Monday, November 30, 2015

What I Did (And Did Not Do) In November

I told you I would write an actual running-related post soon!


  • Run a non-zero amount! In general, things are trending in the right direction. If you'll recall, I'd decided to wait until my leg felt absolutely, 100% normal again before I tried starting the run-walk progression. That happened in early November, and I am now perilously close to running for AN ENTIRE HALF HOUR WITHOUT STOPPING. Everything feels great, and I haven't any pain or discomfort with any activities.

    The universal symbol for "some running happened." My blog is safe for another year. #b-roll

  • Climb all the rocks! Well; climb some of the rocks. Well; fake rocks. Enough that I felt justified in buying my own gear (because rental shoes, ew).

    Thank you, REI coupons! I would post a picture of me actually rock climbing, but a) it's kind of a choice between getting pics from your buddy or not dying, and b) sorry, I was busy actually doing stuff and not documenting it for the internet.

    I still have yet to make it all the way up a 10a, but I'm getting closer every time.

  • Read all the books! Nothing new to see here, I suppose. I'll do a Quarter 4 books post in January.

    No restraint. None.

  • Win NaNoWriMo! I have a feeling this crowd probably knows all about it already, but November is National Novel Writing Month, and if you so choose you can even make yourself an official account on the official website and track your progress with a nifty little graph.


  • Give my insurance a workout. On November 10, I went to see the foot & ankle doctor at UCSF that I saw after CIM 2012 when I had tendinitis in my left foot. I wasn't totally sure she was the right person to see since I don't actually have an acute injury or pain in my foot, but I have always had problems with that left foot, and I am pretty sure that trying to correct them is what led to a string of really disheartening injuries dating back to early 2013.

    Something I've learned about the entire medical/PT/training/coaching/whatever-industrial complex is that most professionals are really good at their specialty, but almost no one has expertise in looking at a big-picture situation that involves a range of different areas. So, I credit the foot doctor with hearing me on this and not siding with resident #1 & saying, "Well, your foot seems fine to me, come back when you have a real problem."

    Instead, she made two recommendations:

  • Get a Skeletal Health consult! because when a young, otherwise healthy person has multiple stress fractures, they want to be sure they rule out any hormonal, metabolic, or autoimmune issues. I was all for this, because then I don't have to wonder about it. Basically this means getting examined by/chatting with an ortho & a rheumatology specialist about all your family/medical history, lifestyle, diet, medications, etc. etc. My preliminary labs showed everything normal except low phosphorus, which I've had before, so that might be a thing. I'm supposed to get some follow-up tests for that & also a DEXA (bone density) scan in a few weeks & then follow up with the SH clinic in January.

    The other good thing is that I was there when my alleged stress fracture was right in the window in terms of healing to be detectable on an x-ray. So they took some and confirmed that yes, I had definitely had some kind of bone stress injury and it appears to be on the mend. This is good not only because of the mending but also because it will go in my medical records as an Actual Thing that Happened, vs. a note like "patient googling the internet again."

  • Schedule another ride on the PT pony! Foot doc also wants a PT to look at my left foot/arch situation. While I'm not excited about another $500 copay, I'm willing to do a lot to improve my chances of fixing this problem once and for all. (Since this particular copay resets every Jan. 1 and automatically meets my entire deductible for the year, I'm obviously waiting to start PT until 2016.)

  • Sleep. I've been taking it seriously, y'all. Not seriously enough, I'm sure, but moreso than usual. There's a huge link between sleep and healing, so I've been doing my best not to short-change it. This is one of those times where I am so, so thankful for the amount of flexibility in my job around working from home when I need to, because sometimes the only place I can find to recoup that time is my two hours a day of commuting.


  • Strength train enough. Some, but barely. Like, forty-five minutes a week on average. I am not actually sure that is better than nothing. But maybe? Since I normally do this early in the morning before work, it's been another casualty of Operation Get Them Zzzzzz's. Once I get through the holidays & a bunch of upcoming work travel, I'm planning to renew my vows with the weight room in January.

  • Eat particularly well. I mean not terrible, but not awesome either (which, combined with my low training volume lately, may have something to do with why my pants are feeling a bit snug). It's cool. New Year's is just around the corner. Besides, we all know that attempting to shore up your nutrition issues right before the holidays is basically a complete waste of time. Again, see ya in January, any kind of reasonable meal planning.

My sister kept making these cream cheese pumpkin bars while I was home for Thanksgiving WHICH OF COURSE MEANT I HAD TO KEEP EATING THEM, because family.

So there ya go. What have you been up to?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Garmin Updates / Solicitation of Advice

In the very near future I am going to write a for-real blog post with, like, actual updates about running and stuff. BUT, I haven't done it yet, and the GPS thing is time-sensitive, so I thought I'd just get it out there.


When last we spoke of GPS devices, I was feeling like the proverbial thirsty sailor lost at sea: Garmins, Garmins all around, but not a one that works (reliably). Although I am not a fan of the FR220 overall, that's what I had been using for most of my Santa Rosa training this summer because it's still perfectly fine when you just need to get a long run or easy run in & don't care about much more than pace and distance. For the last few months that hasn't been much of an issue since my cardio activity has been mostly limited to elliptical and walk/run intervals by time & effort, and I had also been wearing the FR220 for that because one of its good features is the programmable interval workout feature, which is perfect when all you need to do is jog comfortably for x minutes & then walk for 10-x minutes, wash/rinse/repeat.

Unfortunately, about a month ago I noticed that it was starting to seriously drop mileage. And I'm not talking about a couple of tens over ten miles or something. I'm talking about registering 2.1 miles when I know I've gone three. (You know how you know exactly where every mile marker is within 10 miles of your house.) I'm still using it for the interval timing feature, but reliably, the mileage is now consistently off by 20-40% every time. I suppose it's possible it's not the watch and my entire neighborhood has recently fallen into some kind of GPS black-hole/vortex, but as I don't have another reliable watch to compare it to, I can't be sure. (Phone apps for me have always been wildly inaccurate. Not as bad as the FR220 has been lately, but still too far off to be useful.)

Speaking of other watches, I've pretty much given up on my other two every being useful again either. My beloved FR305 only turns on reliably about half the time, usually won't charge, doesn't beep at laps anymore, and the wristband is broken in two places. My FR310XT had been the most reliable of the three for a while, but now it won't turn on at all.


Like I said, this isn't a super critical issue right now in terms of my running. I'm still walk/running it up using the FR220 interval timer, so I'm not even looking at pace, and I don't expect to be training in a way where I really need a reliable GPS watch until at least January. But the time of year for ridiculous sales on electronics and other consumer goods is upon us, and I have a feeling that if I'm on top of things I could probably get a good deal at REI or amazon or similar. But the trick is knowing what I want to get, so I can properly stalk it.

So my question is, do you have a GPS watch that you're loving right now? (I know some of you love the FR220, but it is just not for me, so I'm looking for something different.) I've seen that some people like the FR620, but it kind of looks like it might be in the same mold as the FR220 so I'm afraid it will still have all the features I don't like about the 220. The 910XT sounds like it might be the closest thing to my old 310XT, and there may be some good deals coming up on it. (The 920XT sounds like overkill, I think.) Another option is to just by another refurbished 310XT, which has the pros of being something I'm familiar with and significantly cheaper.

On the other hand, I'm finding myself more and more open to non-Garmin options given all the trouble I've had with mine in the last few years, so I'd love to hear if anyone has had a better experience with another brand.