Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Runner's wish list

Linking up with Marcia, Patti, and Erika for Tuesdays on the Run.
This week's topic: Runner's Gift List.

I'm going to share three things on my wish list.

1. Medal Display
I have mentioned before that I currently display all of my race medals on the base of a folded-up ironing board that I store in my closet.
Super unglamorous.

I've long been in need of a more attractive display. Conventional medal racks are surprisingly expensive. I've seen some folks use sturdy towel racks, but I haven't gotten around to looking into any of those. I'm not the most coordinated when it comes to installing wall displays (heck, I can't even pin my race bibs on straight). So I've been lackadaisical about finding a better solution thus far.

2. Improved GPS watch
I'm on my second Garmin, the Forerunner 110. This is a pretty simplistic model. It's appropriate for me because I only want to track time, distance, pace, and splits. I don't need all the fancy features like lactate threshold, stride length, and post-run food recipes (OK, if recipes were really available from my watch, I might actually use those).

However, I'm not enamored with the 110 for a few reasons:

a) It takes FOREVER to find a satellite signal - sometimes upwards of five minutes! This can get awkward.

b) Sometimes the distance/pace readings seem to be inaccurate.
c) You can only see your most-current split on the device; viewing your historic splits requires connecting to a computer.
d) The charging cable is finicky - you have to position the charge contact points EXACTLY right for it to work.

I would love to find a new GPS watch that improves upon these issues without costing an arm and a leg.

3. Race Dots
As I mentioned above, I have a tough time pinning my race bib on straight. It's reminiscent of something like this:

You can only imagine the havoc it wreaks on my shirts and jackets when I'm constantly pinning and repinning my bibs. Therefore, I've been thinking about those magnetic race bib positioning devices.

The catch is that I've heard very mixed reviews about them. Some folks love them, others claim they don't stay put? I'd like to try them out for myself.

What about you? What's on your running and/or fitness wish list?

36 comments:

  1. I have the same issue with my Garmin. Some days a signal pops up right away; other days I'm waiting...and waiting...

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    1. It's crazy how inconsistent the Garmin can be, yes? Although, mine tends to run more along the lines of being consistently slow ALL THE TIME! Grrrrr....

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  2. OMG what is it with Garmin chargers? I've never owned a good one! May I suggest a race number belt vs the dots?. Cough those dots are a nightmare cough. Happy Thanksgiving!

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    1. Glad to hear it isn't just me that struggles with the Garmin chargers! Thanks for the feedback on the race dots - this is good to know. Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

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  3. I was just thinking I need another medal display. Except, I already have three and it's still getting kind of out of control! I do have some medals I'd like to donate but it seems that Medals for Mettle only takes medals for half marathons and longer distances and I haven't found another place to donate them.

    My Garmin 405 is...uh....7 years old? Wow. Anyway, it takes while to get a signal now, too. Part of me wants a fancy triathlon Garmin but another part of me doesn't know if it's worth all that.

    As to Marcia's comment about a race belt, I have one and I hate it. I'd rather just have my bib on crooked :-)

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    1. I've always admired your badass medal displays! Oh wow, I didn't realize Medals for Mettle only accepted half marathon distances and up. I'm a little surprised! But this is good to know.

      Kudos to you for maintaining the same Garmin for 7 years! My 110 is only a few years old and it struggled almost right from the start. I'm actually starting to consider using the run apps on my phone more often, since they load up MUCH more quickly. I think you would get very good use out of a fancy tri Garmin!!!

      I'm with you on the race belts - I feel like the bib would flap around in the wind. All hail to the crooked bibs! =D

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  4. I need a medal display too, and I'd really love to get a nice way to display all of my bibs from over the years. I'm surprised the Garmin takes so long to charge, that's annoying!

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    1. Maybe we'll all get some nice medal displays for the holidays? I've seen some folks put together bib books, which are awesome. Sadly I never saved any of my race bibs over the years and it feels a little silly to start now. It is super annoying that the Garmin takes so long - I'm thinking of using the run apps on my phone more now since it is much more low-maintenance!

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  5. Yes, I have that Garmin and it does take a while sometimes. It works for me though because like you, I only use it for simple things. I just want intervals, pace, and mileage. Nothing fancy.

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    1. Isn't it frustrating how you can be standing outside, ready to run, but you have to stand and wait for the little bar to make it's progress? Mine tends to get almost to the very end, then backtrack! Sigh.

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  6. I had the exact same complaints about my Forerunner 110. This summer, it started getting pretty finicky on runs - losing satellite, errors with laps, etc. I upgraded to the 220 and love it! Money so well spent, if you ask me!

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    1. Thanks for the feedback on the 220 - this is really helpful! I'm thrilled to hear it's such an improvement on the 110!

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  7. I can never have enough medal hangers. I need to get another one. I have the race dots and I still have a heck of a time getting them on. They are way magnetic!

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    1. I've noticed that most medal hangers can only display about 10 medals, right? That's not nearly enough for most of our needs! Heck, at some of the RnR events, you can get three medals in less than 48 hours!!! =D It sounds like those race magnets are kind of a catch-22 - we want them to stay put once they're on, but that also means it's tough to put them on in the first place, right? Ahh, the conundrums!

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  8. I got money for my birthday to buy a medal display, which I've been meaning to do for...over two months now. Oops. One of these days I'll get around to it! Hopefully sooner rather than later. I have medals sitting on my desk because I've run out of room to hang them elsewhere, and I'd really like to get them hung up ASAP!

    As for GPS watches, any watch you get will have distance/pace errors from time to time. No watch is perfect, and it's best to view what they tell you as a relatively accurate, fairly decent representation of what you did, not an infallible, word-of-God standard. I've used the Garmin 210, Polar M400, and Adidas Smart Run over the past few years (though to be fair I JUST started with the Adidas Smart Run, so I can't really give you an accurate overview of that one yet. I've only taken it outside for one run thus far.). I got the Garmin 210 in Feb. 2012 and the Polar M400 in Jan. 2015, so I'm sure it's not entirely fair to compare the two, as I imagine technology has advanced mightily in those three years. The only things I didn't like about my Garmin was that it would take for.ev.er. to find a GPS signal, and sometimes even if I knew I had charged the watch, the battery would spontaneously die when I turned it on, which was super annoying, especially since it takes a really long time to charge that sucker. I REALLY liked the Polar M400 for a variety of reasons. It founds a GPS signal in under a minute, provided you were standing still. If you moved at all (and I mean even one step), it would freak out and couldn't find a signal. On the flip side, I could put my watch by the window while I was warming up and it would find a signal so I was good to go the second I stepped outside. It has a lot of cool features, including customizable screens, heart rate monitoring (via a chest strap), a "Return to Home" feature that gives you directions on your watch to take you back where you came from, race estimators, an in-watch coach, etc. Features 4 dayz. I didn't use most of these. What I particularly liked about the Polar M400 was that I could use it for EVERYTHING. It has sport modes for just about anything you can dream up, so I'd wear it all the time - for circuits, for climbing, for yoga, for running. By wearing my heart rate monitor, I was able to get ALL OF THE STATS - which was great, right up until my heart rate monitor died. Theoretically you're supposed to be able to change the battery in a heart rate monitor, but I've never been able to wrestle open the battery compartment, making the heart rate monitor--and thus most of the features of the watch, aside from GPS--totally useless. I also found that though the M400 could pick up a signal very quickly, it also lost signals very quickly. Just running through the underpass just south of Belmont on the Lakefront Trail during marathon training was enough to make my watch lose a signal. It'd pick it right back up, of course, but that's pretty pathetic in my opinion, since that underpass isn't that long, and it's not even underground, just under Lake Shore Drive! But the pros outweighed the cons for me, so I loved the M400. Plus it's cheaper than a Garmin. The Adidas watch has optical heart rate monitoring, which is great because that'll never die, and it also has multiple sport modes, but so far I'm not all that wild about it. I should note, however, that I took a lot of time to learn about all the ins and outs of the M400, which I did not do with my Garmin, nor have I done with my Adidas, so maybe I'm not being entirely fair. For your purposes, I imagine you'd do just fine with a Forerunner 15 or Forerunner 10. They're the most basic Garmins on the market, and I think they'd do everything you want them to do without a bunch of bells and whistles you don't want/need/use. I'd also recommend checking out DC Rainmaker, as he has thorough reviews of everything on the market, which could also help you out.

    Bethany @ Accidental Intentions

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    1. WOW! Thank you so much for all of this amazing, detailed, and helpful information about the various GPS watches! I'd actually never even heard of the Polar M400 until you brought it up, but it does sound terrific. I have only tried training with a heart rate monitor like 3 times, ever, but can definitely relate to the annoyance of not being able to charge the monitor. I am amazed at the idea that any GPS could find a signal in under a minute! Garmins are pretty darned expensive considering how finicky they are, so it's also great to hear the M400 is more affordable. I'd also never heard of the Adidas watch or the DC Rainmaker, so these is a whole other option to consider. I did consider the Forerunner 15 or 10. If memory serves correctly, I think I shied away from those because they didn't display enough metrics at any given point and/or the battery life wasn't long enough for my taste. In any event - I'm overwhelmed with all the new options to consider! Thanks again for sharing!!!

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  9. Maybe not running wish list but fitness, I would love a waterproof iPod for swimming laps. It gets incredibly boring. I just got the Garmin 920 XT last week and so far I love it!

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    1. I would love a waterproof ANYTHING! I've had to bury a Garmin and another sports watch because of water issues. =( I don't swim much but I agree - it would get super boring swimming laps without anything else to keep you going! Great to hear the Garmin 920 XT is awesome! I'm not familiar with it so I'll have to check it out based on your rave review!!!

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  10. I just bought the Garmin 225 with the built in heart rate monitor. But it only tracks when you are in GPS mode. Now they have a new one - I think it is the 235, which tracks your heart rate all day plus a few other features. So now I want that one. I have an agreement with myself to upgrade every two years, so I will have to wait!

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    1. Interesting that the 225 only tracks while in GPS mode. I can't keep track of all the new models that Garmin keeps shooting out! The 235 sounds very high-tech. I'm with you on only upgrading every few years - that's how I am with my phone! It can be really hard to wait, though, right? Two years is an eternity in tech life!

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  11. The Garmin 225 looks lovely. I had the 110 and yes, it did take a long time to sync up.

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    1. Wasn't it frustrating to sit there and watch the 110's little progress bar getting near the end, then jumping backwards? Sigh!

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  12. Such a great list!!! You definitely need a medal display...LOL :-) Hope Santa brings you everything you want and then some!

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    1. Thanks Kristen! Here is hoping Santa brings you everything you want and then some, too!!!!!!!!!!

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  13. I just got the Garmin 10, which is super simple, but tracks all of the things you want -- and I haven't had any of the issues you mentioned!

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    1. The Garmin 10 is the one that comes in all the fun colors, yes? Sometimes simple is best!!!

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  14. I have a race number belt that I LOVE. Well, mine also carries two small water bottles. I bought a new Garmin 225 to replace the one that I have. The heart rate monitor does not work anymore. Want to buy it off from me? I'll give you a good deal. :-)

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    1. So I've always shied away from race belts that carry water bottles because I thought the water would slosh around and weigh you down. Therefore, when I carry water, I always use a small handheld. But it does get cumbersome to carry the water, too! Thanks for the offer on the 225 - let me do some more research on it and think about it!

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  15. Oh girl you definitely need a medal display for all that nice bling. Don't hide it in the closet!
    I've used those race dots and they are very strong! -M

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    1. LOL, thanks Meranda! =D Glad to hear you've had a good experience with the race dots being very strong!

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  16. My sisters just got me s medal hanger for my birthday. Now where to put it!
    Confessions of a Mother Runner

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    1. Happy birthday and what a wonderful birthday present from your sister! She clearly knows about good presents for us runners. =) I hope you are able to find a good place to display all your hard-earned medals!!!

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  17. Those hangers are expensive! A perfect gift item for someone to give you ! I have seen some use a pretty decorative curtain rod on the wall, much more affordable :)
    I love for 110, but I will upgrade one of these days lol Mine hooks quick though to satellites, wonder what is up with that!

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    1. Isn't it crazy how pricey the hangers are? I've never seen anything decent for less than about $70. I've seen a few folks using the nice curtain rods, too and they look pretty. My only concern is whether the curtain rod would be strong enough to hold all the weight of the medals?!?!? I am really glad to hear your 110 finds a signal quickly - you are very fortunate! Over the years, you've probably saved hours and hours of time spent waiting for signals compared to me. =)

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  18. I have the same problem with my Forerunner 110 :( The Allied Medal Hangers are expensive but really nice. I got one from my family for Christmas last year and it's super cute!

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    1. Glad to hear it isn't just me experiencing issues with the 110! Indeed, I've seen some really adorable Allied Medal Hangers. What a wonderful holiday present that you received last year! Which design did you get!?!?!?

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