If you’re wondering what on earth to get that special triathlete in your life for the holidays, here are more than a dozen ideas. And if you are a triathlete, here are some cool products you might want to add to your personal wish list! These are a few of my favorite things.
#1 Dolphin Sports MP3 Player
I received this through those wonderful folks at MindsetTriathlon.com as a finalist in their essay contest. I love this little device. I simply strap it on to the back of my goggles, pop in the ear buds and go. It’s nice to have to some tunes to help you through those long workouts. The first song I put on there? Love that Dirty Water by the Standells. You can buy it from SwimOutlet.com
#2 Spinervals DVDs
Perfect for when the weather turns lousy. (We’re expecting a lot of rain here in California this winter.) They make a wide assortment of DVDs to help your favorite tri improve his or her cycling while stuck working out on a trainer indoors. Virtual rides on Ironman courses, endurance rides, and butt-kicking anaerobic threshold rides. I’ve built up quite a library of them from Tri-Zone.com.
#3 TYR Alliance Team Parka
Baby, when it’s cold outside, there’s nothing like diving into this coat after a winter workout in the pool. I’m usually shaking like a leaf by the end of my workouts and dread the walk from the edge of the pool to my towel and then the dressing room. This jacket makes it so much easier to warm up. It has all kinds of tricked out pockets for your goggles, sunglasses, mp3 player, etc and a nice, cozy fleece lining.
A couple of years ago, when I was whining about those goose bumps on my goose bumps after a swim workout, my dear friend Sandy (aka Sharkbait), took note. She surprised me with a TYR silicone swim cap at our next workout. I probably wear it about nine months out of the year because it helps keep my body temperature comfortable longer. Yup, it’s the little things.
#5 SKINS Compression Wear
734’s Dad introduced me to the Skins Compression Travel & Recovery tights when I was training for the Humpy’s Marathon in Alaska. They were just what I needed after my 20-mile+ long runs. The people at SKINS were so cool, they helped me pick out just the right outfit to race in up there. I have never felt more comfortable during a marathon than when I raced in my SKINS She Long Compression Tights and Long Sleeve top. And lately, I’ve been living in my She Long Sleeve top after my hard weight workouts, swim workouts, or arduous days in front of the computer. It just feels great on my arms and shoulders.
#6 Rocket Science Elite Bag
When it came time for me to invest in a triathlon bag for all my gear on race day, dare I admit it, I agonized over the decision. Form, function, aesthetics – it had to have it all. Little Miss Picky. If I weren’t a writer, I think I could cut it as a personal organizer ‘cause I’m such a sorter. Rocket Science really did think of everything with this bag. It even has a rain cover to keep your gear dry if the elements aren’t kind on race day.
I love my Garmin Forerunner 305. It tells me exactly how far I’ve gone, how far I climbed, and how high my heart rate was in the process. This gadget girl then looks forward to plugging it into my computer and analyzing all those stats in the Garmin software when I get home too. Yup, I’m a certifiable geek. I’ve had this one a couple of years. Since then, Garmin has come out with the Forerunner 405 and the Forerunner 310XT.
#8 Camelbak Flashflo
I have a few options for hydrating myself when I’m working out. But on days when I want to go for a long run, this is my favorite. Sometimes it gets twisted around when it’s topped off in the first mile or two. Not sure if that’s a product or user flaw. After checking out their site, the Octane XCT+ and the Annadele for women look like great options too. When I’m on mountain bike trail patrol, I rely on the H.A.W.G. for an ample supply of water and room for the all the gear I need to carry out there.
This has got to be one of the handiest and economical online training logs out there. It makes keeping track of your fitness fun and easy. Every time you log in, there’s a motivational quotation and a bird’s eye view of your goals, races, and workout stats. To add to the fun, there’s even a map of the U.S. to chart your virtual progress across the country with each additional workout. Having that historical information helps athletes see if they pushed too hard or didn’t do enough to prepare for their races.
#10 Oakley Sunglasses
Last year, I tried on 734’s Dad’s Radars on a hike one day and was amazed at the clarity those lenses offered. Whether we were out in the bright sun or in the shadows of a woodsy trail. I wanted a pair, but they would’ve looked dorky on my small face. Then Oakley came out with a women’s version, Enduring. Guess what I got for my birthday? Anything to help Miss Magoo see better! They even have little vents at the top of the lenses, so they don’t steam up from perspiration on cold mornings.
#11 Good Reads
I’d be remiss if I didn’t recommend my friend Lynn Cox’s books – Swimming to Antarctica and Grayson. Both are wonderful books that will inspire an adventurous spirit and a desire to conquer the open water. She also turned me on to another amazing book
You can also find a wide selection of downloadable endurance and multi-sport focused books available at MindsetTriathlon.com, including The Meaning of Triathlon, where this blogger’s essay “Haif-Iron Minnow” appears. (How’s that for a shameless plug?)
My Personal Wish List
XTERRA Trail Shoes
I used to think my Dad had gift-giving super powers. He always knew exactly what to get my mom. I just didn’t know until about a week ago that his fantastic insight could be attributed to her fantastic hints. So this year, he’s getting me these XR 1.0 shoes for my beach and trail runs to come. How did he ever know?
I saw this on a Finis DVD that TriDiver received with one of her race packets this year. It looks like it was made for me. Their web site states, “The fin placement on each hip creates resistance which forces the swimmer to rotate their hips at the top of the stroke when the greatest amount of core strength exists. Development of this timing assists in a powerful hip snap for improved stroke efficiency and distance per stroke.”
I spotted a couple of friends at the pool sporting these and they look super comfortable. The big product design advantage? It delivers leak-proof protection without the eye-popping pressure – the sort of thing that makes you actually schedule client meetings and date nights away from your swim workouts to avoid being seen with huge bags under your eyes. Brilliant. I want ‘em in blue!
Injinji Tetratsok Mini Crew Socks
My toes are prone to blisters, especially on longer runs. These crazy looking socks promise to prevent blisters. I’m tempted to get a pair just to see. But then again, I’m not running very far these days. Maybe I should pick up a pair for my sister instead.
And if money were no object…
iBike Sport Power Meter
I know there are a lot of great power meters out there, but I think this one will be just the ticket for me. I wanna see how many watts I’m generating and improve my pedal stroke along the way. The iBike Sport was recommended to me by my triathlon coach’s bike coach – high praise from a trustworthy source.
Anyone who knows me well knows I want one of these like Ralphie wanted a Little Red Rider BB Gun in the movie “A Christmas Story.”
Whatever you decide to buy your favorite triathlete, one thing is certain – he or she will appreciate you being in their corner, offering encouragement, and having the patience to put up with his or her crazy workout schedule throughout the year. Because all of those things are the ultimate gift.