Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


New Toy

Mr. E, wonderful partner that he is, decided that he wanted to give me a Garmin Forerunner for my birthday. Considering the high price tag ($350 for the Garmin 405 with GPS and HRM), I managed to convince him this should cover both birthday and Christmas. So last week, he called Fleet Feet to find out if the new Garmins were in stock, and I procured my new toy:

For all of the non-runners out there, let me explain a bit. First of all, this model is much smaller than the previous versions, which is great for those of us with small wrists who don't much like to wear anything "extra" during a run. Secondly, the GPS technology has improved a great deal, so this version should be very accurate in terms of tracking the exact mileage of any route in any location. Thirdly, the "auto pause" feature is extremely useful when running in downtown Sac, since it pauses the timer when I have to stop for intersections and then automatically restarts when I'm running again. Very cool.

I'd always resisted having any sort of "real" timing device in the past, but since I've gotten more serious and intensive with my running, it makes sense to have a tool that supports my training. I haven't yet hooked up the HRM (heart rate monitor), but I'm planning to try that on Friday to start getting the hang of it.

I don't know how much I'll use some of the advanced functions, but so far I'm enjoying the basic statistics that the Garmin provides for each run: overall time, overall pace, calories burned, total mileage, mile split times (I set the "lap" feature to record each mile so I could see my split times during and/or at the end of a run).

One of my fears was that I'd discover that all of my routes are actually much shorter than I had estimated. This was proven true on Sunday for a long run, which I'd though was 14 miles but was really only 13.3 - yikes! That's quite a shortage! However, I've confirmed that my West Sac 8-mile route is accurate, and my Land Park 7-mile route (which I always sort of knew was a bit short) is about 6.6, so not too far off. And it's not like I'm going to go back and correct the distances in my workoutlog, but it'll be nice to know now that all of my distances from now on are true.

However, I am going to re-measure that long run route again this weekend, as I'm having a hard time believing that my estimate was so wrong...

In the meantime, I've been using the mile split times to motivate myself to push harder over the past two days. Yesterday, my last 2 miles of an 8-miler were 7:48 and 8:02, and today my last 3 miles of a 7-miler were 8:02, 7:50, and 7:52. Considering that I can tempo run on a treadmill at 7:18-7:24 for 4-5 miles, I should certainly be able to do sub-8s on the road. I think the obstacle is just that I tend to start out at a cruising, comfortable speed and stay there rather than kicking it up a notch after a warm-up.

Now the main challenge is not to get too obsessed with the new toy...


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