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Spartan Race, veggies, and grabbing gear for Dad

Minute 1: Is Joe Desena jump-starting all endurance races?

Spartan Race threw mud in the eye of the Coronavirus when it re-opened endurance racing last weekend in Jacksonville. More than 8,000 people participated in a trail running race and various obstacle courses over three days, according to Spartan’s press release, making it the largest endurance event since the pandemic hit the U.S. Founder Joe Desena had grown his lists of both friends and enemies when he announced this race a few weeks back, saying “If you’re too afraid to live a Spartan life due to a virus, then you’re already dead.” He later walked back his comments in this Instagram post, but he didn’t backtrack on his commitment to re-open endurance racing. The Jacksonville event may provide a road map for other endurance events anxious to relaunch. Racers were sent out in waves of only 24 people over many hours with no spectators allowed. They were welcomed by gallons and gallons of free hand sanitizer, a temperature scan, and volunteers in masks. Athletes themselves did not wear masks on the courses. Race organizers explained their plans and basic philosophy in this post: “8 Things Spartans Should Know About Racing in COVID-19.” The race took place immediately following one of the biggest spikes in Coronavirus cases in Florida. Trade organization Running USA has compiled a sad but helpful list of major races that have been cancelled or postponed here. #MadmenRunnersBummers

Minute 2: Bike sales booming … except to police departments

Even as many endurance-related businesses suffer during the pandemic, bike ridership and sales have grown significantly this year. According to this article in the Denver Post, “Coronavirus pandemic leads to bicycle boom,” bike sales reached a 40-year peak and people are “buying bikes like toilet paper.” Car traffic plunged this spring which generally makes city riding safer and more popular. Industry group People For Bikes just released its rankings of the top North American cities for cycling. Not surprisingly, college towns score well on the survey, with San Luis Obispo, Madison, Fort Collins and Ann Arbor cracking the top 12. The group explains why SLO ranked #1 and why D.C. is the best major U.S. city on the list here. Meanwhile, one area of bike sales is skidding to a stop – police bicycles. Fuji just announced that it will suspend sales of its bikes to police departments after reports that mounted cops had used them inappropriately against protesters. Trek is another major supplier of police bikes and has been urged to withdraw from that market after this video emerged of Trek bikes being used to push back protesters. Instead, Trek CEO John Burke has announced a $2.5 million investment to train more people of color in the industry. #OnTwoWheels

Minute 3: Vegetables as endurance fuel

Spring vegetables like lettuce, asparagus and peas are now appearing at a farm stand near you. Maybe these early harvests relate to the crop of news reports on how vegetable diets impact endurance athletes. We were intrigued by a new story that featured identical twins who followed either a vegan or meat-eating diet. Ross and Hugo Turner are known as the “adventure guinea pigs” for their willingness to use themselves as test subjects for outdoor pursuits. Hugo followed a vegan diet during their 12-week experiment and reported higher energy levels and weight loss versus his twin brother. Triathlon Magazine Canada just published a related story: “What vegetarian pro triathlete Tamara Jewett eats in a day.” Her go-to breakfast is oatmeal with peanut butter, fruit and a scoop of protein powder. One of the challenges for athletes pursuing a vegetarian diet has always been finding enough protein. Potential answers to that challenge -- whether you want to go cold turkey on meat or not -- are in these two new stories: “7 Healthy Plant Foods With Almost As Much Protein As Meat” and “12 Easy High-Protein Vegetarian Recipes.” We are glad that lentils bubbled to the top of both lists as we are big fans of Trader Joe’s lentil soup with a healthy splash of hot sauce to liven things up. More support for the meatless diet also came from a new study this week: “High-Carb Diet Outperforms Low-Carb Diet in Endurance Study.” It showed that runners improved their 10K time by about 5% with intense training and a high-carb diet over a 3-week period. The study did find, however, that folks on the protein-heavy diet lost an average of 6 pounds during the study while the high-carb cohort only dropped 2 pounds. (Are you running to go fast or to look good???) #VeggieMight 

Minute 4: Gear Locker for dad

Father’s Day is approaching faster than a riding lawnmower. If you haven’t figured out a gift for the dads in your world, fear not, we’ve got a few last-minute ideas for you.

  1. Hoka One One Ora Recovery Flip: Unbeatable for both performance recovery and for padding around the house. 

  2. Balega UltraGlide Running Socks: Dad will run faster and jump higher with these cool, dry, and comfortable with these socks. (If he’s old enough, he’ll get the PF Flyers reference.)

  3. Hoka One One Carbon X: If Dad’s looking for speed records, this is one of the best shoes to be in. A carbon fiber plate and springy foam will propel him forward with every stride.

  4. Medterra CBD Rapid Cooling Cream: Deal with sore muscles and joints with the rapid cooling effects of this CBD cream.

  5. Theragun Mini: Weighing in at just 1.5lbs, this percussive therapy massager provides deep muscle treatment at a reasonable price.

  6. Vuori Kore Short: Whether Dad is stuck in the ‘80s with too-short shorts or wears nothing but black, these Vuori shorts will upgrade his mojo. Suitable for running, working out, swimming and just plain crushing the ‘burbs.

  7. Goodr Mick and Keith’s Midnight Ramble Sunglasses: These polarized sunglasses are stylish and won’t slip or bounce around. We won’t tell your Dad this, but they’re a bargain at just $25.

And if your selection is none of the above, but you’re still in the market for a fitness-focused dad, Jackrabbit’s Father’s Day sale may provide inspiration. Check it out here. #DadBodNoMore

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • The cancellation of road races is having a big impact on charities. In a typical year, hundreds of millions of dollars are raised in these events for local and national charities. This year, those proceeds are expected to be way down according to Yahoo Sports.

  • Now that you’ve stripped off your leggings and long-sleeved shirts for summer, you may want to check out this new piece from “Everything You Need to Know About Running in the Heat.” Statistically, the ideal temperature for runners is in the 45-50 degree range. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and productive sessions in the heat of summer. Be patient as it takes about two weeks for the typical human to reset their internal thermostat and adjust to the new conditions. You may want to pair that story with “The Joys and Training Benefits of Beach Running” that explains how the softer impact and varied terrain can help prevent injuries.

  • 24 Hour Fitness became another business casualty of the Coronavirus this week as it filed for bankruptcy and closed 130 gym locations. CNET just came out with a good piece entitled “Is It Safe to Go Back to the Gym?” that gives a preview of what to expect. USA Today asks the related question: Should you wear a facemask to the gym? Soul Cycle has been slowly re-opening studios this month with revised safety guidelines.

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

We are suckers for pump-up videos when our self-motivation flags amidst the stress of the world. And when we find something that feeds another passion of ours -- sports movies -- it’s a winning combination to get us out the door with extra pop in our step. This “Never Quit” video pushes all of our buttons with narration from great voices like Will Smith. Hold my beer. I’m going.


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