Thursday, June 28, 2012

Product Review: BioEndurance Bar

If you are from the Chicago area you probably know Meredith Vieceli (Beers). She is now making energy bars. Meredith is a nutritionist and is demanding higher quality from the field of bars available.

You can order her bars at Runner’s High ‘n Tri in Arlington Heights, IL or at her website –

There is a new bar in triathlon.  People will take notice.

As Meredith said, “The energy bar market is crowded with candy bars that are dressed up as “wholesome” sports nutrition bars. I set out to create a bar that I could proudly offer to my clients, athletes and health-conscious individuals who want the best quality, organic ingredients in a raw, energy bar that tastes delicious.”

She really hit a home run with this bar.

EVERY bar manufacturing company should be nervous. Make that very nervous. Especially as athletes realize they can eat real foods versus paying for a prepared food.

Meredith said, she had four goals for the bar – she hit them all.

1) Each ingredient must serve a functional purpose. The ingredients should be easy to digest, slow burning, energy boosting, and help speed recovery.

2) Each ingredient must be of the highest-quality, raw and organic. I will never compromise on quality of ingredients

3) This bar must be free of peanuts, soy and dairy. Since so many people unknowingly have sensitivities and intolerances to these ingredients they’re not part of the recipe.

4) This bar must be delicious. If it doesn’t taste good – no one will eat it.

Look MOM!  Real food ingredients!
When you open the wrapper - you smell lemon and almond.  It is not greasy like a Lara Bar, stiff like a PowerBar, solid like stale oatmeal like a Clif Bar (and I like all those bars a lot).  This is easy to eat and tastes like real food - because it is real food.  (SHOCKING, I KNOW!)

I'm excited about this bar.  My God-daughter Lauren has a minor peanut allergy, but enough to make sure I watch everything we bring her.  Knowing that we can give this bar to her is HUGE for our future trips to the zoo, fishing and her activities. 

Order this bar by the CASE.  I will be.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Real Toughness vs. Workout Smack Talk

This blog is inspired by my military friends: Brian (EOD), Ken (Marines Special Forces), Jeff (USN Seals), Nate (Marines), Andy (USN), Justine (Marines) and Tommy (USN UDT).

I'm sure you may have noticed this too.  Read Facebook, Twitter, blogs, emails of your friends who train and race.  Who are the real bad ass MFers?  (That's right, I went there.)

The real tough guys and gals are the ones NOT talking about their training or "EPIC" workouts- with a few exceptions.  They are humble. 

You know what I'm talking about if you have friends who "race".  Every day people post that they (fill in exercise here) at (pace).  It is so one dimensional.  Do you really need me to "like" your workout for you to feel good about it?  Someone recently introduced me as "This is Bob the triathlete".  My response was "Oh, I'm so much more than just a triathlete, but thank you."  Honestly, I really don't feel much like a triathlete because I'm so far from where I used to be... and even then I was probably a B+ compared to many.  We all are.  Its one thing to focus on your sport and achievements.  Its another to have life whip past you. 

Case in point: One of our friends (Kara), turned 40 this year.  She isn't doing an Ironman, a marathon or the Cross Fit Games.  However, on her birthday she did this workout:

500 WU
40x 100 on 1:30
300 pull
200 easy
(5000- she couldn't just leave it at 4700... had to be an even number)

Then, biked 40 miles.  No big deal right?  For many, no.  However, Kara went out to "The Wall" in Bull Valley and rode up it 20 times.  TWENTY!  My best is 12 and it wasn't on a day when I did 5.000 yards in the pool.

To finish her day (no, she did not run 40 miles) Kara went to the track... and did 40x 400m.  To be honest, I don't remember what time she ran or what interval she was on.  Who cares?  What a workout! 

After this, did Kara post her workout from her Garmin... no wait... she doesn't have one.  She has a crappy Timex from 1997 that she still wears.  No heart rate monitor.  No SRM.  Just time.  She didn't tell anyone - except those of us who were with her for PARTS of her birthday workout.  Not ALL.  NOBODY did it all with her.  It wasn't until three days later when all of her friends were talking about how sore they were from working out with Kara on her birthday did we realize that we all got a whoopin' from Kara.  I won't even tell you about how she also out drank us all that night because it is well... embarrassing.  My excuse (a good one) is that I was driving and I don't drink anything and get behind the wheel, but even if I had a designated driver... it would have been like the drinking scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark. 

There was an old saying, "The person saying it can't be done is interrupted by the person doing it."  I think we can now say, "The person (Facebooking, Tweeting, etc.) about a workout is passed by a person doubling it." 

Kara is a great example of humbleness, balanced life and hard core, bad ass athlete.

Not ONE of my military friends talks about their workouts.  Not one.  There is a lesson in there if you pay attention.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

The single greatest coach in my life has died.  Monday, my dad lost his second battle with lymphoma.  The cancer (almost like it knew) was just out of reach of any possible treatment from the physicians.  Dad went "two for three" against cancer - blood cancers specifically.  I've seen my dad every day of his hospitalization since March, but this day I had to go into the office.  I got the call at 7:40 am as the express train mercilessly whipped through the NW suburbs.  Just hours before, leaving the hospital at 1:00 am (20 hours in the hospital), I told my dad that I'd be back in the afternoon.  I had to meet people who were pretty senior in the airline.  I conducted my meetings, as per normal.  We went through the strategy of my program and it got some pretty solid reviews and excitement was flowing.  Then when the suggestion of a Friday meeting was brought up I had to tell them.  I may not be here on Friday as I lost my dad this morning at 7:40 am.  Immediately, three directors and several VPs stood up (pissed OFF) and said, "WHY ARE YOU HERE?!"  I explained that I wanted to get us going as things that I don't effect were in motion.  I wasn't needed at the moment.  Additionally, 1) My dad worked hard.  He taught us the values of making sure we are not the fly in the ointment when it comes to work.  You get things done and help others get things done.  2) There was NOTHING to do.  The meeting with the funeral home and church were later.  The hospital had taken the appropriate steps to take care of dad.  Mom was napping - finally - after three months of GO GO GO to advocate and care for dad.  Let me tell you that my "real job" at United Airlines has a lot of pretty amazing people.  When I emailed my boss's boss's boss (and all leadership between) to inform them I'd be out for a few days - INSTANTLY had offices emptying out to talk with me and offer support.  I'm on an amazing team of extremely talented and hard working people (easily the best I've ever worked with - even better than Andersen Consulting - and THAT is a statement, because those people were amazing).  I think these guys are even better.

I am wavering from missing my dad: fishing buddy, triathlon fan, coach to being happy that dad is no longer sick.  Without going "off the reservation" on you, I believe that my dad went to heaven and is now with a lot of friends and relatives who went before us.  I'm sad for me and those with me here on this Earth.  Now I'll take the lessons my dad taught me and move on with him in my heart.  

Trying to be positive (and transition back to being a triathlon blog) the only races my father ever saw me race... I was on the podium.  A second (age group).  A third (age group).  A third (overall) and a first (overall) small races all, but dad never saw me do poorly.  I'm grateful for that.  Dad knew me as a champion swimmer, water polo player and great baseball player.  Unknown fact about me... I only started swimming to get stronger for baseball.  True story.  Then a certain baseball coach I played for - who really needed a guy like me on his team - decided he didn't want a guy who was out hustling his more talented players daily.  When I hurt my arm - he cut me.  Probably the best thing that ever happened to me... I went right back to swimming and water polo which paid for my university education at a NCAA Div. I school - the big boys.
Mom & Dad
Meanwhile, in the world of triathlon...  My athletes were kicking ass.

I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am of their hard work and dedication through self doubt.  This weekend we had overall wins by Greg Thompson and (overall amateur) Chris Gilbert at MAJOR races on the east coast.  Chris was first amateur at the Mooseman 70.3 - that is no light task.  Additionally, Mindy and Don Soranno BOTH qualified for the ITU World Championships in Long Course Duathlon in Switzerland.  Mindy was 5th in her age group!! 

When I told my dad this weekend results my dad (who has been unable to speak for nearly four weeks) raised his hand with a #1 sign with his hand.  

The joy of their efforts has really buoyed me emotionally.  I'm so happy for all of them.  When we started, there were doubts, questions, pain (usually in workouts).  They weathered the initial storm and came out smiling.  I suspect I'll do the same.

Choose to be great.