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  • Writer's picture Irina

Facts and FAQs - Part III, Technology, Bras, Shoes

Updated: Jan 21, 2021

Before I say another word, I want to say a big thank you to my mum, Errietta, who made sure I know she loves me and she is proud of me by posting the comment 5 times!! I love you for it, even if you were just testing…


Tuesday, 19th of January, 6.30pm. In the UK this classifies as evening, in Greece it’s still called the afternoon. Not even late afternoon. I’ve done one run so far this week, Monday morning, 13k and I felt really strong and in the zone, although according to my watch I came close to dying judging by my heart rate. Yes, ok, I did feel out of breath at times but nothing outside the ordinary. But if the watch says my heart rate reached 199 then it must be true? Right?


Technology


Up to Christmas, I tracked my runs through an Apple Watch using the Strava App. Am I the only one who religiously believes EVERYTHING my watch or tracking app tells me? It is after all, the only evidence of anything I do. I’d go to the extreme of saying that if it’s not on Strava, it hasn’t happened. That’s sad, I know. I am a victim of tech and I am not afraid to admit it. When you dabble in the dark arts of Strava you soon realise that there’s more to it than meets the eye, but it's already too late...


For me, most of Strava’s appeal is the community feel it brings. I follow people and they follow me back (not in a creepy way), I give and receive kudos (who came up with that word?), I see where others run, how far, how fast, and who they run with (don’t judge! a bit of gossip never hurt anyone) and I get to see some amazing photos. Commenting on my own runs on Strava, suddenly made running more exciting and less scary,and soon I was making an effort to come up with catchy titles and meaningful descriptions and that, contributed to the blog idea!


Of course, even Strava can make mistakes and that is frustrating to say the least and if you have a tendency for compulsive behavior like I do, I advise you to think twice before engaging.


I remember one run last August along the seafront in my hometown, Thessaloniki, was actually displayed on the Strava map as if I was running in the sea. On the waves! And I broke all records by running a kilometer in under 3 minutes. I achieved a fake personal best, which I have never been able to beat. And although I know it wasn’t real, and yes of course I can delete it, do I? No, never!! Why? I don’t know. Well actually, I do know. It’s because if I delete it, the run will forever disappear off the face of Strava (and the earth) and all the stats will be recalculated and oh my god the world will never be right again.


Mo Farah eat your heart out! Bet you can't run this fast on water! @Thessaloniki, Aug 3rd 2020


What’s even worse, is that I rationalise this in my head, by thinking there must be other runs that Strava cheated me on the pace and so in the end it’s all good, and I am not cheating anyone least of all myself. That’s my story and I am sticking to it.


To complicate technology matters further, Doug got me a highly sophisticated Garmin watch for Christmas. And I got him one for his birthday, which is on Boxing day, aka the day after Christmas. We then exchanged them. So I ended up with the one I got him and vice versa. We both spent a significant amount of money, time on research and we both secretly consulted our four-time marathon runner and very close friend Antigoni, considering her an expert on all things running-marathon-Garmin-life-and more (there’s definitely a post coming up about her soon).

So now, I run with my Garmin. It gives me more statistics than I know what to do with and tracks everything. It can probably go out for a run on its own if I figure out the settings…I am hoping Garmin will help as I get into the more serious training for the marathon. For now, it’s giving me abnormal heart rate measurements and some stress as any new device is designed to do.


My bras


Technology aside, there are two items of running gear that are super important to me. My bra and my shoes. Boys, you can think of pants to make it more relatable. I’ve seen passion in Doug when he finds a good fitting pair of running pants, similar to my passion for bras. Also, both pants and bras hold dangly bits in place. Enough said and hope you boys can draw an analogy.


A bra can make or break a run or any high impact exercise. I’ve tried everything. I’ve tried going at least two sizes smaller, thinking that if it’s that tight, things won’t move. Ended up with respiratory issues, shoulder pain and bruised ribs. I’ve tried the double bra method, little difference did that make. Actually meant I had more to arrange and rearrange during exercise. I’ve tried a bra and body suit combo. Helps but creates aggravation in other areas further down. I’ve tried no bra. Haha I wish... No, I’ve never tried that.


And then, I discovered, Shock Absorber. The hint is in the name and it does what it promises. Everything stays in place, firmly, but not too tightly, so I can still breathe. Nothing can escape from the middle or the sides or the bottom and other than a couple of embarrassing moments where the strap unhooked completely, they are the best I’ve ever tried. All strap-unhooking incidents have happened the first time I wear a brand new one and then never again. Go figure...


My shoes


I run in Nike Infinity React with Flyknit technology. Who cares? Well I do, as you’re about to find out. Over the years I have had never ending issues with bruised toe nails. You see, running doesn’t come without some sacrifice. For me, it was my admittedly nicely shaped toe-nails. Eight of them are still in top shape. But two will never look the same and I am ok with it and nail beauticians work wonders these days.


Still, finding a pair of shoes that doesn’t cause new damage and allows me to up my distance or run down a hill and not end up with bruises is a big win. And it’s strange you know, how little people really do to solve this very common running problem. I’ve spoken to experts, they all say the same, buy half a size bigger, wear good socks, look after your nails. Yeah, yeah. I do all that, but my problem is my toes hit against the top of the shoe. Not the front. And if the material is tough and not flexible then I bruise. And that’s why the amazing Flyknit technology is my new best friend. I am now into my second pair and it will take a lot of convincing for me to change.


My Nike trainers and the famous Flyknit @Thessaloniki, Aug 7th 2020


I don’t know how long it’s taken you to read this, but it’s taken me over a day to write it. It’s now Wednesday night and I’ve done my second run this week. 8.5km this morning, undulating route, heart-rate low enough to keep me in the land of the living and enough rain to last me a while.


Running with new shoes and old friends. Bliss. @Greece with Evi (white t-shirt), Antigoni (blue vest), Doug (blue eyes, big smile) and me (happy to be with them), August 2020











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5 Comments


marygiemen
marygiemen
Jan 29, 2021

This blogging of yours Irina, is an emotional roller coaster for me , but what a better showcase of your wonderful personality! Your writing is really a piece of art !The photographs ?? Incredible , magic...Love these..keep going..please!!!

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zara.chalcraft
Jan 21, 2021

Loving your blog! The tech bit made me chuckle, if a run doesn’t record properly does it even exist - exactly!! And Shock Absorber bras all the way!!! Already looking forward to your next post.

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thominia
Jan 21, 2021

Your posts are so lively and real and fun and motivating! It is so thrilling to share your energy! Thank you Irinaki!

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doug.ward1
doug.ward1
Jan 21, 2021

Proud of you, my sweet! Proud of your running, proud of your determination , and proud of your blogging!

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errietta.varvogli
errietta.varvogli
Jan 21, 2021

Imagine!!!so many problems?

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