Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Review; Yurbuds Inspire Pro

Kit usually can be categorized into two buckets; stuff you wear (shoes, clothing etc) and stuff you use (water bottles, GPS etc). There are, however, some things that fall into the very thin gray area in between, headphones…to be more specific ear-buds are one of those items. Clearly it’s a thing you use but you need it to fit your body otherwise all end of problems can arise!

IMG_9430 The folks at Yurbuds hit me up to see if I wanted to try out a pair of Inspire Pro in-the-ear headphones. Becca is a huge fan and has been using them since she picked up a pair at the Portland Marathon in 2011Ironman and they have certainly been round the block a few time which speaks to their robustness. The other nice things is that they come with a bag, I love products that come with something to keep them in. The Ironman branding is pretty standard as they are an Ironman event Sponsor, not to be confused with long course non-Ironman triathlons. Basically there are three main features;

  1. The newer versions are fitted with a built in mic which allows you to not only control the volume of the speakers but also allows you to use Siri or other voice control features. The inline mic is also water/sweat proof which is crucial if like me you tend to keep you cables inside your shirt.
  2. The other key feature to note is that the Yurbuds have is “TwistLock”, this is a feature that is designed to embed them speaker into your ear and not let them fall out when exercising, clearly this would be a pain.
  3. Finally the other feature is sound quality, it’s no good having all these bells and whistles when the sound quality is poor. I am obviously not equipped with a laboratory to measure decibels, overall sound quality and the like and so it’s subjective and really based on my, well, ears!

So in reverse order here are my thoughts;

  1. I have worn these for the last three months while running and cycling. My listening range varies from talking books to Podcasts to streaming Artic Monkeys from Spotify. The sound quality is great, bass is nice and deep, mid-tones clear and high notes are crisp.
  2. I have had to take an occasional phone call and no doubt that the inline control is easy to use. Using the Siri feature I have also been able to make a call or two when required just by asking. One thing I would say about the mic is that it’s a bit bulky, is significantly larger than your typical Apple product although some of this is due to the “ruggedizing” of it. The bulk also adds some weight so there is a little tug on your ears, more so on the run than when on the bike.
  3. Finally the fit. There is no doubting that they do not fall out, the TwistLock feature works and to be honest it works almost too well, these thing are in your ears and in there good and proper. They came with two sizes of silicon covers #5 and #7 I have really tried to make the 5s work but they are just too tight for me, finally this week I reached out to Yurbuds to get a smaller set but I am waiting to hear back (no pun intended). I don’t think I have teeny ears, quite the opposite in fact, but I just find them a bit uncomfortable. I am hoping that a smaller size will work, if not I know that Becca has her eyes on them for sure!

Here are some photos, the final one compares them to your standard Apple headphone and my other headphone of choice Sony’s now discontinued and hard to find MDRED12LP Headphones.

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Available online or through multiple brick based retailers these will set you back $59.99 a pair, given the features that’s not a bad price although a smaller mic would be nice and hopefully I can resolve the Silicon cover issue. I’ll update about smaller covers when I get a response.

These headphones were provided free of charge by the good folks at Yurbuds. See previous gear reviews in the tab above. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at quadrathon@gmail.com.

Monday, August 25, 2014

SCM Week 3

This was a big week, last build week before Week 4 which is a step back, it was skewed as it actually was 6 runs when normally I would have 5. That being said I am not having any issues from the volume and hopefully it will remain that way. This is how is broke down.

  • Monday. 5 miles Recovery. Nice and easy around a local loop.
  • Tuesday. Off.
  • Wednesday. 7 miles easy. Should have been 6 but rounded the time up to an hour and hit 7 in total.
  • Thursday. 6 miles easy. Nice and chatty with Becca at 5am.
  • Friday. 5 mile pyramid. Happy with this, was working for sure but pleased to see a low 7 minute mile, see the data below.
  • Saturday. Off.
  • Sunday. Bulldog 25k Race.

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Totals 6 runs, 6:55:19, 43:11 miles

  • Road; 28.26 (65%)
  • Trail; 14.85 (35%0

With a down week this week it looks like this month I should tap out just over 160 miles, so far so good. I’ll be springing for a new pair of shoe as my Knivara 5s will blow throw 250 miles and they’re feeling a bit flat. This week’s long run will be on the road so that should just about kill them.

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In other news this month I hit 120 posts for the year so 2014 becomes the 4th blogiest year since this blog started in 2007!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Bulldog 25k Trail Race

This race wasn’t on my original revised race calendar that I posted back mid-July. I think I saw a post on Facebook that reminded me about it and I didn’t sign up for it until I ran the course (kinda…I missed the last 3 miles) at the beginning of the month as a “dry run”. Since then I had been following my training plan and getting in some solid trail miles but however you slice or dice it my run base was a little thin as noted in the post about it. Given that my expectations were pretty low and I thought that my finish time would be anywhere between 3-3:30 hours. While the trail would remain that same much of the time added could be a factor of the weather. That being said it was a training race, somewhere I could get my long run under my belt and have some fun.

Without any hoopla. I arrived picked up my number, said hi to a few friends, listened to the brief and was off.

The weather was clear but not too hot and my strategy was to get to the top of the main climb, within reason, as quickly as I could. From there keep a steady pace along the top and downhill saving a little for the last climb. After the first 3 miles that ran mostly along the canyon floor the climb starts proper and the tried and tested method of “purposefully walking” set in. I passed some people and few people passed me. Mostly I was with the same group of folks and we seemed to be an “unspoken pace group”. I am not a chatty runner, beyond your typical “good job” I don’t tend to strike up conversations with people. I blew past AS1, wearing my Wasp pack meant I was pretty much self-sufficient for the day. Around the hour mark I sucked down a Gu gel. At the top of the climb (almost Castro Peak) the main descent led down to AS2. I had to stop a couple of times during this to simply to wipe the sweat and sunscreen from my eyes. Ever thinning top cover requires a pretty liberal smearing of SPF50 on my head and of course that combined with sweat resulted in an look from my eyes that I had been chopping onions for the last hour!

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A couple of cups of water rinsed most of it away and I was on my way for the second half of the race. It’s not quite true to say that the second half of the race is downhill. You roll along the summit ridge before dropping down back towards the canyon floor. The downhill is not easy running, it’s steep! Steep can mean a good place to fall and it can be somewhat punishing on your quads. With that in mind I took it reasonably easy going down. It takes a fair amount of time building up to a point where you can fly downhill. A couple of people flew past me only to be picked up again once we got to the bottom. On the way down I chewed up a bag of PowerBar chews around the 2 hour mark.

At the bottom there was some zig-zagging and I was at AS3, a cup of water was all I wanted with a fist bump from the every cheering Jimmy Dean Freeman I was on my way for the last climb. Before I started the uphill I stopped and sat on a log to get a stone out my shoe. Experience has taught me early intervention is best? I ran walked…mostly walked up the last hill and then ran the rest of the way down the other side. The trail spits you out onto a road which you follow back towards the check in area and finish line.

With that a slight pickup of pace…actually I was trying to catch the woman in front. So with my nose streaming the last remnants of a 48 hour bug from earlier the week I crossed the finish line, took my medal and flopped onto a chair to catch my breath.

I was aware from the halfway point that I was in good shape for a PR, the last time I ran this race was in 2008 and I finished in 2:55:13. This year 2:43:03! AG 15/56 and OA 69/297. Needless to say I am happy. Charitable conditions certainly helped but running a sensible race and following my strategy made the biggest difference.

I didn’t stop for any photos along the way although I got this rather good one after I sat down. I call it Headsweat!”

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Oh in case you’re wondering why it’s a 2011 Tshirt, there was a SNAFU with the printer, 2014 shirts are on their way!

This is a great local event, it’s well planned and is now in it’s 23rd year. The Race Director is renown for running a tight ship and puts together a top notch event. While not the easiest of races it has a generous cutoff time to allow for the elevation and season. It takes an army of volunteers to put on any race and a trail race adds complexity to that but yet there was no shortage of people there to help!

Up next, well in 7 weeks, is the Xterra Pt Mugu 18k