Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Six Weeks Of Trying New Stuff

I'm back.  Time slipped away from me and I just realized that I hadn't written anything in quite a while. I have not bee completely inactive, but I have not bee terribly consistent either.  After the 100-day run streak, I intended to take a couple of days off to regroup, to take stock of the things I did not do during the streak, and to think about what I wanted to do next.  I ended up: 1) getting really busy with work, 2) getting sick, and 3) avoiding terrible weather.  In all I lost a few weeks in there, but I'm back on track now.  Excuses aside, here is what I have been doing...

Using My Bike Trainer
I set up my road bike on my then new-to-me Tacx Fortius/I-Magic bike trainer in January 2015 and barely used it.  In fact, my road bike stayed on the trainer all last year and is still there.  (I have other bikes to use.)  After the streak, I would hop on the trainer in the morning for 20-30 minutes at a time.  I still need to figure out how to get the software working*, but as a fluid trainer, it is quiet and does exactly what I need.  I have a book with dozens of indoor trainer programs and workouts that I can use if I want to take the analog route.

* The head unit on the trainer I bought is only compatible with software that runs on Windows XP.  I pulled an older laptop out of the closet to use with the trainer.  Once I get everything working, I should make it the subject of a future blog post.  If you have one and have any tips, please leave a comment or send me a message.

Watching My Fitness Tracker
I picked up a new-in-box Garmin Vivofit with four extra bands for $15 on eBay, and I have been using it to motivate me to un-stick myself from my desk chair and to focus on sleep.  The Garmin Connect app on Android is excellent.  I have even been getting off the bus one stop early and taking the stairs at work so that I can increase my step count.  The automatic enrolment in step challenges, coupled with my competitive personality, helps keep my focus.

Another new habit I am developing is to walk on the treadmill when reading.  I voraciously devour books, which in the past has been an activity I pursue while glued to my couch or laying in bed.  Last night I needed to finish an ebook* that I had borrowed from the library, which would expire at midnight.  I figured that I could either forego a workout and sit on the couch to finish the book, or I could set up my Kobo on the treadmill's book stand and walk while reading.  I chose the latter option and set the treadmill to 4mph and an incline of 1.5%.  It was easy to focus on the book at this speed.  Two hours later the book was done.  Before I started, I needed another 2500+ steps to hit my daily goal of 9,800.  Two hours of continuous walking equates to eight miles and roughly 10,000 steps.  I will definitely do this again.

* Missoula, by Jon Krakauer.  Yet another great book by Mr. Krakauer, but definitely not for the faint of heart.  Like all of his others, it was extremely well researched and well written, but the subject matter is graphic.  I definitely recommend reading it, but you have been warned.

Learned About Running On A Cruise Ship
Running on a large surface that is moving is very much different that running on a surface that is not.  (Thanks, Captain Obvious.)  Little did I know how different it would be, like the day when I ran on a treadmill and had to run in a circle on the belt because the boat was pitching up and down and from side to side.

The track is a single lane 400m oval painted on the top deck of the ship, ant the direction was counter-clockwise.  I had to politely dodge walkers and slower runners.  Wind was a huge factor, as was water when running in the morning.  There were massive headwinds over starboard bow and equally massive tailwinds running on the straight stretch towards the stern.  It was great, albeit accidental, interval training because my HR would increase in the headwind and recover with the tail wind.  Water collects on the deck overnight.  It is not a big deal on the straight stretches, but one needs to be careful in the corners.  My feet got wet, but that was not a big deal.

Using GPS is dicey while running on a moving object.  Not surprisingly, DC Rainmaker's article was the best and most descriptive.  As directed, I set my Garmin Foreurnner 610, which coincidentally was the device that DC Rainmaker was wearing for his article, to take speed off of my footpod, as opposed to GPS, and I achieved the same results as he did.  Fortunately, I had downloaded the workouts to my Forerunner and they are all time- and HR-based, which means that distance and pace are pretty-much irrelevant.  I ended up with some very wacky measurements, e.g. my new half marathon of 30 minutes, or 1:43/km.  The maps generated when I was back on dry land showed my at-sea routes as a straight lines across stretches of ocean.