Friday, December 20, 2013

VIP Christmas Party at Road Runner Sports

Last night was the Christmas Party at Road Runner Sports.  I got an invite both as having VIP membership as well as being part of the Chicago Running Bloggers.  I thought some of my fellow bloggers were going so I made a mad rush home from work to make it on time.  When I got there I checked in and got a raffle ticket.  I then got another raffle ticket for playing guess how many Hershey Kisses were in a jar.  I was given a thank you Xmas ornament and off I went.

I wandered around the store a bit waiting for others to arrive.  It appears they were doing a fun run before the party and I hadn't realized it. I haven't run in awhile myself since I've been letting my body heal from various ailments so I wouldn't have gone even had I known about it.  From what I heard they actually took a route to the Lincoln Park Zoo to see the lights.

Also while I was waiting I checked out the display that the Mizuno rep, Ryan, had set up and checked out the various shoes.  I love my Wave Inspires 9 and was excited to finally see the 10s in person.  Ryan loaded all the runners up with a bunch of Mizuno swag.  The best item had to be the reflective vests.  They will be perfect for running in the dark no matter the time of year and even have a small inside pocket for keys or ID.  I also got a water bottle that opens on both ends and a clip on reflector with strobe light.

The swag
After some announcements were made and pictures taken the runners headed off.  There were only a handful of people who stayed behind.  I wandered around the store some more and then finally decided I wanted to try the Inspire 10s on.  Yup, felt fantastic and had to get them.  I was due for new shoes anyways.  I also tried on a pair of trail shoes since I will probably need some for my various trail runs in 2014.  I didn't wind up getting those and that turned into a wise decision later on. Since I bought Mizuno shoes, Ryan disappeared and came back with a Mizuno t-shirt for me which was kind of awesome.  I also got a re-usable bag with the Kanji symbol for Run on it.  Finally someone decided to break the ice and grab a beer so I followed suit.  They had brews from Revolution and Lagunitas. There were also some wines and bubbly.

10th anniversary Inspires

When the runners got back they swooped in on the snacks and drinks.  It sounds like they had a lot of fun out on their run.  Soon there was the raffle drawing.  The prizes were custom insoles, a pack of running socks, and a grand prize of free shoes from Ryan, the Mizuno rep.  First there was a hyperactive little boy who won the jar of Kisses.  My guess of 175 was way over the actual number of 139, but the boy had 140 so that was pretty impressive.  We tried to get him to eat them all at once but the father wasn't having it.  The numbers were called off for the insoles and the socks.  Next up came the shoes... my numbers were being read off, I won!  Ryan came over and gave me a big hug, he's friendly.  He was just as excited as I was for me winning since I'm a Mizuno guy.  He whipped out the catalog and was like I know you just got the Inspires, so you can get them in another color or any other pair of shoes.  We can go crazy with this if you want.  So after some thought I went with the Trail Ascend 8 which is based on the Elixir - a shoe I have worn previously - but made for the trails.

Ryan took down my information and I made sure that the shoes wouldn't ship before January 4th since I'm going out of town.  He got my address, email, shoe order and size and everything.  To top things off I had an e-mail from him first thing this morning saying it was nice meeting me and letting me know the order was all set and to follow up with him if there are any issues.

I was kind of sad that none of the other bloggers made it to the party, but I chatted with some other runners and Steph from RRS remembered me and my name from when I came for safety night.  Maybe you guys should come next time and get some great beer and great swag :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Trying a New Work Out

I've fallen completely off the wagon again.  Its been more than 2 weeks since I last ran, and that was for pint night.  First the holiday rush around Thanksgiving through me off so I missed a few days because of that and immediately afterwards I came down with a horrible case of the flu.  Glad my nephews decided to share something with me.  I was knocked down hard.  I spent a day unable to move and barely eating more than a few crackers.  I completely ached all over.  Once I recovered from the flu, my weakened body decided it was time to throw in a sinus infection for good measure.  So yeah that was a good 10 days lost to illness.  On the plus side it did help keep the holiday weight off.

I'm feeling a lot better now, but am hesitant to go back to running.  My leg muscles are all out of whack from spending so much time on my back and my knee has been aching like crazy.  I've been trying to get some stretching in the last couple days and that has helped.  The cold grasp of the recent weather has also kept me indoors.  I don't need to head out into negative wind chills while recovering from a sinus infection.  I don't have a gym membership either so that's out and I didn't feel like pulling the dreadmill out of storage.  I may have found an alternate solution though.  My own "personal trainer".

I managed to score an XBox One on Black Friday and was pleasantly surprised to find one of the built in features was a fitness program.  Its free to use as long as you have a XBox Gold membership and includes all sorts of free workouts, plus more available for purchase.  The application uses the Kinect 2.0 to track your movements and score your workout depending on how good your form is.

The camera has several different images available including heat sensing so it can actually tell if you are activating the correct muscles or not.  The camera can even take your pulse for you.

There are tons of workouts available from Jillian Michaels to P90X to Insanity.  The app keeps track of your fitness scores and lets you compare to others if you like.  There are even achievements you can earn for workouts completed.

This was the boost I needed to get my motivation on track.  The application turns working out into a game with a score and everything.  The workouts are tough too.  I did one of the 10 minute ab workouts and I was dying halfway in.  I know my core needs work, but it made me feel like I've never used the muscles before.  Has anyone else used video games for fitness?  How do you motivate yourself to get back on track after a doldrum?