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santic pants

When I stumbled upon the advertisement from jollyoutdoor.com I was really nervous about buying something from an unknown company but I did need some long pants for my morning commute to work.  I poked around the site and found some Mysenian fleece pants to order.  I placed my order for about $50 with free shipping.  A couple of hours later, I received an email telling me the pants that I ordered were out of stock.  I responded to the email with a request for a different pair of pants that were $3 cheaper.  Jollyoutdoor responded back with an order confirmation and a note saying my paypal account was credited the $3 difference.  It was incredibly easy to deal with jollyoutdoor.  My package arrived less than two weeks after my order was placed.  That is pretty good, considering the order came from China during the Christmas rush with free shipping.

The Santic pants are pretty nice.  They don’t have the high end feel like a pair of Rapha pants but they do feel good when you put them on.  They have some nice stitching patterns to make them feel better around the legs.  The padding is nice and comfortable and stays in place while riding.  The pants run a size small.  I typically wear a small to medium pants.  With the Santic pants, I wear a large size.  I am 5’7” tall.  The typical American and European medium pants are really long for me.  They seem to be designed for people who are taller than 6’.  The Chinese pants seem to be designed for people who are my height.  The rear pocket is also nice.  On days that are cold enough for me to wear long pants, I usually wear a sweat shirt or something warm under a jacket.  The warm shirts don’t have pockets so the pocket on the pants comes in handy.

Jollyoutdoor.com is a legitimate business.  I bought a pair of long cycling pants.  The pants are not top quality but I don’t need them to be top quality.  I plan on wearing them for 1,000 to 2,000 miles.  The pants cost about $45 and they should last beyond the 2,000 miles that I want.  I am happy enough with the process that I will buy from them again.  When I do, I will post my satisfaction with the next purchase as well.

A note on security:  When you place an order with a company that you are not comfortable with, send your credit card company or PayPal an email about your purchase and your concerns.  The financial companies are good a keeping you protected from fraud.  They are better at protecting you from fraud if you help them.

I was out for a swim at the coast guard base this morning when I ran into a group of retirees out for their routine swim.  The guy leading the pack was 92 years and was a pilot for the Marines.  The youngster was 82.  They were all excited to be around me because I was so young.  I retired from the reserves over 15 years ago.  I stuck around to watch them swim for a little while.  They all got in the pool and started swimming laps.  This pool has no life guards and they still get out and do it.  If something goes wrong, when they are in the deep end, there is no help available.

As I was watching them in awe, they would come and talk to me.  They all talked about how lucky we were to be able to retire from the military and have the nice pool available.  They also told me that I had a long way to go and I have no excuse to stop going for a long time.

I had to agree with them that I have no excuse to stop.  This made me think of the young lady who posted a picture of herself on facebook with the caption “What’s your excuse?”.  She got a lot of abuse for being a role model.  I wonder what would happen if I went to the local news media with a picture of these nice old guys who were trying to encourage me by saying I have no excuse to stop trying?  I was honoured and enjoying myself with these guys.  I saw hope in them.

My goal with alamedarunners is to inspire hope and encourage people.  I do reviews because they are fun and a change of pace.  I was out running yesterday when I saw a guy on his balcony enjoying a smoke.  I was feeling pretty tired when I reached that encounter.  I wondered if either of us was wrong with our choice.  I don’t know which one of us spent more money on our hobbies.  I imagine mine would cost more, if I threw in the bike.  What ever you do, go have fun.

It is time to start training for the Oakland Running Festival half marathon again.  I may be carrying my 2:15 pace sign once again this year. I am a bit out of shape right now. If I can regain my form, I will carry the sign.

Completing a 13.1 mile run in 2:15 requires an average pace of 10:20 per mile.  In reality, it takes a 10:03 pace to make up for the walk to the start line and walking through the water stops. To finish at a clock time of 2:15, you will need to train for a 10:03 pace.

To make training easier, I wrote a training plan for you to follow.  I know a lot of people do not want to run four days a week.  Running four days a week will certainly make things easier for the half marathon but days can be skipped.

It is very bad to skip long runs (need to build up those miles) or tempo run (which is when you build your speed and endurance).

The main training begins in January.  I started with a month of run/walk for people who are just getting into running or getting back into the swing of things.  It is a good idea to be able to run 4 miles before you start your half marathon training plan.

I like to do my long runs on Saturday.  Sunday is fine for long runs too.

Long runs – During the long runs there should be no hard breathing.  You should be able to hold a conversation for the whole run.  If you start to breathe hard, slow down.

Cruise runs are a bit faster than the long runs but do not need to be too fast.  These runs are just to add miles to the legs.

Runs are random things that are a bit faster than cruise runs.  You can vary the pace of normal runs to change things up.

Tempo runs are where you build your speed.  They hurt.  You will need to build up to 9:00 to 9:30 miles for 30 minutes.  It is good to start out by jogging for about 10 minutes then pick a target a few hundred yards away and run towards it.  You should be breathing hard when you get there.  Slow down and repeat the process.

It is tradition to tell yourself to go get a physical before you start a running plan.  If you have good luck with getting a sports physical, let me know who your doctor is.

Get to training and I will see you on March 25th.

Week :    Mon                  Tue             Wed             Thur          Fri          Sat         Sun
12/30| 30 min run/walk | Cross train| 30 run/walk  | 30 min jog| cross train|2-4 mi|Rest
01/06| 30 min up tempo| Cross train| 40 min cruise| 30 min run| cross train|4 mi|Rest
01/13| 30 min up tempo| Cross train| 40 min cruise| 30 min run| cross train|5 mi|Rest
01/20| 30 min up tempo| Cross train| 40 min cruise| 30 min run| cross train|6 mi|Rest
01/27| 30 min up tempo| Cross train| 40 min cruise| 30 min run| cross train|8 mi|Rest
02/03| 30 min up tempo| Cross train| 40 min cruise| 30 min run| cross train|7 mi|Rest
02/10| 30 min up tempo| Cross train| 40 min cruise| 30 min run| cross train|9 mi|Rest
02/17| 30 min up tempo| Cross train| 40 min cruise| 30 min run| cross train|10 mi|Rest
02/24| 30 min up tempo| Cross train| 40 min cruise| 30 min run| cross train|11 mi|Rest
03/03| 30 min up tempo| Cross train| 40 min cruise| 30 min run| cross train|12 mi|Rest
03/05| 30 min up tempo| Cross train| 40 min cruise| 30 min run| cross train|13 mi|Rest
03/10| 30 min up tempo| Cross train| 40 min cruise| 30 min run| cross train|10 mi|Rest
03/17| 30 min easy run | Cross train| 40 min cruise| 30 min easy| cross train|rest  Half Marathon

Note: This is a generic training plan.  I will write up my own training plan soon and post that as well.

I had a lot going on between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  My workout routines were and still are all messed up.  I had a routine that I followed.  The downward spiral from a messed up routine is amazing.  I found a lot of reasons to not do my workouts.  When I am in a groove, I find ways to squeeze my workouts in.  Now that I recognize the error of my ways, I am getting back into the groove.  I have a half ironman triathlon to do in July.

I got out for an easy 4 mile jog yesterday and I am none worse for the wear today.  My goal is to run the Oakland Running Festival half marathon on March 23, 14.  I just set that goal, now I have to register.  I found that it helps to have a goal.  Goals help us stay dedicated.  There are not goals like an Escape from Alcatraz swim.  If you can swim, I highly recommend doing that event at least once.  There is no goal like swimming from Alcatraz.  They San Francisco Bay does not care why you skipped your training.  It will swallow you up, if you are not prepared.

Back to running.  I did a 4 mile run because I knew that it was well within my limits.  When you take time off or messing up your schedule, take it easy.  Injuries happen, when we try to make up for lost time.  If you lost a month, take a step back and ease into your training.  I ran (jogged) 4 miles yesterday.  I rode my bike today.  I will jog again tomorrow.  I plan on running an easy 5 miles with an option to cut it short a mile, if I feel tired at mile 3.  I don’t have a running plan yet.  I am going to wing it for now.  Give me a couple of days and I will have something posted for a 2:15 half marathon training plan.

Get out and run.  Take it easy and do not get injured.  If you can run a block, do it.  Build yourself up and get strong!

Benefits of Kinesiology Tape

Injuries happen along the way, whether during training or on race day, and it is demoralizing to be sidelined with a major injury. Using kinesiology tape is a popular technique that aids in injury recovery and can be used during intense training – or on race day – to help make sure your body effectively holds together.  Instructional video available after the jump: Read more… »

Image Compliments of Amazon.com

Image Compliments of Amazon.com

The stick is one of those items you run into at a marathon registration expo and buy or want to buy.  I first saw the stick around 10 years ago at the CIM expo and often wished that I had one.  I finally decided to buy one when I was shopping at the Sports Basement a couple of months ago and I love it.  I am a triathlete who is always doing some type of physical activity to stay in shape for the summer triathlons.  The various workouts always cause something to be sore.  It does not help that I am always changing my workout routine in the winter.

I usually use the stick on my legs.  When I am massaging the smaller muscles at the bottom of my calves, I use the middle of the stick.  When I am on the larger muscles like the quads, I use the edge of the stick to really push into the muscle to relieve the tension.  For sore hamstrings I will lie down on my back, place my calf on a chair then roll out the hamstring or I will use the foam roller.  It does take some practice to find the sore spot and roll it out properly but it is worth the effort.  Take the time to learn how to roll out your sore muscles and you will recover faster and learn where the sore muscles are located.  When you find the sore muscles, is it up to you to figure out why they are sore.  It helps to do a Google search for muscles of the leg to find out what muscles you hurt.  After you figure out what the sore muscles are, you can ask a trainer or do a search on how that muscle works.  With practice, it gets easy to differentiate between stress soreness and injury soreness.  I don’t recommend practicing how to get injured so stay in the injury prevention phase.

The stick is basically a flexible rolling pin that is made of PVC.  I look at thing and marvel at how I move it around on my skin at varying angles and pressures without pinching myself.  I have the Marathon Stick at home, it goes for about $32.00 on Amazon.   I am thinking about getting the The Stick Little Stick for work.  It cost about $24.00 at Amazon.

Cygolite 350/680 review

cygolite 680

I bought the Cygolite 350 for my 20 mile commute to work after daylight savings time ended.  Eight of the 20 miles are on coastal trails that are really dark.  They would not be dark miles if the sun was up but my work schedule dictates when I make the commute.

I tried a lot of different lights before I decided to spend $70 on the Cyoglite.  It was and is worth every dollar that I spent.  I think the brightest mode is brighter than the head lights on an old Volkswagen.  When I first bought the light, I had to read the instructions to figure out how to turn the thing on.  You have to hold the power button down for about 3 seconds to get it to turn on or off.  I never realized how bright 350 Lumens could be!  Now that the Cygolite Expilion 350 has been replaced by the 680, I am looking for an excuse to buy the 680.

Here are some specifications about the 350 that I copied from Cygolite and reworded for my convenience while keeping the original intent.
•    One LED bulb with 350 lumens
•    Five-hour charge time
•    130-gram weight
•    Run times:

o    Two hours on “boost” – I love this setting.  It is great for the dark trails.  I can even see people who are out walking on dark trails dressed in black.
o    Three hours on high – I usually skip this level and run on either medium or boost.
o    Six hours on medium
o    13.5 hours on low
o    24 hours on flash – Flash can be a life saver when the battery is dying.
•    Quick-release lithium ion battery stick for swapping out the battery on the fly – I did not understand this option so I did not buy a spare battery when I purchased the light.  It is a great idea and I recommend carrying a spare battery and a spare light when riding on dark roads.

•    Control button with built-in power indicators – The control button does more than expected and it is nice to have some type of indicator to let you know when the battery is charged.  It says there is a low battery indicator but my experience is that the indicator may indicate something; it did not indicate a low battery to me.  The battery died on me once because I did not charge it properly and went out for a ride without checking the battery.  When the battery was just about dead it went into flash mode and survived for about an hour on flash.  It was not the best option but it got me home.

•    Precision optics – the beam spread is incredible.

•    USB charging – It has a USB charger but the instructions tell you to use the wall charger.
•    The USB charging port has a water tight rubber cover that is a bit tight to keep the water out of the electronic charging circuitry.  The cover is tight for people like me who commute along the water front.  The cover for my Garmin broke and I have clean the USB contacts regularly.  It is quite challenging and it is nerve wracking to think about the eminent demise of an expensive piece of equipment.

When I bought my light, I could not find one at the local bike shops so I bought from Amazon.  You can still find them on Amazon for about $55.00.  You can also find the 680 for about $85.00.  I want a 680.  If you want to save the $30.00, there is nothing wrong with the 350.  It is a great light.  It is such a good light that I have no regrets about buying it after and a better light came out for about the same price.

Note: the picture is an image of the 680 from the Cygolite website because I did not feel like taking a picture of the 350.

 

Braaap nutrition bars

Braaap is another entry into an already crowded market for sports nutrition.  I believe that every new entry into the sports nutrition market helps raise the bar for all of us.  The Braaap is certified gluten free but they do not advertise as certified organic.  I am more concerned about the organic nature of things than I am about Gluten but the bars are organic enough to make me happy.  The bars go for about $3.00 per bar on amazon when purchased in boxes of 12.

The bars go down really well.  The name of the game is digestion so this is a big deal for me.  I prefer mine with chocolate milk or coffee.  If you read my articles, you know I am big on balance.  When I stop at a coffee shop, during a long bike ride, I am apt to eat just about anything that looks good.  The Braaap bar is a healthy alternative.  Anything that I carry has to be able to compete with the Bovine bakery.  It does not have compete outright, it just has to be good enough for me to accept.

On to the bar; as I mentioned, they are certified gluten free.  I don’t care about gluten.  I think we are just switching our flour types from one type of empty calories to another.  I may be wrong but I feel that people who are going gluten free to lose weight have to worry about gluten free calories just as much as people who are watching regular calories.  A calorie is an energy measurement after all.  I digress!  The bar is nice and simple with about 10 ingredients.  It is tough to make a simple product that has a long shelf life.

The good:

  • The Braap bars taste pretty good.  I like the blueberry and cranberry ones the best.
  • They do not upset my stomach

The bad:

  • The marketing – Are the Braaap bars for athletes or sick people?
  • The price – $3.00 per bar is a bit steep for something that does not advertise the vanilla extract as pure.
  • The wrapper is not environmentally friendly.

The Braaap bar gets an okay rating from me.  The marketing moves the Braaap bar from good to okay.  When I see a product with “gluten free” and “natural ingredients” on the front of a package, I am cautious.

Klingg wire clip

The Kling wire clip, officially known as the Klingg – Magnetic Earphone Cord Holder is a nice little head phone wire holder.  It is primarily designed for athletes and earbuds but I assume it is handy for the weightlifters among us.  The Klingg is nice because it has a magnetic back piece to hold the front piece on your shirt and a great wire gripper on the front.  The Kling can be found on Amazon for about $20.

The wire grip section is different from any wire cord holder that I have seen.  Most of the clips that I have used require some serious folding of the headphone cord to squeeze the wire through a small opening to lock the cord in place.  The Kling has a straight holder that is made out of some siliconized, plastic stuff that acts like rubber.  I have no idea what it is but it holds wires well.  It takes a little practice to slide the wire into the holder but once you get the touch, you can feed single cords for one ear, both cords or the full cord without much effort.  Once the cord is in place, it is easy to move the cord around to set the length.

When I first got the Klinggon, I wondered what I would do with the thing.  I don’t like the idea of putting a magnet in the pouch with Ipod and earbuds so I put it on the side of my gym bag.  I am a little too old and conservative to hang decorations from my gym bag but I like it there.

Pros:

  • The magnet works great for clipping to thin surfaces without damaging the material
  • They look good
  • I love the colors
  • It is easy to slide the clip around on any surface where it will stay
  • It works on swim goggle straps
  • The ability to position the head phone cord just about any place there is material just about eliminates the cord from sticking to my neck.

Cons:

  • The packaging is obscene but necessary for a borderline novelty item
  • The price is a bit high
  • It takes practice to get the wire into the holder.  (this may not be fair as the cord has to be tight to stay in place)

The $20 price tag would normally put this into the upper edge of my price range for something like this but the ability to swim with it and keep my swim cord in place makes this a keeper that is well worth the money.  It would make a great gift for the athlete who has everything.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) calls aspartame, sucralose and acesulfame potassium safe.  They may be safe in small quantities but consider portion sizes.  A portion is 8 ounces and you usually get 1 to 2 portions per day.  How many soda drinkers drink 16 ounces of soda per day?  Diet soda has a negative image these days.  I did a Google search for “diet+soda” (see below for complete list).  The top 15 items were mostly negative.  11 of the top 15 items were negative.  I am not sure if the chemicals in diet soda are harmful by themselves but I would rather have the sugar over the chemicals.  I don’t think soda is harmful if you drink less than 3 gallons per year.

1.    Aspartame Facts – familydoctor.org?
2.    News for diet soda
3.    Sugar Crush: Why Diet Soda Sales Have Crashed
4.    Artificial sweetener aspartame is safe in diet soda, European review says
5.    Beer, Diet Soda Sales in Mystery Decline
6.    Diet soda – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
7.    7 side effects of drinking diet soda – Health – MSN Healthy Living
8.    Diet Soda Doesn’t Help You Lose Weight | TIME.com
9.    Diet Soda Sales Lose Their Fizz | Video – ABC News
10.  Does Diet Soda Really Cause Weight Gain? What Experts Say
11.  Diet soda: Is it bad for you? – MayoClinic.com
12.  New study is wake-up call for diet soda drinkers – CBS News
13.  Images for diet soda
14.  Diet soda news, articles and information: – Natural News
15.  Diet Coke: Home

There are concerns and studies showing a correlation between diet soda and obesity, diabetes and heart disease.  The Internet has amplified fears.  Sometimes the raising the alarm is a good thing and sometimes it is fear mongering for attention.  I do my best to eat and drink organic products but I am healthy and I can afford organic food.

The stevia plant is the current sweetener of choice by the diet fad gurus.  Stevia is regulated by the FDA under “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) which means the rules of approval bypassed the FDA under the GRAS rules.  Hmmm, we went from aspartame that was approved by the FDA to stevia that was not approved but is used under the GRAS provision.  I can’t say which is better.  I can say that if you have to choose between the two, moderation may be the best choice.

I am a regular reader of Slashdot.  They were recently bashing diet pills that are approved by the FDA.  I am a believer in things that are approved by the FDA.  Congress and big business may push laws through that affect the FDA but I think the FDA does the best they can to look out for our safety and well-being.  The diet pills are called Qsymia and Belviq and must be prescribed by a doctor.  If that is what it takes to get you started, by all means, go visit your doctor and ask for a prescription and a weight loss program.  Going from a dormant lifestyle to a healthy one has to start someplace.  If it takes a pill to get you started, take that pill and get started on your way to good health.  I am sure your doctor will want you to move to natural alternatives as soon as possible anyway.  The cynical people will tell me the doctors want to make money by selling prescriptions but I think it is the patients that want to take a pill to solve their problems.

Don’t take my word for this.  Read as much as you can to make informed decisions.  It seems like life is a pendulum.  If you are extreme in any one thing, you seem to swing the other way and be extreme again in something else.  Do the Google search for diet soda and read the links.  I am singling out diet coke because they made the list.  Contact diet coke and ask them about healthy soda drinking habits.  I bet they will give you good answers.  They don’t want you to die; they want you to buy soda.

Research and moderation is key.  Get started.  There is no time like the present.