So last year I wrote about using Nike+, TrailRunner, and RunnerPlus. Last summer, though, my Nike+ Sportband fell victim to what turned out to be a recall-worthy problem with its screen. As a result, this past Christmas I bought a Garmin Forerunner 405 with heartrate monitor. So far I have really liked it a lot.

It is definitely more bulky than the Nike+ kit, but gives me a lot more information. Distance, pace, heart race, course, and a bunch of other things. One problem I have with the 405, however, is its inability to give reliable realtime pace data. This is due to the GPS method it uses to determine distance. One "fix" for this is an accelerometer-based footpod. The Nike+ system uses just such a system, and Garmin does offer one as an add-on to the 405.

The older Garmin footpod, though, is fairly bulky. They are coming out with a new one with the same form factor as the Nike+, but is going to cost $119 when it comes out next month. For point of comparison, Nike sells their footpod on its own for $19.

I have not read anything about the new Garmin footpod, but one big concern I have is battery life. Friends with the Nike+ unit find that the non-replaceable battery in the footpod lasts about a year or so. Then they just plop down another $19 and go on their way. I am not ready to drop $120 a year on the Garmin unit, though. I will have to wait and see when they come out, I suppose.

In all I really like the 405. I am constantly amazed that I have a GPS on my wrist.

Look for a more complete entry on post-camp life later, but in the meantime a brief entry on my running so far since getting back from camp.

So as you, my gentle reader, are well aware, I ran the Kentucky Derby Mini-Marathon in April and then purchased a Nike+ sportsband to better track my running. I quickly realized that my training pace was coming in a lot faster than I thought it was (I was training at about a 6:50 mile, compared with thinking I was training at about a 7:20 pace).

I quickly started using for the smaller and more tightly-knit community than the Nike+ site allows. I also started using TrailRunner to plot out my runs and keep much more detailed stats on each of my runs. TrailRunner really needs one or both of two items, though: A GPS and running the same basic routes over and over again.

Before camp I was running about 25-30 miles a week. Once I got to camp I ran a few times the first couple of weeks but quickly gave up. Now that I am home from camp I am trying to get back into it. I am a bit disappointed with taking the last seven weeks off, but that is how it goes. I appreciated the sleep much more, I think.

The Nike+ gives an interesting twist to getting back into shape. So I have all of these sub-7:00 runs saved on these various websites and software programs. I do not want to ruin my averages, but I also want "credit" for the runs I am doing these days. As a result I have been going out a bit faster than my normal "get back into shape" runs. I really do keep trying to slow my pace down a bit, but they continue to be a bit faster than I would probably like.
On Saturday I competed in the Kentucky Derby Festival Mini Marathon [Warning: Annoying "Call to the Post" audio when that page loads.]

All in all it was a good run. My goal was a sub-1:35:00 race. I finished with a 1:36:50. I was 329 overall, out of the 9387 finishing the half marathon. All in all I am happy with the race.

Some points:
1) With 12,000 people running (split between the half marathon and the full length marathon), the start should have been handled better. The road we started on was not wide enough to handle that many people. The first mile or so I spent running *around* people more than actually running "my race".
2) That brings me to a second point: While signs were up marking different desired paces (signs on the side of the start listing "6:00", "7:00" and so on), apparently no one except me and a few others actually followed them. As a result my first mile time was pretty slow. Instead of the 7:15 pace I had been hoping for, my first mile was timed at about 7:45
3) I have no idea what my second mile time was since I never saw the clock at the two mile mark. I never saw the two mile mark, which might explain part of that.
4) According to the chip timing, I did the first 10K of the race (about 6.2 miles) in 47:03, or about 7:34 pace. A lot of that was from the first two miles, I am sure. The only real hills on the course were from mile marker 3 to mile marker 5, as well.
5) My 15K time was 1:09:39, meaning from 10K -> 15K took me 22:36. That works out to be a 7:16 pace, or right about where I wanted to be. So after I got out of traffic I was almost exactly at the pace I wanted to be at.
6) For those of you keeping track at home, that means I did from the 15K mark (about 9.2 miles) to the end (~13.1 miles) in 27:11, or a blistering 7:10 pace.

After the race I felt pretty good. I took two more days off and today I finally did another run, an easy five miles.
So there is a good number of runners here in the Athens area. As someone who has been running for 20+ years, I do have some advice for the runners I see out on the streets:

1) If you are running with a friend, good for you! But wearing your iPod headphones while running with them seems a bit rude.
2) If you really want music while you run, I would suggest that instead of spending $30+ on an armband for your heavy iPod Video, iPod Classic, or iPhone, you instead pony up the $49 for an iPod Shuffle. Imagine - an iPod designed with things like running in mind! Lighter weight, with a built in clip and everything!
3) It is an unwritten rule around tracks that slower people stay in the outside lanes. That means if you are walking on the 8 lane track, you should generally be in lanes 5-8. If you are jogging, lanes 3 and 4. Leave lanes 1 and 2 open for people who are doing speedwork.

Also - one of my biggest pet peeves is bike riders who ride on the sidewalks on roads where there are dedicated bike lanes. In addition, Any person who is riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk shall yield the right of way to any pedestrian.. This means if you are riding your bike on the sidewalk, you have to yield (get out of my way) to me.
So my sister and her husband have started running, and so we have decided to do the Kentucky Derby Mini-Marathon. Unfortunately my father has come down with some stress fractures in his knee and will not be able to run with us.

So I have 35 more days. Running so far has been going pretty well. I am annoyed at the hilly nature of my current surroundings, but what can you do? I basically live on top of a hill, meaning any run that starts and ends at my apartment is necessarily going end going uphill.

I have gotten into a good habit, going out every day. I am currently up to my long runs being about 6-7 miles. I started doing speed workouts a couple of weeks ago. I am right on pace for the half-marathon.

Anyway, I should be out. I have four miles to run today!
The official results

Team FruitCo dominates again!

Fifth place overall, first team. That means, of course...


(picture of said trophy coming later)

I am really proud of my teammates. Tomorrow I am going to start looking for another one to do during August.

Edit: Two possibilities: Basically the same triathlon again (that I just realized we cannot do due to the date), and something a little shorter. Oh, and we might be calling on some people for transportation (hint, hint)
Today was the first of three days off in a row. This weekend was absolutely crazy, and I spent way too much time at work. This weekend I had slacked off on my running so I decided to make up for it today. Make up for it I did, too. I woke up around 11am, ate breakfast, talked to a roommate, and then headed out. I left about noon, I think. Halfway through the run I stopped at Whole Foods to pick up a bagel and a water. I looked around the store, as well, since I might go back tomorrow to pick up some supplies.

When I got back, the clock said it was 2pm. My closest guess is that I ran about eight miles, but I am not sure.

For anyone familiar with the Boston area, I started in Teele Square. I ran to Davis, and then on to Porter Square. I cut over to Mass. Ave and went down to Harvard Square. I crossed the river on JFK St./N. Harvard Street. I then took a left and followed the footpath to the Mass. Ave Bridge (with my slight detour to Whole Foods near Central Square). I then followed Mass. Ave all the way back to Alewife Brook Parkway and then back to my place.

What a lovely city. In addition to running along the Charles River, I got to run by Tufts, Harvard, BU, and MIT. It was a lot of fun.

Tomorrow I am planning on running again, but I might just head up to the local track and get some speedwork in.



September 2011

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