Slow jogging, slow rowing, and the slow walking of the treadmill desk owner
January 9, 2018
I think I have a mantra: slowness. I’ve always been strong and slow. Even my stroke when I am slow rowing is always slow.
Back when I ran for four miles every morning and eight on Saturdays, I ran slowly.
When I stared again back in 2016, I really slow shuffled. And, whenever you’re a guy’s who’s only office desk is a treadmill, you do a lot of slow walking as well.
I am walking at 2mph right now.
As I write, this very moment, but not below, just now, I have walked for 4 hours at 2 miles-per-hour. That’s 8 miles of walking. That’s good for me.
But it’s 20:54 at night so I’ve literally had not just the workday but the entire day to put into it. I wonder what my block is.
I just checked my Fitbit and here’s the 411 for today’s slow walking. I don’t know why my machine is saying 8.09 miles but my Fitbit Zip that I have tagged onto the leg of my rowing trou is saying I’ve only logged 4.8 miles.
I think I’ll have to track the Fitbit because that’s the only data I have that syncs with the cloud and with my greater Fitbit community.
When I am working, I never push it above that, though I can read at up to maybe 2.3-2.5mph. I am a slow walker. If you’ve ever walked with me, it’s true.
I may be tall and you may very well expect me to have a long stride but it’s not true. While I am a solid six-foot-three inches tall, my inseam is only 32-inches.
My crotch is only 2.66667 feet off the floor. That’s an important number for both trousers and motorcycle standover height.
I bought my LifeSpan TR1200-DT5 Treadmill Desk off Amazon on June 1, 2013. Amazon reminds me whenever I go back just in case I am forgetful enough to forget that I already own one.
It’s maybe the best $1,366.19 I’ve ever spent–even better than my K1100LT or my XR650L motorcycles.
Even though I have access to it every day, all day long, I struggle to walk a very slow 12,000 steps.
I should walk at least 10-16 miles-a-day but it generally ends up being more like six-miles.
I promised myself to get more steps in on this brilliant thing. Some of my excuses not to have been: I am writing, putting together a proposal, blogging, or researching so I need to sit very still in order to concentrate.
That’s bollocks–they’re all lame excuses.
After I got afib and even after my cardioversion took, I was tired a lot–but that’s no longer the case.
So, I am writing this post while walking very slowly. I have a new new year’s resolution I think I’ll go back and add: if I am going to write on this blog, I am going to need to be be doing all of my blogging and writing while I am walking very slowly on my own treadmill desk.
Added “take the stairs” to my resolutions
January 2, 2018
The worst workout when I was a college rower at GWU was running the Exorcist Steps in Georgetown off of Water Street. We flowed up and down, first thing in the morning, as a team, with folks powering up and streaming back down. It was a terrestrial vomit comet, worse than suicides, burpees, and wind sprints combined.
I wrote out my 2018 New Year’s resolutions here just yesterday but I believe I forgot a very important one that I missed (and I will be adding to my resolutions right after this): taking the stairs!
I am never going to bolt up or down the stairwell here at my apartment building. Let’s call what I plan to do this year Slow Stair Climbing akin to my Slow Jogging and Slow Rowing/Slow Erging resolutions: just get up them stairs without passing out or killing myself.
And, I am giving myself permission to transition from stairs to elevator if and when I either swamp-out or puss-out. I am going to start it slow.
Slow Stair Climbing
Most of the time, I will be climbing the stairs just as part of my day–most likely in street clothes as part of my day. At first, it’s going to be very hard for me and I am sure I will hate it. And I am also sure I will feel a little shaky going down the stairs as well since I am pretty big and rotund and actually climb and descend stairs very similarly to how our president, Donald J. Trump, handles stairs. I don’t have any Secret Service agents to help me so I need to make sure I always keep a hand free so that I can steady myself using one or more of the handrails. And I allow myself time to rest and to stop and to even sit down on the stairs if need be. Whatever it takes.
I’m Carrying Around Two 45-Pound Olympic Plates All the Time
I know for a fact that we humans are extremely adaptive and adaptable so I always need to remember that it’s not always going to be this hard for me and I won’t always be so sweaty or so out of breath. The soreness in my quads and calves and glutes and even in my core will soon pass as I become stronger. And I must always remember that I have 100 extra pounds on my body so all of my stair climbs and descents are effectively weight-assisted: basically two 45 lb Olympic plates attached to my body everywhere I go. Be sure to give yourself some permission to be impressed by how well you’re doing considering all the extra weight that you’re currently carrying around like a farmer carry.
Milo and the Calf
Both you and I are our very own Milo and the Calf fable: in order to become the strongest Greek hero, Milo would borrow a new born calf and carry it around the Greek city of Croton day after day, week after week, and month after month. As the calf grew, so did Milo’s strength, until he was the strongest wrestler in Greece and could carry the now full grown bull upon his back. With all of our extra weight, we’re like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button version of Milo of Croton! As you get stronger, your bull of body fat slowly becomes a calf over time, becoming lighter and lighter!
My 2018 New Year’s resolutions
January 1, 2018
Happy new year everyone! It’s 2018 and I am actually putting together a list of my own personal new year’s resolutions: slow jog, slow row, kick box, bell-swing, push-ups, sit-ups, squats, and, finally, some weight-training. When it comes to eating, my Achilles heel has never really been what I eat, it’s always been how much. I ate too much plant-based, too much fat-based keto, and I ate too much when all I ate were tuna fish sandwiches on wheat bread.
So instead of being an extremist food-wise, I will just make sure I eat 1/4 protein, 1/4 grains, and 1/2 fruits and vegetables–but keeping my intake at around ~1,400 calories-per-day until that becomes a problem performance-wise. I won’t rush it because most of my performance, anyway, is niko niko and won’t really ever result in too much bonking–if any at all.
Resolution #0: Take the Stairs
I made a mistake yesterday. I live in an 8th floor apartment and I never take the stairs. Not even once. Neither up nor down. Even when only one of the three are working. I always can rationalize standing there with my nose in my Samsung S6 Active, right? And I know there are stairwell people, too! I know that there are people who use the stairs all the time–they just don’t make a big deal about it. That’s the thing: the stairs are always there! And my building has four separate stairwells so the chance of being crowded out is virtually impossible! Hell, after I was sick last year this time, I even got into the habit of avoiding the single set of stairs that leads from Penrose Square Park up to the entrance of my local Penrose Square Giant supermarket! It’s very sad. I do intend to do the stairs in my street clothing, I intend to do it slowly and surely, making sure I have a hand free for the handrail. And, I am giving myself permission to transition from stairs to elevator if and when I either swamp-out or puss-out. I am going to start it slow. Even very slow.
I wrote all of this down into a new blog post: Added “Take the Stairs” to My 2018 New Year’s Resolution if you want to know why taking the stairs–even slowly–is good for us.
Resolution #1: Actually take up the Slow Jogging
I have become obsessed with Slow Jogging but not enough to actually start slow jogging yet. I bought the right shoes and I am, of course, obsessed with it. But I am not doing it. Starting today, I’m doing it. No matter how short the run, no matter what–even if it’s on my building’s gym’s treadmill instead of outside in the Arctic.
Hiroaki Tanaka and Magdalena Jackowska are both adorbs and dead serious and I want to be just like them, though I might not have the stones to take it up outside during this so-called Arctic cold outbreak. It’s all in pursuit of the niko niko pace. According to the Natural Running Center, “Niko niko means ‘smile’ in Japanese and here defines an easy pace, that you can keep with a smile.”
According to the official Slow Jogging book, high-intensity training is 70%-80% of what you got–running running–while slow jogging is closer to just 50% of what you got.
Sort of athletic shuffling but with good form and making sure you don’t drag your shuffling feet.
Resolution #2: Row every single day
I’ll be starting today with a combination of the brand new-for-2018 January Revolutions Challenge in addition to the concurrently-run Virtual Team Challenge: row every day in January.
Now let me tell you what I mean when I say row every single day: slow-rowing.
I guess slow-rowing is the same as slow-jogging: perfect form, a focus on stroke/pace, and a deep attention to keeping niko niko.
When I trained for the GWU college crew team we exerted 70%-80% of our VO2 max. Niko niko is closer to 50% of one’s VO2 max, according to slow jogger gurus Hiroaki Tanaka and Magdalena Jackowska.
This is really easy when there are challenges on. In January alone, there’s both the Virtual Team Challenge, which gives way more value to niko niko numbers of meters and kilometers over how hard you row.
Resolution #3: Put Some Power Tens in
That said, I promise to do some high-intensity sets of ten. In on-water rowing, these are called power tens. Here’s a really awesome article on the Power Ten on Concept2’s website:
“a Power Ten is, traditionally, ten hard strokes of power. The coxswain often will count out each stroke for the crew” . . . “a Power Ten helps crews to mentally commit to rowing simultaneously and keep focus. And in reality, it’s hard to maintain 100% effort for the entire race. The coxswain may call a Power Ten to motivate the crew to return to pulling hard when they’ve become tired or to make a move to gain (or pass) on a competitor” . . . “a Power Ten can be a useful tool for rowing indoors as well. Sprinkle Power Tens into your workouts: try breaking up longer workouts like a 5k with a Power Ten every 500m or 1000m. On shorter workouts, Power Tens can help you focus on intervals and sprints. If you’re feeling like you can’t keep up at your same pace any longer, take a Power Ten to dedicate to your best effort”–that’s all amazing advice and I couldn’t say it better myself.
Thank you, Meredith Breiland! To me, a Power Ten is always going to be 80% of my exertion; or, around a ~140-147 heart rate. I always wear my Polar chest strap when I am rowing on the erg. I will do the same thing once I can actually do that, physically, during my slow jogs. Once in a while I will just try to do ten-mississippis worth of sprinting in addition to my 50% slow jogging.
Resolution #4: Get Back To My Local 9Round Gym
I really loved getting unlimited quasi-personal training whenever I wanted it. It’s so easy to just go there with a set of boxing hand wraps and a pair of Cleto Reyes professional training gloves and in around 30-minutes I’m in a swampy pool of my own juices.
And, as Rob Graveline, owner of all the 9Round studios and gyms in Arlington, said to me a while ago as I struggled just pulling myself up from the mat: “the only thing we’re going to focus on together is working on getting up off the floor.
The only thing you need to be able to do easily is get up. That’s the focus of our working together.” While that’s sort of a paraphrase, that’s how I remember it. He’s a good man.
And how sad is it that I can’t easily get off the floor without grimacing and grunting? Oy vey! I would love to be able to get to the point where I am acing kettlebell Turkish Get-Ups.
Resolution #4: Add Calisthenics to My Day
I have a treadmill desk that I have been underutilizing over the last quarter–I need to spend a lot more time making 12,000 steps a day, be it via 2mph walking-while-working or via slow-jogging and real springing (I owe a lot to my Fitbit community). I have six very nice kettlebells that I have not been using nearly enough and that I would prefer to swing my kettlebells for 90-seconds every 60-minutes. In addition to that, my business partner Dan Krueger wants me to drop and do 20 every hour all day long as well: 20 push-ups, 20 squats, and maybe at some point some pull-ups and loads of sit-ups and scissor lifts.
So, I think I’ll do it as often and as religiously as I can. But not nearly as religiously as I am committing to my slow-rowing and my slow-jogging. Amen!
My first impressions of the new Mizuno Wave Sonic slow jogging shoes
December 28, 2017
OK, the new Mizuno Wave Sonic running shoes are made as racing flats and not as slow jogging shoes. But as slow jogging shoes I intend to use them. And also as erging shoes and as kettlebell swinging shoes and even as gym shoes and for 9Round kick boxing. Before now, the closest things I have owned were a very flashy pair of Mizuno Wave Musha 4 racing flats in shiny gold. These are much more demure.
My new pair of Mizuno Wave Sonic racing flats that I plan to use for my new Slow Jogging passion. Slow, forefoot and midfoot-running. I’ve always done this. It’s natural for me.
The Mizuno Wave Sonic was not made for any of these things. The new Mizuno Wave Sonic was made as a replacement for their popular Ekiden and Hitogami racing flats.
The upper is really beautiful made with socklike Nike-like knitting. The shoe is pretty low drop and low cushion but it’s not no drop but it only has a 4mm drop so it should work pretty well with what Hiroaki Tanaka, Ph.D., recommends.
One of the things I like the most is the all-rubber outer sole that looks and feels very durable since I feel like part of my slow jogging will be very shuffly. Lots of shuffling shuffles. Until I get better height.
They’re 9.5 ounces in my men’s size 13 (the official weight is 7.7 ounces in men’s size 9). While I don’t need such a very light shoe as I am a big man, this is something that people like to know. Lots of Mizuno shoes are highly structured with plastic pieces and superstructures and infrastructures. Their Mizuno Wave Prophesy actually has a literally wave-shaped plastic sort of spring in the sole–very different from the Sonic.
This Mizuno Wave Sonic has only 23.3 millimeters of heel cushion and 16.8 millimeters of forefoot cushion.
I don’t know what midfoot U4icX Wave construction is but I generally think stuff like that is bullshit. Mizuno describes U4icX foam to deliver a cushioned ride with higher rebound for a comfortable energized ride.
All I know is that this shoe is a lot less structured than all the other Mizuno shoes I’ve worn except for my beloved Mizuno Wave Musha 4s–I wore them at the gym and during personal training.
The outsole of the shoe contains the Mizuno X10 carbon rubber and is the star of this shoe. The Mizuno Wave Sonic is much more durable then most racing flats and that durability promotes using the shoe for more workouts then a typical racing shoe.
My Slow Jogging, Erging, & Kettlebell Shoe
It seems to me that this is the sort of shoe I can wear all day long, from my treadmill desk, allowing me to make my feet strong, to my Concept2 rowing ergometer where I can just strap these low 4mm drop shoes into the footplates and strap in, and then I can just get up and swing, deadlift, clean, press, and squat my kettlebells! And when I got to the gym, this the Mizuno Wave Sonics will give a lot of support for deadlifts and when I get to 9Round I will feel pretty good doing foot work.
And then, of course, outside so that I can get a very long, super-slow, slow jog.
My favorite running shoe is still Saucony Jazz
December 20, 2017
No matter what I try I always fall back in love with my Saucony Jazz Original running shoes. That’s not true, actually. I started off only running in Nike Pegasus running shoes–The Original Nike Pegasus to be exact–back in middle school. The original Nike Pegasus bears a striking likeness to Saucony Jazz Originals.
I had been running in maximalist running shoes from Hoka One One but I don’t think they’re for me, especially since I discovered the International Slow Jogging Association and read Slow Jogging: Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, and Have Fun with Science-Based, Natural Running by Hiroaki Tanaka and Magdalena Jackowska cover-to-cover. So, since slow jogging advocates very slim-soled running shoes, I returned to my trusty rainbow threesome of Saucony Jazz original running shoes.
After reading the book I looked around for the perfect pair of shoes to replace my Hokas. I first thought that maybe Onitsuka Tigers were the way to go. Then, I thought that Saucony Bullets where the way. Finally, I came all the way around to when I ran 4 miles every morning before work and then 8-10 miles on Saturday and Sunday.
I used to love them because they’re the dual purpose motorcycles of the running world. They’re neither off-read enduro dirt bikes nor are they road-only racers.
They wear like wrestling shoes, they have a little bit of cushion (and the included inserts really improve their comfort), and the Saucony Jazz running shoes benefit from enough of a tread that I always feel sure-footed whenever I ran in the rain or in the show.
I know for a fact that both the original Nike Pegasus–or even the first Nike, the waffle iron racing flat–and the original Saucony Jazz running shoes were designed for the road and the track but these days, this level of lug is more common on trail-running shoes–thus be comparison between the Saucony Jazz Originals and a dual purpose motorbike. For me, it’s the best of both worlds and virtually no compromise–at least for me. In addition to all of its other shining qualities, Saucony Jazz shoes are some of the best erg shoe for indoor rowers.
I tend to wear them without socks because they’re a little snug when I add socks to them. I wear men’s size 13 US / 12 UK. They fit perfectly and there’s still a little room for when my feet swell during a run.
At around $50-$60-a-pair, they’re easily replaceable when they start to fall apart, though that doesn’t happen. I hadn’t been running in these three colorful pair of Jazz shoes I had only been using them when I am on my Concept2 Indoor Rower. While there’s a little bit of a heal wedge and they’re not perfectly flat like Converse All Stars or Feiyue Tiger Claw martial arts shoes, the midsole and outsole of these Jazz runners is negligible.
A very traditional potato latke / potato pancake recipe even your mother would love
December 17, 2017
My mom and I had a few traditions: lunchtime wine at the Olive Garden, margaritas at El Paso Café, a Beefeater gin on her birthday, a really nice medium Filet Mignon at Outback, and lunches at Jewish delis. We would always start with a plate of potato pancakes–latkes–with sour cream and apple sauce. We would follow-up with corned beef on rye with mustard but I always look forward to snacking on well-made, traditionally-fried, crispy potato latkes. I’m more of a sour cream guy but I do like a good apple sauce.
- 2 large Russet potatoes (about 1 pound), scrubbed and cut lengthwise into quarters
- 1 large onion (8 ounces), peeled and cut into quarters
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons course kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon fine sea salt), plus more for sprinkling
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Safflower or other oil, for frying
- Using a food processor with a coarse grating disc, grate the potatoes and onion. Transfer the mixture to a clean dishtowel and squeeze and wring out as much of the liquid as possible.
- Working quickly, transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the eggs, flour, salt, baking powder and pepper, and mix until the flour is absorbed.
- In a medium heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat, pour in about 1/4 inch of the oil. Once the oil is hot (a drop of batter placed in the pan should sizzle), use a heaping tablespoon to drop the batter into the hot pan, cooking in batches. Use a spatula to flatten and shape the drops into discs. When the edges of the latkes are brown and crispy, about 5 minutes, flip. Cook until the second side is deeply browned, about another 5 minutes. Transfer the latkes to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and sprinkle with salt while still warm. Repeat with the remaining batter.
- Make sure you pat dry the potatoes, use lots of oil, and let it get hot. Nobody likes soggy, greasy, latkes.
SpyderGrip Green Lynx 2.0 Review
December 16, 2017
I bought this SpyderGrip Green Lynx 2.0 over a year ago, I think, but haven’t used it much because I didn’t think it could carry that much. Tonight, however, I checked it out and I was easily able to fit my Samsung S6 Active into the neoprene pouch.
Here’s an official walk-around of the product, taken from the site:
Here’s my review:
Here’s the bugger I own. This here is my own personal SpyderGrip Green Lynx 2.0. It’s made of neoprene and it’s one-size fits all, and it’s highlighted with neon hi-viz green with reflective material that looks a lot like that fancy 3M Scotchlite material.
That will keep you safe on the road if you don’t have a sweatshirt or jacket over it. If you’re wearing it on top, SpyderGrips can replace a runner’s Hi-Viz safety vest for (not that) late night or (not that) early morning runs. That’s a real bonus. Can’t ever have enough eye-catching reflectance on the road.
There’s no extra padding on the back but neoprene is still pretty comfy. As you can see, it’s very well-stitched.
The Velcro hook-and-loop fastener is really strong. Nothing’s coming out of there. Whatever you’re carrying will more likely come through the neoprene or the stitching than it will the flap.
Neoprene is super-stretchy and I think I had forgotten that. The generous top flap can be pulled tight, cinching down the entire contents. I couldn’t get a photo of the two lined holes on top that allow you to run a set of wired headsets.
So, once I realized that the little pocket, that nestles tightly on your back, between the shoulder blades, a around the base of the neck, depending how you wear it. But, if you look below, you’ll see that I have been able to put my big fat wallet, my big ring of keys, including a honking 2001 BMW car key, and also a smart phone. Since I was photographing this with my S6 Active, I placed my little Apple iPhone 5 in its stead. The SAMSUNG is bigger.
Inside, there is a soft pocket that is closed with a button of Velcro that allows everything inside to be segregated into two sections. Maybe you can see it below.
I know, black on black on black. But you’ll see below that the entire case gives a lot. I put the phone closest my back with the screen facing me so that the phone smooths out the pointy bulkiness of the keys. And then I put the keys at the bottom and the wallet on top. If you’ll see below, it doesn’t end up being very thick at all.
The only downside is that none of it is very accessible at all while you’re running. So, if something happens that requires you to address your phone, you’ll have to remove it. But, if you can get everything running like a train, you can just set it and forget and get moving and have your stuff close-by.
Nobody will steal your stuff secretly because the Velcro is so loud and so completely strong that nobody will pickpocket you. In fact, this might be an excellent solution when you travel. You can hide your Passport or keep your Travelers Cheques or the bulk of your cash in there, under a jacket. Who would ever check between your shoulder blades or at the base of your neck? Right?
I really only own it and have played around with it and, only tonight, tried putting more stuff in here than just my phone (I thought that maybe it could/would only hold a phone, but it’s a lot more capable). So, I can’t recommend its durability.
At $25 on Amazon (retail $39.99) I think I wouldn’t mind how long it really lasted because it’s replaceable because it’s relatively cheap. But I used to be a PADI Divemaster and I know that neoprene is a very durable material. People run their SCUBA wetsuits for decades with just a little patching.
I also think that the neoprene will easily protect my stuff–leather wallet, especially–from my sweat and from some rain. It’s made in China, for what it’s worth, but I don’t think that matters unless you’re America First.
I would recommend it. I’ll try to use it more and give you a better review down the road. It really looks and feels very well-made and very durable. I’m sold, not just in photos but in my hands.
Hill People Gear Snubby Kit Bag Review
December 16, 2017
Over the last couple-few years I haven’t gone for a run without wearing my Hill People Gear Snubby Kit Bag on my chest. For me, it’s how I like to carry my personal stuff when I am on a run, race, or jog.
It’s kind of a unique bit of kit. It’s a harness that securely holds a small, two-pocket, 500D Cordura, bag to my chest. It’s always accessible and it never jostles or jounces.
The only thing I have against it is that nobody else wears anything like this when they run so the little pack stands out. It’s different enough that people ask about it.
I never know where to put my wallet, keys, and phone when I run. I tried SPIbelts and still love them but I was looking for something that kept my stuff both immediately available and also close enough that Bluetooth can clearly transmit from my phone to my wireless Bluetooth headsets.
My SpyderGrip system only lets me carry my phone comfortably and snugly between my shoulders.
I love running in my Black Diamond Magnum 16 Pack a lot because it’s the perfect size, has a lot of cinching so there’s never any flopping, and it accepts my CamelBak bladder and has fittings for the drinking hose and everything.
It’s perfect but all the stuff I carry are on my back and not readily accessible. At the time, I also had my Virginia Concealed Carry permit and running armed was something I found compelling sometimes during late night and early morning runs.
Last year I ran a lot of 5ks very slowly: In Praise of Being Dead Last in a Race, Still Not Dead Last and I Gained a Wee Bit in Both Pace and Time, and My Last 5k in the Series was my Fastest by Half-a-Minute!
The best treadmills for runners, joggers, and walkers at home
December 8, 2017
I just received an email from Mei telling me about an article that she wrote for Reviews.com about the best treadmills after reading my article on this site, Hiit: 3 Minutes Of Anything Is Hard. I thought I would share excerpts of it with you since the only treadmill I use on a daily basis is my LifeSpan TR1200-DT5 treadmill desk that I bought on June 1, 2013.
Other than that, I run outdoors or put in the minutes and meters on my PM5-equipped Concept2 Model C indoor rower AKA rowing ergometer. While I am in the market for a cheap SkiErg and BikeErg, I am not in the market for a treadmill, though if I had the proper room and budget, a full-featured NordicTrack C 2950 treadmill with all the bells and whistles.
Here’s Mei’s 30-Second Review: “treadmills are an investment, but the best ones are worth the money. We looked for well-designed, ergonomic machines at a range of prices and tech levels to suit the needs of everyone from casual joggers and fitness fanatics. After comparing stats and putting nine treadmills to the test, we arrived at four models we liked for different workout styles.”
Check out the rest over on Reviews.com, The Best Treadmill: Work Out in the Comfort of Your Own Home.