feel your feet getting cold, take the liners out of the boots and store under your clothing, then place your feet under your partner’s torso clothing. DO NOT leave your liners in your boots, as you many be borderline hypothermic in the morning, and placing your cold feet in frozen boots could cause severe frostbite.
6. If you have a stove, you’ll definitely need a ceiling vent in your cave. Be super careful about this as carbon monoxide poisoning will at best impair your judgment. If you don’t have a stove and your cave is large with an open doorway you probably don’t need a vent, but consider a small one anyhow to keep the air a bit drier and fresher. You can always plug it with a spare piece of clothing or snowball.
7. Use good judgment if you’re lost or can’t return to civilization, and don’t push into the night, but rather set up your survival camp when you’ve still got energy and perhaps daylight.
8. Always always carry a bit of extra high-calorie fat/protein food. Sitting out a night in a snowcave with a bit of cheese or jerky to keep you company can be uncomfortable but totally safe. Doing so if you haven’t eaten for hours could still result in a hypothermia situation from which you might not return.
9. If you’re warm and have food, eating snow to stay hydrated works fine. But never never eat snow if you’re even close to being chilled.
Beyond the snowcave, if you’re short on time you can simply dig a trench, lay your skis over it, and cover the skis with snow blocks. To do this right, keep the trench as small as possible so you can plug the end with a backpack or snow blocks once you’re inside. If you totally wall yourself in, it’ll be as warm as a snowcave, but so small it will be difficult to move to stay warm. In my experience, the trench works better if you have a ground cover and sleeping bags, while the snowcave works better if you’re short on gear. Though again, the main problem with snowcave building is getting wet. If you’re short on clothing, be very wary of this. Getting wet can kill you.
I should also mention that if your skiing is done below or at timberline most of the time, one of the best ways to survive a night is to simply build a large fire and hang out next to it. To do so, you need to be carrying a functional fire starting kit and know what you’re doing. Practice helps (as it does in the case of snow caves). A while back we had a good post and comment thread about winter fire starting.
Lastly, in all three examples mentioned above the protagonists had no way of communicating with civilization, and thus triggered or came close to triggering large rescue efforts. I find this amazing and tragic, as so many communication options now exist. Seriously folks, at least carry a Spot Messenger, and if you’re hut tripping and carrying a sleeping bag, throw in a bivvy sack so you can spend a night out without your sleeping bag getting soaked.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2010 SBR Multisports Intensive 3-Day Swim Camp

Be quick and start your season fast.

January 22-24 ∙ Islamorada, Florida Keys
February 19-21 ∙ Islamorada, Florida Keys

The SBR Swim Camp for triathletes and long distance swimmers is designed to enhance your swim stroke and prepare you for the season ahead. We offer every swimmer a challenging, fun and educational experience. This three day camp includes 10+ hours of small group focus to make you stronger in the pool and increase your confidence level for open water swimming.
Our camp is designed to create a positive, supportive environment for both age group and elite swimmers. We will focus on showing you an efficient and powerful stroke and help you understand your movements in the water and their relationship to stroke efficiency. A coach will monitor your strengths and weaknesses and work with you to build an individual swim workout plan for 2010.

Each session will be held at the beautiful 50 meter outdoor pool at the Founders Park in Islamorada, Florida. Open water swim sessions will be held in the crystal clear waters of the Florida Keys. Islamorada is located 90 minutes from Miami Int’l Airport.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Asshole Barrier, More Gyms Should Have This Clause!

You would have to agree with this article fromCrossFit about how to act in a gym, having other members become tense not enjoying the place they are trying to get fit in can turn members away faster than keep them, from grunting, to bad form it is a gyms responsibility to make the environment enjoyable. Don't we wish that all gyms could be CrossFit.
Fortunately, assholes are somewhat rare in the CrossFit world—but why, and how do you deal with the occasional jerk? Affiliate owners and academics offer answers and strategies.

After finishing the WOD, the guy looked over at one of his fellow members at CrossFit Virginia Beach and said, “Is that all you’re going to lift?”

For owner Thomi Gill, that was the last straw. Less than a month earlier, this particular member had shown up at CrossFit VB. Soon, Gill noticed that other athletes seemed to tense up when he walked in the door. And when she tried to coach him, he wouldn’t listen. After he made that snide remark about another athlete’s performance, Gill decided it was time for him to go. If he didn’t get the message, Gill was ready to play her trump card: the “asshole clause.”

The waiver at CrossFit VB states, “CrossFit Virginia Beach strives to provide a positive and encouraging environment for our clients. Anyone that is disruptive or negatively influences this environment is subject to having their membership revoked. This is at the sole discretion of CrossFit Virginia Beach Management.”

CrossFit Inc.doesn’t have an official no-assholes policy. What’s taken shape is more powerful than any written directive: a culture that, as Coach Greg Glassman put it in the CrossFit Journal video Primal Fitness (Aug. 25, 2009), naturally “co-select(s) for a bunch of admirable character traits.”

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tim Johnson, National Cyclocross Champion!

Cannondale/'s Tim Johnson claimed his third US professional national cyclocross championship earlier today in Bend, Oregon.

Teammate Jeremy Powers set a furious pace from the start, taking the hole shot and quickly opening up a small gap to the first chasers. With Johnson closing and hometown favorite and defending champion Ryan Trebon just off Johnson's wheel, Powers crashed on an off-camber section and dropped back to fourth.

Johnson held a 4-5 second gap to Trebon for a few laps mid-race, then steadily pulled away in the later laps while the positions for the final podium spots went up for grabs. By the finish, Johnson had built his advantage up to 24 seconds, allowing him to fully soak up his third pro national championship win.

Powers and final Cannondale/ member Jamey Driscoll faced each other in a two-up sprint for the final (fifth) podium spot, with Powers taking it at the line.

The victory wraps up a dominant North American season by the Cannondale-backed team, who now shift their focus to Europe. Powers and Driscoll will head immediately to Belgium and take the start line in some pre-Christmas races. After the new year comes, Johnson will join his teammates for the final two World Cup races and the World Championships.

Tim Johnson and Cannondale/ race and win aboard the Cannondale CAAD9 Cyclocross bicycle… the winningest 'cross bike in the USA!

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Athlete's Plate: Real Food for High Performance

No matter which endurance sport you love, eating right makes a big difference in how you perform. But active lifestyles don’t always leave time to prepare great meals. The Athlete’s Plate solves the no-time-for-mealtime problem with 85 recipes that are quick to prepare, nutritionally complete, and seasonally fresh.

Professional chef and endurance athlete Adam Kelinson is your guide from the grocery store to the kitchen. He’ll show you how to save time when you shop and prepare his delicious, balanced meals using local, organic ingredients. The Athlete’s Plate sheds complicated nutrition programs and calorie charts in favor of a seasonal food philosophy that fits seamlessly into the lifestyles of active individuals.

Kelinson offers a worry-free way to balanced nutrition, incorporating all the macro- and micronutrients that you need to fuel and recover for training and racing. He steers you clear of supplements, pills, powders, and potions. Instead, he offers real food for maximum performance.
Whatever your sport, The Athlete’s Plate will provide the information and inspiration you need to get your nutrition program on the right track.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Simple Band Aids

Brilliant, simple and brilliant!
"With kids at home you do have to keep an assortment of shapes and sizes of band aid at home. More often than not, I use it for the placebo effect; a strip plaster round the superficial cut on the finger works better than any medicine, cuddling or kisses. The Long and Short Plaster does away with the need of stocking up assorted sizes and works like a tape dispenser. Cut out the right size and use it."

Champion Juicer

"Heavy duty front and rear ball bearing installation for smoother running, maximum R.P.M.’S. Added winding capacity which increases starting torque and allows the motor to run cooler increasing the durability factor and performance under heavy use conditions. Variable 110/220 volt 50/60 hertz with stainless steel shaft for longer wear. Can be converted for domestic or overseas use."

Beauty in Strength - CrossFit Journal

You can't go wrong signing up for CrossFit Journal $25
Just as the world’s finest vehicles are sleek, sexy blends of form and function, the women of the 2009 CrossFit Games are incredible physical specimens.

While the traditional “fitness girl” conjures up images of sequined bikinis and spray-on tans coating undernourished and barely functional bodies, CrossFit girls represent a special breed of athlete. These are beautiful, elegant women who are capable of unbelievable feats of athleticism, women whose beauty is enhanced by their strength, determination and resolve.

Media teams at the CrossFit Games took over 100,000 photos, and the CrossFit Journal presents the very best shots here in a tribute to the grace and beauty displayed by top female athletes in one of the world’s most rigorous proving grounds.

In Part 2 of this series, we’ll present the rugged, dynamic men of the 2009 CrossFit Games.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

GoMotion, see in the dark!

Designed for runners, hikers, and others who want to go long distances in low-light conditions, over rough terrain. A low profile, lightweight, breathable mesh pack with a 3-Watt Luxeon LED mounted at chest level for maximum trail visibility and comfort, a 1.5 liter hydration cell storage option, and organized, tricot lined, accessory pocket. Additional features include a sternum-strap slider for optimum fit, mini-pack design, and chafe guard adjustable shoulder straps.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Health Care Reform and Vending Machines - Health Blog - WSJ

Here’s a health-care overhaul detail that we hadn’t heard about until just now: The health-care bills in both the House (p. 1,515) and Senate (p. 1,233) would require vending machines to display calorie counts for the food they dispense.

The requirement, which wouldn’t apply for people who own fewer than 20 vending machines, is part of sections in both bills that would also require chain restaurants to post calorie counts.

Some public-health types have been pushing calorie counts in restaurants for a while now, as a way to fight obesity. But one recent study found that low-income people in New York City didn’t change their eating patterns at chain restaurants after a local law forced restaurants to post calorie counts. (City health officials told the New York Times that the study, which was conducted right after the rule took effect, might not have captured longer-term shifts in eating prompted by the calorie counts.)

Anyway, it’s easy enough to see how a restaurant would add a calorie count to the menu, but it’s somewhat harder to figure out where that sort of thing would go on a vending machine. But the legislation leaves vending machine owners an out if nutritional information is clearly visible on the product packaging, through the vending machine window.

Coca-Cola recently said that it will post calorie counts on the front of almost all the drinks it sells around the world. If the health bills pass with the vending machine requirement intact, we could imagine makers of vending-machine snacks making a similar move, which would relieve vending machine owners of the burden of posting calorie counts on the outside of the machine.

Still, the folks from the National Automatic Merchandising Association don’t like the rule. In a story posted this morning, an official from the trade group tells NPR that following the labeling requirements would be “pretty expensive” for people who own the machines.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The crunchiest-crackliest-chewiest-lightest-EASIEST bread you’ll ever bake. | King Arthur Flour - Bakers’ Banter

King Arthur Flour.


SAF yeast.


That’s all it takes to make the crackly-crusted, chewy, light-textured, DELICIOUS bread pictured above.

Just stir up a bucket of dough, and stick it in the fridge. That’s right, stir; no need to knead.

Want some bread? Grab a handful of chilled dough, plop it onto a piece of parchment. Let it rise. Bake it to golden perfection.

3 cups lukewarm water
32 ounces (6 1/2 to 7 1/2 cups) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast

Eat right, got your attention King Arthur

Blue's New Triad SL

From USATBlue Competition Cycle is a USA Triathlon Gold Partner

Triad SL from Blue Competition Cycles. 10 percent lighter than the original Triad. 10 percent stiffer than the original Triad. 10 percent faster than the original you.

New for 2010, the Triad SL mixes a race-proven geometry from the industry leading Triad with the latest in aerospace carbon fiber materials and a new carbon schedule. This new construction allows us to take 180 grams off the already light weight frame while adding on to one of the stiffest bottom brackets the industry has ever seen on a Tri bike. This means you have one fast bike!

However, having a fast bike doesn't do you any good if you are not in a position to be fast when you are on it. Blue continues to be the only company in the world willing to prove they want to make you faster and not just sell you a bike. With our unique program giving buyers of the Triad SL (frameset and complete bikes) and Triad (complete bikes only) one free hour in the A2 wind tunnel, you have the opportunity to make sure the bike you are on is fast and the position you have on that bike is optimized for you and you alone.

A lot of athletes tell us "I am not fast enough to go to the wind tunnel" or "My flexibility isn't good enough to allow me to ride a very aero position." The truth is, everyone can benefit from the hour in the wind tunnel and you don't have to be a Pro Tour caliber rider. During the hundreds of tests in the A2 wind tunnel Blue has been part of, the least improvement we have seen is 10% on any athlete, be it age grouper or Andreas Raelert, who placed third at Kona this year.

To be as fast as you want to be, contact Blue Competition Cycles at Blue