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Archives for September, 2010

The front page of today’s San Francisco Chronicle denounces the use of heart rate monitors in an article that makes no commitment for anything.  I don’t understand why someone would bother to write an article with a commanding headline and not commit to anything.

“One thing most people can safely ignore – and probably should, at least at first – are those heart rate monitors on the cardio machines”.

I can safely ignore the whole gym too.

I think heart rate monitors are great things to have on the exercise machines at the gym.  I love heart rate monitors so I can see my level of effort.  For novices, the machines use your age and weight for an estimated heart rate zone.  The machine tells you when you are going too fast or too slow.  The best thing about the heart rate monitors on exercise machines is they give you an estimate of how many calories are burned during the work out.  When you are new to exercising, it is nice to know how hard it is to burn the 140 calories consumed in one soda.  On the other hand, when you have been exercising for years, heart rate monitors help you to know how many calories you need to consume to replace what you burned.

There are some generalizations (the main complaint seems that it is not an exact science) with figuring out your maximum heart rate that the author has issues with.  The general rule of thumb for max heart rate is 220 minus age.  That would give me a max heart rate of 170.  I went to the track, did a 2 mile warm up followed by a ¼ mile sprint and found my max heart to be 167.  I did a really hilly half marathon and found my max heart rate to be 174.  Does it matter if my max heart rate is 167 or 174?  Not to me… and it is my heart so I have the final say in the matter.

I do a lot of pacing for other people on long runs.  After a while, I can judge their effort level from my heart rate.  For long endurance events, it is nice to have an estimated heart rate plan to stick with.  It is easy to go out too fast and suffer at the end.

While running, it is nice to wear a heart rate monitor for the long, slow runs.  It is surprising easy to let your heart rate ease up without noticing the exertion level changing until you run out of gas or get injured.  The long, slow runs really burn the fat.  My rule of thumb is, you are burning fat after 90 minutes of jogging or bike riding.

Heart rate monitors are a matter of personal preference.  I love mine and wear it for every run and most bike rides.  I have never had my heart rate monitor mislead me.  It tells me a number.  What I do with that number is up to me.

Detour bars

Right around the time that I got injured Detour sent us a couple of bars for review.   The bars are huge (3 oz) and covered in chocolate.  I broke one in half and stuck in my cycle shirt for a long ride and ate it around mile 40.  The chocolate coating did not hold up very well for the ride but it stayed together well enough to eat.  My low sugar chocolate chip caramel bar tasted pretty good and went down easily.  I ate the whole bar and had no issues with it after I started riding again.  I don’t think the bars are intended to be energy bars but I felt fine for the rest of my ride and the rest of the day.

The lower sugar bar has 30 grams of protein and 34 grams of carbs.  The list of ingredients is obscene but the thing tastes good.  I will try them a few more times to see how they work out.  I am not going to carry the bar on a run because I am sure it will not hold up to the temperature of a run.

The huge list of ingredients through chemistry are a big turn off for me but the bar goes down easily and I recover well when I eat the bar.  The Detour bar is on my neutral list.  If you do not mind all of the chemicals, the bar is a definite buy.

Tangerine chicken dinner

Thinking about our friends over at Team Type 1, I decided to post a healthy recipe for the night before a long run (I usually eat pasta or pizza).  If you are diabetic or pre-diabetic, cut back on the rice.  Watching your diet and exercising are great ways to maintain your health if you are easing towards diabetes.  A few years ago, my blood test showed that I was pre-diabetic.  I started living a healthy lifestyle and my blood sugar is now so average that it is boring.

1      8-12 ounce can of tangerines
2     shallots, minced
2     tablespoons Dijon mustard one tbsp plain will work in a pinch
1     tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1     tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2     tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2     teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1     teaspoon Tabasco or other hot sauce to taste
4     8-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
freshly ground pepper

Throw the chicken in a Ziploc bag.  Toss the ingredients into a food processor and grind them up.  Pour the mixture into the Ziploc bag and coat the chicken.  Let it stand for 30 minutes and grill for about 15 minutes.   I’d recommend 10 minutes on side one, flip and cook for 5 more minutes on the other side.

Serve with rice (I like white), spinach and corn or any vegetables of your choice.

I always have fresh rosemary as it grows year around in Alameda.  You can substitute or add spices when you have them fresh.

My Klean Kanteen

Now that I am back to running, I am drinking my 4 liters of water per day again.  I usually keep two or three liters of water on my desk.  I get a lot of running and cycling bottles from all of the events that I do.  The plastic running bottles do not hold up very well when they are used for a long time so I don’t use them at my desk.  After a couple of months of constant use, the plastic bottles start to leach chemicals into the water.  I don’t like the plastic taste and it makes me wonder about what I am drinking when I can taste it.

I picked up a Klean Kanteen a few weeks ago.  (Mike gave it to me) It came with the poly sports cap.  It is the cap that really sets the Kanteen apart from my other steel bottles.  One bottle has a small mouth for drinking with fine threads that cut my lip.  The other has a big mouth that causes spills on my shirt.  The cap also has an ergonomic handle that makes it easy to carry the bottle with one finger.

I like steel because I know it is easy to recycle.  I am not too sure about how much you can recycle plastic that has been leaching for a year.  Just remember, drink your water.  If your bottle starts to taste like plastic or metal, replace it.

A Klean Kanteen with cap will cost around $25 at Amazon but it is worth it if you drink your water all day long.

I hope everyone has been working on their base training in my absence.  If you are planning on running with the Alameda Runners for this marathon, we are planning on going slowly.  Our target pace is between 4 and 5 hours.  I say this because 5 days of running is a bit too much for everyone.  When you are doing a slow marathon, it is okay to skip a short run during the week.  Make sure you do your long runs and increase your distance 5-10 percent per week.

I am finally back from my injury, just in time for a 13 mile long run this Saturday.  I have been off for 2 months so this is going to be a slow run.  If anyone wants to join me, I will be starting at the Bay Farm ferry station in Alameda at 10:00 am.  It will be an out and back through crab cove at approximately 10 to 12 minutes per mile.  It depends on who joins me and how I feel this week.  When you go out for a 13 mile run make sure you bring at least two energy gels and a bottle water.

If you plan on joining me, send me an email through the contact us link above.

Get out and vote

Election season is upon us, and it is our duty to get out and vote.  It does not matter who you vote for or why you select the candidate.  Just get out and do it.  Alameda is going to select a new mayor this year.  Alameda has had good leadership for a long time.  All is not perfect but Alameda is a beautiful place with a pretty balanced budget.  I will give you thoughts on the candidates for mayor this year.  You do not have to agree  I just hope you think about it and go vote.  The same goes for all of the readers who are eligible to vote.  Now I begin.

Frank Mataresse – He has my vote.  He drives an electric car around Alameda.  He is technically savvy and is not afraid to try things.

Doug DeHaan – I like anyone who is Doug DeHaan’s opponent.  He campaigns on negative ads and likes to point fingers.  Leaders do not pass blame.

Marie Gilmore – I like Marie, she does a good job on city council and has a good record as a person.  A city council with people like her are what make Alameda great.

Tony Daysog – He seems like a professional politician to me.  His political career gets a yawn compared to Mataresse, Gilmore and Kahn.

Kenneth Kahn – You just have to love Kenny the clown.  He is technically savvy and a clown.

These are just my thoughts.  Go to their web sites or a town hall meetings and make up your mind.  If you really like a candidate, go help them out.  All candidates for local office need help.

I am still suffering from my hip flexor injury.  To make matters worse, I am working a lot of hours and my local pool is a slimy mess.  What is an injured athlete to do?  I can bike on flat ground but I don’t have the ambition for cycling as I already missed my summer bike ride and triathlon from my injury.  Now that I am healing up, I can lift weights but I don’t want to get bulky.

What I am doing now is  a far cry from my usual 10-15 hours of exercise per week but it helps.  I have a body blade that I picked up from Fitter First.  It looks like a real gadget that I was nervous about buying.  I paid $99 for it.  The price seems to be the same no matter where you look.

I happen to like Fitter first because they have quality stuff and cool videos of all the stuff that I bought.

The body blade is a fiber glass stick with rubber weights on the ends.  You shake it back and forth to get a workout.  The thing comes with the obligatory video that I watched and then promptly ignored.  I just shake the stick and let my body find the workout.  I know it works because I am sore the next day.  The nice thing about the stick is that it is easy to put in a corner and use it while watching TV.  They have workout plans but I just use it.  A lot of the two handed positions work the whole body.  Any time you work the whole body, calories are burning.

I also do some ab work that avoids pulling on the injured muscle group.  Resting is hard but I have some big events coming up and I must be healthy to have a chance at completing them.