Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Heart Rate Monitoring - Plyometrics

Holy cow! I knew Plyometrics was my favorite workout because it was intense, but I had no idea how intense it can really get! According to my heart rate monitor, the plyo workout results were astounding.

Total calories burned:  1070
Average heart rate: 171 bpm
Maximum heart rate: 203 bpm

See my Garmin Heart Rate Monitor data here.

Ravenswood 5k

May 1, 2011 - What a gorgeous day to enjoy a run! It was sunny, yet cool. This was a nicely laid out course through some tree-lined streets. Part of it took us along some busy roads, but for the most part, it was a relaxing run.

After the race

I really liked the yellow tek shirt design (although I wore my blue Puma outfit for visibility among friends in the crowd). I was thrilled about Mizuno being one of the main sponsors since I was sporting my Mizuno shoes. Absolutely love them.

This race had a lot more participants (~3000) compared to the previous week's 5k, but it was not overly crowded. Everyone seemed to place themselves well within their anticipated pace.

One thing to note for future reference: make sure to check the Brown Line schedule ahead of time! The trains weren't running until 7:30 am, which didn't really allow for a timely arrival for an 8:00 am race. I ended up taking a cab (and so did some other friends of mine). All in all, it was a great time.

Crossing the finish line

Time: 25:28
Overall Place: 652/2954
Division Place: 44/328

Improved my time by 18 seconds!

5k for Earth Day Run/Walk

April 23, 2011 - This was my first official 5k of the year! The course took us around Humboldt Park starting at the boat house. The weather was a bit chilly and windy but not too bad overall.

Time: 25:46
Overall Place: 79/459
Female Place: 13/282

Heart Rate Monitor Data!

I was happy with my time since my goal was to get below 26 minutes. There weren't a ton of runners on this course, so it was a perfect time to get rid of my running jitters.

After the race was the Green Living Expo. My sister had her Beachbody booth set up with samples of Shakeology and Recovery Drink. She also brought along numerous DVD workout programs and other products such as vitamins, supplements and snack bars. It was great being there with her to share information with others interested in learning different ways to become and stay fit and active. Thanks to everyone who came out.

It was also nice to walk around and sample different food and drinks from other vendors. I am pretty sure I will be hunting down those select stores that have hummus made by Salsas Vallarta. The kalamata hummus and the feta & spinach hummus were delicious! Same goes for the mangosteen flavor of Honest Tea. Thanks again!

Nathan Shadow Pak

This waist pack has a mesh, gusseted pocket that expands to hold even large smartphones (I have an HTC HD2) and still have plenty of room keys, money, and other essentials. The sides have reflective silver tabs and on one side is an I.D. card which is meant to hold vital information in the event of an emergency. The strap is adjustable on both ends of the middle clasp. There are two notches that slip over any excess strap if you have to adjust it for a smaller waist.

Nathan Shadow Pak
With all of the running I've been doing, I was considering getting an iPod Shuffle instead of using my phone as an mp3 player. But even though the Shuffle would have been a no-brainer, that still did not solve the problem of running without my phone. I switched gears and decided that I needed to find a way to make running with my phone more convenient. Reviews about the Shadow Pak raved about how you can't feel it when you're running and that it barely moves. This is exactly what I wanted because I did not want to wear my phone on my arm. It's the size of a brick.

I have gone running with it twice. The first time, I must say that I ended up wearing it high on my waist under my shirt. It shifted around a bit more than I expected. The second time, I wore it very low on my hips over my shorts. Along with pulling the straps tighter, this placement worked better. I think it just didn't help that the material of my shorts was smooth. All in all, I'm happy with this pack because it allows me to bring all my important things with me. I hope to find the perfect way to wear it so that it doesn't ride up to my waist. I'd give it a B+ until then.

Garmin Runners Watch

Garmin FR60 with foot pod
Heart Rate Monitor/Running Watch, Chest Strap and Foot Pod. The Garmin FR60 connects to the foot pod through the ANT+ seamless wireless link which tracks your distance and speed, both indoors and out. Using advanced accelerometer technology, the foot pod collects and sends precise data about your movements, gathering distance and speed data.

Choosing a runner's watch was serious business. Reliability and ease of use were important to me. For a long time I struggled with deciding between GPS tracking capabilities versus wireless foot pods. Although I liked the idea of GPS, I was aware that sometimes GPS signals drop or are poor depending on the location. My gut told me to go with the foot pod instead. After reading and re-reading reviews, I was almost set on buying a Polar watch. Although people said the foot pod was extremely light, I didn't like the idea of wearing something the size of a beetle on my shoe. Adding to the fact that the price tag was over $200, I began looking at other brands. I'm sure it's a top of the line watch, but it was a bit out of my price range.

The Garmin FR60 seemed like a sensible purchase. The foot pod is incredibly tiny. It's about the size of an almond in its shell. It's so small that I already lost it and, luckily, found it in my drawer. I haven't calibrated it, but it seems to be accurate with regards to distance. I have yet to link data from my watch to the computer, but I have been able to log in a few workouts. I'm happy with the features so far but still have lots to learn.

What I like about the Garmin FR60 the most is how comfortable the chest strap is. I actually fell asleep with it on for a short nap. It is thin, smooth and flexible. Just like the foot pod, you really don't know it's there. The watch itself is not very bulky either and is relatively low key.

As I continue to use the watch, I'll update my review. So far, so good.

Mizuno Running Shoes

Neutral shoe ideal for medium to high arches. Lightweight, breatheable, cushioned and extremely supportive. Elastic bands on the side of the tongue keep it in place and create an almost spooning or cradling effect around your foot. Its upturned toe helps to propel you with every stride.

Mizuno Wave Creation 12
This is hands-down the best shoe I've ever worn. On my quest to find the right running shoe, I tried on every brand at every store I could find. Finally, I stumbled upon Finish Line and saw these. They were the most expensive ones on the wall. I figured they might be a little better than the rest but instead I was blown away. After slipping them on, I asked the sales associate if I could run around the store for a few minutes. He said go for it. I had forgotten I was wearing a gray cotton shirt. Within 5 minutes, I had pit stains and a smile on my face. They were really nice about the sweat.

Combined with really great colors (thank you for not being pink), I fell in love immediately.

In fact, I had been struggling to get an 8 minute mile for the past few months. On my very first go with these on, I made a 7:15 minute mile. A week later, I ran again and averaged 7:30 min/mi. These are my shoes. All I have to work on now is proper training!