Monday, October 14, 2013

A triathlete's review of the Hoka One One running shoe

In February of 2013, I ran a 50 kilometer trail race in Nicaragua -- a 50k that involved climbing up and into a volcano and through a jungle.  I ran this brutal race in Saucony A10's, because United Airlines sent my luggage, and my trail shoes, to Atlanta.

Since Saucony A10's are a bad choice for races longer than 5 kilometers, my feet hurt a lot after that race.  The shoes, which were brand new when I started the race, did not survive.

To be clear though, I don't blame the A10's.  They were as unhappy to be running up a volcano as I was to be wearing them.

So anyway, when I returned to the U.S. my feet were still pretty unhappy.  That's when I began looking into footwear options that started and ended with cushioning.

My first test ride in a pair of Hoka Bondi B's was on a treadmill at the San Francisco Running Company.  The shoes instantly made my feet happy.  It was like running on a mattress.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Ironman 70.3 World Championship Race Report, 2013

Ironman 70.3 World Championships, Las Vegas, NV
September 8, 2013

Race Report

Weeks ago, my friends, Meredith Kessler, Monica Moreno, all of Team Every Man Jack, my mom and my wife told me that I should consider skipping the 70.3 World Championship race in Vegas if I wanted to race well at Ironman Lake Tahoe two weeks later.  

This was sensible advice -- which I planned to ignore.  After a great summer of training at elevation, I was pretty much immortal and all-knowing -- like when I was 15 years old.

But as race day approached on Sept. 8, 2013, I had come to accept that my friends had a point.  The Ironman Lake Tahoe course would be taking no prisoners and it would eviscerate anyone who dared race it in a fatigued state.  And so, I reached a compromise with myself and decided to simply "participate -- not race" in the World Championships, saving my fitness for Ironman Lake Tahoe.  

There was only one problem with this plan:  I'm not a natural participator.  

Some, including my brother and my wife have called me an egotistical, over-competitive jerk.  But that's only because they can't forgive me for crushing them in a game of Risk during the Christmas of 1998 and then trash talking all night.  Losers.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Reynolds Aero 90 Wheels Review

For readers of this blog, you know that I don't normally review triathlon gear.  This blog is about me.  And, frankly, I don't want my readers to get used to reading "non-me" stuff and start demanding more diverse topics.

But as triathletes, we have to stretch our boundaries at times, and that's why you're being treated to a review of my new wheels.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fuego y Agua 50k, 100k, Survival Race Report

Nicaragua -- February 14 - 20

Fuego y Agua 50k Ultra Marathon

Ometepe Island, 2 a.m., race morning.  It's so early, the ants that live in our hotel bathroom are still asleep.  I flip up the toilet lid to see one lone soldier walking the edge of the toilet bowl.

I have butter cookies crushed into the floor boards of the room, and this ant is walking the porcelain canyon-lip in search of who-knows-what.  

So far, I'm no more impressed with the intellect of Nicaraguan ants than I am the Nicaraguan agency that built the Ometepe airport landing strip directly through the island’s main road.  

A loud gust of wind nearly takes the tin roof off our hotel room.  The metal groans and I hear an eerie howling from the monkeys living in the tall jungle next to the "resort".  I suspect that the howling has been initiated by the monkey who tried to pee on us from the tree top yesterday -- that guy hates us.

A rare monkey sighting.  Mostly they're loud.
Man it's early.  And in just a short while, I’ll be out there in the darkness running 50k around a live volcano and then up and into an allegedly dormant volcano.  And all of this through a hot, muddy jungle filled with those monkeys and, allegedly, snakes.  

Whose idea was this?  

Start line.  3:45 a.m.  Moyolgapa.

The night is sticky warm, with a light breeze from the south.  The air smells like wild animals.