2014 in Review

I was thinking about this the other day – I had a moment where I said to myself, “the last year has been really great.” But what I realized was that I’ve been praising the last 365 days for the last, well, about 365 days, meaning I’ve had an amazing year-plus, with no end of awesome in sight. Fingers crossed.photo

Let’s do a 2014 by the numbers: 

Number of races: 9
Number of races I won: 2
Number of age group podium placements, not counting wins: 2
Number of medals: 9 (but only from 5 races!)
Number of trophies: 1 (it has flames on it)
Shortest race: Grant Park Turkey Trot 5K
Longest race: HITS Naples 140.6
Most bizarre race I participated in: Brooklyn Bridge SwimIMG_4538
Favorite race: HITS Naples 140.6
Number of severe sunburns received: 1 —>
Best finish photo: Rev3 Half Aquathon
Worst (but sort of best) race photos: Grant Park Turkey Trot
Number of visits to Finish Line Physical Therapy: 24
Number of specialists I saw: 2
Number of broken bones: 1
Number of times I flew to Chicago: 4
Number of times I drove to the Midwest: 2
Number of flat tires this year: 2
Number of pairs of shoes I ran: 10
Number of those shoes that were test shoes: 5
Longest ride not in a race: 146.8km (91.2 miles)
Longest ride in a race: 180km (112 miles)
Longest run: 21.6 miles
Fastest mile in a run (never tried for a single mile pace): 5:38/mile (5.3 mile run)
Number of crashes: 0
Number of athletes I coached privately: 9
Number of athletes I coached privately who met or exceeded their goals: 9
Number of times said athletes cursed my name: unknown
Number of whole cakes I consumed alone in under 72 hours: 2
Number of mini muffins consumed mid-ride with ETC: approximately 42
Number of times I put coffee in a water bottle while riding my bike: 1
Weirdest thing I ate while riding my bike: leftover burrito
Most memorable ride: first time to Orchards with Cameron
Most memorable run: canceling the ETC run because of rain but running with everyone (at their own risk!) anyway while it monsooned on us
Song most often stuck in my head while running: Sia “Chandeliers” (1-2-3, 1-2-3-3)

Monthly highlight reel & favorite moments:

January: Placed 1st in AG, 4th overall at HITS Naples 140.6. Two weeks later, ran the coldest half marathon of my life. Started attending November Project workouts. Interviewed Janet Mock.

February: Spoke at Harvard. Joined the GO! Athletes Board of Directors as Director of Strategic Initiatives. Wrote for Huffington Post.

March: Named to Trans 100 list.

April: Helped my wife with her amazing show at Abron’s Arts Center. harvard1Modeled for Brooks Pure Project Trunk Show at New York Running Company. Volunteered at Brooklyn Half.

May: Enjoyed the Bahamas. Taught kids how to ride bikes.

June: Volunteered at REV3 Quassy. Won my first race. Attended the Nike LGBT Sports Summit in Portland. Enjoyed Voodoo Doughnuts. A lot.

July: Was inducted into the National Gay & Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame. Did my first evIMG_7135er (and likely last!) swimming race. Got officially cleared by USADA. Modeled for the Role Model issue of Candy Magazine.

August: PRed and placed top 10% in NYC Tri, even with a 6 minute stop to change a stranger’s tire. A week later, won the November Project Positivity Award and a silver medal at Gay Games 9. Recorded my first radio interview with OutCasting Media.  Named to Advocate 40 Under 40 list.

September: Won my second race. Spoke on panels in Denver and 10489847_805774314922_2196117563667788321_nYonkers. Began job as bike messenger. Went camping and loved it.

October: Spoke twice in NYC. Led NYC Marathon training runs and conducted a marathon clinic for runners. Maybe slept in?

November: Volunteered at NYC Marathon. Attended the NCAA Think Tank on LGBTQ Athletes and Religion. Transathlete.com turned 1. Met a muppet (cannot wait to talk more about this in 2015). Did my first recorded Google Hangout panel with Campus Pride. Spoke in Philly. Began the Deck-a-Day New Year’s Resolution Jump Start group, with nearly 400 members today.

December: Got a holiday card from the President. Candy Magazine released. Broke my toe. Named Best Personal Trainer of the Northeast by Competitor Magazine. 

Best-of-Competitor-2014-LogoThat’s not all, but that’s enough. It has been a TREMENDOUS YEAR and I couldn’t be happier to have the community, opportunities, and blessings I have. I was thrilled to meet great new friends, to spend so much time with Empire Tri Club, to see the athletes I coached have such great success, and have the opportunities to share my story with others. I have an awesome life, an awesome wife, and big goals to keep the momentum moving into 2015.

Happy New Year!

Nike to Discontinue FuelBand?

Reports came out this weekend on tech web site CNET that Nike has laid off its FuelBand team and ended production on a slimline Imageversion that was to launch in the fall. All signs point to this being end of the Nike+ FuelBand, although Nike has neither confirmed or denied this news. Yet. 

The Active Times guesses that Nike may partner with a more established hardware maker such as Apple instead of trying to fight for market shares on its now. The Active Times reports that Nike has about a 10% share of the fitness tracker market.

Nike says it will continue to support the existing version of the band and to continue to develop its Fuel app.

I personally don’t have any wearable tech, and I’m glad I didn’t get a FuelBand when I had the inclination to do so a year or so ago. I like the idea of tracking and having this information, but I can also do the same thing with just a little extra effort on my iPhone through free apps. I do have teammates who like the Jawbone UP and FitBit, but unless they came my way without cost, I don’t think I’m in the market for anything any time soon. I’ve been running without a watch for two seasons since my Garmin 405 broke, and I think I’d prioritize that over other wearable tech – but that’s not even on my to-buy list right now. 

I actually don’t know anyone who uses Nike+ FuelBand regularly, so I guess I can’t really say whether this is a loss or not. 

Product Review: First Endurance EFS Electrolyte Drink

As an athlete, I’ve been somewhat of a connoisseur of sports nutrition over the past several years. When I started training for iron-distance triathlons, I figured out rather quickly that I needed to find something that would fuel me without making me feel like a ton of bricks or like I wanted to expel said nutrition from some part of my body. Seems easy enough, right? 

Wrong.

I won’t turn this into a long post about all the things that didn’t work – but I should say first what I didn’t like about my old products. Here’s my list of complaints:

1. Too sweet. I would be in the middle of workouts thinking about brushing my teeth. That’s gross.
2. Grainy. The mix wouldn’t dissolve all the way and wouldn’t mix well.
3. Chalky. Some of the “endurance” powders tasted chalky or thick.
4. Too low of electrolyte count. I would need pills on top of my drink mix. Carrying them in my jersey was a pain and fumbling with pills while sweaty was gross. 
5. Stomach distress. My stomach would feel bloated after some drinks, and bloat on the bike is awful. Sloshy stomach on the run is even worse. I set Porta Potty PRs in my second Ironman race. Not the payoff from training that I had hoped for.

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The list goes on, but I’ll focus on what did work: First Endurance EFS Liquid Shots, and EFS Electrolyte Drink

I converted last year to the First Endurance line after hearing their EFS drink worked well for a friend, and the liquid shots were intriguing to me as well because of their amazing texture (not too thick, with no gelling agents). I also saw the EFS Electrolyte drink was the highest electrolyte content available, which I believed would help with my cramping and dehydration, as well as refuel my muscles faster than drink + pills. 

My first go with EFS Electrolyte drink was with the Tart Lemon-Lime flavor. All natural flavors, no colors, and no artificial sweeteners made me wonder what it would taste like, but the taste is awesome and can be mixed at various strengths to suit one’s individual preferences. I keep mine at the recommended amount of 1.5 scoops for an 18 oz bottle, and I find it to be just right.

The first thing I noticed was the texture of the powder – it’s almost totally smooth and dissolves instantly into my bottle. No epic shaking necessary and no clumping at the bottom of the bottle. The next thing I noticed was that it tasted good cold and warm, which is not always the case (a previous nutrition choice of mine actually soured/went bad in the heat – a lesson learned the hard way…). And the calorie count is right on for me. With 96 calories per scoop, I’m getting about 150 per bottle. This can be mixed at double strength for a 300 calorie bottle, but I haven’t had to try it that way yet. 

ImageThere’s a reason why this product has almost 50 five-star reviews on its website: it really works. The gluten-free formula sits well for me, fuels me for strong efforts (I’ve used it both cycling and running), and doesn’t slosh around. It tastes great any way I make it and it mixes quickly. This one drink gives me pretty much everything I need to make the most of my performance. In both training and racing, I’ve been happy with my switch to EFS Electrolyte Drink. So happy that I applied for sponsorship from them, because this is awesome stuff. 

Jugs are sold online and in cycling and running shops. Definitely worth a shot if you’re looking for peak performance without having to think too much about timing of extra pills.

Here’s the specs from the website
THE HIGHEST ELECTROLYTE CONTENT AVAILABLE
Clinical research shows endurance athletes require much higher levels of electrolytes than most sports drinks provide to prevent cramping and dehydration (4). The new EFS drinks now contains over 1,160mg of all 5 electrolytes per serving, more than any electrolyte drink on the market. 

THE LATEST AMINO ACID TECHNOLOGY
The Amino Acids in the EFS drinks are AjiPure amino acids, the purest, most- bioavailable source of free-form amino acids available. AjiPure amino acids have purity levels of 99%-100%. This results in faster and more complete absorption. 

SUPERIOR CALCIUM BIOAVALIBILITYImage
The new EFS formulas utilize two unique sources of calcium and magnesium. DiCalcium malate and Dimagnesium malate have superior bioavailability compared to other mineral sources. In a bioavailability study, absorption rates were between 20% and 100% higher using DiCalcium and DiMagnesium malates (1). 

NOW WITH MALIC ACID
The new EFS drink contains 700mg of Malic Acid, which was not found in the previous formula. Malic acid stimulates oxygen consumption by increasing mitochondrial uptake, improving mitochondrial respiration and increasing energy producti