Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

No Comments

Nike+ Stats

I notice that I speak in hyperbole quite a bit, but  I don’t think I would over-exaggerate if I said that the Nike+iPod running system quite literally changed my life.

I had run on and off with my buddy Chris for a year or so.  Or rather, I’d stumble along behind Chris as he ran.  I never enjoyed it and most times when Christ would call to invite me on a run, I’d find an excuse not to go.

I needed some motivation and I needed it quickly.  My weight had climbed up to 244 pounds and my Mii on WiiFit was obese!  I had to do something.  We had an old iPod Nano lying around so I decided to invest $30 and buy the Nike+iPod Sports Kit.   With the sensor in my shoe, and the dongle plugged into the iPod Nano, the Sport Kit would track my distance and calories and automatically upload the data to Nikeplus.com.  I could track my progress and literally watch the fat melt off my chubby frame.

Fast forward 6 months and 330 miles and I’m down almost 20 pounds!  Nike+ has been awesome, to say the least!  So why the “break up” headline in the title of this post?  It all started with my other buddy Jack and a little website called livestrong.com.

Jack is a runner and I talked him into getting the Nike+iPod Sports Kit to track his runs.  He swore up and down that it wasn’t accurate.  I told him he was crazy.  Mine was spot on.  But he persisted and planted a seed of doubt in my mind.

Livestrong.com has been around for a while, and I actually joined it in 2008.  I just never utilized it much.

As I had lost a little bit of weight running every day, I thought I could lose even more if I actually ate healthier (I’m addicted to Wendy’s and Carl’s Jr!).  So I logged back into livestrong.com to start tracking my calorie intake.

tracking calories has never been easierI need to do another blog post just on the livestrong.com interface and how awesome it is.  As I got used to using livestrong, I noticed that there was something new on the website that wasn’t there in 2008.  It was simply entitled “Loops“.    Wait a sec, this looks familiar!  Kind of like the “map it” feature on Nike+!

I start clicking around and lo and behold!  I can create loops (aka routes or maps) that will calculate calories burnt, distance, and all that good stuff too.  It integrates directly into my caloric intake and is subtracted from my daily calories!  Very nice.

The biggest drawback to this new system is that I have to recreate all my running routes with the Livestrong map tool.  Good thing it only takes about 4 minutes per loop!  After a few minutes of work, I have the following loops built:

Some of my newly created loops

As you can tell, Livestrong is very web 2.0, with big buttons and overall prettiness.   I recreated the second loop, “6 miles around Bear Creek”, and actually ran the route the first chance I got.  I get home and what does my Nike+ tell me? I only ran 5.5 miles?  What the what?  A half a mile is a pretty big discrepancy!  I talk to my wife the math genius, and she does assure me that distance, when calculated correctly, is the constant in the equation of distance and time. Nike+ HAD to be incorrect.

If I wasn’t going to use Nike+ anymore, or at least count it as accurate, that meant I was going to have to track all my stats myself.  That didn’t phase me as I have done some spreadsheets before.  I quickly found a Running Log template that someone had created for Excel and set it up for my  personal use.  At the same time I visited Runningworld.com to find some help on nursing my strained calf back to health and found out by accident that they offer a free online Running Log as well.  All the work was done for me!

Runningworld.com is a great website with lots of tools for runners.  The one thing their Log doesn’t track is calories.

Aviary traininglog-runnersworld-com Picture 1

So now I’m in double redundancy using Livestrong and Runningworld, but it seems to be the only way  I can get an accurate count of how much I’ve ran.  At first accuracy didn’t seem so important, but the longer I run, the more accuracy is important.  Nike+  says I’ve run 330 miles, but what if it is 350?  That’s a big difference!

Sho’ Ain’t Pretty

No Comments

I know I’m not the most fashionable guy in the world. In fact, I think I just bought my first new shirt in 2 or 3 years just the other day. Clothes are not high on my priority list, but even I was shocked when I got home from my run today and looked down and saw what I was wearing.

Even my running dog Lucy isn't so sure about the new outfit...

Yes, this was my morning’s running wardrobe! Incredibly horribly awesome I know. One can only appreciate the bright Livestrong yellow shoes, blue/grey/black tights under a black and white running short. Even I, who cares not a bit what other people think of me, am glad that I’ll be running in the dark most of the time! Lemme explain…

It is starting to get darn cold in the mornings. I recently noticed these CW-X running tights on Amazon.com for 50% off, and I thought they would be the perfect tool to ward off the morning chills. They are also advertised to:

  • Patented Conditioning Web extends from the sides of the hip stabilizing pelvis and provides lower back support and helps to reduce fatique and increase power
  • Auto Sensor fabric helps keep the body cool and dry pulls moisture away from the body and carries it to the outside of the tight Silver dioxide fiber makes fabric antibacterial
  • Conditioning Web follows the main muscle structure of the upper leg intersecting at a key point of the hamstring providing a suspension system for the hamstring effectively reducing workload especially in the pull phase
  • Versatile performance for both outer wear and as a supportive base layer
  • Flat seam construction eliminates abrasion increases comfort and enhances fit by reducing bulky seams

These tights are pretty amazing. The support for the muscles in the legs is phenomenal. They seem to absorb most of the shock of the leg hitting the ground and distribute it out through the fabric. My legs are not sore like they usually are after a run!

I’m going to need to run with them for a few weeks to see the full effect, but I’m glad to have purchased them. Even if it makes me look a little weird as I run…

And I Didn’t Even Die!

2 Comments

Firefox1

As I sit here and type these words, my legs are feeling both awesomely strong and amazingly feeble….I just ran my first 10K!

443184753_zigXA-O_400x300.shkl

Lucy the Running Dog

I’ve been running since June of this year. Running started out as a love/hate relationship, but some time this last month, I’ve started to really love it. I actually anticipate and long to get out on the road with my dog Lucy and some good tunes in my ears. Never in a million years would I have thought I’d enjoy running!

I am happy to have done 6.22 miles, but am still nervous as that is only 1/2 of a 1/2 marathon! I plan on running in the Santa Cruz Half Marathon in April. As good as I feel about finally running a 10k today, the idea of that being only the 1/2 way mark in the Santa Cruz race is still in my mind. I’m glad that I still have quite a long time to train.

My short term goal is to get my 10k down to an hour and with a long range goal of completing the 1/2 marathon in 2 hours 15 minutes or less.

Firefox

This was the route I ran today. Almost made it to the UC! I was very proud of Lucy as she trotted the entire time right by my side. I was hesitant to take her as I new it would be long, but when she saw me putting on my running shoes she got excited and I just couldn’t tell her no!

She is one pooped pup now:

IMG_0423_400x300.shkl