Friday, December 26, 2014

I Ran a Marathon. Whoopee. (The marathon aftermath)

I ran the Portland Marathon on October 5th.  For the next week I felt the usual post-race letdown.


They say that you are a different person when you finish a marathon than you were when you started it.  I felt that way after my first half marathon, but the marathon just felt like a really long run.  I wasn't feeling particularly successful or proud of myself.


I mean, these days everyone runs marathons, right? My facebook feed is filled with people who run a marathon every weekend--some for FUN--run long-distance relays and triathlons, and barely need a break.



All I did was run one measly marathon that took me over 5 hours to finish.


I had really hoped to break that 5 hour mark, even though my training clearly showed that was highly unlikely.  And that 3 minute PR? That can easily be explained by not needing a bathroom break this year. Remember this?


I was sweating out of pores I didn't know existed.

Nope, no great feelings of success.  In fact, I was feeling so bad that I ended up in the ER with a falsely diagnosed heart attack 2 weeks after the race. (A combination of work and life stress didn't help of course).


Ok,  so the doctor wasn't *quite* so cavalier. It *was* scary though.

I decided it was time for some perspective.  I started looking around online to see if it is still special to run 26.2 miles.  Here's what I found. (Please keep in mind that these are "facts" I found online, so they are 100% true! )


Source DARE, it says.


Source That's still a small percentage.

Here's the thing:  maybe some people have been swimming, biking, and running since they were zygotes. And maybe the average recreational athlete is a good 25-50% faster than me in races.  And maybe some people have had major transformations in their weight, their health, or their looks.

Maybe all that's true.  

But in the end, none of that matters.  You know why? 

Because running makes me happy. 


And that's what makes me a runner. 

Oh, and also a 2 time marathoner.

Whoopee!!!

How do you identify yourself? How long did it take you to own that identity?

UPCOMING POSTS: VOLUNTEERING AT BEAT THE BLERCH, A YEAR IN REVIEW, TRYING SOMETHING NEW AND IMPROVED IN THE NEW YEAR




Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Review: Adidas Wearable Tech and miCoach Heart Rate Monitor

Disclaimer:  I was provided an Adidas bra and heart rate monitor in exchange for a review. I was not provided additional compensation and all opinions are my own.

Back when Emily offered me the chance to try out Oofos (which I'm wearing as I write this), she also asked if I would want to try a sports bra that has a spot for a heart rate monitor.

From their website:
  • Sensor fibers knit into the fabric
  • Second skin fit
  • Quick drying, moisture wicking nylon Lycra® fabric
  • Advanced seamless design for superior comfort
  • No chest strap to slip or bind
  • Soft microfiber trim prevents chafing
  • Use with compatible heart rate monitoring sports watch, smart phones and cardio equipment

 I happily agreed and was surprised when they sent an Adidas miCoach monitor along as well!


It came with a heart rate monitor and a strap.


All I had to do was clip the monitor into the bra and pair it with the free miCoach app on my phone.

 

I was a little confused about how to get things going, and after a few user errors I found a video that showed how to get started.


I moistened the strap, as demonstrated.


Since that didn't work, I tried again; only this time with a little more moisture.


I crossed my fingers.


This went on over and over.  When I eventually did get a successful pairing, I was pretty excited! 

Until I saw the readout.



Aaarrrgghhhhh.

Emily put me in touch with Adidas digital sports.  They were very nice, and after various failed attempts to problem-solve they sent me a replacement and had me send back the original and let me know it worked just fine when they tested it out. GAH.

I took the monitor on several runs, using both the bra and the strap in order to see if one way worked better than the other.  It had some quirks.


It did this at the beginning of every run for 5 minutes straight.

I have waffled on my feelings about this product, so I decided to rely on my tried and true list method:


THE BRA

1.  The fit is good.  It's your basic sports bra designed to keep the girls in place during exercise.

2.  The heart rate monitor pocket is well constructed, easy to use, and comfortable.  I don't even feel the monitor when I'm running.

3.  It's really nice to clip the heart rate monitor onto clothing and not have to worry about keeping a strap in place.

THE MICOACH DEVICE AND APP

1.  The app shows a lot of data, including predicted finish times in different races based on your performance.

 

2.  You can configure it to tell you updates at various intervals during your run (half mile, mile, kilometre, etc...)

3.  The monitor is your standard snap-in oval.  It's lightweight and the profile seems average to me.



THE BRA

1.   I've noticed chafing from the seam of the heart rate monitor pouch, but luckily it doesn't hurt.

THE MICOACH DEVICE AND APP

1.  The constant sensor issues really drove me nuts.  While I thought everything fit snugly, maybe the strap was too big; however, I don't think the bra could be any smaller.

2.  There seem to be some issues using it with iOS8, so it's good to know that if you use an iPhone.  For example, I noticed that one of my runs clocked my heart rate at 50 beats per minute, which is 10 beats slower than my resting heart rate.

MY VERDICT:  I really wanted to like this product, but at this point I can say that it is okay.
I like the fit and support of the bra and I think Adidas constructed it well.  I also like the features provided on the app, which are the same as other free running apps available.

Interestingly, I find that the more I run with the monitor, the more realistic the readouts are.  If the sensor stays in contact with my phone, then maybe the Adidas miCoach and I can be friends after all.

UPCOMING POSTS:  MARATHON AFTERMATH, VOLUNTEERING AT BEAT THE BLERCH







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