Starting from scratch in an elite fitness-blog-world full of expensive gear, and Personal Records she couldn't beat with a car.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Getting it in gear

My tuchus that is, and this is woefully overdue.

I finished the 5k to 10k training pretty strong on February 19th and then just sort of... petered out. Life, the universe and everything (and by that I mean my Kindle) intervened, and so my mileage, endurance, and ability to fit into my wardrobe went kaput.

So what am I doing to fix this?

Well, in about an hour I'm heading out to do the first race of the NYS Parks Summer Run Series in  Heckscher State Park (and potentially intermittent thunderstorms) with Gigi of Running On Candy. That will be a  five mile run and the first of eight weekly runs of differing lengths across different regional state parks.

I'm really looking forward to this! (and not just because it's NOT at eight in the morning) so I'll get back to you on how it went soon.

I've also started using Jeff Galloway's half marathon trainer app on my iPhone in the hopes that having a more rigid training schedule will keep me on track. I think I just have to face the fact that I'm not working consistently without some sort of goal or guideline. I don't really have a problem with this, it really just means I have to focus a bit more on what goals I'm looking to achieve.

I suppose you can call it a comeback if you really want to.

Do you find that there specific are things you lean on to make it easier to get out there?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

LIMA 5k race report and the hotly contested Instead Giveaway winner

The Long Island MacArthur Airport 5K Run for Veterans Race Report

Last Saturday was the LIMA 5k and I ran it in at a blazing 37:53!

And by blazing I mean of course the temperature of 79 degrees at 9:30m in the morning on an unshaded airport runway, not my running. This was not the most awesome experience ever; but I have learned some things and knowing is, as they say, half the battle.

No lasers at the race, but plenty of real Vets and to them I owe thanks.

Primarily: it's little secret that I am NOT a morning person, but I can usually muddle through to do early morning things if properly motivated. However I think I finally have to accept the reality that morning races are not for me.

The less sleep I get the less settled my stomach gets, and that is not a recipe for a happy race experience. Add on top of that really bad traffic driving in (I was 100% sure we were going to miss the race until we were literally in our corral), zero caffeine, too jittery for food, not enough time to properly hydrate, and not bringing my own water I'm kind of amazed I ran as much as I did (which was probably about three quarters of the race). In the end I was fine and pretty glad I did it, but I suspect that if I had pushed myself any harder I probably would not be.

I have a couple of AM races on the docket over the next several months (i.e. The Color Run and The Diva Half Marathon) and I'll figure out how to handle those, but in the interest of my general well being I am going to limit morning races severely in the future.

As a side note: It was hot, the sun was relentless, and I was not wearing sunscreen. The slight burn I got across my neck and nose seems to have turned into tan, but honestly that was just stupid. Despite my sun loving complexion (I can get tan looking at pictures of sunny days) I do need to start wearing sunscreen and protecting myself better.

If nothing else I am going to have a heck of a time balancing out the resultant farmer and sock tans!

I'm the one that looks just about short enough to pull off a Jawa costume. I also rock neon something fierce.

I did get to meet up with Gigi of Running On Candy and some mutual co-workers and friends, and there is a certain satisfaction to having run an entire race (*cough* and returned home, showered, and eaten) before I'm normally even up on a Saturday, so I definitely can't say it was all bad.

It was also pretty darn humbling to think of the people I was there to benefit and the experiences that they had signed up for. It's hard to get too worked up about how hard you're having it at a 5k when there are uniformed Veterans cheering you on from the sidelines.

Softcup Challenge Winner!

After extensive work to ensure that the results would be random and fair given the overwhelming response - the winner of the Softcup Challenge giveaway is...


Linda of Frickin' Fabulous at 40!!!

I wish I had put a bit more thought into things as I actually got to meet Linda briefly after the above mentioned 5k, but sadly my very pale, heat intolerant fiancee (hint, he's also in the picture above) had just run his first 5k race and despite appropriate sunscreen was about two steps from immolation by that point, and this was BEFORE the mile or so walk back to the car - so we had to scoot.

Linda: Please email me via gothamcostume at yahoo dot com with your snail mail address and I will send those out. Alternately let me know if you are running the Color Run or any of the New York State Parks Summer Run Series races and I will meet up with you there.

Which is of course a roundabout way of saying FLRRT finally cashed my check and I will be running the Summer Series! After the LIMA run I think that might be a sure mark of masochism but I'm hoping the fact that they are all evening runs will help.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Instead Softcup Challenge - The Jogging Jawa Review (and a giveaway!)

For those of you with more delicate sensibilities - menstruation talk ahoy!

I signed up for the Instead Softcup Challenge through For the Love of the Run in October and I have certainly had more than enough time to test it out - so here's my loooooong overdue review.

I think I managed to keep it on the low-squick factor side of things so don't be too scared about encountering horrifying levels of personal detail.

Bloom County by Berkley Breathed
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As much as procrastination figured in, I'm actually pretty glad of the extra time I have taken to write this because I think after one or two months I would not have given it the same review I'm giving it now. I've been using Insteads on and off for the last six months and I think I've got a pretty good handle on their place in my monthly repertoire.

This was actually not my first time trying Instead Softcups. Way back lo these many years ago in the olden days I like to call "college" I learned that there were environmentally and body friendly alternatives to the usual cloth/paper based disposable feminine products and started researching which would be the best for me. I considered the mass market menstruation products available extremely uncomfortable and wasteful (not to mention of dubious health benefit), so finding that there were alternatives out there opened up a whole new world for me.

I was pretty sure I wanted to get a product called the Diva Cup because it has low environmental impact and unlike some other reusable cups it is silicone (and hence sterilize-able) but at that time a $30+ investment was a rather a big hit to my miniscule college student-type bank account for a completely outre left-field totally weird hippie granola thing.

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If I remember correctly Instead Softcups were a fairly new item at the time, and were being talked up on various message boards as a good test run product if you were looking to get a reusable cup but were not sure. It doesn't require a big initial investment to try it out so I figured I'd give it a shot. I got a sample package and tried it out for a couple of months. While I found it a bit too uncomfortable (and disposable) to be my first choice product at the time, it did give me the practice and confidence necessary to believe that a reusable cup could be the right choice for me.

Shortly thereafter I got my Diva Cup and mostly forgot about Instead Softcups for my purposes, though I did recommend them to other people looking to test out a menstrual cup without the initial investment. They're are definite differences, but it'll give you a good feel for using cups. I've been using my Diva Cup fairly happily since. Menstruation is now MASSIVELY cleaner, cheaper, more comfortable, and far less of a hassle then I could have ever imagined using tampons and disposable pads.

Fast forward to 2012 and my discovery of fitness bloggers (notably including For the Love of the Run).

I saw a few posts about the Softcup Challenge and thought to myself that there probably weren't too many other people doing this from the point of view of a long time dedicated menstrual cup user; so why not sign up?

I received my sample package and while I can't say they will replace my Diva entirely, they have definitely been worth having around. I fully expect I'll keep them available for regular use in the future.

They are apparently more compact this time around and DEFINITELY seem more comfortable then the last time I used them, though admittedly a good part of that may simply be due to increased familiarity with the product type. Either way Insteads have gone from something I can see someone that wasn't me using, to something I found really helpful and plan to use with some regularity.

A big limitation of the reusable Diva cup is that you have to have it on hand. Unless you buy a backup there's only the one available and it has to be properly cleaned, so it's not really the sort of thing you can toss in your pocketbook at the beginning of the week like a tampon and grab it to run to the bathroom just when it's necessary. You also can't take an early lunch break to run out to the nearest drugstore to pick up a nice sanitary individually wrapped Diva Cup if you happen forget it on the day you need it.

There's only so much predicting one can do when it comes to menstruation so having the option of tossing a sealed disposable product in my bag for when I need it has been a GREAT help. This freedom alone has made this whole challenge worth it for me.

If you've ever had the thought that you were literally throwing your money in the garbage for products that leak and chafe and can potentially cause serious illness you may want to think about trying out a menstrual cup.

Instead Softcups are not for those who are ultra squeamish about the functions of the human body, but this is not exactly that crowd. If you can deal with all the sweat, blood, chafing, blisters, trail squatting, and *ahm* potential for stomach upset that goes hand in hand with regular running it follows that most of you are a fairly hearty lot with few illusions about the day to day details of human bodies.

There is a bit of a mess factor but... how to put it nicely... it's a bathroom mess (hence easily cleanable) as opposed to a laundry mess (hence get out the bleach and cross your fingers that your favorite pants/sheets/whatever are salvageable - because you know it's ALWAYS your favorite).

I'm the Jogging Jawa, and I approve of this message. Even though I received this product free of charge, the opinions expressed in this blog are 100% mine. Feel free to ask topical but terribly personal questions in comments. I will try to answer as frankly as I can.

So here's the part where those of you who bothered to read all the way through get to come in.

I coincidentally happened to win a giveaway via From the Love of the Run at the same time that I signed up for the Instead Softcup Challenge so I actually received TWO packages of Instead Softcups.

As much as I'm a little tempted to keep them all for myself it would be pretty unfair of me to hog all the freebees, so anyone who posts to say that they are interested before midnight of June 1 will be entered in a giveaway for a free sample box of Softcups to be chosen in some highly unscientific randomized way. This will most likely involve one of my cats or possibly a dart (but not both - my cats are stabby enough all on their own thank you).

Gentlemen this includes you too, but I'll leave it to you to figure out what to do with them or how to explain them to whoever you pass them along to.

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Evidence of Liking my Facebook and/or pimping the blog may get you extra chances/brownie points/ and maybe a sparkly sticker or two if you're the winner.

Friday, May 3, 2013


Okay, so I have totally been a piss poor excuse for a fitness blogger for the last month and a half, and while I can't say I have any good excuses I will say I have some contributing factors I'd like to put on the table and hopefully you'll forgive me.

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As I mentioned in my last post oh these many moons ago I got a Kindle (Fire) and as a result I've literally read more books in the last two and a half months than I had in the previous two and a half years. So that was totally cool for my brains, but not so good for sitting down for hours at a time at a computer.

I also started busy season at work - I work for a company which deals heavily with schools and the ends of the semesters are astoundingly busy, so I've been trying really hard to keep my daytime internet abuse down. Blogging takes a bit more attention than I can reasonably divert during billable hours and still look my boss in the eye.

Here is a barely relevant photo of David Bowie. You're welcome.
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Mainly I've been distracted by some personal stuff that came up in late February/early April and have been TERRIBLE about regular exercise and I am FEELING IT. My legs are doing okay but for the last month or so I've been running at most once a week. Because of this I'm running out of gas or severely side stitching and walking it in after two miles and that needs to stop.

Clearly I cannot be trusted to keep up consistently without some sort of training program so I think I'm going to have to figure out a new goal to commit myself to. I do want to start hitting the ZombiesRun! app and I may repeat some of the 5k to10k weeks just to work back up to some distance. I think it's time to start looking at some half marathon programs as well.

The really good news on the overall fitness front is that I have a new source of motivation and as a result I am going to have to *finally* take up some sort of that long needed cross training. As much as I DO enjoy it, running is only going to do so much toward giving me wedding-dress-ready shoulders.

Pro tip: don't announce your engagement on April Fools Day - It takes a good week before anyone will fully believe you
Happily I'm already pretty sanguine with my overall shape and am not worried about having to do any of the "bridal diet"craziness, but I would like my arms and shoulders to look tip-top for the day (which isn't going to be until next fall anyway) so I would like to add some more disciplined yoga and weight practice into the mix.

Fear not, this isn't going to become "Jogging Jawa runs to the Altar", I'm keeping things strictly fitness here. But it happened and I'm pretty excited and it's been eating all of my internet time for a bit and it WILL be shaping my workouts, so I thought I'd let you know what was up.

I do have a few random races already on the docket (see over there on the right!) and Gigi of Running On Candy finally get me on board for the New York State Parks Summer Run Series, though I've apparently missed out on regging some of the races.

So what have y'all been up to?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Taper (ha ha!) week!

I'm getting ready to leave for my first run of my last week of 5k to 10k, and I was thinking about why I haven't been too psyched to get out for this run* (beside the horrible travel conditions) but I just figured out the holdup while I was changing into my workout gear.

This is "rest/recovery" week with the idea that the end of this week should be an actual 10k race so I have to do a fifteen minute run with five minute walk on each end for warmup/cooldown. 

The effective upshot of that is that it literally took me longer to get dressed then it will to do my entire run today.
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I think it took longer just to get my new sneakers de-tissued and laced on just right.

The bright side however is that I will be trying out my new sneakers so I'm pretty psyched about that.

*I was going to go yesterday but there was apparently an accident on the road immediately next to my gym so I couldn't go right after work... aaaaaand then I got a Kindle so the whole evening pretty much disappeared after that.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Something is not adding up here

Apropos of the time of year I've been poking around at heart rate training info. I've poked at it a bit before, but not enough to really get any sort of handle on what it was I was reading.

This is an array of different heart rate range calculations based on my stats, including Karvonen which seems to be the gold standard. It also tends to have the highest ranges. I've highlighted the Karvonen calculations and the Max heart rate zone.
Calculated via

Also per
90%-100% = VO2 Max Zone
VO2 Max is your body’s maximum oxygen consumption level. It is measured in volume/time units. You may reach this zone only for very short bursts of time. When you go into oxygen debt by racing your buddy to the finish line you have reached your VO2 max. Your lungs can’t keep up your body’s demand for oxygen and lactic acid floods into your muscles. Training in this zone increases enzymes in your muscles responsible for anaerobic metabolism.

We've already established that I'm a bit shall we say, overclocked... but what actually does that mean?

This is the average of all of the stats from just about all of my workouts since I got my Garmin

Via my Garmin Connect profile (this should be just about everything since October)

185 is the AVERAGE heart rate which I have been operating at for all of my runs for about six months. I have gone as high as 207.

Just throwing that out there.