Last week I got a chance to do not one, but two Burbathlons, and I tried a few new things.
On Tuesday the weather was warm enough for shorts (in March! in Toronto!) so off I went. I had a water-bottle belt packed, but I'd been missing the bottle itself and I figured I'd hydrated enough in the morning to not need anything along the way... WRONG!
I found my mouth parched fairly soon after starting. I ended up doing a little extra hill work with a climb straight up the Centennial Park Ski hill and another going up the service road (in addition to the hill that takes me out of the Etobicoke Creek Valley to the park, and the berm near Eglinton road. I mixed in some squats, single-leg squats, push-ups, spiderman crawls and sprints (not necessarily in that order) into the overall run. I also took the opportunity to start to prepare for the Spartan Race by practicing some jiu-jitsu rolls.
Jiu-Jitsu practices a lot of break-falling to avoid being hurt when being thrown, but at higher levels you can use them to dive over obstacles and land in a roll. Unfortunately I'm so rusty that I was mostly practicing them in the grass from a walk. Still, if I keep up the practice, maybe I'll pull one off on race day.
For Friday's workout, I swore I'd be better hydrated. Pulling off random jumps and strength exercises (never mind jiu-jitsu rolls) with a bottle in the small of my back didn't seem too comfortable, but it gave me a chance to try out a piece of equipment I bought last season with this sort of thing in mind...
Salomon hydration packs seem to get good reviews (and I'll write up and post my own soon enough)... I liked the idea of this one not only for hydration, but as a good way to have extra pockets for gadgets like my phone, camera, iPod, whatever. Pockets are always hard to find on running gear, don't you think? I decided not to do rolls while wearing it though, since the hydration bladder might burst.
Speaking of gadgets, this was the first outing with the new Garmin Forerunner 910XT. I'd lost my Forerunner 305, and I think I bought the new one out of some kind of bout of self-pity/retail therapy. After the workout I joked with someone that my dirty little secret is that I'm only into multi-sport fitness for the toys. Yet another gear review post for me to write, but I will say that I got up and running with it without having spent a lot of time to set it up beforehand.
The other bit of gear I stuffed into the vest pockets was a skipping rope. As I've mentioned before, I'm interested in some of the benefits barefoot/natural running has to offer without being willing to go 'all-in' on the craze. This video really caught my attention:
What struck me is that he's actually going pretty fast and his technique looks much closer to 'normal' running than most stuff I've seen. I have real problems not heel striking even when I'm actively working on this sort of thing, but I loved the idea of using the jump-rope to implement the 'natural' stride, so I gave it a try for around 100m or so on this workout.
With the spring coming, I'm looking forward to doing more Burbathlon workouts, and maybe getting some of my own video to share.