Friday, April 29, 2011

Product Review: TYR Fusion 2™ Jammer

I recently purchased a pair of TYR Fusion 2™ Jammers. After having worn them in a swim workout, I can now give my assessment.

Overall, I really like the product. If you are going from a brief or a regular jammer you can get 1-3 second per 50 increase in speed. That is significant. The design doesn't absorb water so I suspect you get a little boost just from buoyancy. The rest is the slick nature of the fabric. Its almost like a swim skin. Very cool to touch.

I will caution that although it fits true to size on the waist the bottom of the leg opening, near the knee, is tight to the point of being irritating. When I first tried to put on the suit I was thinking, "you have to be kidding me" as it was so tight getting over the knee. But the upper is true to size at the waist.

The technology uses some of the most advanced aquatic engineering to ever enter a pool. First, Tyr took existing, proven and patented technologies like Turbulence Control and TYR's unique water-repellent coating in order to reduce drag. Then they married it to their tried-and-true innovations such as Fabrication Logic and Fluid Channel Dynamics for superior flow. Add in their unique, calenderized Isolated Compression technology for more glide efficiency and less drag, and you have the new TYR Fusion 2™. It's what happens when the past and the future meet at the swim lab.

Price: $72.00, unless you have a Lifetime Member Advantage 40% discount!

This is not a every day suit. It is built for racing. It has a short lifespan. But for the occasional speed workout or if the race water temperature negates the use of a wetsuit (78F or above), you could do much worse than swim in this jammer.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Half Century

So. The big 5-0 birthday (April 26). Whoop-dee-do.

I started the day by entering my ballot for a chance to run the 2012 Virgin London Marathon. Heck, due to the pelvic stress fracture I can't even run at the moment, but I won't let that deter me from this possible opportunity. I will find out in early October whether or not I secured a place. It would be nice to treat the 2nd 50-years like the first......running, biking, swimming. I hope to keep competing as long as I possibly can. Or until I keep getting lost on the course.....then we have other issues.

And what does one receive for his 50th?

Honey Stinger products and milk chocolate malt balls!

'Mind the Gap' cuff links!
Additionally, the time-trial bike is back from wintering in Texas where it was kept in the bike corral of Tim "Buckwheat" Carroll. The bike and I were able to race in November in Ft. Worth and January in Houston. We were due to race again at the end of April in Arkansas, but then the stress fracture happened. So Tim shipped her back safe and sound. I dropped it off with the fine staff at Gear West to be put back together and gone over with a fine-toothed comb....just in case I can salvage something of the 2011 season.

The last time I saw the bike was in Texas on Jan 23
 One can gauge their life by the friends they keep. Sampling of wishes no particular order:

Steven Schurtz - Iowan Tri-Geek

"50? Just a kid. Have a great day!"

Chris Hawes - Minnesota Tri-Geek and fellow triathlon blogger 

"Happy Birthday. Hope your body is getting better"

Tim Litzinger - Minnesota Tri-Geek & runner and fellow tri/run blogger

"Happy Birthday Brian!"

Steven Aesoph - North Dakota Tri-Geek, mountain biker, barefoot runner and XTERRA race director

"Happy Birthday!"

Brad Schaack - Jamestown High School '79 alum and puckster

"Happy half century Brian."

Tom Ohe - Jamestown High School '79 alum and track & field/cross country teammate

"Welcome to Club 50 Brian! Happy B-Day."

Mark Publow - Jamestown High School '79 alum and my math muse

"Adding my birthday wishes to so many others. You are holding up very well for the half-century mark!"
Greg Mason - Jamestown High School '79 alum and hoopster

"Brian: Happy 50th Birthday to the guy who always sat in front of me in class."
Mark Gresbach - Wisconsin's Biggest Vikings Fan

"Happy Birthday!"

Julie Cox Wempen - Iowa's Biggest Vikings Fan (whole Wempen family!)

"Happy birthday!"
Jeff Dohn - Brother-in-law
So you are 50! I have a friend who owns a running shoe and apparel store in Missoula, the Runners Edge. He tells me that there is a group of folks who celebrate their birthdays by running their age in distance (miles) in a day. I think for you and I this is somewhat out of line. Maybe bike 50 miles or do 50 push ups or 50 sit ups. Either way, congrats on the big 50.
Juanita Hocking - Sister-in-law and future race-shirt quilt maker

"Happy 50th, Brian! We hope that it's a great day."

Michael Ray Pfeifer - Brother-in-law and the man behind Michael Ray & The Nasty Notes

"Happy Birthday Brian! Have a rockin' day!"
Shane Nackerud - U of M Librarian extraordinaire

"Happy birthday Brian! I hope you do something fun tonight!"

Tony Lloyd - World traveling Welsh friend
"Penblwydd Hapus from Wales, though I am in South Africa."

Suzanne Patras Lancey - Plymouth Swim Team coach

"Happy Birthday!!!!"

Thomas Franke - Plymouth Swim Team coach and Cheesehead

"What a great Minnesota day. Rain, Rain, Rain, and then ... some more rain. Guess you will be biking inside :( Hope the rest of your day is better and that you have a great swim set. 50x50 on the :50 ... that's how you celebrate!")

Note - I did take Coach Tom up on his suggestion and swam 50x50's on 10 sec rest intervals completing the session in 50 mins and change. That was actually fun and poked a finger in the eye of perceived old age. I won't go down that easily!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Stress Fracture Update Part Four

On Saturday (4/23) I wrapped up a 28 mile ride. Conditions were not the best, but at least the snow is gone...perhaps for good. After the bike I decided to test the status of the pelvic stress fracture.

The thinking was that in a window of six to eight weeks, I should be healed up and ready to slowly get back into running. Saturday was the six week water mark. I lasted 0.4 miles. I have a ways to go. While the pain is gone when walking, biking, or swimming, it is still very much present when I try to run.

I'm thinking I'll need at least another four to six week of recovery time gauging how it felt during this very short test run. The positive was I was able to wear my Mizuno® Wave® Universe 3...all 3.8 ounces of them. Yep, not going to miss the LunaRacers too much. These are awesome race flats.
I think all my May and June tri/du events will be off the table. I just don't see the possibility of running any time soon. So maybe July....I hope. And then I can try and get in some late season events. Unless the Boy® or Well Kept Wife™ wants to do some relays with one of them doing the running leg?

I'm doing my best to keep my head and attitude positive. What is the saying? When life gives you lemons......? So I am starting to scope out Aquabike events around the country. Aquabike is an endurance sport composed of swimming and cycling stages. The Aquabike Series was a USAT pilot program in 2005 in which athletes can compete in the swim and the bike portions of a half or ultra distance triathlon, but not do the run. This could be my ticket to stay interested in training if the run recovery from the stress fracture continues to take its sweet time. Two possible events would be:

June 11 - Iron Mountain Aquabike (Arkadelphia, Arkansas);  USAT sanctioned – 1.2mi swim, 56mi bike

Sep 24 – Redman Full IM or Half IM Aquabike (Oklahoma City, OK) USAT sanctioned – 2.4 mi swim , 112 mi bike or 1.2mi swim, 56mi bike,

Why two events? Like duathlon, to garner official national ranking one must complete two USAT sanctioned Aquabike events. And I really can't complain about my swim or bike too much despite having not done any training since March 3. I would just have to hope the water temperatures at either of these events allows for a wetsuit. There is no way this old man is going to even attempt a 1.2 mile swim without his trusty wetsuit!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Potpourri Cornucopia

It has been just a mere eight days since our return from a fabulous London trip. This was my ninth trip there, the eighth as husband-wife and second with the Boy® in tow. And this might have been the best Brit Trip yet. Here are a few select photos (click on thumbnail for larger view):

Beautiful gardens and estate of Hever Castle

At Stonehenge. A trip everyone should make.

Visiting Carephilly Castle in south Wales

At Kew Gardens

On the London Eye

Football with the Boy® at St. James Park.
The stress fracture didn't bother me much during the tons of walking while there. It did bother me during the football (OK, soccer) match with the Boy. So I know there is still some healing that needs to take place.

This has not held me back from swimming and biking, however. So after six weeks of no activity, I have returned to those two disciplines. I'm slow, no doubt. But the confidence is slowly returning. I estimate at least another seven to fourteen days before I even attempt running. So any time between May 1-15, I hope to be back hitting the running trails.

What this means in terms of events is TDB. Out for sure is the planned Arkansas Double Weekend (tri on Sat; du on Sunday) to celebrate the 50th birthday. The race director did let me know that he is doing the same concept again on June 11-12. Perhaps I can target that to participate in as I certainly would not be in compete mode by then.

Some of the other early season events and my chance of attending:

May 14 - Lakes to Pines Triathlon; Park Rapids, MN 500 yard swim, 14.7mi bike, 5K run

I rate my chances at 20%. The race director & I exchanged emails this past weekend since I have yet to sign up. I've done this great event every year since inception so they were wondering where I was. Even though registration closes on 5/9, the race director said I could show up the day of the race and he would still get me in. How nice is that? And I might have to show up so I can talk with least years winner, Mike Fretland of Bismarck, about his great 3:11 showing in the Boston Marathon.

May 28 (signed up) - Apple Duathlon; Sartell, MN (USAT) - 5k run, 33k bike, 5k run

Again, I rate my chances at 20%. Of course, it all depends on if I can run or not. I was really tagging this one as one of my key USAT du's for the year. Now it would simply be to get in a good workout as I continue to recover. I would certainly not be running with the Big Boys of the 50-54 AG.

Jun 5 (signed up) - Pigman Sprint Triathlon; Cedar Rapids, IA (USAT) - Swim .5K, Bike 25K, Run 5K

I rate my chances at 30% here as I should be running by then. This one would also fall into the participating rather than competing category, however. And it would give me a chance to connect with my Iowa tri-geek friends.

The Time Trial bike will be back in Minnesota any week now. It has been down in Texas since last November when I sent her down to live with my friend, Tim "Buckwheat" Carroll as I raced in Fort Worth to end the season last year and then opened up the 2011 season outside of Houston. The plan had been to meet up in Arkansas at the end of April and I would just take her back with me, but best laid plans and all that. Thanks stress fracture! It will be good to have the speed bike back in the corral so I can take that out and start to get in some harder speed workouts. That is, if spring ever comes!

Here is a handy discount if you have been thinking about ordering one of the Revenge Series fuel belts from FuelBelt. Use code USAT when placing your order and you will receive a 15% discount. I ordered a custom fit 2-bottle model this past week. Why? Even though I'm not sure when I can start to run & compete again, I'm in need of a carrot at the end of the stick to stay motivated. To that end I am thinking of:
  • Entering the Virgin Marathon (London) lottery on April 26 (my birthday) to see if I can be lucky enough to grab a spot in the 2012 London marathon. I said I would never run another marathon again, but that was back in 1989 and the body has just now forgotten how painful it can be.
  • A half IM. Not sure when, this year is probably out. But enter into a half-IM and see how I can do. Could I go under five hours? I think with the right training, I could. Won't know until I try. Realistically, we're probably talking 2012 here.
Finally, I leave you with two key photos. If you know the importance and relevance....leave a comment. Especially if you are a fellow supporter!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Stress Fracture Update Part Three

Good news! The pelvic stress fracture was NOT due to osteoporosis. I had a bone density scan conducted on April 12. The results showed me in normal range. So now I have 100% confirmation that the fracture was simply due to overuse/over-training. Lesson learned. Time to move forward.

First, let's discuss bone density. What is a "bone mineral density" (BMD) scan?

Bone mineral density (BMD) testing generally correlates with bone strength and is used to diagnose osteoporosis. The BMD is measured with a dual energy x-ray absorptiometry test (referred to as a DXA scan). By measuring BMD, it is possible to predict fracture risk in the same manner that measuring blood pressure can help predict the risk of stroke.

The scan itself was super easy and took less then 10-minutes. Two scans were done. One of my lower five vertebrae and one of my left hip. Totally painless procedure.

Normal Range: a T-score of +1.0 to -1.0
Osteopenia: a T-score of -1.0 to -2.5
Osteporosis: a T-score of -2.5 or lower
While I don't have my actual score, my doctor left a message to indicate I was 'normal'. Fantastic news. Now I just have to work my way back. I have begun to swim and bike this week. I am going to wait on running for at least another week. All very low intensity and low volume. In talking to people with stress fractures the worst thing one can do is to start training too early and suffer a set-back. So I will be playing it smart.
At the same time, I am really chomping at the bit to get back. Especially since my first par score of year was posted last week! With a 87.07661 from the Frost 'yer Fanny Du from Jan I'm currently 14th in the country in 50-54AG for du's. Hopefully I can get into shape and have a good second half of the season and get another good par score in one more du and see how I land nationally for the year.
Hope everyone is having fantastic spring workouts and your first event is planned and circled on the calendar. If you see me out running, biking or at the pool give me a friendly wave and some encouragement.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pre Lives Poster

Saw this photo/poster while I was at the Nike Town store in London. I stared at it for some time. This was Pre's last race and victory on May 29, 1975. I wish I could find this in poster frame. But you can download it and use as wallpaper (click on thumbnail for large version). The image says it all. Looking over his shoulder as he finishes....there is not one single competitor in sight.