Second Wind

Second Wind
"Run With Purpose!"

Monday, December 22, 2014

Topo Athletic Sante Gym / Crossfit shoe Review

If you’ve never heard of Topo Athletic, don’t feel bad, I hadn’t either, but you probably know more about what they believe than you think!  See, Topo athletic’s founder and CEO is TonyPost (TOny POst = ToPo) and Tony was the president and CEO of Vibram USA for 11 years – specifically the 11 years of the FiveFingers. 
After Vibram, Tony set up his own dream company of Topo and continued his passion for healthy, minimalist shoes built for athletes. 

Today I have the opportunity to review the 2014/2015 ISPO Award God Winning shoe: 


The Sante is a Gym rat shoe specifically catered to the Crossfit style athlete.  The Sante, first and foremost is a Zero drop shoe (you all know how I feel about that!).  Bravo Topo.

The Sante is built low to the ground (14mm total stack height) to give you a nice solid feel through your lifts and they did a great job providing a flat surface for excellent stability in the bottom while giving it Excellent flexibility (and not just in the front third).

One of the first things you’ll notice about this shoe (it was the first thing I saw) was the crazy knob-looking-thingie (that’s the Latin name for it) on the side.  This is the BOA micro adjuster.  What this thing does is eliminates traditional shoe laces and allows you to turn the knob to tighten your shoes (or simply press it in to release the tension and loosen them).  My first reaction to hearing about this cool new idea was “yep… I’ll break that in a week”.  However, I was somewhat relieved when the box arrived with a Lifetime unconditional guarantee on the BOA system (still, a guarantee isn’t worth much if you have to use it over and over).  I’m pleased to say, after using these shoes for a few months, the BOA system not only held up perfectly, it’s probably my favorite part about this shoe. 

Let me explain:
Not having laces to come untied is pretty awesome and the ability to tighten it precisely in very tiny increments is a big bonus.  It doesn’t create tension spots and instead tightens up uniformly throughout.  My favorite thing about the system is how quickly and easily you can tighten and loosen – so I can leave them loose for the running portion of a WOD and then reach down and in ½ a second, with one hand, have cinch them down for deadlifts.

The second part of the securing system of this shoe that I Really like is the hook and loop midfoot strap (directly over the lateral stabilizers).  This strap is a staple in all weightlifting specific shoes but has never been effectively utilized in a WOD shoe – until now!  This thing is really nice and I Love it on OLY days.

Beyond the BOA system, I was really impressed with the shoes flexibility (more on this later); it truly bends and moves like a minimalist road running shoe.
I love the lateral stabilizers:  you don’t feel them at all while you’re running, jumping, etc. but when lifting heavy they give an excellent solid-wall feel while doing it subconsciously, not obtrusively.

The shoes look great, and while this doesn’t help you in a WOD, it IS a nice bonus (don’t lie)

They are fantastically comfortable (the only thing I didn’t care for was there is a bit of an arch – now, understand that I am ridiculously picky about arch shape and while I didn’t care for it, none of the other testers even noticed its existence).

They breathe really well while having the mesh made of excellent and resilient material (something New Balance could learn a thing or two from….)

So between the very low to the ground build, zero drop, unbelievably flexible sole, and the midfoot strap Topo has created a shoe that runs like a running shoe, jumps and allows lateral movement like a crosstrainer, and locks in and stabilizes like an OLY shoe.  It’s pretty awesome.

Now, Everything has to have its draw back and the Topo has 1 Achilles.  Now, let me preface this, when I had an issue Topo was quick to respond, did not make excuses, and handled the replacement quickly.  Topo also assured me that this was a fairly unique issue (more on that in a second), but nonetheless, here’s the issue I had:  For me, I can’t rope climb in them.   Well, not that I can’t, in fact they’re quite comfortable for it and the BOA knob doesn’t get in the way (which I was afraid of), it’s that I shred that nice sole on my descent.  Here are some things to consider with this:  There are a lot of shoes that you can’t climb a rope in.  Then there are shoes (like the Nano’s and a couple of the Inov-8 shoes) that are designed around rope climbing and are Beasts at the rope, but you sacrifice some ground feel and flexibility in the sole.  Topo attempted to go in the middle but decided to focus on that ground feel and flexibility and, therefore, the sole is softer (you just really can’t have both).  So, for me, I like the shoes for everything but rope climbing and on days when I know I’m climbing, I wear something else.
If you don’t climb the rope, climb it few and far between, or know when the rope will come into play and can wear another shoe on those days (like I do) then I think this is truly a fantastic Crossfit/gym/lifting shoe.  I believe it does a better job as a running shoe, jumping shoe, lifting shoe, and lateral movement shoe than most anyone else out there.  But, if you are a heavy climber and you integrate rope climbs into most of your WODs, this is probably not the shoe for you.

Below you'll see the damage to the Sante from the rope climbs.  I'm also including some pictures of the same spots on my (much much older) Nanos just for reference:


Friday, September 26, 2014

Healthy food for people who don't eat fruits or vegetables? Here's your sign (list)

Alright, so it's no secret that I eat like a 5 year old.  I tell everyone, I run and workout so I can eat like crap - which I do.  Problem is... getting old sucks lol

So, I set out to compile a short list of the healthiest version of foods that most of us (me) eat anyway and intentionally tried to eliminate fruits and veggies from the list (because... those are a no brainer, you don't need a list to tell you to eat those).  
I also included snacks

What's 'healthy' you ask?  Glad you did, because that word gets thrown around all the time and best I can tell, people think they can make it mean anything they want.  For this list, I was going for traditional health measures:  lower fat, lower calories, lower carbs, somewhat lower sodium, give preference to protein and fiber, and try for the absolute fewest ingredients as possible.
Fewest ingredients as possible AND ingredients that I can pronounce and/or have any freaking idea what they are or where they come from.

Or butter ingredients could be:  Ingredients: Sweet Cream, Salt.

Straight forward enough....

Alright, here we go:

  • Greek yogurt (take a look - I prefer Oikos)
  • Chester’s Puff Corn
  • Pop chips
  • Kettle Brand baked sea salt potato chips
  • Salmon
  • Boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 97% lean ground beef
  • Lean Sirloin
  • Canadian Bacon
  • Pork Chops
  • Smuckers Natural PB
  • Brown Rice (Brown Jasmine Rice? Sounds good-haven't found it)
  • Ezekiel 4:9 Bread (they make sandwich bread, cinnamon raisin bread, & buns)
  • Applegate Farms The Great uncured beef hotdogs
  • Emeril’s Home-style Marinara spaghetti sauce
  • Barilla Whole Grain (or Barilla Plus+) Pasta 
  • 100% Cranberry juice
  • Land O Lakes Butter with Olive Oil (tub)
  • Land O Lakes Butter with Olive Oil and Sea Salt (stick)
Got some favorites?  What are yours?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

To achieve a Second Wind... you have to have a First wind!

No matter who you are, what level your fitness is, or what your goals are, starting a new workout regiment or trying to get started back Can really suck.

Running, working out, sports, any exercise, they are all beautifully evil.  It takes a considerable amount of time to get bigger, stronger, faster, leaner, (pick your flavor) and a painfully small amount of time to lose all those precious gains.

Take this summer:  I was swamped all summer and for the first time in years, I basically did next to nothing (in the way of running and/or Crossfit).  From June - today, here's the entire list of my movements:
June:  10, 11...13...17...18...23...24
July:  1 Run in Nicaragua and 4 days of making cement blocks in Nicaragua
          That's it.
August:  7, 8, .... 26.

Yep.  So from June 1st - August 26 I had 6 Crossfit workouts, 3 running days, and 2 pickup soccer games.

Ouch.  If I don't workout and/or run, I get grumpy, I get anxious, my patience goes down, and it doesn't take long before my wife grabs me and tells me to go workout so that maybe I'll be a nicer person!  But again, sometimes I get so busy that I do Not make time for it...

So, this morning was my kickoff date of back to my regular routine (6:00am workouts) and it was a breath of fresh air and a swift kick in the gut all at the same time!

So, here's to all of you wondering if you can start a regiment for the first time, those who are starting back "tomorrow", and those who have been out of bounds for too long... jump in!  Get in the game of life!  Understand that it sucks for elites, the nobodies, and everyone in between.... for a brief moment.

Soak up Life, you can do it, you do fell better, you will have more energy, you will feel Less stress (not more) by taking more time to do this.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Nicaraguan trip

As usual, my summers are insane and there are often long breaks between posts, as has been the case as of late...

However, as summer starts to wind down and things slowly begin to return to 'normal', I wanted to share with you my recent trip to Jinotega, Nicaragua.

 The trip was absolutely amazing! I was blown away by the beauty of the people and the gorgeous landscape I was surrounded by.
 I took the trip to Jinotega (about 2,700ft) and stayed with some friends at Mision Para Cristo for a little over a week. While I was there I got to work with several amazing organizations (One Child Matters, Hope4Life, MPC, Casa Materna, etc) and while Jinotega is definitely 3rd world, if anyone expects sorrow and despair to go with the extreme poverty there, they've come to the wrong place! Jinotega is buzzing, vibrant, joyful, and abounding in hope -- we, as North Americans, could learn innumerable lessons from the the people of Jinotega.

 One day while we were there I was taking a hike up to "The Cross" and a girl on the trail (nearly to the summit) started having an asthma attack... and had forgotten her inhaler. Now, the cross trail head is about a mile from the mision I was staying in and then the cross itself is about a 900ft ascent straight up the face of the mountain and up 1,000 concrete and stone stairs. I ran down the mountain (since the question will come up, I was actually wearing my Russell Thula Thula boots at the time), through the 'city' of Jinotega (a gringo sprinting through the streets of downtown Jinotega is quite the spectacle!), to the mision, retrieved an inhaler from the clinic there, ran back through town to the trail head, and back up the ~900 steps to where the girl was waiting.... quite the impromptu hill work!
Luckily, the young lady was fine, got stabilized, felt better, and was even able to finish the last little bit of the climb to the top with me.  This was a good reminder that it is important to realize that you never know when simply having friends, families, or helping strangers will call upon one to be able to exert themselves physically (consider that next time someone asks you "what are you training for!?"  Life.)

Below are a few of the pictures of the trip, including the girl who had the asthma attack dropping down into a pistol (which she had never seen or tried before - she was quite the trooper!) with me for a photo op on the top of the mountain!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Have you lost that lovin' feeling?

It's around this time each year that I am reminded the importance of stressing FUN to all the runners out there, old and new.

Right now there a lot of new runners hitting the roads and trails for a myriad of reasons (some good, some better, some... terrible), those 1st year runners who made this some new year resolution are past that magical 90 day mark (almost 4 months in), and many seasoned vets are in peak season.

Remember, above all else, running is to be a stress relief not a cause of stress.
If on your runs you find yourself so focuses on heartrate, your GPS, VO2 max, splits, kicks, min/max etc etc etc you, my friend, may have lost that lovin' feeling

So, on your next run, leave all the gadgets at home.  Yes, all of them.  That one too.  Turn off all the noise, go out by yourself, relax, get rid of all the junk, the clutter, the stress, the work, and just run.  Just... run.  
Look around you and actually See the route you run, breathe the fresh air, hear your foot steps, feel your heartbeat, relax - and enjoy.

Fall in love with running again.

Running is relaxed, it's taking that amount of time, whether it's 5 minutes or 5 hours, and for that block of time you run away from all your problems, all your stress, all those that pull against you, that drain you, they can't see you, you can't hear them, they can't catch you.  Breathe in nature, pray, sing, think, or... empty your mind of everything and think Nothing - just feel.

Running is meditation in motion.  If it's not, get back to when it was.  Start over.  Reboot.  And get back... that loooooovin' feeeeeelin' (even if it's in an off key Tom Cruise sort of way)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

ACSM releases shoe buying guide...

Yep, in a recent 2014 brochure issued by the American College of Sports Medicine, they conclude that:

"Characteristics of a good, safe running 
shoe include:
• Minimal heel-to-toe drop: ....
Shoes with no drop....are the best....
• Neutral: motion control or stability 
• Light in weight:...."

Better late than never and I'm thrilled to see this guide issued to the masses from a 'more reliable' source than Chris, Ted, or Micah (Caballo)
(or lil' ol' me)

Share away and reap the validation ;)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Spartan Up! -- Joe De Sena

Spartan Races are the toughest obstacle courses around, and tons of fun!  This past November I did a Beast race with some friends and had a blast!

The Spartan race series was created by Joe De Sena, who is about to release his first book (May 13th)

Spartan Up!: A Take-No-Prisoners Guide to Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Peak Performance in Life

This is not a 'how to' book for running Spartan races.  This is a how to book on life.  Don't think self help book.  Just... don't.

First off, Joe is crazy.  Like, freaking nuts crazy.  Joe grew up in Queens, worked hard, and made his way to Wall Street where he made a small fortune.  Joe is not your 1%er rich kid living in the lap of luxury.  

Remember, Joe is Crazy.

After making his fortune he moved his family to Vermont in an effort to return he and his family to "the way things used to be".  
Joe took up endurance racing.  Now, endurance racing is a feat all of itself, but training to do an endurance race wasn't what Joe was after.  In fact, at this point Joe has over 50 Ultra events under his belt.  He completed 12 Ironman events in 1 year.  Crazy.  But not one to be content with merely 'crazy', Joe once completed the Vermont 100, the Lake Placid Ironman, and the Badwater Ultra in ONE (1) week.  

Since that time, Joe has gone on to create what is, perhaps, the toughest obstacle course series in the world (having distances of 4 miles, 10 miles, half marathon, full marathon, 100 miles, and 48 hour deathraces, to name a few).  Joe breaks, reforms, motivates, and trains Olympic Athletes, UFC fighters, Ultra-Marathoners, US Special Forces, and more.

Whether you are a seasoned professional athlete or you've never gotten off the couch, where you read those accolades and think "Joe is crazy... What's wrong with him!" or "Joe is crazy... We could be best friends!", this book will open your eyes and inspire you to break down walls and expect the impossible, in whatever field you may choose.

It's a great read, with real, relatable stories of passion, triumph, and perseverance and one that I definitely recommend. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Altra trail shoes... the undisputed King of the zero drop trail

Hey guys, I've been wanting to get this blog out to you for a long time but have just had horrible luck this winter!
For me, I had walking pneumonia twice, bronchitis twice, and full blown pneumonia once.  I was... Not running.  Or walking.  More like barely dragging.
Then my newborn has been in and out of multiple Children's hospitals... it's been a long few months.

I digress:



I tried Altra for the first time about a year and a half ago and spent some time in one of their road running shoes (Instinct 1.5).  I liked them.  Didn't love them, but they were a good shoe.

Fast forward a year and I started doing the "Best of the Best" series.  I got to the "Trail running shoe" award and was supremely disappointed in all that there was to offer.  I even said that the winner was basically the best of the worst.
Shortly there after, Altra and I got together and they felt completely confident that they could set the bar with their trail running series so they sent me a pair of
Superiors  and a pair of Lone Peak 1.5s

First off, if you aren't familiar with Altra, they are a really cool company.  Their story goes back about 30 years and their zero-drop movement can be traced back almost 10 years (to the forefront of the whole thing).  Today they have over 1/2 dozen models in both men's and women's shoes, all featuring zero-drop platforms.  The other cool thing I like about Altra is that their founder, Golden Harper is a runner.  No really.  He's been running since birth and has the hardware to prove it:  set a marathon time of 2:45.  At age 12 (which happens to be a world record, you know, if you're in to that sort of thing...), has a PR 5k time of 14:45, and won the Mountain 50 Miler in a time of just over 9 hours, just to name a few.  In short, Altra is the type of company you can't help but root for.

Check out there Tech pages for a ton of great info on what they do differently and why:

That said.. I didn't love the first shoe I tried.
So, how did these 2 trail models stack up?  By far, hands down, the best trail shoes (BOTH of them) I've ever tried.

Either shoe will beat whatever shoe you are currently using for technical trails, and while they are very similar, there are a few things to differentiate them:

  • The superior weighs in at about 8 1/2 oz and the Lone Peak 1.5 comes in about 9 1/2 oz -- these are lite shoes (your traditional trail shoe would come in somewhere around 10 1/2 - 11 1/2).  

Lone Peak 1.5

  •  Both shoes have have quick dry mesh which are cool but not so thin as to tear in trail conditions (like the New Balance).  They allow great airflow in and out and drain quite well also (very important).
  • Both of them feature asymmetric lacing and good shoe strings that are the correct length and aren't so slick that they come untied every 10 feet (pet peeve!!!).
  • Both shoes feature Altras own 'descent rudder'.  The descent rudder is the piece of rubber that hangs off the back and is designed for 'when your feet start to slip out from under you on technical pieces or nasty downhill sections, they descent rudder kicks in and gives you some grip and traction to help you maintain control'.  Now, before you say it, yes, I agree, that sounds like the most gimmicky thing ever and I really thought they were insulting my intelligence on this one.  I was wrong.  This is a really cool feature for steep downhills at speed - trust me.  The first time yours catches you (like mine have), you'll get it.
  • They both feature Altras zero drop platform (wouldn't be worth looking at if they didn't - that's simply a must have)
  • They both feature Altra's awesomely wide toebox.  Lots of shoe companies talk about foot shaped platforms and wide toeboxes, Altra actually delivers.  They have the widest toebox of any shoe I've tried.
  • Both the Superior and the Lone Peak 1.5 feature really good outsoles, but here's a point where they differ:  

Lone Peak 1.5

  • The superior features an outsole made up of angled or checkered pieces, mostly facing in one direction, for speed, while throwing in some reverse fitting pieces for stability and rock deflection.  The sole works well and does a great job of shedding dirt and mud.
  • The Lone Peak 1.5 boasts Altra's own "TrailClaw" sole which is my personal favorite.  It sheds dirt and mud (keeping the shoe lite while maintaining full traction) and the varied stud pattern (which reminds me of a good cleat) provides great stability on technical portions, big rocks, gravel, etc but you still don't 'feel' the studs on smooth surfaces making for a really comfortable and secure ride.
  • The Lone Peak 1.5 also features a built in (and covered) velcro piece on the heal for strapless gators (no more super gluing velcro!).
  • Now for the game changer:
    All of the above features make for great shoes, but the real winning feature is their stoneguard/rockplate system:
  • The way that Altra builds their shoes (from the layers, the order of the layers, the design of the outsole,) everything is designed to protect you from rocks without compromising weight or flexibility.  Rocks are deflected and/or moved to your midfoot to make for a safe and comfortable ride that is honestly unrivaled by anyone.
  • Both shoes have removable insoles And the Superior has a removable stoneguard!  So no matter where you're running, how far you're running, how technical (or not) the trail is, what kind of ground feel you want, how fast you want to feel, you can adjust the shoe to meet you there!  Not only that, but the removable stoneguard is so good, you can put it in other shoes and it drastically improves them as well.
         So I like that on the Superior I can take out the insole and the stoneguard and have a very fast, light, low shoe that offers a low-to-the-ground feel while still protecting your feet.  I like the Lone Peak 1.5 with the insole in for very technical trails.  Honestly, if I was ever going to put the insole or the stoneguard into the Superior, I would just use the Lone Peak 1.5

So, final thoughts?
First off, both of these shoes move into spots 1 and 2 for "Best of the Best" trail running shoes, no question.  

The Superior, in my opinion, is a great light trail shoe IF you leave the insole and the stoneguard out.  With both (or either) of those in, it becomes too close to the Lone Peak 1.5 in stackheight, cushion, and weight BUT not as good as the Lone Peak 1.5.
So The Superior with no insole and no stoneguard is an excellent light, fast, trail shoe and the Lone Peak 1.5 is the best (as is) for highly technical trails, rough/poor conditions, and long runs.

Also, I Love the Superiors for obstacle racing!  The Superior (good stoneguard, great mud shedding outsole, good ability to drain water, lite-weight, low to the ground) is my new Spartan shoe!

Be sure to check out Altra's product videos for these 2 shoes as well (they're actually really good):
Lone Peak 1.5

Friday, January 17, 2014

FREE Running Seminar this Sunday

I will be putting on a free running seminar This Sunday at 2:30pm at the World's Fair Site lawn in Knoxville, TN

We'll have group instruction and short group run all lasting about an hour and then I'll stay after for small group and 1-on-1 questions.

This is to benefit the Volunteer Ministry Center and help them promote their upcoming 5k fundraiser race

Friday, January 10, 2014

Second Wind book for FREE!

Alright all - I want to thank all of you for the support, congratulate all of you on your 

accomplishments, and inspire all of us to continue to run... physically and metaphorically.

So, here on the 3 year anniversary of my book I want to offer it for Free to everyone.  Simply go 


and choose to buy the book in any digital format (epub, mobi [kindle], pdf, rtf, lft, pdb, txt, or 

simply read it online).  When you get to checkout enter coupon code 


code and the book will be completely free.  No "do this first", no sign up for emails, no complete this survey, no strings attached.  Free.

Feel free to share this offer, post it on social media, blog it, whatever you like - the offer is open to everyone.

Thanks all,

Run fast, run far, run free, and “Run with purpose” – 1 Corinthians 9:25-27

Thursday, January 9, 2014

30 for 30:

This past year I turned 30 and decided to set 30 goals for the year I was 30.  I decided to not focus on any of them, to try my best to forget them and just let them come and then at the end of the year, look back at the list and see what/how I did.  Here's my list, success and failure:
What's important, is the goal setting.  Give the goals an expiration date and make them tough but somewhat realistic.

1.            30 Cycle (Coach Dodd)  
7/19/13 (with 3 people-60 min exactly)
2.          30 Unbroken Hand Stand push-ups  
did 29 and 80%, didn't get the last inch of lockout on 30!
3.          30 second uninterrupted L-Sit
Forgot to attempt this one until yesterday but Got it!
4.          30 Reps of body weight Squats              
5.          30 Unbroken Toes to bar
6.            30 Unbroken double-unders
No.  Still take a single between each double.
7.          30” Box jump                           
8.          30” Jean/short size           
9.       Get 30 People to Run or do a Crossfit workout with me             
10.        30 Pounds lost (188)        
Nope - 21
11.       30 New Custom Crossfit workouts created and completed        
12.       30 Blog entries written on SecondWind        
13.       30 Blog entries written on AbundantLife      
14.       300 Point Fight Gone Bad (original RX)
Bah!  Scored a 278 July 30th and forgot to ever retry it!
15.        300 Air squats 
16.       300 Crunches        
17.     300 Bible stories read to my daughter              
18.       300# Dead lift                        
19.     300# Back Squat
Hit 255 on October 11 and never retried
20.     Write and mail a personalized Letter of encouragement to every member of HV
21.     Get a kipping pull-up 
July - but still completely SUCK at them 
22.     Get a rope climb                  
23.       Complete the  “Filthy Fifty” in 50 minutes     
8/11/13 (39:03)
24.     Preach (“major religious speaking engagement to adult audience”) 10 times
25.     Run The Virginia Creeper Trail           
26.     Do 1,000 push-ups in 1 month                  
27.       Complete an Obstacle Race                        
Spartan BEAST Race 11/9/13                                       
28.     3,000 Crunches in 1 month                         
29.     775 burpees in 1 month                                  
30.   Run ½ marathon                      
3:  (3/28/13, 9/13/13, 11/9/13)