Sunday, December 7, 2014

Guest Post: Nutrition 101

Thought it would be worth returning to the blog with some advice from a highly regarded exercise scientist and product manager.  Here's Lyndsey's update on sports nutrition from her recent visit to The Running Event:

Hey Friends-

I just returned from a trip to The Running Event in Austin, Texas. This run-centered event sponsored by Formula 4 Media, is a great place to connect with the running giants like Nike, Saucony and Asics as well as meet and discover smaller brands like Huma Gel, SKRATCH labs and Addaday. I don't want to sound like a total sales person, but I know you guys are some of the fittest people I know and want to know about "what's hot" on the market, so I'm here to tell you!

I was and have been pretty excited about a few nutrition brands out there over the past year that have done pretty well in our store and have also resonated with Eric and myself and a bunch of our friends. As someone who tries pretty hard not to eat all the crappy processed junk out there, it was pretty difficult over the past first few years of running to find something that worked for me and wasn't filled with junk. Sure Clif products are "organic", but what's all that other stuff in there? Hint: for cyclists out there check out what Clif has in store for 2015>

What do you think?

Another real food based brand, HoneyStinger, is on to something with the honey based (albeit too sweet) gels and chews. Two years ago I couldn't keep down a gel during my long runs (it felt like I was getting punched in the stomach!), so I switched to Honey Stinger chews  - which worked, until you had to carry a bajillion of them during a marathon because I need to have 3-4 (or approx 100cals) every 30 minutes during a long race otherwise I just tank.

This past year, we discovered Huma Gel. Ian, the founder of Huma was in the Army Iraq when he became sick and tired of the traditional gels out there. Taking what the Taraumara (Born to Run) used - chia - and making it more modern, he developed the product and the brand. They just released 4 new flavors (caffeinated!) this fall. The brand has been very popular in the store - and they only have gels - no bars, chews or drink mixes. They may be a little expensive, but they are worth it if you're looking for a real-food alternative. I really love strawberry, lemonade and mango. Eric likes blueberry.

Second, I really connected with the founder of SKRATCH labs, Allen. He has a background in exercise phys and cycling. You can read more about him here: . Watch the videos on the bottom to learn more - super interesting dude.

I've found this hydration product to be another great alternative to traditional products provided on course. We all sweat so much while running that we NEED electrolytes and some calories. The products are made with real dried fruit and real sugars. Allen has also co-authored The Feed Zone Cookbook and Feed Zone Portables. These books are awesome for athletes because they are easy to make meals with real food. 

Anyway, I just thought I'd share some thoughts and insights with you as you begin to shape up your racing schedule for 2015 or even want to start on your New Years resolutions early.

Many of these brands even offer Ambassador Programs (where the swag you up to promote the product!). I can get you the names of more brands that offer this type of program if you're interested. I would also encourage you guys to sign up to be wear testers for brands. Eric, for example, will be testing a Nike vest over the next few weeks that will likely be in their Fall 2016 collection!

All for now,

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Abroad - #EricInHK

I'm very fortunate to have some extensive work travel to our Hong Kong offices, so I thought I'd share some of my experiences outside of the working days.  "Work travel" is certainly a double-edged sword - on the positive side, you get to travel; on the negative side, you have to travel.

September in HK isn't necessarily the ideal weather that I had on my January trip (coincidently the same time as Chiberia), but it can be easily made into a fun game that I like call "Try not to need a shower before getting work."  The rules are simple, but to win, it takes strategy and execution.  (Basically you decide between taking the subway, which involves a little more walking, but less waiting.  Or you gamble, with taking the bus that involves less walking, but you must time it precisely or risk broiling in the sun...and the AC is less powerful.)

Looks like the October trip will be a bit milder (September was mid-90s and high, high humidity):

While on the topic of weather, I was able to experience a Typhoon!  Yes, I was quite excited about this (it's similar to anticipating a snow-day).  I was surprised by how cavalier everyone was when it was anticipated to only be a Level 3.  But then word came that it'd be hoisted to Level 8 and the city shut down.  We stayed in the hotel and watched the wind and rain.  The next morning, we had to wait to go into work until it was lowered.  Boom, all of a sudden everything is business as usual again.

Tracking Typhon Kalmaegi:

While HK is a very active city, it's not necessarily as convenient for am running on the streets when compared to the Chicago LFT.  For this reason, most of my runs were done on the treadmill before work.
Typical 3 mile treadmill before work:
Note that the cadence sensor is not calibrated because I use the 220 also for biking (no multi-sport mode)
However, hiking is very popular on the weekends.  When I initially thought of Hong Kong, "city, skyscraper, urban" came to mind, but really, I should have also been thinking, "mountains, trees, landscape".  A colleague and his wife played tour-guides and we hiked the popular Dragon's Back Trail, which just amazes me that you can get to within 45 min. of the city all with public transportation:

I also took advantage of Strava's Segment Explorer function to find some popular running routes.  Happy Valley horse race course caught my eye, and on a later trip with more favorable weather, I may place my bid for the CR:

Time to wrap this blog up for now, but I also need to give a shout out for my Manduka eKO travel matt from Fleet Feet Sports - Chicago, the Yogify app, and the Trigger Point Grid mini-roller.

Also on Instagram or Twitter, follow @EricVBaum #EricInHK for pics from October's trip!

And for great travel advice specific to Hong Kong's public transportation, follow #HKSubwayWarningOfTheDay :)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Take Your Spectating to the Next Level

This post was inspired by today's activities - I had the honor of watching my wife, Lyndsey, complete her first Olympic Triathlon*.  While I often partake in racing, it's quite rare that I spectate.  The last tri that I spectated was Ironman 2010 when my friend, Dave, completed the distance.

Let's consider this an "advanced" course in spectating.  Hopefully you've already watched a couple 5k's or other events that are under 90 minutes and have a base to work off of.  First let's review the goals of spectating:
1. Most importantly, be there to support and add value to your athlete.
2. See your athlete as many times as possible.
3. Capture candid photos of your athlete.
4. Keep the social media world up to date of your athletes location and how awesome of a spectator you are.

1. Add value to your athlete!  This can come in a number of different ways.  Just by being present at the event may be enough.  It's possible that Lyndsey didn't want to ride the "el" downtown this morning at 3:30 am alone.  Boom - easy win, wake up early and go along.
3:30 am on the el platform - silently taking note of Lyndsey's #: 2137
Or you may get appointed with the much desirable role of the mule.  What is a mule, you ask?  Simply, you carry the athlete's odds and ends.  Sometimes, this is as simple as a chapstick.  If it approaches Blue Seventy T2 bag, I suggest that you try to direct this into the bagcheck area as it will slow you down from reaching your other goals.

Offer subtle reminders leading up to the event. "Do your tires have air in them?"  "Did you put bodyglide on your neck by the wetsuit zipper?"  "I will see you at X location after you finish."

Add value to your athlete supersedes all of the other goals!  If seeing them every 100 yards is possible, but only annoys them, you are not winning as a spectator.  The points just don't work like that.

2.  Now we're getting into the finer areas of the spectating profession.  To see your athlete as many times as possible, you need to do some homework leading up to the event.  Study and print the course maps to take with you.
Often times you can find good maps at the expo.  This case, I had to print my own.
It also helps to do some analysis on past results - I calculated the median past finishing times of Lyndsey's age group and printed with the top finishers time.  I forecasted that Lyndsey would be near the median on the swim and quicker than the median on the bike and run.  If you have time, you can also create various histograms to refine expectations on your athlete:
Histogram Example - Credit to Mark Scheitler
Your athlete may also have some good insight on their expectations.  Try to encourage them to give you a range rather than a discrete value. i.e. if you're feeling great, your time will be X; or if you're having a bad day, your time will be Y?

Now that you as a spectator are ready for race day, what are you going to wear for "your" big day?!  Choose items that are easily recognizable by the athlete.  Team apparel is also encouraged.  For the ChiTri, I went with the FF Racing Red shirt (a classic).  I could have used a brighter hat though.  Communicate what you are wearing to the athlete.  Chances are that they may see you before you see them.  KNOW WHAT YOUR ATHLETE IS WEARING - you already know that though as you're not a spectating n00b.
Our apparel for the event
I often get questions from readers about choosing spectating locations.  My advice to them is to strategically look for areas that minimize the distance you travel between sightings, while maximizing the distance that the athlete has to travel.  Today, on the bike leg, I was able to see Lyndsey 3 times by moving less than 1 mile , while she was turning the crank for 10 miles.  This put the Spectator to Athlete Per Sighting Distance Ratio to 3.3.  For biking, try to target ratios greater than 3; and for running, try to hit numbers greater than 2.

Are you ready to get technical?  The ChiTri run course follows the south lakefront path.  While this out and back approach lowers the SAPSDR, it provides an interesting opportunity for spectators who are aided by a bike and GPS watch.  If anyone tells you they already knew this method, they are lying - I invented this myself this morning.  Set up your watch so that it displays "lap distance", "lap time", and "lap pace".  Whenever your athlete passes you, hit the lap button, reassemble yourself, and ride on a parallel path to "leapfrog" your athlete.  The goal is to leapfrog your athlete with enough spare time to prepare yourself (pull out camera, etc.) while you are stationary before they again overtake you.
Here I have travelled .7 miles since last seeing Lyndsey.  I know that her pace is ~8min/mile, so I have already leapfrogged her.  Since I am now stationary, she will arrive when my lap pace increases to ~8 min/mile (or 30 seconds from now).

3. Now that you've tracked down your athlete, you need some candid photos to prove your success.  I am not yet an expert in this area.  We own a Nikon D3100, but since I was also playing the role of mule and flying solo, I opted to stick with my iPhone 5S.  Point and shoot - that's about all I got for you here folks.
A nervous smile in the start corral
Whoops - I incorrectly forecasted Lyndsey's swim time and she saw me first!
Attacking right out of T1!

This shot can be used later on to analyze form and improve speed.

I had to run a few paces to grab this shot, but boy was it worth it!
4. Social Media - many of Lyndsey's friends and family were not able to make it into town to spectate.  With the global environment that we live in, you may also experience this.  As a spectator, it's your responsibility to keep these friends and family members up to date with live information.  Again, I have some work to do here.  I started off strong as I had some time to kill while Lyndsey was in the water and the first leg of the bike.  But as my sightings increased, it became increasingly difficult to keep the tweets going out.

I like to use Instagram for photos and Twitter for status updates (both handles are @ericvbaum).  I could have also benefited from using a hashtag for the morning such as #LynzChiTri to provide better transparency to those following along.  Here is an example of me getting called out for slowing down on the updates:
Normally, I would try to focus my efforts on Instagram and Twitter that communicates to the entire Lyndsey Fan Club, but for my mother-in-law, direct messaging is a valid exception to that rule.
More of the Lyndsey Fan Club - live updates also help others spectating on the course!

That wraps up this post, thanks for reading!  What are some of your Pro Spectating Tips?

*Did you know that "Olympic" distance is set in stone as 1.5k, 40k, 10k, but "International" can vary from course to course (usually approximately the "Olympic" distance, but anything greater than a "Sprint").

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Welcome to the Baum Temple of Speed!

Welcome!  There has been much delay on this blog awaiting the final name decision.  As of 6:43 pm today, we are a go!  Some other names that were considered:
-sub3x30: one of my next running goals
-WhiteNoise: a play on Green Silence - my primary running shoe
-GreenSilence: heck, Brooks isn't making them anymore, so the name seems fair game

Ultimately, I needed something a with a bit more substance; a name that had history and would be timeless.  So here's the story on "Baum Temple of Speed."  Back in the day (high school), my dad, brother, and I were quite into cars.  To the extent that we constructed a 40'x60' shop in the backyard.  During the design phase, an imaginative family friend suggested putting big columns on the facade and naming this place of worship to fast cars as the "Baum Temple of Speed."  The design suggestion didn't stick, but the name has been used on-and-off unofficially since that day.

Fast forward to 2011 when Lyndsey and I moved to Chicago.  Vintage muscle cars, open-wheeled machines, and sports bikes had now been put on hold for endurance sports.  Baum Temple of Speed - Chicago Branch now resided in a humble one bedroom apartment with an assortment of bike tools and various torturing devices (foam rollers, Addaday sticks, and TriggerPoint).

This brings us to today.  The intention of this blog is to cover a spectrum of topics; most will fall within running and biking, but may vary with whatever happens to intersect my life.  I'm certain it will not be updated on a regular cadence, so no need to set that Outlook reminder that you were just pulling up.  It will be a work in progress throughout the horizon and rarely the highest priority.

A quick props to some blogs that I have taken inspiration from: - This guy is a legend in running tech.  If there's a product that matters, he's written a 5 page report and photographed every angle! - I happen to know the author personally.  His writing is thorough and entertaining, not to mention he knows a ton about running! - The "old" blog where one can find some archived race recaps about one of the greatest running groups among friends that has ever been created.  Team LTD will live on and continue to compete, but I felt it appropriate to also start fresh with Baum Temple of Speed.
There's also a couple Facebook/Strava groups that I'd mention, but can't due to strict secrecy.  (If you're reading this, you know who you are - LNL.)

I will leave you with some blasts from the past of the original Baum Temple of Speed.

The original Baum Temple of Speed in the background, the Shelby and Sandy in the foreground.

With my '69 Torino GT senior year of high school...and long hair.

Andrew's Tbird and the subs that seemed to move from car to car.

Autocrossing the Formula Ford.

Andrew and Kenny getting the trailer loaded up.

Chuck and Andrew working on the Lotus Elan chassis.

Yamaha R6 was the preferred bike to have.

New pistons for the Supercoupe.

Engine all rebuilt and going back in.

Finished product at the Autocross.

Replacing head gaskets on Free Lessons for the first time.

Andrew and his 240Z.