Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Earndit Challenge, and a Calm Week

One of the web sites that I've been a member of since June of last year is Earndit. I've probably spoken about the site before, but I find that I really enjoy some of the challenges. About 8 or 9 months ago they started the concept of "challenges", where one of the site's members (it is free by the way) sets up a challenge to see who can get to the target point total first, or who can get the most points over a given number of days. Some of these are open-ended as far as the number of points one can accumulate in a given day, and others have limits. Some of these are even "paid" challenges...in other words, you have to put some money in the pot, and the winner gets the pot at the end (or winners get to share the pot at the end if there is more than a single winner). Until recently, I always avoided the paid challenges, but at the beginning of July I entered one. This particular challenge was $5 to get in, and was the most points over 21 days, with a daily cap of 76 points. 

The site grants points in several ways, but generally you can use either RunKeeper, Garmin, or Nike+ to track workouts. One gets 10 points for every mile either walked or run, and 3 points for every mile on the bike. Partial miles get partial point totals as well. So, to get the maximum number of points in a day, I would need to either walk or run at least 7.6 miles, or cycle 25.4 miles. This was going to be a stretch for me, since I normally take a day off during the week (if not two days off), and my normal runs were between 6 and 6 1/2 miles, or 20 miles on the bike.

Sixteen people joined the challenge, and it has really been fun and motivating to try to stay in the running. At this point, I've managed to earn the maximum number of points each day one way or another, and there is a day left, with 6 of us tied for the lead. It isn't really about the money of course, since even winning the whole thing solo wouldn't make one rich, but having a little something "on the line" does make it interesting. There have definitely been mornings when the thought of just staying in bed for another couple of hours seemed appealing, but wanting to stay with the leaders got me going.

If you find that you could use some extra motivation, I highly recommend the site. The points you earn can be spent on "coupons" that give you a discount on a wide variety of products and services, or donated toward a cash donation to a worthy cause such as health care for 100 children in Guatemala, chickens to produce eggs for an orphanage in Zimbabwe, or assistance to the Genesis House providing transitional shelter for homeless families to name only a few.

On my personal 100 Days Without Soda challenge, I've completed 30 days as of this writing. I'm at the point now where I seldom miss it, and have more or less settled with either Crystal Lite, water with a sweet-and-low packet and a dash of either lemon or lime juice, or just water. It will be interesting to see if I get strong urges for it again during the challenge, or if it continues to get easier.

In my running this last week:

  • (071612 - 0406)(72 degrees, S@4(G15), H87, clear) A very pleasant run this morning. The knee is really starting to feel much better, and with the cooler temp and clear sky it was just a relaxing experience. The route provided an opportunity to really enjoy seeing Jupiter, Venus, Aldebaran, and a crescent moon. Their positions have changed since I first noticed them about a month or so ago, but it is still cool.
  • (071712 - 0408)(76 degrees, S@8(G19), H83, clear) A little excitement early during today's run, as a couple of dogs ran out at me in an area where they never have before, but once I yelled at them they retreated. I sort of expected that metallic taste of adrenalin afterwards, but it never came...I must be getting a bit used to this type of thing. The legs were tired today for some reason, but not so much that it took the enjoyment out of the run. 
  • (071912 - 0421)(79 degrees, S@7(G14), H70, clear) Although it was a bit warmer than it has been, the humidity was bit lower as well so it was probably a wash there. The planets and stars were really clear and bright this morning, and the run was peaceful throughout. Right at first I had a bit of discomfort around and behind my right knee up to the first mile marker, but after that everything was pain-free and smooth. Just felt pleasantly tired after the run, probably due to the increased temperature and a slight ear ache I've been dealing with for a couple of days.
  • (072012 - 0422)(81 degrees, S@8(G15), H64, clear) Even though it was warm, this was a nice run. The legs felt good, and the effort felt smooth and steady. I did the route backwards from my normal direction, and the amount of time I felt like I was going uphill seemed like it was much more pronounced. It took a bit of effort right at the end since that is mostly uphill. Beautiful, star-filled sky with no moon, and the light breeze was nice when I was running the right direction to enjoy it.
  • (072112 - 0347)(78 degrees, S@5, H68, clear) This was my first time on this route, and it was a nice change of pace. There was a voice in my head (there are quite a few, but this one was shouting) at about the 8 mile mark saying "Nice run, now just hit the button, stop and walk home". That happened again at about the 10 mile mark, and at the 11 mile mark as well. I started with about 18 ounces of low-cal Gatorade frozen solid, and that was gone at about 10 miles...could have easily used another one. This was a tough run, but the pace was normal and I'm glad I accomplished it.

This is what last week looked like...

Day   Activity   Distance (in miles) Avg. Heart Rate Max Heart Rate
Sunday Cycling 26.05 --- ---
Monday Running 8.08 145 200
Tuesday Running 7.71 153 196
Wednesday Cycling 26.15 --- ---
Thursday Running 8.08 155 173
Walking 0.53 123 147
Friday Running 7.82 153 178
Saturday Running 12.29 155 188

 These are my time and distance totals for last week:

Activity   Time Total   Distance Total (in miles)
Running 6:33:35 43.98
Walking 0:07:59 0.53
Cycling 3:35:13 52.20
-------------- -------------- --------------
Overall Total 10:16:47 96.71

Day   Activity   Sets Reps Recovery Interval Weight
Sunday BB Squats 3 15 2:00 50-60-70
Crunches & Knee Raises 5 20 --- ---
BB Bench Press 3 10-10-8 2:00 85-100-120
Monday Rest Day --- --- --- ---
Tuesday BB Squats 4 15-15-15-10 2:00 50-60-70-80
DB Bench Press Squats 3 15 2:00 30-35-40
Crunches & Knee Raises 1 20 --- ---
Wednesday BB Bench Press 5 15 2:00 80
Crunches & Knee Raises 2 20 --- ---
Thursday BB Squats 4 15 2:00 50-60-70-80
Friday Rest Day --- --- --- ---
Saturday BB Squats 4 15-15-12-10 2:00 60-70-80-90

I really feel like I have to give credit where credit is due. The barbell squats are REALLY helping to resolve my runner's knee issue that I've having over the last couple of months. True that it wasn't the only thing, since I've tried to mix in cycling as well, but the strengthening has really helped.

The other "new" addition was the bench pressing. In the past I've gone too heavy and hurt my shoulder with this, so I need to focus on keeping the weight down to a reasonable level and keeping the reps up. The first session (with 120 lbs in the 3rd set) was a bit too much, but the session on Wednesday felt almost perfect.

Happy Running Everyone !!!


  1. Nice job on the soda. I've eliminated it as well and it's tough. Thanks for the motivation.

  2. I've never eliminated soda and don't plan to. In fact, I may or may not be drinking the ones you eliminated. :)