Monday, January 31, 2011

iRunFar Forum on Reno Trail Running - and Contest!

Hey everybody - iRunFar.com is gathering info on "the 32 of the best trail running cities in the US," and Reno is one of them! They've got a forum going here, and you can log in and leave some info on our local trails, races, strongest runners, specialty running stores and running groups.


Even better, they're rewarding one person who leaves some info with a pair of Salomon XR Crossmax trail shoes. So get over there and leave some info. I've started the thread off, feel free to correct me or add any other info you might have. And good luck!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Running Podcasts

(Just realized that I posted this on my other blog instead of here where I had meant to. Was wondering why no one had commented...)

I'm a podcast listener. They fit pretty well with my workflow, which basically consists of sitting at my desk cataloging library books or processing and receiving periodicals. There's a little corner of my mind that likes to have another form of input, though, and so instead of listening to the same music over and over, I listen to podcasts. I have a good lineup of them, some tech news (the TWiT Network and CNET), some science (NPR's SciFri, Science Talk from Scientific American, BBC's Discovery), some nerd/geek culture (Current Geek, Revision3, The Nerdist) and some general interest (All the howstuffworks.com podcasts, CBC's Spark, WNYC's Radiolab, and many others.) And, of course, I listen to some running podcasts. Not ALL of them, and not even all of the big ones - but I thought I'd share with you some of the ones that I've been enjoying.

The Runner's Round Table
A talk show-like podcast, with a rotating group of runners calling in to discuss a given subject, sometimes with a special expert guest. Recent topics have included Vegan running, training basics and endurance relays.

RunRunLive
Chris Russel hosts "The podcast for runners, wannabe runners and mid-packers of all shapes and sizes who just want to strap on their favorite pair of shoes and get out there!" Eclectic and fun, with great info for newbies and experienced runners.

3 Non Joggers
Two runners and a mailman, recording in a basement in Portland. Mostly about ultrarunning, but with digressions galore. Hilarity ensues.

Geeks in Running Shoes
A couple of self-proclaimed geeks in the Midwest (Chicago and St. Louis) who took up running a year or so ago and talk about it.

There are, of course, many others that I don't listen t. A good list of them lives at runningpodcasts.org. A couple of the big ones I haven't included are Phedippidations and The Runner's Loungecast, but I'm sure that many of the others are worth a look as well.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Indoor trail marathons?

Sometime this week, I clicked through a tweet from Runner's World to an article from the Wall Street Journal about the popularity of indoor marathons during the cold winters in the Midwest. Interesting article, about running marathons on indoor tracks, but what caught my attention was a throwaway mention of an indoor trail marathon debuting this year, on a motocross course in Wisconsin. I had to look that up.

Apparently, this is called the Sandbox Indoor Trail Marathon, and it will be taking place in New Richmond, WI (closer to the Twin Cities than anything in Wisconsin) at an indoor motocross course called the Sandbox Arena. They've got a whole array of events lined up for February 1th and 13th this year - a 5K, 10K, half marathon, full marathon, and marathon relay.

The road surface is supposed to be packed sand and clay, that they will roll out flat except for one small hill on each lap. Each lap is a quarter mile, so the marathon will be just over 100 laps. And therein lies the main problem with the event, as pointed out to me by Chris - the course layout is all kinds of loopy - five 180 degree and six 90 degree turns per lap.  Doing the math... that's twenty 180 degree turns per mile, 520 for the marathon. That many hard turns = hard on the knees.

The 5K might have been fun, though...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Roseville Whole Foods Running School Half Marathon

A quick trip this morning, over the hill to Roseville for the Whole Foods Running School Half Marathon.  I met Chris and Dave in Reno and we all carpooled, getting there with a bit more than half an hour to spare. We spent some time looking around for registration flyers before we noticed the laptops they had sitting out on tables - you logged in and registered right there. Kind of a cool way to do it.

Here's the walk back to the car to get geared up.




(A disclaimer - some of the pics came out weird, so I made liberal use of some artsy filters in Picasa and Picnik. Sorry if they're too crazy...)

We got all set to go - Dave tying shoes near Chris's bestickered car -


And made our way over to the start. Bit of a crowd forming, between the half marathoners, 10k and 5K runners. They sent off the 10K and half first, then the 5K 5 minutes later, so that thinned things out.


This guy was lined up in front of us - a "for reals" barefooter. Um, doesn't look pleasant. I wonder if the tape was just to attach his timing chip? I hope he was just doing the 5K...


After the start, the course runs on a city street for less than a mile before it peels off on to a bike path system - where it stayed for most of the race. It was mainly three out-and-backs, which provided plenty of opportunity to see where everyone was. here's a map from Garmin Connect:


(My watch read 13.03, but Dave's came in with 13.2, so I think the course was pretty close to 13.1...)

And the elevation profile:



Very pleasant running down in the ravine, next to a stream. Here's a series of pictures from down there...






I promised Abbey I'd get a picture of Chris's butt, for paybacks. He unfortunately wore a long shirt, so this isn't that impressive - sorry, Abbey -


And one from Dave, of Chris's "front".


Again: why do pictures of me during races always look so strange? Is it wearing baggy shirts that puff out all weird when I run?

So my plan had been to run an easy first six miles, and then up the pace to race pace for the last seven - using this race as a long training run, doing tempo while I was tired. As it turned out, I had a hard time holding to my "easy" pace (8:30 miles) while running with Chris. The first seven miles averaged around 7:40 pace, and then we decided to ramp it up anyway. Mile 8 was 7:06, and after that, we kept it under 7:00 miles for the rest of the race. Rounded the corner into the finish with a 1:35:29 - less than two minutes off my half marathon PR. Things are looking good to beat that in Davis in a couple weeks.

The finish line:



My phone stopped taking pictures for a little while, and while I was fixing it, Dave finished - only 20 seconds off his half PR! He's got some business to take care of in a couple weeks too. Fortunately, there were a bunch of cameras there to catch Dave's dramatic finish...



Here's he and Chris post-race, with an extremely short lady walking between them...


The results are already posted, but it looks like they have some clean-up to do - for example, the age groups seem a bit hinky. For example, I'm listed as 5th in my group, but only two of the guys before me seem to have ages listed. Weird.

Couple of other items to take care of - a refueling stop at Noodles & Co. - I'd never been, but these guys use it as their pre-race dinner spot if they come over the night before a race.  I can see why - good, simple stuff, fast and easy. I had the Bangkok Curry with Tofu and cleaned my plate.


Then the requisite stops at Total Wine and BevMo (this is Chris and Dave we're talking about) and we were on our way back home. Great morning, and a great race guys. Thanks!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I purchased a RoadID

Since I run so often at night, I though having some form of ID on me would be a good investment. To that end, I've ordered a WristID Elite from RoadID. This will also replace my "penicillin allergy" wristband that I wear.

The band hasn't arrived yet, but I did just receive an awesome email from them with a coupon code good for up to 20 people, for the next month. It's witty and cool, something seriously lacking in most customer service these days. It's what I've found from this company, though, from following them on Twitter...

I'm just going to copy the whole "sample email to your friends" right in here, to give everyone a feel for it. Thanks again, RoadID - can't wait to get my band.


SAMPLE EMAIL: Feel free to copy the following text and paste it into a new email to your friends.

**********BEGIN Sample Email**********

Hey Everyone,

I just ordered one of the best products ever. It's called a Road ID - perhaps you've heard of it. If you haven't, go to their website and check it out. Road ID is a great product that could save your life someday.

When I ordered, they gave me a coupon that I could pass along to my friends. Here's the coupon number:

Coupon Number: ThanksTuri2333186

The coupon is good for $1 off any Road ID order placed by 02/22/2011. To order, simply go to RoadID.com or click the link below:

http://www.RoadID.com/?CID=ThanksTuri2333186

If you prefer, you can call them at 800-345-6335.

You can thank me later,

Turi Becker

Oh by the way, their website is awesome, the customer service is outstanding, and the owners are very smart and good looking. 

**********END Sample Email**********
**********************************
And they also included a sample tweet -
SAMPLE TWEET: Feel free to copy the following text and paste it into Twitter. Don't know what a "Tweet" or "Twitter" is? Ask your kids.

********BEGIN Sample TWEET*********

I finally ordered a Road ID. Don't have one yet? Do it now. Coupon ThanksTuri2333186 saves a buck - valid 30 days www.RoadID.com @RoadID

*********END Sample TWEET**********
**********************************

Tough Mudder

Some of you may remember last October, when a group of friends (Team Library Dork plus Ben) took a little road trip to Bear Valley south of Lake Tahoe for the Tough Mudder race. Supposed to be a crazy obstacle course, it turned into a cluster of disappointment - waiting in lines at obstacles then slogging up hills to wait at the next thing. It felt like the whole thing was a big price gouge, from the fact that it was vastly oversold (hence the lines) to the charging for spectator access and any kind of food after the race.

My whole team swore we wouldn't be back.

Well, we just received email notification of next year's event. There's a venue change - to Squaw Valley. Much closer to Reno, and with early registration, only $65.

It didn't' take long to decide.

No.

Still have MUCH too bitter a taste in my mouth from last year's event. I'll let others see if the organizers have learned anything from the dissatisfaction that was so apparent last year. If you're going, good luck.

 If you want a code worth $15 off before 1/28/11, let me know.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Pumpkin cake in a jar

If anyone shows up here from the 3 Non Joggers podcast looking for the Pumpkin Cake in a Jar recipe that they mentioned on episode 15 - Well, it' s not here. It's here, at my other, not running-related blog. But here's a picture to whet your appetite -

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

ActiveReno ramping up again

It looks like, after a hiatus of a few months, Activereno.com is going to become - well, active again. Keep your eyes open for new stuff over there!

Monday, January 17, 2011

New Balance MT101


Thanks to Donald at Running and Rambling and his crazy December of contests, I was the recipient of a pair of New Balance's new minimalist trail shoe, the MT101.

I have to admit, as soon as I unpacked the box and took a look at them, I was skeptical. The shoes look and feel like nothing more than a light, racing flat-style upper with possibly a slightly stiffer sole. I couldn't help comparing them to my lightest shoes, a pair of Adidas Adizeros that I've had for a few years. Looking at them side by side, the only obvious difference was that the MT101s had a bit less of a heel-to-toe drop. These really didn't seem to me like they would hold up to any kind of trail running.

Since I didn't have any trail runs planned in the near future, I did a couple things with these shoes. First, I wore them to work for a day, to let my feet have a chance to get used to them. I find this is a decent thing to do with a new pair of shoes - not so much a break-in period as a get-acquainted session. Next, I wore them on an easy 4 miler on the roads where they felt fine, but not appreciably different from any other light shoe.

I finally had a chance to try them out on the trail at a race - the Centennial Slug It Out 10K down in Carson City. The trail surface was pretty rocky, with sections of frozen mud that was rutted with mountain bike tires. It looked nasty, and I was a bit nervous as to how the shoes would perform. Apparently I needn't have worried.

From the first step on the trail, these shoes felt at home. I never felt like I didn't have support or traction, and the lightness of the shoe made them feel like there was nothing there. Even the rocky pounding on the way back downhill was absolutely fine. The only problem at all that I noticed was a small bit of forefoot slipping - but I think that can be fixed with lacing or perhaps a different choice of socks.

After the race, I slipped on what used to be my "light" trail shoes, a pair of Salomon Speedcross 2s, to go out for a few more miles on the course. They instantly felt heavy, and it took a mile or so before my legs were convinced to pick my feet up enough.

I did not at all expect to be as impressed with this shoe as I am. In fact, it's changing my outlook on minimalist running in general - I was open to the idea but hadn't really got around to experimenting with it too much (outside of sporadic runs in a pair of FiveFingers.) I think now that my next road shoes will be something toward the minimalist side as well.

Running gloves

Over the last weekend, we almost came right out of glove season here in northern Nevada - with highs in the 60s, even my early morning runs needed little more than a light pair. At any rate, I thought I'd get a post out on running gloves while there was still some cold weather left out there.

(A disclaimer - I tend to have cold hands. Whatever the reason, I notice that I'm still wearing gloves long after most other people around me have taken them off. If I give temperature ranges for the gloves I wear here, remember that your mileage may vary.)

My lightest pair of gloves is a pair of liners. I have no recollection of where I got these from, and I've been on the lookout for another pair for a while with no luck. The fabric is barely there - just enough to take the chill off in temps in the 40s. Note the right thumb, with a hole in it - that's so I can swipe to unlock the capacitive screen on my cell phone while running, to activate the camera. Has to have skin contact.



Another pair that I've just started using is a pair of fingerless gloves, for the reason stated above. This is a super-cheap pair, found at our local grocery store. The body of the glove is warm enough that it makes up for the fingertips being gone.



A slightly thicker, fingered version of that is my next heaviest glove. These are a little more technical than the kind that you pick up at the grocery store or Target. I think I got them at either Sierra Trading Post or a ski shop. I've found that if my hands get too warm, I can take them off and hold them in the palms of my hands, and they still provide some warmth that way as well. The high 30s to low 40s is a good range for these.



The workhorse of my running gloves, these convertible Pearl Izumis are the only purpose-made running gloves I have. They're a thin neoprene-ish material that hods heat pretty well in the 30s. For temps in the 20s, though, there is a nylon mitten sheath that untucks from a pouch on the back of your hand and covers your fingers. It's surprisingly effective, although sometimes it leaves my thumb cold. I'm almost through my third season with these, and they're holding up well - a couple of seams blew out, but those were easily stitched up.





If I'm heading out running in temperatures in the teens or lower, I need a thicker, cozier glove. That's when I turn to these big fleecy jobs from REI. They have a little bit of wind-cutting material on the back, so it doesn't blow right through the fleece. My only gripe with these is that the fit is a bit odd - the fingers are shorter than the body of the glove is big, or something. But it's a small price to pay for warm hands.



OK, any comments about my dainty hands?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Running dork tattoo

I'm not one to just rush out and get a tattoo on a whim. Well, my first one happened that way, and I've never regretted it. But the others that I have all percolated as ideas for at least a couple of years until I actually pulled the trigger. The very simple one that I just got had probably been kicking around in the back of my head for five to six years.

You may know from my profile, or one of my other blogs, that I'm a reader. I mainly read non-fiction these days, but have a soft spot in my heart for some of what I consider modern classics. My bookshelf here at home has three main "special collection" areas pulled out - James Bond novels, Terry Pratchett, and the Tolkien collection.



My wife, in fact, rereads the Lord of the Rings trilogy every fall - which is why she routinely thrashes me if we play any of the LOTR trivia games we have. Did I mention that we're dorks?

It wasn't too long after the recent Peter Jackson movie trilogy came out that I started running more. One of the things I loved about trail running in particular is that it made me feel like Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli chasing Orcs into Rohan. Especially like on an open hilltop, like many of the areas on the Tahoe Rim Trail.

Those of you that are still reading at this point are probably as big a dork as I am, or at least willing to cut me some slack. So thanks -

So, those of you who have at least seen the movies may remember the part in Fellowship of the Rings (that was the first one...) where Arwen (Liv Tyler) is taking Frodo by horse to Rivendell, evading the Black Riders. At one point she urges her horse on by whispering to it "Noro lim, Asfaloth, noro lim." Asfaloth being the name of the horse, "noro lim" translates to "run fast" or "go swiftly."



Good message for a runner, no?

Of course, it would look silly to just have "noro lim" spelled out. So I did a bit of research on which of the Elvish languages Tolkien invented this would be in, and how to write it out in Elvish script. (I know. Dork. Just wait.) I decided that it would have to be in Sindarin, not Quenya, and that it would be written in the tengwar script. (Warned you.) A bit of looking on the internet found me an Elvish font generator (this is more complicated than I'm making it sound) and I fiddled with it until I came up with something I was happy with.

I've kept the printout of the phrase for years, just never bothering to get around to getting the tattoo. My wife was cool enough to get me a gift certificate for Aces Tattoo for Christmas this year, so last week I went down and had it done.

So here it is:



Thoughts?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Centennial Slug It Out 10K

This morning brought the third race of the Winter Trail Series down in Carson City - the Centennial Slug It Out 10K. It was run out of Centennial Park, on the east side of town. I didn't see any slugs (this IS Nevada) so I'm not sure what that part is about - unless it's a reference to the softball fields that provided the parking area near the start of the trails.

I somehow misjudged the time it would take to get to that part of town from Reno, and was hurrying along to make it there in time. Got there with 15 minutes to spare, and I wasn't even close to the last straggler to jog up to the start area.



There's Kevin from Ascent Physical Therapy giving us the directions -


And the elevation profile:



The course took right off up into the hills - not a super steep uphill like a couple other courses in this series, which was nice. Pretty rocky start, though, and with the traffic, we all kept our heads down looking at the trail. Pretty soon things thinned out and we started climbing up into the first canyon:



And, looping around, crossing over toward the second canyon:



Looking back toward some more runners coming across a hillside:



I followed this guy for quite awhile - pretty scenic part of the course:





Here's a good look at the trail surface - frozen, rutted mud with rocks. Sounds horrible, but it wasn't too bad. Looked like it was going to get muddy after it thawed out later in the day, though.



With about a quarter mile left, the guy in front of me took a tumble on the rocks. I helped him up and got him going again, but I think he was a little shook up - I was able to pass him on a little rise right near the finish. If I had the order right in my head, I think that put me into fourth.

After the race, I tried to go out for another, slower loop on the course. I got lost pretty soon after the major junction of the "lariat," though, missing some of the red marking paint. Eventually I just retraced my steps back to the parking lot, but I got another 2.5 miles or so in.

Again, another fun race in this series. What a great way to get out and see some of the awesome trails around here that I don't know about, or get to run on much. Thanks to Ascent Physical Therapy for putting it on, and to the volunteers who were there helping out -

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hood to Coast movie - Thoughts


Managed to get out and see the Hood to Coast movie last night, with a few friends and a decent slice of the Reno running community. I'm not sure exactly how many were there, but the theater was pretty full - 200, maybe?

The pretty much lived up to expectations - it followed the journeys of four teams from planning through the race. There was the used-to-be-fast-but now older-runners team, the family-doing-it-for-the-memory-of-a-lost-son team, the totally-unprepared-beer-drinking-twenty-somethings team, and the little-old-ladies-with -medical-conditions team. Sounds stereotypical when said like that, but they all had compelling stories to tell, and each brought a note of humor or emotion to the mix.

As each team started and the race progressed, the teams were followed and tracked on a map of the course. It was cool to see the faster teams start later and catch up over the course of the race.

Since the filmmakers were only really focusing on one or two members of the team, we didn't get to see the whole course, and every exchange. That pretty well mirrors the experience of running a relay like this, though, as if you're in Van one, you don't get to see what Van two is up to while you're in between legs.

One of the things about the race that most sticks with me is the INSANE traffic that piles up in the last legs. With all the teams bunching up on the narrow coastal range roads, things turn into a creeping traffic jam. This, along with the cost, is a big reason that I don't feel the need to go back to do the race again. I'm not sure why I have such a big chip on my shoulder about it, but I kept an eye on how the film treated the traffic situation. It seemed like the places where the lines of cars would have been obvious weren't really shown, or were camouflaged by tight focuses on the runners. Of course, they wouldn't want to reflect badly on the race, I understand.

All in all, a very enjoyable film. I'm not sure I need to see it again, but it will be a great resource to show people what relay races of this type are all about.

Did anyone else get out to see it? What did everyone think?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Hood to Coast Movie this week



The Hood to Coast Movie is coming to the Century Summit Sierra theater This Tuesday at 8:30! One night only, you can buy tickets online here (or, I assume at the door.)

Anybody going? I'm sure going to try to make it, and hope to see some familiar faces there -

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Brooks Defyance

I have a confession - I'm a bit of a cheapskate when it comes to running shoes. I'm always on the lookout for deals - the returns bin at REI, coupons on top of coupons at our local Sierra Trading Post Outlet - and I've been lucky enough to win a few pairs of shoes in contests, online and in-store, over the past couple years. That all makes it hard for me to go out and pay full retail for a new pair of running shoes.

A few weeks ago, I took a look at the soles of the two pairs of road shoes I was rotating through, to see what kind of wear pattern I was building up. And, wow - my main shoes, a pair of New Balance 760s that I had won from Fleet Feet at the Davis Stampede back in February - were almost worn through in places. Guess I need to start keeping better track of the miles on my shoes (which I do now through dailymile.com.)

So, I needed a new pair of shoes pretty quickly. I snuck out of a family trip to Target and ran next door to Sierra Trading Post, to see if they had any deals worth checking out. As it happened, they had some percentage off their "last remaining size" rack, so I tried on a couple pairs and grabbed the ones that felt best without researching them too much. That's how I brought home a pair of the Brooks Defyance.

As it turns out, the pair that I got is the first edition of the Defyance, from 2008. I think they're up to the Defyance 3 now, but these are the first, unnumbered model. From what I've gleaned reading reviews around the internet, they are based on the popular Brooks Adrenaline, but less support-oriented - lighter, and more focused on cushioning. That's pretty much what it feels like - a light cushioning shoe, which iw pretty much what I was looking for.

It seems like my feet aren't very picky about shoes - I've only ever had one pair that didn't work out for me, a pair of Asics 2130s that I've since worked back into the lineup and feel fine. I've never really had this kind of shoe before, so I hope that the Brooks hold up - I've got 70 miles on them so far, according to dailymile. So far they've been great - if any problems come up, I'll edit this post, but otherwise these are a solid, light trainer with limited support.

Panther Vision LED Running hat

Out in front of Timberline Lodge last August, at the start line of the Hood to Coast Relay, I was looking around the merchandise tents for some logoed swag to bring home. I certainly don't need any more t-shirts or running jackets; gear from different races has given me much more of those than I could ever use. Hats, though - I'm always on the lookout for a new running hat. For some reason I can never find one that fits quite right. I didn't like the look of any of the regular hats they had, but there were some lighted hats for sale, which could be used in place of a headlamp for the nighttime running portions of the race. That sounded like a good deal for me, and since I tend to run in the early morning at home anyway, I figured I'd get some good use out of it. About $30 later, I had myself a Panther Vision LED Lighted Performance running hat.



It performed very well during the race. There are three LED lights, two pointing down in front of you and one pointing forward off the front of the bill. There's a fairly unobtrusive battery pack along the side, and a button incorporated along the side of the brim. One click on the button turns on the two downward-facing lights, a second click turns those off and the forward light on, and a third click lights all of them up. Fourth click takes you back to the off position. I wear glasses, and found that the forward-facing light gave me a little too much glare, so I usually just went with the two downward lights. Depending on the angle you wear your hat, that projects far enough forward to see most anything coming.



Getting back home, I used the hat a few times on my early morning runs around the neighborhood. I'm used to running many of the streets around town without lighting, and there are quite a few streetlights, so it didn't seem totally necessary. On occasions that I got into unfamiliar areas, though, or places without lights (North McCarran) the extra light and visibility did give me some peace of mind.

Nighttime trail running is a different bast, one I don't have much experience with. I'm not sure this hat would give you quite enough light while, say, in the middle of a 100 miler when your concentration is slipping anyway. Probably best to go with a really bright, dedicated headlamp system in a case like that. This is fine for around town, in between streetlights and stuff.

Another good use of a hat like this is camping. My family only really got out once this year, out to the Reese River Valley near Austin, NV, but I wore this hat in the evenings and it worked great. Better than fumbling for a headlamp or flashlight, turning a ballcap backwards to get the headlamp on, not having free hands with a flashlight...

I did have an issue with the hat not long after that camping trip, though - the two downward facing lights stopped working. After doing all the troubleshooting I could, taking batteries out and putting them back in, checking connections, etc., I looked up warranty info on the manufacturer's website. The basic warranty was to send them the hat with $4.95 shipping and handling included and they would replace it. There was also a customer service email, so I asked if that was the best thing to do (mentioning I was a running blogger) and got a response back to call a specific person at the company. I did, explained my situation, and whoever I was referred to seemed a bit baffled as to why I was talking to her. She advised sending it in as outlined in the warranty FAQ. I did, and a few weeks later, got a replacement (sadly, unlogoed) hat in the mail.

The new hat has worked fine, although I've been using it a lot less during the winter months when I've worn a warmer knit hat instead. I'm sure I'll use it again in the spring and summer next year, though.

So, I like the hat pretty well, as long as it's working. I'm still a little miffed about having to pay them to ship a working hat back to me, and kind of curious about the weirdly unprofessional emails from their customer service. I think the company isn't really customer service oriented, more manufacturing. But they do make decent product, and it fits well into my menagerie of running gear.

Product reviews

Hi everyone -

It occurs to me that I haven't been blogging all that much lately. I've been doing pretty well on the training front (despite the stupid flu over the holiday break) but with not many races or other news happening, there hasn't been much to talk about. In the back of my head for quite awhile, though, there have been some product reviews kicking around, and I need to get in gear and write those up. Look for my thoughts on some shoes, hats, gloves, etc.