Saturday, February 28, 2009

Atayne Test, Day 6: Passing Grade

Atayne Test, Day 6. The finale. This morning I headed out the door just after 6:00 AM for a long run to Freeport to start an even longer run. On me was my six day old Atayne shirt. No laundering, no rinsing, nothing. And yet when I threw it on right out of bed this morning I did not even take notice of it.

Without getting into the details of today's run, I will say I run 13.5 miles of roads to meet the Trail Monster's in Freeport to take part in the TMR Fat Ass 50K. I arrived in Freeport with minutes to spare before setting off on a series of five mile loops on snowmobile/snowshoe trails up and around Hedgehog Mountain (really a big hill). After 3.5 loops, I was done. I logged a total of 31.2 miles in just over 5 Hours.

With today's run, the final statistics on my Atayne Test are as follows:

6 Days
9 Workouts
11 Hours
No water or laundry on the shirt
Smell: Unbelievably Unnoticeable and Inoffensive

Throughout this week I fielded a ton of questions and hopefully tons of interest (well, in my small world) in Atayne. The shirt performed remarkably well. I even passed around the shirt today for independent sniff tests and everyone was shocked. I felt like I was in one of those laundry detergent commercials where clothing articles are being passed around to check out the grass stains and smells that are gone after a washing...but my commercial was without the detergent. There were actually people today asking to smell the shirt. How often does that happen?!?!

In summary, the Atayne shirt with the cocona treatment is the real deal. Not only is it natural and promises not to poison you, it actually works better than any shirt I have ever worn. So my hats off to the good people at Atayne. Thank you for giving us runners a shirt that is harmless and works. Even the Buddha approved. That's good enough for me. Now it is off to the washing machine to give my Atayne shirt a bath. It earned it.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Atayne Test, Day 5: A lot of huhs

Today was another two-a-day. This morning I threw on my four day, six workout old Atayne shirt for yet another day of incremental sweat. The shirt started making some news in the workout class when people started asking why I was wearing the same shirt every day and if it was a different one. When I provided the answer, that I was putting the shirt's odor neutralization to a test and that I had not washed the shirt for the past four days, I got a bunch of "huhs?". Needless to say everyone was interested to hear about cocona and the fact that it was keeping me from retching as I was wearing it on many consecutive days. I suspect soon there may be a gym full of Atayne shirts!

At noon I wore the shirt for a half hour run around Freeport with my buddy Jim, who is a product developer. While the run was short and easy, it did help me reach workout number eight in this test. While the odor is still manageable, it did start to get a little stiff from the salt, etc. that is the result of many hours in it.

Tomorrow morning I will head out at 6 AM for a run to Freeport to meet the Trail Monsters for some more miles on snowmobile trails. Total mileage hoped for tomorrow to finish my Atayne test is 30+. Final stats of the Atayne test will be provided tomorrow.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Atayne Test, Day 4: The Kids' Sniff Test

Day 4 of my Atayne test dawned a little smellier than the previous day and much more so than three days ago. But all in all, the shirt that greeted me in my locker this morning was a shirt that really didn't smell all that bad. Kudos to activated carbon from the coconut shell! Now 45 minutes later was a different story. After a hard core and plyometric workout led by the trainer, Josh of the Woodlands, that found me blacked out after the first 15 minutes and sweating to death the next 30, there was an aroma from the shirt. My first thought at this discovery: it's about time. This shirt has continuously impressed me and still does, albeit with a bit of a smell. But what can you expect from a shirt that was just submitted to ungodly amounts of sweat for 45 minutes, much less used for almost four hours over four days? I would hypothesize that if I would have tried this with any of my chemically altered polyester shirts, I would have been asked to leave the gym this morning. (Picture to the right taken after first workout today.)

This evening I wore the shirt for a run on the treadmill. Six miles in a little over 46 minutes in a basement with a 550 lb. soap stone woodstove cranking the BTUs left the shirt a little "damp". Hopefully the thing dries well before the morning when I am back at it at 7 AM. (Side note: 30 minutes later it is dry.)

Before this evening's treadmill run I presented the shirt to my kids and wife, Kelly, for a sniff test. Kelly was reluctant at first but joined in after both Riley and Quinn gave it a shot. Quinn's response to the question, "Does is smell okay?", was a hesitant "Yes". Riley first said "No", but then reassessed her opinion when asked "Does it smell really bad?", to which she replied "No". Kelly's response was a bit more thoughtful, and she thought that while the shirt did have an odor, it really was tolerable considering the sweat that had been created in it. I chalk that up to a victory either to Atayne's ability to create a truly odor resistant shirt or to my superhuman ability to produce "unsmelly" sweat. I will lean towards the former. Two thumbs up for the team at Atayne. (Bottom picture at right taken after workout two.)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Atayne Test, Day 3: Like Roses, Almost

The first thing I did today upon arrival at the locker room was grab my Atayne shirt and put my nose to it. The outside of the shirt smelled remarkably fresh; not out of the laundry fresh but remarkably unremarkable. The inside, where the carbon is present, did contain a bit of a smell, but nowhere near the state of repulsiveness that some of my other shirts would have achieve by now. So two thumbs up for Atayne at the start of Day Three.

For Day Three I headed out on the roads of Freeport for a run just shy of 6 miles. I had a post-lunch meeting that I needed to be back for so time was short. The temps today were excellent and the roads excellently cleared of snow and ice, providing a very pleasant running experience. I felt strong today and the shirt finished as well as I felt. No funny looks (except for having a camera in the locker room taking pictures every day). Tomorrow might be a different story when I hit the workout medley class in the morning. The true test for my moss colored "4-R's" Atayne shirt will come when it is asked to perform in the close proximity forced by the gym, surrounded by other freshly laundered shirts!

As for Saturday, I am getting a bit jazzed up for 30+ miles. The Trail Monster Fat Ass 50K is Saturday in Freeport, and consists of 4 loops of a 7.88 mile trail run. Because of family commitments, I have decided that I am going to run from home, leaving around 6 AM, and running two loops of the course with the group, for a total of just over 30 miles. This will enable me to get home earlier and back to my second job of dad to two toddlers!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Atayne Test, Day 2: Doubling Up

Day 2, Atayne test. I hit the shirt for a double workout today. First up was my morning workout medley class which consists of a non-stop 45 minute plyometric/core/strength training butt whipping. As this was the second day in my Atayne shirt I was a little worried about offending my workout mates. But alas, the activated carbon worked wonders and no malodorous off gassing was present. That might have to wait until the next class Thursday morning.

After the morning's workout I set the shirt back in the locker and four hours later I was wearing it again. While there may have been a slight hint that the shirt had been worn before, it was minor. After a 45 minute run it was back to the locker for tomorrow's run. Up next, workout number four and day number three in my moss-colored, "4-R's" Atayne shirt!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Atayne Test: Day 1

Last weekend I received the monthly Atayne newsletter (which if you aren't a Facebook fan of these guys or get their newsletter, please do so right now...after finishing reading this post). In it was the challenge for an owner of an Atayne shirt, who has little in the way of regard for others, to wear that article of clothing for a consecutive eight workouts before washing. The reason for this is to test the odor controlling properties of the cocona (activated carbon from coconut shells) interior of the shirt. So starting today I will wear my moss colored, "4 R's", Atayne shirt for each and every workout (photo to the right is post run, day 1). For this week this includes a run of 35 minutes today on the treadmill (recovery from the long weekend runs), three 45 minute workout medley sessions, four runs in the 45 minute range, and a 25-32 mile trail run on Saturday. There may also be a medium distance run on Sunday, but that depends on the ski plans. After day 1 I can say that the shirt smelled as good coming out as it did coming in. I will see in the morning what a night in the locker room does for it.

As for this past weekend's runs, on Saturday I met a subgroup of the Trail Monsters (Jamie and Blaine) at Bradbury at 7, scratch that, it was closer to quarter after since I forgot my running shoes and had to return home for them. Sorry guys. It had been almost a month since I had run with my boy Jamie so it was great to return to the trails with him. Because there were others that were joining us at 8 AM, we had just enough time to head down the trail for about 25 minutes just to turn back. The conversation was light and jovial, aided largely by Blaine's crackpot theory about my favorite drug, caffeine. Please do yourself a favor and head over to his website and enlighten yourself!

At 8 AM, after a little bit over 4 miles on the very soft and slow trails, we returned to the parking lot to join Ian, Lilly, and Echo (her enthusiastic hound). At that point we headed south down Route 9 for a short jaunt on the road to connect with the snowmobile trail that would be our home for the next 2+ hours. The first part of this run is extremely hilly, making it very challenging for the cardiovascular system to get warmed up. Once it is warm, the brain is able to then take in the excellent running that is snowmobile trail running in the white Maine winter. I am generally not thankful of power toys, like snowmobiles, but trail running in the winter up here would be virtually impossible without them. So thank you Mr. and Mrs. Snowmobiler. But next time, take the beer cans with you. There is a five cent deposit on them.

A few miles out Lilly and Echo turned back, followed not too much later by Jamie. I have to throw a big "attaboy" out to Jamie for the spirit he shows when faced with injury. When I first met Jamie, he was bouncing back from knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus. He ran his first 100-miler like 2-3 months later. Remarkable. Now he is overcoming plantar fasciitis with his own brand of shock and awe. It looks like this version might work better than the original copy of this employed by Dubya. A truly impressive work of healing, and his reward will be glory on the Auburn, CA track in June!

Ian, Blaine, and I spent the next 10 or so miles running and chatting, and generally enjoying ourselves in the sun. Although tired at the end, we opted to add an extra mile which gave us just over 19 miles in 3 hours on the day. Other than a sore ankle for the first part of the run (still suffering from the Blackstrap Hell race), I felt great. I am still clipping my ankles numerous times during my long runs, and this trail run left me with a bloody left inside ankle. I think this is partially due to the unsure footing and my lack of strength. This weekend I plan on somehow protecting them. To note a failure, I am still consuming too little food and fluids on my long runs. This was a shortcoming in my training last year that I noticed during the Vermont 100. If I don't train to consume fluids and food, I will suffer on race day. I plan to address this on future runs. To complete the weekend, I got in a 10-mile treadmill run Sunday evening after a full day of skiing with the kids. Not a bad weekend of training.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Counting Calendars and Ramping up

I was sitting at my desk today thinking about running (10 hours of immobility will do that to you) and decided to count the days until the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100. There are 12 weeks and three days until the gun goes off, so I guess it is time I start thinking more about running. Really, my miles aren't too bad given the workout courses and skiing I am doing (not to mention the daddy duty I am pulling constantly).

Last week I logged about 50 miles, which isn't a great deal, but it is the start to more mileage. Where I am missing out is in the longer run on the weekend and the follow-up middle-long run the next day. This past weekend I joined the Trail Monsters for a trail run from Bradbury to Pineland. The course we took was excellently groomed by snowmobiles and followed all public land with about a mile run on the road at the end. This run was about 14.5 miles with some good undulations. I followed this up Sunday evening with a 10 mile jaunt at a quicker pace on the treadmill.

Now I need to simply increase that Saturday run with a good run on Sunday and I am all set. Saturday I am planning on meeting my pacer, Jamie, at Bradbury for another good trail run. I am hoping to get in a 20+ miler. The following weekend I will be joining the Trail Monsters for a Fat Ass 50K from Chuck's house in Freeport. This will give me a much needed training boost. As for training boosts, very much in the like-to-do category is a couple runs up Pinkham Notch to the base of Mount Washingon. Any takers?

Now I am off to watch the snow fall and daydream about this weekend's upcoming alpine skiing trip with the kids...

Map and profile of the Bradbury to Pineland run. Thanks Ian for leading the charge.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Hiatus of All Hiatus'

After a long and unintended hiatus from LiveStrong Maine, I am back. My apologies to my follower for leaving you without my musings from the trail/road/treadmill. I kind of promise not to leave you out in the wild for this long again...

Having got that off my chest, I must qualify the above by saying my fitness has not been on hiatus. I have established a pretty good running/workout regime that has left me feeling pretty good, but a bit beat up. My 3x a week morning workout medley sessions are really leaving me feeling trashed but stronger for it. I am sure these classes will pay off as I am making my way up and down the mountains of VA in May and the bucolic hills of Vermont in July. My running is about where it typically is at this time of year. While I have not attempted the distance I ran at the GAC Fat Ass 50K back in the middle of January, I have kept a pretty consistent weekly distance of 40-45 miles. Coupled with the workout classes and other cross training I am doing, I should be able to slide into the heavy miles soon enough without a hitch.

So what has kept me from the blog. Kids. Work. Motivation. An addiction to Facebook (become my friend). And my reignited love of downhill skiing that has kept me away from home every weekend this winter. Last winter I could not get enough of XC skiing. While I will admit that XC skiing is much more physical and better training for an early season 100-miler, I can not do it with my kids. Therefore I have devoted this winter to teaching Riley (4 yrs, 3 mos) and Quinn (2 yrs, 5 mos) the excellent sport of alpine skiing. There is nothing better than watching a child discover a love of the outdoors, not matter what it is. So I am willing to sacrifice a bit of fitness for this.

Training has been good. I am enjoying what I have been doing, albeit I have spent a little too much of it on a treadmill. Most of my weekly running has been at night after the kids have gone to bed, so I am sort of forced to hit the treadmill, so much so that I broke it for the second season in a row. But nothing that a few sheet metal screws through the pulley into the front roller couldn't fix. I added a bit of super glue and the thing runs better than the day we brought it home. I am now just about qualified as a treadmill technician, so let me know if you have any problems with yours.

Big future plans include a local Fat Ass 50K at the end of the month and then a double Boston on Patriot's Day. I am tentatively planning on running from Boston with my buddy Jamie and then turning around and running back from Hopkinton as a participant in the big dance. Total mileage that day (you shouldn't need a calculator): 52.4. More on that later.

My thoughts drift daily to the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100. Only about 12 weeks to go. Flights are booked and the hay is being pitched into the barn. I can't wait.