Thursday, December 25, 2008

New Garmin!

So the gf tried to get me a gift in October. After it didn't come for a while, we found out from the company that the product wasn't stocked. We canceled that order, and I set about thinking of a good replacement. I finally decided on a Forerunner 305, and it came a few weeks ago. After much excitement, the battery inside was dead, and it wouldn't work off of the cradle. So that one was sent back, and a new one eventually shipped out. And so today, more than 2 months after the beginning of the saga, I got to try out my brand new Forerunner 305!

Interestingly, I was also contacted by another company to try out their GPS watch, called MyTach. It took forever for them to send it, and so in the meantime I ordered the Garmin. They ended up coming 1 day apart. If it turns out to be amazing, the Garmin will be a waste. But we'll see about that.

In the meantime, I tried to run today with the old and new Garmins, as well as the MyTach.

Unfortunately, I'd left the MyTach on accidentally, and there was no charge left in it. So I'll have to review that another time. (Hopefully, they'll be some nice outdoor running weather again. That's been scarce lately.)

In any case, I went for a short run. A litle over 3 miles, but I had a really tough time. I wasn't speeding, but I felt like I was putting in a hard effort. Now that I had a heart rate monitor I can see that my HR went up to 172. (Started from 80, which is high. Maybe from coffee?) Anyway, using the old standard calculation, my max HR should be 185. So I was up at 93% of my maximum, which would explain why it felt so hard.

In terms of comparing the two Garmins, I was initially upset. After a quarter mile, the 305 lost the satellite connection. What the??? In retrospect, I think it's kind of a learning process, since it was perfect on the way back. Also, perhaps reading the instructions and fiddling with the settings will help.

Take a look at these maps.

This is from the 201.

This is from the 305.

You probably have to blow up the pictures to see the details. The 201 kept the basic path, but there are less GPS data points, and it wavers off the course quite a bit. For the last few years, I've been modifying the GPS data after each run. (Big pain!) The 305 was definitely confused in the beginning. See how it veered off towards the left right from the get go? However, once it got back on course it was perfect for the rest of the way, and perfect the whole way back. There are way more data points, and the course is pretty much right on, without requiring major editing.

I have a feeling that now that the 305 has learned where I am (and maybe locked on to more satellites) that it will be better next time. I'll let you know.

Of course, the 305 has the added feature of keeping track of my HR (as long as I wear the strap).

I probably won't wear this for every run, but I think it will give me some useful information over the next little while.

As an aside, I want to point out that the above pictures are from a program I love for GPS watches, called SportTracks. It's free (donation suggested) and wonderful. Very customizable, and full of features. (Unfortunately, no Mac version as of yet.) As a comparison, the picture below is what you get from the Garmin Training Center.

Pretty crappy, in my opinion. I think there's something about using MotionBased. I don't know much about that option. (If someone does, let me know.)

Ok that's it for now. Tonight I'm hoping to fulfill the Jewish tradition of Chinese food on Christmas. (I'm probably skipping the movie, because I'm on call.) But for those of you celebrating tonight, you can perhaps enjoy what the cafeteria did in my old hospital.

I think outside New York, the "black and white" cookie is not so famous. But around here, they're ubiquitous. Except today, when they're "red and green".

Happy Holidays.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Chanukah!

Chanukah is here. One of the funnest holidays on the Jewish calendar. (Except when it falls out around Christmas, and you're the only Jew on the faculty. In which case it means you're taking 4 calls in 8 days. But anyway...)

One of the traditions is to eat fried foods. Can you believe that's a religious tradition! It has to do with a miracle relating to oil. (If you don't believe me, see Wikipedia.) Unfortunately, this coincided with me checking my cholesterol. Not a good idea... And I'm still dealing with trying to get back to marathoning weight! Yikes!

Anyway, I am making an effort. I ran 3 times last week. Twice short, and one long-ish run of 8.5 miles on the treadmill yesterday. I was hoping that would help offset the chanukah party we made, but as the photgraphic evidence will show, no way Jose.

In the workout clothes, but making cookies.

They're not as good as the look. They're better.

Latkes. Definitely better than they looked. But just as oily.

Lighting the menorah.

Happy Chanukah!

Speaking of Happy Chanukah, I definitely couldn't post my rant on the NYRR now. In fact, to bring joy to the world, I've posted my annual video up in the sidebar. I actually wasn't going to, but a few people specifically asked for it! (Weirdos, I know!) Enjoy.

Finally, for those of you who have made it to the end, I snuck in another funny video link. But you must watch to the end. :-) See it here.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Short Running Post

In other news, I had a great run today. 8 miles in really nice weather. Hard to believe, but I haven't run that far since September! Yikes!

I was a little sore afterwards, but more of a "good sore" than a "something wrong sore".

I'm trying...

Overdue Product Review - Sofsole

Right about the time I stopped blogging for four months, I got a few samples from Sofsole to try. My part of the deal was to review them, and I've always felt bad that I never held up my end. So even though I haven't heard from them in six months, I'm posting the review here.

I received two type of products: insoles and and socks. I'll review them separately.

Let's start with the insoles. They sent two types, one of which was their Adapt insole. This insole was supposed to have maximum cushioning, and be suitable for any arch. In fact, the idea was to mold it to your foot by heating it in the oven, before placing it in your shoe.

As you can see, I followed the instructions. The insoles felt comfortable while walking around my house, but when I ran they felt hard and unforgiving on my arch. To be fair, I had some plantar fasciitis at the time, but in any case, I switched over to the other insoles.

The other one they sent was their Athlete insole. These are supposed to provide maximum cushioning and be for a medium arch. I had always thought I had a high arch, which is what I told the company rep. (Having recently done the wet foot test, I'd say I have between a flat and a normal arch.) The insoles felt okay, but my shoes were old, so it was hard to say. I ended up using them for months, and only recently switched back. I'd say they are okay, especially given their low selling price. But after I switched back, I found I was happier with my old insoles. (Only problem with those is that I got them from an orthopedic surgeon, and I wasn't able to find them to get new ones.)

Socks. I got several pairs of their cushion socks. In contrast to the insoles which were just okay, the socks are great! I know it seems like a little thing, but I have running socks from several different companies, all of them in the 7$ a pair range. These socks, which sell 2 for $10 on Amazon, have become my favorite. I try to save them for long runs or races because I just love how they feel. I can feel the cushioning, even though they are not very thick. And also, they are very smooth without any seams.

And so in summary: Insoles - maybe nothing special, but probably okay for the price. Socks - amazing, and more than worth the price.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Early progress

Did a tempo run on the treadmill yesterday, before my dinner plans. And I skipped dessert. Down a couple of pounds from earlier in the week. May not be "statistically significant" but it's better than up a few pounds.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A Better Week

Managed to run those 3 runs last week, capped off by the 10K "race" on Sunday. I'm happy about that.

A little about the race. It was freezing Sunday morning. Not the "0 with the windchill" of Monday morning, but pretty cold nonetheless. Did that stop people from showing up? Of course not. 4,336 lunatics were out there freezing their butts off.

I spent the first few miles wondering why I do this. Why didn't I just run later in the day when it warmed up. Why didn't I just run on the treadmill. And so on.

Somehow by the end, I managed to remember why I do this. I put in a relatively terrible performance for me, but I still pushed harder than I would have done if I was by myself. So I was happy to get a good workout in.

My splits:
8:53 getting a little tired
8:37 pushing during the last mile

54:53 total. (Let's not think about the 47:23 I ran at this race last year.)

I still have some ranting to do about the NYRR, but I'm still waiting for their final response. I'll get to that later.

In other news, I bought a scale that actually works. I used to have a fancy scale that measured my body fat percentage and all sorts of other things. Only problem was that every time I got off the scale and back on, my weight changed. It was pretty annoying. So I bought a new scale for under 20 bucks, and it's perfect! Well not perfect, the result seems consistent, but 20 pounds too high. :-(

So I have some work to do now...

Monday, December 01, 2008

I Actually Ran Today

Sigh... it's been over 2 weeks. I've been so lazy, and unable to fight the weather. Pretty lame... In November I ran 26 miles total - the lowest monthly total since August 2006.

Anyway, this morning I had to pick up my old dental X-rays. I've been holding off getting them because it's a pain to find parking there. And so I came up with this idea. (Actually I got the idea from ShoreTurtle, who seems to "run" errands now and then.) So I ran over to the dentist, signed the paperwork, ran out for a short out and back, came back for the films, and ran home.

One errand, done.

I'm tempted to run tomorrow morning, but I know I'll end up with shin splints. I always point this out to my friends who don't run for months, then go all out every day for a week, and then complain that their legs hurt. So I'm going to try and avoid this, but still stay on the wagon. Thursday looks good, and Sunday I'm signed up for a race. (And I use the term "race" loosely...)