Tuesday, May 28, 2013

HoneyMaxx product review

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a company called HoneyMaxx to try out their new sports drink mix.  What makes HoneyMaxx unique is that HoneyMaxx uses all natural honey to provide the carbohydrates that your body needs during exercise.  What the company is claiming is that you don't get the sugar spike that occurs when you use a normal sports, and that HoneyMaxx works through a time-released delivery system to your body during exercise. 

I was interested in trying out the product and comparing it to what I normally use for my training.  I will try out most products at least once, but there are 2 different categories that I don't like to try something unless I have a real genuine interest in them.... one is shoes, and the other is any type of food/nutritional supplements.  To me, these are the 2 most important areas not to mess with.  Shoes for the obvious reason that your feet are your livelihood.  Anything that happens to them, your training/racing is over.  I don't want to try out a pair of shoes and have them cause some type of injury.  As you know, I have been lucky to partner with Skora Running and I don't see this changing any time soon.  Nutrition is equally as important.  Everything can go right in your race, but if you don't have the proper nutrition, your race can go south quickly.  Not having the right supplements or trying out one or two that don't work out can be detrimental to both your training and your racing.  So I am very picky about what products that I partner with.

With that being said, I received a packet of the HoneyMaxx drink mix and was excited to try it out. Right now there are only 2 flavors, Lemon Lime and Orange.  Luckily, they sent me the Lemon Lime mix.  This is my go-to flavor while racing and training, so I'm happy they sent me this flavor. 

First Impressions:

After putting in the first scoop into my water bottle and shaking it up, I saw that it takes a while for the mix to fully dissolve. After reading the back of the bag, it explains that this is possibly due to the honey being the primary ingredient.  Since HoneyMaxx is made from real honey, it takes a while for it to fully dissolve.  Even though I read it and expected it, I didn't expect to see this even after 30 minutes of mixing water and the powder. 

about 30 minutes after mixing with water

After taking my first sip of the mixture, I quickly noticed there wasn't a huge sugary flavor like other sports drinks.  In fact, there was a very faint taste of any type of flavor.  It mostly tasted like flavored water.  Honey flavored water.  I liked this a lot.  Normally, you can taste all the sugar in sports drinks so I liked how you can't do that with HoneyMaxx. 

What was even more impressive was how the flavor actually got significantly better as time went on.  As expected, the honey based product started to dissolve more and more, so as it continues to dissolve the taste kept getting better and better.  This is probably the opposite of what normally happens.  Typically with a sports drink, as time goes on, it gets more watered down and loses flavor.  Not with HoneyMaxx.  It continues to get better and better. 

Where I would give a recommendation for people looking for that immediate surge of taste and flavor is if they wanted to mix in like half a scoop of their normal sports drink mix.  This way, they can have the sweet sugary taste they are used to in the beginning of their training, while having the drink continue to dissolve and get more flavor as time goes on.  I tried this once but quickly realized I don't want to do that anymore.  I really like the taste of HoneyMaxx so I don't want to add any unnecessary refined sugars to my sports drink.  Also, in the first few stages of my training, I don't need a huge sugar boost.  I just need to keep my mouth wet and continue to hydrate my body. So mixing in any type of other sports drink is not for me, but I thought I would at least give a quick fix for someone looking for that immediate impact of flavor.

After putting HoneyMaxx to the test for a while now and having a good amount of workouts in, here are longer impressions I have of the product:

-I really like the taste.  If you like the taste of honey, then this product is for you.  At first, there is a slight hint of honey, but as time goes on you can really get the full effect and great taste.  Mixing that with the lemon-lime flavor was something I haven't had before so I really enjoy it.  In fact, it has such a great after taste.  After taking a few swigs of it on the bike, you can continue to taste the flavor a few minutes after each drink.  This is good because it continues to keep your mouth wet, but not in a bad way.  As someone who can't do a workout or race without a piece of gum in my mouth, the taste sits with me until I grab another drink.  I have not gotten that cotton mouth feeling that happens after pushing yourself too hard and continuously needing to drink more.

-I really like that is has Tumeric in the mixture.  For those of you who don't know what Tumeric is, there are plenty of health benefits associated with it.  I'll let you do the research on all of them, but it has been used for centuries.  The one benefit that attracts me the most, or any athlete for that matter, is that it has a lot of anti-inflammatory effects.  So as you're breaking down your body and muscles during your workout, the Tumeric is helping with anti-inflammatories.  Think of it as wearing compression shorts inside your body (yes I know, weird analogy).  But any type of anti-inflammatory benefit I can add to my workouts or races I'll take it.  We all break down our muscles enough so why not have something that will help?

-The products are all natural.  I am not one of those organic, live off the earth type of guys, but when I can have the chance to substitute something that has a lot of chemicals in it with something that is all natural and I can get the same results and benefits, I'll take it every time.

- I haven't needed to play with concentration levels yet.  As time goes on, we all like to pick how many scoops we put into our sports drink mix.  Since I got the product and started using it, I haven't had to add more mix than the bag recommends or I haven't added too much and now think I'm drinking a soda during my workouts.  The recommendations are pretty accurate so I know I'm getting a great taste every time I put a mixture together.  This also seems to keep cost down.  We all know we have to buy these sport drink mixes and some of them aren't cheap.  So if we need to add more scoops into our mixture just so we like the taste, then we start to decrease the servings in a given bag.

- I haven't bonked yet.  This one surprised me the most. I thought that after only drinking HoneyMaxx during my long bike rides and long runs that I would bonk due to the lack of chemicals.  This has not been the case at all.  In fact, I'm finding that towards the end of my workouts, I'm getting stronger.  I feel extremely confident only using HoneyMaxx as my primary sports drink from now on.  I know it won't get watered down, but I know that my body reacts to it well and that it will continue to fuel me as my workouts get longer.

-No GI issues.  I've taken HoneyMaxx on long bike rides, long runs, and a really long brick workout.  I haven't had any type of digestion problems at all.  My body can easily digest HoneyMaxx and doesn't sit in my stomach for long periods of time.  Can't ask for more than that.


After spending some time working HoneyMaxx into my workout regime, I have to say that I am extremely impressed with the product.  The taste alone is far better than most sports drinks that are already on the market.  HoneyMaxx solves the problem of having a great taste without having to feel like I'm getting a cavity every time I take a drink from the typical sports drinks that I have been using in the past.  As your workout continues to go on, so does the taste.

Having an all natural product that gives the benefits of having anti-inflammatories for your muscles, antioxidants, and time-released fuel to help you through your workouts, I have to say this will now be my go to sports drink.  There are plenty of studies out there showing the benefits of honey during endurance exercises, so adding this honey based, great tasting product to my regime is something that I look forward to.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Red Bank Triathlon race report-When a Sprint really isn't a sprint

Yesterday I competed in the Red Bank Sprint Triathlon.  Sort of.  I entered the event as a sprint competitor, what happened after that was completely different.

I was really excited for this race.  I knew that if everything went smoothly, I would have a great shot at a podium finish.  At the very least, I expected to win my Age Group.  So going into the day, I was extremely confident.  I even posted about it a few days ago.

Race Morning:
Like most of my races, I do them with my buddy Leo.  We get to the race site around 5:40 am or so to check in and get our transition area set up. Since this race had both an Olympic distance and Sprint distance, there were a lot of people there.  Looking at all the weather reports, it was supposed to be a nice day.  However, at the last minute it decided to rain and get nasty.  This was a sign of the day to come.

Once, checked in, we got our bikes, transition areas set up and was ready to roll.

Transition area ready to roll.  

Cant wait to jump on the bike and go with the shoes clipped in

Since there were 2 races going on at one time, the Olympic distance started at 7 am and the Sprint started at 7:30.  So for the 30 minutes we had to wait, Leo and I jumped in the lake and warmed up a little.  The water was completely dark and we couldn't see anything.  I couldn't even put my watch underwater and look at it.  But I'm glad we warmed up. It gave us a chance to get some open water swimming in before the start of the race.  It was nice to get the butterfly's out of our system.

7:40 rolls around and now they start the sprint race.  They wanted some more time to let the Olympic swimmers go so we wouldn't be cutting any of them off during their race.  So the gun goes off (really it was just someone yelling go), and everyone is off.

My swim was half good and half bad.  The first 150 meters or so, I felt great.  This is usually the part where everyone is jostling to get position and fighting but I felt good.  It was about here where I started to freak out.  For no reason at all I just lost it.  My stroke was good, my breathing was great, but I just felt like I couldn't go any more.  I started doing the breaststroke for a bit.  After about 25-40 meters, I realized I was being stupid and started swimming properly again.  After this, my swim was great. I was picking people off and realized how stupid I had been and how much time I wasted.  All in all, my swim was 10:53.  About a minute slower than I wanted.

I exited the swim, got my wetsuit off and picked up my bike and went.  This is where the confusing part starts.  The bike started on an uphill.  Who starts a bike mount line at the bottom of a hill.  This meant my flying mount was a little more difficult than I wanted it to be.  Either way, I did it and was off.  My bike was awesome.  I was killing it.  My first 5 miles averaged 21.7 mph.  I was picking people off left and right and at this point I was in the top 5 or so in the race.

Because of the 2 races going on, there was supposed to be a course marshall instructing where the sprint racers turn and where the Olympic racers turn.  However, in my case there wasn't anyone directing the top riders to go.  So ultimately, I ended up doing the full Olympic distance bike course.  At around mile 12 or so I realized I was so far from where I had to be that I thought this might happen.  Then at my 14-15 I realized I'm on the Olympic course and that on everyone's calf was a big letter "O" designating that they did the Olympic race.  Sprint racers had an S on their calves and I didn't see one "S" anywhere.

The wave of emotions that went through me was a roller coaster.  I thought, maybe this happened to everyone so I'm still racing.  Then I was pissed since I figured only a handful of people were affected and since I was going to place, I missed my chance.  Then I said I'll just push it and do a training ride and see how I can do on the Olympic course and use this for what it is and get the experience for future races.  I also thought about skipping the run since what did it matter any more.  I just wanted to be done with this.  But I really hate the idea of getting a DNF next to my name.  I wasn;t hurt so there was no point in stopping.

So here's the course I should have raced.

Red Bank Sprint Course

Here is my actual race:
Red Bank Olympic Course

As you can see, my bike split was really good.  It would have even been faster if I didn't have to do the extra 9 miles because I would have pushed myself even more and there were 2 big hills that slowed me up significantly that weren't on the sprint course.

At some point when I was around mile 21 of my ride, I ended up catching up to other sprint racers.  I didn't think they could have beaten me.  There was an older woman on a mountain bike. I asked her while passing her about the sprint and she said she was in it.  It was here that I yelled out at the top of my lungs.  "THIS IS BULLSHIT" and just raced back into T2 to go for the run.

My run was great.  My legs felt good and I was happy with how fast I ran.  I actually clocked the fastest run split of the race, so there is something to be happy about.  The course was fine for the run.  Pretty flat, but at the point I was on it, it was packed with racers.  Both the Olympic and Sprint runners were on the same course at the same time.  Kind of confusing.  But then again, that was the theme of the day.

Anyway, after the race I spoke with the race director and told him what happened.  He was shocked. He said there should have been someone with a megaphone directing traffic.  I told him there wasn't and explained how pissed I was.  I missed out on a podium finish, age group win, getting my name called and getting some publicity for Skora Running since I was rocking my Base's for the run.  I told him it affected at least 5 of the top riders in the group and all he could do was look shocked and say he can't change the results.

Back in transition, I spoke with about 10 other racers and they said the same thing.  That no one was directing traffic.  For the middle of the pack racers this isn't an issue.  just follow the ones in front of you.  But when you're so close to the lead, there isn't anyone in front.  The winner of the race beat the 2nd place person by over 10 minutes.  I'm sorry, this doesn't happen in a sprint triathlon.  4-5 minutes, I can understand, but definitely not 10.  I saw 2 other riders that were affected by this and they were just as pissed as me.

Once the results were posted, I calculated my swim time, transition times, run time, and average of my bike and added it up.  What this did was place me 2nd OVERALL.  At very worst, 3rd overall.  So I missed out on a huge day for me.

What this all means is that there isn't anything I can do.  I have to move on.  I can't change the results and have to look at the bright side.  I rocked my bike, I rocked the run, so I can head into my next race very confident since my next race is an actual Olympic distance Tri.  Well, I basically covered that today.

There are just so few opportunities that we all can make the podium, and because of someone else's mistake, I didn't get that chance today.  Not the way anyone wants to leave a race, but it's time to move on and do better next time.

So that is the story of when a Sprint really isn't a sprint.
Coming around the final turn of the race to the finish.  It really didnt matter at this point

All ready to get on stage promoting Skora.  Sorry I didnt get the chance to do that.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

It's Race Week...again

So Sunday officially starts my Tri season.  I'm really excited for this race.  Because of Boston, I feel like I'm in such better shape to start this season than I have been in a few years.  All of my workouts are a lot more crisp, faster, and I can push myself a lot better.  I feel like I am going to have a great race this weekend. Now, with all that being said, we all know things can change during an actual race.

My goals for this race are pretty straightforward.  I think they are easily attainable and will lead me to see where I'm at in my Triathlon fitness.  Coming off marathon season and only having 1 month to transition to triathlons, I'm curios to see where I'm at.  Granted this is just a prep race and the ultimate race is in August, but I still want to perform well and know what I'm capable of.

So my goals are:
1) Have a good swim.  I hate the swim.  There is nothing good about my feelings toward the triathlon swim.  I am strong in the pool and can swim for days when training in the pool, but the second I swim in open water, I get so tired.  I know that's common, but it hits me harder than most I think.  So Sunday, I want to have a good swim and finish the quick and easy 500 meter swim in less than 9:15.  That's my goal

2) Push the pedals on the bike.  Looking at the course, it seems like I can duplicate my last bike training ride this past weekend and average about 22 mph.  That would put my time somewhere around 41 minutes or so.  I'd really like to be able to get to that number or even under for the 15 miles.  With full race kit, wheels, aero helmet, I think it can be done.

3) Flying Mount and Dismount.  I've been practicing this a few times and it seems like I've gotten it down, but the easiest way to take time off of a race is in transition, so if I can shave about 1-2 minutes off my transitions from last year's races, then I'll be psyched.  I just don't want to mess up and completely wipe out during the race.

4) Sub 19 minutes on the 5k run.  I've been significantly faster over the past few weeks on my runs and had my fastest 10k time of 37:45 this past week on a day that was supposed to be an easy training run.  My brick workout on Tuesday, I covered the 5k in about 18:45 so I want to be able to hit those numbers on the run.  It's a relatively flat run course, and my 5k time this week was on a hilly course, so I want to do my first mile in 6:25, then hit the next 2 at about a pace of 6:10-6:15 per mile which would be put right around the 19 minute mark.  I've done it before, so I'm pushing to try and do it again

5) Podium finish.  Looking at times from last year, I can probably finish top 2-3 in this event.  The defending champion is racing again this year and I've raced him before at the USAT National Championships, and I'm not afraid to say that he kicked my butt.  We've done a few races together before and he's gotten the best of me each time.  I hope I can change that up this year, but I think just getting on the podium will be a challenge.

6) No podium- win Age Group.  This speaks for itself.  If I can't make the podium, then clearly I want to win my Age Group.  I think this one might be the easiest of the goals by looking at every competitor who is entered into the field.
Either way, a podium finish or win Age group, and I'll be stocked.

7) Take some sweet pictures.  I don't take pictures during a race, but I definitely want to take some before the race, after the race in transition, and if I can possibly get some action shots, that would be awesome.

So with that being said, those are my race week goals.  I'm looking forward to accomplishing some, if not all of them.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Yesterday was the wife's first official Mother's Day.  I am by nature not an emotional or super sweet guy.  The wife will definitely attest to that and back me up.  However, I tried to make the day special for her since it was her first Mother's day.  In fact, a year ago is when we told our families that we were pregnant.  It was definitely a sight to see both soon-to-be grandma's hysterically crying.
soon to be grandma's finding out a year ago

So yesterday's celebration actually started on Saturday.  For all special occasions the wife wants cupcakes from the bakery Baked by Melissa in NYC.  These are cupcakes that are about one bite and that's it.  So after my run on Saturday, I ran right over to the cupcake shop and bought 12 cupcakes for the wife.  She gave me the flavors she wanted so it was easy.  The only hard part is that the cupcakes were for Sunday so I had to limit the wife's consumption of them on Saturday.  Because these cupcakes are so small, you have one bite, then another, and then you don't realize that you just finish 12 small cupcakes in like 10 minutes.  So after I gave her the cupcakes, she ate about 4-5 and then put them away.  And then the celebration was over until Sunday.
bite sized goodness

Sunday morning came and we were going to where our parents live to spend the day with them.  Well actually, some of the day was me spent biking.  In our home town, the city closes a parkway to all cars from 10am-2pm for bikers, runners, walkers, roller bladders, or anyone else who wants to jump on the parkway.  It's a 13.1 mile loop with no cars so its really nice to go out.  I convinced (somehow) the wife to let me bike for a good hour to hour and a half.  Since it's a week before my first Tri of the season, I wanted to see how I would do really pushing myself and throttling down the speed.  Let me tell you, this was awesome.  It was the first time I had open rode like this.  I was averaging about 23 mph on my bike.  And it's not like the course was flat.  It has some really nice hills.  So I was definitely pushing myself and seeing what my limits were.  I had my race wheels on, Aero helmet on and was just flying.  I can't wait for next week.

So after my bike, I had to rush home and shower, get changed, and pick up flowers for my mother and mother in law. We had brunch scheduled for 11:30, but I was late due to wanting to bike more.  I know, not my day, but how can I not want to bike more with how great I felt?

Once I got to my mother in laws house, we had a nice spread of bagels, cream cheese, whitefish, whitefish salad, challah french toast. Basically, jewish soul food.  Brunch was great.  But let's be honest, it turned into the Riley show.  With 2 sets of grandparents, one aunt who lives in Toronto and home for the weekend, and one uncle, Riley was the only thing people want to talk about, play with, etc.  And since Riley thinks I'm his own personal clown, it was time for me to show off his smiling, giggling, and all his baby tricks (even though there aren't that many).

Our little family
So after a few hours, it was time to say goodbye and the wife and I headed home.  Riley was wiped out from all the playing so he slept for a while.  And since I never got my wife a push-present, I decided to give her one for Mother's Day.  First let me regress.  Who decided that someone should get a push present?  For those who don't know, it's basically a present the mother gets for giving birth.  oh, and by the way, it aint cheap.

The wife enjoying her first Mother's Day
OK anyway.  So when we got home, Riley handed the wife a card that had a picture of her gift.  I decided not to actually buy it in case she wanted something different.  But this is what she wanted and now all she has to do is pick out the one she wants and we'll go get it.
Let's hope she likes it

As for that, the day came to an end and the wife's first Mother's Day is in the books.

So to her, and all the other mothers, happy Mother's day

It's not daddy's day, but he is really cute

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wet Suit Day

So every triathlete knows what wet suit day is.  Its the time of year where you break out the wetsuit out of the doldrums of where its been the past few months, unwrap it and go to the local pool for a workout in it before your first race of the season.  Some people love it, and some people hate it.

This week is both wetsuit day and trisuit day for me at the pool.  It's so exciting for me.  Because I'm wearing a new tri suit for my race next week, I had to test it out in the pool this week and see how it felt during my swim.  So on Tuesday, I went to my pool in full tri suit and got a lot of weird looks.  All the older individuals were looking at me like "what in the world is this guy wearing", and all the people my age either looked at me like they knew what I was doing (fellow triathletes), or they looked at me like I was an ass.  They thought I was there to show off and try to go faster than everyone else.  In reality, I was, but that's not the point.

So swimming in my new tri suit was great.  Very comfortable and very light.  I didn't notice anything that would affect me while I race.  So then, I took it to the next step.  Wearing the tri suit on my bike and run.  Unfortunately, today it was like a monsoon in New York, so I was stuck doing a brick workout inside at my gym.  Let me say this, I felt really uncomfortable wearing a tri suit indoors.  It looked like I was just trying too hard.  Once I got to my gym, I filled my water bottle up, put my shoes on and took off my sweatshirt and shorts to unveil my outfit.  I got so many head turns this time.  There was grandma on the recumbent bike, meat head dude about to walk up the stairs to hit the weights, prissy college girl hardly breaking a sweat on the elliptical, and 2 women wearing sooooo inappropriate clothing yapping away when they saw me.  I admit, it looked weird, but it was something that had to be done.  I needed to see how the pad would feel on the bike and how the suit would feel when running.  So I just clipped in, and rode for about 50 minutes.  Great workout and the pad felt great.  I actually did intervals on the bike and really pushed myself hard.  Once I was done, I hopped off, threw on my running shoes and hit the treadmill for a quick 5k run.  I really wanted to unzip the front of the suit to get some air, but I thought that would be so wrong, so I just left it as is. 

Either way, I'm happy with the suit and looking forward to racing in it next week at the Red Bank Sprint Triathlon.

Tomorrow comes wetsuit day.  This is a really fun day.  Cramming into the wetsuit at the pool is awesome.  Once it's on, I just jump in and start flying by everyone.  It's kind of embarrassing to swim this fast in a recreational pool.  Obviously, everyone looks at you weird, because you're in a full wetsuit.  But it's so fun to throw the wetsuit on and continue to coast and fly in the pool.  I only wish it was that easy when we start racing in open water.  Clearly, I'm not as fast in open water as in the pool so I only wish I could transition all that speed to my races.

But every triathlete knows what this week is for me, and so a lot of people can relate to me.  Unfortunately, most people at pool I swim at cant relate so they just look at me all weird.  So to them I say, have fun in my wake.  I'm all latexed up and you're not. 

Here's to all the triathletes who either have done what I'm doing this week, or will very soon. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Just a little hodgepodge

So a few things to take note as it's a mixed bag of things the past few days.

1) I've been traveling a lot recently.  I was in Syracuse one day, Williamsport, PA the next day, working in NYC and Long Island for 2 days and I'm spent.  I am so tired it's incredible. You would think that because I am sleeping in hotels with no baby, no wife, nothing to distract me that I would be able to get some good nights of sleep.  But it's the exact opposite.  I keep getting to my hotels so tired that all I want to do is go to sleep.  The problem is that every time I try to fall asleep I just lay there tossing and turning.  The only night I had a good night of sleep is the one night that I was home.  It's crazy.  I need a few good nights of sleep in the next few days to help with training and sanity.  Luckily I'm home so I think I can recover.

2) There is almost nothing better than getting a new pair of shoes.  Since I order shoes online, or get them from Skora directly, there is always the anticipation on waiting for them to come in the mail.  When they finally do, I'm like a kid on Christmas.  I can hardly wait to open up the box and see what the shoes are and how they feel.
So the past week I've been waiting on my new pair of shoes from Skora.  The Skora Core's were shipped out to me and delivered today.  I got home from spending 7 hours in a car and saw the box and just tore it open.  The review on the shoes will come in a few weeks, but the second I opened the box I got a wiff of goodness. The shoes are made of goatskin leather.  I opened the box and the smell was even better than new car smell.  I couldn't stop smelling my shoes.  How weird is that?  I even made the wife smell them and she even liked it.
Either way, I'm excited to try out the shoes, get some miles in them and write the review.  So far I have loved every Skora that I've put on my feet so I anticipate nothing less, especially since it seems everyone loves the Core's.
These are some nice looking kicks

3) My first triathlon of the season is next Sunday.  It's a quick sprint triathlon, so I'm not really worried for it, but I really want to place.  I think I can easily win my age group, but I want to make the podium for the entire race.  And since I'm crazy about all things like this, I have researched everyone who has registered for the race.  If you don't know about Athlinks.com, then take a look.  It is a website that has everyone's race results posted on them...even if you don't want them posted.  So in true stalker fashion, I  have entered everyone's name on the website and looked at their past race results.  I look at all their races since one race can be deceiving and see how I feel I would stack up against them.  So far, I think there is a chance I make the podium.
I did my first true outdoor brick workout this week, and my run splits were ridiculously fast.  Since I have the mileage from Boston, I know I can push myself to running a fast run split on race day so the only thing I have to worry about is my swim and bike.  Basically, only 2/3 of the race

4)  So Riley is now 4 months.  Time flies so fast.  He's now in the smiling, playing, recognizing faces, and all in all starting to develop a personality.  In the past 3 weeks or so, Riley has decided that I am his own personal clown.  Not mommy, not Thunder, me.  All I have to do is look at him and he starts to laugh hysterically.  I feel like the movie Wedding Crashers where Vince Vaughn in making balloon animals and the kid walks up to him and says "Make me a bicycle, clown".  I love it and we have so much fun with him, but I can't really be that funny. Can I?

Is this Riley, 10 years from now?
So that's about it for now.  It's been a slow few days but there has been a few there's here or there to report on.