Tag Archives: Garmin

Forgetful Running

Not in the correct place

Not in the correct place

In my 34 years of running (which now more resembles wobbling), I’ve completed well over 300 races. One constant links all those distances from a mile to a 50K (31.1 miles): My running watch. In the early years I sported a chronograph (Casio and Timex were favorites). In 2003, I stepped up to higher tech with a Garmin Forerunner, which uses GPS to more accurately figure one’s distance and mile splits.

Now I’ve had watches occasionally die or malfunction due to operator error (as in pushing the wrong button at the start and/or finish). But I’ve never neglected to actually wear a timepiece during a race.

Until yesterday. My Garmin Forerunner 110 was charged and ready to go as I attempted my third 13.1-miler this year (12th overall), the Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Half Marathon. Unfortunately, it wasn’t on my left wrist. Instead, it still was on the charger. At home.

Bummer!

As I parked my Honda Pilot near the race start, I realized my watch was missing. Then I had another I-should’ve-had-a-V8 moment: When I got ready earlier that morning, I neglected to use my asthma inhaler, which is standard operating procedure before long runs. Just like putting on my 110.

Double bummer!!

The sun starts to rise ahead of the start (no banner).

The sun starts to rise ahead of the start (no banner).

Fortunately, this final race of my seven-week tour of a trio of Houston-area halfs had spectacular running weather: 33 degrees at the start with no wind. What a welcome change from the Aramco Houston’s cold, wet misery and the USA Fit’s sweatfest! Definitely a running chamber of commerce day; no wonder it was my fastest time of the three (with me “fast” definitely is relative . . . and I do blame my relatives for my lousy running DNA). My breathing was fine until the last couple miles, but I never felt in distress.

Timingwise, I decided to use my iPhone 5’s stopwatch, clicking it when I crossed the start and the finish. However, I could’ve used the Nike+ app to track the entire distance and mile splits, because I was wearing my trusty companion Fooba, aka my Nike FuelBand. Unfortunately, I totally forget about it until I passed a fellow competitor and heard her phone say her split. At mile six.

I could’ve had a V8!

My favorite part of every race: The finish line

My favorite part of every race: The finish line

Despite my forgetfulness, this was as enjoyable a race as 13.1 miles can be. There were two bagpipers, a fellow who was blasting Beatles tunes outside a van, and the finishers’ goody bag featured a Hershey bar and Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies. What’s not to love?

Bling bling!

Bling bling!

Plus the finisher’s medal was shiny and huge! It’s a fine addition to my collection.

As for not wearing a watch, it felt kind of nice not being a slave to it. Still, I hope that next time I remember to look at my wrist before I leave the house for a race!

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Hot Running an Almost Half Marathon

A day late and a dollar short

There’s a running rule of thumb about the weather: Conditions the day before and/or the day after a long-distance race will be better than the day of the event.

I would like to turn in for evidence yesterday and today. Right now as I type before 10 a.m., the temperature in the Houston area is a wonderfully refreshing 62 degrees. Oh, what a beautiful morning!

My view of the race start

Yesterday at 6:45 a.m. when I was standing at the start of a half marathon in my little town outside of Houston, it was 72 degrees. As in waaaaaay too hot to be running 13.1 miles, especially for slowbos like me who suffer from asthma. It was awful from start to finish.

Was it a good thing that the course was only 12.63 miles, according to my Garmin GPS watch? Well, not for those who wanted to run an official personal best. I knew instantly that the route was short when we made a u-turn along a 4.1-mile double-loop stretch and hit the seven-mile marker. I checked my watch and saw 6.59 miles on it. What the heck? Unfortunately, whoever set up the u-turn didn’t look at the official course map and put it in the wrong place. Pretty disappointing.

Unusual music is played on the final stretch.

I always think that signing up for a race and plunking down your hard-earned cash (or really the Mister’s hard-earned cash) enters runners into a contract with the event. We’re promised a safe, accurate course; in return, we should be adequately trained for the distance.

I think this particular race broke that promise (it also didn’t help that the first water stop was more than two miles from the start on such a hot day). Hope it doesn’t happen next year, because it benefits some good causes.

Plus it’s close to home (about 10 minutes away) with plenty of free parking. I’m all about convenience when it comes to running . . . no matter what the weather.

Half is NOT full

Want to know how to rile up a runner? Call a half marathon a marathon.

My friend Stacie, who runs but doesn’t enter races, told me a few weeks ago that our mutual buddy Lana was going to be running a marathon soon. I asked her if she meant the half marathon the last Sunday in March. Maybe, she replied.

So I e-mailed Lana to ask what race she had entered. The marathon in our city on March 27, she said. You mean the half marathon? Yes, that’s the one, she replied.

Lana, Lana, Lana! There’s such a huge difference between the half and the full marathon. It’s not just the extra 13.1 miles. You need to experience that last 10K (most marathoners will tell you that the race truly begins at 20 miles) to really understand why it’s such a great yet hard accomplishment. A half marathon is a walk in the park compared to its 26.2-mile older sibling. Especially when that half is almost a half-mile short!

Lana is about to finish! (Photo by her husband Mark)

By the way, Lana finished her first almost half marathon with a smile on her face. Congrats to my wonderful pal who is turning 50 this Wednesday!

A Positive College Visit!

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A statue that has nothing to do with UTSA!

A statue that has nothing to do with UTSA!

Despite the misspellings on the sign and a statue that has nothing to do with the campus, the family walked away with a very favorable impression of the University of Texas at San Antonio yesterday. We still have one more college to look at, but we definitely could imagine the #1 son as a Roadrunner! The campus is much smaller than UT-Austin. It’s pretty and looks fairly new. Best of all, there are Macs all over the place—iMacs, eMacs, and MacPros in classrooms and computer labs. We could’ve stopped right there!

We enjoyed an hour campus tour and then met with the head of the music technology department (it offers a 16-hour certificate like a minor) and the head of the communications department (#1 probably will pursue a technical communications degree).

Even #2 became interested in UTSA when he heard about its rec center, which has a lazy river, weight rooms, big-screen TVs, and everything else that can be done while stalling to start one’s homework (not to name names!). I doubt that #1 will so much as step inside the rec center, but it’s nice to know it’s there.

194-buc-ceesWe enjoyed an easy drive to and from San Antonio. The highlight, as always, was a stop at Buc-ee’s in Luling on the way home. They have amazing bathrooms (yes, really worth holding for!), as well as all kinds of food and souvenirs. Love that place and especially love the Beaver Nuggets (aka sugar crack). Total sugar high! JJ, the organizational wiz next door, and I buy each other Nuggets when we stop at Buc-cee’s. They’re about to open a Buc-cee’s close by, and I’m going to have to use a lot of willpower to keep away from it. Unfortunately, it’s right by my dental office . . . hmmm, I wonder if the dentists will be sponsoring the Beaver Nuggets? Beaver Nuggets = sugar = cavities. It’s a dental-marketing dream!

Thinking time

fred-weasleyWhen we travel, we like to play “I’m thinking of a . . . .” We’ve been thinking of movies, TV shows, fictional characters, Beanie babies, etc., for years now, and we always have fun seeing who can stump the other three the longest. Yesterday I was thinking of a Harry Potter character, Fred Weasley, one of Ron’s twin brothers. It was finally  narrowed down to the Weasleys (it already had been established that it was human, male, magical, and a student) when the Mister stepped up to the plate.

The Mister: “Is it one of the twins?”

Me: “Yes.”

The Mister: “Is it Percy?”

Strikeout! Back to the bench! Raucous laughter by the boys and me.

Me: “Percy isn’t one of the twins!” Which didn’t narrow it down enough for #2, who guessed George, making it very easy for #1 to win the round.

eBookin’ it

I did a little reading of my eBook during the trip (but not while the car was moving, because I tend to get carsick if I read). I’m up to chapter four, and I really miss reading an actual book. The iPhone is too small for serious reading, and I prefer having a big page to a small screen. It’s going to take me awhile to finish the eBook, but finish it I shall!