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Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall Activities

Technically not yet fall, but it sure is starting to feel like it... even with nice weekends like this...
Cutting wood for the winter, (an ongoing never ending) family activity.
Wish it were my moose but it's not, just helping cut up some meat. 
Hahnah's hand next to a small grizz print.

Sarah reading to the kids on the beach.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hoka Review

It has been about 3 months since I received my Hoka Bondi-B running shoes. I thought I would review the overall experience. I am not a runner, meaning I have no real formal coaching in this sport have never run XC or track or long distance. While I have used running routinely for many years to cross train, my speed is not especially fast.  Particularly, since the culmination of a knee injury on my rowing venture (2005) followed by massive injury on the ITI (2008), running started to become painful anywhere from 3 -12 miles on a given day. This made it difficult to build up a running base. I could not get over 12 miles without leg or knee complaints that told me (in the little voice that I used to ignore when younger), 'you better stop.'

However, in order to do sort of decent in a longer triathlon I simply had to increase my speed this summer.  Aerobically, I had no issues but running competitively fast never came easy compounded by intermittent migrating knee/hip/leg pain. Then I heard about the Hoka shoe from various ultrarunner blogs. But it was this guys consistent performance and accolades to the shoe that got me to actually purchase the pricey item. I was intensely curious if a shoe could really make a difference. I started keeping detailed track of my training runs, if you could even call it that- sometimes my weekly swims and runs almost equalled each other in distance. Pre-Hoka I was running a sad 8-16 miles per week or 40-60 miles a month at the most, that’s usually 1-2 times (hours) a week. With the Hoka I was able to "ramp" up my mileages in July to 87 miles (10 hrs 36 min) and August was 112 miles (15 hrs 29 min)--. That said it is both discouraging and encouraging to track folks who run 100 trail mile races at faster speeds than my cumulative monthly times.

In any case, I have absolutely no pain in legs, hips or knees. I now routinely run 11-13 miles and occasionally throw a 20 miler in the mix.  Maybe it’s the Hoka, partly the Hoka’s or in my head but I certainly will keep running in them. The only issue I had was my foot was sliding around a little bit from constantly dumping water on myself to cool off during the two tri races. The water got in my shoe, my foot slid around and voila instant blisters and lifted toenails.  But that's my abnormal foot's fault, and no I won't post pics of that.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Clipless pedals are sometimes a hotly debated topic in biking.  I used to be ambivalent, opting for platform pedals. It made a lot of sense in snow biking, hopping on and off the bike frequently and plus I never tried clipless before.   The past few years of doing more triathlons led to an actual entry level road bike this year.  
GT Carbon bike
 I started off training in platforms and quickly realized I was barely getting above an 18 mph average on training runs.  I never really paid attention to speed as my usual snow bike training consisted of going out in storms in horrid conditions, pushing a bike or doing some weird tundra trip. I was in new territory. So when REI had a couple of great sales I couldn’t pass up the deal and ordered some of these

and some of these.

My first time out on clipless my speed [on my (ridiculous) paved loop] increased closer to 20mph and by the time I did my tri’s I managed 20 mph for the first race at 56 miles and 21mph a week later on the second one.   I feel like I could squeeze out 22 or 23 mph with a better bike and/or more training.  I was surprised how much I liked road/tri biking and tinkering with aero and geometry of riding.  The clipless seemed to exponentially help reduce my leg fatigue and climb hills while feeling connected to the bike.  That said I had some whopping falls, forgetting I was clipped at stops or stalling on hills. 

Yesterday, I put these on the fat bike and went for a ride.  

After riding tri style most of the summer the snow bike geometry took a little getting used but I really liked the feel of clipless on the snow bike.  Biking across tundra is technical and the pedal significantly improved my ability to navigate and go uphill… that is until I stalled and fell over.  It will certainly take some time to get used to and I will likely order some MTB style pedals. The verdict is out on whether to use them on the next ITI but I have a feeling I will…