Sunday, May 20, 2012

Product Review- Swiftwick Aspire One compression socks.

"ASPIRE ONE are the solution for your feet's 60 joints, all 200 ligaments and 35 muscles, delivering greater support for all your sporting activities. ASPIRE ONE will be the best sport compression sock you will ever wear GUARANTEED! Swiftwick socks are proudly made in the USA."

Triathletes are gear junkies. I think we all have a closet full of "stuff" (a highly technical term for useless items we bought with the promiss them would improve performance). But one thing I never ever thought would make a difference were socks. Well after a year of struggling through a case of plantar facitisis, I know firsthand haw hard it is to train and compete when your feet hurt. But I always thought shoes or heel cups or insert were the answer. Well fortunately for me Team Rev3 and Swiftwick got together this year and I was sent a pair of Aspire One socks to try.

I gave them their first test drive on the morning of the Valley Forge Revolutionary Run. I woke up that morning with the familiar ache in my left arch and heel. I tried on the the socks and they fit my foot like a glove, and my son and I headed off to the race. Well on a cold, windy, and wet day I had a great race getting a PR, and I never even noticed a twinge of pain in my foot. When your feet feel good, you can just concentrate on running, and wow did these socks work.

Unfortunately I only had one pair, but that too helped prove to what a difference they made. I alway ran in regular old cotton socks. But right away I noticed how the Aspired craddled my feet and put pressure on my arch. Everytime I wore them my feet felt great. Without them, they ached. I gave them one that trial at Rev3 Knoxville and again they came through. They were a bit slow to get on in T1 since the fit so tight, but my feet felt great and I ran one of my fastest splits in four years.

So I would recommend this product to anyone and I I'd put my money where my mouth is as I just ordered another 7 pairs today. Buy a pair you won't regret it!

"Building on the tradition of manufacturing the best socks we can possibly make in the USA, we strive to improve our products to match your athletic demands. Using the latest machinery available, the new ASPIRE line from Swiftwick is our proudest moment. We considered smaller feet, the narrow foot and athletic activities that demand compression, but less padding in the toe box. We adjusted the formula for key fibers, more than doubled the olefin content and once again, produced the best sock you will ever wear, guaranteed. We have long aspired to create this sock, so the name was obvious. For athletes, the obvious choice is Swiftwick"

Monday, May 14, 2012

Rev 3 Knoxville Race Report

Rev3 Knoxville - Olympic Rev
Knoxville, Tennessee United States
75F / 24C Sunny

Triathlon - Olympic
Total Time = 2h 36m 22s
Overall Rank = 106/412
Age Group = M 40-44
Age Group Rank = 13/39

Pre-race routine:

Drove down on Friday. Got a late start as I had to change the oil and do some laundry before hitting the road. 10 hour drive got my into Knoxville at around 8 pm. Still had enough sunlight to go for a shakedown jog on the course, getting back in the dark. Spent Saturday regestring, geting my bike a pre race tune up, and then heading down to meet my teammmates for both Team Fight (Ulman Cancer Fund) and Team Rev 3. Got thre sets of uniforms, but they actually fit this year. Then we did the Tri Slide Lube pit for the practice swim. I greased up a lot of folks and got to talk to a lot of nice folks from newbies to Matty Reed and Cam Dye and a bunch of other pros (Most of them had an Austrailian accent, which was a tip off). Then I got my swim in and then headed back to the room for a nap. Got up and hit Tomato Heads for a Team get together with some of my Rev 3 teammates and then called home and turned in. Sunday got up relatively late since bike was already checked in, got dressed and headed down to Transition, set up my area, lubed up with the last of my Trislide from yesterday, got the wetsuit on (after starting to put it on backwards but I caught it after one leg.) Then got ustered out of transition. Had a power gel (strawberry bannana when I got up, before I left the room, and just before heading to the swim start to top off, and water to wash it down.

Event warmup:

Swim was point to point so we had to walk about a mile to the start. Then I stood in line for the porta potties. Had one of my teammate behind me in line so I had someone to chat with. Fortunately the Olympic waves were last so I had plenty of time. After that I got my wetsuit fully on, donned my google and cap and waited till they let our wave down to the dock. We have 10 min between the first Olympic wave an ours (only 5 for the wave after us), so I jumped in and swam a few back and forths to get some heat going and then treaded water till the start.



Having not done alot of swimming this winter, I vowed not to overcook it and started dockside about 3 rows back. 156 people in my wave made it quite crowded. Got a choppy start for the first 50 yeards or so then dropped into a rhythm. Other than the folks who couldn't swim straight, including one you kicked me in the jaw straying into my space. Other than that incident it wasn't a bad swim. Nice steady and unhurried rhythm, navigation was right on the buoys and other than the two folks from the previous wave doing side stroke I had to make sudden manuverss to miss running into them. OK swim especially considering the pre race swim was my second swim of the year.

What would you do differently?:

Swim more in the winter!



Long run up the dock thru the boat house, across the street down to the UT parking garage and then to the back corner to enter, made the time seem work than it was; however, I still was taking my sweet time and put my helmit on backwards and was headed to the bike mount before the announced called me out. Thanks Stu!

What would you do differently?:

Do my transitions with some purpose. That won't cut it in an Olympic. Lost 15 spots in T1



Once I got my helmet on stright and clipped in I was ready for a good ride. There was alot of road construction in town and on Neyland Dr, so I was very careful and conservative. The hill going up the offramp was very steep and I had way too much gear but I wasn't dropping my chain shifting right there so I slogged through it. After than I got into a good cadence and rhythm and start moving. Couple sets of railroad tracks and one set on a down hill immediately followed by sharp left turn, so I took those sections very cautiously. Getting out into the country side the rollers started kicking in as well as the categorized climb. I did a much better job getting to the gears I wanted early and spinning up the hills and alternating standing on the longer hills to give my quads a short break. About 12 miles in right before the HIM/Oly split and the aid station. I recognized I was coming up on the spot where I wrecked in 2010. A nondescript section of old broken road, a grassy ditch and a farmer's field with a couple horses. I acknowleded the demons there with a point and glided past, putting those demons behind my for good. From there on I really felt energized and cranked up the effort. Did a few back and forths with 2 guys (Orler and ChucK) and the lady in the OBX top. We leapfroged the rest of the way, Orler was a fearless decender, I was climbing like a goat, and the others were steady. Dropped Chuch after my 3rd pass, but finished up right with the other two. The is a long curving uphill on the back half which seemed much longer and harder than the officially catorigized hill on the front (plus I think it is catorigized on the HIM map). Road that one well then took the down hill fairly conservatively with the fast sharp turns. Coming back to town I stood up for a few stretches as my back bothered me a bit. The pothot filled hill upto town (they have been working on this road for 3 years now) I messed up the gears again and stalled out and got passed by a bunch of folks but it did give me a front row seat to see one of those guys bunny hop the railroad track on the way in. Good solid ride. Drank a few good gulps on the flats and had a Power Gel right after the turn around on the out and back. Felt good. Rode from 20th to 14th in my AG and 201 to 110 OA. Most on the second half

What would you do differently?:

Should have gone out harder early, Wasn't really cranking until the second half.



Was very slow. Long run thru garage and around transition to my rack with the bike, changed shoes and grabbed some water and my hat before taking off. But lost 24 spots and 2 in my AG.

What would you do differently?:

Need fast transitions in an Olympic.



Legs felt great right off the bat and I got into a good pace. Had two people pass me in the first half mile (1 guy in my AG and one of my female teamamates) but that was it for the rest of the race. Tried to keep the guy in my AG in my sites and he pulled me thru the first half but then he slowly pulled away. Was greating pretty hot and my pace started to bog down a bit. Hit the turnaround and got to see a bunch of my teammates running strong. Got back in my groove for a while on the geenway and onto Neyland and saw I was catching my buddy Orlar from the bike. But I lost my rhytm and or he picked it up as I could get any closer. Passed a group of folks by the boathouse and then followed a guy up the hill in a livestrong shirt from the other wave (so I was 10 min ahead of him overall) but he too held me off and lead me up the hill and into the park where he was joined by his kids. Some I gave him some room and cruised in.

What would you do differently?:

Lost focus a number of times. Legs still felt good at the end so should have borne down more. But it was pretty hot and I was 2 min faster than 2010 on the run. Made up 3 spots in my AG and 28 spots overall on the run so it wasn't bad.

Post race

Warm down:

Got my shirt and medal and a Gatorade and Muscle milk and then sat in line for the NormaTec Booth. Did 30 min in the boots and my legs felt great. Then went to the timing tent to get an initial idea of my time (no watch today) and saw I was in PR territory. Walked down to the transition and packed up my stuff. Finally ran into Carole, right at the end of the weekend, and then walked back with Anthony and Jeff. Anthony won his AG in a 2:10:48

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Not swimming all winter, slow transitions, and being overly cautious at times with pacing and on the bike. PRed by about 23 seconds but over 8 min in transitions for an Olympic is just giving away time. And giving away spots. My buddy Orler beat me by 52 seconds overall despite the fact I was faster than him on all three legs. Transitions count too!

Event comments:

Great race weekend. The Urban Challenge and Little Rev Adventure races were a hit on Saturday and the Expo was very good. Great to get up close with the pros before and after the race, very cool people especially Matty Reed. The timeing system had a few kinks to work out and things were a bit funky post race but everything was good by the time I got home Monday.

Great swag. Unique medal, Finished long sleeve tshirt, visor, power bar stuff, and everyone got a pair of Blue Seventy Element goggles. Sweet!

00:27:43 | 1640.42 yards | 01m 41s / 100yards
Age Group: 20/39
Overall: 186/412
Performance: Average
Suit: TYR Hurricane cat 5 full
Course: In the river. Start swimming up stream past the river boats to a red buoy and the back downstream, up a bridge, past the start, under two more bridges and to the University of Tenn Rowing dock is and out.
Start type: Deep Water - Waves
Water temp: 66F / 19C
Current: Low
200M Perf: Average
Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average
Drafting: Below average
Navigation: Good
Rounding: Average

Time: 06:14
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Good
Helmet on/Suit off: Average
Wetsuit stuck: No
Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average

01:12:21 | 24.85 miles | 20.61 mile/hr
Age Group: 8/39
Overall: ?
Performance: Good
Split 1 39:28 12.8 miles (19.46 mph) Split 2 32.53 12.0 miles (21.9 mph)
Wind: Some
Course: Nice course out and over the river then through Knoxville and out to the country roads. Lots of rolling hills a two long hills 1 Cat 5 climb. Railroad tracks and rough roads in spots but scenic and fun ride.
Road: Rough Dry
Turns: Average
Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average
Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable
Drinks: Just right

Time: 02:01
Overall: Below average
Dismount: Bad
Running with bike: Average
Racking bike: Average
Shoe and helmet removal:Below average

00:48:02 | 06.21 miles | 07m 44s min/mile
Age Group: 13/39
Overall: ?
Performance: Average
Split 1 20:12 2.74 miles (7:22) Split 2 27:50 3.46 miles (8:03)
Course: Left the parking garage, up Neyland for a mile and a half, onto the 3rd street greenway. Up the greenway though the parks and across the road to the turn around, back the way we cam then over to the boathouse down and under the tunnel, then up the hills via the Greenway to World's Fair Park, past the globe and to the finish.
Keeping cool: Average
Drinking: Just right

Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5]: 3
Physical exertion [1-5]: 4
Good race?: Yes

Course challenge: Just right
Organized?: Yes
Events on-time?: Yes
Lots of volunteers?: Yes
Plenty of drinks?: Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5]:5

Saturday, May 12, 2012

"Exercising" my Demons

Each of us have our personal demons. Things that chill us to the bone, things that creep into our dreams turning them into nightmares, things that can shake our confidence to the very core. We don't like to admit their presence or the power they hold over us, but we always know they are there. One of my demons, is a small stretch of pavement next to a grassy drainage ditch in front of a framers field with a couple of hourse grazing. For most that would be a fairly peaceful scene, but for me it is an image that haunts me. Why? I was healthy and in some of the best shape of my life and was about half way through a spectacular race to start of my 2010 triathlon racing season at Rev3 Knoxville. I had PRed the swim by several minutes, had a solid transition and actual got my wetsuit off in record time, and was mowing people down on the bike leg. 12 miles in and a grand total of 1 person had passed me and felt strong.

Then in an instant my race turning into something completely different. A narrow two lane country road on coming traffic, no shoulder, and a white pickup truck in the lane with the cyclists. I was annoyed by this but as I started closing in on the truck, but just then the driver comes up on a cyclist thinks about swerving out to pass but sees on coming traffic and hits the breaks hard. Suddenly I am on top of this truck with on coming traffic in the other lane and no room to the inside and I jumped out of the aerobars and jammed on the breaks and suddenly was flipping and supermanning onto the pavement. This patch of pavement. A patch of pavement I was fortunate to have been able to get up from an pedal away from. I finished the race, battered and bloody, and full of rage.
I saw my way to the finish and after the adreneline wore off.... The demons started finding there way into my head. "You know a few more degrees of rotation you would have broken your neck and been in a wheelchair the rest of your life." The ER nurse who said that didn't know her comment would stick with me like glue and visit me in my nightmares. You try and get back on the horse, you try to show a brave face to your friends and family, but that fear kept coming back again and again. I got back out there repaired my bike, raced again, even set an Iron Distance PR that season, but something was missing. Everytime I was in traffic, my nerves were shot. I had a flashback at Rev3 Quazzy when a van got into traffic with us and the brake lights flashed. I found myself visibly shaking and it took several minutes to get me composure back. I lost my nerve and even though I could hammer the bike safe inside n the trainer, when I went outside the demons would jump on my back and slow me down to a crawl.
But time heals all wounds or so they say. I returned to Knoxville in 2011 doing the Half Rev and survived, I built up my nerves to fly down the back side of Reicter Pass at over 50 MPH at IM Canada. I finally started to remember the thrill and joy riding and that feeling started to drown out the demons. So this year, it was finally time to send those demons on their way. I had to go back to the scene of the crime, do the same race, 2012 Rev3 Knoxville Olympic, and return those demons to where they came from. They didn't go without a fight. The sets of railroad tracks spooked me. However, about 12 miles in right before the HIM/Oly split and the aid station. I recognized where I was. I was coming up on that spot. A nondescript section of old broken road, a grassy ditch and a farmer's field with a couple horses. I acknowleded the demons there with a point and glided past, putting those demons behind me for good.
From there on I really felt energized and cranked up the effort, and finally was able to let it go. A weight was lifted off my shoulders, and I was able to ride harder outside than I had in two years and bested my Olympic distance PR from 2008 and my beat my Olympic distance time from the last two years by over 10 min.
Am I free of those demons, too soon to tell, but I am at peace with them. Enjoy the ride!