Sunday, April 17, 2011
I generally blog about running. I need to start hitting the weights. So this is a blog is about weight training. Or rather, how my wife, Annette, got started lifting weights. My wife is frugal to say the least. When I go to the grocery store for a few things it costs me a minimum of $100. I find things at the store I didn't even know I needed. She doesn't let me go to the store often. Annette can by a tremendous amount of food for very little money. She buys healthy stuff and she cooks highly nutritious meals. She is a little fitness and health demon.
About 12 years ago my wife started going to a personal trainer named Lisa. Lisa taught my wife how to lift weights. Annette decided to get her own weight set. She went down to Play it Again Sports. She bought a weight set with a barbell, curl bar and dumbbell bars. She still has them.
This is modestly priced 110 pound iron weight set. She paid $80 for the set. This set is a lot of bang for the buck.
She also bought a brand new weight bench for $50.
She found a set set of dumbbells on clearance for $29.95. These included 3, 5 and 8 pound weights.
Her total investment was:
She has used these weights for 12 years, which works out to $13 per year.
She also took up bike riding. She grabbed an old Magna bike that we had bought for one of our sons . He had out grown the bike many years ago. Because kids grow so quickly we didn't spend a lot of money on kid bikes. The original price was $79 at Target. The 18 speed bike had only two gears that worked. The brakes were terrible. The thing weighed 40 pounds. She didn't mind because she said she liked the heavy bike to get a good workout.
This is a new model Magna. $99 at Target. $99 is a terribly high price for this pile of junk. It has been recalled because the handle bars fall off.
I decided to start riding. I bought a new Giant Boulder SE for $325 and could beat my wife's bike seven ways from Sunday.
This bike has an alloy frame and good components. $325 was a great deal.
I bought Annette a new bike for her birthday. She picked out a Specialized Myka Expert. Bikes are one of those items that for a few more bucks you get a lot better components. For $625 she had a great bike. (BTW - that is huge discount -list was $940) I almost had to force her to allow me to spend that much money on a bike.
She loves this bike and has got a million miles on it. My advice is don't go cheap on a bike. She rides mountain passes and long trails. Having a bike break down 30 miles into the wilderness is no fun! A good bike is a must. We also take our bikes in yearly for a tune-up.
Now, having a streak of tool man Tim Taylor, I turned my attention to the home gym. I bought a complete gym with elliptical trainer, smith rack, leg press machine and olympic weight set.
Here is the smith rack with olympic weights. Everything on this smith rack is ball bearing with forged components. This is very rugged stuff. Again, cheap is not an option. I bought the floor model and got a hefty discount.
Here is the squat rack. Strong legs make you a better runner.
This inclined bench was a good deal.
The leg press machine is safe and easy to use.
Dumbbells - lots of dumbbells.
The cost for all the equipment we have now was about $4,000, including $1,000 for a Kettler elliptical trainer.
After 1o years and 1,000s of hours this machine is still smooth as silk and works perfectly. When it is cold and snowy we can still get a good cardio workout.
Along the lines of "more power" I recently bought a specialized Stumpjumper Comp for $1,600.
This bike has hydraulic disk brakes and fork lockout. I needed a great bike like this one to keep up with Annette.
I guess if there is a point to this blog is that you can spend whatever you want for fitness equipment. You want to get good value for your money. Annette loves her Myka bicycle, she uses the Kettler elliptical for cross-training and she digs the home gym. I read that the world-wide market for fitness equipment is $12 billion. I think I spent most of that myself!
Thanks for reading my blog.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
I did a training run on North Table Mountain. This mountain is an extinct volcano that was active when dinosaurs ruled the earth, or as my wife says, when I was a junior in high school!
I like to run in new and interesting places. I like to tackle trails where angels fear to tread. However, I found a trail that was so mean and nasty, I will may not go back.
It hurt going up and it hurt going down. It just plain hurt. I ran 5.1 miles at an average pace of 10.43 min/mile. Here are some photos. Is this a place where you would like to run?
When you see this sign, stay in your car and keep driving.
It is always nice to know where you are and where you are going. I actually knew neither.
I really don't think any self-respecting mountain lion would be caught dead in this place!
This is a very serious sign. The Sahara Desert looks like a tropical rain forest compared to North Table Mountain. Colorado has three seasons: snow season, mud season and fire season! One spark and this place goes up like a tinder box!
I thought this sign was hilarious! It looked to me that a guy had fallen off his bike and he was trying to catch it!
Let me translate this for you - this sign actually says, "Abandon all hope ye who enter here "
Here is the start of the trail. This is only about a 10% grade. In Colorado we have a name for such a trail - we call it "flat".
I think this is an interesting shot. The bridge is flat. This photo shows the rate of ascent. Not too bad of a grade. I am still running strongly enjoying the warm sunshine at this point.
The trail is pitching up here. Still no problemo. It was disconcerting that it looked like I was running toward a cliff.
Here it is - the killer hill. This bad boy is a 30% to 40% grade. A 30%to 40% grade means when you go forward 10 feet, you go up 3 to 4 feet. There is no way to do this without it hurting.
This hill was 2 miles long! A pair of bicyclist tried to make it up this hill. They couldn't do it. They dismounted and tried to push their bikes up the hill. They gave up. I kept running. I got to the top of the hill and ran on top of the mountain. When I started back down this hill I fried my quads because I had to put on the brakes.
My car is the last one in the parking lot. I still had a long drive to get home. When I got home I could barely walk.
I am really happy with a 10:43 min/mile pace. What is even better is that I am not seriously injured and only lost one toenail. The blood from the torn toenail only stained my sock and did not get onto my shoe. I consider that a success.
I have met my match. Thanks for reading my blog.
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
I really enjoy reading the blogs of Spark runners that have done things I haven't done. I try to imagine what it would be like to run with 30,000 other runners. I think that running a race along an ocean would be fun. I like to hear about races where people push strollers or wear costumes. I wonder what it would be like to run with people that are having fun in nice sunny places.
I live in a different world. I am a born mountain trail racer.
I have raced on glare ice and in deep mud. I have had to dance over roots and rocks. I have bounded up slippery dirt stairs. I have had to push through willow bushes that stung my arms and face. I have raced in freezing temperatures and icy winds. I have crossed a finish line smeared with sweaty blood and needing a few bandages. I run races that are at 9,000+ feet of elevation over rough terrain. Most of the time there are only a handful of participants at these races.
I sometimes think my blogs about running and racing are remote, and not very accessible. I wonder if anyone reads my blogs says, “I know exactly what he is talking about.” I count on the support of my SparkFriends, even though I am an oddball runner. On my last blog “Up” I mentioned that I ran a "pokey" 11:36 min/mile pace for 3.25 miles. The fact is that 11:36 min/mile pace up a 20% grade at an elevation of 11,000 feet is actually blazing fast! It just sounds slow.
I could register for lighter races. I even know how to find these races.
Here is one that is on Sunday, April 10th.
3rd Annual Flying Pig 5K Charity Run/Walk
Fee includes tee-shirt, individual picture, AND pigs in a blanket” pancake breakfast
Even though flying pigs are cute, a race is a race. There is a starting line and a finish line separated by 3.11 miles. There are many races like this one every weekend. I keep thinking I should run a “fun” race. I just don’t want to.
I like mountain runners. These people are friendly, relaxed and usually very fit. There is an easy camaraderie before, during and after the race. The race is against the mountain and we are not competitors, we are a team.
The good news for me is that the race organizers always have a few bandages at the finish line.
Thanks for reading my blog.
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