Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Garmin 305 - R.I.P.

My Garmin Forerunner 305 died the other day. Basically it says it's charged, but if I turn it on, it only stays on for about 3 minutes, then shuts off. No low battery warning, nothing.

Tried resetting it and searching on the web. Basically, nothing worked.

The last few days have been kind of strange, not knowing exactly my pace, mileage, etc. Not that I need all that for every run - but the Garmin is just so darn convenient and useful. I use it all the time. It helps me manage pacing, keeps track of my splits and has found me back to the hotel when I'm traveling, lost in a neighborhood, and desperately need to get back for a morning meeting!

Last night at the track I was going to do my workout by feel. Then Maureen assigned it and it was 800 (hard) right into 1600 at 1/2 marathon pace and then back into 800 (hard) with 4x200m at the end to work on form when tired.

I groaned because I knew I'd over-run the 1600m coming off a fast 800m - and the whole point was pacing practice. So I went to the car and put on my dress watch. It worked, but I probably looked even funnier with a stainless steel band watch running around the track. And I kept reaching down to my wrist to 'lap' the watch... and it has no such buttons. So I ended up just tapping the glass. There was something comforting and ritualistic about that. Funny.

I pulled some stats on it from Training Center. I don't really look back at past runs that often, but whenever I hook up the Garmin to my computer to charge, it downloads the runs - so I have a catalog of all the runs I've done while wearing it.

It said that I first used the unit in November of 2008 and that I've run about 5600 miles with it strapped to my wrist. That's pretty good mileage I guess for under three years of running. Also considering that I don't always wear it for recovery runs.

Granted it's been through sweat, snow, rain, cold, heat, etc.. but I thought it should have lasted longer.

I've threatened to upgrade to the sleeker latest model when this one bit the dust. The Garmin 610 has all the same features, but looks more like a watch than a Dick Tracy communicator / TV watch

But when push came to shove, I'm frugal about such things. Functionally, the 305 does everything (pretty much) that the 610 does. It only weights marginally more and I never really notice it on my wrist anyway. It probably has some negligible aerodynamic effect on my left arm swing ;-)

But the 610 with the HR monitor costs about $400 bucks. The 305 is $138 on Amazon. At $138, that's like 2 cents a mile if this one lives as long. The 610 is 7 cents a mile. That's an extra $2.50 a week on my schedule.

So, yeahhhhhh... I pulled the trigger on a replacement 305. I'm OK with looking a little dorky to save some dough. New one arrives today. Hope it lasts longer!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Over the years I've incorporated some Yoga poses into my stretching / relaxation routine and have wanted to sign up for some more formal Yoga classes as part of some cross-training.

I recently bought a Schwaggle deal - $50 bucks for two months of unlimited Yoga at the Yoga on 6th studio. I figured that if I averaged $10 or less a session that was good and I could also try out some different Yoga styles and classes.

Now, my Yoga experience has been minimal, haphazard and beginner level. I tend to use it more for stretching / relaxation. I've attended one Bikram class a long while ago with Paige and I think maybe one other formal class (Ashtanga?). I've done some of the Comcast Yoga ON-DEMAND classes at home and have iPad and Android apps. That's pretty much it.

The class I participated in yesterday was Forrest Yoga. It said it was for 'all levels' - but I maybe should have clarified with the instructor that classification included the 'suck-level', which is what I would classify myself as. For those not familiar with Yoga levels, 'suck-level' is right below 'intoxicated-beginner' level.

Apparently, Forrest Yoga is not 'relaxing / gentle stretching' yoga. I did some reading afterwards. It's more of a 'flow' type Yoga that seeks to expunge both bad physical and emotional stuff from your body by sweating it out (my interpretation of what I read - not necessarily a fair or accurate description). Anywhoo... although I don't think I have anything bad to expunge, the class was a lot of fun, although a bit more intense that I was looking for. It also didn't help that I raced on Monday (two days prior) and did a track workout that morning (which both effectively 'expunged' most of my energy - both good and bad.

Yoga I think is good for me - mostly because it's not a competitive environment. Well, maybe it is for some, but when you really suck at something, it kind of takes the pressure off. I also think that when done properly, it's very beautiful to watch. People that are good at it seem to almost defy gravity with some of the advanced stuff. I'm not one of those people that is beautiful to watch. I'm not a warrior, and when I 'salutate' to the sun it generally ignores me and goes behind a cloud. Although I think I have the corpse pose fairly well mastered. At least how an actual corpse might perform it.

All self-deprecation aside. It was an enriching experience. Coupled with the cold, rainy weather - it put me in a funky, kind of 'lost' mood for the rest of the day. And some days - it's good to feel funky.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Aetna Park to Park 10 Miler

Ran the Park to Park 10 miler today. What a great day for racing! Nice and cool at the start time of 7am and throughout the race. Man - I'm ready for that cooler weather. I think everyone out here is just feeling so beaten down from all the hot weather running this past summer. I know I am, and this morning was a welcome respite.

Ran a 1:08:02 which put me 11th out of 55 in my division. Not great (place-wise), but yikes there are some fast guys out there today! btw - I would have been the same place in the division down and actually 7th two divisions down in age (35-39). Sheesh... maybe I need to start lying about my age :-D

Place aside, that's about the pace I was expecting / hoping for (6:48 overall). I was shooting to run 6:45 - hoping maybe I'd be a little faster because of the extra tapering I did. Literally have been bouncing off the walls in the past couple days (which is a good sign usually). Mile 8 could have been better - I think I just slacked off a bit with a 7:04 split - Would have been nice to see 1:07 and change - just mentally! And 10 seconds on mile 8 would have done it. So close!

The course is really beautiful. It starts in City Park, winds down through Cheesman Park, then passes through Wash (ington) Park to finish in the South High School stadium. I love finishing on the track. When you hit that track surface you just feel like you can fly! Great crowd, great food and a live band at the end. Maureen, the race director (and my coach) did a really great job.

So next up is the Denver 1/2 Marathon. Based on how I was feeling at the finish, I think I can hit that pace for the 1/2. That would give me another sub 90 1/2 and a  nice lead-in to the CA International Marathon in December!

Next couple weeks is some promised recovery running. I think I mentioned a bit back that I was just feeling a little fried and my coach promised me some mileage, but less intensity for the next couple weeks.  Also, the less intensity will be a good opportunity to lose that weight I've been trying to. I've come down a pound or two, but I just keep thinking with some discipline and calorie timing, I can go lower by 5lbs before December. I think that will pay off so long as I take it slow and easy and keep the strength training up.

I'm also going to get in the pool and start working on swimming. I've been toying with the idea of doing one (or a few) triathlons next season. Paige has inspired me :-) But first I need to spend some time remembering how to not sink to the bottom of the pool. I don't think the open water will bother me (I grew up swimming on some gnarly stuff on the lake) - but I need to get a decent stroke under me by next summer.

Also REALLY looking forward to snowboarding season! It's starting to feel like fall here and I spent some time at the Ski Rex (big ski sale) today. I didn't buy anything of course, but it jazzed me up to think about sliding along on the fluffy stuff again!