Thursday, April 23, 2015

Q&A with Atlas Race OCR in Kansas City this weekend!

I've got a busy weekend coming up...

Atlas Race OCR on Saturday and Trolley Run on Sunday.

I raced Rock the Parkway a few weeks ago, and still owe a race report.  It turned out good and bad... more to come.

I really have no expectations for the OCR.  I've raced Warrior Dash and Ruckus Run, but they were only 3ish miles.  I signed up for the Ranger which is 7-9 miles.  The distance won't be an issue, but the obstacles will be a challenge with my limited strength work.

I recently had a Q and A session with Atlas Race, so read on for what's to come this weekend.

As you may know, obstacle racing is one of the fastest growing sports on the planet. Participants of all ages and skill level are invited to become a part of the obstacle course race movement in any number of experience categories including individual competitor, team or family entry in an event that inspires everyone’s “inner athlete.” It is a great way for the community to come together, build confidence, and have a positive attitude about health and fitness.

Course types are as follows for the Atlas Race series: “The Ranger”: A course ranging between 7-9 miles with 25+ obstacles “The Boss”: A course ranging between 3-5 miles with 20+ obstacles

Further information, as well as complete schedule of upcoming Atlas races can be found at

Atlas Race is also part of the OCR warrior competition. OCR Warrior is a head-to-head obstacle race reality challenge show, developed by the founders of Mud Run Guide. Every episode, two OCR athletes battle through the knockout rounds to reach the finals, in each venue, only one male and female will be crowned OCR Warrior, and Kansas City will be a part of the series.

On to the Q and A.

Provided By Scott Gephart, Atlas Race

Q: What’s the attendance been like for the first races?
A: Attendance has been good, and nearly what we expected for our first few races. We've been happy, especially going into first year markets, and markets that don't normally get these types of events. The reviews of Atlas have been amazing!

Q: What's Atlas' plan to be sustainable and keep coming back year after year?
A: This is a tough industry. A lot of people think that they are going to come in and do amazingly well right out of the gate. It takes work. Our main road to success is to put on great events, give the race community something that leaves them feeling good about their accomplishment, and establish solid relationships with the towns and communities where we stage our events. By establishing those relationships we are able to create long term partnerships with those communities and increase attendance year over year when we return. We want to continue producing quality events, which means we aren’t looking to produce 40 to 50 races a year. We are planning our growth carefully for longevity.

Q: What made them choose Clinton Lake for the KC race since technically it's 30 miles west of KC?
A: Obstacle races require a certain type of terrain in order to build a course. Most metropolitan areas and cities don't have the type of land needed in order to properly build out a good obstacle race. Clinton Lake was the location that matched our needs to create the best possible event and experience for our race participants. To meet that criteria, many of our event locations are approximately 30 minutes outside of the race city, but naming the race by its closest city helps people to recognize its approximate location.

Q. What is 24 Hour Fitness’s involvement in Atlas Race?
A. Obstacle racing is one of the fastest growing sports. No matter what your athletic level, there is a way to participate. Atlas Race and 24 Hour Fitness have partnered to present the Atlas Race series because we provide programs that are available and accessible to everyone.. 24 Hour Fitness is the perfect partner to inspire new fans that can grow an individual’s fitness experience to the next level. And, as our exclusive partner, 24 Hour Fitness is offering a special 30% race entry discount to members. (The link to the Atlas Race discount offer can be found at - CHECK THIS OUT WHILE THERE IS STILL TIME TO REGISTER ONLINE TO SAVE SOME CASH!)

Q. Course layout map to see what obstacles were placed, where, etc.
A. There is not currently a map online that indicates the obstacles. There will likely be a map available on site the day of the race.

Q. How do we check in? Morning of? Pre-race packet pickup?
A. There are two ways to check in: 1. Packet pick up will be held at the 24 Hour Fitness location in Kansas City. This is the recommended course of action so that members can take advantage of getting a pre-race workout in as well! 2. The day of the event (though this can be chaotic and is not recommended)

Q. Do we have to pay to get in to Clinton Lake State Park? We have raced several events out there and if it’s like the others, they require cash and the lines to get in the park can be LONG and frustrating.
A. Parking is usually a site/park requirement. Atlas Race will make sure to expedite the process in order to insure people aren’t waiting in lengthy lines Editor’s note - Clinton Lake State Park usually has a parking fee and only takes cash. Bring at least $10 in cash or they will not let you in and you will have to go 10 minutes back to Lawrence to the nearest ATM.

Q. When we check out the event info section on the site, the links go to generic parts about teams and non-site specific details. Will an email be coming out soon?
A. Yes, race participants will receive an email in the next 24 hours indicating your start times. We hope the rain comes in during the night as a muddy course is something that people should be excited about and look forward to in the world of obstacle course racing!

Atlas Race Stats/Facts:
  • Number of days it takes to set up the course: It takes 5-7 days to build a course
  • Number of volunteers it takes to set up the course, man the course on days-of-event, etc.: Approximately 10 volunteers to set up and approximately 50 volunteers to handle various responsibilities on the day of the race itself
  • Pounds of weighted items that participants carry/lift: It varies based on the obstacle, however the average weight for men is approximately 40 lbs., women is 20 lbs.
  • Height of the 24HF course obstacle: 10 -12 ft.
  • Bottles of water consumed on race day: 500-750
  • Bottles of other beverages consumed (non-alcoholic, energy drinks, alcohol): 1,000
  • Number of 24HF towels handed out at finish line: 500-1,000
  • Number of participants: Kids: 100 -200, Adults: Event average is 1,000, Teams: 10-15 teams per event
  • Miles of smiles at the finish line: 3,600 miles Average amount of weight in mud that each participant crosses the finish line with: 10 lbs.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

ASICS 33-M Running Shoe from Review

There’s so many ways to go when runners and triathletes are looking for shoes. We’ve tested several makes and models for which many manufacturers produce to address every category dreamt up, and some that have never been thought of until the shoe was made. Not all shoes are the same across a genre, and not all athletes can use just any shoe. Many learn painful lessons that just because a shoe is the latest and greatest and has the highest price tag, it doesn’t mean that’s the magic shoe to end all foot pain and running issues. reached out to us to review their latest “natural” ASICS running shoe, the 33-M. The 33-M is built for the natural running experience to lessen interference from the shoe to the body’s running form, assuming it’s a normal pronation and doesn’t need any work per say. With our test pair, we logged nearly 100 miles over six weeks and you can read on for our take from an everyday age grouper on how the 33-M stacks up in the real world.


  • The 33-M sports the following tech details:
  • 4mm Platform / Drop
  • Solyte Midsole with Amplifoam Layer
  • Comfordry Sockliner
  • Seamless Upper Construction
  • Natural Running Experience / Under and Neutral Pronation
  • Natural 33 - Heel Fit & Toe Box
  • 10.9 oz
  • Heel Height : 24 mm
  • Forefoot Height : 20 mm
  • Durasponge Outsole




At initial glance, the one stand out feature is the actual sole thickness at the rear supporting the 4mm platform drop. If you’re looking to squeeze in a few inches on your online dating profile, the 33-M is your shoe. You might feel as if the ground is a little further away with these bad boys, and you wouldn’t be far from the truth.

Aside from the robust soles, the ASICS 33-M’s we tested were the White / Flash Yellow / Navy style. There are other colors out there, however it appeared that City Sports carried this style in particular. The white is sharp and eye catching to say the least. We immediately got comments on how attractive and appealing the 33-M’s were. One drawback on the white is how fast they will attract dirt and smudges. Naturally if you run outside, you might run into some dirt, water or mud. With a white pair of shoes, it’s going to happen. If you are worried about keeping your shoe investments as pristine as possible, one option would be to limit usage to indoors on treadmills. Lets be honest, shoes are meant to run in and they will get dirty. Accept it. Even after 100 miles of street, track and treadmill running, our white 33-M’s were not any dirtier than other white running shoes.

The overall construction of the shoe is cohesive and doesn’t suffer when you enter the larger sizes. You big foots out there know what we mean when you order that awesome looking pair of shoes online only to get them and have them look distorted when in larger sizes than the nice pictures online. The 33-M’s don’t look odd in the larger sizes.



If a running shoe doesn’t perform the function is was designed and purchased for, then that was a waste of money, right?

In our 100ish miles of testing, we ventured runs on streets, sidewalks, treadmills, long runs, tempo runs, easy runs, interval runs, brick runs and dog walking. We even ran in the rain with our 33-M’s and lived to tell the tale. We also stuffed the 33-M’s in duffle bags for travel and crammed them into airplane overhead bins. You know a shoe is resilient when it rebounds to it’s original shape after 10+ hours being in luggage.

Thoughts of note:
  • Sole degradation was minimal. Wear and tear on the sole and stitching was not an issue as not one seam had popped or piece of rubber had peeled.
  • Being designed for under or neutral pronators, the 33-M’s are aimed at a specific running segment, which means they aren’t for everyone. If you overpronate and roll your feet too much, the 33-M’s might hurt you in the long run. We have a tendency for overpronation and after long runs, we would experience hot spots on the balls of the big toe and in the arch area. No blisters came of it, but we could tell it would be an issue if this was our full time shoe. But, this could also offer a “cross training” opportunity for non-under or neutral pronators to use a shoe that works muscle groups left unaddressed by stability or motion control shoes. In moderation and under controlled usage, varying shoe types could potentially be used to promote strengthening of weaker muscle groups and ligaments similar to trail running and other variations of running. It’s not something to switch to 80% of the time, but may be a good option for one or two shorter runs a week to work on stabilizer muscles.
  • We are guilty of nasty heel striking. It’s just there after years of running and various PT sessions. We’ve coped with finding the right shoe combination and training regime that allows us to stay injury and pain free. One item of concern was the return of heel pain after using a non-stability shoe like the 33-M. We were pleasantly surprised that no heel pain was present after runs and non-existent the mornings after long runs, which was the worst times for heel pain. Also keep in mind that we did not switch to exclusive use of the 33-M’s, but rotated them in with our other trusted shoes.
  • The 33-M’s actually felt heavier than our trusted styles, but at 10.9 ounces, they were right on target or actually lighter than other styles we use on a consistent basis. For some reason it was deceiving while wearing the 33-M’s, and we don’t really have an explanation.



We would be remiss if we didn’t give some review love to the store that set us up with our test shoes. is an actual brick and mortar store in Boston that has developed into an online entity selling quality apparel. They shipped the ASICS 33-M’s free of charge (normally $6 for standard ground) and from order confirmation to shoes at our door, it was around 3 days to get our kicks. The box comes wrapped in plastic to protect is from the elements and comes with a printed receipt in the need of returning the shoes. They offer a 30 day refund policy for online buying as long as you meet their conditions for a return.




The 33-M’s don’t come free. Depending on the source, the 33-M’s run from $125 to $139.99 before tax and shipping. That’s a nice chunk of change, but when you’re buying the latest and greatest in running tech, you’re paying for what you get.



Overall the 33-M’s appear to be a solid shoe. They are reliable and have been built to withstand some serious punishment.

They are geared to a specific market. The natural running experience is their target, and that may not work for everyone. It’s not to say the 33-M’s wouldn’t serve a purpose, but it’s a large price tag to add a part time runner to your closet. But, ASICS and have several options to address your needs. We just reviewed one of them.

Will we continue to run with our 33-M’s? Yes. They offer the ability to target weaker running muscles groups, therefore proving useful in the war on triathlon. They may not serve as everyday race flats, but they made the rotation.

Would we continue to buy more 33-M’s after our test pair gets retired? Probably not. It’s not a knock on the shoe, but a testament that needs of runners are very unique to the individuals and not just any shoe will fill that need.

We would definitely recommend checking out for future purchases. They have been very reactive to our questions and concerns and seem to care about online customers. They want you happy with what you buy from them. The order process is smooth and it’s not a fly by night operation that may go offline at any time.

For those that made it this far in the review, reward yourself with 20% off the ASICS 33-M with code “TRI20” at

* Writer's note - City Sports provided the products for this review at no cost and did not influence this review.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Running the first race of 2015! Rock the Parkway Half Marathon!

Holy cow has the time flown by and very little time to write on the old blog...

Case in point : I'm racing my first 2015 half marathon tomorrow and I never even wrote a recap for Ironman Chattanooga!  Yes, I finished.  Does that count?

But a few fleeting thoughts before running tomorrow.

1. I'm not really all geeked up trying to PR for a half.  Traditionally this has been my target race to PR the half, but this year had been hectic and I'm just happy to be trained up enough to run it.  I don't even remember what my current PR is, and I'd rather be in bed relaxing asap than looking it up.  Maybe I'll check back post race.

2. My plan is to just run like hell and see what happens... and avoid injuries.  I really have no idea what I have in me and this year I'm driving in instead of riding my bike to and from.  I didn't really taper since workout time is hard to come by, so I kept my regular workout routine and did probably too much the day before a hard race.  Oh well.

3. It's odd how my goals have morphed.  I'm not razor sharp focused on race dates, being tapered and ready.  I'm just more focused on being fit and ready for what the weekend brings.  Ya, I'll pay more attention to Ironman Boulder, Legends 100, but other than that, I plan on keeping a strong baseline throughout the summer to handle Olympic triathlons, half marathons and maybe a marathon.  Oh ya, the Atlas OC Race in a few weeks as well.  Endurance, check.  Strength work, not so much.

4. What I am focused on is my trail mix!  I'm jonesing for it lately and tomorrow I'm letting loose!

Check back and maybe I'll write a recap before the next race... maybe.  ;)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Update, Baking Triathlete and 910XT Sale on Clever Training

Hey readers... for those that are still reading.

Lots going on, which means very little time to blog.  I have posted a few products reviews of the 100 products I have to look at.  Wish I had more time to devote, but family, work and training have taken all my time.  Priorities people!

But, I wanted to share my latest endeavors with baking on my eating cheat days.  Some bakes are "healthy"ish and some are downright evil.  Take a look at the recipe and what turned out... not bad if I say so myself!

Baked Apple Peanut Butter oatmeal

Recipe from
The results, with less artistic fanfair...
And it tasted pretty darn good!

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies + Peanut Butter Chips

They don't look as pretty, but I had no problem downing them all day!
Just add master chef to my many titles!

Also, Clever Training is running a super sale on the Garmin 910XT.

Garmin FR910XT now $249 (was $399 down to $299, then $50 rebate) - Visit CLEVER TRAINING

Garmin FR910XT HR bundle $287 (was $449, down to $336, then $50 rebate) : Visit CLEVER TRAINING

Anything bought using the links returns a 10% commission to help offset the costs of running the bare bones blog.  Since I'm focused on the day job, I have scaled back quite a bit.  :(  I'd love to devote more time to the blog and reviews, but that's where I need your help to make it self supporting.  No pressure.  Thanks for those that do support the site by using the affiliate links!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

ASICS Gel Lyte33 running shoe review from weekend Ironman Triathlon warrior

ASICS was kind enough to shoot over a pair of Gel Lyte33's that we tried out. After a couple of months on the road, paved trails and treadmills, here's a look from an every day triathlete.

Fashion / Appearance

The Lyte33’s are visually appealing. Some styles actually turn a little ugly in the larger sizes, but these were beauty's in size 12. The layout of the patterns meshed well together and avoided the appearance you might think with a Ford Mustang front end and a Ford Futura rear end; just wrong. Not the Lyte33.

They have style. We tested out the red traced with black that are comfy and stylish enough to wear out for casual outings aside from hill repeats or AT intervals. Asics offers a wide variety of colors to assure you have the right shoes for your personality or color requirements.

They do have that twist that comes with the lightweight running shoe line in appearance. It’s a combination of a casual shoe and running shoe that harkens to the crossover car market. It takes a little appreciation and acceptance from that diehard running shoe enthusiast.

Form / Construction

From, “The GEL-Lyte33 gets serious about weight reduction, dropping almost two ounces for a truly lightweight natural running experience. The GEL-Lyte33 is updated with a nearly Seamless Upper and Solyte® Midsole to maximize performance while minimizing weight. Built with FluidAxis designed for underpronators and neutral runners. Weight: 6.8 oz. Heel Height: 17mm. Forefoot Height: 11mm.”

Note that the Lyte33 is built for lightweight features, but contains the ability to be used for underpronators and neutral runners. We’re not sure about the rest of you, but very few triathletes and runners have perfect running form and when balancing work, life and training, few have time to correct bad form issues. It’s good to know that if you prefer lightweight shoes, you don’t have to give up functionality to assist with your running shortcomings.

On the outside, the overall construction looks solid. After over 200 miles of running on streets and treadmills, our tested Lyte33’s are still holding up, a testament to being designed to withstand the test of time and miles.

Fit / Function

Like we mentioned, we have tested out these Gel Lyte33’s for over 200 miles over a span of 6 months. They were used in a running shoe rotation from 3 mile easy runs to 16 mile long runs, pavement and treadmill runs. They were given the royal treatment and spared from no expense.

The soles showed minor wear, but held up overall over the pounding. A successful indicator of a well built shoe is the ability of the sole to stay adhered to the actual shoe. Nothing’s worse than that flopping toe deal after the shoe starts falling apart.

The insole stayed intact and another indicator of good construction is the printed images didn’t rub off after a few outings. The insole held its shape for a good duration of the 6 months of abuse. Towards the end, it probably could have used a refresh replacement.

We did notice a little less bounce back from the sole at the end of our trial. As with most running shoes, the recommendations are to replace the shoe near 6 months or a couple hundred miles of running, depending on make and model.

We have a notoriously bad running form, so to go to 100% lightweight shoe for running just isn’t a reality. We mixed in GT 1000’s and 2000’s with some other running shoes in a two shoe rotation to mix it up. More akin to the idea of running trails every now again to strengthen ankles and various other running muscles, using different styles of shoes in a controlled approach could theoretically yield strengthening in weak running areas.

There is a noticeable difference in weight going from a traditional running shoe or shoes meant for stability or to correct other run form issues. The Lyte33’s were, like the name implies, lighter. It was like wearing a neoprene swim bootie on your foot, but with a sole and laces. They are not rigid and very comfortable, even after a 16 mile run.


Shoe prices are getting out of hand, which is why it’s refreshing to see the Lyte33’s started at $90 and now run for $55. We suspect they might not have taken hold as hoped for, as color and sizes are limited these days.

But don’t let that dissuade you, the Lyte33 shoes are worthwhile as a solid option in your running shoe rotation. Similar to cross training to work often unused muscle groups beyond the basics swim, bike and runs muscles, they Lyte33’s can be used in moderation to work on muscles long forgotten thanks to shoes that almost run for you. They work great for strength training footwear and you don’t even need to change shoes if you run a couple miles after a lift for cool down. For $55, you can’t get much better quality for long lasting shoes.

Final thoughts

The Gel Lyte33’s are geared for lightweight running shoe enthusiasts. They have design characteristics that can carry them over into the mainstream running community, but with caution and controlled regimes.

The price has dropped since their initial release, which makes them a great deal for what is actually a solidly built shoe. If you have foot issues or bad run form (like 90% of us), don’t lose hope as the Lyte33’s were made with you in mind. It may not be an everyday option, but it is definitely a good shoe for shorter workouts and a savior and break for your long haul shoes.

Take a look.


* Writer's note - Asics provided the products for this review at no cost and did not influence this review.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Review of @ClifBar Builder's Protein Bars

If you pay attention to your Facebook or Twitter feed, you undoubtedly see all kinds of add and posts about the need for high levels of protein in your diet. Whether you’re a weekend 5ker, Ironman, cross fitter or obstacle course racer, every fitness related food maker and their dog are racing to get their latest and greatest protein products in your hands. If you’re at all interested in eating better to go along with all those hours you swim, bike and run, then you have probably realized the importance of eating the right combination of fats, carbs and protein. It’s not just about the protein. It’s a delicate dance of factors from desired weight to expected race performance. If you’re not fueling the engine right with more than just protein, it doesn’t matter how many hours you train to reach your goals.

No doubt you also like to enjoy your snacks rather than just get the essential nutrition out of them, unless you’ve really bought into paleo and want to eat like a caveman. What can make the task of proper fueling even more difficult is the specter of the average triathlete being on the go with work, family and friends. Not everyone has easy access to a kitchen with whole food ingredients at their fingertips for every meal. Most need a convenient meal on the go that won’t make a mess that they can jam in their face between meetings in the morning or afternoon.

CLIF bar was gracious enough to send a sample of Builder’s Protein Bars for a review as an alternative for easy access to good fuel with a handsome dose of protein.

Read on for our take on the 8 flavors minus the new chocolate hazelnut of Builder’s Bars that CLIF sent us.


Packaging / Shelf Appeal / Marketing

When you hear the name, “Builder’s Bar”, we immediately think of that body builder dude pumping iron at the gym, screaming at the top of his lungs for that last set of 300 pound bench presses. So yes, the bar might be geared for muscle heads looking for protein substitute instead of raw meat, but for triathletes spending some hard time working out at high intensity levels, they need that protein as well to repair and feed muscles. When you see the bars, they are packaged in a powerful wrapper that’s bold and attention grabbing, like the name. Who doesn’t like something shiny to unwrap? It’s also convenient to throw in a gym bag or the glove box (careful as they will melt on hot days) and not lose track of. The package won’t tear or snag as it’s sturdy construction.


Form / Construction

When you open the Builder’s Bar, the majority are chocolate flavors, so they appear similar to your standard candy bar with a chocolate coating and a crunchy bottom layer. For those that like the crunchy candy bars, it won’t be far off. They are not the other protein bars that are solid and chewy that sometimes can get gritty as you break them down to be able to swallow.

The Builder’s Bars weigh in at 270 calories or so per bar. Of that, 9 grams is fat, 29 grams is carbs and 20 grams is protein if you are keeping count at home. So, don’t just add the Builder’s Bar into your daily diet without planning. It’s almost half a decent sized meal to begin with. It has a good protein to carb ratio, but it will steal some calories from your daily meal planning. That may almost be more than most candy bars calorie wise, but you will get around 40 grams of carbs and 4 grams of protein from a candy bar which is hardly the proper nutrition for an athlete or fitness minded person.

An important item of note is that the bars have zero grams trans fat and does not contain partially-hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup. In today’s ever over engineered food work where taste and profit are king, some are still finding ways to deliver good food without all the crap.

Fit / Function

Yes, they have a good chunk of protein, but do they deliver on taste and fill you up / fuel you up / help you recover like you would anticipate?

With protein bars, taste and texture are the big hangups. Everyone wants the benefits of the protein, but not everyone appreciates the method of delivery. While Builder’s Bars aren’t going to be as tasty as a Snickers bar, they are much better than some chewy protein bars on the market that get all grainy after chewing on each bite for 5 minutes to break it down enough to swallow. They taste like the flavor printed on the package and have a nice crisp texture that doesn’t require jaws of steel. The real issue is limiting yourself to one bar and not using them as a go-to snack substitute or dessert item.

They do fill you up for the short term, which makes them a great snack item between meals. Used before a cardio workout or after a strength workout, they can be key meals to keep your body fueled and reduce injuries from undernourished muscles. We would not recommend the Builder’s Bars as a meal substitute unless you are in a bind. They just won’t fill you up for hours on end.

They have 9 flavors currently to choose from, so if chocolate isn’t your thing, you have options. They are great for throwing in your gym bag for a pre or post workout snack and they even stay in one piece in bags being thrown into your car or jammed in a gym locker. They only drawback will be on hot days, they will melt and make a mess. Best is to not leave them sitting in your car during the summer.



You could spend $1 for a snickers, or $1.50 (online) for a Builder’s Bar. At the convenience store, you might pay a little more if you’re in a pinch, but plan ahead and you should be ok. That’s one catch with Builder’s Bars, they aren’t cheap, but they can be less expensive than other protein bar alternatives. Some can go from $2 to $2.50 a bar online, and even more in the brick and mortar stores.

You do get what you pay for. You may end up spending more for a Builder’s Bar than a candy bar, but you’ll get higher quality nutrition and not a crap sugar load.

Final thoughts

You know you have a winner when you review a product and you end up buying it outside of the review with your own money. We have since stocked up on Builder’s Bars to be proactive and get them at a reasonable price instead of convenience store prices. One a day will do it, as they do consume a large chunk of calories, but when you need 170 grams of protein a day, and you don’t want to get it all through egg whites and tuna fish, the Builder’s Bar is a good alternative. You just need to be careful about trading it out for other foods in your meal planning and not adding it on and expecting to lose weight.


* Writer's note - CLIF Bars sent us the Builder’s Bars for this review and in no way influenced the review.