The Nike GPS App

I’ve been an avid user of the Nike Plus system since I found out about it waaaayyyy back when. I bought the iPod Nano, the Nike + shoes with the little hole in the sole for the chip, the chip and transmitter and tons of music from iTunes! Yeah, there was a lot of overhead, but I used it on every run, and even on those rare walks. OK, I admit it… I even used it for my dog’s walks. Hey, don’t laugh at me, a dog’s got know how far and fast she’s moving, too!! Needless to say, I thought it was just the coolest thing ever!!! But… now there’s an even cooler way! It’s Nike GPS!!!

Are you asking “What the heck is Nike GPS?” Well, let me tell you… it’s like the Nike +, but you don’t need the nano, the shoes, the chip or the transmitter!!!! You just need to download the app from iTunes app store for a mere $1.99, and that’s it!! It uses the GPS in your iPhone to track your run and measure your pace. Your runs can then be synced up with your Nike account. Are you running indoors on the treadmill? No worries it can keep track of your treadmill miles too! Just make sure you set for an indoor run before you start! Oh… it even allows you to play tag with your fellow runners!! I KNOW… IT’S SO COOL!!!

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To Run… Or Not To Run… This Is The Question!

Run 5K or drinks with my girls?

The last time I ran was probably in the Trailblazer 5K on March 20th. And before that… hmmmm… I can’t remember! I’ve been trying to be good! I took my running gear on my spring break trip to Washington DC…but didn’t run! I took my stuff to my 10th annual girls’ weekend…but didn’t run! I’ll pack my stuff for my upcoming trip to Charlotte… but I probably won’t run there either! What is my problem??? Hmmm, maybe that I’ve been in vaca mode for a few months?!?!

But I woke up determined yesterday… well maybe not so determined as much as guilt-laden. You see I was going about my morning routine, when a friend called and asked if his son could come over and wait with us until the bus came. After I said yes, I realized that I should probably get out of my jammies. And since my hubby was so good about getting up with my son at 5:30AM and driving him to school and waking my daughter while letting me sleep, I didn’t want to disturb his nap. The quickest and quietest outfit I could grab was my running clothes that were still neatly packed in my suitcase!

Here I was all dressed and ready to run, but I had no plans to actually go for a run. Then, I started thinking of how good it would feel to be out in the fresh air, jamming to my Race Day play list and sweating out the toxic weekend… and I started feeling guilty. So I got my shoes, hat and sunglasses and headed out! And it was AWESOME!!! A little hot & humid towards the 4th mile, but it was really nice early on! I felt great all day long, too! Great enough to make a pact with myself to run at least 3 days a week! But will I keep it up?

I think that since I don’t have any upcoming races on the calendar, I’m being lazy! So I need to book some races! Stay tuned…

Running With My iPhone…Yikes

So I finally talked my hubs into buying me the new 3GS iPhone with the Nike App built in. I’ve been bugging him relentlessly, so I wouldn’t have to keep carrying my iPhone and my Nano on my daily runs. I even tried the whole “I’m getting carpal tunnel syndrome and stress in my shoulders” and he would just laugh it off. Arrgghhhh! But with the help of my kids… mostly my daughter who ended up adopting my old iPhone… he relented on Valentines’ Day!

I absolutely LOVE my new iPhone!!! But I’m a little nervous about taking it on my runs. You see, in my head I have a vision of me running down the street, without a care in the world, when all of the sudden something happens… a snake jumps me… or gigantic Blue Heron pecks me… or a raccoon startles me… (Funny that these things have all happened!) and my precious iPhone goes flying from my hand … in slow mo… and lands in pieces on the pavement. NOOOOOO!!!! This would be a TRAGEDY!!!! A MAJOR TRAGEDY!!!

You see, I’m not a strap lover, because I prefer to see my screen while I’m running. I tried the armband, but found it was itchy and I got a bruise on my arm from tugging it to look at the screen constantly!  I tried the waist belt, but it bounced around so much that I was afraid it would break something inside. So, I bought a rubbery case that I can grip, and I’m hoping it works!!! Stay tuned!!!

By the way…do you think the iPad is too big to run with? I get separation anxiety when I’m without mine!

Hang-over Running=Runner’s High

417304291_6212f4020c_mSo a good, old…as in long time… friend of ours is turning the big 5-0 this month, and we surprised him with a party last night. We had a FABULOUS time, and caught up with some friends we haven’t seen in 20 years. Needless to say, there was a fully stocked libation station…bar sounds so mundane…and since I didn’t want to offend anyone, I agreed to a drink…or two. Not a lot, as far as a night of partying goes, but that second drink was really strong, thanks to my darling husband!! We had a wonderful time and left promptly at 11:30PM since I had scheduled a running rendezvous with my niece at 7:00AM. I know, 7:00AM on a Sunday, what? Why? Because we are running 5 miles per our training schedule, and it gets so hot in Florida by 9:00AM that if you don’t get going early it’s torture! You might as well just stick yourself in the oven and crank it up to 500°F. So, yes it’s early, but it’s better! Sleep is over-rated anyway!

So I was asleep by midnight or a little after…not great but doable! At least I thought until I woke up at 4:00AM with a massive headache and feeling dehydrated! I needed water and a Motrin, but I couldn’t get myself to move. I had a dream that I went into the kitchen, filled a glass with ice water and swallowed a Motrin, but it never really happened! So when I woke up at 6:10AM with the same headache, I was confused! This time I got up and got myself the Motrin and water. I made a pot of strong coffee and readied myself for our Sunday long run. I sent a text message to my niece explaining my ailment, and as expected, she gave me an out if I wanted to take it. But I was not going to back out…no way… my mama didn’t raise a wimp! I would run these 5 miles even if it killed me!

My niece got here and we did our normal stall tactics…stretching, talking, fiddling with the ipod…etc! Finally we got on our way. I still had a faint throbbing in my head, but it was definitely going away!  My breathing was heavy and I was instantly winded. I couldn’t seem to get into a rhythm. But after about a ¼ mile, I hit my pace and game on! I was in the sweet spot for the entire 5.52 mile run! Yeah, we ran over the required 5 miles! We so rock!! This was one of those runs that you hear people talk about, but don’t believe will happen for you! I am here to tell you…the runner’s high is real, and achievable. I could have run all day…no doubt! I only hope that I can feel this good while running the marathon! I found my slow and steady pace is around 9:45, which is faster than I expected! Cool!

So how do I achieve this feeling everytime I run? Hmmm, good question! Maybe I should tie one on the night before and run with a hang over. Or maybe I should just wash down a Motrin with a glass of water and cup of strong coffee. I don’t know, but you can bet that I am going to be searching for the secret and if I happen upon it I will share! Promise!!

I TRI-ED!!

Yep...that's me!

Yep...that's me! The one with the cap and goggles!

It’s official…I’m a TRIATHLETE! I am no longer a “newbie” or “tri virgin”! I know, I can’t believe it either! I completed my first triathlon Sunday, Mother’s Day and my 44th birthday,  with 1688 or so other women! Way to go ladies!!!! It’s true…She swims…She bikes…She runs…She Rox!!!! Wooohoooo!

I experienced every emotion during this 3 leg race. From terror as I entered Bay Lake (yeah, swimming’s not really my thing!) … to exuberance as  I sprinted to the finish line with the crowd cheering me on! (Thank you to said crowd for powering me through!) My results were better than I expected, but then again, I really didn’t expect to make it out of the lake! My personal goal was to finish in under 2 hours and I did that! In fact, I finished in 1:48:59!  Not bad, for a first timer! 600th out of 1688 women! Yes I’m bragging just a little! Can you blame me? I’m still wearing my medal proudly!!

Here’s a brief run down of the race…after a night of pasta loading, an annual jammie (as in PJ’s) trip on the monorail, and a brief stint of homelessness due to being locked out of our cabin, we finally went to bed at 11:00P.M., only to wake up before the alarm at 4:30AM. Yeah, sleep was not a big priority for me. We had coffee and tried to eat, but evidently food wasn’t high on my priority list either! We suited up, piled on the golf carts and headed to the transition area. Nerves were jumping off all over the place! I set up my little transition area (complete with a birthday balloon that sings) and then wandered over to the lake to see exactly what a ½ mile swim looks like. By this time I think I was in shock, so I couldn’t tell you if I thought it was farther than I expected or not. I was comforted by the number of lifeguards and swim angels (people treading water with swim noodles for those of us who need a little help) strategically placed every 50-100 feet on both sides of the course. Surely, they would fish me out (no pun intended) when I start flailing about!

My loving family found me on the beach by the lake, and I nervously chatted with them while awaiting the start of the 1st wave.  You see there were 22 waves, each 3 minutes apart and each with a different color swim cap. I was in wave 6, yellow caps (not a good color for me), scheduled to start at 7:15A.M, just after the survivor wave, pink caps, my friend Suzi’s wave.  As I hugged my husband, mother and children and accepted their good luck wishes, I felt the nervous tension bubbling up and tears popped into my eyes. Who knew that I would get so emotional? Why? I am a strong woman about to spend the next 2 hours proving exactly how strong I am. Starting this adventure with tears is not what I expected!

So they call our wave into the staging area as the pink capped survivors walk into water. This wave gets an amazing cheer from the crowd! They are all women who have had or currently have cancer. When you think of what they’ve been through, you can’t help but get a little choked up! They are my heroes!  And here come the tears again! What is going on?

Swim?...check!!

Swim?...check!

So, here I am, standing in the sand, tears running down my face, watching my heroes paddling their way through the course, when I hear the announcer call the yellow wave into the water. Hey, that’s me! Before I knew it, I was in the water, and then I was swimming.  Again, I think I was in shock, so I can’t really tell you what my emotions were, but I was crawling along. It was crowded and people were everywhere, with arms and legs splashing about! I think I went into a slight trance, because the next thing I knew I was watching the ladies beside me stand up and walk out of the water. And sure enough when I reached my foot for the bottom it was there! I had done it! And I didn’t even need to noodle swim! WOOOHOOO! My swim split was 22:52…not bad for a scrappy swimmer.

With the hard part done, I was on my way to the biking portion.  But first I had to run (barefooted, mind you) through sand, across pavement, grass and even mulch to the transition area which was quite a ways away. The women in front of me decided that running was over rated, so we walked. When I finally got to my transition area, I quickly pulled on my socks and shoes, clicked my helmet into place and pulled my bike from the rack.

I think now is a good time to tell you about the bikes that the women use in this race. Most experienced triathletes have invested hundreds and some even thousands of dollars on the latest, greatest and lightest bikes, with teeny weeny tires, that threatened to break the speed of light, and clip in pedals, which seems like being hand…well…foot-cuffed to your bike. Even some newbies rented these super light, super fast bikes. But for some of us, we just used what we had and for me that was a clunky, heavy mountain bike with thick tires and a hint of rust. Oh, and did I mention that the brakes rub? Yeah, that means I have to push harder to travel the same distance.  But it’s a bike… and it’s my bike!

Bike? Check!

Bike? Check!

So, we had to walk the bike out of the transition area and down the bike path until we reached the pink “mount line”. But, most women stopped as soon as they saw the line, and tried to hop on their bike, only to be reprimanded and told to mount after the pink line. So it was a bit of a traffic jam, but cleared quickly. We rode out the bike path and onto the service roads throughout Disney. Now, living in Florida, there are a couple things that are certain…it’s usually hot… sunny with a chance of rain… and flat…as in no hills. So, how then, did the organizers of the bike portion of this race find not just one, but multiple hills to torture us with? Don’t they know that there are no hills for us to train on around here? And the hills weren’t placed at the beginning of the ride…no…it was towards the middle and end, when our legs were already rubber. As if that weren’t bad enough, the course required us to make U-turns, really tight U-turns, which are tough when you’re on a bike and surrounded by bikes…not to mention doing this while being foot-cuffed to your bike! But after about 49 minutes, I was done with the second leg of this adventure!

After returning to the transition area, I racked my bike, took off my helmet and quickly covered my matted hair with a hat (bad hair day doesn’t even begin to cover it), downed some Gatorade and headed out… music free…for my favorite event…the run. OK, so let me fill you in on my running experience. I love to run! I love to run to my music! I run to the beat of the music that is playing in my ear. But, I was told that if I was caught with an ipod, I would be disqualified, and all my hard work would be for nothing! So, I made the decision to run naked, yeah, that’s what I feel like when I run without music. But, I set off strong, using my breathing as my beat. I passed up the first water table and just kept my pace and breathing steady. I felt good and strong as I ran down the bike path. After what seemed like 3 miles, I heard a volunteer tell a runner that was already on there way back from the out and back course that they were halfway there. WHAT?!?! I was still on my way out and I felt like I should be done! Where’s my music?!?!?! I need some Green Day and Bon Jovi!!

Run? Check!

Run? Check!

As I came around the first of two U-turns, I saw a woman with an Ipod! Wait…what…she has music? How could this be? I had to hold myself back from tackling her and taking her Ipod! Son of a …..arggghhhhhh! So, I swallowed my anger and frustration and picked up the pace. I needed to get this over with! Then, I saw Suzi up ahead, walking, due to a knee injury, and I picked up my pace to catch her! As I caught up to her, we turned onto the final ¼ mile! Only a couple more minutes and we would be finished with this whole #$%^^$ adventure!  We could hear the crowd in the distance and the cheers were getting closer with every step! Suzi was running through the pain…you go girl! Before I knew it, I was in the shoot with hundreds of people lining either side, cheering loudly! The adrenalin kicked in and I took off at a sprint to the finish line! I don’t know if it was the desire to finish the race or the desire to get away from all the eyes starring at me, but I turned it on and I was DONE!!!! WOOOHOOO!!!

After taking a moment to turn in my timing chip, collect a flower and a medal, I hugged my mentor-friend-survivor, Suzi, and the tears were rolling again! The emotions were unexpected and uncontrollable! I found my family and hugged all of them tightly, relieved to see them again and not from a stretcher! We made our way over to the food pavilion and waited an hour or so until the transition area opened for us to claim our bikes. The adrenalin fizzled and the lack of sleep started to make itself known! I was tired, not physically, like I thought, but emotionally.  Warning…this race really zaps the emotions!

In retrospect, my 1st triathlon was rewarding, exhilarating, surprising, frustrating, phenomenal and inspirational!  It was so much more than I expected, and by far the best birthday gift I could have given myself! I am proud of myself, but most of all I am relieved! Relieved not only that I finished, but that I didn’t make a complete fool of myself in the process!

Next challenge…hmmmm…I think maybe the Disney Marathon in January!  What do you think? Care to join me? Come on…you’ll only regret it for a little while!

I DID IT!!!

bike_riderGood Monday morning to you! I had a wonderful weekend and I just couldn’t wait to tell you that I finally did it! Yep that’s right…I did all 3 sprint distance events (.5 mile swim, 14 mile bike and 3 mile run) all in one day and with less then 30 minutes (or so) in between each. So I actually did what I like to call the “You CAN Do IT Triathlon”. It was a relief knowing that I can do all 3 events back to back and still live to talk about it!!!

The order was a little mixed up! You see we were being green (it is almost Earth Day) and rode our bikes to the pool at the high school first, which was about 7 miles. After a little conversation which made for a really slow transition, we did the swim, which was a wonderful “clear water” swim in a beautiful blue pool. No dark and murky lakes with monsters for me! Then, we had a little granola bar break, before biking back home. I really hadn’t intended to run after all this, but as I was closing in on home, I thought that this would be a GREAT opportunity to prove to myself that I can do this!! So I parked the bike, grabbed my iPod and hit the pavement for a 3 mile run! WOW! My legs were DONE!!!

So, what did I learn? Well, I know that the swim is going to be the hardest part for me! I can swim, (that is, if your definition of swim is keeping your head above water) but I’m not fast and therefore will probably be in the water FOREVER!!! The biking portion will be fine… not fast but adequate. You see, I don’t have a “super fast tri bike” in fact my bike is a crossover that looks more like a mountain bike and is really heavy with fat tires. Not exactly what you want in a triathlon, but I don’t want to spend a ton of $ on a new one! So I will make due! The run yesterday sucked! But it was 3:00PM and the sun was blazing down with no wind relief at all! Thankfully I cranked my music and just went into my auto-pilot mode. I am going to have to sneak my iPod on the Big Day! I realized that I can not do the run as tired as I will be without my music to power me through!

I came home from all this, famished and parched! I really must make sure I eat along the way and HYDRATE!!! (And I don’t mean with lake water! Swallowing the lake is not a good idea!) I need to make sure I have plenty of water and snacks in the transitions so that I can keep my energy up! Maybe I will give those gel packs a try! I hear they are a little icky, but definitely give you a boost! I wonder if I could stomach it? I will give it a try and let you know!

Have a great week!!!

Lose It

Lose It!

Lose It!

Ok all you iPhone and iPod Touch users, I’ve found an app that I can’t live without! And I think you won’t be able to either! It’s called “Lose It” and it’s a free (yup that’s right, I said FREE) application available at iTunes. Why is it so great? Well, it helps you Lose It…weight that is! You set it up with a few simple questions about your current weight, and your goals whether it be to lose, gain or maintain. From this information, Lose It sets up a per day calorie intake goal. Then, when you eat you simply enter it into the app. They’ve made it really easy, because they have databases with the most popular name brands and restaurants. Can’t find your favorite Tofutti Fudge Bar? No worries, you can enter it in from the nutrition info on the box. Have a special recipe, but don’t know how many calories or fat grams… it’s OK, because you can add it. Adding a new food or recipe is a breeze!

Now comes the best part!!! It also tracks your calories burned through exercise. And I don’t mean just those burned through aerobics, spinning or running. It also counts calories burned through house cleaning, vacuuming and (whisper) sex!  I know….it is SOOO COOL!!! So, imagine you have made it through dinner and you’re at your limit for the day, but you’re still a little hungry. You forgot that you actually cleaned the house and vacuumed the carpet. Enter those in and BOOM…you have another 150 or so calories you can eat!! It actually makes you want to exercise and clean!

Well, I originally started this back in February and did great tracking for a while, then went on vacation and let it lapse for a week or two. Then, I started again a couple of weeks ago, and have been diligent about logging everything! AND, I have lost…drumroll please….5 pounds! Whooooohoooo!

So if you have an iPhone or iTouch, I highly recommend this application!