Wednesday, September 11, 2013

800 Miles and counting

$49 Adidas from Kohl's, you served me well!
Today I crossed the 800 lifetime mile mark since I started running a year ago. When I stop and think about it, that is a long way. I'm on pace to cross 1000 miles for 2013 by mid-November. Just crazy.

During these miles I've used 2 pairs of shoes, the first got retired yesterday with 476 miles on them. The second pair, Saucony Guide 6s still have 100 - 200 miles left in them. But soon I'll be heading to the store for my next pair to break in before my half marathon. 

I'm interested in the Altra Instinct 1.5s, but I'm not sure about transitioning to a zero drop shoe. At $100 I need to be sure they are the right move. 

Otherwise, I'm interested in looking into other shoes like the Brooks Pure Flow 2. 

Friday, September 06, 2013

Hammer Nutrition - Hammer Gel - Tropical and Espresso Flavor

I'm most of the way through my 2nd 26 serving bottle of Hammer Gel from Hammer Nutrition. The first flavor I got was Tropical and the 2nd was Espresso. Of the 10 flavors available, these are the 2 flavors that contain caffeine and that is what I was looking for. Now the tropical has 25mg of Caffeine and the Espresso has 50mg. To put that in perspective, a 12 oz can of Mt Dew has 55mg of Caffeine and a 12oz can of Diet Coke has 45mg (12oz of Starbucks coffee has around 250mg). So a 1 oz serving of Espresso does have about the same 'kick' as a can of soda, and at 90 Calories it packs a good amount of energy. Luckily it is a much slower burn than the sugar rush you get from soda.

As far as taste goes, the tropical had a very light sweet flavor and went down very easy especially in the heat of the summer. The espresso, is a lot heavier, it kind of tastes like pure chocolate syrup. So be ready for that. It's pretty strong and a little harder on the stomach in my opinion.

During a long run I will usually have a single serving mixed up to take before my run. I'll mix 2 or 3 servings to take with me. About 5 miles into the run I'll drink 1/2 of my nutrition bottle, then at around 9-10 miles (depending on total distance) I'll drink the rest. This provides a nice steady stream of energy for me.

The 26 serving size is great. I use the 5oz nutrition bottle that came with my Nathan hydration belt and can take as much or as little as I need without having all the foil packs. And at $0.77 a serving it's about 1/2 the cost of single serving foil packs. That is certainly what initially drew me to Hammer Gel over other Gels. I also emailed the company and confirmed that I can mix up some with water and don't have to refrigerate it overnight. So I can get my stuff ready the night before a 4:45am long run.

I've tried single packs of Vanilla and Montana Huckleberry. They were very good, the Vanilla totally tasted like frosting.  One thing I do wish is that Hammer would put out a lighter flavor with the higher caffeine content of the Espresso.

One thing I keep reading is to use practice race day nutrition and hydration. So I will certainly be taking Hammer Gel with me when I run in St Louis in 50 days.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Blender: Automating the Setting and Keying of Visibility in Python

I fractured an object in Blender and wanted to swap out the whole object for the shattered one the frame before the collision that sends the shards flying, but didn't want to have to manually set visibility and renderabilty and keyframes for each of 300+ objects. So I wrote this little script to help

import bpy 

hideObjects = 1

for obj in bpy.context.selected_objects: 
    obj.hide = hideObjects 
    obj.hide_render = hideObjects     

This simple script will take the selected objects and if you make 'hideObjects' equal to 1 then it will set the visibility and renderability of those objects and turn them off, then keyframe both properties on the current frame. So doing this I set the value to 0 on my unshattered object and keyed frame 1,   went to the frame where it should disappear and set the value to 1 and ran it again. I did the opposite for my shards. Worked like a charm. I hope it helps you out too!

Gear Review: IK Multimedia iKlip Stand

I received the iKlip stand (for iPad and iPad mini) from IK Multimedia for review and wanted to give you a quick run-down on it.

The first thing you will notice (after you follow the easy assembly directions) the iKlip stand is that it has a very sturdy feeling construction. The weighted base gives the overall stand a very low center of gravity which, even though it is on an arm, your iPad is not wobbling around. The slide in clip for the iPad itself is snug without being too difficult to use. I have used other iPad microphone clips that are more of a snap-in design, which make me a little nervous. But the device feels secure on this stand. The arm is comprised of a hinge joint and the clip is attached with a ball and socket joint that has an adjustable screw for tension, so you do have quite a bit of freedom in adjusting the level of the device and the angle at which you are viewing it.

in addition to the horse shoe shaped table top base, the iKlip stand also comes with a C-clamp style base that can be swapped out easily, for mounting the iKlip to the edge of a table or desk. Unfortunately you would have to remove the clip from the desk to be able to remove the rest of the stand from it. So leaving the clamp on the desk and popping the stand in and out is not an option, if you were wanting something you could easily take with you.

I've used the stand in two settings now. First I used it while I was cooking in the kitchen to watch some Netflix and the other is actually in my pedalboard rig. I run through my standard set of pedals:

Analog pedals, the iRig stomp, iKlip and Amplitube.
Sounds good to me. 
Tuner -> Overdrive -> Distortion -> Volume -> Dual Tap Delay -> Memory Man -> Hardwire Reverb

Then I go into the iRig Stomp which then feeds into my iPad which you can see in the pic is on the iKlip stand. Then back into the iRig Stomp and out to a DI box. This worked out really nicely. It brings the iPad up off the floor away from my feet and leaves it in nice usable level. Also the base of the iKlip is thin, so it fits under the back of my pedal board. Overall this is a very nice stand. The one issue I would probably raise is the price, because at $69.99 it is not cheap. But, then again it does not feel cheap. This might be a case of paying for what you get.