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Top 10 Memorable Moments From the 2015 Boston Marathon

-1 Every race I work hard on thanking a certain group of people along the course. At first it was going to be woman with large chabungas, but I decided to make it US Military Police.

-2 Food Mirages: I saw oranges and thought they were Hostess Twinkies. I saw a tubes of Shot Blocks and thought they were hot dogs.

-3 Twizzlers: Starting at mile 17, this was glorious.

-4 Signs: Run like Beyonce is taking your medal.

-5 High Fives from kids.

-6 James at BC: Dressed in a striped Ralph Lauren button-down shirt, he effing jumped off the sidewalk and came and ran with me to the 35K marker from BC "yelling you got this."

-7 Beer: James wouldn't have done that without it.

-8 Friends and Family on the Course: I have a childhood friend that flew in from Thailand to see me and another friend run. There were pathetics with bananas and kids with water and Gatorade. My 11-year-old was jumping up and down. All much appreciated.

-9 Ambulances: There was one taking a runner of the course at mile 17. I cried. I remember my ride to Heart Center on the same road in 2011.

-10 People Running for Cancer Causes: Damn, that was hard on me. I cried a little more.

-11 The Finish Line: For all the obvious reasons. I outran cancer again. And yes, I cried, but it was freezing rain and only I know.

Fitness Gadgets and Apps Simplified

You probably heard that the Apple Watch is on pre-sale. you do know you need and iPhone to make it work?! Most of us who use MFP are aware of the sync-able apps that are available in additon to our beloved MFP. How the heck do we know what to do?

If you run, you know that Garmin is king of the race world. Mostly because it is a wrist wearable device.

Fitness bling and apps are big business. As an ex-fat guy I have a Fitbit One. As a runner, I have a Garmin 305. As 1st world human I have an iPhone and an Galaxy Android. Add to that a Bluetooth heart rate monitor, cadence sensor (for my bike), and now a Pebble watch, you can imagine what it takes to keep it all working.

To solve any problem, you need to decide what you need to know!

Do you walk. run indoors or out, want to count steps, GPS track your various workouts from mowing the lawn to dear I say, calories burned during sex?

Looking at the health and fitness offerings, here is where I stand. There is nothing better for tracking food than MFP. It has gotten better tha last 4 years. I also noticed that it was purchsed by Under Armor. Anyone who makes compressions shorts that will give you an orgasm just putting them on is okay in my book.

- Step counters: They count steps using an AVERAGE stride length. If you are busy and on your feet at work, you can rack up a lot of steps in an 8-hour shift. Fitbit is one of the most popular, and I have the One. Fitbit users who also use GPS apps and watches will notice that they are not always that close in tems of miles (or kilometers). You can adjust your stride length to make it more accurate. Endomondo (also Under Armor now) *sigh* will also sync your Fitbit as will MFP.

- GPS Apps and watches: These use two forms of calculations. One is to triangulate from cell phone towers, while the other connects to GPS satellites. This is the main reason they may have a some discrepancy from each other. Tree and building cover an throw off the GPS and poor cell phone coverage can ruin an indoor run. Some use both. A GPS will map a run, walk, cycle, or snow shoveling workout. They have trouble on treadmills for all the obvious reasons. Your step counter or additional Shoe Pod can help.

- Additional sensors: Bluetooth technology allows you to add specialized sensors to your phone app or SmartWatch. I use a Wahoo heart rate monitor strap, but I have used Polar as well. My Garmin has a HRM strap too. I also have a cadence sensor from Wahoo on one bike (indoor) and a Garmin one for outdoor road riding. There are shoe pods that act as step counters as well.

I know it's a lot to digest if you are not tech savvy.

I wrote this because I have finally got it all simplified. This is what I am doing.
- Endomondo (for iPhone and Android, I use both) It's a paid version, but they have a free one. It will import tracks from Garmin, Nike and MapMyRun and any GPS which exports tracks. It almost perfectly matches my Garmin 305 up to a full marathon. You can edit run times post race to put in your official time. Oh yeah, it syncs with Fitbit and MyFitnessPal too.
- Wahoo cadence sensor (bike) and HRM strap: They are Bluetooth and synch with Endomondo.
- Pebble watch: It will show the Endomondo app on the wrist screen plus it will show every other notification for every app on your phone which is configured including phone calls, texts, Facebook, MFP and PornStars. It is a lot cheaper than the Apple Watch and you can get one today.
- I also have a Mophie battery pack so I get 12-20 hours of phone time.


Just an attempt to share my quest to cut down on apps and gadgets. Looking forward to your feedback.

I Survived Congestive Heart Failure

On April 4th, four years ago, I had congestive heart failure. It wasn't as scary as you might think. I wasn't there seeing my life go before me, I was thinking about the pain in my chest ending. I am a faith guy, so I don't really get concerned about going home; not even when.

That day I didn't really care how it turned out.

I was in ICU for a week. I had already lost about 20 pounds when I when I arrived there. The cardiologist said it was a really good thing that I had been exercising for a few months, or it might have been lights out. Two days before I arrived in heart surgery, I had completed my first 5K walk/run on the treadmill (C25K). It took about 49 minutes.

I thought long and hard about my health that day. In my mind's eye I was still thin and 30.

I was convinced that I had lived my best years of my life. I didn't have any health goals, and for now, I should just trust the doctors to treat my symptoms and wait for it all to be over.

My poor health and fitness habits had bankrupt me. They were about to do the same to my personal finances. I was out of work for eight months while I struggled to get moving again. I saw a variety of specialists including a cardiologist, a sleep therapist, an immunologist, a dietician and I had my GP and two nurses monitoring my progress. I had to weigh in twice a day and I was on 6 heart medications.

My fitness sucked!

That's when I found MFP. Actually, I found it earlier and had a hundred excuses for why I didn't need to log my food. I restarted Couch to 5K with a 30 minute nap on the couch. I was not allowed to have my heart reach levels which are required for cardiovascular health. (above 120) I wore a heart rate monitor all the time.

Eventually the cardiologist raised the heart rate limit from 120 to 130 and then to 160. I could run!

And I did. I have completed 52 races including 4 full (26.2 mile) marathons. The Boston Marathon is in 2 weeks, San Diego Marathon in Memorial Day weekend, and I am signed up for NYC and Philadelphia in the fall.

Why am I doing all this? I have cancer. It's being treated and monitored, but for now, it's still there. I am not going to lay on another operating room thinking I missed the best years of my life.
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