Friday, March 23, 2012

I mean who wants to floss really?

Yes, we all know that dental health is as important as cardiovascular/muscular health and we should floss after every brushing because dental health is an indicator of our overall health. Yes, I know that taking care of my choppers means taking care of my whole body....but really...who enjoys breaking out the dental floss and spending the next few minutes terrorizing our teeth and gums?! Honestly, when I'm done doing that my sink looks like a crime scene.

So I was pretty excited when the WaterPik Ultra Water Flosser showed up on my doorstep. Now we've all heard of Waterpik because at one time their flosses were all the rage and then to be honest they kind of fell off in popularity. Or, at least it seemed that way. But they're back with a vengeance now. This new Water flosser is compact, quiet and comes with six different "tips" that stow away in the top of the water reservoir (which to be honest is fantastic because if they didn't have a storage spot on the device, I'd lose them in a matter of weeks!). The are different included tips are: Plaque Seeker, Classic Jet, Tongue Cleaner, Pik Pocket, Orthodontic, and Toothbrush. You choose whichever tip you want and it just snaps onto the handle.

The Waterpik Water Flosser has a pressure adjustment dial that lets you choose one of ten different pressure settings. Now I didn't know I had sensitive teeth until I set the thing on "10" and started blasting away. Ouch! Luckily, turning the setting down ensured pain free cleaning and the flow of water is easily directed by knob in the handle or you can stop the flow of water with the "pause" button that's on the handle too. I have to admit, it left my mouth feeling fresh and clean afterward without the bloody mess I normally experience after I floss.

Wanna try WaterPik WaterFlosser yourself? Then check them out on Facebook, YouTube and on Twitter.

While I have been compensated for this review, all thoughts and opinions are my own. But if you know me...I don't say you should try something unless I love and think you should too.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Celtic 5k...sadly I got no luck of the Irish

So, yes I'm still getting back up to speed "literally and figuratively" from the doctor prescribed time off due to the knee sprain. And by the looks of last month's 13.1 and my ruining times of late it seems like I'm about a month behind where I wanted to be. However, I really like this Celtic 5k run in downtown Worcester MA and I registered for it months not take the knee out for a spin and see how I do with some straight up speed?

Rather than recap the race all over again, you can read about it here from my running of last year's event. Bottom line, the course is a relatively flat out and back, with TONS of spectators and its supported very well. draws a lot of racers. Yes, not runners, racers. So you can expect the times for the top 25 will be around 5min/mile mark. I ran my 5k PR (19:54) there last year and came in 63rd overall out of 1426. Not bad for an old guy :)

This year however...I had no such visions of grandeur.  This year was all about seeing how hard could push the knee, gauge my fitness and not embarrass myself with a crap time (a crap time for me mind you. Read my post on race times to see what I mean).

Luckily, it was a nice cool morning as I lined up at the start. The gun goes and I'm off. My initial plan was to run what would feel like a "pushed" pace. Not flat out but nowhere near comfortable until I hit the first mile marker. Now, last year I turned the first mile at 5:55 and thought I had LOTS of gas left.....this year I hit it at 6:30 and realized there was NO way I could maintain that pace! So, quick plan of try to keep pushing until I hit the turn and see how I felt for the push to the finish. Now, I REALLY love out and back races. Firstly, because of my competitive nature and ADD, I can count how many people are in front of me and get a sense of where I am in the field. By my count heading into the turn today I was somewhere in the mid 70s, not bad considering there were over 1900 at the race. Secondly, because I like getting to see the other people racing and give thumbs up to friends I have in the race and it motivates me to push harder to the finish.

The race while being relatively flat does have a slight uphill the last mile plus. Not a big one but just enough to take the speed off. I could see people slowing and knew I needed to dig in. I hit mile 2 at 13:20 and realized I was fading fast but the knee felt great. I figured I might as well lean into it and push for the finish. Crossed the line in 20:53 and 77th overall. A full minute off last years pace and 14 places deeper than last year. Yes, I know that it was still a good race. The knee felt great and I the time wasn't that picture can attest...I wasn't happy with the result. Well, back to training, speed work and time to get back to racing.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The best way to beat the pressure...

It seems that with the mild winter (at least here in MA) allergy season is upon us and it seems some other type of bird-named flu is going around too so I've spent the last few weeks being all stuffed up and dealing with sinus pressure. Now, being from the South and we Southerners being notorious for the breadth of home remedies and cures for everything (most of which do seem to work mind you) I remember my father shooting warm salt water up his nose to clear out his sinus. As weird as I thought that was, it always seemed to do the trick!

Well.. I guess he was "cutting edge" because I recently got a package in the mail of a legit version of the same remedy. Waterpik (yes the folks we always think about with oral care) is now getting into the sinus health biz. Thinking the timing was rather appropriate since I had just tried blowing my nose the clear out my head, I bounded up stairs (what? I bound when I'm happy) to try this thing out.

Now, unlike the rather torture device-like apparatus my dad used to use back in the day, Waterpik has an easy-to-use, battery-powered water pulsator that does all the work with the squeeze of the trigger. Easy to use and safe for ages six and up. The biggest selling point for me is that its an "all-natural" approach to better breathing. I get tired of taking some type of over the counter drug when I get stuffed up and hate the feeling I'm left with after taking them even more.

The SinuSense comes with Saline Packs. Unlike the burn of just regular salt water back in the day, the Waterpik Soothing Saline Packs contain eucalyptus oil and aloe vera which do a great job at taking the sting out of sinus cleansing.  The pulsator gets the solution deep into the sinus cavity gently, no blasts of water to make you choke or gag. Now, I will tell you that this is not a treatment you're going to be doing in front of a group of people. Water goes in one nostril and out the other. I know it sounds weird but it works and my nasal passages felt great. This is an easy "add" to your morning routine and I'd rather include this and feel like I don't have the sinus med "fog" for the rest of the day when it comes to going out for a run or ride.

Wanna try WaterPik Sinusense yourself?  Go to their website and print out a coupon good for $2 off any Sinusense product!  While you're there, look around and see all the other products in the Sinusense line. You should also look check them out on Facebook, YouTube and on Twitter.

While I have been compensated for this review, all thoughts and opinions are my own. But if you know me...I don't say you should try something unless I love and think you should too

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Ten Comandments for new racers...kinda

Ok, I'll be honest and tell you that this is less of a "how to" and more of a "what I hate to have to deal with at races" post. So if you're guilty of doing the following, realize this is why some of us get angry and look at your with disgust or curse at you during a race. If you're one of "us", please feel free to nod in agreement as you  read and feel free to add your own pet peeves in the comments section and if you don't do the following but had no idea...then thank you...thank you very much.

In no particular order...

- Thou shalt not wear the shirt of the race... AT the race. 
Yes,  it came in your packet but you haven't RUN the race yet. To me the race shirt is equivalent to a finisher's medal, so don't wear it until you've COMPLETED the race. If you ran the race the year, or years prior, feel free to wear that shirt. It lets us all know that you are proud of the race and want to show off you loyalty..kudos's too you. Under NO circumstances are you to wear a shirt for a race you DIDN'T run. If someone asks you "how was 'x' race" because you're wearing that race's shirt...your answer of "oh I didn't run it, this is my boyfriend's or another friend's shirt" makes you look like a total douche. Some of us take this seriously. Ask a Half Iron or Ironman competitor of you can wear their "finisher" clothing....and then remember that look

- Thou shall not be where you shouldn't in a race field
When you run a race, if you can't run a 5:30 to 7min mile pace....STAY OFF THE START LINE. And for god's sake, keep your kids away from it too. Don't get angry when you or you kids get blown off the line or off the side of the road by people who are trying to place at the race. YOU have no business being up there. Be honest with yourself, if you run a 9 minute mile do not go up to the 7min\mile corral thinking the people there are gonna push you to go fast

-Thou shalt know where to be in a race
If for some reason you're having a bad day or you're a slow runner...STAY TO THE RIGHT in order to allow people to get past you. I have NO issue with you or your pace but when you impact MY race I get very angry. If you are having a bad day or run out of gas...DO NOT JUST STOP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD and give up!!! You know what that makes you? Beyond being a selfish ass of course...a human speed bump that we now have to make our way around/not crash into. Which by the way, I will TRY to do... but not at the risk of injuring myself or impacting a PR.

- Thou shalt not exhibit "pride" beyond your race limits
If you're going to buy or use a piece of kit (i.e. fulet belt, water bottle or three thousand dollar tri bike) you should practice...not only to get comfortable but GOOD using it before showing up to a race. I HATE that person who elbows everyone around them trying to get their bottle or gel out of their belt or those that can't maintain a straight line while in aero on a bike much less drink while on one. Beyond the fact that you're a danger to're a danger to US!!!
-on a side note- if you show up to a race wearing $200 running shoes, all the high end schwag and have a $10k bike in better be fast. When I eat your lunch on your high end bike bike or blow by you on the run and you're wearing $300 worth of high end running just look like a douche.

- Thou shall be considerate of others in transition areas
When you set up a triathlon or duathlon transition area, ALL you need is shoes (ruining and or cycling), hat/visor, sunglasses, bike, helmet, water bottles and towel. The stool to sit on for changing or the bucket of water to clean your feet in (that is my personal fave, wanna see me go ballistic then set that up beside my bike...I dare you) is unnecessary and once again makes you look like a noob/douche. Not to mention, we're ALL trying to fit as many bikes as we can into that small rack space...all your crap can take up the size of another person's bike/gear

- Thou shalt look around for other people
Look, wear an iPod if you want, sing out loud or crochet for all I spent the money and its your race too but how about you keep your head on a swivel and keep an eye out for other racers. You ARE NOT the only person trying to grab a water and the water station and for God's sake you are not running by yourself when you spit or snot rocket!!!

-Thou shan't be "chatty Cathy" at a race with someone you don't know
Realize that if I'm not responding to everything you ask or every funny thing or observation (or at least you think is funny) you make...I am not "grumpy" or an "asshole". I'm trying to focus on my personal checklists and on the task at hand trying to make sure that all that time and money I spent training for the event isn't going to waste because I don't have my head on straight. Come find me AFTER we the race is over and I'll be happy to chat about how it went.

Well, I guess that's 7 and not 10...oopsie. I just had to get that out after this past weekend's race. That behavior really bakes my beans. In really boils down to 1 key respective of other racers.

Yes, I know I'm gonna catch hell from people that say I'm being mean (a former twitter flame war referring to one of my fiends being the "mean girl" when it came to saying that only fit girls should wear booty shorts and even then its on a case by case basis...of which I totally agree by the way) comes to mind but I think as newbies race more they'll get bothered by people the same way i/we do.

What's your take? Any behavior I missed? Wanna weigh in?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Never underestimate a good night's sleep!

I think all of us can agree that the key to getting leaner, stronger and staying fit is a good night's sleep. Not just sleep..but RESTFUL sleep. If you follow me or know me at all you know that I am not normally a 8-10 hours of sleep kinda of guy. Which means that the sleep I do get HAS to be restful. Throw in my training schedule, work schedule all my prior injuries and the fact that on average I get 4-6 hours sleep...I do anything and everything I can to make those hours count. So imagine my delight when the box on the left showed up at my door (yes, that is Dr. Scholl's, I know most of us equate them to foot stuff but they're in the sleep system game now).

Now yes, there are LOTS of pillows, pillow tops for beds and mattresses guaranteed to help you get a good nights sleep. But, I happen to know this pillow because they're the official supplier to the professional cycling team Liquigas Cannondale! Now if pro cyclists think their products work, the I'm totally down to try them out.

Technogel's technology is designed to mold around your head which means pressure is then evenly distributed along the entire pillow in order to make your head/neck more comfortable which equates to a more restful sleep. In addition, the top of the pillow is covered in grooved gel covering which is designed to provide better air pass through and keep your pillow literally "as cool as the other side of the pillow". Because we all have different preferences for pillows, they make three different types to choose from: deluxe, anatomic, contour and they've even made a travel sized pillow! even a travel pillow. I'd suggest you hit their visit their Pillow Selector page, put in your preferences (i.e. sleep on your back/side, like bigger pillows etc) and see which pillow they say is best for you. I put in all my info and the selector popped out the contour pillow.

Now my problem has always been getting to sleep. I toss and turn trying to calm down from the day's events and trying to get into that perfect position to be able to nod of into la-la land. I was giddy when my contour pillow arrived. in the box above. Now color me surprised at how heavy the box was. I figured there must be some type of manual or something on how to use the pillow but after opening the box and pulling out the pillow...its the gel....duh! Couldn't have been perfect timing either because I was just getting home from work and needed a nap before eating dinner and hitting the gym. I through the pillow into a pillow case and laid down for a quick nap...which lasted 5 hours!!!!!

The pillow was unbelievably comfortable and I really like the "cooling sensation" of the gel. I often have to put a cold wash cloth on my forehead to "cool down" but the pillow did the trick. I primarily sleep on my back and the "contour" of the contour pillow gave my neck great support too!I kid you not when I say I fall asleep wicked quick when my head hits this pillow. I've now begun to pack it with me when I go on travel or am crashing at a friend's house after a long run/ride. You can find out more about the pillows on Technogel's site. The pillows aren't cheap but I will tell you can have mine when you pry it from my dead cold hands! I love this thing and I'm not giving mine up anytime soon! And...and...and...since the pillows is so awesome...I get to offer one up to a lucky blog reader!!! Just tell me what you think about the pillow, what you do to help yourself get to sleep AND/OR tweet about this review and use the hastag #technogel and you're entered to win. A winner will be randomly selected by a number generator on the 30th of march and can go to the site to pick out a pillow of their very own. Awesome right?! Get to commenting and tweeting!

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.