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My Knuckle Lights are awesome! product review

I know you have all been waiting on the edge of your seat for the official Adam Culp (Crazy Floridian) product review of the knuckle lights since I bought them a while back. (They arrived in late September.) So here it is.  I would have written sooner, but really wanted to take them on a bunch of runs to be sure I was gonna love them as a part of my running gear, and waiting a bit also enabled me to really see how long they would last on a set of fresh batteries.

Now that I have used them as running lights on more than 30 runs, and at least 3 times as hiking lights in the woods of the Smokie’s and the hills of Colorado, I feel I can properly write about them.  I was pleased that the batteries lasted about 15 2+ hour runs.  I am not sure how long they would have lasted for a single run if it lasted longer, but will let you know in February after the Iron Horse 100.

As many of you know I run a bunch of miles (2,200 miles in 2011), and many of these runs are at night, or start late in the day and end up in the dark before the run is done.  Unfortunately I live in an area where there is high traffic and not street lights everywhere, and when cars are driving toward me I often cannot see anything. This makes for some interesting night running. There have been times when I tripped over a curb, sidewalk, debris, and once even some roadkill.  So I resorted to buying a headlamp.

Now I don’t know about the rest of you, but a headlamp is truly an inconvenience to wear when running. First I needed to adjust the strap tight enough so it does not slide down my face, but lose enough so it doesn’t result in a headache.  Needless to say I eventually just tied it around my hand and positioned it in such a way to use it like a flashlight.  However, there were two problems with this: First, I had to twist the strap pretty tight to my fingers to be handy and cause my fingers to hurt after hours of running. And second, the strap becomes worn, and over time loses its elasticity so it basically was cutting off blood flow to your fingers to hold it in place.

After almost 2 years of running this way I saw an advertisement in Runner’s World for Knuckle Lights.  It was awesome to see someone had also done the same thing I’d done with the headlamp, and decided to make a “real” light with straps to be held on your hand similar to the way I was using the headlamp. Awesome!!!

I ordered a pair of Knuckle Lights and waited for them to arrive. I could hardly wait to get them.  When they arrived it was like Christmas, and I was impatient to give them a try.  Of course I did a head to head comparison against my headlamp, and the Knuckle Lights were brighter, but wouldn’t you know it…I had to wait a full two weeks before the opportunity arose for me to give them a try, and loved them immediately.  The handle is pretty comfortable even though it is a plastic strap.  I was a little nervous about that when I first saw them, but after adjusting them to the right size for my hand I don’t even notice it on my hand.

The wide angle LED bulbs are pretty nice because the beam is not really altered by my hand movement as I run.  Of course you do not get the distance you would get with a spotlight type of beam, but seeing that far is not really a concern when running.  I only need to see things closer to me to prevent tripping, and I can generally see farther objects enough to know what is ahead in any way.

The package comes with two Knuckle lights and included batteries, but I generally only use one at a time.  The second light really doesn’t illuminate much more than a single one will do by itself.  Even while hiking with the family in deep woods a single light was more than enough for me to see with, so my wife had one while I carried the other and it worked awesome.

In February I will be using these lights while running the 2012 Iron Horse 100, and I believe they will work out wonderfully since I have thoroughly tested them since September.  I recommend these to any runners, hikers, bikers, or anyone that has a need for some sort of lighting.  They are priced reasonably, do not eat batteries, are comfortable to wear and use, and supply an awesome amount of light.  Please go get your own.

Adam closing

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New Adidas Adizero sports sunglasses

After a couple years of running with my normal prescription sunglasses I finally broke down and bought a pair of sports sunglasses with prescription lenses. I have had enough of constantly pushing my glasses back up my nose because they slid down when the sweat begins. You may remember the product review I wrote in April 2010 for a pair of Ryders Eyewear. The nice folks at Outside PR were nice enough to send me a pair to review. Of course I loved the sunglasses, but was a little disappointed that I could not get them with a prescription. (My wife uses those now, and loves them.)

At first I was already set to shop for a new pair of Oakley sunglasses, but was surprised by the HUGE price Oakley charges for their lenses. (All added up I would be paying around $650 for the sunglasses with spare clear lenses for night running.) You see the trouble is that I do a bunch of running, which means I run during the day and sometimes at night. The pair of glasses I wanted would need to have lenses that could be changed out with clear ones for night running. Enter Adidas.

While at the store looking at Oakley I came to the decision that I would simply live with the way I had been doing things.  But the friendly store owner asked if I had considered other brands, and asked me to try on a pair of Adidas.  When I put them on I was immediately shocked.  They actually fit more comfortable than the Oakley with more adjustments possible, and were about $30 cheaper even before the prescription lenses were calculated. The clerk pointed out that with these glasses I could get lenses much less expensive because they could be made right in the store. (Total price for the glasses with 2 pairs of prescription lenses would only be around $300!) SOLD!

Now that I have had them for around 6 months I figured the time has come to talk about them. THEY ARE GREAT!!!

When running it is easy to get them on and off if I feel the need to wipe the sweat from my face, since I live in Florida and all. They never slide around or bounce as I run. The lenses easily pop in and out so I can switch from polarized to clear, and back again. Plus the stems and nose pads adjust to 3 different positions to allow complete customization. (Of course once you get them set right they will probably never change again.)

Overall I highly recommend these shades, even if you do not need prescription lenses. Enjoy.

Adam closing

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Oil reduced my recovery times

Udo's Oil

This past training iteration was the hardest I have run so far as I prepared for my first 100 mile ultra.  As we know by now, the training went great but I ended the race at 100K (62 miles) instead of my100 mile goal due to nausea caused by slight dehydration on a very hot day.  Many people have asked me if I did anything different as I trained for the ultra, so I am writing this review on one item I have come to love.

Aside from running many more miles and other obvious things to go along with that (ice baths, protein, hydration, gels, food, more food) I also started using Udo’s Oil.  I originally heard about it while reading UltraRunning magazine.  On the inside cover was an ad where a famous ultra runner claimed the oil reduced recovery for him by 1/3.  WOW!!! A full third is HUGE!!!

In the ad there was an 800 number to call for a free sample, so I called.  Couldn’t hurt to try something free, right?

The free sample was actually a pretty large sized bottle, and arrived in only a few days.  On the bottle it was recommended that I ingest 1 tablespoon per day, with a meal, so I tried a few different ways of eating it.  I tried on a salad, and with orange juice, and then with tomato juice which I decided would be the way to do it from then on because it really enhanced the flavor of the juice.  The oil is exactly that, oil. (like olive oil) It has a nutty flavor yet is very mild and easy to eat.  I mix it with about 4 ounces of Campbells tomato juice and drink, generally prior to a meal.

At the time I started eating it I was running around 30 to 40 miles per week, and was doing ice baths after long runs as well as icing as needed.  After about a week or two I noticed a definite energy level increase, and my miles per week were also starting to go up into the 50 range.  I didn’t think about it at the time, but I also had much less soreness after long runs.  I even felt so good I had stopped taking ice baths.  This was not intentional and I did not even notice I had stopped the ice baths.  I simply didn’t feel the need for them, so I skipped them, but did continue the occasional ice packs as needed around my knee joints.

The sample bottle of oil ran out, so I went to my local vitamin store and purchased another larger bottle.  Wow, it seemed expensive compared to the bottle of olive oil you buy at the market.  I almost didn’t buy it, but decided that since the first bottle was free and seemed to help a little I would buy one to continue growing my miles and determine if the oil really helped.

It was almost magical how I was running more miles than I had ever run in my life, running more days per week than previous training iterations, and I was actually doing less for recovery than at lower miles in the past.  I was riding high and felt like superman as I continued pushing higher and higher in my training.  Every day I would wake in the morning feeling fresh and ready for the next run, as if I had not run the day prior at all, at 70 – 80 miles per week!  It hadn’t dawned on me how much the oil was helping.  However, 3 or 4 weeks later as my mileage started hitting 80+ per week I ran out of the oil, and decided to save money and not get more.  I was feeling great, and training was going very well.

Well, let me tell you.  About 2 weeks after running out of the oil I was not recovering from the previous days runs in time for another run.  I had to start the ice baths again no matter how long the run was, and still had to keep ice on my knees a few times each day.  My energy levels were down, I mean way down, and I was starting to doubt my ability in a very serious way.

It was then I realized the ONLY change was the oil.  My diet was the same.  I was running the same.  I was maintaining my nutrition the same.  So perhaps it was the oil making such a HUGE difference.  I immediately went to the vitamin store and purchased another bottle.  I was only a couple of weeks away from a race, and I didn’t want to take any chances.

TAKEAWAY:  So, I believe that Udo’s oil really made a difference in my training.  While I cannot really put a solid number to how it improved my recover, I would say that 1/3 less time sounds realistic.  This past training iteration was extreme as my miles got above 90 over a 25 week period.  Plus I ran out of the oil just before running my “peak” week of 92 miles, so it is hard to say if the lack of oil or the 92 miles was the cause of my fatigue. (I think it was a little of both, leading to the perfect storm.)  I would recommend the oil to anyone, but due to the cost I would say to use it from mid-training iteration up to race day.

I hope this helps someone like it helped me.Adam closing

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Nature’s Path Flax Plus Pumpkin Raisin Crunch

Nature's Path Flax Plus Pumpkin Rasin Crunch
We all know that in order to workout and do some of the crazy miles we do it is necessary to fuel right.  A couple of years ago I discovered a cereal that is SO AWESOME I eat it almost daily, and really notice the days I do not.  It is an organic product, and the nutrition is simply amazing.  I usually start each morning with a bowl of this, and a glass or orange juice.  The fiber helps keep us regular, the fats (omega-3) really help recovery, and plenty of carbs to power our workout as well as enough protein to keep us growing.  I simply can’t say enough about this cereal…you MUST TRY IT!!!  Oh, and the flavor ROCKS also.

Flax Plus Pumpkin Rasin Crunch nutritional info

For more information please check out their website Nature’s Path Flax Plus Pumpkin Raisin Crunch.  I think you will be as amazed as I am at the ingredients and how it really gives a boost to your days.

NOTE: You may need to look in your local green market.  I noticed that most of the larger chain stores have removed this product, though it seemed to sell well.

Get some and enjoy!Adam closing

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Ryders Eyewear Sunglasses Review

A couple of weeks ago Gordon from OutsidePR found his way onto my humble blog and enjoyed reading my ultra marathon experience.  He also found my post on the mind games of long distance running where I use the lack of sunglasses as a reason not to run.  This led him to propose I should try out a pair of Ryders Eyewear, which is one of their accounts, and let him know what I thought of them.  Of course I said “sure” and he asked Devon to send a pair of the “Shot” model my way.

First let me tell you that I am a very picky person when it comes to my running gear.  However, for some reason I have never considered eyewear as running gear.  For years I simply wore my normal prescription lensed sunglasses on all of my runs, and never gave it another thought.  Never mind the fact I had to push my glasses back into place every 100 yards or so.  Pay no mind as my normal running glasses weight cause my nose bridge a little discomfort from the slight bounce on long distance runs.  Add to this the amount of cleaning that is required for nose pads that are not made to handle the sweat of a marathon distance.  Until this past weekend I WAS COMPLETELY HAPPY with my heavy, dirty, sliding, and sports ugly prescription sunglasses.

Thanks to OutsidePR and Ryders Eyewear I now realize my old sunglasses are outdated, and not meant for long distance running.  Thanks a lot Gordon!  Jeez!  I simply never gave sports sunglasses a thought and didn’t know there was a difference.

Ryders Eyewear “Shot” Sunglasses

Saturday I set out for a short 7 mile run wearing the “Shot” model of Ryders Eyewear.