Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Chewie and I are enjoying a Christmas walk at the park. Hope everyone is having a happy and safe holiday.

Half TRIing

Monday, December 10, 2012

Santa Hustle 13.1 Daytona Beach, FL

Santa Hustle 13.1 Daytona Beach, FL

It’s been a long time since I have had to do a negative race review so I may be a little rusty.
Bonnie and I before the deer attack.
Whoever advertised this race must have been hitting Santa’s special bottle or getting into the Rudolph flying dust.

The website states:
“A large after party offering a buffet of food and plenty to drink” Hogwash!!  Granted the after party was in a huge room but other than that nothing was impressive or huge about it.  The room was almost completely empty.  There was one table with cookies and one with coffee.  Volunteers and staff were nowhere to be found.  If you finished later than me there was no coffee.  There was free beer (if you wanted to wait the 30 minutes it took for the staff to go back to the freezer).  Other than the two tables there was NOTHING else in the room.  It looked sad and pathetic.

The HUGE after party!!!

There will be timing clocks at each mile marker along the course and the start and finish lines.”  What mile markers.  I think I saw 1 maybe 2 the whole race.  The only timing clock I saw was on mile 6.  Pass the pixie dust please.
“(Post race) There will be breakfast and concession food available as well”  LOL  If you consider only cookies, one small tray of donuts holes and empty coffee containers “breakfast and concession food”

!!Classy race result postings!!
“Thousands of runners dressed like Santa”  At best they had 80 half marathoners.  More of Santa’s special bottle please.
“Festive music” and  “and music along the course “ The ONLY place having any form of music was the run start/end.  Granted in the morning there was some festive music but at the race end I don’t count “Gangnam Style” as festive.

Bonie and the Snowman

“Candy, Cookie along the course”  They did have one station with cookies and one with M&Ms but no water to drink them with. You try eating dry cookies in Florida 85 degree heat while running a 13.1 with NO WATER. 

Speaking of water…  They ran out if it when I was running the course.  Keep in mind I am a middle of the packer so that means 50% of the people did not get water later in the race.  They did still have Gatoraid.  But they took down many of the aid stations BEFORE everyone finished the race so many people did not even have aid stations at the end of the race.

The ENTIRE run was on the beach

Speaking of Aid Stations:  Each station had at best 2 volunteers.  Most had one volunteer.  I felt bad for them trying to do all that work by themselves.  You try handing water out to 20 people at a time with only 1 maybe 2 volunteers at the water station.

“From the Windy City to the warm beaches in the Sunshine State,”  You bet it was warm.  The race did not start to 9AM (5K at 9:30AM).  That means the outside temperate at race start was in the mid-80s.  Why would you ever start a race in FL at 9AM.  It’s too late.  It gets hot and traffic on A1A (the only road) starts to get really busy around race end.

Notice the deflating finish line.
They had to hold it up for some finishers!!
Luckily they fixed it later.

Speaking of Traffic...  The cops decided to leave BEFORE the race ended so 50 meters before the finish line you had to stop and wait for the light to change.  Nice.
“Free hat, beard and customized shirt.”  There were at least three different shirt materials floating around.  My wife got a tech shirt and I got a shirt that was apparently made from roofing insulation. Mine was hotter than heck.  The hat and beard were of VERY poor quality and would not hold up through the race so I did not wear mine.  Beard fuse was coming off as soon as I pulled it out of the race bag.  Bonnie red shirt bleed and stained her race bra red.  Those shirts went straight into the trash.  I do not want any pink underwear.

This race had HUGE potential but was a huge let down.  Maybe the 5K was better but I will not be doing the race again next year.
X-mas Florida Style
More Half Fanatics
Santa says hi

Age Group Awards.
I got 2:25:09 and still got 3rd place!!
The Race Bling

Don't be fooled

When deers attack

Martha saved Bonnie!!

Thank you Martha

Victory over the deer!!
I think "Marty the Moose is smiling.

Monday, December 3, 2012

OUC Half Marathon Orlando

OUC Half Marathon Orlando

2010 OUC Half Marathon Race review is located here.

Yesterday was the OUC Half Marathon in Orlando.  This is always a great race and it's pretty much in my back yard.  The race passes within on block of my house.  The course is also about 70% of the course I run every weekend for my 70.3 training (which makes it a little boring for me). Unfortunately, the race is also held on about 2 miles of old brick which loves to mess with my knees.

The race went really well for me considering how many races I have completed in the past month.  I had Rev3 70.3, and then two weeks later I had Miami Man 70.3.  The week after that was Space Coast 13.1 and this race followed seven days later.  Next week I have the Santa Run 13.1.  Needless to say I am investing in Advil lately.

I completed the race in 1:55:03 with a 8:46 pace.  Which is two minutes faster then my 2010 result.

Beautiful Downtown Orlando

Swans in Lake Eola

Orlando's sister city is Urayasu, Japan

Lake Eola' Japanese pagoda in honor of our sister city

Several drummers came from Japan to play for us at the race.
This was REALLY cool!! (see a video of them below).

Video of the Japanese drummers (really cool).

Bonnie flying past the drummers

Stupid me

Mentos, the fresh maker!
Age grouper awards

The Bling

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Kiefer Team Backpack Review

Kiefer Team Backpack Review

The friendly people at Kiefer contacted me about reviewing some of their products. 

According to their website, Kiefer was founded in 1947.   Kiefer focuses on teaching and providing products to swimmers at all skill levels.  For 65 years they have been dedicated to providing great products to their customers. 

Let me start this review off with the legalese.  I do not work for or am sponsored by Kiefer.  They contacted me to do an honest review of one of their products.  And an honest review of the product I will provide.

Kiefer Team Backpack (Front)

The product they asked me to review was the Kiefer Team Backpack   This swim bag was designed to store all your swim gear.  It is the type of bag that you would see at a high school swim competition.  But don’t let that description fool you.  This is a great bag and for the sale price of $29.95 IT’S A STEAL!!

Kiefer Team Backpack (Back)
This bag is very well designed.  The dimensions of the bag are 19” tall 13” wide and 10” tall.  It is very lightweight.   It is made out a water resistant material.  The material, zippers and stitching are very good quality.  The bag comes in two colors, navy blue and black. The bag is also self standing (which is very convenient).

There are well thought out and placed zippers, pockets and organizers everywhere on this bag.  There is an approximately 6”x4” pocket in the upper left that is designed to hold a phone or mp3 player.  This pocket also has an ear phone port. 

Side of bag
Both sides of the bag have a 7”x9” zippered pocket that opens up very wide.  Each of these large and deep pockets have an external mesh pocket attached to them that is held closed by an elastic strap. 

The bottom of the bag has an 8”x12” zippered wet pocket item area to store your wet swim suit.

A long zipper on the top of the bag completely opens up the top of the bag to expose the inside of the bag.  This is a great feature because it allows you to see and find everything in the bag.   My one complain about this zipper is that sometime if you open it up all the way it can be a little difficult to get the zipper restarted  (but this is a minor issue and I am being nitpicky).

Inside of the bag

The interior of the bag also are also loaded with pockets, compartments and mesh areas.  The sides of the bag have two VERY large and deep mesh compartments.  There is non-mesh compartment in the back of the bag that has elastic at the top.   There is also a removable key ring clip to hold your keys (which is a really cool/unexpected feature).

Backside of flap with zippered mesh pocket

The entire backside of the bag flap is a mesh pocket that closes with a zipper.  The flap has room on it to add a team logo.  Unfortunately, mine came with a “US Masters Swimming” team logo on it.  But then again mine was a free sample bag.  I would assume yours would come with no logo on it.

Handle and straps
Another cool feature is the large, easy grip, hard handle.  I love handles on bags.  It makes them easy to carry and move.

Front Straps

There are two straps on the front of the bag.  I am not a “swim meet type” swimmer so maybe I am missing their purpose.  I would assume they are used to strap down a towel.  Either way, to me they are way too short to serve any good purpose.  The straps would be more useful if they were double the current length.

The padded straps are of good quality but not very well padded.  I would like to see more padded sawn into them.  The straps do not make the bag uncomfortable to carry but some extra padding would have been nice.

If this bag was slightly larger I would say it would make an AWESOME transition triathlon bag!!  You could still use it for one but it maybe a little too small.  Then again I am a pack rat so maybe it would be good for you.

To me, this bag is too nice to be a pool side bag.  I would not want to ruin the bag with all the water and chlorine. 

This is an AWESOME bag for transporting all your swim, running, triathlon, etc gear.  I used it this weekend to transport all my run stuff, changed of clothes, shoes, etc for the Space Coast Marathon and I loved it.  Even with all this stuff in the bag there was still room for more stuff.  All the pockets and compartments made it very easy to find and get to everything in the bag. 
  • The price!! At $29.95 it’s a no brainer purchase
  • Quality material, stitching and zippers
  • Massive amount of well thought out mesh, zippered and elastic compartments
  • Lightweight
  • Nice wet pocket for wet swim suits
  • It’s a self standing bag
  • Nice removable key ring in the inside of the bag
  • It's a cool looking, versitile bag
  • Straps could a little thicker and more padded
  • The top zipper that opens  to expose the inside of the bag can sometimes be hard to restart
  • The straps on the front of the bag should be longer to increase their usefulness
  • More colors other than navy blue and black would be nice
  • Mine came with a “US Masters Swimming” team logo on the flap.  But then again mine was a free sample bag.  I would assume yours would come with no logo on it.
Overall I would HIGHLY recommend this bag to anyone.  The quality of the bag and $29.95 price make it a steal.

The bag can be front here on the Kiefer website . 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Space Coast Marathon Review 2012

Space Coast Marathon Review 2012

Previous Years Reviews can be found here:
Darn, I've gotten too skinny!!

Yesterday, I completed the Space Coast 13.1.  This is always a great race.  If you are looking for a Boston qualifying race this is a great one for you.  It is pretty dare flat and a fast course.
Race decor

My version of Buzz Lightyear.

I’m not going to bore you with all the details of the race.  You can see the previous year’s reviews (see above) for all the details. 
Looks like I am about to rob a
bank but it kept me warm

This year’s race was a little cold in the morning then warmed up pretty good.  I found myself starting to sweet at mile 3 and had to start dropping layers. 
Proof I am a Star Wars nerd.

The one disappointment was the lack of real themed water stops.  It seems like every year they get less and less themed.   This year they barely tried.  This was a cool feature of previous years.

The other annoying thing about this race is it starts too early.  The race start time is 6:15 AM.  This is way too early for a race.
Sunrise over the water

Pretty water and palms

Very pretty race start

Overall this is always a great and fun race.  I recommend it to everyone. 
My finishing time was 1:53:39 with a 8:41 pace.

The award is huge!!

Yummy food.

Age group awards

Race Bling