Saturday, January 30, 2010

Nike+ is a nice motivator while running

A couple of years ago I bought the Nike+ kit to go along with the iPod I had at that time, a first generation version. It worked fine but for some reason the battery in the sensor that you put in your shoe died after only a week or two of use. I took it back to the store for a replacement and the same thing happened to the replacement sensor so I returned it once more and got a refund on the entire Nike+ kit. Then last fall I got a new iPod because the old one finally died. So I decided to try Nike+ again with my new iPod. Now it works great and so far, no problems with the sensor dying. I use it for outdoor runs as well as indoors on the treadmill. It's nice to have the music playing as well as hearing a pleasant voice tell me when I've reached my halfway point, or have 400 yards to go, and so on. The remaining problem is that the armbands you can purchase for the newest generation iPods are inadequate. They must be made for thin women because the one I got won't even fit around my bicep -- and I'm not a bug muscular guy. I have seen that Apple offers a new armband holder for the iPod so I may have to check that out.

Ran 2.03 mi on 1/29/2010 at 11:39 AM with a pace of 8'14"/mi

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My first winter kayaking on the big pond

I've been wanting to kayak on Lake Michigan during the winter, and today the opportunity presented itself because the weather was too crappy for x-c skiing and some experienced kayakers were planning to go out, so I decided to join them. It was a enjoyable experience. In fact, it's kind of a kick to do something that most people think is crazy but is really not -- as long as you have the proper equipment, training, and people to provide support. It was also a good opportunity to try out my new GoPro HD camera on the water. It worked well, despite the constant drizzle that blurred the lens at times. Here's a sample.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Choose your battles wisely

Those of you who know me know that I am a former motorcycle rider and power boat owner. I admit it. But over the years I've had time to think about my personal health issues as well as the direction that people in general seem to be going in terms of neglecting their health. I have changed my lifestyle to be more in line with the obvious direction that I needed to take and that our nation needs to go in terms of healthy living.
Last night I attended a community meeting to inform the public about plans to help restore and preserve a portion of the greenway along the Milwaukee River just north of downtown Milwaukee. As someone who enjoys kayaking on the river as well as cycling, I was curious to see what the plans are for the wooded areas on both sides of the river. I was struck by comments from a couple of people who spoke out in favor of the plan but added that they did not want to see mountain bike trails developed in the area. I have biked in this area and as I'm sure those people know, the mountain bike trails -- and mountain bikers --  are already there. They're just not "official" trails. From what I undestand, the people speaking against mountain biking are worried that this activity will infringe on wildlife in that area.

At first, that may sound like a noble stance to take, but it's misguided. Plans for the future should embrace activities that promote human-powered recreation -- including mountain biking. The real battle that we should be waging is not against activities that promote healthy lifestyles. Instead, we should provide outdoor opportunities for exercise and enjoying nature and then educate and encourage people not to use gasoline-powered machines for recreation. Not only are gas-powered recreational vehicles bad for the environment, they also contribute to our nation's health problems. Mountain biking is infintely better for health than riding an ATV or a motorcycle. Kayaking and canoeing does more to keep you healthy than power boating. And while motorcycles have a practical niche as a fuel-saving form of commuter transportation, their use as recreational vehicles does little to contribute to physical health. If it's a beautiful day and you feel like getting outside and hopping on a bike, why not make it a "real" bike?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

running in cold weather

With temperatures in the upper teens yesterday, it was brisk running along the lakefront, but very do-able. With long pants (I used non-insulated Northface rain-type pants to run in), gloves, a light jacket and a ski cap, the only thing that gets a little cold is my face. But after a few minutes that's not really a problem either.