Watchquest begins

My old Polar. May it rest in peace

My old Polar. May it rest in peace.

For a long time, I’ve needed a new training and racing watch but I just haven’t pulled the trigger.

After noodling around on the web the last couple of days, looking for the right product, I now am clearer as to why.

What I need, it would seem, doesn’t exist. Can that be true? Help me out my sports techie friends!

This is what I need, and for very specific reasons:

1. Polar compatible… Meaning, it has to receive heart rate from a Polar strap (need that to work with my bike’s power meter).
2. Low profile. It has to fit under a wetsuit sleeve.
3. Waterproof. I’m leery about it being merely water resistant since I’m going to be swimming with it.
4. Built-in GPS — no foot pods. Specific use is to get running pace.

Right off the bat, all Garmin products are out. They use only Garmin straps, which is unfortunate since they’re the industry leader in GPS.

I thought this was going to be the one — the Polar RC3 GPS. But it’s not for swimming. Check out what this reviewer says:

Note that the unit is waterproofed, however only to IPX7 standards – which is the not-so-great standard that many of the running-specific watches that Garmin has are also waterproofed to. IPX7 defines waterproofing as up to 1 meter deep (3 ft.) for up to 30 minutes. This means that while you can take a shower with it, run in the rain, and even spend some time floating in the pool – you shouldn’t swim laps with it since the unit isn’t designed to handle the constant whacking on the water (like all of the Garmin non-triathlon Forerunners). Polar has confirmed with me that will not be recommending folks swim with the watch.

I can’t believe that a multisport watch that goes for $300 isn’t suitable for swimming.

There has to be such a watch out there, right? I can’t be the only one with such requirements.

Watchquest begins.

Free stuff — Thanks, Training Peaks

My friends at Training Peaks, the industry-leading online training tool, are offering free geo tracker apps, webinars and a 14-day free premium service tryout.

Check ‘em out.

1. All GPS apps (Walk Tracker Pro, Run Tracker Pro, and Cycle Tracker Pro) are free (normally $2.99) in the iTunes store through Monday.
2. Anyone can upgrade to premium service for 14 days at no charge using the code: BLKFRI14DAY through Monday.
3. TrainingPeaks has some interesting — and free upcoming — webinars including one on Jan. 17 with six-time Ironman champ Dave Scott. Even if you can’t make it to listen in real time, the webinars will be posted on TP’s YouTube channel afterward.

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Nutrition reset

It’s off season for most of us, which means relaxation and not so much in the way of hard workouts.

It also means less calorie burn.

Now that Thanksgiving is over and done, it’s a good time to get serious about eating healthy to be ready to kick up training when the time comes. None of that is news to most of you.

The point of this post is to make mention of what I found to be a source of some pretty healthy eating ideas. They’re embodied in a bunch of recipes in the back of Matt Fitzgerald’s 2009 book, Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance.

For the record, I have no connection to the book or its author, I mention it not only because of its overall content, but for the recipes, which come courtesy of Australian professional triatlete Pip Taylor. I like the recipes because they’re interesting and off-beat, at least partially owing to the fact that Pip is an Aussie and they have different culinary traditions. Who can resist, for instance, their endearing habit of calling arugula “rocket leaves?” I will never call it arugula again.

And they’re reasonable-healthy. Sometimes, “good nutrition” recipes are so virtuous that they are all but inedible. Good for you, yeah, but you have to choke ‘em down.

In any case, today I used a Pip recipe for corn cakes — which I NEVER would have come up with on my own — put them on a bed of rocket leaves, tomatoes and some leftover Thanksgiving turkey, gussied up with curry. Fabulous, easy and healthy. The other night, I made some of the cakes and served them with fresh spinach and grilled salmon.

Where is your go-to place for great healthy eating recipes for athletes?

Pip Taylor's corn cakes on rocket leaves with tomatoes and leftover turkey spiced up with a little curry.

Pip Taylor’s corn cakes on rocket leaves with tomatoes and leftover turkey spiced up with a little curry.

And away we go…

Greetings. This is my first post as I embark upon a blogging effort to get out years of repressed endurance sports story ideas and commentary.

You see, I’m a journalist by profession. I write editorials for The Denver Post about public policy, politics and just about anything that comes down the road. This isn’t about that. This is the place where I’ll write about the sports I love — the kind you don’t often see on television unless it’s an Olympic year.

I’m an avid endurance athlete myself, mostly triathlon. I have been fortunate enough to race around the world, competing as a member of Team USA. It has been an honor to do so. I’m also a Training Peaks ambassador for 2013, and I’m looking forward to getting a chance to look under the hood of this powerful training tool. I expect to be writing about that, as well as race reports and trend stories.

Just wanted this to be a quick introduction. More to come.

Finishing up at the ITU World Championship in Germany in 2007.

Finishing up at the ITU World Championship in Germany in 2007.