About This Blog

This is yet another incarnation of my personal blog. Here's where you can read about what I do when I'm not at work: hiking, seeing plays and other shows, eating, traveling, etc.

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Running with Nike Plus

Posted by gck Sunday, February 13, 2011 0 comments

A very kind marathon runner gave me a Nike+ SportBand for my birthday to encourage me with my running progress. Ever since my 5k events last year, I’ve maintained the ability to jog 3 miles, but I haven’t pushed myself further. In fact, before today, I believe the longest runs I had done were the two 5k events. Even though I’m not actively training towards something now, I knew it was time to take it up a notch.

Grantwood shoe pouchI do not run in Nike shoes, which is what the sensors that go with the Sportband are designed for. In order to use the sensor without a Nike+ enabled shoe, you have to find another way to attach the sensor to your shoe, preferably in a flat-laying position (NOT how the picture shows it). There are many pouches available, like this one or this one. I ended up getting the the Grantwood pouch because it was inexpensive and had good reviews. Unfortunately, it looks like it won’t make it to me for another few days, and in the meantime, I was eager to try out the Sportband.

tape method

There are a bunch of tutorials on how to attach your Nike+ sensor to your shoe online. Going for the easiest solution possible, I tried the “Quick Tape Method,” pictured above. While it did get the sensor to lay pretty flat, it did not end up working out well. Not only does tape make really annoying noises when you move, it also doesn’t stay on the shoe well. I got about half a block before the tape fell off.

my Mizunos with the Nike+ sensor

For today’s run, I tried a lace-in approach similar to the one described here, and it held perfectly. I went for my first 4 mile run, which took me into Bridle Trails State Park, a wooded equestrian park close to my normal running route. It’s fun to see horses, and the trees made me feel far away from the city. It’s not the best place to run during the winter because the rain makes the trails muddy, but once summer comes, I’m sure I’ll be spending more time in there.

my run on the Nike site

It’s really easy to upload running data to the Nike site, which also provides you with cool visualizations of your running habits, social features, and challenges to keep you motivated. I was a little frustrated at first by the speed and a few bugs on the site, but I will admit that the designers did a great job making it look cool. If you’re hooked on Farmville, there’s Nike+ Active, where you use “fuel points” from your activities to conquer the world. You don’t even need the Sportband to use these features if you have a compatible iPod or iPhone and the Nike+ sensor.

As you can see from my screenshot, the run data isn’t accurate. Since the technology doesn’t use GPS (and since I’m not using it in the intended way), there’s potential for inaccuracy. Supposedly once it’s calibrated against a real run, the accuracy improves. We’ll see how it goes on the next run!

The Crazy Experiment

Posted by gck Saturday, February 5, 2011 0 comments

I’ve seen Kendi’s 30 for 30 Remix mentioned a lot in the blog-o-sphere lately, and making a month of outfits from 30 items seems like fun. Except I’m not very fashionable in my everyday attire, and even on a normal month, I might not cycle through 30 items. Instead, I signed up for SIOL.

my six items

That’s right, Six Items or Less. Six items. One month. Accessories, outerwear, underwear, exercise clothes, and loungewear don’t count towards the six. You’re allowed to have exact duplicates for laundry purposes – I have a back up pair of jeans, but I haven’t had to use it. And notable differences from the Remix challenge are that shoes don’t count towards the item count, and I am allowed to shop during this month, which I have done. :)

Why in the world would someone want to do this? The site asks you to choose your primary reason for wanting to participate when you sign up. The choices: anti-consumerism, personal uniform, curiosity, and creativity. I’m definitely in the curiosity camp. I wondered: how hard will this be for me? Will anyone even notice?

 my normal clothes my SIOL clothes
on the left: what I normally wear, on the right: SIOL outfits, outerwear included
click for larger images

Basically, the answer is no. The only people who see me regularly enough to notice are software engineers, almost all male. I still have two workdays left in this challenge, and afterwards, I’ll post this blog article more publically to see if people actually did notice and were too afraid to tell me. But I’m thinking not. The moral of the story is that people (men, at least) don’t notice when you wear the same thing. But they notice when you wear something different.

Montpellier Top

The only difference people noticed between my two sets of outfits pictured above was the dress shirt I threw in as one of my six items, just in case I needed to dress up during the one month. Two people noticed something different: “Something I should know about?” and “Is it laundry day? You normally wear T-shirts.” Hah.

It’s been a less interesting (almost) month than I expected. Basically, I’m tired of wearing maroon shirts and am eager to get back to my Threadless/Woot rotation. I still like the idea of wardrobe experiments, but I think the next one I do will need to be one that pushes me further out of my comfort zone. No T-shirt or jeans month? Hmmm…