Tag Archives: gear

Sweet little gifts

Today, my wife gave me a great little gift.

There is no step 2.

That little gem, (based on this) arrived in the mail before we set off on my workout. I mentioned during my post about Sunday the power of mantras; hopefully this one will serve me well. Though I’m sure I’ll confuse some people, shuffling along behind them during the Brooksie, muttering “There is no step two…”

For that workout I mentioned, my 4x800m intervals today, I figured out how to download an outlined workout into my 305 and to run it based on heartrate. It was a great change from a pace based workout, because of how broad the ‘zone’ was, but it definitely required me to pound the pavement hard to keep myself in zone 4 for all the

That said, optimizing those workouts has grabbed my attention, and so I found a plugin, called Garmin Fitness, that allows me to start creating and following this kind of a complex workout through Sport Tracks 3.0. Certainly, it’s nothing I couldn’t do before for now, with the basic functionality of intervals and quick workouts on the Garmin, but I have high hopes that I can find a way to use the functions of that great little device to the fullest.

For example, today’s 4x800m workout was:
Warmup in HR Zone 1 for 2:00
Warmup in HR Zone 2 for 2:00
Warmup in HR Zone 3 for 2:00
Do the following 4 times
– Run in HR Zone 4 for 0.5miles
– Jog in HR Zone 2 for 4:00
Warmup in HR Zone 3 for 2:00
Warmup in HR Zone 2 for 2:00
Warmup in HR Zone 1 for 2:00

Pretty simple workout, but the general format has so much power, and the watch beeping keeps me on track, and on distance, without having to stare at a stop watch or search for a measured track. I’m intrigued to build a pyramid workout, or my hill workouts, onto this.

But really, the first step in that is to do some detailed analysis of my heartrate zones, to see if I can define them better than I currently do. Should be fun!

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The Heat & Christmas in July

The midwest has undergone a disgusting revolution. From the coldest winter since I’ve been here, to the warmest summer since I’ve been here. Clearly the Dark-Humored Gods of the Flyover States have decided to test my resolve. I had a 12 mile run planned for Sunday, July 17, and ended up calling a halt for it at 5 miles, and finishing off another 5 on the treadmill indoors.

That, right there, is a strange thing. My idea of ‘giving up’ is now “I only I’m going to run 10 miles, and half of it on a treadmill.” I’m grateful for the gift of insanity that running has given me, the distortion of perspective so great that I think of a 10 mile run (like the one I had this Sunday in Pittsburgh) as a ‘great way to start the day’.

So it comes to pass, that instead of thinking of snow, or rain, or crippling heat as a reason not to run, I put it in my sights as a new challenge, a new problem I must solve, something to take my mind off all the inconvenience of actually running while I trick myself into being okay at it. I read up on advice from runners as humble as bloggers in the midwest to as vaunted as professionals running in the heat of Miami or Arizona. And basically they all said the same thing. Slow down. Drink water. Know your limits.

While my Camelbak Rogue has been a great accessory for long runs, carrying 70oz of water (or indeed, even a backpack at all) feels like extreme overkill for my 4-5 mile runs during the week. So between that, and the serendipitous timing of the Brooks Running Sponsor Family & Friends sales event, I found myself buying a whole bunch of new goodies.

A Nathan Quickdraw Elite handheld bottle was the first to arrive, destined to be my buddy for these runs. I had been wooed to select this style by favorable specific reviews by ultra-runners (“after a mile or two, it just melts away and you forget it’s there!”), and by a particularly glowing general endorsement of hand-helds by NPR personality Peter Segel (“It’s as if I had suddenly evolved a physical advantage, an eruption of Velcro and plastic from the palm, to become Homo sapiens bottlensis”). So when I got it out of the Amazon.com box and strapped it on my hand, I was more than a little disappointed when it felt pretty much like a bottle with a velcro strap for your hand.

No easy integration with my palm, no effortless connection to my body. I had to adjust my hand around it and if I tilted my hand down or waved my arm frantically enough it could, horror of horrors, shake loose. I called my mother-in-law for advice, which seemed to, pretty much instantly, baffle her. She informed me (second hand, my wife was actually talking with her, while I whipped my arms around in circles and cranked down hard on the velcro strap to tighten the thing to the point of lost circulation on my hand) that if it was leaking, I could just squeeze it to test whenever I closed the cap. I hadn’t even considered leaking! It was still dry, and it felt like it could fly off at any moment. So I was going to have to worry, not only about hurling it accidentally in a random direction, but about being tortured by a slow water-torture drip onto my leg from the lid?

All that aside, I resolved just to take it on one run, and it was an absolute pleasure on every one of the miles I brought it on. It turns out that when you flail around in your living room you actually make a bunch of movements that you would never make while running normally. I also learned that you can’t compare “Handheld Running Water Bottle” to “Nothing In My Hands.” You have to either compare it to “Awkwardly Carrying A Bottle Not Designed For It” or “Fainting Of Dehydration Instead Of Running.”

In that spirit of experimentation and success, and inspired by a serious discount (thanks, Sherry!) I had also ordered some new, more summer appropriate tops, another 3 boxes of Gu, and two pairs of shoes. The shoes I’ll try to write about in a more self-contained post, but I’m very excited to have added a couple of ‘designed for coolness’ tops to my closet of random shirts. I bought one of each of the versatile singlet and the HVAC sleeveless top.

Brooks HVAC Top

The singlet is just an orange tank top. Use your imaginations. All the pictures of it were awful; we tried to do them post workout, and the internet recently emphasized to me how spent and primal (where spent means exhausted and primal mostly means… sweaty) we look in post exercise photos.

The HVAC is a great top; those large cutouts behind the shoulder make it feel cooler than a normal sleeveless, and even more importantly, the back and stomach are all a lighter mesh than the chest. Net effect is that it still mops up prodigious chest-sweating, covers my shoulders a bit more than a singlet, but feels nice and cool on the run. A+, would probably buy again… at the discount.

So equipped, I’ve gone out into the hot world much more comfortably these past weeks.