Tag Archives: gear

Tracking

One of the things that I wanted to finally sit down and write about was mindfulness. It turns out though I can compose these thoughts in my head, and maybe tell you about them over coffee, it’s much harder to sit down and put them on the screen.

I thought I would try today – but I’m too exhausted. That’s the excuse I’m sticking with right now. I’m also decaffeinated due to figuring out that even half-decaf coffee starts disrupting my sleep and putting me on edge. I also lost the use of one of my security devices, Fitbit One. It turns out I’ve become reliant on knowing all the little things that the device tells me about myself. It’s ridiculous, but sometimes humans are ridiculous. I am going to try the UP24 while I wait for the kind people at FitBit to ship out my (free) replacement. I have two weeks to decide if I want to keep the UP24 or return it (per the Apple Store’s policy.)

I stand back and think of this as a sort of madness that I am unwilling to stop myself from engaging in. I also think there’s some parallel to ideas of mindfulness and the attachment to unending streams of personal data.

I’m too tired to think too hard about that right now, though. Luckily UP has a caffeination tracking app available. Maybe that will come in use.

Tracking Progress

When I first started running, I purchased the Nike + SportBand, which is a slim-profile USB pedometer that syncs to your computer, can be used by 3rd party software to track your runs, and allows you to access the Nike+ community website and tools. It’s a great, low-cost, beginner’s tool, but it’s also inaccurate for tracking mileage, and doesn’t keep you from over-extending yourself, as that it has no heart-rate monitor.

After buying a separate heart rate monitor, that didn’t sync to my computer, I eventually gave in and sprung for the Garmin Forerunner 405CX GPS Sport Watch with Heart Rate Monitor It’s huge for my wrist, and the chest strap is a little awkward as that though I’m medium for a woman, I’m not one-size-fits-all. It is, however, fairly accurate at tracking my mileage, and I have no complaints on the heart rate monitor. It does, however, require regular charging, and recently, I’ve found that twice it was uncharged when I was ready to go on my run, and the last time I grabbed my seldom-used Nike+ Sportband, and found that also uncharged.

This led me to grab my trusty Casio Women’s Baby G Watch BG169WH-2V. I’ve had my current watch for about two and a half years now. I purchased it before my Hawaii vacation with the family, loving the fact that it was good for 200 meters (a dive watch, though the display leaves a bit to be desired for that purpose.) It has the handy function of being able to switch time zones, use it as a stop-watch, and also as a timer. I’m sure there’s other functions I don’t even use it for. It has the time and date right up front. It’s clunky and durable, and candy colored (mine’s orange). It’s also a great stand-in for a training watch, as that if you can plot your route and mileage (I use http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/), you can plan your splits, and your target pace. It’s not as automatic, but it turns out my Baby G is a great standby. I’ve used this twice for a run – once in Hawaii recently, and once at home – and it gave me at least a good idea of my pacing. If only I had written it down when I got back. That’s the big draw-back. No automatic syncing!

Running in the Dark

There is no attractive way to run in the cold, damp dark of Seattle. I’m just over a month away from the Seattle 1/2, and it’s getting chilly and wet out there, and the light is definitely not there in the morning, and won’t be there for long in the evenings after work. I have purchased my exposure protection, however, even though they all have reflective striping, they all come in fashionably dark colors, so unless the drivers are looking for Tron-like costumes, being seen is nearly impossible.

Not to mention that I’m pretty sure that NO ONE driving at 6:30am is looking for runners. They sure as heck aren’t stopping at stop signs, and even after I saw a man stop, look both ways, and nudge into the intersection, looking both ways again (and towards me), he still ended up clipping me, requiring me to place my hand on the corner of his car to scoot myself out of the way. I looked at him, he was stunned, and I yelled something like, “Stop sign, Asshole!” and jogged about two meters past, tripping, and skidding myself on the left side forward on the asphalt. I called my husband for a pick up, limping a bit, bleeding from my knuckles, hand and knee, with a few abrasions in between. My hip was deeply bruised, and I was a bit shaken up.

It’s dark and lonely, and a bit scary to run that early in the dark. I’ve noticed that my usual early morning companions have dissipated – perhaps they’re all electing to go into work a bit later. I need to find a better solution as I prepare for this race, and it turns out the best solution might be a gym membership near work, that might allow me to road-run during lunch, shower, and be back to work at a decent time. Treadmills for over an hour are dull as dirt. I did that yesterday, since the forecast was for nasty weather, and I had procrastinated towards dusk.

It’s tough. Even if I was wearing electric yellow from head to toe, I wonder if I would be seen. It’s scary out there, solo, female, cold, damp and in the dark. I’m increasingly convinced that they don’t make running gear for Northwestern runners in mind.

Week in Review: Training for Races

I’ve been adding to this post throughout the week, so if it’s choppy, forgive me, I’ve been busy!

Week before last, I was battling creeping anxiety and poor sleep. I hit just over nine miles on my long run on last Sunday, and it took me forever to drag myself out to run, and afterwords, I felt like poo. Similarly, Monday night as I was prepping my things for my morning run, I was dreading going out. This all seemed too familiar. I realized that like earlier this summer, I have reached exhaustion. I’ve been going too far, too fast and I need a break.

I decided to use the Runner’s World Smart Coach to generate a hypothetical training program for my upcoming 10K and 1/2 marathon. The resulting training schedule was a lot lighter than my recent one, leading me to believe that yes, I’ve been overtraining, and perhaps for my best performance, I should back off and try something new.

My Tuesday run was sluggish, but good in retrospect. It was a lovely challenge to go just under 12 minutes a mile, and it was nice and quick before work.

My Thursday run was a five-miler, with 3 miles being at around 10:18 pace. It worked out fairly well, and I came back damp from the early morning mist/fog.

I skipped another 2 miler like my Tuesday run on Friday. I just didn’t have it in me. Meanwhile, I spent those last few days of the week eating crap food. It’s a bad habit, but training makes me really hungry. I’m getting comfortable with my size, and slacking on the restrictions. I should probably get back on track… right?

Saturday, I guess you should say I did some cross-training. I did two dry-suit dives, my last cold water dives before I hit Hawaii this coming weekend. I definitely got an upper-body work out!

Today, I did a 7 mile easy run. It was really nice and light, despite the crazy weather (torrential rains this morning, sun break, gusts of wind and sporadic sprinkles). I chomped my new favorite endurance enhancer, Clif Shot Bloks Cran-razz. They definitely keep me from feeling so crazy ravenous the rest of the day.

I’m using my current water system, Ultimate Direction Women's Strider Waist Pack, is cumbersome, but keeps me hydrated. I’m hesitant to change it up, especially given the cost. I also use Ultimate Direction Fastdraw on my shorter runs.

I know I’ll dial this stuff in a little more as race time approaches. Another thing on my to-do list is find a good vest/jacket for the coming rainy season. I think it’s time to wrap this post up. It’s taken me a week to write it!

Upcoming Races, Gear and Training

Last week I dropped about $100 just on sign-up for two races.

The first race, which I’m most excited about, is the Seattle Half Marathon. I have never attempted 13.1 miles running. I’ve walked that distance before, and I’m running 8 mi plus, now, for my longest runs, however – I’m a little excited and skeptical at the same time. Not to mention the fact that I’ll be running in late November, which means that the weather could be absolutely horrid for the adventure. Nevertheless, I’m excited, and this is going to be my birthday present to myself.

The second race I’ve signed up for is just less than a month away. This is the Issaquah Run at Salmon Days, a 10K, which is another race I’ve never done. I can easily run a 10K, and do for my interval run. I’m not the fastest, but right now, I’m focused on finishing.

This year, early on, I really wanted to run a 1/2 marathon, even before I was running 5K races. This year, I hope to have up to 1/2 marathon done, with a finisher medal or shirt or something commemorating.

The next step is to make sure I’m appropriately geared up, and trained up. I intend to keep my schedule mostly as is, and as far as gear, I’m having to run with a water bottle to make sure I’m hydrated. I’m considering also running with some easy-sugar, though I deign to see what that looks or tastes like. I’ve invested in some awesome earphones (Sennheiser Adidas PMX 680i) to go with my newly purchased Nike+ iPod Sport Kit. I am testing it out on my husband’s old Nano, with the thought of maybe upgrading to the brand new iPod Nano. I got a Marware Sportsuit Sensor Case to attach my Nike+ sensor to my Vibram Five Fingers Bikila.

I’m wondering if I will end up switching to the neoprene KSO’s for the 1/2 marathon. I’m also wondering about a proper belt solution, not to mention, a good solution for the iPod, as that clipping the new one on might work, but not so well in the rain.

I’ve got a lot of gear to consider. Visibility being something to be mindful of, as that light is waning in the mornings. I’ve got some reflective strips, but I wonder if that’s enough. People are completely stupid driving in the mornings. Stop signs seem to mean NOTHING to them.

I hoped for a longer entry – but this is what I got for now. I picked up the latest Runner’s World, and I’m glad to read it, though I’m also glad to not have a subscription. Also, Women’s Running (I think that’s the magazine I perused) is total, bird cage scraps crap. I choose my running gear based on performance, not on color (though it helps!) and the only reason I wear make up when I run is because I was at work earlier in the day and I didn’t take it off before I went for a run. I’ll save my beauty tips from Allure and Marie Claire. In a magazine for running, I want information on running. Period. While reading Runner’s World, I couldn’t help but get choked up (though this was after my long run, when endorphins were still high) – running is such a gift for me, I’m so glad I can do it. I’ll do it as long as I can.