Things are chugging along well with my TNT challenge—I’m now a little north of $800 on my fund raising (only $2,100 to go!), and am looking forward to my fourth group training run tomorrow evening. Saturday’s run went well; I decided to resist my urge to run at the front of the pack and instead settled in somewhere in the middle and had a laid-back 5-mile jog while chatting with a very nice teammate. I’ve also been following my coach’s strength-training program; I’ve been doing regular strength training at my gym for a few months, but Coach Mike’s regimen has definitely taken it up a notch. I can tell I’ve been neglecting certain leg muscles and not giving quite enough attention to my core. So I think a few months of following his program will do me a world of good and improve my pace quite a bit.

And today, a nice surprise came in the mail—a belated birthday/Christmas care package from my brother that almost perfectly addresses both sides of my nature. For Sybaritic Jen there was a fine bottle of port, a set of odd little port-sippers, and a fancy wine opener/chiller thingamajig. For Jock Jen there was a nifty heart rate monitor, something my data-obsessed brother swears by and was shocked to learn I didn’t own. At the time of that conversation, I shrugged off the potential charm of knowing my exact heart rate and calorie burn, but I haven’t owned this thing for 20 minutes, and I’m hooked. As I’ve been sitting here typing this entry and munching on a small bowl of granola and soy milk (dessert options are limited in this house), I’ve burned 26 calories. My heart rate descended from a high of about 90 (a mild fit of temper while I was trying to get the transmitter strap into proper position), to a low of 67. A deep sigh will bring my rate into the mid-70s (note to self to try more breathing exercises). I’m really looking forward to using this for tomorrow’s group run. (I’m at 32 calories now!)