Running gear gear gear!

A roundup of the stuff that keeps me running.

Camelbak• I’m so behind on the CamelBak thing, but I just got my first one a few weeks ago! Excited. I’ve always wanted one, but the $60-ish price tag has kept me at bay, plus I don’t do as much trail running as I’d like, which is where I could see myself needing it most. My husband’s aunt’s husband Mark, a cyclist, heard my desire for a CamelBak at a family gathering recently and disappeared into the garage. He emerged with one he bought his wife just before she shattered her collarbone in a biking accident a couple of years back. It still had the tags and everything, and it’s a mean, bright yellow. I love it as much as I thought I would. I do have some complaints: It took a while to get used to hearing and feeling slosh-slosh-slosh as I ran. But eventually, I did. Also, in this crazy heat, one of the ways I stay upright is by pouring water on my head from a water bottle. With the CambelBak sucker-hose, I haven’t found a way to make that happen. But there’s other gear for that.

• Speaking of hydration, my hand-held water bottle. It’s so old that it’s about to bite the dust, y’all. I’d buy another one, but I’m in a quandary: The CamelBak holds the amount of water I need on a run, and the hand-held doesn’t. But I have to have to have to be able to deliver water to my head, which my hand-held does. But I sure as heck am not going to carry both. I haven’t figured out my preference on that yet.

RunKeeper app• The RunKeeper app for my iPhone is pretty awesome. I used to want a Garmin GPS watch and (as usual) shied away because of the price of the one I wanted. Since I often like listening to music and podcasts when I run, I have my iPhone with me anyway, and an iPhone has GPS. The app calculates everything I need: distance, elevation, calories. Tracks my runs, my progress. You can check out my RunKeeper profile here, if you want. The last web-based run tracker I used was, which in retrospect, blows. I had to literally, like, map my runs myself, plotting out exactly what my route was or was going to be on an embedded Google map, just to get my mileage. Maybe they’ve improved it by now, though, I don’t know. Now all I have to remember to do is press “Start” when I’m starting and “Stop” when I’m done.

How to run in Dallas’ heat and not die

Here’s my Dallas Morning News story about exercising in the heat. This story from last year, July 2010, but I forgot to pimp it here. Some self-promoter I am. It’s hotter’n a son of a gun this summer, though, so the story is actually more relevant now than last year.

Don’t like reading? Cliff Notes version: If you can’t beat it, join it. Traditional reason that warns to stay indoors during extreme summer temps is a bunch of hoo-hah. Just be careful is all. I’d much rather be running in the super-hot than in the super-cold, any day. I am from Texas, after all, and while it’s hotter than normal this summer, we’re still no strangers to sweating around here.

I like the answer one expert gave a TV news head in an interview the other day. When asked what the difference is between the Texas heat today and the heat from, say, a hundred years ago, he replied, “We, um, have higher requirements today.” Today we need AC and iced tea for our delicate 21st century selves, haha.

The Dallas Morning News | Fitness | How to acclimatize to the heat by Christy Robinson

Q&A: Tell me about your first gym experience

I need your help! I’m doing a story about how to choose a fitness center and what to do once you’ve joined. You can answer in the comments here or on Facebook. The story is aimed at people who are out of shape and/or are new to fitness. Now, fitness/the gym scene/running/etc. have always been a part of life for some of you — I have a question for you in a minute. But here are a few questions for those of you who discovered things later as an adult:

What did you wish you knew when you joined a gym for the first time?
• Were there any instructions or answers that were difficult to get from staff?
• What classes, equipment, services, or other aspect was the most intimidating?
• After you joined, did you discover or experience something that made you wish you’d joined another gym instead?

Now for you fitness lifers (or anyone who’s joined a gym):

• What are your top five factors in choosing a fitness center? For instance, four my must-haves are proximity, fairly low-cost dues, an indoor track and yoga on its group exercise schedule. If the place has a wet sauna, too, I’m there. What about for you?
• What gadgets or programs do you use to keep you on top of progress?
• What do you do to motivate yourself to get in the car and go to the gym?

I look forward to your insight! The story is due to run the second week of January as part of a health package in The Dallas Morning News.