In Which Jenn Suffers A Garmin Emergency

Garmin Forerunner 235

Okay, so, my Garmin Forerunner 230, greatest Christmas present of all time, developed a crack in the watch face a few months back. It was a little concerning, but the watch continued to work fine, so I assumed it was superficial. This theory was borne out by runs in the rain and even a couple dunks in the ocean (the Forerunner is rated up to 5ATM for swimming). It had a cosmetic defect, sure, and it was getting a little behind on the tech, yes, but basically my Garmin was working fine.

… Until last Sunday, when I was once again hopping about in the Atlantic. I splashed about in the waves for about twenty minutes and then intended to come in – but then I thought, what the hell, I’m having fun; I’ll stay out a little longer.

I think we all see where this is going, and yes, you’re right: ten minutes later, I did indeed look down and see my watch screen had gone blank. My watch. My GPS watch. The GPS watch I rely on for my training. The same GPS watch I needed for my 17 miler in two days.

Kuzco
Here’s your cadence.

“By this point you know how long it usually takes you to run a certain number of miles,” said Pat. “Can’t you just do it without GPS?”

“HAHAHAHAHA!!!!” I said in return, dumping my watch in a bowl and pouring rice over it in a time-honored ritual of desperation.

I didn’t have a great feeling about it, but after a night hopefully drying out in the rice I tried to plug my watch back in. BZZZZZZZ! was what it had to say to that. I hurriedly unplugged it. It was also seeping salt.

Okay, time to get a new watch. I wanted it to be a Garmin again, because I like the app and I feel like they do a good job on running-specific metrics. The Forerunner 245 seemed the modern iteration closest to my current model, and it had excellent battery life. 

Unfortunately, shipping to Puerto Rico can be a bit of A Thing. We get Amazon Prime down here, but only in that the shipping continues to be free. Two day shipping is out the window. Actual ship times are variable, and what Amazon tells you is the estimated arrival date may or may not have any bearing on the reality. Sometimes it’s quicker than expected, but other times packages been known to arrive in a Miami sorting facility and then just kinda hang out.

All that is to say that I found the Garmin Forerunner 245 on Amazon, but the estimated delivery date of a full two weeks from then was not comforting. 

I could get a Forerunner 235 for half the price and half the time, but that was an old model, and did I really want to buy a watch that was 5 years behind the technology? And anyway that’s still not in time if I wanted to keep my training plan intact. If I wanted that, I needed something almost instant. How could I get my watch instantly?

In the end, it was a real, retail storefront to the rescue. Who says malls are dead?

Walmart had no stock. Best Buy had no stock. I was distraught. But then I had an idea that should’ve occurred to me first: I looked up, y’know, running stores in my area. I discovered there was a Fit2Run in the mall less than ten minutes from my apartment. Not only that, but they showed the Garmin 245 in stock! I called to confirm, and that night I double-masked up and went to the mall to pick up my treasure. (Oh, what a strange world we live in that I miss the mundane comfort of a mall!)

So here’s my new baby, the Garmin Forerunner 245. It has like a million new metrics and I am 100% in love with it. 

Garmin Forerunner 235

We went out together the very next morning and enjoyed a successful 17 mile run that was by some miracle 10 seconds/mile faster than my 16 miler a few weeks before. I have named it Louis, as in Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. 

Casablanca
Middle name “I like to think you shot a man. It’s the romantic in me.”

My old watch lasted me more than four years before I inadvertently drowned it, so as they say: FOUR MORE YEARS! FOUR MORE YEARS!

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Gets A New GPS Watch Band

A month or two ago I noticed that my GPS watch band was starting to crack. Now, I’m an adult, so I did the adult thing: I slapped some masking tape over the affected area and carried on with my life. Problem solved!

Unfortunately, a few weeks later, the band legit just fell right off my wrist, so a new plan was needed. Now, this watch is almost four years old and has a mysterious crack in the face, but otherwise works great and has plenty of battery life. I didn’t think it was time for a new watch just yet, so I set about fixing it.

First I needed a stopgap measure. Enter: an old shoelace! Why did I have this shoelace? Um… I think it was for a pair of running shoes that came with multiple laces? Or something? I don’t know. But I found it in my box o’ extraneous running stuff. I cut off some of the broken brand, wove the shoelace through the holes in the remainder, and bam – I had a fashion masterpiece.

Shoelace watch band

Shoelace watch band

Kinda cute, no? But I had to admit it wasn’t a permanent solution, what with the shoelace’s proclivity for soaking up liquids (sweat, rain), the difficulty of getting the watch face portion to stay on the right bit of my wrist when running, and the minor annoyance of untying and retying it every time I showered.

Amazon to the rescue – Amazon has tons of replacement Garmin watch bands under $10, in standard colors and also cute prints. I went with this one, which offers lots of colors and patterns, but there are plenty of additional options to explore if you’re so inclined.

Garmin watch band kit

My new watch band arrived without any installation instructions, but it was a fairly simple process. The only problem I ran into was unscrewing the screws on the current band. Turns out, the reason the kit comes with two mini-screwdrivers is so that you can jam one into the opposite side to prevent both from rotating together in perpetuity and never loosening. Once I got that bit from the video below, the rest was intuitive.

Anyway, dig my new watch band!

Garmin watch band

Garmin watch band

The only remnant of its original purple splendor is in the start button, but I’m quite into the tie-dye. File this mission in the success pile.

P.S. Suggestion: I saved the hardware from the original band. I just popped it back into the bag with the screwdrivers and put it in my aforementioned box o’ extraneous running stuff. You never know when something might loosen and go missing!

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

The Fairest Week In Review: 12/05

I’ve spent a lot of time in my most recent weekly recaps complaining about how a) I do not live at Walt Disney World and b) how where I do live is COLD right now. None of this has changed and I am still angry about it.

BUT! In the spirit of the Christmas season I thought it might be interesting to experiment with being, you know, kinda sorta a little positive sometimes maybe? So here is a thing I do currently like: seeing dogs on my run. All dogs are good but sometimes they see you running and they’re like oh are we running ooooh!!!! and then they try to run and their owners don’t let them but I know that for the moment my dog friend and I are simpatico.


Here are some of the runs on which I sometimes saw dogs:

Sunday | ran 10.08 miles outside in 1:45

Monday | walked 2.39 miles outside in 40 minutes; 55 minute ballet class

Tuesday | ran 5.29 miles outside in 55 minutes
My GPS watch started acting all wacky on this run, clocking sloooooooooow miles and then a weirdly quick one. Subsequent runs were less weird but still didn’t feel quite right. I’m hoping the next update will make things a little more consistent.


Wednesday | ran 5.19 miles outside in 55 minutes

Thursday | walked 2.02 miles outside in 35 minutes; 55 minute ballet class

Friday | ran 5.07 miles outside in 55 minutes

Saturday | rest
We ran a fair number of errands, though, including getting our Christmas tree! Yay!!!


Enjoy some more feels from the roundup (or not; I’m not THAT curatorial):

– Disney Adulting gets your Christmas list going with stocking stuffers.
– Disney In Your Day plans your Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party experience for you.
– Disney Travel Babble painstakingly assembles a Disneyland Christmas playlist.
– The Main Street Gazette ferrets out more DAK details.
– Living A Disney Life goes big with DCL concierge.
– Kait Around The Kingdom shares some interesting info on each state’s favorite Disney princess.


Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Case Jenn Cannot Trust Her Running Tech (Mostly)

I bought Bluetooth headphones a month or so ago, to free myself from the tyranny of all those connecting wires. The pair I got had largely rave reviews on Amazon, with one exception: there were multiple complaints that the headphones will interrupt your music with a “low power” warning every few minutes as soon as the batteries drain down to 30%.


I heard this message for the first time about ten minutes into a recent morning run. Aha, I thought, no problem – I can suffer through the interruptions and then I’ll charge my ‘phones back up as soon as I get home. Surely 30% battery can get me through 45 more minutes!

And then they died 15 minutes later. So either Amazon is lying to me or the manufacturer recently changed this feature and took the feedback a little too much to heart.

When else has a dead battery thrown a wrench in my runs? Well, let’s see. I’ve complained on multiple occasions about my phone dying in the cold, although stashing it in my pocket or sleeve seems to help keep the temperature up. I’m bitter about those losses since I lose out on tracking all my steps.

And then of course there’s the famous time my lame old GPS watch crapped out on me during the Marine Corps Marathon and it was hot and I was dehydrated and my hips were all wonky and I was definitely over the whole running a marathon thing.

But you know what’s NEVER failed me? My new GPS watch! Well, it’s a little over a year old now, but it’s still one of the best presents I’ve ever gotten. This baby has up to 16 hours of battery life; I could run TWO MARATHONS BACK TO BACK and still have battery to spare. I WON’T. But I could!

And so I thank you, GPS watch, a little past our one-year anniversary: thank you for being the one piece of running tech I can always count on. 

My one true love.

Has a dead battery ever put a damper on your run?

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

The Fairest Week In Review: 1/31

Oh my God, this workout log is so boring. WINE & DINE WILL NEVER COME, I JUST KNOW IT. *sobs dramatically*


Sunday | ran 10.26 miles outside in 1:45

Monday | walked 2.35 miles outside in 40 minutes; 65 minute ballet class

Tuesday | ran 5.24 miles on the treadmill in 60 minutes
Stupid rain ruining a perfectly reasonable running temperature. 🙁


Wednesday | ran 5.21 miles outside in 55 minutes
Well… it didn’t rain.


Thursday | walked 2.06 miles outside in 35 minutes; 65 minute ballet class

Friday | ran 5.18 miles outside in 55 minutes
So cold my phone died at mile 3. 🙁 Clearly I need a new battery…


Saturday | rest

So you may recall that I have been deeply suspicious of my GPS watch’s reports for some time now. I like to think I am indeed getting faster, thanks at least in part to increased training outside on hillier terrain, but some of my data seemed almost too good to be true. When my watch tallied well over 28 miles during the WDW Marathon, I decided some research was in order.

I ran across a post on the Garmin message boards that suggested many things, some of which seemed too technical for me to get into. But if you’re running across a similar problem, the two primary steps I took were a) make sure you regularly sync your watch on the computer and get all the latest software updates and b) once your watch gives you the satellite connection all-clear, DON’T just take off – give it a minute or so. Stretch or something. Let it ponder.

Maybe these are completely obvious and I’m just an idiot, but I think the last couple of runs have seemed to garner more accurate data. I’ll continue to keep an eye on it.

Roundup!

– run geek rundisney covers Athlinks, a race results aggregator. I tried it out and it’s pretty fun so far if you like looking at your own stats!
– Just Me & My Running Shoes offers a glimpse of runDisney’s kid races. Call me when they start a puppy bowl.
– easyWDW reviews WDW’s Disney After Hours hard ticket event.
– Disney In Your Day scrutinizes FastPass priorities at WDW.
– The Main Street Gazette attempts to pin down Disney parks’ powerful emotional hold on us.

– Disney Nerds checks out the food offerings at Shanghai Disneyland.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Gets An Amazing Running Present

Pat is not a runner. Case in point, consider the following exchange:

ME: The Star Wars – Dark Side 5K is still open. Would you like to –
PAT: No.
ME: I would run it with you –
PAT: No.

So there’s that. I mean, he’ll run a mile or two for conditioning purposes, but it’s not his thing and he’s certainly not a distance runner.

Therefore his understanding of my happy little marathoning heart is rudimentary at best. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t listen. After I lamented the tragedy of my current GPS watch’s battery dying at a crucial point in the Marine Corps Marathon, he bought me a new one for Christmas.

Okay. That’s impressive. But more impressive is this: I kinda saw it coming, because while Christmas shopping he asked me what kind of GPS watch I had. Seeing where this was going, I modestly directed him to the reasonably priced and presently on sale Garmin Forerunner 25, which purports 8 hours of a battery power, plenty for my needs.

He goes and one-ups me with a FORERUNNER 230. WHAT THE WHAT.

“I did some research and some people said the Forerunner 25 dropped to under five hours of battery life pretty quickly and I know battery life is important to you,” he said.

“I got you purple because reviews said the pink can get discolored,” he said, because HOLY CAREFUL RESEARCH, BATMAN.

“EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I said.

UP TO SIXTEEN HOURS OF BATTERY LIFE ON THIS THING, KIDS. Sixteen! I could run three marathons back to back. Hell, I could crawl a marathon on that kind of power. Never shall I squint worriedly at the screen as the low battery warning flashes at me two miles before the finish. It even displays average pace in real time! (I mean, I’m not sure how much I trust it, but it’s a nice ballpark.)

And then the heavens smiled upon me with a miracle of miracles: two days after Christmas, one day after my birthday, I was gifted the random outlier of a 65 degree day. Naturally I took the watch for a spin and it was beautiful.

Diamonds? Who the actual hell wants diamonds? No battery life at all on those things!
(Don’t mind the pace; I was standing still.)

Hello, new watch friend! I hope to enjoy many happy years of races with you! Next up: the WDW Marathon. THIS WEEKEND. Awwww yeah.

P.S. My boyfriend is the best ever.

Did you get any running-related items for Christmas and Hanukkah or the hell of it? Tell me!

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Has A Disappointing Marine Corps Marathon

I don’t know. Maybe I jinxed myself. But I can tell you exactly why I posted about my marathon PR bid last week: I thought for sure it was going to happen.

Oh, no question. Hadn’t I trained better and harder? Hadn’t I carefully avoided injury? Hadn’t my 20 miler gone a million times better? Hadn’t I set myself for pre-race success, with several days of sports drinks and multiple alarms and a determination to run the whole bridge? I mean, last year was a laughable comedy of errors! This year HAD to be my year! CLIF STILL HAD THE 4:45 PACE BANDS FOR ONCE! Was that not a sign???

Well, kids: it wasn’t.

It all started off auspiciously enough: Metro being what it was, Pat’s boss (who was also running) offered to drive me to one of the shuttle pickup spots in exchange for my navigation assistance. I woke up on time. He met me on time. The shuttle line was loooooong, but I still made it to the start line with a good hour to spare. I lined up where I belonged. I waited patiently. And when I started… I was slow.

Like, National Capital 20 Miler slow. Trail slow. Like, at the start of the race I should be reining myself in and still about a minute faster out of adrenaline why the hell am I going so slow. I didn’t feel bad – no pains or fatigue – I just had no snap. No crackle. NO POP AT ALL.

And that could probably describe the first, say, 17 miles of the race. There were bright spots of course, like running through Georgetown where a band was playing Billy Joel’s song about being a lunatic, which I enjoyed; and the spectators are always great. I met up with Pat on the mall and that cheered me up considerably. But I was clocking snail miles.

Quick interlude because I don’t know where else to put it: I saw like six dead rats on the course, squashed as roadkill. Which is odd seeing as how the roads are closed prior to the race. Did someone bring a box of dead rats and toss them as every few miles as they ran?

Anyway. I came to my traditional sticking point: the 14th St bridge that must be beaten or be swept! This long monstrosity had slowed me to a walk two years in a row, but this year I was determined. No more. I was going to run it. Barring water stops, I was going to run this whole marathon!

And I conquered that bridge. I ran it as planned. I stared in the face of every incline and refused to blink.

It might have been a bad idea.

At this point in the race, three things started to happen. The first to set in was a new one for me: dehydration. Temperatures were very VERY unseasonably warm for DC – the high for the day was 78. And as the sun rose in the sky, so did my thirst. I was taking a Gatorade and two waters at every water stop and wanting more a half mile later. I even took a mini cup of beer from a spectator, which is not usually the sort of thing I want during the race but at that point I was ready to accept just about any cold liquid.

The second problem to hit was my GPS watch. Despite its previous battery track record of making it upward of 5:30 (albeit on its last legs), it died on me at about the 4:15 mark. Now I had no feedback regarding my times, be they per mile or overall.

These things were not helpful. But even less helpful was my body. Sure, I was experiencing the standard discomfort that comes with running a marathon, including foot soreness and a touch of stiffness. I expect that, though. I can power through that. The real issue was, quite suddenly and sincerely, the base of my spine; or, to be more specific but self-diagnosing, I believe it was where the base of my spine meets my pelvis. For no foreseeable reason, it decided to start hurting.

So I did the unthinkable but ultimately, probably, the wise thing: I stopped and walked a bit. But this wasn’t how I wanted it to go down, so I tried to do some intervals. As soon as I started running, there it was – SPINE PAIN. It felt like it desperately needed to be cracked but couldn’t, instead sticking me with not a stabbing pain but a definite, disconcerting twinge. I would run a couple steps, then stop and walk again. Luckily I only had like a mile and half left at this point, but it was not good for my morale, especially since I had no idea how long I had been running (thanks, GPS battery).

I did know Pat was waiting for me just beyond the tunnel before the finish, and leading me to him was a beautiful downhill section. I tightened my core, leaned slightly in the direction that lessened my spine discomfort, and started running again.

Luckily this loosened me up a bit, and after a quick cheer-up kiss from Pat I headed for the finish, even managing to run up that awful hill. As I came upon the finish the announcer said my name, which was nice, and after a quick high-five from the Marine Corps bulldog mascots I passed under the wire.

I was allowed to download this specific image for free.
Only this one. Gee, thanks.

I was okay. It was okay. Except that it wasn’t. It wasn’t the race I had wanted at all. A very nice Marine put my medal around my neck and asked me how I felt. “Like I could’ve done better,” I said like the ingrate I am, and he kindly comforted me with the fact that I was finished and also not dead or broken, which is true. Hey, no matter what I ran a marathon, right?

Pat made this same point. And to be honest, I wasn’t disappointed in myself. I hadn’t made any huge mistakes. I hadn’t done anything overly dumb. I had trained hard and tried hard.

No, I wasn’t disappointed with myself. But I was generally disappointed. I didn’t cry or anything, but I couldn’t quite keep the wobble out of my voice as I described my experience to him. I was so sure it was going to be my day and here I was, SLOWER than I had been in my past two outings.

Here’s the thing, though. As it turns out, I wasn’t actually as behind as I thought I was – only about 40 seconds slower than my previous neck-and-neck times. If my GPS hadn’t failed and I had known that, I might’ve pushed myself. I might’ve shaved at least a few second off my time after all. On the other hand, though, had I pushed, would that have escalated my spine issue into a more permanent problem? I don’t know.

I’m not sure what went wrong, to be honest. It might’ve been the warm weather, leading to my subsequent hydration problems. Maybe I didn’t taper enough. Maybe I have a low-level cold. No idea what’s up with my spine, although thankfully it hasn’t given me any post-race trouble worth noting. All I know is that I thought that I had this PR in the bag, and I whiffed it, and I’m sad.

You know what makes me happy, though? Walt Disney World! And you know who’s headed to Walt Disney World? ME! This Saturday! For the Wine & Dine Half Marathon! Which may or may not be terrible due to having run a marathon just a week prior but whatever because DISNEY!

And in other news, I’m in the market for a new GPS watch.

Did you run the Marine Corps Marathon? How did your race go? Pat says his boss said he had a bad race too, but maybe yours was better? Tell me your hydration secrets!

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

WTF GPS: A Haiku by Jenn

How far have I run???
“Lost satellite reception”
IMPOTENT RAGE UGH
(source)

What’s your worst lost-satellite-reception story? I think I lost about half a mile. And I totally survived; I’m just being melodramatic. But GOD, GARMIN.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

The Fairest Week In Review: 1/07

JENN: Question one on my mind is this: did you get any running/exercise stuff for Christmas?

MOON: I did, actually! Did you?

JENN: Yes! You first.

MOON: So, the only Christmas-proper running present I got was from my roommate’s mother. She gave me a new pair of running shoes! We had been looking through the outlets over the summer for shoes (she saw my Asics and really liked them, so we went searching for a pair for her). It was very sweet of her. I was really shocked.

JENN: Awww, that’s so nice! A model that will work for you?

MOON: Yeah, they are great!! I had to buy another pair while I was in Texas, but that might be a story for another day.

JENN: I’ll hold you to that! Anything else?

MOON: That’s it!

JENN: Well, I got something I’m really excited about: a GPS watch! It’s a pink Garmin Forerunner 10 and I <3 it. Now when I am cruelly forced to run outdoors I can keep accurate track of my stats. Sorry, MapMyRun, but you just don’t work that well. This will also help us pace ourselves during the Tinker Bell Half.

(source)

MOON: That’s great! What goes wrong with MapMyRun for you? I’ve only had one weird issue with it once

JENN: It’s always off on the mileage. I’ve also had it stop itself for no reason, and once it ceased giving me mileage reports.

MOON: Hmm, that’s weird. Usually the mileage works pretty well for me, but I wonder if that has more to do with the phone’s GPS rather than the app?

JENN: Maybe! Regardless – this will be better. 😀

MOON: Definitely more reliable!

JENN: I also got a running skirt from Skirt Sports that – prepare to be amazed – has undershorts that are both long enough and DON’T RIDE UP. It’s a freaking miracle.

MOON: Hmm, you will have to model this for me!

JENN: Of course! And finally, I got a Lululemon running bra. It works great, which is sort of unfortunate – I’ve kinda put a moratorium on making on further Lululemon purchases, given their reveal that they are anti-plus size. That’s just plain not cool.

MOON: Hmm, that’s a bit conceited and shallow.

Okay, perhaps something a bit lighter: how was your week of running?

JENN: Eh, it was okay. Slowly getting back into the groove after my lackluster holiday runs. Thursday’s run was solid, anyway.

MOON: I had a great Christmas eve run. Did a 13.1 just for kicks, and that went well. I ran a few times while traveling, so it went pretty well. Although, I was spoiled by sun and somewhat warm weather… Today is my day to get back into a normal routine again.

JENN: Yeah, that’s pretty much what I’m after, too.

What’s on your iPod of late?

MOON: Beethoven and electronic music, you know. You still jamming to Flogging Molly?

JENN: Pretty much. I REALLY need some new music but haven’t had time to search lately.

MOON: Well, I can make you a mix if you would like! I’m actually scouring the internet for some new music as we type.

JENN: Ooh, that would be awesome! We still need to swap iPods one of these days.

MOON: Ha, that will be entertaining, I’m sure.

JENN: Okey doke, roundup time!

Running Toward the Prize leads the fight against long run boredom.
Stop for character photos with Pink Elephant on Parade.
Check out some great blogs at Prairie Princess Runners (including this one! ;).
Get a rundown of the new runDisney/New Balance sneakers at Disney Every Day.
Run Eat Repeat bans fat talk. Amen!
Margaritas, Miles, and the Mouse points out early runDisney race registration opportunities for annual passholders.
The Disney Food Blog presents the interesting question of what to do in the face of a single diner. Metaphorically, I mean.
All Ears points out that even FL can get cold, and this is how you can manage.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon!