Sunday, April 29, 2012
I mentioned this pullup bar in my status a while back, which elicited several likes and a comment. This model advertises itself as the "Iron Gym" and I got it from Amazon.com:
The description is so much like an infomercial that I normally wouldn't even consider this. But a poster I respect on a weight lifting forum recommended it, so I figured I'd take a chance for under $30. The results, after a few days:
The Iron Gym claims to be good for dips. It isn't. An ordinary kitchen chair works better.
The Iron Gym claims to let you do situps by putting it at the bottom of the doorway. That doesn't work. The pressure won't hold the bar steady enough to be an anchor for my feet.
The Iron Gym claims to let you do the perfect pushup. That works, kind of; but I don't see the point. If I'm just going to do pushups, there's nothing wrong with putting my hands on the floor. And if I want to do pushups from hands on bars instead of the floor, I'll just use dumbbells and turn them into renegade rows. (I don't actually do that very often; perhaps I should move a pair of dumbbells into the living room.)
However, the Iron Gym does sit on the door frame and use leverage to create a secure pullup bar, which is what I bought it for. As hoped, I actually do use it when I walk past. At least so far. The second day I had it, my upper arms were sore and I had to cut back; now I can do neutral grip pullups and chinups. A true pronated grip pullup is still beyond me, but I can do 3 neutral grip or 3 chinups pretty consistently.
That's pretty amazing for the guy who could never do a pullup in gym class. It helps that I don't have the gym teacher telling me that chinups are for sissies and insisting I start with the hardest position. It helps even more that I weigh 35 pounds less than I did a year ago.
Conclusion: The informercial-style claims, as expected, contain a pack of lies. But there is a useful function here, and it's worth the price to me. But I shall persist in calling this a pullup bar rather than calling it by the informercial name of Iron Gym.
Edited to correct terminology (pronated/supinated confuse me) and replace picture.
Sunday, April 29, 2012
I had signed up for the Flower City Challenge Half Marathon that was held today. Because of the foot injury that I've whined a lot about, I ended up downgrading to the companion event, the Wegman's Family 5K. The two started on the same bridge, 15 minutes apart, 7:30 for the HM and 7:45 for the 5K.
It was 29° F (-2° C) at my house this morning, with a forecast of 35° F (+2° C) and sunshine for race time. I ended up dressing a shade warm for the race so I could deal with the walk between the race site and where I pay for parking by the month. That worked out pretty well.
Got to the site about 7:10. Walked around, saw the finish line and the starting line, asked volunteers a few questions and oriented myself. Saw the half start from the sidelines, then ambled over for the start of the 5K. Both races started on the Broad Street bridge, with the half winding around to cross the river again on the Main Street bridge; when I was running the Broad Street bridge I could see some of the HM runners crossing on the Main Street bridge.
I suspected that the good runners would mostly be in the HM, so I crowded near the front to start the 5K. Good thing; there was no chip time on the 5K, only gun time. As close as I was to the front, the difference between gun time and what chip time would have been should be negligible.
I was a bit surprised to find myself passing a few people early on, in spite of starting near the front. Later, a few people passed me; still later, I passed some of the people who had been fast early then slowed to a walk. Two or three times, I reminded myself to keep the pace sustainable and not to try to pass the next runner ahead of me.
Late in the 5K course, it converged with the early part of the HM course. I passed some people who were walking the HM, and at least one woman who was running the HM slowly. Well, she may be slower than me; but she was going to run further than me today.
Possibly because I was trying not to put it all on the line for speed, I had enough energy left to sprint the final straight stretch to the finish. Did my walking cooldown, confirmed with volunteers about the lack of chip time, stretched, ate some of the free food. When the music began to get to me, I headed back to my car. This was shortly after the leaders in the HM began crossing the finish line.
Checked online, and my gun time was 20:54 for a 6:42 pace per mile according to the timing organization. (I calculate that out to 6:44 per mile, but I thought I saw 20:52 on the clock when I crossed the line. Meh.) That turns out to be first in my age group, which I had thought was a possibility. Check online. Age group awards are not mailed, I needed to check inside the War Memorial after the race.
I find that I don't really care that I don't have a medal. Been there, done that in my first 5K. Today, I just had fun and left when it felt like time to leave. I finished 23rd out of 1046 finishers, with over 1200 signed up for this 5K. Knowing that is good enough, I don't need another medal.
Of course, I had to look at the HM age group results. The leader in my age group came in at 1:28:32. Maybe, if I hadn't injured my foot and work hadn't become insanely busy, just maybe I could have competed with that time; but more likely, I would have come in behind him. This is a warning for when/if I run my first HM; coming in first in my age group won't be a given. And it will be more important to have fun than to drive for that first place.
Overall, I'm satisfied with today. The bad foot reminded me to ice it down this afternoon; that's fine. I'll be able to run again later this week. That's good. Recover proceeds. That's better. And now I can look forward to the Chase Corporate Challenge on May 31. A goal of finishing that one (3.5 miles) in 24 minutes is looking plausible.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
It's Saturday, and no running because I have a 5K tomorrow morning. Did a 5K walk this morning instead of running.
Went to second breakfast at McD with daughter, trying to keep things as normal as possible with her living here temporarily. The current story is the landlady will get daughter's kitchen fixed next week, and then daughter will be back to her apartment. I figure she'll be with me longer than a week, but shorter than two . . . if everything goes right.
The rest of the day was normal weekend household chores, shopping, and mowing the lawn. It's been two weeks since I mowed, because it was too wet every time I had time to deal with it; that made this mowing an awful 2 hour affair. To add insult to injury, it wasn't even very good exercise. Dealing with the long, thick grass felt more like standing in line than like walking.
Tomorrow I have the 5K in lieu of a half marathon. Start time is 7:45, and I figure I need to leave my driveway at 6:30. So I'm off to bed early, to get enough sleep before an early start tomorrow.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
The plan for today was to stretch the lunch hour and take a short run. Failing that, Plan B was to take a short run in the evening.
Neither of those things happened. This morning the bad foot felt a little flaky, not too bad; so I tossed my gym bag in the car and hauled it to work. Got a phone call from another time zone just before lunch, and dealing with that meant no stretching of the lunch hour. So I walked instead.
Back from lunch, got a disturbing text message from my daughter. Called her to get clarification. Monday the ceiling in the hall of her apartment building had sprung a leak. She had water damage to some minor stuff in the kitchen, and her stove was unusable. Today, she blew a circuit breaker turning on the lights. It looked like a short.
Long story short, daughter is camping at my house (with her two cats) for the present. There is some uncertainty as to whether the landlord will take care of the water damage issues on a timely basis; if things go poorly, daughter could be living with me for quite a while.
Anyway, moving enough for daughter to camp out with her cats took me away from work for the afternoon. Then when I could have run in the evening, my foot asked me not to. So that didn't happen. But I did deal with what life threw my way today.
Tomorrow is Friday. The bad foot will almost certainly be good enough to run on tomorrow. But then there is a chance that it wouldn't be good enough to run on Sunday morning, when I have an organized 5K. I think I'll stick with walking tomorrow and Saturday. Next week I'll see how long I need to wait after Sunday for a second run.
Meanwhile, I'm going to be happy that I can provide a non-leaking roof for my daughter.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
. . . on April 24.
It was 43° F (6° C) and windy as I walked from work to the gym. I figured to wear my heavier long sleeve shirt, shorts, and a winter cap. Take light gloves with me on my run, just in case.
Got out of the gym to run, and found rain mixed with . . . sleet? No, it doesn't sting enough to be sleet. It's graupel. Not much time convinced me to put those gloves on, and I wondered if I should have worn tights.
Perhaps a quarter mile later, the rain slacked off. I ran most of the route in hazy sunshine with wind, and was dressed appropriately for it. As I got back near the gym again, I finished the run in the rain.
Total distance, 3.52 miles in 25:08 for a 7:08 pace per mile. A decent run, and nice weather for running.
The plan is to have one more short run on Thursday, then not run Friday or Saturday before the 5K on Sunday. I'll see how it goes. The bad foot is grumbling just a little, but not loudly demanding ice and ibuprofen. I think I'm ready for this schedule, but not yet ready to run on consecutive days. And I don't want to attempt anything longer than 4 miles before a week from Saturday.
Life goes on. The foot isn't 100%, but I can see progress.
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