This fail is all on me

Post-fail elapsed time

Today’s run (street): 4.5 miles

Once again, I encountered a problem timing my run and this time it was self sabotage. Without a working watch to help me keep track of time, I took my stopwatch that I sometimes use for intervals. That simple tool would give me everything I’d need to calculate my performance on today’s run. I’ve had so much bad luck with the devices I use to capture my running metrics that I decided going low tech was the right path. What I didn’t count on was how easily I could screw that up.

The weather was perfect when I went out this morning. There was no sign of humidity and the strong breezes cooled without biting. I love fall running and easily settled into a steady rhythm while I mentally mapped out my route. I’ve been taking advantage of the new sidewalks along SOB Road that provide a nice straight section that goes on for a while. As I neared the end of that road, I stopped for a moment to check my time. I put my hand in my pocket to pull out my stopwatch and my finger brushed the reset button. Before I looked, I knew I had wiped out my time.

Gmap’d route

I stood in front of the town library and thought about what to do. I had only a hazy idea about when I started my run so that wouldn’t help me calculate my overall time. The one thing I knew was where I was when I checked (and screwed up my time) so I could use that as a starting point for timing the rest of my run.

Now where did I put that cheap trinket?

I restarted the stopwatch and continued along through my last miles, pushing harder than I had before my timing failure. The cool weather helped a lot and I probably would have gone further if I was able to track my actual distance. Now that I know how easy it is to accidentally reset the stopwatch, I’ll be a lot more careful. A few years ago Runners World sent me a “running watch” as a subscription premium (see above) that was laughably cheap looking. I put it away somewhere. At the time I dismissed it as junk, but who’s laughing now?

Bethpage run and a surprise in the mail

A Garmin it’s not

Today’s run (Bethpage State Park): 4.5 miles

I’m in the middle of some high intensity work related to a new project that’s requiring some focus over the weekend. This morning I felt a lot of pressure to get out early for a run. I needed to be back in time to accomplish some work before shifting gears toward my son’s birthday activities. I couldn’t face another run in the neighborhood, so I went to Bethpage to run the hills.

With my 5K coming up in a week, I have a limited amount of time to train and I wanted to make today’s count. The weather could not have been better and that helped motivate me up the hill toward the start of the newest part of the bike trail. I felt very good and moved along at a decent clip. At least I thought it was decent until the first of many runners passed me like I was standing still. There was an extraordinary number of capable runners this morning and I wondered if there was a low key race going on.

Overall, I was pleased with my performance on the hills and I’d maintained a pretty good pace. Some of that came from running the last mile at my most sustainable speed. I would have liked to cover a another mile today, but I was concerned about staying on schedule.

Yesterday I was surprised to receive the above watch in the mail, the result of my renewing my subscription to Running Times. I didn’t even realize it was coming. I spent many years with a large magazine publisher and I know subscription premiums can be a little chintzy, but his one brings it to new level. The watch seems to work fine (no running features besides a stopwatch) but the metallic bezel is actually “chromed” plastic. But I’m not complaining. After all, I can always use another stopwatch.

Back on track, literally

I began this Valentines Day with an early run at the local track. It was the first time I’d run there in over a month and it was a nice change from my other venues. I tried an experiment using both the Nike+ Sportband and the Garmin 50 on my run. I wanted to compare their relative tracking accuracy against a known distance.

It was 28 degrees but it felt colder. There was the usual strong wind for half the loop but I got used to it pretty fast. There were four other runners on the track including a couple I often see running in the morning. I passed the husband, which made me feel great until I was passed by another runner who must have been running about a 7 minute mile. The Garmin and the Sportband remained within a few 100ths of a mile of each other and, ultimately, both under reported the total distance traveled compared to the known distance. I varied my speed throughout the run and ran a total of 4.16 miles at 9:24/mile.

The Garmin vs. Sportband experience had its good and bad components. On the plus side, the 50 was a dream to operate. The HRM appeared to be accurate (yes – finally – a HRM worth a damn!) and it was easy to toggle between pulse rate, speed, cadence, elapsed time and distance as I ran. Finishing the run I simply hit stop instead of fighting with the overly sensitive Sportband button. Saving the run was easy too. Now for the bad part. After a run is captured into history you cannot review the metrics on the watch. The data must first be uploaded to Garmin’s Training Center. The badder news is that you can’t do this with a Mac even though they’re touting new Mac capability on the Garmin website. I fell for it and installed the app and “uploaded” my run. The only problem is that the Mac compatibility only extends to the ANT USB link that allows for data transfer. So the data can be transferred but IT CAN’T GO ANYWHERE. Furthermore, the factory default setting is to delete history from the watch once data is sent so my run went away forever. Happily I also had the whole run recorded by the Sportband.

I installed the Training Center on my XP PC in my guestroom and was able to upload a test “run” to the system. I also switched the transfer program to “DON’T DELETE after sending” so I should be okay for tomorrow, fingers crossed.