Tag Archives: shopping

How do you listen to your body if you don’t know what you’re listening for?!!?

hmm. looks like maybe I actually am getting a little wiser in my old age. maybe. Oh, and brace yourselves, I may actually discuss pace. A very little bit. What?!?! But I never; I know!

First off, I turned 30 last week. About 8 days ago. In addition to an adventuresome beach camping trip, I got some pretty sweet toys: the ultimate direction Jenny hydration pack, a pair of brooks transcend, and in an absolute bit of the universe looking out for me, a GARMIN 910 XT!

The Garmin, I’ve been eyeing it for a long time, maybe about a year. But $400 is just too much, sorry. Especially when I already have a perfectly functional, albeit pretty old, 305. But then, as I was heading home to kick off birthday weekend, a post popped up on my run club’s facebook saying one of our sponsors was offering “an amazing one time only deal” on pretty much all of the Gamin Forerunner family– email Barry for details. And I thought, no way it will be a big enough discount for me to actually get one. But I will email him, and if it comes back under $XXX, then, you know what, it’s my birthday!

$5 less than my max. A price so low they are not legally allowed to publish it per their sales agreements. So now I have a lovely new 910XT, with optional foot pod and heart rate monitor.

Which brings me to the title of this post…

I used the Garmin at the gym last night. Turns out their treadmills are even more inaccurately calibrated than one would expect.

The last few weeks, as I’ve moved into a new phase of knee-hab, I’ve been amazed at how much cardiovascular fitness I seemed to have lost.

Well! Turns out, I’d been running paces that were about 30-60 sec faster per mile than I thought they were!!!

See, Nike+ and my Jawbone UP24 consistently gave me credit for longer distances and faster paces than the treadmill. But they also generally overshot the paces from the Forerunner 305 on outdoor runs by at least a little bit, and for better or worse I put the most stock in the Garmin info.  I just assumed that the treadmill was on par with Garmin, and Nike and Jawbone were a little generous to cater to the mass fitness consumer base — sort of like vanity sizing at some clothing stores. I mean not so generous as to be useless. But still, a little generous.

NOPE. I did two treadmill runs last night, with a little break in between. The first was about 20 minutes to get a feel for different functions on the 910, and see if the heart rate monitor and foot pod were connected and working.  Then I did about 30 minutes of what would be my intervals for an easy recovery run.  I set the treadmill to what I thought was a 10 minute mile.  NOPE.

For 31 minutes, which should have been a pretty easy 3.0 miles I was doing a bit from kneehab where, similar to speed work, I’d run easy for 4 minutes, and even easier for 1 minute. This is sort of like Galloway’s approach to rehab, and also keeps things adapted to the start/stop dynamics of speedwork as I work my way back up to a knee that can go so fast. Averaging the paces for the splits 31 minutes should have been about 2.9 miles.

The treadmill said 2.75, the Garmin said 3.12, Nike said 3.24, and UP24 said 3.26.  Now, based on this, maybe I would still normally be inclined to err towards the distance from the treadmill. But for better or for worse, in heat and cold, direct sunlight or rain, with hangovers, or lack of sleep or pms or whatever, I have been able to consistently comfortably run  10 min per mile pace, atleast so far as cardiovascular fitness goes. For a 10 minute per mile pace, cardiovascularly, I should be in the 125-140 BPM zone, even on a very rough day. My average BPM for this 30 minutes was 167.

167!!! and my cadence was right at 92, with a low of 88 and a high of 96. This, my friends, is not 10 minute  mile data.

No wonder I felt like I was running faster than a 10 minute mile — I WAS!

And I was not supposed to be! not yet, at least.

And my thought today when I was discussing it with a friend was you know, see, we just need to listen to our bodies.

But how do you do that if you don’t know what to listen for? If I wasn’t already familiar with how I normally respond to different circumstances, how would  I know to suspect that the treadmill’s 6.0 mph was probably closer to 6.3-6.6?

uh, yeah. 30 sec per mile is a pretty significant difference at any skill level.  And I wasn’t supposed to be moving back into the 9s until, well, today.

But it’s good to know my cardiovascular fitness had not deteriorated nearly as much as I thought it had.

And you know, also good that my cadence was pretty spot on. I’d been concerned about that, too.

I was starting to give up on the idea that LA Marathon would be anything more than a fun run, but now, maybe there is still hope for coming in pretty close to a PR, or at least a CR.  Don’t worry, I remain realistic.

But we shall see.

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RIP JayBird Bluetooth Headphones!!!

Yep, apparently I’m a headphone serial killer.

Meh, here’s the secret… I wasn’t the hugest fan of these headphones anyway. At least, not as a marathoner. The battery doesn’t last long enough for my pre-during-and-post-race preferences, and the bluetooth connection drains my phone battery, too.

But recently I had come around to using them at the gym for shorter workouts. I got really used to not having to worry about where the chords were. And then, the left earbud went out.

I bought these in January, but only used them, maybe, 15 or so times for a total of 15-18 hours of actual usage — to make a generous estimate. Not a great shelf life for a product meant to withstand heavy sweat and athletic activity, and priced at over $100.  To compare, my Bose SEi earbuds made it about 350 miles, plus some significant bike and travel time, all within 88 days, so some pretty heavy usage, before spontaneously crapping out just within Target’s 90 day return window. But hey, Bose is Bose for a reason.

But also hey! Best Buy is Best Buy for a reason, too, eh? In January they price matched Amazon, so I paid less than sticker price and spent the $15 I saved on the extended warranty.  So six months later, and without a receipt, I was able to return the dead earbuds for an even exchange or store credit. And it gets better!

I had the freedom sprint 3s, which are discontinued to make way for the recently released freedom sprint 4s! And again, Amazon had them new, in stock, for 20% less than Best Buy! So again, Best Buy price matched, and for an out of pocket cost of $5.62 I got the dead headphones replaced with an upgrade and another extended warranty.  Oh, America!

So here’s hoping version 4 lasts longer than version 3, or atleast until version 5 comes out so I can trade up without incurring actual out of pocket costs 😛

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Don’t Run for a Week, or, So That’s What Supination Feels Like!

OR Calf Strain & Achilles Tendonitis: A Forensic Diagnostic Adventure

I am a researcher by trade. As much as I love court appearances, the fact is for every hour or so in court there are often many hours of research and writing beforehand. And when you’re an associate at a boutique private firm you not only do all your research yourself, you do the bulk of the big boss’s research, too. And my undergraduate, dramaturgy, we won’t even start down that path.

Add to all this an acute body awareness from 15+ years of yoga commenced in adolescence, and when something is off, well, I just REALLY need to know why.

And of course, post marathon recovery means plenty of free time sitting on the couch to replay the final weeks of training, research relevant issues, and consult my appropriately credentialed friends for their professional opinions.

So first, identifying factors in this marathon training that were different that previous marathons. Two things of note stand out. Most recently, I got some fantastic new shoes three weeks out.  Not for the race mind you, but I did try them out on a few short (ok, 4-10 mile) runs and then set them aside about 10 days out until after the race. And about 4.5 weeks out, I reacquainted myself with the treadmill and had a good time, so increased my percentage of indoor miles.

The shoes, which I have great things to say about on another day, had a lower drop than my usual shoes. I didn’t think much of it because it was actually only 1mm different than the pureflow 2s. Really, I bought them to try out the difference in the toe box more than for the difference in the drop. Overall, I was extremely satisfied. But true to the warnings on their website, the box, and everywhere else, they did require increased calf and foot strength.

The other factor, the treadmill, is also really a shoe issue. For indoor workouts, since I don’t do them often, I use my oldest pair of shoes. I do this to preserve wear patterns on the newer shoes, and also probably because I sometimes have OCD tendancies. This means that when I reunited with the treadmill, my indoor workout shoes were the pink pureflow 2s, which, you may recall, were retired from regular training because they were a half size too small and I felt they were encouraging heel strike. And, even in looking at photos from Sunday’s marathon, the photos show a higher rate of heel strike than usual!!

So, let’s think about this. Over the same three week period, I switched my roadwork to zero drop shoes requiring extra effort from the calves, and increased my indoor mileage in shoes that encourage heel strike, and, as referenced in our title, a little bit of supination.

NOW a third twist. My lovely massage therapist, who normally divides our time equally over a full body and does wonderful things for my running parts, had been recently focusing only on the top half due to some not-running-related neck and shoulder issues I’ve been having.

And a FOURTH…. since LA Marathon I’ve been doing mostly home yoga practice rather than my 2-3 led classes per week because, frankly, I got burned out on going to the studio during teacher training.  This means that while I was maintaining my practice, it was not as structured as it might otherwise have been.

So we have more strain and less maintenance/recovery. Kind of the perfect storm for an injury.  But this sensation was weird, it didn’t really match up with any online injury descriptions. Near the base of the two major calf muscles, and the top of the achilles tendon. Not a sharp pain, but a little spasm like because it was intermittent, but didn’t really feel like a spasm either, and at times more like stiffness or resistence, a freezing up kind of, when I would flex the foot.

After consulting the anatomy books and some physician and physical therapist friends, I’ve deduced the following:

The new shoes increased my use of my calf muscles, while the change to my yoga and massage habits left my calf muscles to fend for themselves, resulting in extremely tight calf muscles, pulling on the achilles tendon.

The increased treadmilling in not-quite-right shoes caused a barely noticeable but still less than perfect running form, resulting in strain on things that weren’t used to poor form, such as the IT band and, again, the achilles tendon.

All this converged together to result in and inflamed tendon, which, had I not backed off in time, could have become a tragic injury. The “could have become a tragic injury” was emphasized to me repeatedly by all. For example, the tendon or the muscle could have torn, or as in the case of my friend, snapped off completely. So, if I thought I was lucky before….

Well, I’m very fortunate, let’s put it that way.

But knowledge is power, yes? The pink pureflows are retired. Multiples of the new shoes have been ordered, one for road, one for treadmill, one for trail, and I’m keeping my trusty, properly fitting marathon size black pureflow 2s for races and long runs until I’m satisfied the new shoes are appropriate for those purposes. Training plans have been revised to accommodate what I thought was a minor drop transition, but apparently was still quite significant.  KT tape, salonpas, and a medical grade compression calf sleeve are in rotation for the rest of the week.

CRISIS AVERTED, however narrowly. And my runner’s brain is not the one that figured it out, my yoga brain did. But having identified causal factors, repeat offenses can be avoided.

Thank goodness :O Really. THANK GOODNESS.

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RIP Bose SEi Earbuds :(

This morning’s 7 mile run was to be Part 1 of an Epic Double (more on that later). Sadly, the run was cancelled at mile 0.05 due to the sudden death of my beloved Bose Sport SEi Earbuds.

These earbuds were so freaking comfy, and excellent sound quality. A very nice green color (also available in orange), they came with three sizes of earbud cover and an adaptable, adjustable length cord with a small removable clip. Short was perfect for the iPhone in an armband, and long was perfect for the iPad on a treadmill.

What happened? They were fine Tuesday evening, but this morning they were static-y and the volume up button on the headphones would not work. Volume down was fine, and pause was sporadic.

After some troubleshooting I accepted that I would need to replace them and headed home while there was still time to stop at Target on the way to work. And then, a thought! Had it been less than 90 days?

I found the receipt, and yes, it had been only 88 days since I purchased the headphones! From Target, instead of Best Buy, thank goodness… Target’s hours and location are just way more convenient for me.

So done and done, the exchange has been made and everything is order for Part 2 of the Epic Double, which, really, will now just be a mid-length tempo since Part 1 didn’t happen. But such is life!

Oh, and to be clear, none of this should be taken to mean that the headphones, admittedly a little pricey ($149), were of substandard quality. NO, not at all. I checked my logs, and those headphones were with me without any problems whatsoever for just under 350 miles, which is a longer life span than most of my shoes, and certainly more satisfactory use than I got from my jaybird bluetooth headphones.

I did spring for the $17 two year insurance/warranty plan this time, though, just in case…

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listening to phantom of the opera while running on a trail at night is fucking creepy.

but effective!

The funk, be gone.  There was quite a bit of running in the 24 hours from 8:30 p.m. Wednesday until 8:30 p.m. Thursday. Phantom of the Opera (Original London Cast) and a Treadmill were apparently the solution.

Act I, surprisingly, is fantastic for speed work.  Work was rough this week, particularly Wednesday, so I went to the gym around 8:30 prepared to run slowish on the treadmill for an hour or two while watching Dr. Who (season 5, I think, I’m quite behind as I never watch the last available season because I can’t deal with a world where I have no unseen episodes) but the wifi wasn’t strong enough.

So, ok, I think, I just downloaded Phantom on iTunes (prompted by the success I had with Rent during the OC Marathon which I swear one day I will recap), what the heck let’s see how things go with Phantom of the Opera.

Things went very quickly. Turned into 5 miles of speed intervals. Very enjoyable speed intervals.

So I woke up the next morning and went back before work to do it again. 3+ more miles of speed intervals.

And it was supposed to be a 13 mile day, so after work I went to the trail for 10ish more miles, just to keep things on track for getting out of the Monday/Tuesday funk.  Phantom again, to see if I could get through Act 1. By the end of the 10, I was sufficiently fatigued, a little under pace for the last few miles, but not quite through the whole show, so Phantom may also be a good half marathon soundtrack.

But about mile 8, the sun went down, and, yeah, phantom of the opera while running on a trail at night is fucking creepy.

Also, there has been shoe shopping, but more on that another day.  Think new shoes in new colors for summer races 😀

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Updates, Updates

Busy week. Very busy week. It’s Wednesday again already!

oops…. NOPE! it’s THURSDAY!!!!!! Very busy week.

My new trail shoes came! Ok, they are not technically trail shoes. They are Brooks Ghost 5 GTX, so they are a “rugged” version of a popular running shoe. Still more shoe than my usual, the pureflow 2… which running store guy told me is a minimalist shoe? To me, it has quite a bit of cushion to be minimalist, but anyway… They are waterproof and have a slightly more rugged sole than the regular Ghost 5. And at any rate, they are the shoes, after much research and trying-on, that I picked out for trail running, and therefore they are my trail shoes.

I like them very much. Initial test drive was 10k of combination surfaces – I covered sidewalks, roads, asphalt, dirt, woodchips, and mud on the route, and was quite satisfied with my experience. Coming soon: 7 mile tempo on woodchips.

Also, so over the track. You know how sometimes, when you are driving 45 in a 45, a kindly old lady will pull out of a parking lot, onto the street in front of you, and hold steady at 25? This happened during speed work at the track Tuesday. Three times. And that’s not including the children, which you know, happen. I’ve come to terms with saying a sweet, “Excuse me honey” as I swerve around children who probably don’t know any better just chilling in the inside lanes.  These were three separate instances of adults, who based on their attire and behavior have enough experience with tracks to know better. One guy came sprinting on to the track, across all five lanes, and, not in front of me, ON TOP OF ME in the inside lane. Not even looking. He cut off others on the way too. And I was doing some very fast intervals/sprints, so we only very narrowly avoided a full on collision. Just completely oblivious to anything around him.

So I’m done with the track for the time being. I’m going to find a quarter or half mile of level dirt path somewhere and use that for “laps” as needed.

What else is new? I’m running with another person now, on occasion.  Basically, he wants to go farther and slower and I’m working on doing shorter distances faster, so he joined me for my 12 miles last Saturday, where I paced him, and he’ll likely be pacing me for my 1600s next week.  Good times, it’s nice to change it up a little.

Chino Hills Trail Half. I still haven’t recapped, but I will eventually. I really really enjoyed it. I never thought I’d be into the trail running, but apparently I am. So yea!!

And finally, 5.5 weeks til SD Full and 7.5 til SF!! Good times, indeed.

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And so much has already happened this week… Boston, of course. Chino Hills Trail Half. All kinds of lawmaking going on, side/pet projects picking up momentum, and I have a new running partner. All in the span of Sunday, Monday, Tuesday! My goodness!

Today, I’ll break my Boston silence (I haven’t talked about Boston anywhere, not online or in person, really), and save the rest for another day.

My initial reaction… it’s hard for me to admit or put this in writing, but it’s true, I was not shocked. I found out via a breaking news update push notification from the Huffington Post app about 15 minutes after the explosions, and my initial reaction was, “Of course some asshole bombed the Boston Marathon.” I mean really, with the events of the last 15-20 years in this country, was anybody really so surprised? I know that may come off cold or jaded, but stay with me.

My second response was the realization that I actually knew many people who were at activities related to the event, some immediate friends and, if you go out to the second degree of Kevin Bacon, about 35 people to specifically wonder and worry about.  But through social media, I found out about the majority of them pretty quickly and went on to reading online media coverage.

My third thought, and these first three were all pretty rapid fire, but this one stuck in my mind over the course of the afternoon, and remains even now, was can you imagine?

It’s the Boston Marathon, a goal some people work for years to achieve. Can you imagine, all the BQ attempts, all the training, the excitement, and the race, and approaching the finish, and then BOOM!!! A bomb, and the next thing you know, you’re at the ER getting a foot amputated.  You are a runner, a marathoner, at the finish of a pinnacle achievement and a doctor is cutting off your foot.

Cutting off your foot because some asshole wanted to rain on the parade. Quite literally — shrapnel, ball bearings, and nails rained down on the parade of runners and spectators.

Now, I don’t know that this specific story happened to anyone, I think the image manifested itself from reading in the initial reports of doctors performing amputations on runners still wearing their race bibs. But this is the train of thought that kept cycling through my mind the rest of the day. When I imagine that happening, to anyone, even my worst enemy… there are no words.

My final thought, as the live updates slowed and the reactions started showing up in social media, was this:

If you’re trying to defeat the human spirit, marathoners are the wrong group to target.

And I’m glad to see that this seems to be the general consensus of the running community. In fact, when I logged on to my running club’s forum yesterday afternoon, someone else had already posted that exact thought.

Marathoners don’t quit. We may slow down, but we don’t quit. In the face of bad weather, injury, illness, fatigue, even bombings, once we cross the start, we just keep going until we get to the finish.

This person(s), whoever they are, is just that. An asshole, a bully. And since when do marathoners let assholes, bullies, or even the well-intentioned-but-doubtful-friend-who-cares (“are you sure running that far is healthy…”), get in the way of their goals?

They don’t.

So you know what I did Monday night after work?

I went to the running store to shop for trail running shoes, because I have at least 4 more marathons to train for and 8 more halfs to run this year.

And maybe, by the end of it, I’ll have a BQ 😉

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