July 6th, 2008


be still my beating heart

Got some new running goodies this weekend: a heart-rate monitor, a new pair of running shorts, and some decent running socks - still trying to find that perfect pair that'll save me from the blisters at mile 3. The HRM wasn't quite what I wanted; I'd been looking at the entry-level Polar kit, but none of the places I tried had it - Elverys, who advertise it on their website, had no HRMs in stock, Champion Sports (or was it Lifestyle?) had nothing either, and the only other likely spot, Argos, didn't have any of the Polar kit in stock, so I opted instead for their bottom-of-the-range offering given that worst case, I'd be out €22. Back home, I read the piece of paper with the HRM to find out how to use it, then went out for a run.

The plan: 5 miles, 40 minutes; I'm doing a 5-mile next weekend, and I didn't want to do the sort of hard burn I did last weekend. Aside from that, Sunday's supposed to be my day off exercising in general, just that my schedule got shunted slightly this week.

The reality: I can't, apparently, run a kilometre in five minutes, unless I've got someone else pacing me. It just seems too slow to me. I would up doing 4:15's or thereabouts, ultimately finishing the 5 miles in 35 minutes.

The socks: no blisters! there was a very mild chafing towards the end of the last kilometre, but I sailed past the three-mile mark without a twinge. Hurrah!

The HRM: functional. It can be used as a stopwatch - which I needed - as long as you bear in mind that there's a few-second lag between pressing the BIG RED BUTTON and the stopwatch actually starting. My resting heart rate is about 41 - which I knew, and which apparently means I'm either quite fit or verging on death - but I was quite surprised at how quickly it went up; within a couple of hundred metres of my front door, my heart rate had tripled to over 120bpm, and ultimately sat somewhere around 170 for the bulk of the running, peaking at just over 180. Hurrah for numbers! Ultimately, it's not a great HRM (the entry-level Polar has a real stopwatch, for example; the Polars have the added benefit that they'd talk to the stuff I use in the gym) but it'll do me for now.

why is it so hard to take a break?

I am currently nosing around holiday websites to try and figure out what I'm going to do with my time off work. Obviously doing nothing is the cheapest, easiest option, but the summer here has been pretty miserable and I'm inclined to catch a bit of sunshine somewhere. I am, however, finding it somewhat difficult, since there does not appear to be a convenient website wherein I can say, "I have two weeks off, starting thus and ending thus, and a nominal budget. What can I do?". I'm reduced to iterating through a list of destinations and heavy use of the "back" button (which doesn't always work, thank you sites with redirects). I may actually have to *gasp* visit a travel agent at this rate.

I know, I know, I find fault with everything. That's my fault. (well, one of 'em.)

other running toys

I was poking around at pedometers also, and in particular looking at the Nike doodad that plugs into your iPod. I won't be getting one (I'd need to buy another iPod, it appears), but despite much suggestion to the contrary, you don't actually need the Nike footwear to go with it. The only benefit of the special footwear (beyond any actual athletic benefit) is that the pedometer fits right into the shoe itself. You can pay your €30 for the doodad and hang it off a pair of flip-flops if you like. Of course, you might not be happy that people know you're out running.