Product Review

Saucony Guide 6 Shoe Review

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High noon running in my Saucony Guide 6

It has been a long time since I have done a running shoe review  because honestly I wasn’t running as much as I would have liked to over the last year.  When my IT band pain started in early 2012 I was barely running.  Now that I finally feel like my running strength is coming back, I would like to resume reviewing the shoes I use.  I know there will be a lot of miles coming my way as I train for Ironman Arizona.

About  a year ago I went in for a proper running shoe fitting from my local running store, Future Track.  They originally put me into an Asics 2000 shoe.  When I first started running I ran in Asics so I was happy to go back and try them again (this after trying to run in Newtons; they didn’t work for me).  No real problems with the new Asics.  They fit great and I had no problems.  When I went back for a new pair after 4 months (I wear out shoes really fast) I wanted to try something different. They put me in a Saucony Guide 6.  I had run in the Kinvara 2’s a long time ago and really enjoyed them but I have come to realize that I need a more supportive shoe.  I am not a neutral or minimal shoe wearer.  I need a stability shoe.  I used to heal strike really bad and even thought that is much better, I just run happier in a shoe with some substance to it. Anyway, I was excited to go back to Saucony.  My husband is very successful with them and I was hoping they would work out.

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Best trade of the day, always!

And work out they did! I was able to move into them with no problems at all.  They fit true to size (I wear a 9 in running shoes, 8.5 in regular shoes)  I was running decent mileage right out of the blocks (well, out of my door).  To me it felt like a very well balanced shoe.  I like a decent amount of room in the toe box.  I don’t like to feel squished in there.  My toes need some room!  I felt like my foot was striking the ground properly and the shoe was supporting my foot well.  The uppers are very durable and they caused me no discomfort.  As time went on the shoes handled the miles well.  No tearing and not a lot of stretching.  I was so happy I got a second pair and ran in this line for a good 8 months!

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200 miles of use

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Wear on soles after 200+ miles

I just got new shoes again.  I went with something a little different this time just for variety sake.  Also the Guide 6 has now been replaced with the Guide 7 so it seemed like a good time to try something different. I got the Saucony Triumph 11.  So far so good!  Full review in 100 miles!  But if you find yourself a pair of Guide 6s you won’t be disappointed!

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Our with the old, in with the new!

Bibs are for ladies too!

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So I have always though that cycling bibs were kind of funny looking.  I mean, they are Lycra overalls for goodness sake! My husband wears them all the time but it wasn’t until recently that I got a pair for myself. WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG!!!  Pure riding bliss!!! There was no muffin top popping out between my top and bottoms.  Everything stays in place while you are riding. They are amazingly comfortable!  Now the pair I have is from the VIP Store at Vanderkitten Racing.  You can’t all buy the pair I have because you have to be a Vandekitten VIP.  But you can order any of their other totally amazing stuff and you can get the same kind of bibs I did! The quality is amazing, the fit is fantastic, and the team is an awesome one to support.  Go check them out!

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This is the first real fancy/matchey kit I have ever owned.  All my other kit is stored in plastic drawers in my closet.  This one gets hung up 🙂

I am a Trainer Road Ambassador!

You may have seen some extra chatter from me lately about Trainer Road, a great product you can use with your existing trainer set up to get more focused training out of your time.  Well all my enthusiasm has landed me an Ambassador spot!  (more to follow on that)  I was a late adopter of this software and have really thrown myself into it over the last 7 days because of the Tour of Sufferlandria.  Now I can see the error of my ways!  Just look at the picture below.  That is the same ride on the same trainer done 9 days apart.  I put a line on both graphs at 16 mph to show you the difference in intensity.  If you want success on your trainer, you really need to use Trainer Road.

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Trainer Road Will Make You Stronger

Well at least in my humble opinion it will.  If you don’t know what Trainer Road is it is an application that works with your Garmin sensors to give you virtual power while you are riding your turbo trainer.  Obviously if you have a power meter it will work with that but I don’t have one  of those…yet.  I have dragged my feat about using this because there was a little extra set involved when you need to ride your trainer.  I am a fan of just getting it done with as little hassle as possible.  But once you get it set up properly there is very little you need to do at each ride.

Very recently I did the same Sufferfest Video, The Wretched; first without Trainer Road, and then with Trainer Road.  See the graphs below…

speedwoTRSpeedwTRHRwoTRHRwTRI can see an increase in intensity as well as focused riding by using Trainer Road versus not using it.  I feel like I am getting WAY more out of my time when I used this focused approach to my trainer riding.  Why even get on the trainer if you don’t want to get something out of it!?

And, as you can see below, the data you get after doing a ride in Trainer Road is pretty awesome.

TRDataWretchedWell worth the $10/ month…in my opinion.

A Cycling Must Have (well actually 2)

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How can that not inspire you to kick your own a$$?!

I have had to use a bike trainer to get my cycling training in for a few years.  I was turned on to a set of training videos a couple of years ago and they have been an absolute blessing (and a curse).  The Sufferfest videos are an amazing set of training videos that use real cycling footage, expertly developed workouts, and amazingly entertaining stories to get you through some pretty gnarly trainer time.  They are pure genius!  Some I love (Hell Hath No Fury, A Very Dark Place, #ISLAGIATT, and There Is No Try) and some I am not a fan of (they are so damn hard!).  If you have to use a bike trainer you must check out these videos.

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My amazing Husband getting it done in our pain cave.

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My turn to work!

This weekend I finally completed the last piece of perfecting my home pain cave for bike training.  I re-enrolled in Trainer Road.  I had used it briefly about 2 years ago but just found all the set up a bit cumbersome. I was space and equipment challenged at that time but now I have a better bike training set up.  The awesome thing about Trainer Road is they translate your speed/cadence/HR data into power in real time.  You can use the software to find your FTP and then all your workouts are based off of that!  There are tons of good workouts to choose from in their library BUT they also integrate with the Sufferfest videos. PERFECTION!

The Trainer Road profile from The Sufferfest's Revolver

The Trainer Road profile from The Sufferfest’s Revolver

Sufferfest and Trainer Road have paired up and this weekend we started the Tour of Sufferlandria.  Along with 2200 other riders we are using the Sufferfest videos and Trainer Road to complete 9 days of suffering  riding together across the world!  It has been epic to say the least.

If you use a bike training to do any in home training I HIGHLY suggest you look at these two products.  Both are very affordable and well worth your time.

The Sufferfest ISLAGIATT Review

 

Nobody really wants to ride on the trainer.  We all want to ride outside.  But sometimes you have no choice.  And sometimes not only do you need to ride on a trainer, you also need to do a long(er) ride on it.  Enter in ISLAGIATT (It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time).  This workout is long and hard (TWSS).  But it really makes the time fly by.

The premise of the workout is you are competing in a race for the most aggressive rider award.  The footage is from the 2013 Giro d’Italia, you know the one where it was snowing?!?! In 2 hours you are taken on 4 climbs and one run into the finish.  One thing that is different is that instead of having rest periods after you climb you have descents. So even though the period is less intense it is still very structured so you never really get a break. Can you say “Extra Suffering for Free”?

The footage is amazing! You have never seen a race like this and once again you feel like you are right in the mix.  They have created a great story and excellent characters that you are racing against.  It really helps the time go by.  They are long intervals as you climb but the action is non-stop and you want to win so you never let up.

The music is pretty good.  I have a preference for music with words (helps me focus) and this Sufferfest has a fair amount of music like that.  There are a few techno/trance songs that don’t have words but that isn’t the overall feel.  I find myself drawn to some Sufferfest because of the soundtrack.  It is something that helps motivate me on the trainer. This one works for me.

Now, 2 hours on a trainer can be brutal.  But they got the mix right in this workout.  You change your cadence, RPE, and position enough that you don’t get bored or uncomfortable.  The only discomfort come from climbing a volcano (you will see what I mean).

Once again, this ride is a hit.  Well worth the $14.99 and well worth your time. Below are the graphs from my ride and here is a link to my Garmin data.  #HailSufferlandria

ISLAGIATT Speed Graph ISLAGIATT HR Graph

A Few of My Favorite Things – for running

While I was out on my tempo run this morning I was thinking about a few things that I love for running.  The first one is my SPI belt.  I got it at the Portland Marathon expo in 2011 and there isn’t a week that I don’t use it when I run.  I have the original one but it is water resistant and has the loops to put gels/gus on.  I also have the thingys that you can add to attach a race bib.  I would be lost without it!  It sits in place and holds my iPhone, key, and iPod nano perfectly while running.  It never bounces around regardless of what I am wearing.

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My next favorite things is my running back pack, the Wink by Ultimate Direction.  If I have to go run for more than an hour I prefer to take this because it helps with all the food and water needs.  It fits like a dream.  Holds everything I need and I have never had any problems with it.  I used it on my first 50K trail run and I am using it for all my marathon training.  It allows me to have everything I need while running and to carry it comfortably.

Getting ready to start the day!

Getting ready to start the day!

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My last favorite thing is the book Run Less Run Faster.  I have been using this book to train for running races for the last two years. I bought it over three years ago but was intimidated by the workouts; they are hard!  Once I got more confident in my running ability I used this book to qualify for Boston by running a 3:34 and set a half marathon PR of 1:41.  The book is easyish to follow (some of the workouts can be hard if you don’t own a Garmin or have access to a track).  But it works!   That is what counts in my opinion.  It also works great for triathletes since it requires cross training.

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Scrapbooking Software Test Drive – COUPON

I got an opportunity to test drive some scrapbooking software and as a result I have a coupon code to pass on to you, my loyal blog readers.  I will be trying the software out shortly and writing a review but in the meantime you can take advantage of  $10 of the software.  I am actually kind of excited to continue to put pictures of my kids together and make pages about my races and training.

Click here to visit the website.

And the code is : STMMMS45720

There Is No Try – The Sufferfest Product Review

I was introduced to the Sufferfest by a good friend about 18 months ago and if you have to do indoor bike training (like most of us) this is the product for you.  The first couple I did were Downward Spiral and Revolver.  Those worked well for me but about 8 months later I got an advance copy of two workouts that have become my favorite trainer workouts (if you can even say that about a Sufferfest workout).  They were A Very Dark Place and Hell Hath No Fury.  These have become my all time favorites, and also a little bit of a crutch when I am on my trainer.  So I had a hold of Quadrathon‘s computer and had a chance to do one of the newer ones, There Is No Try.

The workout consists of a ladder workout that many people are familiar with.  The ladder is 1 min, 2 min, 3 min, 4 min, 8 min, 4 min, 3, min, 2 min, 1 min with very little rest in between.  But what makes this ladder special is the fact that each interval has four levels within it; so you are trying to go faster 4 times per interval.  My general attack for each interval was to start in one gear, increase the cadence for the second effort, increase the resistance for the third effort, and then increase the cadence again for the last effort of the interval so I can go faster for each one.  Some of the intervals were climbing based so for those I could just grind through 4 gears because the cadence was lower. The graph below shows how I did. (Click here for the Garmin data)

The name of this workout sums it up pretty good, “There Is No Try” and as Yoda says, “Only Do”.  Half way through the workout a message pops up that ask will you be proud when you go back and look at this ride; and while my speed overall wasn’t the fastest, I did DO this work out correctly.  I am proud of myself.  Every effort within the intervals was faster.  That was what you needed to DO; not TRY to do; because There Is No Try…

What was also really cool about this workout was it used the footage to Thibaut Pinot as he won a stage in the Tour de France from 2012.  I actually watched this stage and it was really cool to workout while he won.  It was an awesome stage to watch and even better to ride with!

Overall the work out rocked!  It will be in my A-rotation of trainer rides now that week day rides can only happen on the trainer.  They made a couple nice enhancements to this video; they have a better graphic which reminds you what your perceived exertion rate and cadence should be and they added a count down to show you when the interval will be over.

The video has all the elements that make the Sufferfest the best series of indoor training videos; great music, hilarious taunting (as well as encouragement from Yoda himself), and a well designed workout that makes excellent use of your time on a trainer.  It is well worth the $13.99.

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IronTrac App Review- Stalk me! #227

I got a friend request from someone on Facebook the other day that I accepted and I’m glad I did.  I have really shied away from the use of my Facebook account but this person looked interesting.  They have an app for your iPhone that allows you to track people during an Ironman event and look up past results.  It only costs$0.99 and so far it looks great!  I easily looked up my results from past Ironman events and I bet it will work great on race day for Ironman St. George!

If you have any friend or family doing an Iornman event you should give it a try!  My number is #227 for Ironman St. George.  Stalk me!