Skin Cooler: Its the Coolest!

I don’t know if you have ever been to Bakersfield, California but chances are if you are a fan of football, movies, petroleum, NASCAR, or music you’ve at least heard of it. Besides being the hometown to Frank Gifford, Earl Warren, David Carr, Buck Owens, KORN, Kevin Harvick, and a long list of other celebrities, athletes, and entertainers, its also where I was born and continue to call home today. Bakersfield has the unique distinction of being geographically located at the southern bowled end of the San Joaquin Valley which subjects it to unfortunately poor air quality and fairly hot summers. In fact I can remember some summers where we have had 30 days in a row of temperatures over 100 degrees. Growing up in Bakersfield I have become used to working out in the heat. High School Cross Country practice usually took place after school, so running in the heat of the day was something that became normal to me. Its very possible that this shaped me into the athlete I am today. For instance, I think that training in the heat (as long as it is done safely) can be highly useful. Being able to perform in extreme conditions better prepares you for performing at a higher level when the conditions aren’t as extreme.

In an attempt to minimize the affect of the elements during training I am constantly searching for ways to improve my performance and endurance. Because I am open to trying new things, I have been lucky enough to be paired up with a few companies over the years to try out new products in the way of supplements, apparel, and accessories to serve this end. Of all the products that I have tested since returning to the triathlon scene, I have found a few that really work well and do what they say they are going to do. One of the products that I have come to love is Skin Cooler fabric from De Soto Sport. De Soto Sport is a company that started back in 1990 making cool products geared towards triathletes. And they are still at it today making some of the “coolest” products I use!

If you didn’t know, the production of sweat is our bodies way of cooling us down. Our sweaty skin is hit by the air and produces a cooling effect as the air passes over it. However, in extreme heat, that sweat evaporates quickly and reduces the duration of the cooling effect. So if there was a product that slowed the evaporation of sweat then that would help us stay cooler for a longer period of time, right? Luckily, my favorite triathlon gear company happens to have such a product in their arsenal of awesomeness. As athletes we commonly see products that are moisture wicking in an attempt to keep our bodies dry. In a cold environment I totally see the practical application for these materials, but when we are trying to stay cool, keeping the moisture near the skin seems like it would be more beneficial. De Soto Sport utilized this thought process in their Skin Cooler product line.

This past summer I had the opportunity to purchase some Skin Cooler products to try out. I picked up a Skin Cooler SDS Long Sleeve Shirt, a SDS Helmet Beanie, a Riviera Tri-Top, and a Skin Cooler Run Cap.

Now I have used the Skin Cooler Run Cap before and loved it, but sadly I donated my last one to an Irish Pub in Milwaukee back in 2013 during the USAT National Age Group Championship weekend. I thought it was a great running cap and loved the fact that it kept my head cool when it was hot outside. In fact, its replacement worked really well this past weekend at the Bakersfield Marathon, especially in the second half when it started to get hot!
file_000-3
(Shown here wearing the Skin Cooler Run Cap and Riviera Trisuit – Sleeved 2016)

The Skin Cooler SDS Long Sleeve Shirt was definitely a favorite of mine this past summer. It not only kept me cool, it also helped to save me from getting burnt in the afternoon sun. I chose the all white version of this shirt.
file_000 file_000-1
It looked great up until the point I used it with my aero bars on the bike. Unfortunately the elbow pads on the bike stained the elbows with a black smudge. If I could go back in time and order the blue and black version of this top, I probably would, but all things considered, this top definitely served its purpose this past summer.

The 2017 versions of this top are all white with different colored graphics on the front. They are also made with Skin Cooler 90 material which is a bit more durable and aerodynamic than its predecessor Skin Cooler SDS.
lssc_black_front_compact lssc_blue_front_compactlssc_red_front_compact lssc_red_back_compact
A very useful design of this shirt is the use of pockets in the back to hold ice or wet sponges to help aid in cooling.

The last two skin cooler items I used this summer are the SDS Helmet Beanie and the Riviera Tri Top. (Shown being used in the following picture)
file_000-2
The Skin Cooler Helmet Beanie is one of my favorite items in the Skin Cooler line. It really helps keep the head cool underneath the helmet. When your extremities (head, hands, and feet) are kept cool, it helps to keep your whole body cooler. This beanie also keeps the wind out of the ears which can be nice if you have sensitive ears. I also like it because it keeps the sun of the tops of my ears which tend to get burnt on hot and sunny days.

The Riviera Tri Top is a great option for triathletes or “cyclists looking for a sleeveless option for hot days.” It uses compression fabric and Skin Cooler panels to provide support, comfort, cooling, and slimming effect. The neck does ride high to deter scooping air when in the aero position, but you can unzip it while on the run or when its under your wetsuit if you prefer a loosened fit.

Overall I feel that De Soto Sport provides quality products that are useful to their intended customers at a fair price. I am one of those people who will wear the heck out of something if it fits and looks good. If you know someone like me who enjoys quality apparel for swimming, cycling, and running, then they would really love anything from De Soto Sport! Check out their website to find something for yourself or for that special triathlete in your life today!

www.desotosport.com

Finishing Up Week 2

Gained a little weight back this weekend. It could be water weight from a higher that normal salt intake and Halloween candy. But I am not too worried. Finished up the week some foam rolling recovery which I totally needed. My IT Band and Quads have been a little tight so when the spasms released I was really happy. My legs should feel fresh going into Week 3. Only 6 more days until the Bakersfield Marathon! I can’t wait!

Here is my Workout and Nutrition Log for the last few days:

Day 11 – Thursday, November 3, 2016
Breakfast: Chocolate Shakeology, 3 – AcidCheck Tablets, and Coffee
Snack: Granola Bar
Lunch: peanut Butter Sandwich, Corn Chips, Carrots, and Water
Workout: Focus T25 – Cardio with Beachbody Hydrate and Energize in Water
Workout #2: 50 Minutes Spinning – 19.2 Miles
Post-Workout: P90X Results & Recovery Formula and  3 – The Final3 Capsules
Dinner: Bean and Cheese Burrito

Day 12 -Friday, November 4, 2016
Breakfast: Chocolate Shakeology, 3 – AcidCheck Tablets, and Coffee
Lunch: Peanut Butter Sandwich, Corn Chips, Carrots, Granola Bar, and Water
Workout: Focus T25 – Lower Focus with Beachbody Hydrate and Energize in Water
Post-Workout: P90X Results & Recovery Formula and 3 – The Final3 Capsules
Dinner: Terriyaki Chicken Bowl
Snack: Kettle Corn and Sour Patch Kids

Day 13 – Saturday, November 5, 2016
Breakfast: Eggs and Potatoes, 3 – AcidCheck Tablets, and Coffee
Lunch: Big Cheese Burger with Onion Rings, Fries, and a Coke
Workout: Foam Rolling
Post-Workout: Chocolate Shakeology and 3 – The Final3 Capsules
Dinner: Pizza with Wedges

Day 14 – Sunday, November 6, 2016
Breakfast: Breakfast Burrito, 2 – AcidCheck Tablets, and Coffee
Lunch: Chocolate Shakeology
Workout: Focus T25 – Lower Focus
Post-Workout: P90X Results & Recovery Formula and 3 – The Final3 Capsules
Dinner: 3 – Ground Beef Tacos
Snack: Kettle Corn and Cookies

NO more sweet snacks for me! At least not this next week 😉

Week 2 – Starting to Feel Like Myself Again

So far this week has gone pretty good. The workouts are still tough but once I get going and warmed up they get easier. Trying to get home, get the workout in and off to swim practice has been tough logistically but I am making it work. Next week I’ll begin giving some private lessons, so I may have to start doing the T25 workout in the morning before school. Traditionally I am not a morning worker-outer so this is going to be tough for me, but the reward is I’ll be done in the morning and have more energy throughout the day. So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice. I never got around to taking “Before” pictures of how my body looked before starting the program, but its pretty much the same now as when I started a week ago. My starting weight was 175. That was taken in the morning on October 24th. 8 days later I weighed a few pounds more, but I am not worried. At the beginning of a workout program the norm is to gain a little bit of weight. Its usually water weight as the muscles tend to hold on to water as part of the muscle building process. This week I’ll also be adding some additional workouts to help me get ready for the Bakersfield Marathon in 11 days. Most of this will be on my spin bike but I’ll probably get out for a run or two just to test the legs out I am sure. In a effort to save my legs for the Marathon though most of my training is going to be low impact leading up to the 13th and focused on cardio vascular endurance.

Here is my Workout and Nutrition Log for the last few days:

Day 8 – Monday, October 31, 2016 – Happy Halloween
Breakfast: Chocolate Shakeology, 2 – AcidCheck Tablets, and Coffee
Lunch: Turkey and Provalone Sandwich with Mustard on Sourdough, Corn Chips, Carrots, Granola Bar, a Halloween Cookie, and Water
Workout: Focus T25 – Cardio with Beachbody Hydrate and Energize in Water
Post-Workout: P90X Results & Recovery Formula and  3 – The Final3 Capsules
Dinner: Pizza, Cupcake, and 4 pcs of TWIX (Trick or Treat)

Day 9 – Tuesday, November 1, 2016 – All Saints Day
Breakfast: Chocolate Shakeology, 2 – AcidCheck Tablets, and Coffee
Lunch: Peanut Butter Sandwich, Corn Chips, Carrots, Granola Bar, and Water
Workout: Focus T25 – Total Body Circuit
Post-Workout: P90X Results & Recovery Formula and 3 – The Final3 Capsules
Dinner: 2 – Ground Beef Tacos and 1 – Lettuce Wrap (Chicken)
Snack: Cupcake

Weigh-In: 179 lbs. and Progress Photos (Current Baseline Photos)
unnamed

Day 10 – Wednesday, November 2, 2016 – Hump Day :-)
Breakfast: Chocolate Shakeology, 2 – AcidCheck Tablets, and Coffee
Lunch: 2 – Small Burritos, 2 – Small Carne Asada Tacos w/ Onions and Cilantro
Workout: Focus T25 – Total Body Circuit with Beachbody Hydrate and Energize in Water
Workout #2: Spinning for 1 Hour – 22.4 Miles
Post-Workout: P90X Results & Recovery Formula and 3 – The Final3 Capsules
Dinner: Pasta with Meat Sauce, Salad, 1 Small Piece of French Bread, and Water, Water, Water
Snack: Cupcake

Finishing Off the First Week of Focus T25

Finished off this busy week. Only 14 Days until the Bakersfield Marathon! I changed up the days of the workout, but still got them all in sans one (the second workout scheduled for Friday) however I did do some additional workouts that I feel more than took the place of the one that I missed. This next week I’ll be more regimented in my workouts. This week will e important to get in some good long workouts in order to get ready for the marathon.

Workout/Nutrition Summary

Day 4 – Thursday, October, 27, 2016
Breakfast: Chocolate Shakeology, 2 – AcidCheck Tablets, and Coffee
Lunch: Peanut Butter Sandwich, Chips, Granola Bar, Water
Workout: Swimming about 1300 yards with Kids from Swim Practice – Practicing Backstroke Flip-turns and Starts. No Focus T25 today.
Post-Workout: P90X Results & Recovery Formula and  3 – The Final3 Capsules
Dinner: Pizza and Potato Wedges

Day 5 – Friday, October 28, 2016
Breakfast: Chocolate Shakeology, 2 – AcidCheck Tablets, and Coffee
Lunch: Turkey with Deli Mustard on Sourdough, Corn Chips, Granola Bar, and Water
Workout: Focus T25 – Ab Intervals
Post-Workout: P90X Results & Recovery Formula and 3 – The Final3 Capsules
Dinner: 2 – Burritos and 1 Soft Taco
Snack: 2 – Hard Tacos and 1 – Burritos

Day 6 – Saturday, October 29, 2016
Breakfast: Chocolate Shakeology, 2 – AcidCheck Tablets, and Coffee
Lunch: Peanut Butter Sandwich, Corn Chips, Granola Bar, and Water
Workout: Rode 6 Miles with my son :-)
Post-Workout: P90X Results & Recovery Formula and  3 – The Final3 Capsules
Dinner: Jack-O-Lantern Cheeseburgers and Fries
Snack: Root Beer Float

Day 7 – Sunday, October 30, 2016
Breakfast: Pancakes and Coffee
Lunch: Chocolate Shakeology and 2 – AcidCheck Tablets
Workout: Focus T25 – Lower Focus with Elevation Training Mask (simulated +3000 ft.)
Post-Workout: P90X Results & Recovery Formula and  3 – The Final3 Capsules
Dinner: Tri Tip, Mac and Cheese, Asparagus
Snack: 2 – Chocolate Cupcakes

Call Me Crazy

A couple days ago I set out on a path to what most sane people would describe as crazy. Heck I even think I am a bit crazy. But if I am ever going to get a marathon under my belt, the one in Bakersfield next month is my best bet. I mean really, since I haven’t been able to get to a marathon in any other city, I had better take advantage of the one being brought to us here in Bakersfield. Its been in the process for a while now, but the Bakersfield Marathon is finally going to happen. It’s inaugural running is going to be on November 13, 2016; a little less than 4 weeks away. So I guess its better late than never to get my conditioning up so I don’t completely die. I wouldn’t suggest that people only train for a month to complete a marathon, and I am not trying to minimize the effort that it takes to complete a goal such as a marathon. But if you know me and know a little about my recent past, then you know I have a decent athletic base on my side. My biggest issue is going to be keeping my pace slow enough so that i don’t blow-up and end up with a DNF (that’s a “Did Not Finish” for those of you who were wondering). I figure that if I can work up my conditioning to allow myself to be able to workout for 4 hours steadily, then I should be able to shuffle a marathon at a 9 minute mile pace. That should bring me across the finish line in just under 4 hours. I really just want to finish and be out there with everyone else who is supporting this local event. The running community in Bakersfield is awesome and I can’t wait to be a part of this!

So with that goal being set, this week I started the only workout I know that can get me into running shape fast. Focus T25. Over the next month I’ll be logging all of my workouts and nutrition because I know if I don’t it will be difficult to keep myself accountable.

Workout/Nutrition Summary

Day 1 – Monday October, 24, 2016
Morning Weigh-in: 175
Breakfast: Chocolate Shakeology, 3 – AcidCheck Tablets, and Coffee
Lunch: Turkey with Deli Mustard on Sourdough, Corn Chips, Granola Bar, and Water
Workout: Focus T25 – Cardio and 1500 yards swimming with the swim team kids.
Post-Workout: P90X Results & Recovery Formula and  3 – The Final3 Capsules
Dinner: Bean, Cheese, Rice, and Chicken Burrito, 2 Asada Tacos
Snack: Bag of Popcorn

Day 2 – Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Breakfast: Chocolate Shakeology, 3 – AcidCheck Tablets, and Coffee
Lunch: Turkey with Deli Mustard on Sourdough, Corn Chips, Granola Bar, and Water
Workout: Cycling 30 Miles (Warm-up and Main Ride used AcidCheck Granules and Pink Himilayan Salt in Water), Focus T25 – Speed 1.0
Post-Workout: P90X Results & Recovery Formula and 3 – The Final3 Capsules
Dinner: 3 Homemade Ground Beef Tacos
Snack: Granola Bar and 4 small Shortbread Cookies

Day 3 – Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Breakfast: Chocolate Shakeology, 3 – AcidCheck Tablets, and Coffee
Lunch: Peanut Butter Sandwich, Corn Chips, Granola Bar, and Water
Workout: Swimming 500 Yds with the swim team kids, Focus T25 – Total Body Circuit
Post-Workout: P90X Results & Recovery Formula and  3 – The Final3 Capsules
Dinner: Part of a Bean, Cheese, Rice, and Chicken Burrito, Bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats with Almond Milk
Snack: Bag of Popcorn

The workouts have been going good. Very sore after on the second day as expected. Day 3 the soreness wasn’t as bad but a small fatigue factor played into my workout in the evening. All in all I am feeling good and looking forward to pushing through the conditioning and getting into some real distance training soon!

Don’t Let Fear Dictate Your Choices

Not sure what I am going to write about, but I felt that I needed to just start typing. Being a substitute teacher and swim coach has been my saving grace this past year. Even though my monetary pay is nowhere near what I used to make in construction, the reward personally and emotionally has been priceless. Hearing the kids on campus saying, “Hi Mr. Olson!” or the look on their faces when they walk into class I see that I am their sub, makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. As if those reasons aren’t enough to convince anyone into pursuing a teaching career, I took an impromptu poll yesterday in one of the classes I was subbing on whether or not I should pursue becoming a “real” teacher. The class overwhelmingly said, “Yes!” One of the students followed this up with, “Do you like teaching?” I said, “Yes!” And she said, “Well then you should do what makes you happy!” — Wise Child; she must have had me in another class and heard my “Find a career doing something you like” speech. So why am I having such a hard time committing to a complete career change into education?

Every excuse I can think of is rooted in some type of fear. Fear of not passing the CSETs in Math or Business. Fear of failing to connect with the students. Fear of taking on additional debt to pay for the credential program. Fear of choosing a career that is underpaid and underappreciated in our society. Fear of choosing a career that only gets paid 10 months out of the year. Fear of actually being good at teaching. Fear of having a career that I look forward to doing everyday. These are the fears that I think about as I am faced with making this decision. But what really is FEAR? Nothing but False Evidence Appearing Real right? Fear is nothing but an illusion. We make choices and those choices lead us to the next set of choices and the on to the next. If we are lucky, or motivated enough, our choices lead us down the right path, the path that will eventually lead us to living happy and fulfilling lives.

So the choice is ultimately up to me. It seems as though there are finally real options available to me regarding which direction I want to go in my professional life. Looks like I have some real decisions to make. Wish me luck!

Triathlete in Hibernation – Use it or Lose it!

“Use it or Lose it!” is a well known adage that has been adopted by pretty much any situation where attrition leads to non-utility. I am sure you can think of a number of situations where this may be the case. A coupon that expires, muscle tone after an injury, loss of libido….well you get the picture. The basic idea is the less you use something, do something, or are reminded of something, that something tends to disappear and the less you miss it. Unfortunately in my case, the same goes for racing in triathlons.

Its been a while since I have talked about my history with the triathlon, swimming, cycling, and running.  When I was in my early teens, it seemed like I was racing in a triathlon every other weekend. I was pretty fast for my age. At 14 I placed 4th at the Ironkids National Championship. At 15 I ran a 15:03 5k. By the time I was 16 I had dreams and aspirations of going to the Olympics so I gave up triathlons to focus on running. My last 2 years of high school went fairly well and I decided to go run for USC. 3 days before the start of my Freshman year I hyper-extended my knee in practice and that sidelined me for the majority of the Cross Country season. I competed at the PAC 10 Championship at the end of the season and took last place over all of those who finished that day. USC shut down their Men’s Varsity Cross Country program after that year and I think that was the nail in the coffin for me. I wasn’t mentally in it anymore. I took some time off and tried to get back into triathlons again a year later when I was 19, but I had been out for too long and didn’t have the motivation to train anymore. I didn’t understand it then, but I was in the downward spiral of a deep depression. The likes of which I didn’t fully understand until 2011. It wasn’t until I decided to lose some weight and get healthy again that I realized the source of my pain and anger. I lost 60 pounds and got back into “running” shape. I decided that it was time to try my hand at the triathlon again. It was like I had returned to a world that I had forgotten. The feeling of being a part of something bigger than myself. The camaraderie. The sportsmanship. The family of crazy people who enjoy pushing themselves beyond any normal amount of physical exertion. I was back with my people and it felt good. 19 years is a long time to go without doing something that you love, but the next few years were great! I enjoyed a busy race schedule with decent outcomes. I was able to travel to Milwaukee for the Age Group National Championship in 2013 which was an awesome experience. Being around some of the best in the sport brought out the best in me and everything seemed to be falling right back into place. I had become a faster swimmer and cyclist than I had ever been but my running seemed to be my new weakness. Weird that something I had been so good at when I was younger is now my Achilles heal when it comes to competitions. Makes sense though, I didn’t and don’t spend much time on developing myself back into a runner. I think I still to this very day hold that fear of getting injured again from truly unlocking my best potential.

Now I find myself in a new predicament. The last time I competed in a triathlon was April of 2015. I didn’t stop racing because of an injury or because I was sick of the sport, financially I just couldn’t justify the cost any longer. Triathlons aren’t cheap, especially when you are looking at half and full triathlon distances — these races range in cost from $300 to $2000 — and frankly I just don’t have that kind of money to spend. So instead I focused on finding more gainful employment. A year and a half later I am still struggling to find the cash flow to get back into the race. Working a few jobs to make some of my ends meet has been rough and has taken up the time I used to have for training. So I have been in what I would call a hibernation phase. Sure I have been able to get out and ride here and there or swim with the kids I coach, but the goal of competing in an Ironman seems so far off now. There is so much training involved and my hat goes off to all of those people who have completed this goal. But in my case, I guess if you don’t use it, eventually you do lose it. Even though I may not be as fast as I used to be a few years ago or even close to the shape I was in, I do know that it wont take me that long to get back to where I was a few years ago. I think my major issue is that I haven’t had a goal set to kick start my training regiment back into gear.

So with that being said, I am setting a goal to complete the Bakersfield Marathon next month. It’s the inaugural running of this race and I would be remise to not take advantage of such a great opportunity here in my hometown. I have just over 4 weeks of training time left to mount an attack on the completion of this, my first marathon attempt. Now I am not going into this marathon with the hopes of winning over all or even placing in my age group. My goal is to simply finish in less than 4 hours which translates to an average of a 9:09 minute mile for 26.2 miles. Now this isn’t going to be easy by any means, but I believe it is a goal that I can achieve within the next 5 weeks of training. I think my biggest issue is, after paying for the entry fee of course, is going to be with pacing at that speed and maintaining enough caloric intake to get through it. Regardless of these challenges, I am ready to set this goal into motion and use this as a stepping stone towards completing my first Ironman someday in the next year. Now all I need to do is figure out which career path I want to follow (go back to construction or keep moving forward with teaching) and maximize my earning potential in that field so I no longer feel this financial pinch and get to enjoy life just a little bit more freely!

All I know is, I don’t want to lose the feeling I get when I think about racing again. So its time for me to make my way back into the groove!

Thank you for reading! I look forward to seeing you at the races!