Thursday, November 24, 2016

Garmin Black Friday - Cyber Monday Holiday GPS Deals

Garmin is running various deals which you should see on various retailers that run from Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all the way thru Christmas Eve. There are no Edge 520, 820, or Forerunner 735xt discounts. If you are an Discover IT card holder you can get 5% additional back this quarter with your quarterly rewards at Amazon.

Garmin FR230 $179 ($249) (28%)

Garmin Forerunner 230

Garmin FR235 $249 ($329) (27%)

Garmin Forerunner 235

Garmin FR630 $229 ($399) (43%)

Garmin Forerunner 630

Garmin FR920XT $199 ($229) (56%)

Garmin Forerunner 920xt

Garmin FR920XT W/HR $249 ($499) (50%)

Garmin Forerunner 920xt
with Heart Rate Monitor

Garmin Fenix 3 $374 ($449) (25%)

Garmin Fenix 3

Garmin VivoSmart HR $69 ($149) (53%)

Garmin Vivosmart HR

Garmin Vivoactive HR $169 ($249) (32%)

Garmin Vivoactive HR

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Ironman Triathlon - Better to DNS or DNF

My last actual IMAZ finish in 2013
Is It Better to DNS or DNF an Ironman Triathlon???

It is an honest question. Truthfully, I hadn't really given it much thought until someone raised it in Ironman Arizona group this week. It struck me personally as I was in a similar predicament in regards to my own race, do I become a Did Not Start (DNS) or a Did Not Finish (DNF)???

But first a little bit of a backstory. For those who are not familiar, I have been racing Ironmans for a number of years. I was fortunate enough to finish 3rd at Ironman Louisville in both 2012 and 2013. In 2014, I went one better and finished 2nd to Chris "Big Sexy" McDonald, losing by only 16 seconds.

In 2015, Ironman Louisville was eliminated as pro race and I instead focused on training for Ironman Mont Tremblant. Unfortunately, in the lead up to the race I got an over-use injury, and although I did start, I ultimately had to DNF.

After that race I took some time off to let the body heal. Fortunately I live one block from the start/finish of Ironman Wisconsin, and as the Ironman parade came to town, I could not help but get nostalgic. Although, I hadn't done the training and I had no idea if I could even finish the race, I decided that there was little to lose by at least starting. After all, I could always pull out after the swim, or stop on the ride if the issue I was dealing with reared its nasty head. Fortunately it never did, and I ended up going 8:59:59 and took the overall win. Now I think back to that day and what if I had never even started?

Fast forward to 2016 and I have raced a ton of Ironman 70.3s, sprints, aquathons, even my first bike race. It has been a long season, and my body has showed signs that it needs some extended rest, but I wanted to close it out at Ironman Arizona, a race that is also near and dear to my heart. A race that was so wonderful in 2013, but then overshadowed by some despair in 2014 and 2015.

All smiles at the start of 2015 IMAZ but I wasn't able to finish
To say the the lead-up to the race was anything but perfect would be an understatement. It started with a strained piriformis. As a result, I took some time off running, got in very little running, and what I did do was all on the treadmill. I knew Ironman Arizona wasn't going to be a top-performance, but I felt like I did enough to make it to the start line. As a result I booked my travel and put my bike on a TribikeTransport truck, and then naturally it happened. Last Sunday, while putting on my wetsuit for a practice swim, I felt a sudden tightening in my back. My heart sunk. I know right away it was going to be a problem, and was likely already a compensation issue from my piriformis as the pain was on the opposite side.

As a result, I took Monday and Tuesday off, and Wednesday I went to the Chiropractor for some x-rays and an adjustment. Diagnosis, was don't race. By Thursday, I was not only ready to throw in the towel, I DID throw in the towel. I cancelled my flight, treated myself to a pity party, and then actually gave it some thought. Is it really better to DNS than to DNF?

The answer is certainly complex and is very individual and depends on unique circumstances. I won't go into all things one should consider, but I think a few things stand out. First is that you just never know what will happen on race day. You can be in the best shape of your life, feel like you are going to win, and then have everything go completely wrong. There will be people tomorrow who were in the best shape of their life and they will fail miserably. That is the reality.
Big thanks to the Base crew in 2015 for keeping me hydrated
but it wasn't meant to be.

On the flip side, you can go in with plenty of fear and doubt. Believe me, it is easily to get paralyzed by it, but I also have the confidence in knowing that some of my best days have come on the backs of those filled with the greatest fear and doubt. As cliche as it sounds, "You do miss a 100% of the shots you don't take". I realize that there is very a likely a DNF in my future, but I know if I don't start the race, that I will look back and regret it. I'll see you on the start line tomorrow. Giddy up!!!

For those first-timers doing Ironman Arizona. Hopefully, you had a chance to read my article, first time Ironman tips from age-grouper turned professional,. In addition, you should skim over the following article I have written, recovery tips for your first Ironman

Friday, October 21, 2016

Best Cheap Indoor Bike Trainer Stand / Desk for Wahoo, Computrainer, Saris, Tacx

Medical overbeds are the perfect
portable desks / stands for indoor cycling
The days of beautiful riding are clearly coming to an end in the Northern Hemisphere. I say clearly, because despite snow-birding, and being oblivious to weather changes, I am seeing a noticeable uptick in the number of inquiries to what portable stand I recommend for indoor cycling. I thought the topic warranted a short post so here is my current solution - Eva Medical Adjustable Overbed. Please note, this is my portable stand review. If you are looking for a more permanent recommendation please skip to the bottom.

Simply put, the medical overbed, is easily the best $50 I spent all year. Whether you have a Computrainer, Cycleops, Wahoo Kickr & Snap, Tacx, Kurt Kinetic, rollers or any other indoor bike trainer, this overbed serves a legitimate purpose in any pain cave as a very viable and versatile stand.

For those unfamiliar, medical overbeds are designed to have a telescoping table platform, slide underneath the bed of a patient, and are for tasks like eating & tv watching. However, they make excellent indoor cycling desks, media carts, and laptop stands. This particular one measures 40 inches tall at its max. Personally, I use the medical overbed in different ways that include:
  1. Placed in front of my handlebars for entertainment viewing of Netflix shows, movies, and races. The medical overbed provides a sound platform for easy laptop viewing. Simple height adjustment with one hand, and even while riding, allows one to have the perfect viewing angle without craning the neck. There is plenty of room for fluids and food as well that are easily in reach.
  2. Placed behind the front wheel of the bike for working purpose - now this might not work for everyone. Depending on your height, stem length, leg length, bike position, etc you might not be able to do this, but I find myself needing to multi-task on my easy Z1/Z2 or recovery rides. I place my laptop on it and actually do real work as I spin.
  3. If I am not working and not watching, that means I am doing some serious riding. I will spin the overbed besides me and place extra hydration, and towels in close reach so I can grab them reliably after a high-intensity interval. I also like to keep my phone handy so I can check up on social media during the recovery period between intervals.
Those are the basic ways I use the desk for cycling, but because of its superior portability I have learned to use it for other tasks including:
Putting the bike back together on a
nice & sunny Wisconsin summer day
Bike Maintenance - I love doing bike maintenance with this desk. I will set a towel on top and place all the tools I will need for the job. The telescoping up/down platform is easy to do one-handed and the table moves smoothly. Make shift standing desk - I find myself using the desk as a impromptu standing desk. As an example, I might have the laptop on the desk as I place my leg over a couch or bed and perform some gentle stretching as I work for a few minutes. Laying in the bed with the boots - using the recovery boots and a laptop, although doable, sometimes I prefer to use the overbed as a more stable platform that isn't going up and down with the expansion and contraction of the boots. As a true TV Tray - I will admit, I have never actually used this as a TV tray, but I would presume many people could. Caveats. although the medical overbed works for my needs, and I do put a portion of my body weight, a laptop, and some bottles on it, it isn’t meant to hold 200 lbs. It is decently sturdy, but it is only supported on one side. Having support on the other side would make it much more sturdy but you would also lose functionality such as being able to slide it behind the front wheel of the bike or underneath your bed. More permanent and more expensive option
Electric Stand Up Desk < $500 or Wind Up < $300 
The basic medical overbed is a no-brainer as a cheap alternative to something like the Wahoo Desk. With that being said, there is also a heavy-duty solution, albeit much less nimble, in a full-sized electronic or wind-up desk.

The price of these desks have really come down as of late. The desks are much wider and deeper, and will be tall enough to accommodate nearly everyone. They are also designed to support a lot more weight, but are not nearly as portable, and are 5x to 10x as expensive as a basic overbed.

However if you have a fixed training environment and you are looking to do some serious work with a laptop than this desk might be the one for you.

Wind-up is cheaper (<$300), but electric ($<500) goes up and down at the push of a button. I recommend the 48" version but they come in 60" inches too. I personally have the electric and love it. It is so stable and large that I can comfortably sit in a semi-aero position, with elbows on the desk, as I type away at the keyboard. Recommend Product Links:

- 48" Wind Up Stand Up Desk by Stand Up Desk