From Running to Rowing

Back in 2016 we purchased a fairly high-quality treadmill. Having it in the basement was absolutely brilliant. I could go for a run no matter the weather outside, or in the evening even if I was home alone with the sleeping kids. Going outside for a run with the kids home alone sleeping would have been, shall we say, problematic.

So since 2016, I’d used the treadmill semi-regularly, and as of the end of July this year, the odometer had stopped at just shy of 1,500 kilometers (~932 miles). It’s not a terribly impressing distance, but it’s a whole lot further than I would have run without the treadmill.

Unfortunately, a treadmill isn’t very kind to your knees. Over the last half a year or so, I’d not used the treadmill as much as I should. Towards the end of each session, my left knee started to act up, and my motivation for using the treadmill went a bit downhill because of that.

Another issue with the treadmill was that the kind of exercise I got was limited. It’s cardio, legs, and perhaps some back training – I imagine that my posture has improved – but the rest of the body is just along for the ride.

So now I’ve sold the treadmill, and transitioned to a piece of exercise equipment I’m hoping will give me a better all-round workout.

Say hello to my new best friend, the new Abilica Premium TopRower!

Time

I’m getting myself into a time problem, and I’m not sure how to solve it.

So, yeah, as you know I’ve got a wife. And we have kids. I’ve also got a job. I need to sleep. And I’ve got hobbies: Running, gaming, writing posts for this site, and reading books.

I’m terrible at multitasking, but I’ve managed to combine some of these hobbies to a certain degree. I placed an old television set in front of the treadmill, and hooked it up with a Chromecast dongle. So now I cover some of my gaming needs by watching other people play games on YouTube or Twitch while I’m running.

I’ve also tried to combine gaming and writing by putting together quite a lot of computer game reviews over the years. This isn’t ideal, though, because the reviews often feels a bit forced, probably because I played the game just to write a review. What’s the fun in that? Playing the game should lead to writing the review, not the other way around.

The third multitasking-esque thing I do is reading books while I’m commuting. This actually works out very well. I’ve had the A Book A Month project going for about three years now, and it’s been a raging success. I don’t think I’ve ever read as many books as I do these days.

Running Man. Part III

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:

Running, cycling, 2010 to May 2nd 2016.

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.

Running With a Geek Goal: Ingress

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, Google1, 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.

Two Steps Ahead

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.