Garmin Forerunner 620 – Unboxing

Garmin Forerunner 620

I have been patiently waiting for my new Garmin Forerunner 620 to arrive like a child waits for Christmas morning.  It has been a long wait since placing my order in early October, but yesterday the much-anticipated package finally arrived!

It was tempting to simply rip the box apart, throw on the watch, and go for a run.  However, I first had to take the mandatory unboxing photos for my fellow dummies.  :-)

If the words “new Garmin” aren’t enough to convince you… then maybe this video put together by the folks at Garmin will help get you excited.

New Features

  • Recovery Advisor
  • Race Predictor (based on VO2 Max)
  • Live Tracking (when paired to smartphone)
  • Running Dynamics (Cadence, Vertical Oscillation, Ground Contact Time, Stride Length)
  • Estimates VO2 Max (you know I love my VO2 Max!)
  • Walk / Run Feature
  • Easy Data Sync (USB, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi!)
  • Pre-loading of a week’s worth of satellites

First Impressions

  • This thing is super light (and thin!) compared to the Forerunner 620
  • The build quality feels very solid (all the buttons have a nice feeling to them)
  • The blue accents (especially on the band) are freaking awesome
  • Acquiring satellite signal is super fast

For now, enjoy the pictures below and rest assured that a complete review is on the way! :-)

 

Awesome, right!? What are you waiting for? Go buy a Garmin Forerunner 620!

Posted in Gear, Running | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Roll Recovery R8 – Unboxing

Roll Recovery R8

Roll Recovery R8

Well look what was waiting for me on my door step after a 3 mile tempo run!  That’s right, the Roll Recovery R8.  I’ve been hearing good things about it online, so I ordered one up!

I quickly showered and took unboxing pictures (for you dummies) and then tried it out.  All I can say is “wow”.  This thing works as advertised.  I could feel the R8 hitting the right spots immediately and my legs felt much better than normal the next day.

Why It’s Awesome

  • Painful at first, but eventually makes your legs feel great (think sports massage)
  • Increased blood flow and reduces recovery time on quads, hamstrings, IT-bands, gluteus, calfs, shins, hip-flexors and more
  • Extremely well-built (reinforced Zytel thermoplastic, stainless steel, and aluminum)
  • Much easier to use than the standard foam roller
  • Comes with a cool travel bag

The only thing that’s not so awesome is the price tag of $119 (includes free shipping).  However, that’s about the price of a good massage, so it definitely pays for itself over time.  Plus, you can’t put a price on fresh feeling legs, can you? :-)

For information checkout www.rollrecovery.com and enjoy the unboxing pictures below:

 

Has anyone else out there purchased an R8? What are your thoughts?

Posted in Gear, Running | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Juicing Dummy!?

The juice is loose!

“Why the hell would someone want to consume only juice for 10 days?”  I used to ask myself the same question whenever I heard that someone was “juicing”.

Then Mrs. Dummy and I were browsing through Netflix and stumbled upon Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.  It seemed interesting enough, so we gave it a whirl.

After viewing the movie we (OK fine me) were ready to try a juice cleanse.  The results in the movie speak for themselves and I am always looking to try new things in the name of health.  Honestly, I was curious to see what results I might garner and it seemed like something fun (relative term) to do.

The Plan

Joe Cross offers a bunch of different plans for free on his website.  I committed to the  15 Day: Juicing Plus plan.  However, the first five days are basically a transitional period that includes both food and juice.  I decided to skip this step as I wanted a 10 day “juice only” cleanse.  Also, being a vegetarian and eating pretty healthy to begin with, this decision seemed reasonable to me.

Home Juicing

After some research we decided on the Breville JE98XL Juice Fountain Plus 850-Watt Juice Extractor.  It had great reviews online and was affordable at Bed, Bath, and Beyond after applying one of those giant blue 20% off coupons they mail everyone. :-)

This machine produces very delicious juices and isn’t too much of a pain to clean.  The whole juicing process is quite time-consuming. However, just like any new skill… the more you do it, the faster and easier it becomes.  By the end of the cleanse, it was just part of our daily routine.

Store Bought Juices

Juicing at home is definitely the most cost-effective way to cleanse, but eventually you are going to need to “grab” a juice when you are out.  It’s going to happen.  So here are some options for when you are on the go:

  • BluePrint Juice can be found at places like Whole Foods and are really delicious.  These where by far my favorite store-bought juices.
  • Starbucks recently acquired Evolution Fresh and they are now available in most locations.  It might have been the flavor I tried, but these weren’t that great.
  • Love Grace is another company that can be found at health food stores.  I didn’t personally try this brand, but have heard great things from other people.

You can also order packages from Blue Print and Love Grace that include all the juice you will need for a cleanse.  By far a much easier route, but wow is it pricey!

Limited Excercise

This part sucked, but as recommended, I “decreased the intensity and duration of exercise” during my cleanse.  I average five to six miles per day (plus long runs on the weekends).  So I cut my mileage to just three miles per day, and took rest days when they felt needed (something I don’t usually do).

During the cleanse, my running definitely suffered.  I struggled to reach distances and keep paces that routinely feel easy to me.  However, I am sure that this will subside once I return to my regular eating habits.  Plus I technically should get faster since I did shed some weight!

The Conclusion

The biggest result is that I lost 10 pounds.  I started at 145 and went down to 135, so this is a decent amount percentage wise.  Relax!  :-)  I have been at this weight (and healthy) in the past.

I didn’t feel a tremendous surge of energy or any mind altering clarity.  I did, however, feel a bit more focused and alert in general.  Also, waking up in the morning felt a bit easier.  And my sinuses completely cleared up!

This certainly isn’t a sustainable full-time lifestyle (at least not for me anyways).  I was never really hungry per se, but I did miss the sensation of eating food.  By the end of the ten days I was definitely ready for some pretzels and a bean burrito with guacamole.

That being said, I liked the results and the idea of cleansing your body of toxins.  Therefore, I am pretty sure this is something I will be doing annually.  Just never in the summer again.  There are too many parties with good food to eat!

Thoughts?

Am I crazy?  Am I nuts?  Have any of you tried a juice cleanse before?  Your feedback is always welcome and appreciated!

Posted in Food, Running | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vegetarian / Vegan Diet and B12 Deficiency

Sources of B12

Sources of B12 (hope you’re not vegan)

Tell someone you’re a vegetarian (or vegan) and the first thing they will say is, “That’s nice, but where do you get your protein from?”  Yeah… that’s the main question among carnivores.

Forks Over Knives and this article explain the simple truth that as long as you are eating enough calories on a whole foods, plant based diet, then you are getting enough protein.  Period.

The real question they should be asking you (and you should be asking yourself) is, “Where do you get your B12 from?”.  The reason is that B12 (for the most part) can only be found in… that’s right, animal products.  Whomp whomp!  :-(

But let’s rewind a little bit…  After being an on-again / off-again vegetarian for the past few years, in November I made the commitment to go full vegan.  I immediately dropped what little excess weight I had, my nasal congestion cleared, and overall I just felt… better.  That was nine months ago and things were going great, so I thought.

Then in May when I was approaching my next full marathon I started to noticed some things.  Things I didn’t like.  Things that freaked me out!

The first symptom was fatigue.  It wasn’t a “I can’t get out of bed in the morning” type fatigue, but my runs began to feel very taxing.  In fairness, I was at the tail end of an 18 week marathon training program and was running 50+ miles per week.  I shook it off and thought it was normal for the training.

Second, my hair started to fall out!  Not in huge chunks or anything, or even enough for people to notice, but enough for me to be concerned.  I’ll be honest, this one upset me.

Then on race day (it didn’t go well, don’t ask) at around Mile 22 both of my arms began to radiate numbness and tingle.  It almost felt like they were being electrocuted.  And even weirder, I could feel my heartbeat pulsing though my arms.  Not cool.

Obviously these seemed like legitimate symptoms so I did some research and B12 deficiency seemed like the culprit.  This article in particular provided a lot of useful information.  It also freaked me out even more.  Upon reading that prolonged B12 deficiency can cause permanent neurological symptoms (yikes!), I scheduled a doctor appointment / blood test.

Guess what the blood test revealed.  You guessed it!  A B12 deficiency!  In the U.S. doctors suggest treating all patients that are symptomatic and have B12 levels less than 450 pg/mL.  In Japan and Europe, the lower limit for B12 is between 500-550 pg/mL (the level associated with psychological and behavioral manifestations such as cognitive decline, dementia and memory loss).  My level was 170 pm/mL.  :-(

So the doctor’s plan was for me to get monthly B12 injections for three months.  This was to get my levels up to an “acceptable level” and then I could maintain that level with a B12 supplement.  My doctor suggested under the tongue drops like these.  Apparently these are more readily absorbed than pills.

I also researched how vegans can boost B12 levels though diet alone.  They aren’t many options out there, but the one thing that kept coming up was nutritional yeast.  Nutritional yeast is basically flakes that you can sprinkle on salads, soups, etc… to boost the B12 content of your meal.  Scott Jurek even has a “Buttery” Omega Popcorn recipe in his new book Eat and Run that uses nutritional yeast and its quite delicious!

I haven’t had another blood test yet (I’ll keep you all updated), but I have had three injections and been taking the drops everyday for a month.  I have to say, I feel much better!  My energy is back and my hair isn’t falling out anymore!  Also my arms don’t feel like they have lightening running through them!  :-)

As a vegetarian (for me anyways) it was very easy to get enough B12.  I would eat dairy often to compensate for not eating meat.  Whole wheat pizza, burritos, mac and cheese, eggs, milk… it all tastes so good!  Once you go vegan though, all that stuff goes bye bye.  That’s where I got into trouble.

Be careful out there and keep an eye on your B12 intake!  :-)

Posted in Food, Medical, Running | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Forks Over Knives

Forks Over Knives

Forks Over Knives

So this isn’t going to be a “running” specific post (sorry), but I feel it’s important enough to share.  Even if only one person adopts some of the ideas here, then it’s totally worth it to me.

The movie Forks Over Knives has been around for a couple of years and has a huge cult following.  No joke, it’s the type movie that will change your life and how you think about “health”.

I was lucky enough to spot this dvd at a local Best Buy.  I love documentaries and it looked interesting so I bought it.  That was over six months ago and I haven’t eaten a single piece of meat since.

Yeah… it’s that convincing.

I want to be clear though.  This isn’t a gross “look at how cows are slaughtered” type of movie.  The film simply tells the stories of people with serious health problems and how medical doctors have helped reverse / eliminate them through diet alone.

In an age where most people are looking for a “quick fix”, medication and surgery are the first line of defense for almost any ailment.  This movie challenges that mindset and shows that through a plant based, whole foods diet you can basically cure (yes cure) most medical conditions.

Please have a quick look at the trailer:

Interesting enough, right?  Aren’t you compelled (even just a little) to find out more?  If so, please buy it on Amazon, stream it on Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, whatever.  Just watch it!  And if you enjoy it, I also highly recommend Food, Inc..

Look, I’m not telling everyone to go out and become a fully fledged vegetarian (or vegan), but maybe you’d be willing to start with Meatless Mondays?

What’s the point of all this running if we fill our bodies with garbage at the dinner table?  :-)

Posted in Food | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment