Sunday, 20 September 2015

Tools of the trade

Here I am demonstrating the tools that are essential to my outdoor, night-time interval training: a mini flashlight and the Gymboss Minimax timer.
Perhaps there's a small amount of self delusion at play, but I feel like a special ops agent with these tools on my waistband.

I suspect that one of the best parts of being a cop is getting to wear a wide assortment of tools and weapons on your belt. Not only are these things cool in their own right, but I expect that having them all within easy reach invokes a feeling of officialness that is nearly intoxicating. An added bonus is that the presence of all this stuff forces the wearer to adopt that wide-armed cop swagger, which projects an air of authority as well as the illusion of bulging biceps. Awesome.

My summer hockey training has evolved to the point that, when I go out at night to sprint intermittently, I’m able to get a small taste of this “sidearm swagger” thanks to a pair of specialized tools that ride on my waistband.

One of these tools looks like a pager or step tracker, but it’s actually the Gymboss Minimax, a simple timer designed to track intervals. Originally designed for use in the boxing gym, this handy device allows the user to create and store up to 20 different interval programs. I bought the unit online for only $30 to replace my formerly beloved Timex Sleek 150, which unceremoniously died just a bit shy of its first birthday.

The timer’s downside is that its menu system is clunky and it has no light, which is a problem for me because I do my road work after dark. Because the timer’s menus are so strangely configured, I can’t switch between programs in the dark – I need to see the screen.

This is where my second specialized tool comes in. It’s a small keychain flashlight that I’ve attached to a retractable lanyard – like the kind that building custodians use for their key collections.

When I go out for my timed workouts, I clip the timer onto my waistband at my left hip while the flashlight rides at my right hip. “Lugging” these lightweight tools isn’t quite the same as toting a nine millimetre Smith & Wesson and a Tazer M26 (plus the various other bric a brac that cops get), but it’s pretty good, I think.

When I’m out there demonstrating my fleet-footed prowess, I feel like a highly specialized, cross-disciplinary covert operative – kind of a boxer/sprinter/janitor hybrid, if you really want to break it down – not exactly at the same level of cool as a uniformed law enforcement officer, but I do have to swing my arms a bit wider than usual, so there is that.

And another thing: if anything goes down in my exurban neighbourhood while I’m out there engaging in totally non-suspicious exercising activity – like one of my neighbours starts accusing me of sneaking peeks through his windows (no reason to suspect this ... road is too far from houses) or the neighbourhood coyotes start circling and salivating a bit too much for my liking – one glimpse of my boxing gym timer and/or a warning blast from my mini spotlight would surely settle things right down, don't you think?

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