New Gear

In marketing speak I’m a “late adapter”.  Which means I don’t jump on trends early, in fact, by the time I get around to new things, they aren’t new.  Which leads me to my Garmin.

I have had the same Garmin 435 since 2006.  And while new watches came to market, I was fine with my trusty Garmin.  I only had to replace the watch band once and the customer service or Garmin products, in my opinion, has been excellent.  I mean, why mess with something that was working, right?

Until it wasn’t.  Little things started happening,  the charging adapter only charged if the watch was laid on its side carefully and then it wasn’t staying charged for as long, I had trouble syncing with my computer, and the final straw was that it didn’t start tracking until I was over a mile in to my run.  So I figured it was time to retire the old girl.  The Garmin, not me.  🙂

fullsizerenderSo for my birthday I bit the bullet and bought myself a Garmin 230.  As far as running watches and functionality go, it’s in the middle.  Which is fine because all I need is this; how far, how fast, how long.

And the numbers needed to be big because listen, I’m 50 and my vision is shit.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

 

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Stuff I Luv

I’m often asked about certain running gear, products, and stuff in general.  Here’s a partial list of the things I have, use, read and love.

Garmin 405 Watch

watchIt tracks my stuff, is pretty easy to use and the face isn’t so sensitive that I can mistakenly reset it on a run. Granted it’s older and there are some peccadilloes to deal with, but the truth is, I’m older too so we’re a perfect match.  The key was replacing the plastic band with the Velcro one.  Now this bad boy has tons of functions but I just want to see how far I ran, how fast I ran and the total minutes I ran.   I’m actually on my second one, the first bonked after about 6 years so I was sent a refurbished model for free.  Garmin stands by their products and I appreciate that.

Thin, No Show Socks

I know compression socks are “yuuuge” right now, but give me a very thin and very low pair of socks.   I don’t need cushioning or extra padding.  Just the socks, ma’am. My favorite are the ones from Road Runner Sports.  I just bought a new 3-pack for $30.  Score.  And thank you Shelly for the gift card!

Nathan iPhone Arm Band download

Until 2015 I had a well-loved iPod Shuffle for my long runs.  I think it was my 4th shuffle.  I had the same playlist “Keli’s Running” for oh, about 4 years.  It had 80 or so songs on it.  In mid 2015 the shuffle died and I upgraded to carrying my iPhone.  I tried various arm bands and finally found my soul, or arm-mate.  This little jobber is small, holds nothing but an iPhone 5s (because as you may have realized I’m a tad behind in tech) and I can listen to my podcasts or the Hamilton soundtrack to my little ear’s content.

Brooks Shorts – Versatile 5″

Sadly, Brooks doens’t sell these shorts any longer.  And it’s a shame because these are the perfect running shorts. I don’t like shorty mcshort shorts so these cover the bits, the cheeks and I don’t have to worry about my nether regions being on full display when I stretch.  So when these are no longer wearable I’m screwed.  But they made the list because I love them so much.  Um, Brooks Running.  Help a girl out!

Champion Sports Bras

Some low-priced athletic gear works well.  Champion Sports Bras (sold at Target) are a gem.  Being, um, less-endowed than many other females on the planet I don’t have a need for underwire or super industrial materials.  In fact, I can live with a uniboob.  I mean, I’m not looking for a date, I’m running and those girls just need to lay low.  And bonus!  The ones I have are reversible.  So it’s like 2 for the price of 1.

Runner’s World Magazine

The Runner’s Bible.  The Holy Grail.  If you can’t find what you need about running, nutrition, etc. in this magazine, on their website (www.runnersworld.com) or via their podcast then it’s not necessary.   What I especially appreciate is that they have embraced that runners come in all speeds, shapes, sizes and abilities.  Whether we run a 7 minute pace or 12 minute pace we’re still covering the same ground.

The Ragnar Race Seriesragnar-logo

A 200-mile, 12-person, 24 to 36 hour relay run?  Ragnar is like a frat party on wheels. Without the drinking and nudity.  Or maybe with all of that, but in a different context.  Only sweatier and smellier.  Did I mention that you sleep in the vans too?  Whatever.  Find one.  Run one.  If you need a teammate, call me.  I’m your gal.  www.runragnar.com

Running Buddies

A running partner will motivate you and push you to be a better runner.  Do they have to be the same pace?  Not necessary, but it is nice to be close enough so you’re not dragging behind them too far or having to sprint to keep up with them.  How can you find a running partner?  Ask your friends, look at your social media feed to see who’s posting about running, or the races they are doing.  Look online and join a local running club or drop into a running store and see what they have going on.

Bani Band Headbands

I have a small head and slippery hair (attractive, right?) so headbands tend to fling off my head easily.  These are backed with a soft-grip backing material and you can cinch them for any head size so they stay put.  I am partial to the ones with glitter or sequins.  They make me happy and they aren’t too pricey.  The ones I get are $13 or so plus shipping.  Even better, they have a whole network of home sewers who are stay-at-home moms, veterans, college students and grandmas who make their products.  Check them out at www.banibands.com.

A LAX Ball, Foam Roller and Yoga Mat…walked into a bar

Like onion, celery and carrots are to a chef, these three items represent *my* Holy Trinity.  The LAX (lacrosse) ball hits the tight spots in my glutes, the foam roller tingles the IT band and my Yoga Mat is just y(om)my.   If you run you need to go get all three.  Next week I’ll post a mini tutorial on how to use them.

Ok, there you have it.  My list of fav things.

So now it’s your turn.  What’s YOUR go-to, must-have running stuff?  Drop me a note, post a comment on my FB page (https://www.facebook.com/seekelirun/) or tag me on twitter @kelihonsberger.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

vivofit Review

Activity trackers are the new “it” fitness gadget.  In simplest terms it’s a fancy pedometer.

A few year’s ago Nike was the first out of the shoot with a pod that fit into a carved out hole under the insole of your shoe.  It paired, I believe, with an iPod or iPhone.  Next Nike came out with the fuel band.  I didn’t see those for long.

In the past year or so, new products came on the market and viola, activity trackers started to trend upward.  These bands measured sleep, steps and general activity with the idea that by providing these user-friendly items would motivate users to reach for and hit the “holy grail” of activity benchmarks; 10,000 steps.

10,000 steps translates to around 5 miles.  Bear in mind, that’s a rough estimate.  From studies I’ve read, the average American takes between 2,000 and 3, 000 steps.  This is not good.

I have been a hold out on buying one of these items because I’m a pretty active person and figured I was getting at least 10,000 steps each day.  However, I wanted to test out the product because a lot of people were buying them and I was starting to get questions about them; would the be helpful to them, were they worth it, did I see value.  So, as a fitness professional and a curious gal by nature I did some research.

Fitbit has a cool tv commercial and I saw more of those products on people so I started there.  Nix.  I didn’t like the little dots indicating at what percentage I was at of my goal.  I have 47 year old eyes and those dots are rough to see, besides, I need numbers.  I also read that its’ battery didn’t hold charge for a very long time and required plugging in.

What I did like about the Fitbit was that it vibrated if you sat on your butt too long.  That is a great feature!  Fitbit does have a model that provides more detailed information at a glance as well as one that clips on to your clothes but I didn’t want to snap something to my shirt and maybe lose it when I went to the bathroom (I’ve dropped enough iPod shuffle clips into the toilet to know my limitations) and the more advanced models of the Fitbit were a bit pricey for my initial investment.

I dismissed Jawbone because I didn’t like the look of it at all.  I’m a visual gal.  Next.

Next, I researched the vivofit by Garmin.  It had touch buttons to move from the various functions such as the time, date, steps walked, distance covered, calories burned, how many steps to your daily goal and it has an angry red bar that will pop up as a small red dash at the top when you’ve been sitting for an hour.  The longer you sit the farther it crawls across the top of the screen.  I call it the “Guilt Bar”.  Nice.   It had a good long battery life and as I’ve discussed a lot – I have a Garmin watch that I covet.  Good company, product I liked already.  Sold.

Well, actually, I gave my specs to Brad and asked him to get it for my for Christmas.

After I opened my present on Christmas morning, (have I mentioned what  a great husband I have?) had another mimosa, I set about getting my vivofit ready.  It was easy to turn on and I synced it to my computer and phone and entered my age, weight, height, activity level and normal sleep time.  I put it on my wrist and watched the steps go by.  What you learn quickly is that it’s not a step for step measurement.  I think its’ technology tracks distance and translates it to steps.

In order to track your data you need to “sync” the product to their site by a little thumb-drive that is more the size of half a chiclet.  You have to “pair” the device one time to activate it then sync daily, every few days or weekly.  I tried for a week to sync my product.  Apparently, the sales department at Garmin didn’t tell the tech department that they sold a boat load of these things over the holidays.  The problem was resolved and I’ve not had problems since.

I strapped on my vivofit Christmas Day and haven’t removed it since.  It is lightweight, doesn’t chafe or burn.  I don’t have a rash from the wristband material and I forget I have it on most of the time.

pd-05-lgAgain, what I was curious most about were the following things:

  1. How much do I really move during the day?
  2. Did I find that this device motivated me to move more?

How much do I really move during the day?

Since December 25th, my average daily number of steps is 19,736.  Apparently I move a lot.

My lowest day was 7.500 steps on Christmas Day and my highest day was 23.300 on December 30th.

Did I find the vivofit motivated me to move more?

Yes.  Not surprisingly most of my daily steps comes from exercise.  My goal has been to add steps on top of my exercises steps.  If I get 10,000 on top of the 5,000 I have from class, that’s a good day.  It doesn’t always work.  I have a dead zone around 4pm where if I don’t move I can sit on the couch for too long.  Seeing the “Guilt Bar” grow makes me think of my butt growing as I sit.  I love a good visual.  So it gets me up, more times than not.

Should you get one?

Yes:  If you are just starting out with your fitness journey; have fitness or weight loss goals; need a shot of motivation to get you moving; are a tracking and report junkie; you sit for 6 or more hours a day.

Maybe Not:  If you are currently active and exercise at least 4-5 days per week, consistently try to find ways to sneak activity (you park farther from the mall, you take the stairs, walk to lunch, walk on lunch), etc.

In a nutshell I’ve outlined some pros and cons of the vivofit.

Pros:  Lightweight band, clear instructions, simple to use and great features for tracking progress.  Syncing online you can find challenges and groups to compete against.  Their website also provides very detailed tracking and reporting info.  Good for motivation.

Cons:  Only tracks movement.  If you stand all day (which burns more calories than sitting) the product does not reflect this and you get the “Guilt Bar”.  This bar can also be annoying if you get up to use the bathroom at 2am and when you wake up at 5am you have the “Guilt Bar” flashing at you.  It also doesn’t reflect exercise as steps or activity where you don’t move from place to place (Yoga, Pilates, Spin class).

Overall, I’m happy with the vivofit and feel that it’s been a valuable tool for me and a quality product.  I have to stop writing now. The “Guilt Bar” is halfway across the screen.

And, in case you’re curious, 7689 steps so far today.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

 

 

 

Lost and Found

I lose my beloved Garmin all of the time.  Not really lose, but misplace.  Most often it’s found in the bottom of a workout bag or behind the night table.  My kitten Charley likes to swat it around to make the face light up.

I usually have a mild panic attack when I can’t  find my beloved Garmin.  I mean how can I run if I don’t know the mileage, my pace or my splits?  What am I going to write down on my calendar??  How can I tell Brad I lost my very, very expensive toy and need to buy a new one??

When I completed the half marathon in early May, I again misplaced my beloved Garmin.  Thankfully I was recovering from the race so it wasn’t a problem.  Yet.  The week went along and it was time to get my butt on the road again.  With or without  my beloved Garmin.

Surprisingly I enjoyed my runs that week.  Well, to be truthful, I enjoyed that second week of running.  The first week without my beloved Garmin pretty much sucked.  I had not realized how much I depended on that green piece of plastic to tell me how my run went.   The second week I started to get more comfortable running for the pure joy of running.   I noted my time but didn’t let it rule whether I was having fun or not.

Well, my beloved Garmin has turned up.  I’d love to say that I haven’t used it yet but I strapped that sucker on my wrist for my run the other day!  I’m a work in progress, what can I say?

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

Wander Lust

One of the best things about running is that it’s an excellent opportunity to un-connect from the day to day grind and let your mind (and your body) wander!

I started my 12 mile run on Saturday morning with my iPod at the ready and my Garmin set to go.  I started running, hit the Garmin, turned on my Shuffle (the gadget, not my pace) and away I went.   Often times I focus on my pace, my breathing, my distance (am I there yet?) or otherwise occupy my run with, well, running stuff.

This time, however, I had some stuff to work out so I started the internal dialogue.   I am juggling quite a few things at the moment and I’ve been having some problems figuring out how to either add more hours to the day or scheduling things better.  And since I can’t change time and space yet, I have to re-jigger my schedule.

As I pondered my calendar, I ran.  I’d check my watch every now and then to check pace but otherwise I really didn’t pay much attention to where I was.  Once I got my schedule under control and had a plan in my head, I moved on to other items of concern.    Soon, I was at 5 1/2 miles and almost halfway done.

After a while I got tired of working out my life plan in my head and focused on running.  That proved to be a bad decision.  Surprisingly, when I focused on my running I didn’t enjoy it as much.   So I circled back to my to do list and let the running go.

It was a nice break from my normal running approach and it took a lot of the pressure off.  So next time you go for a run and feel overwhelmed by that and life, let your mind take a wander and enjoy!

Now go run!

Keli 🙂