Product Review

Saucony Neutral Shoe Review/Comparison

I have been lucky enough to be sent several pairs of shoes from Saucony and that has allowed me to essentially run in many variations of a neutral 8mm drop shoe (my preferred type of shoe). I am currently running in 4 different shoes that fit this description; Triumph ISO 2, Ride 8, Echelon 5, and the Breakthru (the new ones are out now).

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I like running in all of the shoes but let me highlight the benefits/use cases (yes, I work in IT) for each shoe.

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The Ride 8’s are the most versatile shoe of the bunch. I have been running in this line for a while but this is my first review of the Rides. What I like about this shoe is that it is an excellent balance between support and and structure. Some times a supportive shoe can have too much structure to it and overpower your foot so it can’t do what it does naturally. This shoe DOESN’T do this! It is the entry level type shoe that I think most runners (who prefer a neutral 8mm drop shoe) would be successful in. It is a durable shoe (the uppers are well constructed and and the soles are great).

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The Breakthrus are a lighter weight version of a neutral 8mm shoe. I have tried to run in the Kinvaras before and tit just wasn’t a durable enough shoe for my running. Now that my running form has improved a bit, I can run in a lighter weight shoe. This shoes has become one of my favorites  for shorter (3-7 mile) runs and runs that are speed or tempo based. It has excellent support in the midfoot thru the heel. It has a nice roomy toe box and the uppers are impressing me with their lightweight construction yet they are still pretty durable. This is an improvement over my experience with Kinvaras in the past. You need t be a fairly strong runner to run in a shoe this light weight, otherwise you may not do well with the lighter support.

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The Echelon 5s are not my normal running shoe. They are designed for runners that need extra support and room custom orthotics or insoles. They are a very roomy shoe with extra support and cushioning but still are not as big and clunky as some of the other cushy shoes out there (think Hokas). This would be a great shoe for someone requiring extra support in a neutral shoe. I use this shoe for longer runs. Even with the roominess of the shoes it runs well for me and I don;t have any issues with rubbing that you might expect in a bigger shoe.

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The Triumph ISO 2s are awesome! I have tried to run in this line twice before and was not successful. The first time was in the Triumph 11s and I just wasn’t running well enough at the time and they made my calves hurt. Then I tried again with the Triumph ISO 1 which was a totally re-engineered shoe from the previous ones. I had a problem with the construction of teh upper. It had two different layers that were made of two different type of materials and they rubbed the top of my feet and gave me blisters. That is when you are very happy to bought your shoes from RoadRunner sports because you can return them after 30 days with no issues! Back to the 2s. THEY ARE AWESOME!! Light weight like the Breakthrus but more supportive. I found the last version to be over constructed and these are the perfect balance! They are one of the more expensive shoes in the bunch but I would pay for another pair for sure!

All of the shoes reviewed in this post were provided to me by Saucony. The opinions are all mine. I was really lucky to get to run in multiple versions of this style of shoe!

 

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Coeur Sports Headband Review

Photo credit @jesseluna

Photo credit @jesseluna

I got a no-slip head band from Coeur Sports the other day as a gift for posting a picture to their site on Valentine’s Day. They are really great about giving out freebies and goodies like this! Anyway, I finally wore it last night while doing my FTP test on the trainer. I have to admit, I have a funny shaped head and headbands NEVER stay on my head! Not this one; it was perfect!

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I think the key is that even though it has elastic you can also adjust it. GENIUS!

IMG_5648They have a couple different colors/patterns to choose from and they match all the new designs for 2015 (I love how matchey-matchey they make their stuff!) and at $8 a band that is a great deal! Sometimes it is the little things that make a big difference!

Dermasport Skin Care – DISCOUNT

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I have been using Dermasport for about 3 months now and I love it! The set comes with 4 pieces to be used together. They are amazing! It leaves my skin feeling moisturized but not greasy. The scent is good for men or women (citrus-ish but not too strong). I am really hard on my skin with all the swim/bike/run that I do. Dermasport does a great job keeping my skin looking its best!

Get 40% OFF DERMASPORT for Valentines. Promo code: LOVEYOURFACE (expires midnight 2/14)
http://shop.triswimbeauty.com/

SportTracks and Garmin – #KIS

FullSizeRenderThis is a good day. A very very good day. SportTracks has integrated with Garmin Connect! I am of the opinion to #KIS, keep it simple. I am very busy and I don’t have time to upload my data to many different sites. Not all activity tracking sites can do the same thing but if it takes me extra step to get my data in, I often wont bother. I really like SportTracks but until now it has been a separate upload from the upload process to Garmin (which you have to do regardless). They now have the functionality that allows for an automatic upload from Garmin to SportTracks! This is awesome! It is easy to set up and works seamlessly!

There is a cost to SportTracks, $59/year. I have worked with many different activity tracking sites; Garmin Connect, Strava, Training Peaks, Daily Mile, and SportTracks. Now that I don’t have to upload separately to SportTracks I will be going back to this site to monitor my training. It shows me what I want to see and it is easy to drill down to the data I want to see.

TRISLIDE Product Review

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I was very lucky this year to get support from SBR Sports. They make a series of products for athletes that I love! I use their shampoo, body wash, and conditioner after every swim and my hair has yet to turn green! Not only that, I swear my swimming suit has lasted longer because the soap gets the chlorine out of that as well.

One of their other products I have grown to love is TRISLIDE. It is a lubricant spray you can use to prevent chafing when working out. You may think this is only good for swimming in your wetsuit but that is not so! One of my favorite uses is to use it to keep from chafing on my long runs. I use it on my arms and thighs when I run long. What is great about it is it sprays on lightly but works for along time. It isn’t thick and sticky like some of the other chafing products can be. It works perfectly! With my wetsuit I use it on my wrists and neck to prevent chafing. It also helps get your suit off quickly when you are done.

They also just announced a new product called Dermasport. I am super excited to try the produce and let you know how it goes. My skin takes a beating with all the training I do in the pool, ocean, and sun. I am very excited to see how this product works.

Coeur Sports Triathlon Kit Review

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I wrote a couple of weeks ago about looking for the perfect kit for triathlon. I had some requirements of what I thought would make the perfect kit. You can read what they were here. Several people suggested I look at the Coeur Sports line of clothing. I got a one of their outfits and I am SUPER happy!

Here is why this kit is so great:

  • The material is amazing. The pictures on the website don’t do it justice. It is perfect material because it is heavy enough that it doesn’t’ feel too thin but not so tight that it doesn’t breathe. It is the perfect mix of soft and shiny (if that makes sense). Some lycra feels like swim suit material; really shiny, smooth, and slippery. The fabric Coeur uses for the their kit is perfect. It is so thick that even though my top is white you can’t tell the built in shelf bra is black. It feels like very high quality fabric. It is such good fabric that even when I crashed my bike this weekend there isn’t a snag in my shorts. As you can see from the photos I went down on my hip pretty hard.

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  • The length of the top is perfect. It is long enough to cover the waistband of the short and it doesn’t ride up when you are on the bike. Once I heal from this bike crash I will run in it and let you know how it does there. My brick was cut short on Sunday.
  • Pockets in the top are well sized. I can fit my iPhone (even in its big giant case) into the pockets. They are easy to get in and out of when you are on the bike.
  • Built in shelf bra is great. I am not well endowed on top so this bra is all I need. If you had more up there you may need extra support but not much. This is a one of the best built in bras out there (and I have worn a few!).
  • Length of shorts is perfect. Not too long or too short…just right!
  • Leg grippers are good. They are the silicone ones (not my favorite) but they aren’t too tight so you don’t get sausage legs. They do the job perfectly!
  • Waistband is excellent. It is wide and not too tight. I have named these the “Anti-Muffin-Top” shorts! I am not super toned around my middle and many shorts give me a muffin-top. These shorts stay up and in place but with NO muffin-top!
  • Seamless chamois is incredible. They did it! They figured out how to provide the appropriate amount of padding for you while not having any seams!!! I have a problem with the seams rubbing on the saddle and my body. This chamois design is amazing! I only got to ride for less than an hour on Sunday before I decided to get acquainted with the pavement. As soon as I can I will take these out for a much longer ride. The goal is that this will be my kit for all day in Arizona; I have a feeling it will be!

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The cost of the kit is $79.99 for each piece ($160 all in). Not the cheapest, but not the most expensive either.  Even though I only got to wear it for an hour I can attest to it’s durability first hand! This kit will last a long time!

*I am wearing a size medium on top and bottom (I am 132 lbs, 5’5″).

TYR Wild Crosscutfit Workout Bikini Review

I have been very happily swimming for about 2 years in a two piece swim suit made by Waterpro.  I have had no problems with the suit and it was very affordable.  I wanted to try a new suit that was a little bit lower cut in the front (yes, I wanted better tan lines on my chest…You should see my wedding pics!).  The problem with getting a suit that is lower cut in the front is that it  can catch the water when you kick off the wall and gap open.  I have had that problem with a Nike suit in the past.

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Forgive my bad bathroom selfie and photobombing dogs!

 

So I searched SuitOutlet.com for what I thought would work and wasn’t crazy expensive.  I found the TYR Wild Crosscutfit Workout Bikini. It was $34.99 which seemed very resonable to me since it will get worn 2-3 times a week until it falls off of me…  I took it to the pool today for my swim.  I am VERY happy to say it passed my swim test!  It stayed put on top and did not gap at all when I kicked off from the wall.  I did need to tie the drawstring in the bottoms but I think that is because they sit lower on my hips as opposed to higher at my waist.  I got a size medium (I am 5’5″, 132lbs, with a 34 bust and a bit of a belly from having kids…) Over all the suit is extremely comfortable and I had ZERO issues with it.  Usually I wait a little while to do a review on a product but I have found you know right away with swimming suits.  The next test is how long it lasts. The material is little bit different bu I really like it.  Not as shiny as a normal suit.

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Time for some new tan lines!

 

Saucony Womens Guide 7 Review

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I was very lucky to have a pair of Saucony ProGrid Guide 7’s sent to me from Saucony to try out.  I was very successful in the Guide 6′s so I was excited to try the 7’s.  I had bought the Triumph 11’s and ran in them for a short period of time so this review is a little bit of a comparison.

Like I said in my previous review of the 6’s I was very happy with what the Guide shoe had to offer.  When I went to the local running store to get a new pair of shoes I thought it was an opportunity to try something new.  You never know what magic shoe might be out there.  I tried the Triumph and the Cortana (Saucony shoes work for me so that is where I started).  I felt like the Cortana was a little too minimalist for me.  My foot felt like it was working too hard to land properly.  It was a very fast light shoe but I have found that I do better in a stability shoe.  I liked the Triumph because it felt like a very well constructed shoe that had stability characteristics but was helping me work towards a more natural/less assisted run.  I took home the Triumph and ran in then for about a month.  I had two small issues.  First the height of the shoe on the inside of my ankle felt too low so my ankles got tired easily. Second, the combination of a more flexible upper and the super cool stretchy laces made finding the right tension/tightness difficult.

Guide 7 on left, Triumph 11 on right

Guide 7 on left, Triumph 11 on right

Now, there was nothing wrong with these shoes.  I really like them other than the fact that they weren’t the right shoes for my feet and running style.  Luckily, Saucony sent me the right pair, the Guide 7s.

Once I got into the Guide 7’s I had a better understanding of what my foot need and that is what Saucony calls a guidance shoe.  When I ran I could feel the shoe guiding my foot to the proper placement (more midfoot than heel strike) when it landed and supporting it through the whole motion.  It had just a touch more stability of the Triumph, and I needed that.  It also supported me better in my ankle and immediately I could feel the difference.

Here is the description from the Saucony website,

“The Guide 7 is the ultimate training partner, providing stability with flexibility in a lightweight package. PowerGrid provides responsive cushioning from heel to toe. A fully decoupled SRC crashpad minimizes impact, and the redesigned medial support system creates a smooth transition to midfoot. A flared forefoot design adds support during toe-off allowing the runner to spring forward efficiently and powerfully. Added flex grooves ensure the shoe moves with the runner with comfort and responsiveness. All hail Guide 7! Weight: 8.6oz./244 g (Size 8)”

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In my opinion, the Guide 7 is more of a classic running shoe.  Less frills for simple straight forward running.  The upper is made of a couple different materials  so that  keeps the shoe from being too stretchy.  It maintains it’s form well and encases my foot without being too tight or loosing up as I run.  Like the name implies and I said before, it guides my to a proper midfoot landing and an efficient take off as well. It is the shoe my running and my feet needed.

 

 

SportTracks For All Your Data!

 

As a triathlete I have grown to love capturing data from my workouts and then using it to see how I am doing.  Most devices will come with some site/program that you can use to store and review your data with (Garmin has Garmin Connect).  Or you can use a service/site/ application that you can upload data to that is independent of the type of GPS/sport computer (for lack of a better term) like Strava, DailyMile, or Training Peaks.  I recently have downloaded the free trail version of SportTracks because they now have the capability to analyze swim data (something I have a lot of).

First thing I like, the speed at which it uploads your stuff.  In a very (un)scientific study last night I started uploading my data from my Garmin 500 Edge to three places at once; SportTracks, Strava, and Garmin Connect.  SportTracks was the first to finish…by far.  When I am uploading my data I want it to go in quickly.  The interface for uploading is really simple.  You don’t need to navigate to find the files. It handles all of that behind the scenes. (It was really easy to put in a big dump of all your data at one time.  It didn’t take any where near as much time as I expected it to.)

The next thing I like is the dashboard. It gives you a great look on one screen to a summary of your week, month, and easy access to your recent workouts. A very easy to understand summary of ALL your data. Nice!

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Obviously you can drill into the details of the specific workout to get more data analysis in the summary screen for a specific workout.  This is where this product shines compared to the other alternatives. Depending on the data your device captured for the activity, you can change your view of the workout with a few easy clicks; and all the data overlays on one graph.  Strava does this for cycling and running, but not for swimming.  Garmin can show you most of this in graph form, but not on one graph. (If I am wrong, let me know)

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You can chose the information you want by just clicking on it and you can keep adding more and more elements. This gives you the ability to see, for instance as shown above, what was your pace compared to your strokes per length.  This comparison is great for showing if your form is suffering as you try to swim faster (a problem I have).

If you want to see the raw data/intervals that is all available to you in the intervals screen. It shows you the data for each interval and the rest time between each interval.

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The last thing it can do that I will talk about now (there is more but I can’t cover it all now) is compare similar workouts.  This feature will hopefully show you improving over time (something I am looking for). This is a pretty neat feature that I haven’t seen in other systems. This exists in Strava with the concept of the segment; but that doesn’t apply to the pool. And let’s face it, 25 yards is 25 yards where ever you swim it (it the pool that is)!

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Now, it also allows you to connect with people, comment on their activities, and track your gear.  There is some pretty sophisticated data analysis that it does regarding training load and some other metrics.  I haven’t looked at this in depth but my husband Stuart did.  You can read about that here.

I still need to use Training Peaks to work with my my coach but I have been looking for a one stop shop to house all my data…I think I may have found it!

 

 

TRISWIM Products Product Review

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I have been very lucky to get sponsored by SBR Sports Inc this year and I am so grateful to be getting the support of a company whose products I love and use regularly!  The ones I use the most are the TRISWIM line.  They make a body wash, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion that are a must have for anyone spending time in the pool.  All of the products have a nice citrus smell to them that is fresh but not too strong.  They leave my skin feeling clean and moisturized after I use them and my hair feels soft and not trashed from the chlorine.  But the real test of a product that is meant to remove chlorine from your skin and hair is how do you smell and feel hours later OR like many triathletes, can you smell chlorine while you are working out after your swim? I can honestly say that the TRISWIM line  removes the chlorine from my skin so well that I CANNOT smell it when I run after the pool. I am sure you have all experienced that when you bike or run after your swim  you reek of chlorine.  Not with TRISWIM.  It really does the trick.  If you haven’t tried it yet, you really should! You can find them on Facebook here and you can find them on Twitter here.