Lumo Run Unboxing

I arrived back in the US following my UK vacation to find the Lumo Run gadget waiting for me on the doorstep. 

Hurrah! I bought into this a longtime ago when they were looking for financing. 

Unfortunately, I was too excited by the fact that it had arrived to make an unboxing video so you’ll have to put up with my words and then use your imagination.😉 Plus I don’t pay WordPress for video, so that wouldn’t have worked out anyway. 

The box opens at the bottom and is held in place by a plastic sticker. When I removed this sticker and pulled the drawer, the contents of the box fell out over my desktop. Doh. Not too smooth and glad I didn’t video it. 

It contained a brief instruction pamphlet, a USB cable (ribbon-type), a clip and the Lumo run device. 

The device needed a quick charge using the provided USB cable and I then had to set it up with an app on my phone. 

The app setup was very easy and required setting up a free account with the service. 

The quality of the app is very high but I found the ‘talking’ feature was a little confused at the very start of the setup. It also sounds like the voice has an Aussie accent which was a pleasant surprise. 

Once the app is connected and the device charged, you need to insert the device into a clip (a bit of a fiddle) and hook it into the back of your shorts right where your spin and hips connect. The positioning is important to allow the device to collect the data accurately. 

Their positioning diagram looks like a naked bum. Teehee. 

Then you have to do a 10 minute run with the device for it to do the first analysis. Probably wearing shorts or leggings to reduce the likelihood of arrest. 

One observation I have about this is that it would probably have been better to recommend a warm up before starting the ten minute test. I’m a little stiff in those first few minutes of running and having that as a part of the data in the initial analysis seems a little odd. 

During the run (I did 26 mins) the app talks to you and updates you with the analysis progress. Once you finish the run you get access to far more information though. 

This is where the fun begins for a data-whore like me.🙂

The app performed some analysis of the run and then came back with a recommendation that I work on fixing my ‘bounce’. It believes that I bounce 3.7 inches and should aim for a smoother run below 3 inches of bounce. It recommended a training exercise to help address the specific issue (which I did).

The overall results summary screens are really good.  Like all fitness apps, it starts with the basics of miles and pace plus a map of your route. 

If you scroll down you get to see the recommended improvement or focus. 

Clicking through on the recommendation gives you an exercise demo video. 

Scrolling further brings up the ‘meat’ of the data collected by the device. Cadence. Bounce. Braking. Drop and Rotation. 

Each of these items allows you to click through for more info. For example, my cadence is shown at a good 181spm, but click through and see this:

It shows the spm for each mile and has some links to exercises to help you target improvements. 

The image at the top of the page is a video that illustrates the measurement and is a helpful reference point for a first time user. The overlaid animated white dots show the movement it is tracking. 

The same is true for all of the sections. 

The layouts are all clear and show how close you are to the targets and what areas you need to work in. 

Clearly in my case it is bounce and rotation. 

I look forward to using it more and will post future comments as I continue to use it. 

My initial observation is that although the device can be used without a phone connected (for all you tech-naked runners), you would not get the benefit of in-run coaching feedback. 

Also, it doesn’t look like it readily supports multi-user setups. I’d like my wife to use it and not have to reconfigure the whole device every time. 

Other than that I’m very impressed with the device thus far. 

Unusually Good Weather

While my friends are all suffering the stifling heat of a Philadelphia summertime, our trip to England has us enjoying far more reasonable temperatures. 

In fact, it is quite warm for England but nowhere near as crazy as the temps at home. 

I’ve been running every other morning and just repeating the seven mile loop I found as there aren’t many roads around and the trails are all overgrown. 

This sign is on the road to the house my family have rented for the week to celebrate our parents 50th Wedding Anniversary. 

The house has some rather nice views too. 

For variation I ran the loop in the opposite direction. I’m not sure if it was easier that way as the hills seem bad both ways, to be honest. The profile looks like this:

The trip is still providing much needed time with my family and running around after my energetic two year old. He’s having a blast with so many people to play with. 

Fitting running into any vacation can be a challenge but if you are lucky and don’t mind running on roads, you can generally do it quite easily. 

You Know You’re in England When…

Another summer, another trip to the UK.

I’ve not managed to do many runs yet, but they have all been in very pretty areas of the country.

I thought I’d compile a short list of things that stand out when compared to running in the US. So, you know you’re in England when:

  1. You have to run on the other side of the road.
  2. The drivers let you pass and give a jolly wave of acknowledgement.
  3. The town you are exploring is at least five times older than the country you live in (Wells vs America).
  4. If you ask for directions when you are running in the middle of nowhere, you have to concentrate really hard to decipher the accent.
  5. When you look up the road and see views like this tiny church:
  6. And this… A bloody great big cathedral…
  7. And this… From another view point…
  8. And this…
  9. Go on then… One more and this… The last remaining fully medieval street in England…

There are some very old and scenic places in the UK. These pictures are mainly from Wells’the smallest city in England’ a where they filmed a number of the outdoor scenes from the Simon Pegg/Edward Wright cult classic Hot Fuzz.

I’m now out in the hills of Devon and trying to work out routes that don’t involve too many hill climbs, but that is proving to be a bit of a challenge!

Having a blast and having a break. It’s all good.

Fast Start

This week I finally gave in and started on a more general fitness regime to supplement my running. 

After researching a number of apps that tie into the Apple Watch, I decided upon the Seven fitness application. 

The aim: seven minutes a day for seven months. 

Simple, huh? The app is quite game-based and gives you three ‘lives’ each month to allow you to miss an occasional day. As you complete sessions it unlocks more feature and rewards. 

The app is full of ads that can be removed for a $2 purchase but I’ll wait until I’ve used it for a while to see if it sticks. 

I’m on day two (not much) and I can certainly feel some extra aches and pains from the workout. I already know that the Apple Watch integration is terrible and crashes/hangs often. However, the app itself seems robust. 

It has lots of configuration settings for voices so you can customise for the type of voice you respond best to. It gives clear instruction and has animations to show what you are expected to be doing in each exercise. 

It would have been good if they had tied the app into the Apple Watch sensors to measure the various activities (jumping jacks, running on the spot, etc.). Clearly it would not work for all activities (push-ups, dips) but tying in for the others would have been cool. 

After doing the seven minute session, I then went out on a ten mile run. 

Boy, was I fast!

I’m not sure whether it was the abundance of Saturday morning runners on the trail or that I was already ‘jacked up’ from the earlier workout, but I flew along for the first mile getting 6:30 at the one mile mark. I suspect the GPS may have been off, but I was still shifting. 

The other miles were around 7:20 and slowed once I hit some hills. 

There were plenty of ‘rabbits’ on the trail for me to run down and overtake. Groups from local running clubs, casual runners, and slow bike riders (one of whom was singing at full volume and happy as Larry as she was passing me by; hilarious). 

By the end of my eleven miles I finished with an average 7:37 pace. I’m quite happy with that given the temps were close to 80F. 

My Lumo Run hasn’t turned up yet.😦  I was hoping to be able to write about it this week and start improving my running deportment. 

Take it in your Stride

It’s the last day of the month so I thought I’d finish it with a bang. 

I’m doing a lot of work on the house at the moment, so I wanted to ensure that I had enough energy left after my run to actually achieve some things today; therefore I chose to run a mid-distance,  eighteen mile route. 

The Perkiomen Trail was beautiful this morning with a temp in the low 70s. The humidity, however, was close to 100%. I was essentially dripping with sweat within a mile. It is a shame that water weight doesn’t count as weight-loss.🙂

The trail greeted me with many wild animal sightings in the first mile: a doe and her fawn, a fox, a groundhog, some rabbits, a buck and then a heron. 

Clearly I hit that perfect time in the early morning when they are all about the business of getting breakfast. Silflay was the word used in Watership down, I believe. 

It was quite busy out for being so early. At one point (around mile five) I passed the chap that overtook me a couple of weeks ago. He was sitting resting so it didn’t count. But, he did start heading my direction.

I stopped to clear some branches from the trail and glanced behind me about a mile further up the trail and, sure enough, there he was stalking me. 

Not again, my friend. Not again!  

As it happens I could see another runner in the distance and decided I’d use him as my quarry. I increased my pace to pass him. 

It took me close to a three-quarters of a mile to catch up with him. He said he was doing five miles out and about to hit his turn around. This was now about mile eight and I decided I’d do another mile before turning. 

Determined not to be passed now that I had no direct target before me, I tried a few tricks to help keep my pace up:

  • Light on my feet
  • Pushing back as if on a skateboard
  • Standing straight
  • Powering with my arms
  • Engaging my abs. 

It seemed to work as I reached nine miles without being hunted down. 

This list reminds me that my LumoRun is supposed to arrive this week. A cool new gadget to test out.🙂

Once I started heading back down the trail I saw him about half a mile back. Clearly I’d actually be putting more distance between us. Yes!

The rest of my run was at a more relaxed pace as I took in the lovely scenery and feed across the river. 

I stopped to refill my water bottle with two miles to go. The humidity was really oppressive by this point and I was looking forward to the bottle of Gatorade that awaited me in my car. 

I was basically out of running juice by this time and jogged at a slower pace for the remainder. 

The Gatorade was like nectar and I had soon consumed the entire bottle. 

Now, sitting eating my well-earned lunch on the last day of the month I thought I should check-out my annual mileage thus far. 

Today’s run pushed me upto 156.07 miles for the month and to a total of 921 miles for the year. My second biggest month of the year thus far (March = 170). 

I got a text from my friend that I train with and he said he managed to do 116.5 miles this month which is his highest ever. Having a dog to run with twice a day is really ramping up his mileage and helping him shed some extra pounds. 

Here’s a screencap from a video I took of them them other week. She’s a lovely dog. 

Now I need to get back home and carry on decorating my garage. Some patches to smooth off on the wall and then to put a second coat of primer on to drown out the brown (why’d they choose brown?) drywall. 

My wife is away at the moment but had this t-shirt shipped to me. Funny. 

I guess that’s a good point to finish for now. 

Living the dream, man. 

Living. That. Dream. 

Beware Chains

Today I ran twenty-three fabulous miles up the Perkiomen trail and into and around the park at Green Lane. Lovely. 

The early morning was a suitably cool 69F with a gentle breeze, and the trail was nicely in the shade. But, of course, the temperatures didn’t stay that way for long. 

On the way up I was in quite a chatty mood and greeting everyone that I passed on the trail. There is one lady I’ve seen quite regularly running in the opposite direction to me and she clearly does very long distances too as we pass twice at quite distant places on the trail. 

As we passed I asked her how many miles she was doing today. Her response was that she was only doing ten as she did eighteen the previous day. Like I said, she clearly runs a lot of miles. 

I was focused on adding extra miles to my route by running through the whole of Green Lane Park as I’ve not done that before. Generally, I’ve either turned at the entrance or about a mile in. 

This time I ran through the park and ended up at the bandstand. As I approached it looked like there were toilets on the side so I decided to take advantage of those and headed towards them. 

They were at the top of a slope so I run towards it and … Ouch… There was a freakin’ chain across the slope. I thin light chain with no sign on it. Against the light concrete it was next to invisible. 

While I didn’t go flying over it, it bloody hurt and startled me. 

As the evening is progressing the bruising is coming out:

The other leg has a matching one although not quite so dark. 

Fortunately it didn’t affect my return run home. I ended up having to walk for half a mile as the temperature slipped into the 80s. Other than that it was quite a strong run. 

Ah, I did get overtaken by a very slight lady on my return. I rarely get overtaken so it stood out. I had caught her earlier on the trail but then she accelerated and stayed on my tail for two miles. I eventually had to rest for water and snacks and she went past me and I didn’t catch her again. She turned around after four miles though, so I’m going to tell myself that she was running less distance than me and that’s why she took me. (Naa, she was just faster).

A coke icee and a large bottle of Gatorade later and I felt great. 

My food strategy was better this time although I did lose count of the number of shot bloks I’d eaten. At least I didn’t entirely run out of energy this week.🙂

Enjoy your running and keep cool as the temperatures are rising. 

Every Cloud Has One

This was the view that greeted me on the return leg of my Monday morning run. I’m pretty sure that the sign is a warning for cars to slow down for children, but it looks like a indictment of my running prowess! Everyone’s a critic. 

Rather a splendid view of the sun rising for a second time over the low clouds giving that silver/golden lining effect. Stunning. It left me with little images of the sun burned into my retina for the next five minutes or so.

Today I got up early and headed out into the fog that was a 75F day with 100% humidity. Oh, boy, was that sweaty! The windows of my house were all fogged over which is always a sure sign that it is going to be bad outside.

I planned to run a ten mile out and back but hadn’t thought that it would be that humid. Because of the weather I loaded up with a bottle of water (something I wouldn’t normally bother with for a run of ten or fewer miles) and I was very grateful for it when I reached the five mile turn around point. 

When I got back to the house I had lost 3.5 lbs through sweating! That’s insane for such a short run. My clothes were all soaked through. 

Breakfast and a couple of glasses of water later and I was ready to take on the day!

In other news, I got an email from a project I’d sponsored to say that they were getting ready to ship. The Lumo Run device is a gadget that you clip onto the middle of the waist band on your shorts (at the back) and it gives you lots of interesting data about how you are running. It can track foot strike times, the orientation of your body, whether you are twisting your torso as you are running. It gives live suggestions to improve your running style as you go… Well, that’s the theory. I guess we’ll see what it is like when it arrives.🙂

From their website it looks like the device will support the things I already use like my fitness pal and map my run. I’m excited to get it soon and see what it is really like. 

As a wise Jedi once said…[blog title]

Eventually, My Legs Gave Out. 

And that sums up today’s run pretty well, so I’ll just end there.

What, you want to know more? Well, okay then!

I planned to run twenty plus miles today and headed out in the shade of the Perkiomen Trail. It was a lovely cool 67F when I hit the trail and all was well with the world.

There were plenty of cyclists out in the early morning light and they were all courteous. There were a few runners out there including several people who looked like I hoped I look (I know that I don’t as these people were perfect physical specimens and I was just lumbering along). In my mind, I was running like those elites.🙂

All was going fine. I started slightly earlier on the trail to give me more miles before hitting the end. I then ran a bit further and when I clicked over to eleven miles, looked for a turn around point. I don’t like to just stop part way on the trail and like to find something to use as a turning marker; a sign, a junction, a gatepost, etc. 

At this point I was all the way up in Green Lane Park and the day suddenly got a lot warmer. The temps were soon close to 80F and I had a whole lot of miles to get back through.

I also hadn’t brought enough snacks for the extra distance which is something I only realised once I was out at this point. Why I didn’t think that before I set out, I don’t know. One Clif bar. 6 Clif shot blocks and a bottle of water. Nowhere near enough for this distance. Bugger. 

In the woodland trails I had a moment where a stunning Buck appeared on the trail before me. He stood there and assessed me, then decided he should duck under the trail railings and disappeared down towards the river below. A beautiful moment, albeit only briefly.

Eventually I knew I would run out of food I was was trying to eat slowly, but I needed to keep hydrated. Then I realised that my route went past the back of a bicycle shop; perhaps they’d have water. Indeed, they had a soda machine (alas I had no funds) but on the side of the building I found a hose.  I ran it until all the warm water stored in the hose had gone and then filled my bottle. At last, water! At this point I still had four and a half miles to go.

I headed on down the trail and drank the water. Soon I had emptied the bottle again, but I knew there was a water stop at a toilet block on the trail at the two and a half mile mark. Once there I filled up again and rested briefly. I was out of food and starting to feel out of energy. I continued on for another mile or so and then had to stop and resort to walking the remainder. 

I started walking at the 20.6 mile mark and had 1.4 miles left to go. It felt bad having to walk the last bit, but I had no energy left to run that last bit. So, I soaked in the morning sun and enjoyed natures abundance; squirrels, chipmunks, people boating, cycling and running… Ah, someone overtook me that I’d passed earlier. Boo. I tried to run a little but soon decided that there was no chance I’d get past them, so I switched back to a walk.

Eventually I arrived at the car and scooted around the corner to the local Dunkin Donuts to get a very large icee drink. Lovely. And a couple of donuts, too, of course. Yum.

It was a fun morning run but I now know that I need to plan the water fill-ups a little more and take more food for that distance. The half bottle of red wine the evening before probably didn’t help much either…bad Rex Goliath!

Even after all the walking at the end, my average pace for the 22.25 miles was 9:19 which is still pretty reasonable. 

Dialling it Back

Happy Fourth of July holiday to my friends in the States. 

This is the first time this year in taking some time off work and extending the weekend a little, so i’m trying not to tire myself out entirely today. 

Therefore, I chose to run only ten hilly miles today rather than the twenty-something I was due for. 

I can’t believe how lovely the weather has been this year. It’s July and the temps are in the sixties with no humidity. Crazy but really nice. 

I was also being careful as I tweaked something in my knee running in the garden with my daughter yesterday evening. Playing tag can be quite risky with constantly switching directions. 

Tomorrow is the fourth and I will be taking part in our annual Tour d’Omlette bike ride into Philly for breakfast at the Famous Fourth Street Deli. It will be around a sixty mile ride and I haven’t done more than ten miles at a time this year, so that will be ‘interesting’. Or should I say, a cracking good time. Egg-puns abound, as you’d expect. 

I am looking forward to catching up with old friends though.🙂

Take care out there and don’t lose any fingers to fireworks. 

Welcome to Summer

Hellooooo summer. 

I suddenly realised I hadn’t made any blog posts for 15 days. Where did that time go? 

Well, I’ve been steadily increasing my mileage at the weekends again after taking a short break. I think it is key that even ‘experienced’ runners be very careful when they start to return to higher mileage. It is tempting to just crank up with distance as ‘you know you can do it’ but this path leads to injury by going further than your body is currently trained for. 

The answer is just to increase a little each week. I did 10, 13, 15, 17 and this week, 20. 

Running in the summer presents its own unique set of issues:

  1. Finding somewhere with good shade. Getting out of the full sun is important if you are planning for longer runs. 
  2. Get out early morning. To avoid the full heat make sure you get out early before it gets too much. If you have a long run, get out even earlier. 
  3. If you are going long, take water and plan a route that will take you via water stops so you can refill. 
  4. You will sweat more so you will need gels to replenish your body. I use clif shot bloks as I don’t like liquid gels. 
  5. Expect to get some chafing. This is something I’m experiencing for the first time this year following using the new shirt I got from the recent 5k. It is a material that feels more like cotton (although it is 100% polyester) but somehow it didn’t work well for me last week. Perhaps using it for the first time on a 17mile run was a bad idea? Any way, expect more of this when you sweat more in summer months. 

What else is going on? Hmm, well, the guy I run with on Monday mornings is looking to get a husky. This is a great running dog, but it will also be good to get him out even more than he already does. 

We saw an eagle out on the Schuylkill River Trail the other week. It landed on a pylon above us watching the rabbits. Here’s a pic for you from my friends phone. 

My Brooks Glycerine’s reached their 400 mile mark with today’s run. I have already purchased some new shoes as one of the big stores had a massive sale the other week and Brooks Ravenna shoes were 35-65$ a pop. This is less than half price so I bought two pairs. Perfect timing and this means that I will now be solely in Ravenna’s for the coming future. 

The Glycerine’s were great shoes. They have slight holes in the tops around my big toes and the left foot has slight wear on the outside back edge of the shoe, but other than that they held up really well. 

Here they are slightly dust after today’s run. 

The Perkiomen Trail was superb today. Quite a few runners and walkers about, plus some groups of pleasure cyclists (the nice polite casual riders). 

20 miles with an 8:15 pace isn’t too bad for the time of year. 

Feeling pretty groovy now and looking forward to a lazy Sunday afternoon. 

Take care out there and enjoy those summer trails.