Archives for Geek Out! category
Posted on May 22, 2013 under Geek Out! |
Yesterday Finis officially announced their newest underwater MP3 player: the Neptune
Neptune is a waterproof MP3 player that provides the highest quality sound in the water without the use of ear buds. Neptune uses revolutionary Bone Conduction audio transmission to transmit crystal clear audio through the cheekbone directly into the inner ear.
My player is through customs and should be here shortly for evaluation and my review. Stay tuned for updates.
The Neptune definitely addresses one of my (very minor) irritations with the SwiMP3: no way to select tracks/playlists. It also appears to have potentially addressed some of the fragility around the wire connections to the earpieces. From the literature it looks like Finis may have revised/improved upon the bone conduction speakers as well. These and other questions will be answered soon
For now: Just Keep Swimming… Just Keep Swimming…
Posted on Apr 27, 2013 under Geek Out! |
Saw this today Instabeat and while I was initially curious, I think they’ve missed some vital opportunities to make a valuable tool.
I like the concept of Instabeat: heads-up-display for swimmer’s heart rate plus tracking and logging for other swim metrics; however, I think they could have done so much more.
Rather than just coloured LEDs for HR target, they could have used a multi-line LED display and shown similar data to what you’d find in a garmin swim or finis swimsense. I’d have liked to see them use a multi-line HUD to show distance, time, laps, lap-splits, hr, and hr zone. They could have even built in a metronome like the Finis Tempo Trainer and had a pretty amazing product. Granted with the on-goggles mount they’d never be able to show stroke count or SWOLF scores, but that’d be ok if they had everything else.
I wish Instabeat luck but won’t be funding them. I stick with my swimsense or garmin swim and finis aquapulse until something better comes along.
Posted on Jan 17, 2013 under Geek Out!, nutrition |
An interesting blurb from Michael Greger MD in my mailbox this morning.
Diet vs. Exercise: What’s More Important? | NutritionFacts.org.
and I agree w. him totally. We all know a calorie isn’t a calorie and the composition, processing, additives, and personal food sensitivities around diet choices can make a MASSIVE difference in how your body is using those calories.
In that vein, I have recently been conducting a personal nutrition experiement (in the constant stream of them that I am continually doing), and cutting dairy from my diet. I previously wasn’t a HUGE consumer of milk or cheese, but I did eat cottage cheese and yogurt pretty much daily and in pretty good quantities. About 2 weeks ago I cut these “staples” from my diet. The results?
Well, 1st and foremost I note that I feel mentally clearer like a light fog has been lifted. This is surprising because I never felt that dairy had any negative impact on my physical or mental well-being, but it would appear that I’m wrong. I’ve also noted lower morning resting heart-rate (this may just be due to being fully recovered from The North Face Endurance Challenge Ultra that I did in early December, so not too confident about this being dairy related, but noteworthy), less phlegm and muscus, reduced hunger, less frequent sleep interruptions, and least important but still happy-making, a drop in fat-mass without a loss in lean-mass.
All things considered, it would appear that the experiment is having positive results and as such I’ll probably adopt it into my normal dietary regeme. I still occasionally have a bit of cheese on my eggs or a drop of milk in a particularly medeocre restaurant coffee but my daily habitual consumption has, at least for now, come to an end.
Posted on Jan 03, 2013 under Factoids, Geek Out! |
Over at friction-facts.com they do some pretty cool testing. Recently released were findings on dirty vs. clean and properly lubed chains.
5-6watts for dirt is nothing to sneeze at!
Checkout the report here: http://www.friction-facts.com/media/wysiwyg/Cross_Test.pdf
If you like it, consider buying their paid reports – some pretty cool info in them.
Posted on Jan 01, 2013 under Factoids, Geek Out!, training |
Here are some of my training stats from 2012.
- Around The Bay (30k)
- 2 Marathons (Toronto Waterfront and Scotiabank)
- 1 Ultra (The North Face Endurance Challenge San Fran)
- 2 70.3′s (Panama and New Orleans)
- 1 Full Iron (Mont Tremblant)
- Shin-splints for IM70.3 Panama – yea this one really sucked
- Shoulder strain from poor swim form – form fixed, shoulder too
- Adductor Magnus strain from 50k mud run in San Fran – repairing
All in all a pretty amazing year. On tap for 2013?
- Chilly 1/2 Marathon (C-Race)
- Around The Bay (B-Race)
- Toronto Waterfront and Scotiabank Marathons (C-Race)
- Leadman Epic 125 in Tempe, AZ (A-Race)
- Ironman Mont Tremblant (A-Race)
- probably 1 or 2 sprint/oly distance Tri’s for shits’n'giggles (C-Race)
My training focus for 2013 divides the year into quarters, generally in the format of “speed, then endurance, then an A-Race event”. Need to push to get faster in 2013. I know I can do the distances, now to just do them faster. Looking forward to some BIG brick workouts leading up to the A-Races in 2013!
Happy New Year Everyone!
Posted on Dec 12, 2012 under Geek Out! |
This is kinda cool: The next release of TrainingPeaks will suggest increasing your threshold (HR or Power) based off trends your uploaded training data.
For uncoached athletes this could really help them to not plateau, for coached athletes (like myself) or people who have access to lab-grade testing equipment, the threshold change suggestion could indicate a time for retesting.
Either way, it’s cool that TrainingPeaks is providing athletes with useful guidance based off their uploaded performance details.
Coming Soon: Threshold Improvement Notifications and More – Posts – TrainingPeaks Blog.
Way to go TrainingPeaks!
Posted on Nov 15, 2012 under Geek Out! |
This announcement landed in my inbox this morning. What a great idea.
Create Your Ultimate Health and Fitness Monitoring System with the New ANT+ Product Directory
Heart rate monitors, power meters, speed & cadence sensors, GPS watches and more – Search by brand, activity and compatibility to find the health & fitness devices that work for you
Cochrane, Alberta – (November 15, 2012) – ANT+, the world-leader in health and fitness monitoring technology, unveils the new ANT+ Product Directory. This expansive database matches fitness devices by activity, sensors, brand name and compatibility. Users can now mix & match innovative products and create the ultimate monitoring system to fit their lifestyle. An essential tool for sports, wellness management and home health monitoring, ANT+ connects users to the most accurate, consistent and detailed health and fitness data available. All ANT+ certified and manufacturer verified products can be found in the ANT+ Product Directory, including devices from top global brands such as adidas, Garmin, Timex, CycleOps and more.
ANT+ Product Directory: http://www.thisisant.com/directory/
Which heart rate monitor works with my running watch? Which power meter can I use with my bike computer? These are questions fitness enthusiasts, newbie triathletes and seasoned marathoners are asking every day. Regardless of fitness goals, the new ANT+ Product Directory allows you to create the ultimate monitoring system to fit your needs. You can search by activity, sensor type, brand name and compatibility to generate a list of relevant devices. This allows you to build the best monitoring system for your needs, and knowing that they are part of the certified ANT+ family means they work seamlessly, confidently and accurately, every-time.
“The new ANT+ Product Directory is the Google of health and fitness monitoring devices,” says Rod Morris, Vice President of ANT Wireless. “Products such as heart rate monitors, foot pods, GPS watches, weight scales and speed & cadence sensors from the world’s most trusted brands all connect and communicate using ANT+ technology. With over 60 million ANT+ devices in use today, the ANT+ Directory provides consumers with an extremely simple way to find the device or combination of devices needed to monitor progress and reach personal goals.”
Athletes, fitness enthusiasts and health professionals of all levels can benefit from data monitoring with ANT+. Check out the new ANT+ Product Directory and see which devices will help you meet your health and fitness goals.
About ANT / ANT+ (www.thisisant.com):
ANT+ is the technology that lets your wireless monitoring devices talk to each other. Leading brands design ANT+ into top products to ensure that consumers get the data they want, when, and where they want it. And because ANT+ devices are compatible, products can always be upgraded or added to a person’s monitoring system.
ANT is a proven protocol and silicon solution for ultra-low power (ULP) practical wireless networking applications. ANT+ facilitates interoperability between ANT+ Alliance member devices and the collection, automatic transfer and tracking of sensor data. Applicable in sport, fitness, wellness management and home health monitoring, ANT+ (built on the base ANT protocol) defines device profiles that specify data formats, channel parameters and network keys. The ANT+Alliance is an open special interest group of companies who have adopted the ANT+ promise of interoperability. The Alliance ensures standardized communications through optimized brand value and partnerships with other top tier products.
The company behind ANT Wireless is Dynastream Innovations Inc. Dynastream was established in 1998 and became a wholly owned subsidiary of Garmin Ltd. in December 2006. Dynastream is based in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada, and is a world innovator in the research and development of inertial and wireless technology. www.dynastream.com
Posted on Oct 31, 2012 under Geek Out!, Raves |
I reviewed the Wahoo fitness bike kit a few weeks ago. While I gave it a good review, I really hadn’t yet given it any extensive testing and, to be fair, I was a little overwhelmed by the exhaustive list of software that is available for the Wahoo devices.
Well, since then, I’ve just been using the Wahoo Fitness app: it’s pretty cool! It shows you more info than you could want: HR info, zones, power info and zones, speed, navigation, cadence. It’s very configurable so you can see what you want to see, pretty much how you want to see it. But! More important to me than ALL this stuff is that is pretty much totally solves one of my BIGGEST peeves with online fitness services: there’s no 1 service that I can update that will subsequently update trainingpeaks, dailymile, strava, etc. Well.. the Wahoo Fitness app to the rescue! Record your workout with it and then you can upload that data to multiple services (I have strava, dailymile and trainingpeaks configured, others are available). It’s not single button upload, but a few clicks per service and still WAY better than manually uploading to multiple services. AWESOME.
I’m definitely still, in my own personal training and experimentation, only scratching the surface of the depth of functionality available for the Wahoo fitness devices, but I still remain very impressed.
Posted on Sep 20, 2012 under Factoids, Geek Out!, Raves |
I was fortunate to have borrowed a Recovery Pump system for Ironman Mont Tremblant recovery. I wasn’t sure what to expect or if it’d make any real difference. I wore the legs for 2 hrs after the race and for 30 minutes the next morning, and while I saw people in the village hobbling around, my legs felt really good. Was this the Recovery Pump, my pacing, my physiology or some other factor.
Ian and I decided to put them to a test. Here was the plan:
On 2 subsequent Saturdays (Friday is a rest day), I’d do the following workout at 8am and again at noon. Before the 8am I’d have my normal breakfast (yogurt, bran buds and a banana), after the 1st workout I’d have a First Endurance Ultragen. During each test I would drink 1 bottle of water with First Endurance EFS Drink.
The workout was controlled as a programmed .ERG workout with the computrainer, as follows:
- Warmup: 120w-200w progressive increase over 10:00
- quick computrainer calibration
- Long Intervals: (seated) 3x 10:00 @ 30w over FTP with a 3:00 easy spin between
- 10:00 easy (during which I exited the power workout and started spinscan to be able to set a fixed grade)
- Sprint Intervals: 6x 0:10 seated sprint with 0:50 recovery
- Cooldown: 5:00
On the 1st week, we did the control. No specific recovery between the trials, just nutrition, tv, web surfing, etc. The 2nd week I used the recoverypump legs for 45 minutes after the 1st workout.
|| 7 micro-rests
|| 13 micro-rests
|| Performance drop by ~40%
|| Max 626w
|| Max 603 (but most ~590w)
|| Performance drop by 5%
(micro-rest: just can’t keep the pedals going any longer, 3-5 sec rest and go again)
The Recovery Pump Test
|| 12 micro-rests
|| 10 micro-rests
|| Performance improvement by ~17%
|| Max 675w
|| Max 736
|| Performance increase by 9%
To me these results are pretty compelling and corroborate my gut feel that the Recovery Pump system was making a difference. I was actually surprised to see a performance INCREASE when using the system. It wasn’t just that my performance didn’t decrease as much, but the invigorated legs were able to do MORE than just “morning fresh”.
Obviously, I’m not done with my investigation of the power of the Recovery Pump system. I’ve used it before track workouts to pump up my legs before the speedwork and after to refresh them. I have to say, I’m pretty convinced that this system lives up to every claim on the Recovery Pump website.
Posted on Aug 03, 2012 under Geek Out! |
I’ll admit it, sure, no problem-o. I… listen to music when I train.. There I said it! Yea I know, some of you are purists and the rumble of the carbon rims on the asphalt, the sound of the wind through your helmet, the leaves and birds in the trees when you run and the rhythmic sloshing sounds of water when you are putting in the miles in a pool or openwater, these are all the things you need to keep you company while you put in the endless miles of training leading up to your next big race. Well Bully for you! (Kidding )
Not me man! I like to give my brain something to do other than be bored and complain. I fill my head full of uptempo electronic/trance music, or a podcast or even the radio, to help pass the time as my arms and legs do what my brain is telling them. Sure, it’s different on race day: no music, but the energy and vibe of the race is more than enough to keep boredom at bay
So, while adroitly bypassing the discussion of what I listen to, and whether or not you like/dislike/distain trance, lets rather talk about how to get those digital voices speaking to you in your head while you swim, bike and run.
When I swim I wear silicon earplugs. I like these cheap-o earplugs because I don’t have to care if I lose one, they seal well, and are.. well.. cheap Nothing wrong with cheap if it does the job! Because I wear silicon earplugs, it pretty much removes all options but 1 from my choices for swim music. And that’s JUST FINE because the only choice left is BY FAR the best solution on the market today. I speak of, the several times reviewed on this blog, Finis SwiMP3.
The SwiMP3 uses bone conduction to get the music into your noggin, it’s simple and light and doesn’t force you to wear funky waterproof hydraphonic earplugs that you won’t be wearing on race day. I can’t imagine the hours and hours spent slogging back and forth in the pool without the companionship that my swimp3 offers me. No really! :D I’ve reviewed the SwimP3 here.
On the bike, unless I’m on a completely closed course (i.e. never), I really don’t like covering or plugging my ears to the sounds of oncoming traffic. So things like earbuds, Yurbuds (my fav running music solution that I’ll talk about more in a sec), Jaybirds, etc. are all out.
I had found what I thought was a pretty good solution. The Tunebug Shake: a speaker designed to mount to your helmet and use the helmet as a resonator for the speaker, essentially turning your entire helmet into a speaker.
Unfortunately the company making the Tunebug is closed, but if you check ebay there is some stock being liquidated and you may still be able to pick one up on the cheap. 2 things I’ll say about the shake: from a sound quality perspective it’s pretty good; however, the battery life is a bit limited (3ish hours in my testing) and the attachment system is a bit fragile. I ended up using zipties to connect it to my helmet and it worked pretty well.
Recently, I’ve been testing the Cardo BK-1 Duo, I’ll have an in-depth review of it soon, but as an on-bike, open-ear music-while-you-train device, it absolutely rocks! Without giving too much away from the pending review, the bluetooth reception is super-strong, the battery life is in excess of 6 hrs, and the sound quality is on par with good quality headphones.
When I run, I perhaps have the most freedom of audio choices: multiple players, headphones (wired and unwired), headphone styles, etc. etc. etc. are available. Really, the options here are bewildering. I cannot say that I’ve tried them all, but here are some generalities in my preferences (in order of importance):
- I prefer small (near weightless) devices to heavier/bulkier devices
- I prefer solid state to anything with a disk drive in it
- Must have good battery life (charging every 20hrs of use is ok, but more frequently is a pain)
- I’m not a fan of squishy-marshmellow type in-ear buds
- I prefer wireless to wired
In terms of the player, I’ve settled on 1 of 2 devices. (There are many many options here and I don’t think that 1 really is significantly stronger than another.) I live in an Apple dominated electronics ecosystem, so my solutions here are Apple-centric. My typical running-music player is my 6th gen iPod shuffle: it’s super small, has a radio and great battery life and a lot of storage for podcasts, playlists, etc. My 2nd choice, and this really is driven by whether I’m expecting an important call, is my iPhone. The iphone is bigger and bulkier than I’d prefer, but when the “real world”™ intrudes on my training time, it’s nice to have just 1 device for both music and to service those interruptions.
For sound presentation to my ears using either device I alternate between Yurbuds and Jaybirds. In “my perfect world” these two companies would partner and give me a yurbud earpiece with the jaybird bluetooth stereo headset, because I absolutely love the fit and feel of the yurbuds and the wireless freedom of the jaybirds, but I really dislike the jaybird in-ear spongy bud. Not enough to not use them, but enough that I have to be in the right mindset to use them. I just don’t like the dull rumble-thud that you get from sound transmission from your body into the ear with the marshmellow-type bud. If you’ve read my blog for a while, you’ll know that I love the Yurbuds. In fact I have several pairs some with microphones, some without and some spares. When I want the wireless-freedom-feel but not feeling the Jaybirds, I’ll either wrap the Yurbuds cord around my visor band, or coil it up and tuck it inside my hat. Both work well and keep the wires out of the way.
So there it is. My choices for swim/bike/run electronic companionship:
Bike: Cardo BK-1
Run: iPod shuffle and yurbuds