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I AM IRON WOMAN…or getting there.

Iron Woman: Iron Man bay be a super hero, but Iron Woman is a demand!

I’m going to indulge my roommate’s recent fandom obsession by admitting I am the Tony Stark to her Bruce Banner, science bromance and all.

And as I got ready for my workout the other day, I realized how true it is.

Tony Stark has a fancy-schmancy bracelet?

IronManBracelet

So do I.

PolarFT60

He’s got an Arc Reactor?

IronManArcReactor

Guess what I call my heart rate monitor transmitter, and guess where it goes?

PolarWearlinkTransmitterPolarSportsBra

He’s got multiple suits of armor that he built himself?

IronManSuits

Well, I’m kinda working on mine. It’s the Mark 34. Definitely a work in progress. But it will be better, stronger, and faster than the Mark 33, I guarantee you that!

So this is not exactly an informative post, but hey, it makes me giggle. And it gives me another perspective to think about my workout when I’m dragging my feet on getting it done.

Product Review: Yurbuds Ironman Inspire Ear Buds

yur_buds_2I normally don’t do product reviews, but I know some friends were interested when I mentioned on Twitter that I got some new ear buds for working out.

I had been using some nice Apple In-ear ear buds, since the ones that come packaged with an iPod are uncomfortable to me. They were great at noise cancellation, and were fairly comfortable for regular use. I love them to wear on planes because of these two factors. However, wearing them on a run was an entirely different story.

I have fairly small ears, so the most comfortable ear tips were the smallest pair. The medium were just a little too large for comfort. But the small ear tips were small enough that I constantly had to push them back in, even for easy workouts like a walk or ride on a stationary bike. Jogging with them was hell.

When I read about the Yurbuds Ironman series earphones, I thought they were worth a shot. I read the reviews, and of course the reviews were never consistent. I decided to give them a shot anyway.

I almost bought the Inspire Pro at Best Buy, but decided I didn’t need the mic. It was fine to trade down to save the extra $10. I wish I had known about the Inspire Duro, simply because I’ve found cloth-covered cords on my mice and gaming headsets to be more durable and less prone to breakage. I’m pretty sure the reason I didn’t know about the Duro was because they were going to replace the regular Inspire set that I purchased, but they just weren’t out yet. Best Buy didn’t have the Duros, and I no longer see the regular Inspires on Yurbuds’ website. *shrug* C’est la vie.

So anyway, I came home with the Yurbuds Inspire headphones. They were definitely different than what I was used to! The package contained the headphones, an extra (larger) set of the molded silicone ear tips, a nylon case, some “trading cards,” and the owner’s manual.

I felt the instructions for putting them in (they have a “twist and lock” technology) weren’t that great, but after a few tries it was pretty simple. When you’re used to in-ear earbuds, these were a little strange-feeling at first because you don’t feel them where your previous earbuds fit. So for a while they always felt like they were falling out, even when they were locked in. I’ve gotten used to that, however, and have discovered that it takes no small effort to knock them out of place. They definitely stayed in my ear rather securely, even on high-sweat workouts where the motion from jogging would have knocked my Apple earbuds out. Overall, I find them very comfortable once I got used to them (as compared to regular in-ear earphones).

Some people complained about the sound quality. Honestly, I can’t tell much of a difference between these and my Apple earbuds. The ONLY difference I’ve noticed is that these aren’t really intended for sound isolation like the Apple earbuds. They do block most of the outside noise, but not to the same degree. This doesn’t bother me as I WANT to be able to hear traffic or when there’s a biker coming up behind me when I’m jogging the trails.

The only thing I don’t like about these earbuds is that the cord is VERY long compared to most normal headphones, and feels slightly flimsy (which I’m guessing is corrected in the Duro set). I usually have to fold up a few inches and tuck it into the waistband of my pants so it’s not flopping all over the place. The long cord could get annoying if I wanted to wear these while lifting weights. I have accidentally caught my hand on the cord while I was running, but the earphones did not pop out of my ears. In fact, I think they pulled my iPod off of where it was clipped to my shorts!

I’ve had these for several weeks now and I definitely love them as my workout earphones. Some people have said theirs broke quickly, but obviously I couldn’t tell you my experience with that. I tend to be very gentle on them, and most of my activity with them has been walking/jogging.

Your mileage may vary, but I really like these earbuds. They are certainly the best I’ve ever used for exercise.

Preparation for C25K

If You Run You Are A RunnerI mentioned I’m planning to start the Couch To 5K (C25K) program soon. There are a couple things I’ve learned even BEFORE starting the program that I want to share:

Wear good shoes.
The last time I tried to do it I was using OLD sneakers that I thought were just fine. They were NOT. I ended up bruising my joints so bad (ankles and knees) that I could hardly walk for several weeks.

Know your trails.
I live in an area where we have a great network of bike/walking trails, plus the American Tobacco Trail which actually has distances measured. If you know your trails, you’ll know which ones to avoid during certain weather. Sunny and hot? You’ll know which ones are shady. Rainy weather? There’s actually a trail nearby with a flood warning sign. Bug season? Avoid the ones by the slow-moving creek.

Walk your trails before you run them.
I considered just starting C25K without any kind of “warm up” as far as getting used to moving again. I seriously would have been going from the couch into the program. I discovered quickly that trail-walking involved using muscles I wasn’t used to using anymore! MY HIPS! THEY WERE SORE! So I’ve been spending a few weeks just walking the trails (trying to pick up my pace or increase my distance with each walk) to get used to using muscles that are involved with things like stabilizing my body or climbing up/going down hills.

Check your distance.
SparkPeople has a handy-dandy “Map Your Route” function (Don’t worry, a membership to SparkPeople is free! Tell them Ailinea sent you!) to help you with distance. The route I did today was almost exactly 3 miles. I originally thought it was longer! Glad I didn’t set out to do more only to discover I’d have to keep going!

Music is your friend!
I’ve made playlists of songs that are fun and upbeat, or remind me of my college crew days. For example, I remember “One Headlight” by the Wallflowers had a great beat to row to, so I included it in my “Upbeat Gym Rat” mix simply because it reminds me of those gym workouts. I have HOURS on that one playlist. When I set it to shuffle, I always have something new to look forward to.

Get a good set of earbuds.
I just picked up a pair of Yurbuds Ironman Series Headphones. I had a pair of in-ear earbuds from Apple that I used with my iPod, but they tended to fall out. I’ve only tried these new earbuds once, but so far there’s a vast improvement. They’ll take some getting used to, but they definitely stayed in. (I will do a review of them later after I’ve tested them some more.)

Other motivational accessories!
I love my Polar FT60 Heart Rate Monitor. A pedometer is useful too, and you can get one pretty cheap. Lately I’ve fallen even MORE in love with my iPod Nano (6th generation) because it combines a pedometer with a fitness tracker, has the vocalized “coaching” to go with your runs/walks, and hey! It plays music, too! You don’t even need the Nike+ shoes to use it. When I hook it up to my computer, it automatically uploads my workouts to the Nike fitness sites. I just LOVE tracking that stuff.

Clothing.
I have a variety of t-shirts and shorts/leggings to work out in. Already I’ve worn one shirt that I will NEVER wear again for exercise. The neck was too tight! Good sports bras are also important. And SOCKS! Some of my “athletic” socks have a seam that ends on the curve of my claw-like baby toe. The blister I worked up just from a short (~1.5 mile) walk bothered me in other shoes I wore for the next few days.

SUNBLOCK!
I have very fair skin. Sunblock is a must! I need like SPF 5000 to not get a sunburn! Don’t forget a hat and sunglasses!

Water.
If you can’t carry it with you, have easy access to it when you’re done. Rehydrate even if you think you haven’t sweat that much. Do it for your body.

Do you have any other tips that you can think of to add to this list? Are you a runner with any advice? Leave a comment to help a running noob out! ^_^