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The Lake Hodges Trail Fest: One more step towards realizing dreams

Friends and Family,

As most, if not all, of you know by now this year has held some huge changes for me. At the end of 2011, I put in my notice at the San Diego Running Institute and by the end of January I was officially without a job and heading in to full on self-employment or bust mode. My mission was to realize a dream of mine to be able to support Carrie and myself while meeting three very important goals I have set for myself:

  1. Do something I truly enjoy.
  2. Be free from the constraints of a boss and work schedule.
  3. Give back to the community around me.

The first step towards realizing my goals is almost here. On June 23rd I will host my first event, the SoCal Wine Country Women’s Half Marathon and 5K, in Temecula, CA. The response to this event has been more than I dreamed of when I first put the idea together and it has been a very reassuring sign that I am on the right path. With the race coming up I’m getting more and more nervous and excited about race day.

The second step towards realizing these three goals is the one that I am the most passionate about. With the introduction of the Lake Hodges Trail Fest coming this October I am able to not only do something I love but, more importantly help give back to the community that has given me so much. The Lake Hodges Trail Fest serves as a fundraiser for Outdoor Outreach, an amazing non-profit based here in San Diego. Outdoor Outreach’s mission is to empower at-risk and underprivileged youth to make positive lasting changes in their lives through comprehensive outdoor programming.

Imagine growing up within a few miles of the Pacific Ocean and never having seen the beach. What would it be like to have no idea what the world holds beyond the few block radius around your neighborhood? When I was introduced to endurance sports it began a transformation in who I am as a person. Through my continued exploration of the outdoors, I not only learn more about the environment and world around me, but more about myself as a human being. There is nothing I want more than to be able to share that feeling and inspire that continued growth in others.

So the Lake Hodges Trail Fest is more than just another step towards me realizing my dreams it’s a starting point for others to begin realizing their’s as well.

Want to make a small donation to help Outdoor Outreach? You don’t have to run the race, just stop over at our fundraising page and donate whatever you can afford. Even a couple dollars can be what it takes to help someone gain an greater understanding of themselves and the world around them.

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Check This Out – SLS3 Compression Day Sleeves

I’ve been wearing SLS3 compression sox and tri kit for about 2 years, including through Silverman Full last November. I’ve really liked the quality of their gear, especially the Compression Sox and Sleeves. For the past year I’ve been running primarily trails and have found that I do best with Injinji socks so I’ve had to set aside the SLS3 Compression Sox. However, the calf sleeves have been a staple for me.

The thing I’ve liked most is the level of compression. SLS3 boasts 20-30 mmHg of graduated compression which is the most I’ve been able to find. These things hold my calves SOLID. They’ve essentially eliminated my calf cramping issues and, when running hills and sprints, I’ve had zero problems with strains. The other great thing about the Compression Sleeves is the use of polypropylene instead of nylon. Polypropylene absorbs 300% less water than nylon, therefore allowing you to wear the sleeves under your wetsuit without worrying about them being water logged for the rest of the race. I’ve done this for a hand ful of OLY and 1/2 IM distance races with great success.

The only problem I have had with the original Compression Sleeve is they can be difficult to get off. The high level of compression extends all the way from tip to tip of the sleeve and make the cuffs pretty tight. Well SLS3 read my mind and just released the Compression Day Sleeve.

From talking to Sebastian, co-owner of SLS3, they’ve maintained the level of compression with a better, longer lasting material. In my mind the greatest upgrade in the new sleeve is the cuffs. They’ve created a more forgiving top and bottom band that allows for a much easier time putting the sleeves on and taking them off.

I’ve put these through 3 or 4 runs on the trails in Tecolote Canyon. There are plenty of short steep hills through there and it’s a good test to see how my calves would react to the new sleeves. I’ve gotta agree with Sebastian, the compression is still there! My biggest reason for compression gear is the reduced muscle vibration and these guys provide that to the Nth degree.

So if possible, SLS3 has taken a huge proponent of their gear and made me even happier. If you are looking for calf sleeves, I highly recommend checking out the new SLS3 Compression Day Sleeve. I would recommend going for the black though if you are going to be using them on trails.


Check This Out – The Honey Stinger Waffle

One of the best benefits of my job is the chance to indulge my inner geek by seeing the latest endurance sports related products to hit the market as well as those that haven’t come out yet. I’m not as big a gear junkie as some people I know but I do love new stuff, especially when it’s something different or just a great improvement to an existing product.

With that in mind I’d like to use this blog as a way to introduce you to some products I really like as well as things that might be coming out soon that you might be interested in. Hopefully, you’ll find these reviews useful and perhaps I can introduce you to some new things that can spice up your running, swimming or cycling.

To start it off, I’m going to expand on something I have already written about on my blog for the San Diego Running Institute, the newest addition to the product line from Honey Stinger.

I started using the Honey Stinger Gels and Chews last year sometime, the natural flavoring had me hooked after the first time I sampled them. For the gels I stick with the Gold and Ginsting and if you like honey, there’s no reason you won’t like these.  The difference between the two is that the Ginsting has caffeine, always nice to save these ones for later in the run. The packaging is a little bigger than some of the other gels out there, so if you don’t use a flask just be prepared when you squeeze the whole thing in your mouth that you’ll get more than you are used to.

The Chews are without question the best tasting entry to the energy gummy market that I have found. I’ve tried just about everything out there from the various companies and none of them come close to matching the flavoring of the Honey Stinger Chews. That is the biggest thing that sets them apart from the competitors out there. While some products can taste chemically or “factory made” (not sure if that makes sense to anyone else but you know when you can almost taste the machinery something was made on…ick), these taste like those natural flavoring gummy candies I loved when I was a kid. Other than the taste, Honey Stinger did a great job with the size and consistency. Nothing worse than a chew that takes up your whole mouth and is too hard to chew!

Anyway, enough of singing the praises of their other products lets get to the newest addition to the line! The Honey Stinger Waffle!!! Yes, I like exclamation points and you will probably get sick of seeing them on this blog (along with poor grammar, terrible punctuation, excessive use of “…”, and unjustified use of parentheses), but these things deserve the exclamation overload. They are THAT good. Now, let me be honest, I haven’t had a chance to use them on a ride or run yet but they taste amazing! Now let’s delve into just what they are.

The Honey Stinger Waffle was a suggestion by new part-owner Lance Armstrong. They are based on the Stroopwafel, or syrup waffle, which originated in the Netherlands. It’s two layers of baked batter with syrup, or in this case honey, between the layers. These are used frequently in Europe by cyclists as they fit easily into a cycling jersey pocket, taste great, and give you the energy and calories you need during long bouts of exercise. Honey Stinger stayed true to these requirements and totally knocked this out of the park. The packaging fits perfectly into a jersey pocket or easily into your running/hiking pack. Like I said the taste is fantastic so they clearly nailed that one and each waffle has a well balanced mix of nutrition.

The only thing that stood out to me about this product compared to the gels and chews is that it’s not Gluten free. Understandable, because of what it is, but just something to know if you have an allergy or any issues with Gluten.

Again, give these things a try, you won’t be disappointed.

Here are the nutritional specs as well as the ingredients:

Nutrition facts:
Calories: 160
Total Fat: 7g
Sat Fat: 3g
Sodium: 55mg
Total Carb: 21g
Fiber: 1g
Sugars: 14g

Ingredients:
Organic Wheat Flour, organic palm fruit oil, organic rice syrup, organic cane sugar, organic honey, organic whole wheat flour, organic soy flour, sea salt, organic soy lecithin, organic spices, baking soda