Thursday, February 25, 2016

Epson Runsense SF-810 Review (GPS Watch)

Back in the day, I had a printer made by a company called Epson. This machine printed out hundreds of pages of my graduate school research papers. Fast forward to today - who knew that the same company - Epson - would help me log hundreds of miles as I ran on my favorite trails, roads and paths? And, who knew this is the exact same watch Meb wears (the Runsense SF-810)?

Back in November I was asked to review this watch. I didn't realize that Epson made GPS watches or that they were specifically for runners (although can also be used when cycling). I was curious and truth be told, I am not going to turn down a free GPS in exchange for my honest review. Good enough for Meb, good enough for me.

For the past almost four months I have been running exclusively with this watch, which has been at least 400 miles. I am not going to lie - this is a watch with lots of options. I am not so good at technology and buttons and bells and whistles (that's why I'm a social worker, duh), so there was a learning curve for me with this watch (as there is with me and anything that plugs in or has a battery).

Since I started running six years ago, I've worn a Garmin. I was glad to try something new. The reason I was most interested in this particular watch was:
  • Heart rate monitoring: There is no chest strap involved (hello chafing!). The heart rate monitor is built into the inside of the watch and gets your heart rate from your wrist automatically. Now, that is slick.

  • Long battery life. 20 hours (in active GPS mode). Nice. That's twice what I was getting with my other watch.
  • Tracks elevation gain and loss. I know many watches do this, but I've not had one before that did.  I love the feeling of accomplishment I see how many feet I've climbed on a trail run. And, since I will be doing the 6 day TransRockies run (elevation gain of 20,000+ feet) I really want to track my elevation gain/loss on runs quite precisely.
Once I got the watch, I was impressed by the clear and bright face. It is a rather masculine looking watch, which doesn't bug me (I kind of like it), but it is not nice and dainty if that is what you are looking for.

Things I like about it (pros):
  1. Gets satellites lightening fast. Never takes more than 10 seconds even if I'm in the car.
  2. Tracks not just heart rate, elevation gain/loss, distance, pace, etc but also stride length (interesting - mine averages 39" -not sure what that means) and a multitude of other things (35 data points total).
  3. Vibrates and dings when I hit the mile marker. I like this because you can turn off the sound and just have it vibrate, so if you're listening to music, etc, you still know when you hit certain points.
  4. The strap (plastic) has a lot of holes so it is easy to get the proper fit on your wrist.
  5. Easy to read display, even in sunlight. Has a light that comes on for 10" when it's dark.
  6. Can be worn in the shower/pool
  7. Lightweight
Things I'm not so keen on (cons):
  1. The charging vestibule is bulky and seems kind of old school/antiquated
  2. In full disclosure, I did not use the mobile app (I'm just not an app person, sorry). However, all reviews have said it is slow and not especially user friendly.
  3. Does not automatically sync info to smartphone.
Maybe you can't see it. But, trust me I am wearing the watch under the layers.

In sum:

The pros on this one much outweigh the cons for me. Not only do I like the look of this watch, but the GPS is accurate and satellites are easily obtainable. I love the fit of the watch - I can get it snug, but it doesn't hit that weird bone on my wrist (the pisiform bone I think?). The optical heart rate sensor, which means no chest strap is a HUGE plus. Overall, a great quality watch for the long distance runner. 

What kind of watch do you wear? Are you satisfied with it? Why or why not?


Epson America sent me this watch to review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

7 Reasons Being Inured Doesn't Have to Ruin Your Life

I'm pleased to report that I ran 4 miles this week with limited pain. PT Bob says I've got a minor tear in my gluteus medius. So, basically the upper part of my right butt cheek (not to be mistaken for my crack). Good news is that I can run 3 times per week (short runs) and I should be good to go in a few weeks.

Being out of the running game for the past month or so has given me time to reflect. Yes, I've missed running, but for the first time I didn't fully lose my mind. Here's why.

Back in the day when I got injured (first time was a stress fracture in my foot in 2009), I would freak the hell out. My life would totally fall apart and I became extremely self involved and self focused. There was crying and wallowing and self pity.  Kind of like a teenager girl's reaction when her curling iron breaks on Monday morning. Anyway, it was all pure panic. My thoughts then:
  • I am no longer a runner (aka identity is erased)
  • I will get horrendously out of shape and will never return to my pre-injury running fitness
  • I want to punch every runner I see
  • I wish it would pour rain and be -44 degrees outside so I don't feel like I am missing as much by not running
  • No form of exercise can give me what running gives me
  • My poop cycle is going to get WAY messed up
  • What will I blog about?
Thank God this is not recent. This is back in 2009 with that stress fracture
Sound familiar?

These days I am much older and wiser. Well, not really, but I have gotten better at this whole injury thing. Truly, I feel like if i am going to run until I'm 100 years old then I need to roll with the punches a bit more and realize that taking time off for a variety of issues is to be expected.

  1. Shit happens. If you run long enough you will probably get injured. It's just a fact. Sure there are those freaks of nature who have never been injured, but in my experience that is the exception, not  the norm. I am still a runner!
  2. I will not shrivel up into an out of shape ball of fat. There are many things you can do to keep your fitness up while injured. After you have your pity party, find out what makes you feel athletic and gets your heart pumping. Swim. Bike. Run in the pool (and poke your eyes out). Walk for miles. Get on the elliptical. Strength train. Whatever you can do to keep up your strength and fitness while not injuring yourself further is what you need to do.
  3. Keep the faith. You WILL run again. This is not permanent. 
  4. Reach out. Talk to others who have been injured and have run again. This will help you believe #3. 
  5. Know where to go. Having been inured before, I've got my go-to people that make me know I will be glued together again (physical therapist, chiropractor, massage therapist, etc). They make me saner.
  6. Be choosy. Keep in mind that non-runners will not get why you are so upset. Don't expect them to understand.
  7. Lighten up. The world is not ending. Learn to laugh at yourself and to see the big picture.

You do wear underwear with your suit, right?

What have you learned from being injured over the years?


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Are Runners Just Show-Offs With Huge Egos?

I'm still on hiatus from running. There has been a lot of this:

Only the pool never looks like that. It is full of people and I am sharing a lane with all kinds of bastards. NO diving! I want to dive in 3' water!

I am also doing this:

My bike and I do have a love affair and I have missed her (him?). Although there is snow on the ground, the air was pretty warm.

Onto other stuff:

Someone told me recently (a non runner BTW) that he thought people who ran in very cold temperatures do so because of their egos. Like to show off almost. He said that running in cold temps is not good for the body. Hurts the lungs.

Kind rubbed me the wrong way. I have to admit that when I go out in ten degree temperatures, the last thing I am thinking is, "Wow everyone is looking at me and thinking how bad ass I am!"

I am more thinking, "My ass is freezing (assicle)," "The snow is pretty", "I'm glad I got out for some fresh air and exercise," and "I have to poop" <this has nothing to do with the cold air, and more to do with the fact this happens to me on every run. Maybe I am trying to show off with my turds.

Anyway, here's some other things we runners get accused of and questioned about (mostly and entirely by non-runners)...and what my responses to them just might be.

1. Do you think you have an addiction to running? It seems a bit excessive.

The Runner: Running actually gives me energy. I feel like I need less sleep when I run regularly. If you call running consistently “having an addiction,” then yes, maybe I do. I suppose it is better than being addicted to the vending machine and vodka bottle like you seem to be.

2. Are you really eating that quinoa stuff again with all those veggies? There’s no way that tastes as good as this Big Mac.

The Runner: Not only does it taste better than your processed fake meat sandwich with mystery sauce, but it gives me the perfect blend of protein, fiber and essential vitamins.


3. It’s Friday! We’re all heading to happy hour. What? You have a long run in the morning, so you’re going to go home and get to bed early? Why aren’t you any fun anymore?

The Runner: I guess our definitions of “fun” are different. To each his own. Enjoy those empty calories and that morning hangover! (although, admittedly, I do partake nights before a long run...sometimes).

4. Are you really going to the bathroom again? I think this is the fifth time today you’ve gone. It’s because you drink all that water.

The Runner: Damn! Are you the urination monitor? Let me answer your question with a question. What color is your pee? I am betting it is dark yellow since you don’t seem to drink enough water and only pee once or twice a day. My urine, on the other hand, resembles lemonade, which means I am perfectly hydrated.

5. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you wear the same pair of running shoes. Do you have like 100 pairs? Why does anyone need more than one pair of running shoes?

The Runner: Buying running shoes and taking care of my feet is a priority for me. Why does anyone need 14 pairs of pumps or six pairs of Uggs? You spend your paycheck where you want, and I’ll do the same.

6. You have the most bizarre tan lines.

The Runner: Why, thank you. I appreciate that you are taking the time to monitor and observe my skin tones.

7. What the hell happened to your feet? They look like you got in a fight with a lawnmower. Don’t even tell me that’s from all the running you do.

The Runner: Having calluses, blisters and black toenails can be a side effect of running.  If it disturbs you so much, keep your eyes up here (dramatically points to his/her eyes).

8. Why do you run so much? It’s not like you need to lose any more weight.

The Runner: While it’s true running burns tons of calories, that’s not the only reason I do it. Running actually helps me to cope with annoying people who ask me a lot of questions.

And the most often asked question/statement about running

9. You know running is bad for your knees. Just wait until you are 60. You are going to be hobbling around and miserable.

The Runner: You did not just say that. Fitness myth!! There has never been a study showing running is bad for the knees or contributes to arthritis. As you get older, however, arthritis can set in. Is it running's fault? Doesn't appear that way. Bottom line, if your knees were healthy when you started running, running will not ruin them. (sources HERE, HERE, HERE).

So...any other questions/statements you get from people about your running lifestyle? 


Saturday, February 6, 2016

An Injured Runner Does Vegas

Based on the comments from my last post, you all are a bunch of injured mother effers. While I'm not pleased you are injured, it does help to know others are in misery. That's just the type of person I am. I hope others are in pain so I can feel better about myself.

I know for the past week you have been wondering how my hip is doing. Is she running? Is she depressed? Is she in pain?

Well, I took a full 9 days off from running. That officially makes me a SASA (Smart As Shit Athlete). I am very proud of myself for my self discipline. While I was not running I was sinning.

(Do not say "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" because I will punch you. That is a very over used phrase, right up there with "At the end of the day," and "I know, right??")

First was the plane ride to Vegas. We just met this girl on take off. Truth. By the end of the flight - BOOM!- we are best friends that will never speak again. That's what Fireball does to you. I know, right??


Have you ever noticed that in-bound flights to Vegas are cheery and party-ish, yet the outbound flights are just full of poor and depressed people? Yep. True.

We checked in and hit up the Strip. This is what happens when you walk over an air vent with a dress on. I spared you the full picture. The guy in the green shirt appears to be enjoying my show. He needs to buy a ticket.

Then there was me marveling at the fine product placement in Walgreens. Liquor next to condoms = genius.

I then molested a statue.

And tried desperately to be like her. Except I'm missing two things.

Are those implants?

Next up we did what anyone does who finds a chair that looks like a bed.

You should go to Vegas with me. At the end of the day, I am just FUN!

So...about the hip. I've been seeing a massage guy who specializes in Neuromusular Therapy. It really does seem to be helping. I ran today, attempting 5 miles. I felt pretty good. Until mile 4.75 when it didn't feel good anymore. So I walked. Thinking I will still do a big cut back in running and get back into the pool and on the bike.

Just like that. Injured runner becomes TRIATHLETE. Happens all the time.

What's your favorite way to keep fit while injured? 

What's a phrase you hate? I'm also not a big fan of "totes adorbs", but I am old

Are you watching the Superbowl? Who are you cheering for? Duh. Broncos.