Earlier this week I gave my wife an early surprise gift for our 20th anniversary, a new Pro-Form (the Official Boston Marathon) treadmill. Elementary my dear Watson: the 20th anniversary gift is platinum…or at least something that contains the platinum color. (Our New Balance treadmill was near death-we literally ran it into the ground.) It includes virtual reality high-definition video workouts, including from the Boston Marathon course. Since I’m not a very fast runner (but have lots of turtlish-paced endurance), this may be as close as I ever get to running the Boston Marathon myself. So like Commander Data and the crew of the Starship Enterprise on Star Trek:The Next Generation, I’m relying on virtual reality to stretch my creative imagination and propel me into the great unknown future. The virtual reality part has toughened the workouts. And as my wife attests, Jillian Michaels as an optional trainer in this iFit technology treadmill is a really tough trainer (speed and incline-wise). It is an amazing treadmill! It relies on Android technology and is imbedded with Google maps so you can run any outdoor course you want using street view. Inclines to 20% up and can decline down as much as 6% (think of downhill skiing at a little slower pace!) You can go as fast as 15 MPH and it has 2 very powerful cooling fans. So far I’ve taken the Boston Marathon high-defintion video training up through about 21 miles of the Boston Marathon course. I’m doing it in segments of course and spreading it out over multiple days. I’m taking the uphills and downhills as they hit me, not changing the elevation (or decline) but speeding up or slowing down as needed depending on uphill, downhill, heart rate monitor reading,etc. I love running downhill on this thing-a lot easier on your knees I think. Today the HRM spiked up to 161 (I’m pretty sure that’s in my training heart rate range-LOL;) I took on the immense challenge called “Heartbreak Hill” that surfaces just past the 20 mile mark. Wow! That increase in elevation hits you fast, 5% grade, then suddenly up to 5.6% grade. Heartbreak Hill pushed my HRM up to 150 and a little past that.
I’m using a new Adidas HRM that came with the treadmill and am thrilled that it actually works. There is a speed ring you can wear to adjust the speed faster than touch screen if you want that. There is a sound system imbedded so you can hook it up to your iPod. Just having this will help a lot. Like I told my wife, no it’s “NO EXCUSES” for either of us. Our daughter even wants to run on it and she’s only 9. If my wife has to leave early for work, no problem. I just run as far as I can before she leaves and hop on the treadmill after my “outdoor run” is over. Running never stops. It just goes on and on and on.
Happily today completed day 19 of my consecutive run streak and still doing the Runner’s World summer run streak too. Ran 7.12 miles all on the treadmill. Challenging hills. Virtual reality. The “Holodeck days” for runners are here! The video of the course is so real (other than the pacer running twice as fast as me) that you ALMOST reach out for drinks they are handing out or high fives and too bad you can’t feel the water hoses they are spraying on the runners. If my wife and daughter ever wonder where I am and can’t find me, safe to say that if I am not running outside that I am running on the “Holodeck”.
Technology can be a friend or foe or some combination of the two. I hope to keep running gear & technology on my side as a friend, to learn more about my running efficiency, to pace myself, and to grow as a runner, to conquer hills, and…..to boldly go where no one has gone before! ENGAGE!