Tag Archives: running gear

Loopy Lacing and Garmin FR60 Review

In addition to buying sneakers a half size bigger to alleviate the pressure on the top and forefront of my foot, I have been experimenting with some creative lacing to provide extra room for my very wide feet.

While the bigger size definitely helped give my toes more room, they were still a little snug across the widest part of my foot.  Skipping the second hole when lacing my shoes has helped given me a little extra room in that area.

garmin laces 002

I was finding that I was experiencing some heel slippage due to the bigger size, so I have started lacing all the way to the very top, that second top hole no one every uses.  This has kept the shoes snug around the ankle, although it does put a little extra pressure on the top of the ankle.

garmin laces 003

I bought the Garmin FR60 in late July.  The FR60 is much lighter and sleeker than the Garmin Forerunner 305 and less expensive that the Forerunner 405.  It also comes in ladylike lilac!  It can be used for running or biking, indoors or outdoors.  Overall, I give the product a 6.  I think second and third generations will really improve some of the less desirable elements of the product, but for my running purposes so far, I have enjoyed having a reliable tool to track my time, speed and distance.

For around $129, you can get the watch and heartrate monitor. But in order to fully utilize the Garmin FR60, you need to buy the bundle, which includes an ANT+ stick (to sync your workouts from your watch and/or exercise machingto the computer) and the footpod (which you need to track distance since there is no GPS with the FR60). The bundle brings the cost to around $180.

Design: 9

Aesthetically, I love the product. It is super light and streamline!  I had the Forerunner 305, but it was way too big for me and the GPS was not wel suited to NY skyscrapers.

Ease of use: 4

So the Garmin FR60 arrived with at least 8 Quick Start Manuals all in different languages.  However, you definitely need the full manual to use this product, and that is only available online.  I wish they had saved the paper form the 8 separate quickstarts and just given me one actual manual in English.  I am fairly technologically able, and my biggest complaint about this product, is there is nothing intuitive about the controls. It is very difficult to figure out how to set it up and use it.  I referred to the manual before and after my first ten workouts with this product. I am sure later editions will smooth out these issues, but if you don’t have patience for reading manuals, this is not the product for you.

Also, if you don’t have patience for pushing lots of slightly stiff buttons, this is not the product for you.  You have to push numerous buttons to get your product ready to track the type of workout you are doing and you have to push numerous buttons to end your workout.  I do not understand why they do not have a stop/reset button!

So here she is in neutral mode (need to fix date):

garmin laces 006

On the bright side, once you finally figure out how to operate your workout buddy, you have lots of options.  You can have up to 5 pages displayed as you workout, and each page can display 3 different things. So on page one, you can have time, distance, and speed.  On page 2, you can have pace, calories burned and heart rate.  and so forth. You can also select what speed you want the Garmin to scroll through the pages (if at all) while you are working out.

garmin laces 007

The things I really love is that it saves all your workout, so you can review your stats, speed, laps, distance right form your watch.

garmin laces 009

One thing that I feel was very mismarketed by  Garmin was the watches ability to track general fitness.  This watch can not be used for aerobics or any workouts not on a machine.  It is really for running or biking outside or on a machine.  NOTE: This has been fixed, you can know update your software to track calories at the gym.

garmin laces 013

Under user you can enter all your stats, so your readings reflect your fitness level and body type.

garmin laces 010

I also love that you can opt to have the Garmin beep at every lap (mile or distance you set), automatically pause if you drop below a certain speed (which is great when you are running in the city and hit a red light), and scroll through the pages you set up.

garmin laces 014

THE FOOTPOD

So far I have found the footpod to be very accurate and reliable.  In fact, most people say the footpod is more accurate than GPS, so I lot the little, light pod!  It is not nearly as bulky as polar pods.

garmin laces 001

The Heart Rate Monitor

The monitor is fairly comfortable, not hard or anything, but for some reason, even at its smallest setting, it is too big for me.

garmin laces 015

I use this safety pin to tighten up the slack so it doesn’t keep sliding down.

garmin laces 016

Overall:

Plus

  • Super sleek, light, and dare I say it, sexy…okay that’s pushing it :)
  • Footpod works anywhere and is very accurate
  • Lots of customizable options and useful features, autopause, page set up, lap counter.
  • great for running and biking, and possible swimming
  • Can be used inside or outside
  • Not too expensive
  • Tracks distance, heart rate, calories, and speed
  • Easy to sync workouts from Ant stick to computer (i haven’t tried but in theory it is very easy)
  • Don’t have to remember to recharge battery

Minus

  • Very difficult to learn to use
  • No stop, save and reset type button to end workouts
  • Lots and lots of button pushing to get things set up before, during and after workouts
  • Heart rate monitor a little large for smaller frames
  • Battery must be replaced after about 1 year

I have really enjoyed using this for running, but I do wish that I could use it for  fitness classes and other types of workouts.

Not always as planned+half marathon recap

Before I start, a couple event worth mentioning, I have wanted to share so many things and I feel awful when events and deals pass unmentioned!

Jack Rabbit Sports/Runner’s World 8 Week Faster Five Miler Speed Workshop.  $125 for twice a week training on how to improve your speed for distance running.  Comes with a shirt and a one-year subscription to the mag.

New York Road Runner’s Eat, Drink, Energize Workshop: FREE!
May 6, 200, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Robert Wagner Middle School–220 East 76th Street

This lecture event has an amazing panel of nutrition, running and health experts!  I wish I could go but I have a work event that night and a HUGE presentation the next day

 

New Downtown Exhale  membership options: exhales monthly membership at $170.00 per month, or our annual membership for $150 a month! First time guests can also take advantage of our DT $30 for 7 days of unlimited classes + 10% off retail. Includes all Core Fusion, Core Fusion Energy Flow and Core Fusion Sport Classes.

 

Be warned: this post is LONG!

Not much has gone as planned this week.  Although, as you know, I am type z, so I don’t really plan anyway.  Overall it was a good, very productive, and relatively social week. I planned to do a bit more posting, but group project meetings, dinner plans, South Africa orientation (can’t wait to share more soon), lots of time at the internship office, work and school got in the way.  But 10 day countdown until I am back in blog action.  Woo-to the Hoo!

As you know I had the More/Fitness half marathon this weekend, and while I hadn’t planned to taper—since I was just treating it as a long run, all the plans I didn’t realize I had made, kind of got in the way, so my normal workout schedule ended up being halved.  I did either core fusion or 40 minutes cardio every day. That was fine, usually when I am busy I use my lunch hour for workouts, but this week I opted for gossip therapy and scheduled several lunch dates with fabulous people, such as Gena

Friday morning I had a truly amazing core fusion class—I find morning strength workouts make me feel blissful all day long, whereas when I do cardio in the morning I often fear I will fly off the treadmill.  However, I pushed myself so hard in class, that I woke up Saturday sore from head to toe.  Pretty much every inch.  I had planned to do an easy 4 miler and hit another core fusion class, so I strapped on my sneakers.  Oh wait, I forgot my sneakers at the office!!!!  Not as planned. So I put on a really old pair of shoes that I bought way before I realized that you need to have your running shoes tailored to your foot, gait and stride.  I made it about 2/3 of a mile and gave up, they were dead as doornails.

So I decided to head into the city, pick up my sneakers and head to core fusion before heading to my internship.  On the way in, I realized my body felt like lead.  I was struggling to get up the subway stairs.   So I decided to stop at my favorite store, Jack Rabbit Sports.  I treadmill tested  and had my gait analyzed for 5 different pairs of shoes before I decided on an updated version of my current Asics gt 2130’s.  Meet my fourth pair of GTs, the GT 2140! 100_2760 100_2761

While I tried on some nice saucony progrid glides and mizunos wave inspires.  I decided to go with the Asics mainly because I am still using my pair from Christmas and it didn’t seem like a good idea to run in two different styles of shoes.  Plus, as soon as, I put them on they felt familiar, like home.  Maybe after the marathon I will try something new.

After that I picked up my 2130’s and went to the rooftop track (the 7 flights of stairs to the top is always the hardest part of the workout) for some light running and stretching.  I decided against core fusion since my body was definitely not having it. 

After that I walked downtown to my internship.

You would think my treats to myself for the day would have stopped there, but this was waiting for me when I got home.

runner gear 003 runner gear 002

Yes, I bought the Garmin!  See companies? blog advertising really does work!  Please feel free to send my any health/fitness related product you need tested or reviewed! Okay seriously, I am actually afraid to try it because while all of you love your ‘Mins, a few of my friends say the GPS isn’t NYC friendly.  But it was $50 less than the polar, which had so few reviews that I decided to go for the G!  I also want to note that my friends also warned me it was HUGE, and clearly I didn’t take them seriously enough.  It is a monster.  That guy on the box must have a hulk hogan arm!

Anyways, I won’t be buying myself anything for a long long time, but if I could I must say I am loving these super cute running items: 

Brooks Viva Jacket

New Balance Tempo Tanks—OMG these are so cute!!!!!!

Livestrong Graphic Tee  I don’t know why, but people always look HOT in these!

 

So enough shopping.

Back to RACE PREP.

Last night I went to bed around 11:30, very reasonable for me.  At 12:30AM, my phone rang.  It was a good friend, so I picked it up, and was happy to learn he was sober.  But sad to learn he was sad and needed to talk.  So while pre-race sleep was less than planned, around 5 hours when I got up around 6:15 this morning, I was happy I could be there for someone.

Race Day

Anyways I got up decided on race ready shorts—because I really like to be packed in the back—and headed out the door.  I felt NAKED without a jacket or wallet or phone.  Just a couple mini clif bars, metrocard, some cash, my bib, chip and safety pins, my key and my spandex covered ass. Yes, I find 80 degree NYC mornings quite freeing!

I got off the subway at 68th and Lex and was completely a buzz from my prerace iced coffee and Girl Talk on the ipod.  I was in a great mood, which was only made better by finding  Park Ave in immaculate and picturesque glory.  The tulips were standing gorgeously at attention, the cherry blossoms lined the center of the street all the way down to the Met Life Building which was shimmering in the sun.  Even the Central Park East brownstones seemed statelier than usual.  I wanted to remember the scene forever! While I couldn’t take a picture, it was something like this:

So as planned I met Ashley and her friend Sarah at 7:20 on 72nd and 5th.  We took care of last minute race business and go into the corrals.  Just minutes before the race, they announced that the marathon was canceled due to the heat!  I felt so bad for all the women who must have trained for months!  Then they said the half would be an untimed “fun run.” Umm, yeah, not so fun!  Especially since I didn’t have a watch or anything.  I was annoyed, but like I said it was just another long run to me.  All pressure GONE! But definitely not as planned!

I totally respect that they want to protect our safety, but don’t people in the south run in much hotter weather?

Ashley and I did the first 6 miles together.  It was great chatting and getting to know each other better.  It was a rough first loop.  I was extra glad that I had trained running clockwise, which is actually noticeably harder hill-wise than counter-clockwise, which is how all races are run. We didn’t feel the need to be competitive since very few people were taking it seriously and everyone was going pretty slow. 

After six miles, Ashley and I decided to strap on our ipods and run solo.  I definitely felt like the last 7 miles were faster and easier.  Girl Talk was my Gatorade!  I actually burst into song a few times, but quickly realized that was NOT appreciated by my fellow ‘thoners. I never really pushed myself, I just kept my insanely steady and consistent pace and the miles slid by.  It was a very crowded race and the walkers definitely slowed me down as they really didn’t care about staying to the right.  Also, in races, I really don’t walk unless I need to stretch, so I was constantly finding it hard to run through the water stations with everyone at a dead stop. 

The park couldn’t have been lovelier with the blossom in full and radiant bloom all around us.  I tried to concentrate on that and forget that I was tripping over people left and right and zigzagging all over to avoid nipping ankles.  Usually races start like this, but I have never had the congestion last for the entire race before.

I love that I know the park like the back of my hand.  It helps know exactly what is coming and get excited to see the reservoir, Cat hill, the boat house, the 72nd street transverse.  However, the last mile of the race is always hard in the park. The turns just keep coming and you think you are at Columbus Circle making the final turn for the Tavern on the Green finish, when actually you are just hitting the Plaza. By the time I was at this point it was quite hot.  I was also really hungry since I had only consumed a mini clif, the milk in my coffee and a cup of Gatorade.  I realized about 30 minutes from the finish I needed some calories, but it didn’t seem worth it since they would digest that fast anyways.  Eating on the run is all about planning to fuel ahead of time.  Normally I like gus because they digest so quickly that they are like an instant jolt. However, I checked the date on the one I had in my running bin this morning and  it expired in May 2008, so I chucked it. I also recommend gus for adding needed calories without getting used to eating more, you will never crave or miss gus!

Since I was seriously expecting it to be the longest mile ever, I was shocked when I saw the finish and had a lot of fuel in my tank.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t sprint the last few tenth because I couldn’t get around the runners ahead of me no matter how I tried to maneuver and it didn’t seem worth it to trample anyone for an untimed race.

So I just crossed the line.  It was weird to cross without the timing mats.  I just got the race pictures from bright room, it shows me crossing the at 2:19, which means that my time was 2:12 adjusted for the lag.

I realized I could have pushed harder because I never even broke a sweat despite the heat. ooops.  I wanted to play it safe and it was probably the right decision, but I think I will sign up for a short race, so I can try actually pushing myself in a distance I know I can cover without dying.

Anyways the best part of the morning was getting handed a medal!  runner gear 004

I have never gotten one before, in fact, I forgot they give them out at marathons at all.  So that was kind of exciting.  After that eating a third of a chocolate chip bagel on my way home way exciting!  I think I may have been a bit dehydrated because my stomach was seriously angry for a few hours after the race.  When it semi-calmed down, I made a delicious banana oatmeal pancake for lunch, served with almond butter! 

 

 100_2758

100_2759

Super yum.

 

Workout DVD reviews

Well I am not sure about my video skills, but here is a few reviews for running products and workout videos.  The video is a little dark and slightly grainy, and I say awesome and intense about 10 times :).

I reviewed/showed my nike glove and hat set.  PS you get 20% off all clearance items at the online Nike Shop right now!

Core Fushion Body Sculpt by Exhale Spa

5-10 minute sculpt/stretch segments (arms, legs, butt, abs, stretch sculpt) based on the Lotte Burke Method.

Jillian Michaels 30 day shred: 3-20 minute workouts which feature  2 minutes warm up,  followed by 3 rounds of 6 minute circuits (3 minute  strength, 2 minute cardio, 1 minute abs) and a 2 minute cool down.  I should mention that you are only supposed to do one 20 minute workout in a day. So only a 20 minute workout, 7 days a week.

Jillian keeps you motivated and you can learn some good strength moves.

Like all workout videos, once I have done these several times, I will mute them and put on my own music to keep them fresh.

Note: after doing these several times, I think both are great workouts and will be effective.  The Core Fusion is probably the harder of the two, the ab section is KILLER.  You basically are in a hundred position, doing different exercises for 10 minutes straight.  To be fair the instructor does say: this is probably the hardest ab routine you will ever do.  Thank god it’s only 10 minutes.  Both provide modifications for different levels and excellent explanation of positions and form.

For older workout reviews see these

Dressing for Winter Runs

Merry xmas eve, happy Hanukkah, chrismakuh and Kwanzaa!  I made it home after a 5 hour delay at Amtrak.  Instead of getting home at 8:15 PM, we didn’t get in until 1:15AM.  It was pretty crazy standing in the  exact same spot for over 4 hours surrounded by about 600 semi-hostile-extremely hostile people with zero information on when a train might possibly be ready to board passengers.  I tend to be most calm, patient and level-headed when people are getting worked up around me, and vice versa. But still the trip was  a dream compared to my sister’s snowbound journey home.  I hope everyone is warm and cozy and ready for the holidays.  Safe travels to all traveling today.

So on to the post!

pedrosnowrun1200m1Yay!  The answer to many of your questions and mine.  Can I run in winter and what do I wear?

In the notably fabulous January issue of Runner’s World, there is a great guide to dressing for winter running.  Por fin!  Even better, on the website they have a what to wear tool where you can put in the temperature, conditions and even how you like to feel, and it will generate a response!  Too cool!

So here is a quick and dirty guide to dressing for winter runs.  As you will notice, the guide goes down to -10 conditions…brrrr!

35-45 and clear

-tights or thin pants; a long sleeve shirt; pants; gloves closer to 35

35-45 and rainy

-running tights; wool base layer; water-resistant jacket

10-35 and clear

-technical underwear under tights; a long sleeve shirt underneath insulated vest or jacket; thin gloves and a thin beanie. technical underwear? I had to google it! Patagonia has quite the collection.

44430_048144341_1551

10-35 and sleet-yuck

-tights; water resistant jacket, cap and mittens.

10-10 and clear

 -cover every each of your body at least once by wearing wool underwear and thick socks underneath tights and running pants.  Keep core warm with long sleeve base layer under insulated vest and windproof jacket.  Beanie, gloves and mitts.

-10-10 snowy

Same as above for bottom, put a waterproof hooded jacket over your base layer.  Make sure hat, mitt and gloves are water-resistant.

It looks like we are off the hook if it is -10-10 and sleeting, hehe.  But it actually can be dangerous to run in icy sleet, hail or freezing rain, so be careful out there. 

trn-10971Happy winter tide trails!

While I think it is definitely warm enough to run outside here (25), I am not sure if it will be safe. The snow banks are really high and roads are really really windy, so I would be invisible to cars and the omnipresent snow plows.  Plus, my shoes would be soaked in the slush in minutes.  What do people do about keeping their shoes dry…say for example in the photos above?

I called the local YMCA and they offer no one day passes…BOOO.  The road conditions are really bad, so I don’t want to drive anyways.  It might be fit tv and workout dvds for a couple days :(

Oh, Josh from one of my favorite blogs put up his favorite songs of 2008.  I will have to check them out, a lot are new to me.

Training Countdown to the Turkey Trot!

So I signed up for the Turkey Trot with a grandiose scheme of getting my best time ever…PR all the way!  However, I didn’t account for three major things: 1. the temperature dropping 35 or so degrees (can I get a holy brrr?) and 2. an unfamiliar hilly course and 3. having two major paper and a presentation the week of the race.  So new plan, keep training and do the best I can and push myself on “race day.”

Here is my one week countdown training plan.

Wednesday: 1 hour interval run (doing 3 minute pick ups at 7.5 MPH with 5 minute recovery between)   (I did 20 minutes on the ellip. this morning to try to get reacquainted with the morning workout.)

Thursday: Master the Treadmill with OKGO workout at 2-3% incline.  David Kirsch arm workout. Some corework and lots of stretching.

Friday: 1 hour cross-training and leg workout (lunges, squats with weights and plyometric lunges)  Yoga class.

Saturday: 4 mile tempo run outside! Maybe the 7 minutes to get lean and fit workout from Women’s Health and def. some paper writing.

Sunday: spinning class

Monday:rest

Tuesday: Kara Goucher endurance boost and core work.  STRETCHING.

Sadly, my favorite Under Armour Winter Running Jacket got struck in the dryer and the zipper broke!  I am looking at a few option.  This Brook’s coat is pretty cute.  Does anyone have any suggestions?

brook

 

I saw this cold weather workout clothing guide on Vital Juice Daily.  Do to the high probability that I will punk out on the majority of potential outdoor workout this winter (gym rat), I don’t want to spend too much money.

Inspiration, Spring Marathons, Links, Products and More

Here is the usual Thursday mish mosh round up:

Runspiration

Do you want to kill yourself after 30 minutes on the treadmill? Dean Karnanzes recently ran 48 hours and 212 miles on a treadmill. He didn’t break the Guinness record, but man!

MOVIE: If you need more inspiration, I highly recommend the Spirit of the Marathon movie, check for local screenings! You don’t even have to move, how easy is that?

Top secret announcement–the upcoming NYC Team in Training Chapter will be training for three fabulous Marathons:

Rome Marathon (Run/Walk) – March 22, 2009 – Rome, Italy
Country Music Full & Half Marathon (Run/Walk) – April 25, 2009 – Nashville, TN.
New Jersey Full & Half Marathon (Run/Walk) – May 3, 2009 – Long Branch, NJ

If you live in NYC, I can personally assure you that TNT will make it your marathon experience magical! However, I am sure all chapters of TNT seriously rock, so see if your what your local chapter is training for. If you don’t do groups, think outside the box, there are marathons in the most incredible locations: Rome, Paris, The Great Wall Marathon (China), The Polar Circle Marathon (Greenland), The Big Five Marathon (South Africa), just to name a few!

To properly fuel yourself, check out Vital Juice Daily’s fall produce picks, replete with some yummy recipes.

PRODUCT FINDS
For some fuel on the run, I just tried a Chia Spice Kardea bar
I am really trying to eat only all natural bars. Ingredients are far more important to me than fiber, fat or calories. Even my beloved Kashi Golean Crunchy Chocolate Caramel bars, have too many weird things (Mechanically Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil?) in them for me to feel good about ingesting them. These were offered to me by Kardea, and after checking out the stats online they seemed to be pretty good. These bars have a few items that seem to be added to punch up the fiber, like psylium husch and chicory root fiber, but overall everything seems like it came from the earth not a factory. Inside they look like nuts and grains stuck together with maple syrup or honey. However, they are not too sticky or too sweet, although I wish the first ingredient wasn’t Brown Rice Syrup. And I love that agave, a low GI sweetener was included, as it is expensive for companies to add. Overall 9 grams of sugar is not bad at all, and at modest 150 calories these provide a tasty and satisfying snack perfect for taking the edge off the 4PM hunger call. Despite not being a fan of chai tea–but love cinnamon, these were really good. And not so sweet that they made me crave sweets all afternoon. A keeper.

Note: I truly enjoyed all of the Kardea flavors, except the lemon ginger, because I do not like lemon in any kind of bar or baked good at all.  The burst of flavor in each bite of Kardea bars truly impressed me.  They have a stronger and more natural flavor than any other bar I have tried.

The Amphipod

I have really been needing something to put stuff in while I run, and I think the Amphipod Micropack Land Sport may be my answer. It clips on to your pant or shorts with just enough storage for your credit cards, id, keys, mp3 player and money. This way I can stop being a bra stuffer…btw metrocards are sweat resistant up to 12 miles :). Most shorts and pants don’t have the proper storage for things besides gus and gels, but this looks great for when I don’t want to bring my bulky fuel belt!