After over 2000 posts, it’s getting hard to come up with creative titles, at least on recurring topics. Please bear with me.
I’ve been running (or jogging, if you will) on and off for the last 15-ish years. It’s never been a very serious effort, though, I’ve still to start in a race, and I very much doubt that I’ll ever do. Neither have I had any wild goals, the main one has been to be able to run a 10K in less than one hour. Still, it’s been an effective way to stay reasonably fit, and that’s something that should be prioritized. At least if you’re in my shoes; slowly creeping towards the 40-year-old mark, and with a job where I’m mostly sitting or standing up all day.
When we lived in Oslo, the majority of my exercise needs was covered by biking to and from work every day. I’m a sucker for statistics, and in 2010 started to log every kilometer using Endomondo. For a couple of years, all was well. I covered quite a few kilometers every year, mainly on my bike, but also though a little bit of running, as illustrated by this fuzzy, yet handy chart:
Orange is cycling, the dark and light greens are running. As is quite obvious from the graph, my exercise time took a nasty plunge when we left Oslo and moved across the fjord to Nesodden. Taking my bike to work isn’t an option anymore; it’s a good 50 kilometers (~31 miles) each way. Biking on Nesodden’s roads is borderline suicidal anyway. They are narrow, winding, hilly, and there is only a question of time before a full blown war erupts between drivers and cyclists.
Continue reading "Running Man. Part III."
Are you a nerd who spends way too much time inside on your butt, but wishes that you had a good reason to get off it and out the door? Google might have a solution for you.
In November 2012, Google, in the form of Niantic Labs, released Ingress, an augmented reality game. The gameplay consists of establishing “portals” at places of public art, etc., and linking them to create virtual triangular fields over geographic areas. The portals can be compared to the control points in orienteering, but they are not physical. They are virtual and only visible on your phone – unless you have a very vivid imagination, of course.
I try to stay in reasonable shape, and running is a great way to do it. But for me, running is more of a chore than recreation. I tend to mostly focus on how exhausted I am, and since I lack any real competitive spirit, I might not make my goal for a run all the time. It’s so much more pleasant to walk than to run around gasping for air.
But Ingress has made running a lot more exciting for me.
Continue reading "Running With a Geek Goal: Ingress."
I had two new year’s resolutions this year: To smile more and to run more. I’m not sure if I’ve accomplished the former, but at least I’m well on my way when it comes to the latter. I haven’t been running a whole lot, but I’ve managed two or three runs a week since March. According to Endomondo, I’ve covered 5/1000 of the distance around the world and I’ve burned 27 hamburgers. I’m pretty sure I’ve not eaten that many hamburgers since I started running, so yay!
Endomondo is calculating a lot of interesting statistics for me and the funny thing is that there is no real progress. This seems to be the story of my life when it comes to exercise: There’s no real progress. It might be that I’m the next link in the evolution; a person not meant to exercise, but to sit on his ass in front of a computer. To be honest, that would suit me just well. Or maybe I’m just expecting too much progress too fast – because there are some progress. Since March, my average pace (min/km) has dropped from 06:27 to 05:42, which is an improvement. Also, I’m now running 5Ks in relatively hilly terrain. My goal for this season should be to get below 5:00 min/km before the snows starts to fall again. That means I have to run 5000 meters in less than 25 minutes – not a great feat considering the best recorded men’s time on a 5K in 2011 was 12:53.
Still, with my daily bicycle trips to and from work and two to three runs a week, at least I’m not totally stationary – and that’s a good thing. If you’re also on Endomondo, feel free to add me.
I had two new year’s resolutions this year. One was to smile more (which I’ve failed miserably so far) and the other was to run more in between my monkey room workouts (read: when I go to the gym). It’s been hard to stay true to the second one as well since it’s been winter and all, but now the snow is gone – or so I thought – and today I had my first run.
Just to clarify: The picture used above bears very little resemblance to my jog today. It wasn’t sunny, I’m not tan and I need a few more years at the gym to get as fit as that guy. But the posture looks correct… This first run of the season was just like every season’s first run: Hard and short, but rewarding. The route I had planned was still covered with ice, so I had to run more on tarmac that I’m “used” to. In the end I only clocked about 3 kilometers before I decided to call it quits – crawling on your arms and knees while drooling a mixture of blood and spit doesn’t really qualify as running.
Today was also my first run with the Android Endomondo PRO app that I picked up during the Android Market’s 10 billion downloads sale back in December last year. Great for tracking and comparing my results with other, far more fit, Endomondo users. I was even browsing for a compatible Bluetooth heart rate monitor to connect to my phone when I discovered that I could just synchronize Endomondo with my Garmin clock. Great stuff. So now all my runs and bicycle rides since May 2010 is available with summary statistics. I love statistics. Next up is to start to log everything in Endomondo, including my work outs at the gym.
All the painting of apartments and moving of boxes back in July and August took its toll on my exercise schedule, and I was in gym limbo for two months. During those two months the time I had already spent at the gym really paid off, however. Moving our crap around and painting, among other things, three ceilings, with all the awkward positions that involves, didn’t have any significantly negative on my back. I can imagine that it would have had I not been in reasonably good shape.
In early October I returned to the Fresh Fitness gym to discover it had gone through a rather surprising transition: From being Average Joe’s half empty gym, it had turned Almost Average Joe’s packed gym. Unless I pop in on Sunday morning, the place is usually crowded, very often with the same people. There are some guys I’ve seen every single time I’ve been there since October and I’m beginning to think I might have to greet them soon. But greeting people could turn into a avalanche of social obligations and before I know it I’m someones best man in an Indian wedding. I really don’t have time for that, so I think I’ll stick to not greeting anyone.
There are even some gym babes – women who seemingly just hang around without really working out – scattered among the rest of us now. Unfortunately, the gym babes have displaced the ones who made Fresh Fitness Average Joe’s gym: People who could really need the exercise. That’s a shame, really, because there were a lot of them present earlier this year. Another problem with the gym babes is that since they just hang around looking at people, they notice you. My exercise plan takes me on a tour through most of the stations and I’m sometimes getting conscious about these women thinking I’m following them around. I’m certain it might look that way when I surface in their general area repeatedly, but it’s all a huge coincidence. I swear.
What would socially awkward penguin do!?