Tagged: health

Third “barefoot” run…

Don’t worry, I know I’ll eventually have to stop mentioning the “barefoot” aspect of my run — just a bit pretentious sounding. Its charm will likely disappear once my body adjusts to the new posture and stride, and work back up to my old running distances. Then it’ll be just running.

Speaking of which, I had a good “barefoot” run tonight. Managed to nearly double my latest distance to 2.4 km with an average pace of 00:05:44/km; not bad given a wee hill I tackled. It’s bizarre. I don’t feel any of the run in my joints or my quads/hamstrings/glutes, just my calves and Achilles tendons. And lungs. 😉

I tried following the proper barefoot running posture (ahem, Bareform™) shown on the Merrell site (video below) but I’m not sure I’m getting it. Or, maybe I am and it’s just going to take a while for my calves to adjust. Regardless, speed and distance are improving which is all I can really hope for.

Fingers crossed on a speedy recovery. Eager to get out again.

[steelie]

MEC’s First Annual Shubie Trail Run [UPDATED]

Yesterday morning I ran in Mountain Equipment Co-op’s (MEC) inaugural Annual Shubie Trail Run. They had mapped out three routes through Shubie Park, in Dartmouth, NS: 5K, 10K and 21K (half-marathon). I ran the 5K and finished with a time of 29:15 (which isn’t possible but I’ll touch on that later).

[UPDATE] I went back and traced the route at dailymile.com and verified that the route was, in fact, 5K. Sorry for doubting you, MEC. Still friends? And WOOHOO on the time! 🙂

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MEC has traditionally sold camping and non-urban outdoor adventuring equipment. Recently, however, they’ve expanded to include cycling equipment and are soon going to be carrying road running gear in addition to their more typical trail running stuff. That being said, even though this was a trail running race, from what I understand, part of the drive behind organizing the event was to start linking MEC to running in general.

Well, this was officially my first running race in over 17 years, since my last year of high school so, I was a bit nervous and whole lot of giddy. The race itself started at 09:00 so, I showed up around 08:30 and parking was already scarce. I had originally registered in-store for the 5K with the understanding that I could switch to the 10K at the race if I really wanted to. Unfortunately, the line-ups and sign-in sheets were all organized by registered distance. So, I queued up in the 5K line and just decided to stick with it, and I was quickly handed my race bib, #209. 🙂

Shortly after 9:00 the 21K runners were off.

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About five minutes later the 10K runners followed suit.

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Then another five minutes after that, we (the 5K runners) were off.

Sometimes, leading up to a run, I question whether or not I really want to torture myself for the next half-hour but once I get moving, I wish I could run forever.

When I did the Run for the Cure last month I started near the front of the pack and was passed by a number of people so, I this time I chose to start at the very back and just work my way up as needed. Of course, being the genius boy that I am, I didn’t take into account how difficult it would be to pass people on a narrow path. Nor did my brain even register the runners with strollers. According to my trusty iPhone and today’s running app of choice, Kinetic GPS, it was a very slow first kilometre at 00:06:44. 😐

[UPDATE] According to the route retrace the time was closer to 00:06:38, which is still not that great of a pace for me.

The weather was beautiful! The sky was clear and the air was crisp — a tad cold on the lungs but it felt great. 🙂

The rest of the run was well paced. I managed to bring my average pace down to 00:06:17/km, which means for kilometres 2-5 my average pace would have improved to 00:05:39/km, with which I would have been very happy. 🙂 Of course now, me finishing a 5 kilometre race in 00:29:19 with an average pace of 00:06:17/km is not possible — 5 km x 00:06:17/km = 00:31:15. Glad it wasn’t and official race because I think the people out at the half-way turn-around point didn’t set themselves up far enough. Oops.

[UPDATE] Heh, heh. The half-way point was fine. The GPS app just didn’t maintain an accurate signal for the whole race. Super-oops.

The Kinetic GPS app tracked my total distance at 4.66 km and, given how slow my start was, that seems to be more realistic with my time. Of course, it’s entirely possible that the tree coverage could have thrown off the GPS signal a bit and the route really was 5 km, and I really am wicked-fast, and all this math would have been for naught.

[UPDATE] So, with a total run time of 00:29:19 my average pace for the whole race was 00:05:52/km which is quite good for me on a normal day. That being said, if we were to *ahem* ignore the 00:06:38 for my first kilometre, that means my average pace for the last 4K was just over 00:05:40/km which is a personal best for me in YEARS. 😀

Regardless, I had a blast. It was my first of what I hope to be many running races in my adult life, and I already can’t wait until next year’s. 🙂

[steelie]

 

the Goodlife and the app for that…

So, I started this post over two months ago to say I’m tired of feeling sluggish so, I’m thinking of joining the gym, blah, blah, blah…

Goodlife Fitness

Well, I completely stalled on that post and soon after joined Goodlife Fitness. They opened a new place near my house, with “24-hour” access, it was only $17 per paycheque, and the first four weeks were free. This essentially eliminated the usual excuses I had for not joining. So, I did. :^)

A couple of months in to it, I finally feel like I’m finding my groove. It took me a while at first because I couldn’t, for the life of me, decide on a workout schedule that I liked. Yes, I had to have a workout planned in advance because I cannot stand wasting time in the gym trying to figure out what I want to do next. I looked into a few from the Men’s Health Fitness site but I either didn’t like how they split the exercises, or I wasn’t nearly in good enough shape to tackle the more interesting ones — that was a blow to the ego.

After an annoying amount of searching, my best friend “Big C” (who I’m sure was ready to slap me by this point) found a solid 2-day split workout for me on Bodybuilding.com. It’s essentially chest+back+shoulders+abs on the first day, biceps+triceps+legs on the second, then the third is typically taken off but I’m looking to make it a cardio day. Then a variation of the whole thing gets repeated for days 4-6 with the seventh day reserved as the rest day.

I’ve been doing that for the past couple of weeks and I’m finally starting to settle into it.

It also helps that I’ve finally settled on a workout app for iPhone too. ;^)

I tested a handful of less expensive ones hoping one would fit my workout to a “T”. Most of them were decent in terms of functionality with a few standing out: All-in Fitness ($1.99 CDN), Full Fitness ($2.99 CDN), and the Men’s Health Fitness app ($1.99 CND). I played with these three for a while but never really felt any of them “just worked”. They all had little quirks about them that required me to fiddle with them more than I’d have liked. AND, and this is a big “AND”, none of their exercise libraries had all the ones that were in my workout, which I assumed were fairly standard.

Well, like I said, I tested a fair amount if the less expensive ones but didn’t find that perfect fit. And so, I looked to the more expensive ones — one in particular, to be more precise.

Fitness Builder app logo

I had been eying PumpOne’s Fitness Builder app for a while but it’s $10 (CND) and that’s generally more than I’m willing to drop on an app without being able to test it first. Plus, it has a lower rating than cheaper ones listed above: three stars at the time of writing this. The others have four stars, four and a half stars, and four stars, respectively. So, needless to say, I kept looking elsewhere. However, after a while of not yet being able to settle on an app, I went searching for video samples of Fitness Builder’s interface and functionality. The first one had me sold and the others just reinforced that feeling.

PumpOne’s Fitness builder app has, what I would consider, all the great features of all of the solid workout/fitness apps out there: extensive exercise and workout libraries with images and video samples, progress tracking for weight and reps, rest timers for between sets, custom workout builders, etc. On top of those features, the first thing I fell in love with was that it INCLUDES ALL OF THE EXERCISES FROM MY WORKOUT! Pretty stellar first impression. ;^)

Regardless, even if it didn’t, Fitness Builder allows you to add custom exercises to the library with the ability to add support photos right n the app. Sweetness? I think so.

Another great feature is that it allows you to schedule your workouts and will even sync them to your iOS calendar so you can plan around them without having to check the app.


The rest timer is one of my favourite “little” things in this app. Most fitness apps have them but either the numbers are too small or you can’t do anything else in the app while you wait. With Fitness Builder’s timer, the numbers are small but it has a brightly coloured band that visually counts down your rest so you don’t have to pay attention to the numbers at all.

Additionally, you can log your previous set and browse through various other sections in the app to prepare for following exercises. :^D

I know this app probably has a gazillion other features I have yet to discover but for now, what I do know is that Fitness Builder does everything I like from the other apps, and does everything else I currently want it to.

All that praise aside, there is one thing that does bug me probably way more than it should: a good portion of the text and graphics are high enough resolution for iPhone 4’s Retina Display the rest is not. Seriously? How hard is it to up-sample all of your images at the same time? Sigh. Can’t win ’em all, I guess.

Now, I guess all I have to do it take my “before” photo. OH WAIT! The app does THAT too. :^P

[steelie]

tofu…

Well at the risk of sounding all “woe is me”, there hasn’t really been much to write about in the last “little” while. In all fairness, what I should say, I guess there hasn’t been anything worth updating more than of my one-too-many-statuses.

That being said, this past weekend I made the big decision to go vegetarian.
It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time now — I actually gave it pathetically half-ass clichéd effort back in art college — but have really only recently thought seriously about it. Thankfully, my wife is and boys are pretty much already vegetarian — my boys prefer the veggie version of most anything meat-based I eat.
Why? Well, for a number of reasons… reasons which I plan to research more as to be more informed about my decision but reasons enough (for me) to go veggie all the same.
Money…
*sigh* I honestly wish I could say this weren’t the catalyst for the decision but it was the big (recent) thing that made me go, “Huh… do I really need to eat meat?” Believe me, I know it’s possible to find great deals on meat depending on at which stores you shop but I’ve been trying to consume only free range and/or organic meats and they’re not cheap.
I had my last big meat meal Saturday evening. We (the boys and I) had chicken fajitas made with two boneless chicken breasts… that was almost $15 worth of chicken.
See?
I know I could get meat cheaper but I, personally, am terrified by how these larger farms/companies can sell so much volume for so little. I’ll skip the antibiotics unless I’m sick, thanks.
Environment…
This is one of the areas which I would definitely like to research more. I’ve read a number of different sources recently, that trumpet going vegetarian as a way to help the environment: Times Online UK, David Suzuki Foundation, and numerous other vegetarian sites that are, of course, all for the cause (peta.org, vegsoc.org …).
Going vegetarian is supposed to help in a number of ways but mostly in how little energy and water is used to produce it compared to meat. According to the David Suzuki Foundation, it takes almost 85 times more water to produce 10 ounces of beef than potatoes.
But, yeah… like I said, this is the area I definitely want/need to research more.
Not having to kill animals for my meals…
I know this one might seem old to some people but I’ve always enjoyed eating meat but have never liked associating eating meat with eating a dead animal — always boneless chicken, always ground beef, always sliced ham. For the longest time I could never bring myself to eat a full chicken breast or wings because it looked… so… dead-bird-like.
I dunno… maybe it is weird but I figure if I can’t stand the idea of actually eating other living things, what better reason to stop eating them?
Health…
I have far too many food sensitivities right now and I reeeeeeally just want to be able to go through a day without feeling like I’ve got a mild stomach flu. Which I don’t.
I’m hoping going vegetarian will help me pay more attention to what goes into various foods so that I might only have the rarest of days where “Betty” is upset.
SO, there you have it… that’s what’s new with me. I’ll try to keep the post more frequent now… this foray into vegetarianism should give me plenty to complain update about over the next little while.
Peace. :^)
</steelie>

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Introducing steelie-lite™ (with half the sugar of regular steelie™)…

Okay so, yeah… I’m currently the heaviest I have ever been and am trying to discover all the little ways I can remedy that. One simple little change is switching from coffee to tea (I can say “simple” because I like them both equally so, it’s not a huge travesty for me to switch). I like coffee but I find it far too bitter to drink without sugar; however, I could drink tea without sugar if I had to. So, I tend to drink my coffee sweeter than I drink my tea… using probably more than twice the sugar (I don’t measure… we’re talkin’ little spoon vs big spoon difference).

So, with this little change I would be consuming roughly 80-90 teaspoons (okay, so I do measure) of sugar less every month. That’s slightly effin’ scary.
Hmm… that’s it… I can’t think of a clever closing thought…
steelie

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