Monday, May 23, 2016

Summer Vacation: Packing A Bicycle for Your Destination

Bikes on Boats and other vacation destinations.
May is Bike Month and Bike to Work Week. While this month has focused much on commuter cyclists, summer is on the way and time to consider ways to take your wheels on vacation. In fact with a little advanced planning, you may be able to use bicycle power to see the sights at your get-away destination. Cycling is also a great way to stay fit and exercise while on vacation so you can accomplish two objectives in one: transportation and aerobic fitness. Here are a few tips and tricks taken from my many vacation travels by land and by sea:

Paddle-boarding with a Hobie Mirage sailboat in the background.

Bikes on Boats
The June Edition of Sail Magazine has a very good article entitled Bikes on Boats by Brian Flanagan. While I applaud Brian for tacking this sometimes tricky subject with aplomb, I can make a few more useful suggestions over his. First of all Brian shows how to break down a full sized bicycle. My experience is that when you are on vacation, anything that even smacks of tedious work is going to tank. When I sailed to Nantucket during my tour of New England a few years back, I noticed that the local Ferry was large enough to accommodate full sized bicycles (beach cruisers even) as many people had them aboard. 

Check to see if your vacay destination has bike rentals available.

Once we arrived on Nantucket Island, there was a bicycle rental depot available. My point? Check ahead to see what your vacation spot has to offer. You may be able to rent rather than pack a bicycle for your trip.

Folding bike on the Hudson at Chelsea Piers, NYC.

Folding Bicycles Make Great Vacation Rides
Another alternative to a full sized bicycle is a "foldy" or folding bicycle. I covered bringing my own folding bicycle vs renting a CitiBike to tour NYC which you may read HERE. A folding bicycle such as the 25 lb Greenzone lightweight aluminum alloy model shown above at Chelsea Piers, NYC is perfect for boarding smaller crafts and sailboats. My folding bike came with a zippered carry bag, compact enough to stow below or in the ship's cockpit locker. 

Boarding for a sail with a Citizen Barcelona folding bike. 

So to travel with either a folding bicycle or full sized model, be sure to pack it in a soft shell carry bag such as the one shown below. A soft or cloth bike bag takes up much less space and is more easily packed in small storage spaces such as those found on board sailboats and other water-craft. 


Greenzone Folding Bike has a built in bag rack.

You can also store a bicycle chain, wet wipes and a helmet with the bicycle, keeping everything together in one place. To see more Green Zone Folding Bicycle models, visit online.

An example of a soft shelled bicycle bag.
Scooting the Issue
Another cool idea is to bring along a folding kick scooter. These are even smaller, hence easier to pack and carry. I've even taken them on the Greenway along Hudson River Park. The best are the Razor Scooters which fold down very flat and work well on paved roadways as well as sidewalks. Once again they are space-friendly alternatives to full sized bicycles and offer a fun way to get around your ports of call. I've even gone shopping with an adult kick scooter, placing my tote bag on the handlebars. Since there is no storage, plan your day's travel with a backpack. Visit NYCE Wheels, NYC online for a full selection of folding bicycles and scooters.

Razor A5 Adult Kick Scooter



Xooter Adult Kick Scooter has larger wheels.


Monday, April 18, 2016

Posturing for Success Opedix Blade Tec Shirt and & Hoka One One Vanquish 2 Shoes

Opedix Women's Blade Tec 2.0 and Hoka Vanquish 2 Women's Road Shoes
Now that Marathon season is officially underway, I am testing new gear this spring to help give me an edge out on the road. I recently took a run in some very high tech compression tights by Opedix and you can read my full review HERE
I promised you a review of the tights' counterpart top, the Blade Tec 2.0 V-Neck. So here we go:

More/Shape Women's Half Marathon in Central Park
Why Posture Counts
Our posture is very important not only in weight training (which I think the Blade Tec Top is perfect for by the way) but also for running. Why? Well, if your posture is poor, your lungs are not going to be able to inflate and expand to maximum capacity. That means much less oxygen uptake when you need it the most.

Opedix Blade Tec helps align muscles for optimum posture

The Opedix Blade Tec Shirt acts like an active exoskeleton in helping to keep your muscles aligned for perfect running posture. I found this top to be pretty easy to get on as compression-wear goes. It is cool and comfortable as I was running in 70 degree weather. The material has good wicking action but did get a bit steamy under the arms. The best part is the silicon elastic along the bottom of the shirt. It stayed in place for my entire run which is almost unheard of. No need to pull down or adjust, as the back of the shirt is made a little longer than the front. 

Opedix Blade Tec Shirt is quick drying.

Easy to wash and quick drying, this shirt looks and feels great, giving you a gentle reminder to stand up straight. I really like the V-neck styling as this shirt looks great as well as being functional. See all the Opedix Kinetic Health Gear online at Opedix.com

Fun in the sun in the Opedix Blade Tec 2.0.
Hoka One One Vanquish 2 Road Shoes
I ran a lot of miles including quite a few races last year in my Hoka One One Vanquish Shoes. So I am familiar with this style and what it can do on both hard roadways and graveled trails. I have to say that the Vanquish 2 does well on packed gravel trails - my primary running terrain. They are super comfortable and I've not had a problem with painful joints or achilles tendons as when I tried a barefoot style of running shoe. You can read about that "barefoot" experience HERE.

Hoka One One's Vanquish 2's
Vanquish 2's Of course you will have to try a few different brands to see what works for you specifically. I used to wear Reebok fitness shoes especially at the gym and for aerobic's classes. However, they didn't seem to be the best shoe for running. So brand loyalty shouldn't prevent you from experimenting to find the best shoe for the job. Hoka's are known for their uber thick soles which to someone transitioning from thinner ones may feel like running in platforms! I personally didn't feel quite that way. In fact I've seen my times and fitness levels improve quickly running in Hokas.

Hokas + Opedix Compression Tights

Getting the Right Fit
I find that the Hoka One One collection runs true to size. I usually wear low profile wool blend running socks so the best thing is to take the socks you run in to the store with you. This will give you a better idea of how the shoes will fit and be less of a break in. This also includes any additional orthodics or innersoles, if any, used in your current shoes. Hokas are made to optimize the best running posture which is striking heel first. Studies have shown that women who run that way have almost no soft tissue injuries or shin splints as opposed to striking the ball of the foot first. I've made this conscious adjustment and have found it to be less stressful overall.

Race Day for me means wearing a pair of running shoes 1/2 size larger than usual. This is because while running, your feet naturally swell a bit. You also may be wearing a slightly thicker sock to go the distance so having a little extra room in the foot bed is going to mean less stress on your feet and toenails (be sure to give them a trim before racing). Check out all of the current Hoka One One athletic shoes online at HokaOneOne.com





Monday, April 11, 2016

Race Week Rituals and Training Table Must Haves

Last minute additions and prep during Race Week.
Marathon Season has begun! The week of a major race is always stressful. I try to keep a lot of it at bay by backing off my training, (at least running anyway), a bit to rest and be ready for the demands a 10k or half marathon will place on my body.

Running in the More/Shape Women's Half Marathon in Central Park
Keep in mind that I am running my next half marathon again (The More/Shape Women's Half Marathon), as an embedded journalist so I'm not watching the clock as I did for the Run10FEED10 10k. All the same, it can be a long day so here are some of my race week rituals and training table inclusions:


A clean road shoe is a happy road shoe.
Come Clean - Running Shoe Scrub Off
Whatever shoes I chose to race in deserve a little freshening up the week of the race. I use an old toothbrush and a few foamy puffs of Sno-Seal Shoe & Boot Foaming Cleanser. The dispenser gives you billowy clouds that don't soak your shoes to death. A little scrubbing and then turn them upside down for a quick rinse off. I let them air dry and they are sparkling gorgeous for race day. Works on leather trim and leather shoes too. Visit Atsko.com for this and other shoe care/cleaners.


Hoka One One Running shoes air drying after a scrub.

Keeping Your Cool
I also make sure to eat a sufficient amount of anti-inflammatory foods during race week. This includes salmon, mackerel, sardines, sweet potatoes, beet juice and omega 3 fatty acid supplements. I also include a little grass fed, free range, red meat which boosts iron, B-12 and CLA's levels not to mention high quality protein my muscles will need. Muscle soreness is not something I look forward to so a few extra ounces of salmon can make all the difference in the world.


Fresh salmon marinated in lemon juice.

Going Nuts
Nuts are a powerhouse of protein and good fats your body will need for race day. You don't need a lot but 1/4 cup of nuts or 49 pistachios (which are actually seeds) constitute a serving. I like roasted cashews, pistachios and raw pecans especially. I get a bag and store them in the fridge for extra freshness and crunchiness. Natural nuts keep better at cooler temps so I keep dry roasted seeds like these pistachios from Setton Farms refrigerated.


I go a bit nuts during race week.

Hydrate Powerfully
Race Week for me includes fruit and vegetable smoothies, coconut water and of course pure water all day everyday. As I mentioned before, I have been adding Beet Root Juice to the mix for extra endurance and will most likely use it just before the race itself. Another find has been Nitro Decimus Powder. 0 sugars but has a respectable amino acid profile and creatine blend. Spiked with caffeine though in amounts they don't want to disclose...not good! 

Invo Coconut Water Sencha Green Tea is straight up, natural. Nothing sweet about it. Only thing is it must be consumed within 24 hours of opening. See all the flavors at Invo-Juice.com


Invo Coconut Water and Decimus Blasting Powder

Race Day Goodies to Go
Macrobar - Are you like me and SO over high sugared energy bars and glucose gels that taste like chemicals in your mouth? Join the club! I'm really liking the GoMacro Macrobar, especially their Everlasting Joy bar with real coconut, almond butter and chocolate chips. These are NOT super sweet which I appreciate because stuff like that gives me a stomach ache...something no one wants to run with. Each bar gives you 10 grams of protein for your trouble. Soy free, vegan, gluten free and just plain delicious. See all their varieties at GoMacro.com

Pistachio Chewy Bites - These portable powerhouses are loaded with over 50% pistachios and contain cranberries. The two together make for a serious antioxidant double whammy in a very portable size. Grab and go, these are the perfect size for me just before a run as a full sized meal or protein bar would be best eaten after the race. Check them out along with their sacks of pistachios at SettonFarms.com


Pistachio Chewy Bites and GoMacro Macrobar
So just like cramming for an exam, feed your body right especially the week before a major endurance event. You'll be so glad you did!


My race week training table picks.