Mio FUSE Heart Rate and Activity Tracker Review

IMG_20150531_193900_169I  recently received a Mio FUSE Heart Rate Training + Fitness Tracker to review. Mio sent the device to me because I didn’t believe a strapless heart rate monitor would work. Over the years I have tried a couple of different strapless monitors, and none of them worked. So I was both excited and skeptical.

This is a pretty long review. If you just want to see my final conclusions, scroll to the end.

Though my main focus was to test the strapless heart rate (HR) monitor, I tried all of the features to be thorough. I’m not going to cover every single feature on the app.

The Mio FUSE wristband comes in a small box with just a small charger. The device needs to be charged before use and requires a smart phone app. The charger has a USB end to be plugged into a computer or wall charger. The instructions say it will need to be charged once a week. The battery in the wristband can be charged 300 times, which concerned me until I realized that 300 charges is more than 5 years. (The battery drains faster when using the HR monitor feature.)

The wristband is made of a soft rubber and is comfortable. It comes in a couple of different colors — mine is black and teal. Because heart rate is measured through the skin with light, the wristband needs to be worn sIMG_20150531_192739_800lightly higher on the wrist than you would normally wear a watch. It takes some getting used to, but I adjusted quickly. You can set the wristband for left- or right-hand wearing using the menus on your smart phone. It’s a fairly wide band, and thick at the display.

The instructions for use are pretty specific. The arm must be in a horizontal position in order for the “buttons” on the wristband to work.  This is to prevent the accidental touching or bumping of the buttons from causing the display to light up.

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Posted in heart rate monitors, product review, walking | 7 Comments

Memorial Day 5 Miler

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Buckeye Striders who entered the UACA Memorial Day 5 Miler are Nancy, Pat, Jack, Deb and me.

There were five Buckeye Striders entered in today’s UACA Memorial Day 5 Miler. For several years, this race has been a tradition with the Striders.

I walked the nearly 2 miles from my house to the start of the race. My thought was that it would be a good warm up, but in reality it was too far to walk to the start of a 5-mile race.

This is a small, nice, community race. There are several hundred people who enter. It starts and finishes at the fire station and the American flag hangs from a fire truck when the National Anthem is sung. Winding through the streets of Upper Arlington, there are families out in their yards cheering on the participants! It is very fun!

Pat, Nancy and I started out together, but it didn’t take long for Nancy to take off. Pat and I walked most of the course together. It’s all on neighborhood streets with a few small hills throughout.

Jack won his age group!

Jack won his age group!

Nancy finished a little ahead of me in 1:02:49 for a 12:34 pace. (So nice to see Nancy fast again!) My finish time was 1:05:59 for a 13:12 per mile pace! Pat was right behind me with 1:06:28 for a 13:18 pace. Deb was very happy with her 1:08:58 finish with a 13:46 average. Jack won the 80+ age category with his 1:22:01 finish for a 16:25 min/mile finish. Jack also raced at the Jack Mortland Race Walk in Yellow Springs on Sunday. He entered the 5K.

So we were all pleased with our finish times and were happy to participate in the great community event again.

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Posted in races, racewalking, walking | 1 Comment

Episode 11 Podcast — Review of RunTheBluegrass Half Marathon

In this episode of the WALK! Magazine Podcast, I talk with my friends Deb and Pat about the RunTheBluegrass Half Marathon, March 28 in Lexington, KY. Because we were going to be in the car for several hours while driving home from the race, we decided to record the conversation in the car.

Highlights:

  • The expo was small and tight, but nice. Pat and Bob bought Woodford Bourbon.
  • Pat did not like her race shirt/hoodie at first, so traded it for the unisex version. We all agreed that something different from a standard technical shirt was nice. (I love my hoodie!)
  • There was an issue regarding the timely delivery of the medals and shirts, and the race director did a phenomenal job of making sure the medals arrived, and making an alternate plan for shirts.
  • It was cold for this time of year.
  • The pre-race dinner was an all-you-can-eat buffet at one of the horse farms. One of the featured speakers was Scott Menzies, the husband of the last Meg Cross Menzies who was killed by a drunk driver in January 2014. Pat was so cold, she did not stay for all of the speakers.
  • At the start of the race, the corrals were roomy. The singing of the National Anthem and playing of My Old Kentucky Home were both beautiful.
  • The corrals moved quickly. Once our corral was released, the streets were not overly crowded.
  • The course is hilly! The course is beautiful!
  • Mile 9 — the most memorable mile — was dedicated to Meg, and a shoe tower was built there in her honor. We had our picture taken there.
  • At mile 12.1 there was beer on the course. (Yes, I had a sip.)
  • There was plenty of food at the finish. Everyone could also get one beer. (Yes, I had a beer.)
  • The race staff were great! The race is very well organized.

A special thanks to Bob who drove both to and from Lexington and dropped us off at the start line race morning! (539)

Posted in half marathons, health, interview, podcast, races, racewalking, walking | 2 Comments

Saturday’s 8-mile Walk in 20 Degrees

The ice at the entrance to the trail was intimidating and a little scary.

The ice at the entrance to the trail was a little scary. No one wants to fall and get hurt.

It was about 22 degrees when Deb, Linda, Nancy and I met for our 8-mile training walk starting at Worthington Hills Park. It’s been a long time since we have been able to walk outside or for any distance, and we were all suffering from cabin fever.

We were a little concerned when we arrived and there was a lot of ice near the entrance of the park. In fact, we were still worried in the first half mile when we kept hitting large patches of ice.

Luckily, a group of women runners coming from the other direction assured us the trail got better, and we kept going. And they were right — the trail did get better!

We ended up heading straight out 4 miles before we turned around. There were still patches of ice, but it was doable though slow. And after so many weeks not being able to do our long distance training, it felt great!

SIDENOTE
I could not find my favorite water bottle to carry with me. I grabbed the first one I could find and thought nothing of it — until after about 3 miles I realized the back of my pants were wet. I spun my belt around to have the bottle in front and noticed that water was splashing out of the water bottle around the rim! Ugh! I was worried about frostbite and thought about turning around. But the water had been splashing on me for a while, and I had two layers of pants, so I stuck it out. It ended up being fine. When I got home I threw the bottle away. (456)

Posted in half marathons, training, walking, weather | 1 Comment

A Slushy Training Walk

As I was reluctantly  heading to the gym for a 30-min training walk on a treadmill, I realized the rain had stopped and the temperature was in the high 30s. Though it was starting to get dark, it wasn’t hard to decide to stay in the neighborhood to walk outside instead.

So I rushed inside to put on some warmer walking pants, a reflective vest and head lamp.

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Some sections of sidewalk were slushy.

The majority of the sidewalks in my neighborhood were very clear. We have a few neighbors who are diligent about shoveling and one or two who really love their snowblowers, and generously clear lots of sidewalks. I also thought that because of the mild temperatures and the rain most of the day, that everything would be clear.

I happily took off down the block, excited to be outside and not slipping, sliding or freezing. I turned the corner to encounter my first obstacle — a driveway that was never shoveled and was now solid ice. I gingerly crossed the ice and picked up the pace. Most of the block was pretty clear of snow and I stomped right through some wet spots only to realize the sidewalks are uneven, and what I thought was a little water was a puddle much deeper than I thought. Though the water was cold on my feet, it was not cold enough to turn around. I kept going.

As I tried to cross the third stretch I thought was just slushy snow, it dawned on me that this walk outside might have been a mistake. The slush and ice in the street would require walking down the middle of the road. (Not a good idea even with a headlamp.) The puddles at the ends of driveways made it impossible to go back and forth from the sidewalk to the street. And there were sheets of ice under the couple inches of slush. At this point I had to keep going.

My feet were wet.

My feet were wet.

I made it home after 36 minutes on a route that typically takes less than 30 minutes. My socks were pretty wet, but I felt great! I was able to walk at a pretty good pace for some of the route, and because many in our neighborhood had their porch lights on, there was plenty of light reflecting off the snow. And when I had to walk on the treadmill the next day, I really didn’t mind so much.

When winter is especially cold and snowy, like this year, sometimes you just have to go out and walk in it. (1137)

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Episode 10 Podcast — Darris Blackford Goes the Extra Mile for the Columbus Marathon

In the week leading up the the 2014 Columbus Marathon, Race Director Darris Blackford was facing 10 major things that were all going terribly wrong. In the years that he has been the race director, it was the first time he had to deal with so many crises that close to race weekend.

In this episode of the WALK Magazine Podcast, I talk with Darris about the issues he faced in that week, including the expectation that the finisher medals would not arrive in time.

We also talk about the marathon Board’s decision to change the length of time the race course is open from 7 hours to only 6 hours in 2015 and how that will affect marathon walkers. The half marathon will remain open 3.5 hours.

In this episode:

  • Why were the finisher medals held up?
  • How and when the medals finally arrived in Columbus.
  • About 16,000 athletes finished the event.
  • About 2,000 finishers were affected by the medal delay.
  • How did participants respond?
  • Where the medals are manufactured and why.
  • Why the race is shortening the length of time the course is open.
  • Community response to the Marathon.
  • Remember when walkers started an hour early? (I was Walking Director of the Marathon back then.)
  • Fewer than 200 of the athletes who finished the 2014 marathon took more than 6 hours.
  • Other marathons, including Chicago and Twin Cities, have a 6-hour time limit.
  • Columbus is a great market for races.
  • 1,000 spots are being added to the half marathon for 2015.
  • Corrals will be handled differently to ease crowding.
  • 35% of participants responded to the after-race survey! (4% is considered a good response.)
  • Respondents made 10,000 additional comments.

For more information about the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Marathon go to the website www.columbusmarathon.com/ or Facebook www.facebook.com/ColumbusMarathon.

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Posted in interview, marathons, podcast, races, walking | 8 Comments

Share the Trail

The last Saturday in January, the Buckeye Striders decided the Olentangy Trail should be clear enough for us to attempt our weekly group walk outside. It was pretty cold — the temperature was under 20 degrees! However, there was no wind, and the sun eventually came out.

We started at Whetstone Park and walkeIMG_20150131_085431_692d north.

When we got to a clear spot, we noticed there were words painted on the asphalt.

 

IMG_20150131_085442_805This trail gets a lot of use and can be crowded. Let’s hope others see the signs, too.

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Conquering the Treadmill

 Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This year I joined a gym and finally have access to a treadmill every day — in fact that is the main reason I joined.

While in theory I do not have a problem with treadmills, in reality they mess with my mind. With that in mind, here are some tips to help you use a treadmill more effectively.

1. When first stepping on the treadmill, use the board runners on the sides. I know it is basic, but I’ve seen people fly off a moving treadmill.

2. Don’t lean on or hold on to the handrail. Holding on for support reduces the quality of your workout. Touching the rails lightly for balance is OK, but it is best if you can pump your arms as you would naturally when outside.

3. Set the incline at 1 or more. Increasing the incline a little will make it easier for you to transition to walking outside again. Zero is just lifting your feet and the ground moves underneath.

To break up the monotony, try some of these treadmill workouts. Remember, warm up at an easy pace for about 10 minutes before starting.

1. Pyramid intervals: Walk at your 5K pace in intervals of 2 min, 4 min, 6 min, 8 min, 6 min, 4 min and 2 min with a 2-min rest at an easy pace in between each fast segment. Continue reading (652)

Posted in exercise, health, inspiration, racewalking, training, treadmill, treadmill walking, walking | 1 Comment

Be Careful in the Dark

This week, Runners’ World reported about a young athlete who was running in the early morning, and was killed when he stepped in front of a snow plow. The runner was wearing headphones, was not wearing any reflective clothing and was running in the same direction as traffic.

Because of the reactions to this story, I thought it was a good time to remind you about safety when walking in the dark.

First, be careful where you walk. If you must walk in the street, walk facing traffic so you can see cars coming toward you. If you can walk on sidewalks or bike trails, be careful at intersections. If you walk alone, choose well lighted areas, or routes where there are plenty of people.

Wear light-colored clothing. It’s not just black that makes you hard to see, navy blue, purple, dark green… My coat is dark purple, and all of my long pants are black, but I try to wear a white hat when I can. Continue reading (617)

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Episode 9 Podcast — Self Defense for Walkers with Todd Williams

Olympic runner Todd Williams combined his two passions, running and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, to create RunSafer. RunSafer’s purpose is to educate all runners and walkers on the importance of self-defense and safety awareness.

In this episode of the WALK Magazine Podcast, Todd discusses his background, why he created RunSafer, ways to keep safer when out walking, and listening to your gut.

To see some of the moves described in the interview, go to the techniques page on the RunSafer website.

This episode is a little shorter than typical. Let me know if you like it. (545)

Posted in podcast, safety, walking | 1 Comment