Getting out of My Way

I frequently listen to audiobooks while I run… it’s a great way to get some reading done without a small child requesting I play with her. Or a dog begging to be taken outside. Or a husband asking me questions. And I’ve recently found another really good quote from a comedian. This one comes from Rachel Dratch in her book Girl Walks into a Bar… Damn the wisdom of funny people, they make me laugh and make me think!

Quote by Rachel Dratch about flow

I’m always stuck in my brain, running myself in circles or blocking the “flow” from happening. But these last several days I’ve found some good flow at work… I’ve got a lot done. Is my checklist any shorter? Um… not really, it grows by about five items for every one I clear. But I’ve still made some good progress on work tasks too.

But in doing that, I ignore this site. And then I feel guilty. Which is ridiculous. I don’t have advertisers beating down my door and demanding I give them certain false advertisements. Nobody is clamoring* to read my wit and wisdom. And those of you who do (thank you!) are always kind and patient and chime in with a friendly word from time-to-time and I appreciate that. And when I’m not working, I’d rather spend the time with my munchkin. From what “they” tell me, there will be a day she wants nothing to do with me. So if she wants me to play with her, I’m in.

She never sees this “rain” stuff! #AwesomeA #vegas

A photo posted by Jill (@jillwillrun) on

So I’ll just keep popping in here when I have something I want to share and try to keep living my life as it suits me. And my family. And my employer. Or whatever. Thanks for reading along… I hope you enjoy this quote like I did!

*clamoring is a weird word. Clamor… clamored… clamoring… to clamor?

Skulpt Aim [Review]

I ordered a box of gadgets from Lumoid a while back [here’s my more detailed explanation of the service] and another item I chose was the Skulpt Aim.

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My description: 
It’s a doohickey that lets you measure your body fat % or muscle quality by spritzing a little water on it, then holding it against certain muscles. It spits out a reading and syncs it into your smartphone for safe keeping and future comparisons.

Their description:
This portable, lightweight device tracks the result of your fitness progress. It measures when you’re losing fat and gaining muscle, by providing a measure of Muscle Quality (MQ) and fat percentage for individual muscles or your whole body. Aim’s mobile app tracks your progress over time, and lets you see which are your strongest muscles or which muscles need work.

Same thing, one is less marketing-ese.

The device is easy to use, it communicated easily with my phone (iPhone 6), and measurements are fast. Instead of purely focusing on body fat%, it analyzes your muscle quality, which is a more in-depth measurement. It tells you how you’re improving individual muscle groups when you are immersed in a fitness regime.

To use: Spritz the back with a little water. (It even comes with a handy little water bottle.) Put the device sensors on the specified muscle group (the app walks you through the process) and wait a few seconds for the measurement. Repeat on the next muscle group. Fast, easy, no tech or health background needed.

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They’ve got Tony Horton prominently featured on their home page right now… there’s an option of seeing Tony’s numbers with the Skulpt Aim… I elected to not look. I’m sure he’s amazing. I assume he does P90X workouts a billion times a day to put out all those DVDs and I feel a little queasy inside just watching some of those workouts. 😉

The device/app did tell me that some of my muscle groups are just average. (Biceps, we’re looking at you here.)

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But some of my muscle groups are doing pretty well. (Go abs!)

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So, what do I do with this information? Well… not much. Given the fact that I had this for a short trial period via Lumoid, there isn’t room to watch change. I do think it would be interesting to measure as part of an on-going plan. Especially if I figure out what I’m doing next in my fitness life. (Am I just going to find more races to run? Am I going to run less and focus on some other exercise? Am I going to become a couch potato? The suspense… the intrigue! These are the days of our lives?) But since I sent the device back to Lumoid, I now have this app on my phone with just a couple of measurements and uncertainty if I should just delete it or if I will purchase one.

The device says it’s normal price is $199… but it’s on special for $149. And since I signed up for an account to test this, it gave me a special URL for $20 off… which makes it work out to a price of just $129. I don’t know about you, but that sounds a lot better than $199! So if you are embarking on fitness/health change (or just curious if your current plan is helping) this would be a useful tool in that journey.

And if I revisit this device, I will definitely share more insights. This is an exciting time for personal health/fitness technology. I’m fascinated by the developments that have emerged and it will be interesting to see what comes next!

Okay, disclaimer time… I didn’t receive this for free. I paid for my Lumoid box and I chose which things I wanted to review based upon my own personal interests and what would make me happy to play with/write about. But since I’ve received freebies in the past, people reading my site always wonder. So there you have it. Not free, still my opinion as always.

It’s my blog and I’ll ramble if I want to

Last week I had to drive to work on Thursday (I telecommute, in case you just stumbled upon this) and while driving I listened to Nick Offerman’s book Paddle Your Own Canoe. It was alright, worth the listen on the drive and it made me legitimately LOL a few times. It also made me cringe a few times (I don’t need to know about his marital relations occurring in nature) but there were a couple of things that were quite poignant. Here’s one:

Men and women alike, if you think that altering the tip of your nose with surgery will make you happier, I would suggest you alter something much more malleable than your flesh, like your priorities, or your friends. Quit looking in the mirror so much. My two cents. - Nick Offerman

Then on Friday my mom came into town to watch my kid so my husband and I could catch a play at The Smith Center here in Las Vegas. We saw the play The Book of Mormon, I haven’t laughed so hard in years. (The Smith Center is a beautiful venue that hosts real theatre. Traveling productions of Broadway shows, orchestral concerts, ballet, etc. We’re a city of glitzy entertainment, but this place was long needed. It opened in 2012 and everyone I know, that has been there, raves about it. Fantastic place.)

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Then on Saturday my mom asked my daughter if she wanted to come home with her for a few days, and she said yes. So my baby girl got in the car and got to spend a few days out of state with her grandma and grandpa, no parents around. And I’m crushed.

I’m really glad she’s having fun and she even gets the chance to see my brother’s kids, as they are visiting as well. Since we have no family in town with us, it’s great that she gets this opportunity. But I feel so lost without her! Even when they’re just 3-years-old, giving your child independence is hard!

I always feel frustrated that I can’t do things due to parenting, yet now that I have a few days without my child I don’t know what I want to do. The things that I guess I felt limited on aren’t really fixed in a few days of time. I can’t wait to have her back home.

But one huge perk… I can actually start work on time! (That’s a sad, pathetic “perk”.)

Garmin Vivoactive [Review]

Have you ever heard of Lumoid? I may have mentioned it on here before. I know I have shared it on social media before. Anyway, Lumoid lets you order wearables for a home try-on period for just $25. It doesn’t cost you anything for the test if you buy one of the items in the box. I stumbled upon this service a while ago and knew I wanted to try it out. I fully intended to do reviews of the items I received in my first Lumoid shipment, but the trial period was really short and they screwed up and forgot one of the items so I didn’t get the side-by-side comparison I had initially envisioned.

But then it was expanded to a two week trial period and they added even more items, some key ones that I had really (really really) wanted to play with. They way I look at it, even if I don’t buy one of them I still entertained myself for two weeks for the same price as going to the movies.

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One of the items that I was excited to try is the Garmin vivoactive. I have wanted to try this watch for quite some time, mainly due to one of the apps that have been released for newer Garmin devices. I wanted to try the app and I wanted to decide if this watch, which retails for about $250, or another model that is $200 more expensive was the direction I wanted to go if I was upgrading my GPS watch.

I was kind of curious about the look of this watch after the pictures I’d seen online. Several of them looked very ugly. But honestly, when I got this one in white and wore it… I didn’t mind the appearance. It’s so thin and lightweight, it was way less intrusive than previous GPS watches I’ve worn and it was actually better than a lot of wrist-based activity trackers.

It’s got a touch screen and it’s kind of fun to swipe and see your calendar or the weather forecast. I found the touch screen responsive in a good way, it didn’t seem to just move to new screens on it’s own but when I intentionally touched the screen to navigate it reacted.

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The watch can track lots of different physical activities from the main menu. Run, bike, swim, walk and… golf? Interesting. There is a “Find my phone” function, you can tap that and it will send a signal to your phone and your phone will start chirping until you go find it and turn it off.

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It worked perfectly as my GPS watch for running. I had no issues: the satellite connection was always fast, the screen was readable and the information was accurate. I’m going to mention it again… it was so thin and lightweight. GPS watches have come a long way from my first old-school one back in 2008! The battery lasted all week long, even with wearing all day tracking steps, tracking sleep with it and taking it on several GPS-tracked runs. And to charge it was simple, just hold it somewhere in the near vicinity of the charging base and the magnet grabs on right in place. Plug it into USB and you’re all charged up in about an hour.

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It also functions as a daily activity and sleep tracker. So this was working in place of my vivofit wristband. I wore it to count the steps of the day. I could wear it comfortably through the night to monitor my sleep patterns. Like nearly any activity tracker, this isn’t something you want to wear with every look, but it worked for my typical casual wear but also with work apparel when I had to go into the office. (I’m a telecommuter, for those who stumble upon this.)

Also, notifications from your phone can show up on this watch. Kind of like the Apple Watch, but kind of not at all like it. Where the Apple device has this elegant “taptic” function for letting you know, this one just has a big buzz. And it gets any and all notifications that come to your phone. You can’t filter and say “Hey, just push my texts to this.” or “Phone call alerts only, alright?” And the buzzing… well, it gets kind of noisy. I sat in a meeting and my coworkers were mocking me because my watch was so noisy. Especially the moment when I got 5 emails in a row and the watch was like BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ. Too much notification going on there.

This watch uses the Garmin Connect IQ platform, which means there are apps to expand the functionality. There are TONS of apps to change the watch faces and for interval timers. I didn’t even have a chance to dig into all of the things available. Their app store needs some help. You access it through the Garmin Connect app on your phone, but it just felt kind of clunky. It wasn’t the best user experience. It felt like it wasn’t really designed for the window size it was presented in.

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I have an Octane Fitness Zero Runner at home and I heard there was an app that allowed you to start a run on the Zero Runner, pause it and then continue it outside. Or vice versa. That sounded way cool to me because this summer I have been starting with 2-3 miles inside and then going outside to complete an additional 8ish miles. I liked the idea of tracking that mileage as one cohesive “package”. Sadly, the app never panned out for me. It never seemed to talk to my Zero Runner. My Zero Runner can connect to the Octane app on my iPad just fine, so I don’t think it was an issue of my Zero Runner not having functional connectivity. And the vivoactive talked to my phone just fine in their native apps. I am pretty sure it was app flaws.

SOOOOO….

Since the app connectivity for the Zero Runner was the main reason I was flirting with the idea of getting a new watch right now, this may have saved me from dishing out the money. For now… I actually found myself missing the watch quite a bit after I had to send it back. If they release a version 2, I may find myself drawn back to it. Especially if it had wrist-based heart rate monitoring. But I don’t know how that would mess it up as a daily wear device.

So the simple recap of the device:

– It’s noisy when it buzzes you with notifications.
– The variety of watch faces available are cool.
– It’s pretty good as an activity tracker, even if you wouldn’t want to wear it with a really nice outfit.
– It’s excellent as a GPS watch.
– The app for Zero Runner connectivity kind of sucks!
– The interface for the Connect IQ store is clunky.

And in the two weeks since I sent it back, I’ve missed it!

Since it’s come to this point, I have to make disclaimers on stuff I’ve paid for myself now too. So I purchased this box from Lumoid with no kickbacks or suggestions from any company that was represented in my box of goodies. All opinions posted on the site are my own. Oh… and I bought the Zero Runner myself too, since I’ve been questioned about that online too!