Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Timex Global Trainer GPS Watch

I was not a GPS fan. Too much money, I thought. I already have a watch, I thought. Mine works fine. Well, I'm here to tell you today that I've been converted.

I'm talking about the new Global Trainer GPS watch from Timex. We got these watches in the store a couple of months ago and in that time I've been testing them. Well, now I'm completely spoiled by it. This watch is pretty dang cool! Here are a few points I'd like to throw out there:

1. The watch is big. There's no getting around it. But, even with the large size I never noticed it while I ran with it. It feels almost like my regular 30 lap Timex (which we also sell) and I have skinny wrists.

2. The watch is a little bit larger than the new Garmins because it will display so much information on one screen. You can customize that screen with just about anything from elevation to speed & distance.

3. It also have multi-sport functions for all you triathletes out there who want to transition into the swim, but can't take your Garmin. The Timex Global Trainer is water resistant.

4. We carry just the GPS watch or GPS watch that also includes a heart rate monitor.

There are a lot of other features in the watch which would keep me typing all day. But for someone who is not tech saavy and has never owned a GPS system for my car let alone one that I could wear on my wrist, I have to say, I'm having a ball with this one. It's hard for me to leave the house on a run without it. I've taken it on trips and used it when I stepped out of a hotel room. I've hiked with it and done beach runs with it. I've even been lost back in unfamiliar neighborhoods and utilized the compass functions to get back on the right track.

I will warn you a bit after you purchase one, though, that it takes the watch a couple minutes to link up to the satellite or whatever. We had a customer come in to tell us that they "couldn't get the GPS to work." I'll assure you, it works. One little tip: I usually set the watch out on my front steps or near a window and then go and get dressed for the run and when I'm finished lacing up my running shoes the watch is ready to go, too.

I know, I know, some of you will say that it's expensive ($300 and up), but Christmas is coming up, right?

This post is not so much for those people who are happy with their GPS watches. It's more for those folks who have never owned one or are on the hunt for something different.

I would recommend coming into the store one of these days and trying one on. I have a feeling you won't want a regular watch after that.

Ok, well, I'm going for a run...turning on watch....setting out on porch....and out the door. How far should I go?....

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Dexter "Ironman" Pepperman

There is so much to say about my first Ironman experience, but I will try to sum it up in a few brief paragraphs. The mornings leading up to the swim were cool with temperatures in the 60s, and I was hoping this was going to be true on race day. Unfortunately that would not be the case. Temperatures were already in the high 70s at start time and overall it was the hottest race day on record for Louisville with a heat index of 105 degrees on the run. But more on the run later. First off, the swim.

The swim section, which I dreaded the most, ended up being my most enjoyable swim in the past nine months. We lined up and waited nervously, and when it was time to go I felt like a soldier getting ready to jump out of a plane into combat. As we approached the dock, the volunteers were yelling "Go! Go! Go!" nonstop, making us jump in practically on top of each other to start the race. After that initial chaos, the rest of the swim was smooth sailing. At one point I felt so at peace because no one was around me....I realized why when I was approached by a kayaker who told me I was way off course. Oops. Guess that explains the peacefulness. Once I got regrouped, it was almost time for the bike.

I felt great in the saddle at the outset, and although I had a predetermined pace of 17mph the first 20 felt so effortless that I was averaging 21 mph. The bike course was hilly and challenging; on mile 25 we entered a bowl, and going down I reached speeds of 35 to 40 mph! This was crazy because it was an out and back in the bowl on a very narrow road, so there were bikes only a few feet away whizzing by from the opposite direction. Fortunately there were no accidents that I could see, but one wrong move could've taken out a lot of riders. Overall the bike was a lot of fun, and the volunteers and crowd support were the best I've ever encountered on a bike ride (though I did hear later that they ran out of water). With 12 miles to go I felt confident I could put together a good marathon, as miraculously nothing hurt yet. I finished the bike feeling strong and eager to hit the pavement on foot.

In the transition area I quickly changed into my Run For Your Life singlet and took off. I was shocked by how fresh I felt, and I think that being strict and sticking to my nutrition plan kept me in great condition going into the run. By mile 4 I had passed well over 60 people, and I'm pleased to say that I was never passed on the run. (Unfortunately, it was a bit distressing to see that some people weren't faring as well as me. The run course resembled a battlefield with people collapsed all over and ambulances flying by up and down the street. The heat seemed to be taking its toll.) This was a two-lap marathon course, which worked wonders in terms of crowd support because people could stay in the same spot and see you four times. In addition, I saw other folks from Charlotte who were in the race and we were able to encourage each other at every passing. Before I knew it, the race was almost over. Approaching the finish line was one of the most exciting experiences of my life! I remember seeing Lance Leo, a Charlotte Ironman coach, and he encouraged me to finish strong. From there I was all smiles, just absorbing all the cheering and high fives as I ran down the finishers' aisle.

It's difficult not to be biased because my experience through the whole thing was amazing, but I highly recommend Louisville ironman to everyone considering that kind of distance. It was a fun town and a truly unforgettable experience. Huge thanks to God for giving me the strength to get through all this, to all my friends and training partners at Run For Your Life, and to my wife for being all over the course for 12 hours and giving me a crucial piece of gum at mile 14. Thank you all for your help in making me an Ironman.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


"It's always Nuun somewhere." --Meagan Nedlo.

Now that temperatures are pushing 100 and runners are just beginning their training for fall marathons we wanted to again emphasize the need for proper hydration during your workouts. Run For Your Life has introduced a new electrolyte replacement product from Seattle-based NUUN (pronounced noon). Here is a quick description from the company:

Nuun is:

--nuun comes in a tough tube that is water resistant and perfect for carrying in your hand, bike jersey, pack…wherever. 1 tube = 6 litres (1.5 gallons)

balanced--we spent years researching the levels of electrolytes needed for the product to be absorbed the quickest and to provide optimal salt balance to prevent cramping and maximize hydration.

refreshing--designed for the active palate, nuun’s got a light flavour that’s not overwhelming when you’re on the go. if you’ve ever watered down sports drinks because they’re too strong, then you’ve made them less easy to absorb; this ultimately defeats the purpose of using them. some call the nuun taste ‘tart’ and that’s probably the best description we’ve found yet, other than ‘just right’!

simple--a bottle of water, 1 nuun per 500ml (~16oz) … doesn’t matter where you are, how windy it is, how much space you’ve got – drop in nuun and you’re good to go.

no energy--nuun has no carbohydrate. we did this for two reasons:

1) your choice - we believe that you are the best one to manage your carb intake. gels? bars? bananas? pretzels and fruit? your call. we’re all different so what’s right for you isn’t right for us. combining hydration and energy as all other sports drinks do is therefore counter-intuitive to us. we believe you should have the choice on how to refuel.

2) more product - sugar (the carb) is big and bulky. adding even small amounts of sugar bulks up the tabs and results in less drink. if you’re like us, you want a product that actually lasts and goes the distance for a ride/run…so there’s no sugar.

no powder--how much powder to use? where’s the scoop? lost the bottle to measure out the liquid? where to put the trash? windy conditions? not with nuun – 1 tab per 500ml/~16oz.

not fizzy--nuun is an effervescent so that it dissolves quickly and ends up properly mixed (no need for you to shake). but once dissolved, it’s not fizzy…it’s flat.

in the gym--gyms are notorious for draining you out. nuun’s been great for our friends who visit gyms regularly. by the way, you should know the dangers of not cleaning out bottles after they’ve been filled with sugar solutions. nuun’s lack of sugar means you just need to rinse out your bottle and you won’t come back to a furry biochemical disaster next time you open your bag, which we think is rather clever.

bike and run--this is where it started. going out on long rides and refueling half way meant rummaging through the convenience store; often settling for something we’d never heard of, or just going with water. with nuun you start out with the same drink you finish with, and know that on rides off the beaten track, you have a serious electrolyte hydration source and something that works for you.

in the pool--perfect for lap swimming and now used by several swim groups and instructors we know. hydration is critical while swimming, but given the length of the workout, energy isn’t as important during the exercise. nuun’s focus on total hydration in a portable format (nestled in your bag) is perfect, especially for sea and lake swims.

on the trails--you’re purposely not near convenience stores and often away for days. powders are difficult to carry and horrible to use in windy conditions. Just use your water filter to refill, drop in the nuun tablet.


I haven't been as disciplined about staying properly hydrated as some folks. I usually forget to drink enough water before my run and I certainly don't do well with hydration drinks. One of my biggest issues is that I've become accustomed to drinking sugary fluids like Gatorade or Powerade (I love an ice-cold bottle of orange Gatorade).

I've tried Gu Brew, I've tried HEED but both powders didn't taste very well especially when the water that they were mixed in became warmer.

Dexter and I had the opportunity to sit down with the NUUN rep. and have a tasting session with the stuff. It was kind of like wine tasting except there was no old-world decor, no oak barrels and no bucket to spit into. I got to sample all of the flavors and was pleasantly surprised. I would say, right now, my favorite flavors are Orange Ginger and Kona Cola and although NUUN isn't as sweet as some of the drinks I've had in the past it is definitely refreshing.

One of the best features for me was the fact that there was no "powder packet." I didn't have to buy a tub or individual servings that I usually spill all around my bottle. I just took the little plastic tube and when I was ready, just dropped in the little tablet and watched it dissolve.

The company says that NUUN isn't fizzy, but I found that there is still a slight bubbly feel when the water hits your mouth which makes it even more refreshing.

Finally, the most important feature is the electrolyte replacement. I've used NUUN on several runs, my swim workouts and hiking. Because it's been so hot and I've sweated buckets, I never felt sluggish or as fatigued after finishing off some NUUN.

Stay tuned for reviews from Dexter

Friday, July 9, 2010

Orthaheel Sandals

The Orthaheel WAVE

Now that summer is in full swing we wanted to let you know about a footwear product that will make your head spin and your eyes bug out. Or...keep your feet cool and comfortable; post-race or just walking around town. They're Orthaheel Sandals! We're carrying a pretty full selection of styles and colors at Run For Your Life. Here's what our Orthaheel rep, Jordan Kinley had to say about them:

Our feet were designed to walk on soft, natural surfaces like soil and sand. Yet today we spend most of our time standing, walking and running on unnatural, hard surfaces.

This loss of our "footprint" has resulted in a variety of pain and injuries affecting not just the feet, but the entire body. These unyielding surfaces force our feet to pronate (roll over) to gain ground contact, which flattens the arches and can disrupt normal knee function and hip alignment and increase pressure on lower back muscles.

More about Orthaheel:

  • Podiatrist-designed, clinically proven orthotic support
  • Tri-Planar Motion Control system for essential support and stability
  • Flexible and lightweight construction
  • Supported by our Walk Pain Free Guarantee
Orthaheel products are ideal for:
  • Heel pain and plantar fasciitis
  • Moderate to excessive pronation
  • Complementary orthotic treatment
  • Shock-absorbing support and stability
  • Low- and high-performance athletes

I stopped wearing flip-flop-type sandals about a year and a half ago because I couldn't find one that really supported my foot the way I needed. I would spend hours walking around in them, but in the end my feet, knees, and back would be aching. Part of the problem was the lack of arch support and the fact that they were too soft.

Enter Orthaheel.

I put them to the test by wearing them for an entire day at work--on my feet all day. And they passed the test.

First of all, they're not too soft and squishy. They provide the right amount of cushion while still providing structure and support. Second, the arch is amazing in this sandal--almost like wearing a great fitting running shoe. I also liked the textured footbed to help keep my foot from slippin' around too much (I use them in the garden, too). The straps of the sandal also stay up and formed so that even when they get wet you can still slide your foot in easily.

If I had to find something I didn't like about them it would be that they are just a bit narrow. But with that being said, the width issue is not nearly enough for me to not like these things.

I've worn Reefs and Rainbows (in fact, I used to live down the street from the Rainbow Sandal factory) and neither of those brands were as comfortable as Orthaheel.

Stay tuned for reviews from Dexter and Beth.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The New Balance 759

Don't Dexter's legs look nice.

And now a word from New Balance representative, Mike Moran:

The 759 is our latest neutral trainer built on our Acteva Light Midsole to provide a light, responsive, cushioned ride.

The 759 was given a hyper focus on the internal construction to achieve our best midfoot fit to date and unwavering security with in the upper. Building off of the success of the 758, we have left alone what should remain consistent, and significantly improved the over-the-foot-feel through material modernity and construction. The fit improvements of the PL-1 last are achieved at a greater degree through discerning construction and relentless design insight, overlay placement and suppleness--we use the term "deconstructed upper". This is one of the most supple uppers you will find in a running shoe. The toe cap is just one of many major improvements on this shoe as it is incredibly soft and plush.

When we received the 759 I was indifferent about trying them because New Balance has typically not been the best of road shoes for me in the past. I wore New Balance when I first started running, but over the last couple years haven't found a pair that has worked for me (this excludes trail shoes because New Balance is the only trail shoe I wear). So as I slipped them on I was really surprised by the great improvements they've made with the 759.

The first thing I noticed was the cushion. It felt as soft as any shoe we had (I compare it to a bag of marshmallows that have been packed together--you know, when they have been pressed together to form a big blob, but are still very soft); almost too cushioned for the $95 price point we sell it at. Also, the fit has been greatly improved with the rounded toe box--getting rid of the pointy, narrow toe box they had in the old version. In the past, the arch in the shoe seemed non-existent, but that seems to have been remedied by the cushion in the foot bed so now it contours to the arch better. The overall shoe, to me, has been a great fit all around. So good, in fact, that I haven't taken them off since receiving them 5 days ago. The 759 is a neutral shoe and a great one for training in. Its light weight and overall plushness made my 6-mile, 8-minute-pace run fun and enjoyable. My theory is: the less I think about the shoe and my legs and feet during the run, the better I know the shoe works.


A few people I know didn't like the previous version of this shoe, but for some reason I did. The toe box was very spacious (which I love), but the mid-foot wrapped my foot pretty comfortably. At the time, I had to wear a Superfeet insole to give me a little arch support though. But that was the past...

I pretty much like everything about this new version. The sockliner cradles my foot so nicely and although the arch is still a little lower than I would like it's still not bad for me. Folks with a medium height arch will probably love it. The toe box remains roomy enough for my wide forefoot without feeling sloppy. The mid-foot wraps my foot like the old pair--snug, not tight, but now it seems to have a more plush feel. And I know this is going to sound crazy to some, but I really like that this shoe isn't loaded down with a lot of unnecessary EVA foam and with that said, it still feels very cushioned. It's light and simple which is why I'm diggin' it so much.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Saucony Kinvara

The new Kinvara has finally arrived here at Run For Your Life. The Kinvara from Saucony is the "minimalist" answer to the Nike Free. It's built on a soft bed of EVA foam, very little rubber on the outsole and a thin mesh upper. We're carrying a nice variety of colors for men and women and would love it if you could come on into the store and try a pair on. Here's what Ben and Dexter had to say about it:

What I liked immediately about the shoe was how light it was. It's not quite as light as a racing flat, but seems pretty close. The upper and sock liner really cradled my foot nicely, but with that being said, I have a fairly wide forefoot and so the Kinvara seemed like it wasn't quite wide enough. Still, though, it didn't fit tight; I'm assuming because of the thin mesh. I also liked the arch support which seems to be pretty synonymous with Saucony. I pronate slightly so it wouldn't be a shoe that I could wear for extra long runs. Overall, it's an extremely comfortable shoe.

When I compare it to the Nike Free, I liked the cushion and arch support more. The cushion is a lot softer and the midsole wrapped my foot like a slipper. I have a narrower foot so the Kinvara was perfect for me. It might be a little heavier than the Free but you don't notice it. I tend to pronate a little as well, but that didn't seem to be a problem in the Kinvara.