Dog Jog

Hi from the road!  I’m shacked up in a nice hotel for the night.

Thankfully, I got to sleep in a bit this morning because I was traveling.  I needed it.  Last night I had a bit of a breakdown–I’m stressed about working a lot, about running, about money, about the wedding…it’s just a lot for me and I tend to deal with it by sobbing dramatically for awhile.  God bless Tim.

Anyway, I didn’t feel like running this morning, but I did anyway.  I figured hey, it’s just two miles, piece of cake.  And it was!  I ran outside with Milhouse, and it felt so good.  He slows me down with his sniffing and peeing on things, which is exactly what I needed.  The two of us happily jogged around our neighborhood for about 25 minutes.

My running buddy was tired out.  I let him off the leash, he drank some water and went right to sleep!


Then I showered and got on the road.  I stopped for lunch at Subway.  I usually travel on fairly desolate stretches of highway, so it’s clearly the best option by a mile.  I love their roasted chicken subs!  I never eat chips at home, so they’re a nice treat when I’m on the road.

Then, I drove some more, did my work thing for a few hours, and then stopped at a Panera on the way to the hotel.  Turkey and gouda on tomato basil bread…yum.  (I may or may not have a brownie for later too.  Shh!)

As much as I hate being away from Tim and the animals, I think a hotel night is exactly what I needed.  If I was home, I’d be trying to clean things and do laundry and pay bills and pack my lunch.  I’m here in my room now, and seriously, I’m just going to chill…watch some TV, read some blogs, and relax.  After five days in a row of running, I seriously need to veg a little.

In other hilarious news, my race photos from Sunday are in.  Check out the series of three finish line shots.  Hilarious.  I swear.  I am not photogenic AT ALL.  I should probably be concerned about this for the wedding.  Thank god we have a great photographer.

Also, I got a few more questions about my heart rate monitor, so here goes:

  • Do you wear it below your bust every time you use it? Yes, that’s where it picks up your heartbeat.  You can’t really put it anywhere else!
  • When do you wear it as a watch? I don’t, because I’m usually dressed up for work, but you could wear it without the chest strap as a regular casual watch it you want.
  • Do you input your weight? Yes.  When you initially set it up, you input your gender, weight, and height.  You can change it at any time.
  • Does it count calories burned AND heart rate at the same time? Yes.  The display shows your current heart rate with a tiny “kCal” followed by a number in one of the screns.  You can also toggle between screens: time of day, duration of workout, and heart rate/calories.
  • Does it work for swimming? Yes!  I used to swim a fair bit and wore it without any issues. You’re just not supposed to push the buttons underwater.
  • Have you ever had the battery changed?  Was it difficult? I haven’t, but I have heard it’s pretty easy–I think you just send it in to Polar.

Anyway, I’ll be back in KC tomorrow night–I just hope the snow holds off long enough for me to get home!

Anyone else have a question for me/something you want me to talk about or show you in an upcoming blog post, fitness-related or not? Leave a comment!

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Fit Bride Q&A: What’s that funny red watch?

I posted a picture of my heart rate monitor the other day and received a few questions in the comments and via Twitter about it, so, without further ado–a post about my pretty red wristwatch!

In…July or August, maybe? of 2008, I purchased this baby from Amazon.  She is a Polar F4 Heart Rate Monitor, and came with a chest strap and watch.  I’ve worn her for pretty much every workout since then, and I have had exactly zero problems.

A lot of people ask if the chest strap is comfortable.  And the answer is yes!  It sits right under your boobs, basically behind the bottom elastic of your sports bra.  I barely notice it, and actually just had my first chafing issue with it last night after a year and a half of use.  So, yes, it’s fine, and the Polar strap adjusts to fit pretty much anyone–it can be extended to be very large or very small.

Now, what does it do?  Keep in mind that this is a very basic model of heart rate monitor, and there are fancier ones out there with more bells and whistles.  This one, however, has gotten me through a lot and I’ve never missed anything with it.

First and foremost, it measures your heart rate. Heart rate watches that do not have chest straps are not accurate, so if you buy one, buy one with a chest strap! I like this because your heart rate is an indicator of how hard you are working.  When I first got mine, I was surprised to see how high my heart rate got when I ran as opposed to how low it stayed on the elliptical.  It’s a great way to be able to determine “hard” versus “moderate” versus “easy/recovery” workouts.

Knowing my heart rate is also helpful when running.  If I’m running a longer distance, I need to keep my heart rate down for endurance.  If I’m running intervals, I want to watch it spike up high and then dip back down low.  It’s, if nothing else, interesting.

I also use my heart rate monitor to calculate calories burned. This was more important to me when I was tracking my food intake and in full-on weight loss mode.  Now, I generally use it in the sense of “hey, I burned a lot of calories, better have a big dinner”  rather than strict calorie calculations.  BUT, if you are counting calories, this is a useful tool for you.

It also keeps a timer of how long you’ve been working out, and shows your target heart rate zones and where you’re falling in it.

Now, don’t confuse this with my Garmin.  I use my Garmin Forerunner 305 strictly for outdoor running.  Garmins calculate distance through GPS satellites, and heart rate monitors do not.  Garmins ALSO have a chest strap and calculate calories burned and heart rate, but they calculate calories burned off of distance and speed rather than off heart rate, so they are less accurate in that sense.  That said, I use both of these tools in the appropriate situations–Garmin for outdoor running, Polar for indoor everything else.

Do you have a heart rate monitor?  What kind?  Do you love it?

My gym buddies

Generally speaking, I’m kind of high maintenance.  I am the girlfriend that always has band-aids, chapstick, and safety pins in her purse.  So…the gym is no different.  When I first started working out, my philosophy was basically, “This sucks, so I’m going to somehow acquire everything I can to make it more interesting/bearable.”

First things first, before I walk out the door, I get dressed.  I get really hot and hate having fabric on my arms when I’m sticky and sweaty, so I always wear tank tops.  My favorites are C9 by Champion, usually between $10-15 at Target.  They are a moisture wicking material, so they keep me from having large sweat stains, and they come in lots of pretty, seasonal colors.  I’m also not a big fan of shorts.  My thighs are large for two reasons: 1) I have massive quads from running and being able to squat my body weight and 2) genetics.  I will never have teeny tiny legs, and I’m okay with that.  Shorts tend to ride up, so I always go with a capri pant.

Of course, I have to wear shoes.  I’m still in pursuit of the perfect pair.  (I’ve been fitted at a running shop twice, don’t worry.)  I have low arches and I tend to run on my tiptoes, so most shoes give me blisters in my arch when I run.  It’s not too bad in these shoes, but if I don’t run for awhile and my callus goes away, it comes back and HURTS after about 2 miles.  They are Asics and I like them, but one of these days I hope I find something a little more comfortable:

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I like my gym bag.  Not much to say about it, other than the colors are cute and it holds a lot of junk:

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I have a Polar F4 heart rate monitor.  I’ve been using it for just over a year with no problems and it’s great.  It’s one of the more basic Polar models, and in the future I’d like to upgrade to something a little fancier, but it does the job:

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I don’t leave for the gym (unless accidentally) without my Camelbak water bottle.  It is BPA free, which is nice, and I like it because the neat little straw/spout thing makes it nearly impossible for me to spill water on myself, which happens a lot with other Nalgene or Sigg type water bottles.  At one point, I owned three of these (one for my gym bag, one for home, one for school/work) but I lost the school/work one.  So now I have two.  This is the gym version:

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And for yoga, I recently bought a Gaiam yoga mat.  I have no complaints.  It smells a lot better than the pile of  deli-meat-scented fitness mats at the gym, and I like the stickiness of it.  Kind of gross, but my hands and arms sweat a ton when I work out, so planks are often difficult on bare floors or slick mats, but not on this.  I think the color on this is “Robin’s Egg Blue.”  It’s purty.  Buckley models it for us:

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Today I was feeling kind of worn down.  Yoga was very demanding yesterday, and my quads are tingly and on fire, plus I had some personal stuff to contend with last night.  When my alarm went off, I shut it off and slept in.  I’m a firm believer in listening to your body, and it was well worth it.  After sleeping in, I decided to just do a short workout at the gym and call it a day.

Since my legs were on fire, I decided to do the rowing machine at the gym.  I rowed 5000m in 28:45 and then ran for a bit.  My workout was about 40 minutes and I burned around 400 calories.  I didn’t want to push too hard today since I wasn’t really feeling it.  My hands are a bit blistered from the rowing, though.

Anyway, what’s your favorite fitness gear?