Monday, June 11, 2012

Vitargo is not just a gimmick.

A few months ago I was given the opportunity to test out Vitargo S2 which is made by GENr8.

Vitargo is a newer product that I heard about through listening to an interview with Dave Mackey the 2011 Ultrarunner of the Year.  I also heard about it after hearing about from Sunny Blende a sports nutritionist and ultrarunner herself.

I will not even make an attempt to explain the science and nutritional terms behind Vitargo.  I only needed to know one thing would this product help me. 

A link to the product label.

I have suffered miserably with bouts of nausea and violent vomiting through the later stages of the majority of my ultra marathons.  For you completely sane folks out there wondering why I continue with these events it is simply another hurdle for me to overcome and to continue to push my physical limits.  I've experimented with all tried and true methods of hydrating and fueling during ultras but I still have the same issues.

The number one issue seems to be that my stomach begins to stop processing all the fluids I'm ingesting and does not make it to the elimination process.  The sloshing begins and nausea sets in only to be relieved by vomiting all stomach contents.  In turn this leaves me way behind in my hydration and salt intake and I try to play catch up and many times the process is repeated numerous times.  It's not pretty!

So along comes a product called Vitargo that is claimed to be a "Super" carb.  For an in-depth article about the science behind Vitargo please read Sunny Blende's article.

Is this just another gimmick muscle product aimed at gym rats for recovery and now finding its way into the rapidly growing sport of ultrarunning?

My experience tells me it is the real deal and worth testing for yourself.  Do you need this stuff?  Probably not but will you benefit from it?  I believe so and it will be on my race menu for a long time.

So I've used this product now at three big events.

Smokey Mountain Relay
Long Cane 50K
Chattooga River 50K

I did experience my typical problems at Long Cane but I believe this was heat related and I pushed to hard on to little training.

I just finished Chattooga last week and I drank a 20 oz. prepared bottle of Vitargo at mile 17 and another at mile 21.  Each of these bottles contained 280 calories and 70 carbs.  Other than one gel and a few small handfuls of boiled bake potato at the aid stations I ingested no other calories the whole race.  I had energy all race and never got sick and bettered my previous course PR by 1.5 hours.  

The ability to drink this many calories in one bottle during a race is a great benefit to me as solid food is problematic for me.  This is not an electrolyte drink so you still need your Scaps or Endurolytes.

I've had the fruit punch and the grape flavor and like the grape the best.  This product is not cheap but neither are gels if you add up the total for a race.  I like that you can buy this at the local GNC and it comes packaged in a 1.7 pound tub or in individual serving packages.

I recommend this product but if you want to continue to try and stomach huge handfuls of gels all race be my guest.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Why Haeleum?

What is Haeleum?

It is high performance Insect Shield® apparel manufacturer.  Insect Shield technology has been around for a little bit and is used by ExOfficio, Columbia and several other big brands. 

Haeleum comes from the old English root word hael, meaning sound physical condition, protection against attack and deliverance from unfavorable conditions.  

So what is the technology behind an insect repellant shirt?  Insect Shield uses what is called Permethrin, a man-made version of a natural insect repellant that is found in certain Chrysanthemum plants.  This is tightly woven into the fabric of the apparel and is said to last about 70 washings.  I'm not sure any of my running shirts stay around longer than 70 washings anyway so the longevity of the repellant in non-factor.  

I was intrigued by this concept since Haeleum has introduced this technology in performance apparel.  I'm the type of guy who despises the thought of putting on bug spray or sun block, etc.  With that in mind I figured this product was worth putting to the test.  

The folks over at Haeleum were gracious enough to send me one of their shirts for me to test and review.

So I've now been wearing Haeleum's shirt line named Célan off and on for about a month.  I chose the carbon color simply because I'm tired of all the white and other soft colored racing shirts lining my closet. 

Few things noticeable about the shirt.

It does not smell or feel like bug spray.
It has no harmful junk in it like DEET.
It has a very tight and durable feeling weave.

It is hard to test a product like this as you really do not know if you are receiving a placebo effect or an actual positive result from the product.  I have noticed while running in the shirt a serious lack of mosquitoes and gnats pestering on my trail runs.  Horseflys and greenheads seemed kept at bay as well.  Now obviously the wearing of a shirt will not protect you from head to toe but I'm confident this product works as intended.  

The fabric wicks sweat just as any other running shirt does.  The material feels very durable and a bit more resistant to snags and pulls.  I do feel the material may be a slight bit more abrasive feeling than the flimsier running shirts I have.  Guys all this means is play it safe on the long runs and wear some nipple protection!

Now I'm more of a shirtless runner in the North Carolina summer heat but during those times of the day when the insects are at their heaviest I will continue to reach for my Haeleum shirt. 

I do suggest they develop a runners cap or Buff-like product with this technology to give an added bit of protection against the horseflys and greenheads.

I almost forgot to throw in here that the shirt also offers a 50 UPF Sun Protection rating.  

The price point for their products seems very competitive considering the added technology over the standard runners shirt. 

In closing I DO recommend Haeleum products and look forward to many more uses of their products.

Thanks for reading my review of Haeleum now go check them out for yourselves!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Someone to share the trails with...

Over the past three years trail running as become a passion of mine and I run in remote wilderness areas predominately by myself.  I enjoy this solitude and it is was makes running so enjoyable to me.  That aside there is something special about sharing the trails with a four legged companion.  I have run several times with my German Shepherd "Mara" and she has performed well.  Running the long distances I do up and over mountains I desire a lighter and more agile breed that I can train to pace me up those climbs. 

As a professional dog trainer for over 18 years I have come to admire the Border Collie breed for a variety of reasons.  I've always wanted one has a companion but with my years of work as a police K9 trainer and handler my focus was always on the shepherd and malinois breeds. 

My goals for a BC are primarily as a trail dog but also as a demo dog for our work as dog trainers.  I look forward to a new project like this and the look of a happy and obedient BC.  Oh yeah... and I love playing disc with my dogs and the BC is the top breed for this activity!

My search for a BC was not a hard one at all.  A dog training friend in Georgia, Cyndy Douon, has an amazing BC litter arriving soon.  We have anxiously awaited the announcement of this repeat breeding for over a year.  Here is a link to the FB page about the Jiffy Pups

The deposit for a pup went in the mail today and the discussion of names has already begun!  While in Nicaragua a few weeks back we considered several names.  Our preference is for a male puppy but we will be happy regardless. 

The names floating through my head at the moment are...

Nicarao... "Nick or Nicky" for a call name. 

The name Nicaragua comes from a combination of two words, "nicarao" and "agua". The Nicarao are the Indian tribe that were occupying the shores of Lake Nicaragua when the Spaniards arrived in the 1500's. "Agua" is the Spanish word for water.
The Nicarao tribe originally immigrated to Nicaragua from Mexico, after the fall of the Aztec empire. According to legend, the Nicarao were directed to travel south until they found an island with two volcanoes in the middle of a lake. An interesting Nicaragua fact is that the Nicarao tribe found Ometepe Island with two volcanoes in the middle of Lake Nicaragua, realized they had found the promised land, and then setttled on the shores of Lake Nicaragua.  The Nicarao tribe were led by Chief Nicarao.

Ometepe...  "Tepe" for a call name.  (the home of Fuego y Agua ultra marathon)

Ometepe is an island formed by two volcanoes rising from Lake Nicaragua in the Republic of Nicaragua. Its name derives from the Nahuatl words ome (two) and tepetl (mountain), meaning two mountains. It is the largest island in Lake Nicaragua as well as the largest volcanic island inside a fresh water lake in the world.
The two volcanoes, Concepción and Maderas, are joined by a low isthmus to form one island in the shape of an hourglass.