You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘gear and gadgets’ category.

Okay, so I have a total blog crush on Charlotte Hilton Anderson from the Great Fitness Experiment (really should update that blogroll) and had her new book on my list of things to eventually order from overseas. But when I saw that it was available in kindle format, I was so excited. I have been using the kindle app on my iphone on the train on the way to work, so I snapped it up. Anyway, still reading it but really enjoying it.

Which is pretty impressive seeing as when I found Charlotte’s blog a while back, she was one of the few that have inspired me to go back and read all of their back catalogues archive wise, so many of the chapters in the book I had already read in an earlier admittedly less evolved way. And I just am taken in by so heartbreakingly vulnerable Charlotte is and willing to talk about stuff that people don’t talk about (particularly on a popular blog).

As an example, a totally true story which probably displays my weird brain. One of the chapters talks about women and their reluctance to be naked in front of other women, even in gym showers. This totally hit home with me (I don’t even enter the changing room of my gym), but one of the reasons Charlotte mentioned for her own reluctance was that she was self-conscious because as a member of the church of latter day saints (or mormons), she wears special underwear. This completely derailed my attention on the book itself (which probably wasn’t the point of including this in the story) as I had no idea that mormons had ritual/sacred/whatever clothing. So for the next week I would intermittently be thinking “must google mormon underwear” which is a phrase that should send some interesting search engine inquiries this way. But as trite as it sounds, if Charlotte hadn’t been as transparent and open in her writing as she is, I would have not learned something entirely new to me.

So go buy and read the book. It is funny. She seems like a nice person. And she talks (once so far) about wearing unconventional undergarments. What more can you ask?


Okay, so thanks for those that gave me some thoughts on this (even though Andrew seems to have to battle with my spam filter to get his point across. I got myself a new helmet (just cause the old one looked a bit dorky and a new one from kmart cost all of $15 on sale). Then I went a bit silly and got myself a bike tool and a little bag for under the seat and a whole bunch of gimmicky stuff that I will never use. Hub immediately sussed me and said “Well I guess that means you are a really serious cyclist now that you have that gear).

So I have been taking some opportunities to go for rides in the quiet back streets. Newsflash!! Riding a real bike is harder than riding an exercise bike. I still don’t really know how the gears work (except for the basic fact that one way makes it harder but faster and the other way makes it slower and easier). I never really had a bike with gears – most of my experience riding was tooling around on a pushie when I was a kid.

In my practice I feel like I am getting decently competent, but I still have a real weakness with stopping and starting. Kind of a problem as I don’t really see how to avoid those things in future. Hopefully having the bike will be useful to use as well because we only have one car and we spend at least a day a week living not in the same place and when that happens I am almost never the one with the vehicular transport. I am totally tempted to get a basket to put over the handlebars. Or a pannier. Or both.

It would be nice to have a bike at our home away from home, so I was thinking of checking out getting one from here. The one I have I am looking after for my sister while she is away in Japan. Of course, I haven’t mentioned that to her seeing as she has been back from Japan for several years and I never gave it back to her. I wonder what the statute of limitations is on that.

I think I should reconsider having Monday as my check in day, coming as it does after the weekend. My new regime of recording the food means that I have a terrible Monday morning quarterback recounting of all the things I shouldn’t have eaten. Kind of makes it clear why they reckon that simply recording what you eat leads to more consistent better eating. It is the shame factor of course.

Went to vote on Saturday and after having spent my time poring over websites and policies to decide how to vote below the line, I left my print out at home and had to try to reconstruct my thoughts. Of course I ended up getting mixed up and misnumbered one of the boxes and had to go to ask for a replacement ballot. I had to explain what the problem was, which oddly enough required me to show my ballot to the volunteer. Part of me thought that I shouldn’t have to do that in order to get a replacement ballot when I had made a mistake. Then the lady asked me whether I was aware that I could just number one box above the line. Thank you, yes, I was aware of that. Anyway, she gave me a replacement and I managed to get all the right numbers in roughly the right boxes so that I could hand in my ballot.

I suspect that the hung parliament is going to be fascinating over the coming months for however long it manages to last. Hopefully it should give both parties a bit of a wake-up call about the fact that people will vote for other parties if they become disillusioned with the main parties. My idealist side hopes that it will mean that the parties will learn the lessons about not taking the electorate for granted and providing genuine engagement with people about the direction of the country. I suspect that might be a little optimistic though.

One thing that I am quite excited about as a means of tracking progress etc is the new scale which arrived today including a body fat measurement. I don’t want to really primarily track on the basis of weight as that kind of isn’t the point and plus it can be quite misleading as to progress depending on what I am doing. So I have started to include measurements and now body fat recording as well. I will be interested to see whether that helps to see progress which might not be immediately apparent.

It is still pretty dark in the evening when I go running, and I am conscious of the fact that there are fewer street lights and other general safety markers than where we used to live. Hub has suggested I take Toby the dog-shaped boy with me when I go out running in the evening, so I am thinking I will try that tonight. He will be absolutely insufferable though – as he will need a good month or so practice before he will properly behave with me, particularly seeing as he doesn’t really understand the concept of a run/walk program. To wit, an artist’s impression:

“Whee!! We are running, running, quick, quick, run”
“What, where’d you go? Why did you stop running? C’mon, this way”
“Yay, we are running, running, running, running like the wind!”
“Again? What’s with the stopping and walking again? We should be still running”


UPDATE – I copped out and left Toby the dog shaped boy at home. Good thing too – felt dreadful the whole way and his chipper personality would have annoyed me.

So you wouldn’t have thought that two days into a new program and already I am postponing a run. I had a good excuse though – my bra was in the wash and not yet dry. But today was okay so went out for a scheduled 6K with 4 gentle pick ups. And took the opportunity to take my NEW SHOES for a spin.


Aren’t they pretty? They are the most expensive pair of shoes that I have EVER bought. Seriously. For my wedding my shoes cost $40 (who is ever going to wear cream shoes again?) but I can’t think when I have ever previously gotten close to spending over $200 on shoes. Expensive little hobby I have here. But what the hey, I said I would splurge on the kayanos this time. I actually wanted to find a non-asics shoe that suited me so that I can rotate them, but after trying on half a dozen pairs nothing else fit my munted feet.

So took the new shoes on the run tonight and they were about the only thing that was working well tonight. Nudge was out of control and had me alternating 2min kms with 9min kms (hopefully neither were accurate). Even after the extra unplanned rest day the body was still protesting about doing two longish (for me) runs in a row. And so I struggled through it. My feet felt the best they have for months though. Which is a little depressing, because it means that I probably have very little life left in the old shoes (something I already suspected) and need to find a new pair to rotate as soon as these ones are broken in.

New shoes are very bright. It was dark when I was finishing off the run tonight and I swear that the kayanos were lighting my path.

For those non-garmin users, I need to explain something. When you upload your run information into Sportstracks, it tries to guess what category your activity should fit into, based on your previous categories that have been classified that way. So for me, if my pace is anything below about 7:45 kms, the program guesses that it is a race. So the other night when it guessed my run was a race I was thrilled. Of course, it works the other way as well. When your normal training runs get tagged as a long run (ie slow), it can be depressing. But today I went out for my long run and it came back as “hills” which I was pretty happy with. So two runs in a row where sportstracks has complimented me with its guesses. Can’t complain about that.

I have been feeling really guilty that, as much as I love nudge the garmin, I have not used very many of his functions and am simply lazy about learning how to do so. So I saved my two regular loops (the 4km and 5km) as courses in the software and decided last night to have a go at the course function.

So I duly selected the course, set it to start the course and off I went. Now, I must admit that I am catching Hub’s aversion to reading the instructions, so I was kind of going by intuition and not really sure what all of the screens were trying to show. When I started it said that I had 1.6km to the start of my course. Which, frankly, seemed weird because I was standing in my front yard which was in fact the beginning of this particular loop.

“Oh well,” I thought to myself “I am sure that there is some reasonable explanation”. Weirdtuition continued throughout the course. I couldn’t figure out what colour dot I was meant to be, the elevation profile didn’t seem to match up with what I was running and I was fast coming to the conclusion that the whole thing was a silly idea. But it appeared towards the end of the run that I was back on track because it was slowly and surely counting down the metres left until I went through the front gate again, which is the end of the loop. And I won!! I didn’t expect this, but when I won, nudge played a little musical celebration for me. How nice.

So I got back inside and said to Hub “I beat the little man in my watch”. His response was that he thought the easy way to do that would be to hold the watch out behind me as I ran (so I would be sure of staying in front of it). Hmmmpf.

Anyway, when I downloaded the info from Nudge, the weirdness was explained. He had picked up the wrong GPS nodules at the start of the run with the consequence that according to Nudge, I had run 9.61km over my 4km course, including one km in 3.51!! Even when I tried to fix all the points, it still came up as being way too long, so I had to fill in the details manually. So I still have to properly do a course with Nudge and then try and figure out all of the other cool stuff that he has to offer.

So this week I scored an invite to a special “friends” sale at the Nike store in the city with 40% off. It is actually the first time I have been in there as I find it all a bit too trendy and intimidating. I bought myself an arm pouch (so I can be like Em) and a hydration pack with an 800ml bottle that sits in the small of your back. Not as schmicky as the fuel belt ones, but at $14 with the discount, I am not complaining.

So today I took the hydration belt out for a spin. For one reason or another I haven’t managed to get out for a long run for AGES, so I was really looking forward to it today. It was a bit hot, so I took it really slow along the meandering hills of the Merri Creek Trail. Managed 9.6km in 80 minutes which is my longest run yet since I have started. I was glad that I had the water bottle as I had drunk it all by about the 8K mark, so I don’t know what I would have done without water.

Father Christmas came early to our house when we picked up an exercise bike this afternoon. Hub wanted to get one so he could do exercise while watching DVDs and we thought that I could also use it for cross-training. So it is pretty cool and hopefully will get a good workout on my non-running days.

Finally I think I have found my favourite running shirt. They had a bunch of pretty cheap technical shorts and shirts in Big W when I went the other day and one of the shirts I picked up from the mens’ department is very comfy and quite cool, plus it has “SPORTS XLNCE” written on the front. How can I resist?

Can someone tell me quickly how to adjust the route of a run that you record in sports tracks through the garmin? I like it but I find it not that intuitive. I am pretty computer literate so just a quick run through of the file/menu structure and basic commands would be fine.


So after some experimentation I think I have identified a solution for short pants that satisfies my dual goals of not making me so self-conscious that I want to kill myself and also being non-chafing and comfortable. However it does involve me wearing fake Kmart skins under mens running shorts so I do feel like a bit of a dick. But it is comfortable and cool which is going to be increasingly important as summer comes.

Tonight I headed out for a run and was looking forward to it all afternoon. Which is pretty unremarkable except for the fact that I am pretty sure I said only a month ago that I never feel like going for a run on a Friday night at the end of a long week. And it was very cool, I had a great run and felt fantastic.

So at the suggestion of some people I downloaded Sporttracks to use for my record keeping and for nudge. Had a panic moment when nudge froze during data transfer and had to reset him – thought I had lost those wonderful couple of runs I had already put in the system. Phew.

I quite like Sporttracks though the documentation isn’t great so it is taking a little bit of time to learn my way around it. As a start I transferred all of my records over from my running log at coolrunning so that I have all of my information in one place. It was fun reading through all of my progress so far and some of the comments on the runs. One thing I noticed is that I evidently recorded the distance it felt like rather than the distance it probably was. As a result my run walk result over 4km is recorded as being faster than when I just run. My biggest distance month was the month I started recording distance. I don’t think that it is too accurate though.

Anyway, I like to preserve the innacuracies. Nudge has brought a new level of precision to my recording and I would really like to just continue to improve my monthly kilometrage and time on my feet, particularly now that I know that my sums are pretty much correct.

Nudge has disabused me of the notion of my “ordinary training pace” as well, unfortunately. Turns out I have lots of training paces, a lot of them slower than the one that I previously had notched as my slowest. Huh. Who knew that I could be even slower than I previously thought? I have to keep reminding myself that even if a particular route is 3.9km instead of 4km, it doesn’t change the fact that I have improved my speed over that distance a fair bit.

So reading over the records was just what I needed. So what if nudge is a big fat spoilsport regarding some of my distances. The fact is, just a couple of months ago it took me a week or so to fully recover from a run of 6km. With any luck my long run this week will crack the 10km mark, to be followed by a light week (which now amazingly enough means two or three gentle 25min jogs) in preparation for SiS1 a week later.

Bring it awn!