01/01/2010: 337 pounds
As has been previously noted, I’m a big nerd. I geek out at the prospect of new gear coming out, but especially when it’s gear I get to use. So you can imagine my disappointment when my first set of h2oAudio waterproof headphones turned out to be defective. Thankfully, their customer service was terrific, and got me my replacement quickly and without hassle.
So, I received my replacement headset on tuesday, and took the unit to the BU FitRec pool on wednesday night, and again today.
The Capture case is a new waterproof case for the 5th generation iPod Nano. They make cases for the various iPod models, but since I have a Nano, this was the one for me. This new case supports the Nano’s built in video camera and enlarged screen. It’s made of a completely clear plastic with a strong hinge, and the locking mechanism is foolproof with pictures on the front to differentiate between locked and unlocked. The iPod slides into the opened case, and down onto a built in 3.5mm audio plug. This completely insulates the iPod from the earphone connection.
The waterproof headphones come with 5 extra sets of earplugs providing a range of sizes to fit different sized ears. The headphones use a standard 3.5 audio plug, but have a huge rubber casing protecting the attachment of the jack to the cable. This is used to ensure water can’t get in around the headphone connection point. The audio plug connects to the audio jack of the headphone case, located inside a short sleeve at the bottom of the case.
Once i was actually in the water and swimming with the unit, I realized two important things:
- The armband that comes with the case doesn’t cut it for swimming. It may work well for smaller users in a running environment, or perhaps for surfing or boating, but certainly not for anyone of a larger build or with a decent amount of bicep muscle mass, as many swimmers do. And in my view, definitely not for swimming.
- The ear buds need to be worn with the cord coming behind the back as opposed to in the front. Swimming freestyle or breast stroke with the cords being worn in front, the motions can be strong enough to cause the ear buds to pop out.
Aside from the waterproof aspect of the Capture, the most important point is of course the sound quality. I found the sound to be superb. Considering all of the technical requirements of building a waterproof system, I wouldn’t have been surprised to hear the audio quality take a back seat. Thankfully not only is the audio crisp and clear, but it doesn’t seem to distort, even at higher volume. I am not sure the ear buds produce enough bass for my liking, but that will take additional testing to determine. There’s no tinny-ness to the sound, and the quality is at least comparable to standard headphones. The only weird thing is that if you don’t have the music very loud is that you can hear the sloshing of the water around your head as you swim.
I know that I’m not the only user who has has these issues, as another swimmer (a normal sized guy) came up to me afterwards with his own h2oAudio unit (and here I was thinking I was the coolest guy at the pool), and was asking me about the earplug adjustments and how I was doing with using the unit. He was having specific problems with one earplug not fitting right, and with the fit of the armband. I mentioned getting the various sized earplugs wet, and that I had abandoned the idea of using the armband while swimming, and simply clipped the unit to the waistband on the back of my tri shorts, which worked perfectly for me.
In closing, I have to say the h2oAudio system lived up to what I thought it would, and more really. It took me a couple laps to get used to having it on, because it’s a bit different to have headphones in while swimming. After a couple laps, I hardly noticed I had them on, and just enjoyed the music.
Note: I purchased the h2oAudio system reviewed above at a discount through my sponsorship deal with the company. I was under no obligation to review the unit or provide any feedback whatsoever. I do these reviews with the purpose of providing real world experience regarding items triathletes might want to buy.
Today, Apple Computer will announce it’s rumored new tablet device. It’s an announcement the entire tech world is waiting for on the edge of their seat. Usually, a company coming out with a new product in an existing market isn’t such a big deal. But Apple is well known for it’s ability to revolutionize a marketplace with a product release. BASF has a slogan “We don’t make your (product X), we make it better.” Well, Apple both makes products and makes them better. The iPod and the iPhone are just a couple of recent examples of Apple taking over a market with initially just a single product.
This opens a whole new realm for Rachelle and I. WWMS builds a list of focus races for each year, allowing us to closely match our slate of races with those of our team. We have training partners and unique opportunities for clinics and lectures that we previously wouldn’t have. We now have the support of teammates, additional new sponsors, and most importantly, new friends to share our love of the sport with.
And thankfully for me, Sunny, the president of WWMS isn’t as vindictive as Steve Jobs when it comes to leaks.
Now that my anger at people taking advantage of clydesdales and athenas has been sated with a late night post, I can get around to a bit of housekeeping:
- h2oAudio was kind enough to renew my sponsorship for the 2010 season. They were unsure as to their sponsorship plans for non-professional athletes following some staffing changes, but have made sponsorship available for the calendar year. The discount is generous, and the customer service has been exemplary. I’m still waiting on my replacement headphones before I know how well the product works. They’re due to arrive tomorrow, and I can’t wait to get them in the pool and give them a go.
- The wife and I are closing in on finalizing our triathlon schedule for the upcoming season. I’ll be posting this in the next few days.
- There’s also that other announcement I hinted at last night, which I will be free to let out of the bag any day now.
- Finally, I haven’t made a lot of progress in lining up products to review from the folks I met with at CES. I think it’s time I send out second contact attempts. A lot of those vendors get bombarded after the show, so tenacity is a big part of the effort.
I am a Twitter user (@techknowgn).One of the reasons I like it is that I’ve met a lot of triathletes and learned a lot about triathlons, cycling, training, etc. through people I follow. I talk about video games, my life; anything. Shamefully, I must admit I even use Twitter to advertise the blog on occasion.
- Gym membership – $35/month. Gym membership prices fluctate, but in this economy I get month to month memberships offered to me all the time for around $30-40 a month.
- Triathlon Team membership – $65/year. You feel like you need coaching and support? Join a team. Nothing like having a bunch of people to cheer you on, talk about our chosen sport, and have someone you know already at most of the races you do. I’ll talk more about the team thing later this week as part of an announcement I’m really excited about.
- Find a training plan online – free. There are literally hundreds of triathlon training plans online, in the magazines, available in books, etc. I recommend looking online because it’s faster than going to the library, and odds are you can find someone who has used it before to give you some feedback. The one we’re currently using can be found on TriFuel in their training section.
- Join an internet community – again, free! There are a bunch of sites on web (Beginner Triathlete, Slow Twitch just to name a couple) that are communities for triathletes. Many have beginner sections, clydesdale and athena specific boards, and even support groups where you’re assigned an online mentor who works with a group of athletes each season. All Free!
- Make friends with the folks at your local multisport shop – Free! Ok, well, technically, you’ll probably wind up buying a bunch of equipment, so it isn’t completely free. But you’ll be doing that anyways, and this way, you get a group of folks who can usually provide you with some pretty sound advice. Because the multisport market is a niche, they cant afford to be pissing off customers by upselling them or providing bad advice.
The biggest part of portion control is knowing whats in your food, or at least the caloric, fat, and dietary fiber content in order to figure out the Weight Watchers points. That’s why it’s easier when counting points to eat at a major chain than a mom n’ pop restaurant because most major chains publish the nutritional information of their food.
So, on my “cheat day”, the one day a week I pick to use the 35 extra points each person on the plan gets to use , I usually look for places where I can get my junk food fix without exceeding my points for the day and my extra points combined.
So tonight, there I was in Burger King, a couple of those loss-leader Double Cheeseburgers on my tray and a “medium” coke to wash them down with.
It was as I was in the middle of my second one that I realized aside from finishing Timberman and losing weight, I needed to come up with some more concrete plans and goals in order to be successful. I think my thought process was naturally timed to coincide with the ingestion of all that “greasy goodness” (Am I overusing quotes? Nope, I didnt think so).
So I started thinking about it as I finished my meal and went home to rest. I was still thinking about it 2 hours later as a packed my bag full of workout stuff, put on my new Tri shorts, grabbed my recently arrived tube of That Butt Stuff, and headed off to the gym. Just because I got to eat like crap today doesn’t mean I got to take the day off from the gym. Recovery day was yesterday.
1100 yards takes me a little less than 35 minutes right now, including the slower warm-up laps. Between that time in the pool, 20 minutes on the bike, and 20 minutes on the track, I came up with a few high level goals to augment the ones I had already set:
- Make working out more than just about Timberman. As part of my “This is who I am, not what I do” approach to exercise and healthy living, I need to focus on the idea that this is a lifelong change, not just a countdown to a goal date
- Be able to drive past McD’s, BK, KFC, etc.and not feel like it’d be awesome to go in, every time I drive by. Seriously, do they put crack in that stuff. Sometimes the cravings can be overpowering!
- Be able to do 50 situps in a row. My belly fat is my biggest health risk and my biggest competition detriment.
- Be able to do 1 pull up/chin up. Because seriously, I don’t think I can even do 1. After I do one, we’ll set a larger goal.
It’s commonplace these days that as consumers we hear tons all the negatives that go on with products, whether they be technological/mechanical defects (this Mavic wheel exploding during a criterium because of design defects) or severe issues with a management process (The Tonight Show dumping CoCo). So I wanted to take a moment to point out one of the bright spots of dealing with a company when a failure does occur.
Just before the end of 2009, I purchased a waterproof case and ear buds for my iPod Nano G5 from h2OAudio to use as part of my triathlon swim training. I received them the day before I went to CES, so I didn’t get a chance to try them prior to my trip. Upon return, I plugged them in and followed the instructions for getting started with the new kit. Because of the pressurization the earphones undergo, there are directions to let them play a half an hour at a high volume in order to make sure the drivers are producing sound properly.
Unfortunately not only were not not producing sound properly, they weren’t producing sound at all.
After the preparation steps and a short email discussion with their support team, it turns out my headphones are defective, and need replacement. Thankfully, all I had to do was email my invoice to the support department, and my replacement unit is on the way! I don’t have to send back the originals first, cover shipping and handling, or deal with any of that other bunk in order to get a functional product.
Anyone who has ever swam a significant number of laps on a regular basis can tell you how useful these can be to make the mental aspect of training less difficult.
In order to comply with the full disclosure doctrine I’m following with this blog, I have to mention that I was sponsored by h2OAudio for the later part of 2009, and I purchased these headphones at a discount. But my support experience was done through their normal channels, so I received no special treatment by the support professionals who handled my claim.
I can’t wait to get the replacement buds in and really give them a thorough testing at the BU pool.
“Could’ve been the whiskey, might have been the gin.
Could’ve been the three or four six packs I don’t know
but look at the mess I’m in.”
- The Rovers
Ok, so there was no whiskey or gin, and the six packs were actually just 2 Bud Light Golden Wheat, but I still feel like crap today.
Rach and I went to a bar last night with a couple of her friends to enjoy a rare night of socializing here in Boston. We don’t know very many people here, and so our opportunities to go out other than just the two of us are rare. We hit Harry’s Bar & Grille for trivia night. We had a great time, but at a cost. I made the fatal mistake of using a chance to socialize as a chance to eat. I had already had dinner when we went to the bar. I would have waited to eat had I known we were going, but it came up last minute.
The two beers themselves aren’t what did me in. It was the fact that everyone else was eating, and I felt compelled to join them. So instead of drinking water and having maybe a beer; instead I wound up having a cobb salad, a side of fries, and sharing some mac and cheese with Rach.
While this didn’t move the scale much in the wrong direction, I felt incredibly lethargic and slow in the pool this morning. While I did manage to get myself out of bed at 5:30, knowing I’d be spending my time in the pool without Rach, it was one of the toughest workouts I’ve had from the mental aspect in a long time.
It reminded me that effort and new outlook aren’t enough to really make all of these changes, it’s also about conviction. Conviction that being a triathlete isn’t what I do, but who I am. That I am the master of what I eat, and not the other way around. And that I can do this, even on the days when my body clearly doesn’t want to.
In the current day, tattoos are regarded as little more than personal choice by most parts of society. They are no longer the exploits of drunken sailors, motorcycle gang members, or society’s less desirables. In fact many of todays elite sport ‘tats’ or ‘ink’, and people think little of it. However, there are still times where a tattoo has more effect than just to darken a spot of skin.
Evidently, the blog felt left out. Since I am becoming Timberman, it wanted to as well. So, now the blog is becomingtimberman.com
I feel like blogging about blogging seems self-important and makes more out of something that a lot of people are doing, and that I’m really doing for myself, though I am thrilled that there are some people out there reading it. But now that the domain name is in place, and the basic theme is in place, I’m done talking about it… Except to say there will be a few more minor changes and improvements ongoing, but nothing that will affect those who come just to read the blog. Anyways, I’m done talking blogging for real this time.
So, on to a real topic for today: two-a-days.
In my very short middle school football career, I participated in the dreaded summer two-a-days. If you don’t know that term, it simply means a period of preparation for a sport in which you have two practices a day.
I thought I was done with this type of mental and physical torture when I chose marching band over football; clearly I was mistaken. As we are now a few weeks into serious triathlon training, we’ve advanced to a stage of occasional two-a-days.
This morning it was a 1200 yard swim. Either I didn’t go hard enough, or swims of ~1000 yards are starting to slowly get easier. i didn’t take a break until 450 yards in. And I finished the second full 500 without a break.
Tonight, it’s an hour of running. I may have mentioned it, but running is not my strong suit in this sport, so I can definitely do with an hour of track time. I will just have to pretend the blisters from walking around Las Vegas have already healed.
Or I can take the route I usually take, and just whine about how much it hurts the whole time. Sounds like a plan to me.