Thursday, January 3, 2008

Birthday Loot

I have to admit it. I'm a gear pig. Dr. Andy always gives me grief about my hi-tech approach to a low-tech sport. I like having an MP3 player and nice earphones for running. I have nice new snowshoes for running. I have been wearing a Suunto altimeter watch for years. I use my PSIA membership to take advantage of Patagonia's pro prices, probably more than I need.

After reading an article in the new issue of Ultrarunning magazine yesterday, I almost feel ashamed. Gary Cantrell wrote about the good old days of ultras, before everybody had fancy watches and electrolyte capsules and special drinks and special clothes and hi tech shoes, etc.

Yesterday was my birthday. My wife gave me a Garmin Forerunner 305. Yes, I'd asked for it, so it wasn't a huge surprise, but it's another piece of gear. Recently, my running headphones had died. I got some cash for Christmas and I was going to use that to replace the headphones. But, my son used his Christmas loot to buy a really cool Archos MP3/video player that has a touch screen and WiFi and all kinds of other capabilities. I started thinking about upgrading my MP3 player.

As a runner, I have a flash-based player. It has a 1GB capacity. It cost almost $200 when it came on the market as one of the first 1GB players. These days, 8GB players can be found for $200 and there are 16GB flash players out there as well.

I've been giving my wife all of my paychecks from my ski teaching this winter, hoping to help cover the bills and make it affordable for the whole family to travel to Western States this summer. I've also been doing the same with money I've been making from some consulting work. But, I "claimed" one of my skiing paychecks to get a new MP3 player. After doing a lot of research, I settled on the iRiver Clix 8GB player. It cost a little more than a Nano of the same size, and it had less capacity than the Creative Zen, but it's gotten great reviews. I record MP3s at 192kbps, so it will hold almost 90 hours of music. That should get me through any race I'm planning to do. The battery will die long before the music will start to repeat. The battery life is about 24 hours, so that should give me incentive to get faster for Western States. I want to finish before the battery dies.

Oh yeah - workouts. After running 20 on Tuesday, I only lifted yesterday. I have re-started a Fat Loss program from New Rules of Lifting, with some minor changes. In the Hypertrophy program that I just completed, there was an upper body day and a lower body day. After the lower body day, which included squats, deadlifts, Bulgarian split squats and bench step-ups, running was always tough for a day or two. The Fat Loss programs are whole body workouts. So, I'm hoping that these workouts will not leave me too tired to run on any given day.

Yesterday, I did deads, incline DB presses, Bulgarian split squats, mixed grip lat pulldowns, Romanian deads, pull-ups and push-ups.

When I started this program the first time around, in June, I was using about 60% of the weight I was using yesterday. Today, while I felt a bit tired from the workout, I wasn't trashed and my morning run went well.

Tonight, I think I'll do a nighttime snowshoe run with some of my new toys and my hi tech clothing. Maybe one of my low tech dogs will want to run with me, if it's not too cold at 5:00.

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