July 26, 2008

New gear and a run in the park

Interesting run in Central Park this morning. It was my first time running in the park for a while, and I was excited. Not only was it a beautiful day, but I had tons of new stuff to try out. Unfortunately, none of it worked out quite as planned.

Let’s start with the Garmin. Ugh, I kind of hate it, and don’t know why I wanted one for so long. First of all, this morning I grabbed it out of my suitcase and realized it was dead, because I hadn’t charged the battery in a week or so. But I also haven’t used it! It’s just been in my bag on watch function (with GPS turned off). I wouldn’t expect to have to charge it daily just to use it as a watch, but apparently that’s what you have to do. So I charged it to 50% while catching up on some blogs, and then set out. While strapping it on, I discovered that apparently when it dies, it’s like buying a new Garmin: all your settings get erased. I really hope all my past runs didn’t get erased too, but I’m betting they did (update: yes, they did. DAMN YOU GARMIN!). So I spent the elevator ride and walk outside fixing the settings and turning the GPS on. It wasn’t until almost a mile later that it actually found the GPS, at which point it started telling me that I was 0.8 miles behind my pace buddy. No kidding, Garmin, maybe it’s because my pace buddy got a one mile head start; otherwise I’d be kicking her butt! Of course, this then threw off the whole run, with it always telling my pace was like 11 minutes. I’m not convinced that’s just because of the slow GPS issue though – it was really bouncing around. 7:54 pace, 10:48 pace, 9:32 pace… make up your mind, Garmin!

Okay, enough Garmin bashing. If anyone can help me figure out a better way to use this stupid thing, please let me know. In the meantime, I set a lap for when the GPS actually picked up, so then going back I was able to figure out that I had run 0.76 before it got me. Add that to the 7.31 it said I ran, and I ran 8.07 in 1:15.48. A little division gets me a 9:24 pace – not bad for the heat and the hills, though the fact that I couldn’t do better on this short of a run doesn’t bode well for me next weekend for the San Francisco Marathon. But come on – why is Garmin making me do division to figure all this out? I thought that was the point of a Garmin – to do all the stats for me! Is it possible for me to somehow add the missing 0.76 to my stats on Garmin Connect?

The other equipment failure was my SofSole inserts. Kevin had posted about how he was asked to do a product review of SofSole inserts and socks, and that they felt awesome to him, so I e-mailed and asked if they needed anyone else. She said yes, and about a week ago a package arrived in the mail with two pairs of gel inserts and a few pairs of socks. I decided not to try to bring the inserts with me on the plane, in case the gel caused them to get flagged by security (I have also recently decided that while Shovelgloving sounds amazing and I’d like to try it, I probably can’t put a sledgehammer in my carryon). So this morning, finally home for a run, I decided to test them out.

I chose the Athlete Women’s Performance Insole, which offers “gel heel and forefoot protecion, and Hydrologix moisture management system.” (The other pair are called Adapt, and they are designed to be put into an oven and then molded to your foot for a custom fit – I decided to save this for another day). The first problem was putting them into my shoes. I’ve never worn inserts before, so I don’t know how typical this is, but they wouldn’t fit – they were too long. They were made for sizes 8-11, and I’m size 8.5, so I realized it might be because I was on the low end of that spectrum. However, the main problem was just that the stickiness of the rubber on the underside of the inserts made it really hard to get them into my shoes. Ten minutes later, I had them mostly in, but because of the too-long issue, there was kind of an extra arch in the middle of my foot. I decided that would be beneficial, so I laced up my sneakers, which were now a little tight. However, I then glanced through the marketing brochure that came with the inserts, and in one of the customer reviews, they mentioned taking the original inserts out of their shoes and replacing them with the SofSole ones. I hadn’t even realized that the inserts originally in my shoes were removable! Sure enough, I pulled them out and then put the SofSoles in. They were still hard to get into place because of the stickiness, but I didn’t have quite as much trouble with them being too long – the arch didn’t really exist anymore, which was great. So I headed out, and I will admit that they felt a bit softer than the regular inserts (I was wearing the Asics Gel Kayanos, so whatever normally comes in them).

Unfortunately, when I was out running, I discovered that my feet were incredibly hot – maybe the SofSoles weren’t letting them breathe as much as the regular inserts? My feet felt like they were on fire, and I almost cut my run short because it was just so uncomfortable. In all fairness, I hadn’t used the socks they sent me – I stuck with my regular Asics socks – because I wanted to see how just the insoles and the insoles alone worked, without making any other changes. So maybe it’s better if you use their proprietary socks? I will give that a try at some point, and I also might give the SofSoles another shot on a day when it’s not quite so hot out. There is always the possibility that the heat was the real problem and I just happened to try out the SofSoles on a day when the heat was intense.

Overall, not too happy with today’s run. I arrived home absolutely drenched in sweat, which is good, and Garmin says I burned 627 calories (I assume that doesn’t include the time before it started recording distance), but I’m a little nervous that it was such an effort just to do 8 miles. I really haven’t been running much since Calgary, and the SF Marathon is going to be tough with the hills, so… let’s just hope I survive 🙂

Have a great weekend everyone!


18 thoughts on “New gear and a run in the park”

  1. Hey Laura. I’m spending the weekend at my folks in Queens so won’t be around. Sorry. If you’re going to run…make sure to avoid Central Park and lower part of West Side Highway…the NY Half Marathon is tomorrow!

  2. I had pretty much the same problems with my Garmin today as well! I guess you kinda half to “know” how to feel your pace anyway…which is why I bought the Garmin! So I wouldn’t have to do that!

  3. I’ve read mixed reviews of the new 405 model — it seems that some people get “lemon” units that can’t give a reliable pace/distance reading.

    Bummer. Maybe you can return it? The 305 can be flakey in high winds (explain that one to me) and it will drop the GPS signal on cloudy days…but it’s still more reliable than some of the reviews I’ve seen of the new model.

    Sorry about the crappy run. It happens. I hope you get the watch situation worked out.

  4. I have the 205 (305 minus the heart monitor), and even when the battery died one time just as I started a run, it didn’t lose my history. Sounds like yours might have a flaw.

    As for finding signals, I suggest putting it by a window and turning it on before you leave the house. Mine finds the signals faster if it’s not moving.

  5. Okay, call me an “Ignorant Aussie”; but what is a Garmin??? (and where do I get one???)

    2 weeks til City to Surf – have lost 0kg, but can run further than I ever have b4 (EVER). That’s gotta be a good thing!

  6. Hi Laura, My Google newsreader suggested your blog a few weeks ago as I like to keep up with what runners are saying. Given your post I would suggest giving Bones in Motion a try. This cool software turns mobile phones into fitness monitors that track speed, distance, pace and calories burned. Running with a phone is smart from a safety point of view and the new phones have great music capabilities so you can jam as well with only carrying on device. (http://bimactive.com)

  7. Get on the horn mate, history shouldn’t just disappear like that unless you do the secret handshake wipey thing which could never happen just chillin in a bag.

    I do have to admit, I had some foul language to share with my garmin today.

    I had it on “autopause” for whenever I dropped below 15min/mile pace since mine apparently doesn’t ever think I “stop.” So every time I went under a bridge, for some reason it would say i had 17 min/mile pace although I was clearly exponentially faster than that. So, it would auto pause then take it’s sweet time auto resuming then tell me i was going 6:40something.

    I wish, right?

    Happy weekending back home 🙂

  8. Laura, looks like you got a lemon for your garmin. Mine rarely has screwed up on me. I put my pace on some function called smoothing, so when that sattelite tries finding your pace every six seconds, it doenst go haywire. also, on my display, i set it to show my pace for current mile instead of my instant pace for the entire run. that seems to work pretty well too. good luck.

  9. that SUCKS about your garmin! i have the 205 and mine died once but didnt lose my history. sometimes mine takes a while to hook up though, but i dont start until it finds the satellite. i have had a couple problems with auto pause but thats it.

    i had some struggles on my 8 miler yesterday too… no worries though we are going to rock sf 🙂 yayyy! ONE week!

  10. I love my Garmin, but it took a while for me to figure out what I wanted to see. Now I have it set up like this:

    1st screen
    current time
    average pace per mile
    total distance

    2nd screen
    current pace
    total time running
    calories burned

    Also, I always set it out on the driveway (hello from suburbia!) so it can find the satellites.

    Best of luck in the SF Marathon! I’m running the half.

    Finally, you should check out the fun people at dailymile.com. It’s a cool running/biking/tri forum.

  11. This is the third report of a 405 going haywire, like chia said you should not loose your data but I am no expert on the 405, I love my 305 and it loves me back, although it’s clearly as not as “watch-like”. The following tips apply to a 305 so some of it may not to a 405.

    Make sure it is on Smart Recording, this will allow you to save more data
    Upload and save as often as possible – this will also keep the battery charged up
    Back it through SportTracks
    Use MotionBased and then download backups
    Set it to auto correct elevation and distance in MotionBased
    Turn it on and put it by the window before you leave; this will allow it to connect to the satellites
    If you start slow it takes time to normalize the pace, usually a mile or two, when you upload it it’s pretty accurate

    Ok that’s it for now, there’s more but my brain is fried

  12. This post (and comments) is making me seriously rethink my Garmin lust. I have my sis’ cast-off foot pod to gauge speed, and I’m thinking at “free”, it’s a good price.

    Let us know if things go better with a new Garmin. (I’m more likely to take your word for that than the kale.) 🙂

  13. laura!! when are you flying out? you’re going to do just fine at the SFM! do you ever do that hill near the northern part of the central park? i think it’s called the “great hill” or something. that hill kinda reminds me of the first big hill (fort mason) but a little longer. i really miss running in CP!! see you at the race… in 5 days!!!!

  14. Hi Laura. I’ve also been having some issues with my new Garmin.

    It lost the satellites on my last run and has been a little off in distance. Hmmm, thanks for posting your experiences. It makes me feel better knowing that it takes time to get used to working with the watch.

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