Monthly Archives: June 2014

Reaction: Runners World on Lyme Disease

I read the June article in Runner’s World on Lyme Disease and found myself agreeing with most of it, reliving the crazy few weeks of uncertainty with knee trouble, and understanding a little bit more what the $1,500 an hour expert meant but was unable to explain.

You may recall that in 2010 I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease (after a false negative).  In my opinion I first contracted it in 2009 when I had an un-diagnosed fever, that the doctors attributed to H1N1.  Almost 9 months later I had a swollen knee with no physical damage, but was eventually tested and diagnosed with Lymes. Several of my veterinarian friends said that if a dog came in with a swollen knee they’d check for Lyme disease right away!  Fortunately, I haven’t suffered any relapses (at least that I know of)!

This was me:

Because Lyme symptoms tend to come on gradually, many people don’t initially notice the signs. And when they do recognize something’s amiss, Dr. Green says the early indicators–sluggishness, fatigue, muscle aches, joint pain–can easily be mistaken for the flu.

Or if you’re a runner, you may think you’re simply overtraining. “I’ve had athletic patients, runners and Nordic skiers, who thought their fatigue and aches were due to periods of hard training, but they were really suffering from Lyme,” says Bill Roberts, M.D., a sports-medicine physician at the University of Minnesota.

This is why the specialist said to not talk about my past history of Lyme Disease:

Instead, the CDC-recommended blood test is indirect–meaning, it looks for the presence of Lyme-specific antibodies fighting the bacteria. And that makes it quite easy to get a false negative (early in the infection, before your body has produced antibodies) or a false positive (detecting antibodies because you have been exposed to the bacteria at some point in your life).

I’ve definitely been more cautious when I see ticks.   Trail runners are the most prone to get them, but really they are becoming more and more present in suburban and urban areas.  It would be nice if there was a way to kill them off, especially during the annual mosquito treatments…

Garmin vs Phone GPS

I’ve often wondered about the accuracy of my phone’s GPS and that of my Garmin Forerunner 205. Could they be equally good at tracking my workouts? I’ve used both before when I was doing interval workouts as Strava doesn’t allow for split timing. You could setup segments in Strava, but that’s a lot of work and would require fairly precise running. I never took the time to compare the data from those workouts. I think I felt that the amount of stopping and small movements wouldn’t be an accurate gauge.

On this mornings run I wore my Garmin and had the phone inside of the Chariot as I pushed the two kiddos on an 8.4 mile run. I had grabbed my Garmin because some little 15 month boy likes to hide things and had hidden my watch. I needed to protect my watch tan line (vanity…). The Garmin covers the area and now is quite useful!

Just for accuracy sake, I use a Garmin Forerunner 205 and have the LG Optimus X and was using the Strava app (discussed yesterday). I pulled the data from my Garmin into Dailymile. Not 100% sure why I did it there instead of RunningAhead which is where I tend to log most of my workouts, but I assume that the website won’t matter too much for this analysis.

Garmin Strava
Distance 8.4 8.5
Time 1:27 1:20:44*
Calories** 910 1,568
Elevation*** 1,784 226

*Strava will differentiate between moving time and total time. Elapsed (total time) was 1:27:19. Crazy that the Chariot was stopped for 7 minutes, but we did stop for water a few times and a bathroom break for the 3.5 year old!

** This is probably not a device measurement but a website one.

*** This could be a reporting discrepancy… My guess is Dailymile is reporting total climb and Strava reports net gain or loss…

Here is a screenshot from the Dailymile entry followed by Strava’s “embed on blog”.


Best Running/Cycling App: Strava

I’ve tried a few different apps to track my runs and rides. By far the best I’ve used is Strava. It is very stable and collects great data. It also saves your workout data if your phone battery dies and you can upload files from a gps device such as a Garmin. You can pay for premium features, but for most of us they aren’t necessary.

One of the best features is the segments. This allows you to compete against others on certain segments of your workout. You can track your PR for the segment and see where your last attempt ranked. I enjoy seeing improvement over the course of the season. One of the premium features is a segment alert that tells you when you are in a sgement so you can hit it!

There is also a community feature that allows you to track other’s workouts, comment on them, and like them. It also will tell you if someone else did the workout around the same time. So after a race it might say “you did this with 10 other people”. Or on a group ride it might say you rode with John.

Unfortunately,  Strava is really big in the cycling community but not as strong in the running world. Or at least not with runners I know. I would definitely recommend using it as a runner.

Here is a recent photo collage that uses Strava:

Have you used Strava? How would you compare it to other apps? Which app do you use?

Test of Government

This is a quote that Keith Ellison had in his book:

Humphrey said in a speech, “The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life: the children; those who are in the twilight of life: the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life: the sick, the needy, and the handicapped.” Those weren’t just words for Humphrey, it was his personal credo, and I quote it quite often.

It is still a good question…

What is Your Crazy?

How do you define crazy? We all define crazy a little differently.  I say Ironman and ultra-marathons are crazy. But some people say I’m crazy for running at all. We were discussing crossfit tonight and I called my younger sister crazy for her daily workout routine.

So how do you define it?

Google says it is someone who is mentally deranged or wildly enthusiastic. For many of the above examples you could go either way…

Summer Reading

What are you reading this summer? My Kindle and my bookshelves have a ton of good books that I need to read. My Amazon wishlist also has quite the collection.  That doesn’t count the free book a month I’m eligible for and the new Kindle First program, where you can keep a book from their editors choice of books before they are released.

Being eligible for 2 free books a month it is hard to read anything else. Using the Kindle Lending Library, the book you borrow has to be read on an actual Kindle device.  You can borrow a new book on the 1st of each month after you return your previous book. The Kindle device policy is a little annoying, especially since I’m not a fan of their Fire products. The OS seems to clunky, I prefer the traditional Android operating system. I’m pretty sure I’ve borrowed a book every month that I’ve been eligible to do so, which is probably 2 years or so. The Kindle Lending Library has a ton of books of all genres and styles. Some are pretty short too. I’ve found some new authors and read at least 2 series of books this way!

The Kindle First program is newer and you get an email with 4 editors picks that you can choose from. I’ve read several this way and downloaded a couple of other to read. This program actually let’s you keep the book, no strings attached.

So, what am I reading? Over the weekend I finished Superior Death by Matthew Williams . It was a relatively short legal thriller based in Michigan on Lake Superior.  It came from the Kindle Lending Library. I returned it and borrowed First to Kill by Andrew Peterson. I haven’t started reading it yet. I did stumble upon Supreme Justice which sounded interesting and happened to be a Kindle First book, haven’t started it either.

I’m almost 80% done with Plaster City by Johnny Shaw, which I’m pretty sure was a Kindle First book. It started slow but has improved if you can handle harsh language and some violence!  I’m almonst halfway through My Country ‘Tis of Thee an autobiography of Keith Ellison,  our Congressman. I paid full price for this and it has been an interesting perspective into his life. The other book that is currently part of my thoughts is The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou, which I purchased shortly after her death. I used it to finish last month’s 30 day challenge of poetry reading.

I have a lot more books that I started and got bored with. What about you? What are you reading?