Subscribe Subscribe | Subscribe Comments RSS
running biking athletics training swimming exercise

Archives for Interview category

The key to being active in the endurance sports community – especially online – is to go out and chat with the companies that are making high quality products but might not be as well-known.  That’s why I like when companies approach me and actively want to engage, because there is new opportunity to put together a great story.

Alameda Runners recently caught up with David Green, 110% Play Harder CEO and experienced triathlete and Ironman, to learn more about the company and its unique product line.

110% makes compression clothing from compression shorts and knee sleeves to compression socks, tights and calf sleeves – including ice inserts, which can be heated to create heat inserts – offering even better healing capabilities.

Jump into the full interview after the jump!  Read more… »

Athletes enjoy running or working out when they go on vacation – and there are some great tourist destinations that double as vacation hot spots and a runner’s paradise. I recently caught up with representatives from the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau and discussed why Hawaii is an ideal location for athletes looking to just get away.

There are plenty of reasons, according to the HVCB, why athletes should be interested in flying to Hawaii from the mainland.

“Year-round sunshine and good weather, accommodations for every budget, a wide variety of activities and attractions, rich culture and history, world-class cuisine, exceptional spa/wellness facilities, and warm Aloha spirit help make the Hawaiian Islands an ideal vacation for runners and athletes.”

For anyone looking to travel to Hawaii, there are a couple of ideal times to make travel arrangements: “Travelers can usually find the best deals to Hawaii during the off-peak season, which tends to be spring (March-May) and fall (September-November).”

A quick search yielded a one round trip ticket from Oakland to Kona in April for around $410, including fees and taxes, but browsing around could lead to even better deals.

Full interview is available after the jump: 

Tapering can be difficult for athletes unaware of how or when to let their bodies rest before an event.

It’s extremely important to utilize before strenuous workouts, but is still often ignored.

To get an inside perspective about tapering, Alameda Runners recently asked an expert about the importance of giving your body a break.

Ada Wells, MPT, Physical Therapist & owner of ProBalance, Inc. had this to say regarding event tapering:

“Tapering before a marathon or other long distance event is extremely important as hard training the two to three weeks before an event will not only not give the athlete any additional training benefit, it will actually increase the runner’s likelihood of developing a musculoskeletal injury. Fatigued muscles will be less likely to properly support joints in their proper alignment and will be more susceptible to strains, tears, etc. It is in the runner’s best interest to have the muscles and body rested so that they are at their peak during the race and beyond.”

Often times we like to cover vocal points that are commonly brought up among athletes, and tapering certainly is one of those subjects. I published a story related to the importance of tapering previously, while Ted discussed how he is horrible when it comes to tapering.

Is tapering ‘crucial for optimum performance’? It’s certainly not a topic that will die down soon – and it’s very much something you should follow.  More on this subject in the future.

The Bamboo Bottle is a pricey, unique water bottle that people tend to overlook.

Beyond a novelty item — which is a bit bizarre for a water bottle — is there anything really to the Bamboo Bottle?  Is it worth it? Why would someone want it?

To help figure these questions out, Alameda Runners recently caught up with Bamboo Bottle.

Here is what the company had to say about its product and why it stands out:

“Bamboo Bottle offers a glass bottle that guarantees safe drinking that won’t leach chemicals into your drink – hot or cold. The glass is protected by bamboo which gives the bottle style and strength. Both the glass and bamboo are completely renewable resources.”

In addition to the bottle itself, the company has strong philanthropic efforts towards the environment.

“When you buy a Bamboo Bottle you are not just getting any old water bottle. Your money is going towards a product that is sustainably constructed from renewable resources. You are getting a bottle that you know is safe to drink from and guarantees that your beverage, hot or cold, is as pure as can be. The versatility of the three screw on tops allows you to use it for coffee in the morning and water in the afternoon, without that bad residual taste which makes it a great alternative to single use coffee cups and plastic water bottles.”

Plastic water bottles are common in grocery stores – but they are bad for the environment – and bad for your health. There has been a growing effort to create BPA-free metal water bottles, though Bamboo Bottle went with a completely different approach.

“One of the primary goals at Bamboo Bottle is to create a functional product that is completely sustainable. The glass is made from 50% recycled material, the Bamboo is sustainably harvested and the manufacturing process uses bamboo waste for electricity. Admittedly, the bottle is not 100% sustainable, but improvements are always being made to the manufacturing processes and materials used with a goal of limiting the companies’ environmental footprint.”

With so many water bottle choices available, Bamboo Bottle has a good reason why active people should follow the company.

“Bamboo Bottle Co. is the only company that offers a clean, safe and stylish bottle that is made from the practically inexhaustible resources of bamboo and glass. The versatility of the bottle allows it to function as your do-it-all bottle for hot and cold beverages. Not only that, but Bamboo Bottle Co. is devoted to creating a product that supports a clean and healthy environment.”

As mentioned before, Bamboo Bottle is interested in contributing while many companies tend to overlook what they can do to contribute towards green movements.

“Bamboo Bottle is a member of 1% for the Planet donating 1 percent of sales to environmental organizations around the world. They have also created the giveback program, which helps organizations reach fundraising goals and supports their efforts in giving to their cause. Also, Bamboo Bottle has created the Take the Pledge campaign, where citizens can make a pledge to stop using one time use plastic bottles to collectively help clean up our planet. Go to the Bamboo Bottle Facebook page to take the pledge.”

To finish the interview, Bamboo Bottle welcomes readers to visit the website “for more details on our products, sustainability and manufacturing.”

Bamboo Bottle truly has a unique product, but it certainly isn’t for everyone. I’m all for supporting non-plastic and BPA-free drinking solutions, but many people don’t want to invest so much in a water bottle.

Thanks to Bamboo Bottle for helping out – a review of the Bamboo Bottle will be posted on Alameda Runners in the near future.

Timmy Duggan, Team Liquigas rider and current US cycling road race champion, also serves another role that is unfortunately widely overlooked: philanthropist.

Duggan heads the Just Go Harder Foundation aimed at helping children become more active in cycling and skiing.  It’s a noble effort to help his home community, and Alameda Runners recently chatted with him about it.

“The JGHF provides scholarships for kids to become involved in cycling and skiing sports. Usually this involves offsetting the often prohibitive program fees associated with cycling and skiing clubs in order to have access to coaching and mentorship, training and competition opportunities. By donating, you will know that you are helping to get a kids foot in the door that could lead to a lifetime of positive development and successes.”

Contributing to the Just Go Harder Foundation is a simple process, and there are a couple of options available.  If you’re local in the Boulder, Colorado area, there is a method for you to help without donating cash.

“Readers can donate via the JustGoHarder Website or by giving old sporting equipment to, who will sell it on Ebay and donate the proceeds. Also, if you know a kid who wants to participate in cycling or skiing but can’t afford it, send them our way!”

Duggan also explained where this year’s proceeds will go:

“This year, JGHF will provide scholarships to the Boulder Junior Cycling Team and the Eldora Mountain Ski Club.”

Why help the community?

“I had great coaches and mentors coming up the ranks of ski racing and cycling. Having access to those people and learning from them taught me how to be my own best coach and I can apply that to anything I do now. I would love to open that door for more kids.”

As Duggan prepares for the Tour of Poland – starting tomorrow – he also has big aspirations the rest of the season. The Liquigas rider will represent the United States during the 2012 Olympics starting later this month, along with the Tour of Utah and USA Pro Cycling Challenge next month.

In case you missed it, I recently interviewed Timmy (story here) to learn about his experience winning the US road race championship earlier in the season.  I’d like to wish him the best of luck the rest of the season, as he’s a talented rider – and a super domestique – and I hope he can find

Timmy Duggan on the Podium (Image courtesy: Jonathan Devich/

As part of my recent interview with Timmy Duggan, US road race national champion, he discussed the difficulties of battling such a long road race season.

“It is a long season and the key is to learn how to best manage the training, racing and travel. It is most important to keep your head fresh and motivated. That’s sometimes tough when I don’t see my wife for weeks on end, and I’m racing every day in the rain and away from home. You have to work hard when it’s time, but really know how to shut off and relax sometimes too. Otherwise you will surely burn out in the middle of the season!”

Even for the riders not racing one (or two) of the season’s Grand Tours, there are still plenty of other races – and lots of traveling – that must be done throughout the season.

I’d like to thank Timmy for taking the time to answer questions for my Bleacher Report story — and wish him the best of luck through the rest of his 2012 race season.

The competitive world of running shoes and products can overwhelm athletes looking for the right product to pick. Alameda Runners recently caught up with Christina Bracken,ZEMgearco-founder, and she answered a few questions we had.

Alameda Runners first mentioned something about ZEMgear last year, and the company continues to expand its product line.

ZEMgear is in a suddenly crowded market of minimalist footwear, but runners have three basic reasons to choose ZEMgear over the competition, according to Bracken: Fit flexibility, price, and aesthetics.

“ZEMs are easy-in and easy out, and include 4-way stretch uppers accommodate almost any foot shape: longer toes, wider feet, onset of bunion, higher instep – our patterns can hold pretty much any foot shape,” Alameda Runners learned from Bracken. “ZEMs are considerably less expensive that most other brands while offering high-grade, professional performance.”

To help bring new attention to the company, ZEMgear recently began offering products at REI retail stores and through the REI website.

“REI is a leader in the Outdoor world of footwear and gear. Many customers see REI as an ‘authenticator’ for a brand – especially a newly arrived brand in an emerging category. REI found and identified ZEMgear at the January 2011 Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City when we also won our 3M IN-NEW-VATION award for being the most innovative new footwear brand at the show.”

Indeed, even if you only go to your local REI store for ideas on new products you can buy online – for a lower price – you’re guaranteed to not fight junk in the store. Any product sold in REI is a victory, especially if you’re a smaller company looking for more exposure to athletes.

Trying to switch from traditional running shoes to minimalist footwear has caused some runners to suffer major injury. Similar to building base miles when starting out, runners should take their time before making the transition.

“Moderation is key: as with any new endeavor it is necessary to ease into minimal activities with care and with caution. It is not difficult or complicated – but no one would suggest to go to the gym for 3 hours the first time you decide to exercise. If you had worn gloves for the last 20 years you would never think of chopping wood or digging in the dirt with bare hands.”

The rest of the interview available after the jump:


I recently completed the Vineman 70.3 half Ironman distance triathlon.  I finished in 6 hours and 32 minutes.  I was so happy to finish, I crossed the line with a jump for joy.  I then leaned on the guy taking my ankle strap off so I did not fall over.

I picked a great event for my first long distance triathlon.  Vineman had so many rules, the explanations drove me nuts.  They sent out e-mails with threatening instructions just about every week.

They also made us sit in a mandatory meeting telling us the same instructions from the e-mails.  They told us about the penalty tents along the course.  I assumed I would get a penalty during the event.  One of the instructions was “no dogs allowed.”

When I walked out of the mandatory meeting, there was someone with a dog walking around.  Another rule was “no drafting allowed.”  For an age group guy who was just hoping to finish, I did not understand all of these rule explanations.

Out on the course, there were people taking advantage of the slower riders using the slow rider line as an excuse to draft.  I went from being mad at the event organizers to giving them a pass on the rules to feeling badly for them for having to enforce the rules so desperately.

It is a shame to see so many people behaving badly to the point where the race organizers are forced to sit everyone in meeting to explain the rules.  Most of the people in a triathlon are age groupers out to have fun.  We occasionally bunch up and say hi to each other but we are not really drafting.  It is sad that race officials have to come yell or penalize us.  When money is on the line, things change.

Once the leaders cleared out, the event was really fun.  The volunteers were great.  There were aid stations all over the course with friendly cheering people handing out water and other goodies.

The people racing with me were great.  I was in a tight group on the swim.  Every time we swam over each other, the other guy would stop kicking.  It is really nice to swim into someone’s leg and not get kicked.  The people on the bike were nice but I noticed a lot of expensive accessories on the side of the road from things not properly installed on the bikes.

The run was fantastic.  Because of the rolling hills and aid stations every mile, the same group of people kept passing each other and chatting along the course.  We were all best friends for the moment.  Every time I tried to walk, one of my new best friends would encourage me to run again.

The streets were loaded with people cheering us on.  The last half mile was unbelievable.  People were mostly waiting for their family and friends to finish but they were cheering everyone on.  After 6 hours on the course, it was so nice to finish to cheers.

Have you ever wondered how to properly clean your water bottle or hydration pack? Proper cleaning and storage is important, so we wanted to chat with some specialists about this tricky subject.

We recently caught up with Hydrapak, an Oakland-based hydration company, that helped give us a great new idea about how to clean our reservoir.

Sometimes you’re going to buy a bottle or hydration reservoir that has a plastic taste that is rather unpleasant the first time you use it. Some people rinse it out several times, while others may even try to use bleach or hydrogen peroxide to clean packs.

“The lemon and freezing is the best for those sensitive to plastic taste that can be most prevalent on the first use. Citrus is great because it won’t stain like a sugary drink, like Gatorade. There may be other concoctions that could be attempted, but I haven’t tried them since the lemon works so well.”

Trying to figure out how to properly clean your water bottle could be an entirely different issue. Hydrapak offers three general tips you could use if you want to wash your water bottle – hand washing, dishwasher, and cool mountain spring.

Cleaning (and more importantly) drying your reservoir is important to reduce the possibility of mold and bacterial growth. This is most important for those using mixes or sugary drinks that accelerates the ‘grunge factor.’ The Hydrapak reservoir reverses and is therefore superior because of its ability to dry.”

If you have a specific question for Hydrapak, I’d recommend following the company’s Twitter account. Despite being a relatively small group of dedicated athletes, the staff wants to help and make sure athletes are using their products safely.

Alameda Runners plans to catch up with other companies, and will help you learn more about properly cleaning your water bottles, hydration packs, and similar products.

Alameda Runners is all about trying to help casual athletes learn more before embarking on your own physical adventures — and to help share information and interviews with companies that you may not be aware of. Injinji, a specialist company focusing on unique socks, is one of those companies I likely would have overlooked — and this article would have never come to fruition — if it wasn’t for Alameda Runners.

I was able to contact Injinji to learn a bit more about the company’s products and why athletes should care. For starters, Injinji’s unique five-toe-sleeve design is patented and was also awarded the American Podiatric Medical Association’s Seal of Acceptance.

“From marathoners to trail runners, mountain bikers to triathletes, Injinji offers a sock for everyone,” an Injinji spokesperson recently told Alameda Runners. “The Performance Series, Injinji’s original and most popular toesock, is ideal for running, walking, cycling, track & field, cross training and other multi-sport activities. Injinji’s Outdoor toesock is perfect for trail running, hiking, trekking, adventure sports and mountain biking.”

The ability to use toesocks along with minimalist footwear, such as the popular Vibram Five Finger shoes, has been a concern for some athletes.  Trying to wear socks with minimalist footwear typically doesn’t work too well, but athletes like having some type of layer of material between their feet and shoes.

“Injinji Performance Toesocks are the perfect complement to VFFs and other minimalist footwear. We recommend Injinji’s Performance Series Liner for minimalist footwear fans. The Liner is an ultra-thin and sleek interface that provides superior moisture and blister protection.”

There are immediate benefits runners and athletes will be able to enjoy if they decide to give these socks a try, according to Injinji.

“Injinji Performance Toesocks are recognized for their ability to provide superior moisture management and healthy digital alignment. The toesocks separate each toe with a thin layer of anti-friction, moisture-wicking CoolMax® fabric. Wearers experience all of the biomechanical benefits of being barefoot, just without the risk of blisters, hot spots and other painful ailments.”

I’ve grown to appreciate the need for a quality pair of running or cycling socks — but Injinji toesocks still look extremely bizarre. Hopefully we’ll be able to give them a proper test this summer, so we’re able to see what all the fuss is about.

You can purchase Injinji products online through the company’s online store or use the Injinji store locator to help find a store around you with Injinji toesocks.