Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Racing on the edge, Garmin lifecycling, and more

I hope everyone had a fantastic July 4th!  I was in Pittsburgh for the weekend to celebrate my mother-in-law's birthday.  As per usual, the time went by in the blink of an eye.

I have much to write about.  Here today are just a few of the things that are scampering around madly in the back of my brain right now.

4 (or 5?) races in 8 days
During the 8-day stretch between July 14 and July 21, I have four races on the calendar:

July 14 - Home Team Charity 10K
July 16 - Strike Out ALS 5K
July 18 - Esprit de She 10K (for which I am a race ambassador!)
July 21 - Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon

Four races in eight days is certainly plenty.  While I would like to "race" all four races, I would very much risk overdoing it and that would be a recipe for disaster.  The jury is still out regarding which of the four races I actually "race," but I am thinking I'll limit myself to two, max.

Here's the kicker.  Erin is planning to run five 5Ks in five nights from July 15 through July 19, including the Friendship 5K Run in Highland, Indiana on July 17.  I am tempted to join her for that race since I've never done a race in Indiana.  It would involve a little bit of a road-trip from Chicago, but it's still very doable on a Wednesday night.  And the 5K distance, if done as a fun run, is not at all a big deal.

The catch is that I haven't been consistently running even three days a week.  To go from an average of, say, 2.374321531219 days per week of running to five runs within eight days?  Even if done with extreme caution, that would still be quite a jump!

I keep going back and forth on this decision between thinking that

a) life is too short, you only live once, work hard play harder


b) I've already learned the hard way not to overdo it, plus who wants to spend even MORE time doing physical therapy exercises?

To be continued.

The Garmin Circle of Life
Last week I got caught in pouring rain during one of my runs.  I was wearing my Garmin, but didn't worry about it because it is supposed to be water-resistant up to 50 meters of submersion (or something like that).

During the rain, my Garmin started beeping that it was low on battery.  No big deal.  Later when I got home I tried charging it, only to find out that it wouldn't charge.  Since I've had charger issues in the past, I swapped out the charger cable and cradle to see if that was the issue.  No difference.  Then I tried turning the Garmin on.  Still nothing.  Nada to this day.  Not even an obligatory twitch or flash of light before my eyes.

As far as I can tell, my Garmin has officially gone to live on a big GPS watch farm.  Sigh.

Considering how expensive these Garmins are, I'm not thrilled with all of the problems that I've had with mine.  But on the optimistic side, my old Garmin was the Forerunner 305 model and its large, bulky size was my biggest complaint (literally and figuratively).  So this was an opportunity to find a different model that better suited my needs.

I didn't want to blow too much money on a new watch, especially for features that I don't even use, so that eliminated a lot of other Garmin models currently on the marketplace.  I first considered the Garmin 10, but wasn't thrilled with its projected battery life (only five hours) and that its display was only minimally customizable.  Ultimately I decided to go with the Garmin 110.  The 110 is much sleeker than the 305 and seems to offer enough functionality for my needs without going overboard either direction.

Here's a picture I found that compares the two models side by side:

Garmin Forerunner 305 on the left, Garmin 110 on the right

The new 110 just arrived in the mail today.  It is charging up as I type this.  I am looking forward to taking it for its inaugural usage some time this week!

A few other notes

  • Since I've been without a working Garmin for the past week, I went for an intended 10-mile run yesterday based on several known-distance loops.  Yours truly may have gone into total zone-out mode.  Therefore, yours truly may have somehow lost the ability to do simple arithmetic, thereby miscalculating the cumulative distances of the various loops.  Yours truly may have somehow ended up running nearly 11 miles without realizing it until afterwards, all the while thinking that thy pace was just really, really slow (it was very hot and muggy yesterday).  Good for training, but still.  Oops.  

  • On that note, I am getting more and more disenchanted with long runs, as well as with half marathons (or longer, of course).  It is getting increasingly difficult to find the desire to do these 90-minute-plus training runs, especially considering all the preparation involved both before and after. Right now I think I could be very happy by always doing three- to six-mile runs and trying to focus on building speed.  Considering how much my motivation is waning, it's too bad I still have three more half marathons this year.

OK, enough with that!  What I am looking forward to right now?
  • Taking a stand-up paddleboarding lesson this Saturday with Xaarlin, Erin, and Anne!
  • Kicking off my stretch of four (or maybe five) races in eight days starting with the Home Team Charity Run 10K this Sunday.  There will be plenty of deliriously happy Blackhawks fans there, for sure.  At the post-race party I am hoping to get pictures with Benny the Bull and with Tommy Hawk (shhhh, Adam won't be thrilled based on his history with Tommy Hawk).  That way I can start a collection of photos with team mascots.
Me with White Sox mascot South Paw at the 2011 Home Team Charity Run

  • Checking out Sinha for a Brazilian brunch this Sunday with Xaarlin, who has some stories that I am dying to hear about!
  • The Chicago Blackhawks Fan Convention coming up in a few weeks, followed by...
  • The NAAAP National Convention in Toronto in early August.  The trip will include a side visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame!
  • Taking advantage of some great deals on an introductory sailing class and a Chicago chocolate-tasting tour!  I'll definitely be trying both before the summer ends.  Not at the same time, though.  (Or not?)
Chocolate sailboats!!!
How's that for living the good life?!?!?


  1. Sounds like you've been busy and are still busy!! Lots to look forward too! Have fun with all your races!! I can't wait to hear what you think about your garmin. MY garmin (305) apparently got lost in the move and I am ready to give up on finding it (although chances are if I buy a new one the old one will show up).

    1. Kayla!!! You, too! How is all of your studying going!?!?!? You must be swamped!!!

      So sorry to hear that your Garmin got lost somewhere during your move. =( I definitely agree with you that the moment you get a new one, the old one will show up. Happens to me ALL the time. I do have to say, though, that so far I am really liking the Garmin 110! It is definitely a lot more day-to-day functional than the 305. I could wear the 110 as an everyday watch, whereas I would never do that with the 305!!!

  2. I can't wait to see you 2 TIMES this week!!! :)

    Did you try a hard reset with the garmin? Although now you have a new one so it doesn't matter as much... I like my 110 and it's simplicity. And I'm sure you will too!

    Hmm... Obviously you could run multiple days but racing? Who knows?!?! As long as you don't go all out I'm sure you could push the pace in most of them. Heck- even try for negative splits in each one by starting out slower than you normally would start.

    And yesssss while I have some Interesting stories, you also have some interesting stories I want to hear too! Can't wait it SUP and brunch this weekend!!!

    1. I can't wait to see you 2 TIMES this week, too!!! To what do I owe the privilege!!! =)

      I actually did not try hard-resetting the 305 since it just seems flat-lined dead. I'll try when I get home tonight but I'm not optimistic. But I'm really liking what I'm seeing from the 110 so even if I somehow miraculously get the 305 to work again, I would probably only use it as a backup.

      Oooh, good idea to focus on negative splits for some of these upcoming races! I have a heck of a time negative-splitting half marathons - I don't think I've been able to do so, ever.

      I think your interesting stories are going to be much more interesting than my interesting stories. ;) Can't wait to SUP and brunch this weekend, too!!! By the way - I realized I never responded to your note about the BYOB at Sinha. Since I really hardly ever drink wine, please bring whatever you like!

  3. What a bummer about your Garmin! I have a less fancy, non-GPS Garmin watch that I swim with pretty regularly, and have never had any issues. That's too bad rain knocked it out. Have you tried contacting Garmin to see if there's anything they can do? The 110 does seem like a good choice though - I was looking into that one as a gift for my hubs, since his first half is coming up (and he runs without ANY way to check his distance! Who does that anymore?!)

    I think if it were me, I'd play it safe before R&R, especially given past injuries. But on the other hand, the 5k in Indiana does sound fun.... so I'm no help.

    I'm so looking forward to Saturday!!!

    1. Which Garmin do you use to swim with? I have had major issue with Garmin's customer service in the past (I wrote a post about it about a year go) so I didn't even bother. But regardless, I am very happy with the 110 so far. It's a much-needed upgrade from the clunky 305!

      You'd mentioned you might be up for the race in Indiana, yourself!!! What are your current thoughts on it? I started experiencing some twinges of hip and groin pain during my run this past Monday night, so at this point I am leaning towards a no go on Indiana. But who knows, ask me again in an hour and I'll probably have changed my mind, hehe.

      I can't wait to see you and catch up on Saturday!!! It is going to be a BLAST!!!!!

    2. I have the FR 70. I just use it for timing when I swim, since the HRM doesn't work under water. I've read a lot of good things about the 110!

      Turns out I have to be in the office on Wednesday, so getting from up here all the way to Indiana after work probably won't happen. I'm thinking about the Milwaukee one though!

      I know, we have like 6 months of catching up to do Saturday ;)

    3. What a bummer that you have to be in the office the one day that there's a race we want to do in Indiana! Grrrr. But, the Milwaukee race sounds like a blast, too, and Milwaukee certainly offers great beer for post-race refreshment. =)

      Woo-hoo, let the 6 months of catching commence on Saturday!!!! =D I'm going to look at the Moody's menu in advance, too, and figure out what I am going to order. I am sure we'll all be starving by the time we get there!!!

  4. Oh gosh! Information overload!
    I'd just run the races real easy, get lots of good photos and spaz poses!! I did a chocolate tasting tour! it is fun, I still have 2 free passes to use as well!

    Send me a message for Saturday - contact method! I want to swing by and say hi! (don't think I'll make paddle thing boards) I'm just a half mile north of there!

    1. We haven't firmed up plans for Saturday just yet, but there was talk (by me!) of lunching at Moody's afterward...

    2. ok! Hopefully I can meet some more awesome people Saturday!

    3. Declan, I just sent you an email with my cell phone number! The paddleboarding starts at noon and lasts for an hour, and we'll probably head straight to Moody's afterwards, per Anne's suggestion. Hope to see you there - it'll be great to finally meet you in person!!!

      Oooh, glad to hear that you enjoyed the chocolate tasting tour. Will have to get more details from you on it this Saturday. =)

      And yay for lots of spaz photos! I'm actually considering creating a new tab on my blog just to house my collection of them, LOL.

    4. Yeah, can you lunch with us on Saturday? And will the real star of your blog (your daughter, obvi) be joining us?

    5. i plan on it! My kiddo's nap time is 12:15/30 to ?? (usually between 2-3) then she has some food. So not sure about when/if she appears! That'll be a game time variable! Stay tuned lol

  5. So far I haven't run at all this week and I haven't been running 3 days a week consistently, either. So next week will be interesting for me as well!!

    And it sounds like you're happy with your new Garmin! Bummer that your old one gave up the ghost just cause of a little rain, though. Those things should be indestructible in the elements.

    1. You are in such great shape that the triple-five will be a piece of cake for you, I am sure. I am super excited to read all of your race recaps! By the way - let's figure out our travel plan for the Strike Out ALS and potentially the Esprit de She. Do we have blogger meetups set for those!?!?!?!

      Yeah, considering how expensive these Garmins are and the fact that all of us are hard-core athletes by virtue of simply purchasing Garmins, they should be much more durable than they are! Here's hoping the technology keeps improving quickly!!!

  6. Upon reading your post I realized that I've had my Garmin since I started regularly running back in 2010. I hope it's not near death. I love that thing, bulk and all! I'm not sure what the model of mine is, but I'd happily get the exact same thing. I'm not that great with gadgets and it took me forever to figure out how to work it. Haha!

    Good luck at your great many races! I hope that they are all fun!

    1. Amy, you have a Forerunner 305 too, yes? I think I have seen pictures of it on your blog. I am glad that yours has held up for over three years!!! That was an investment well spent for you if it has lasted without issue that long.

      Thanks for the well wishes on the race! Here is hoping that my entire lower body holds up amongst the sudden change in training/racing frequencies. =D

  7. Four races in 8 days would be too much for me. I am also realizing that racing tow races in back-to-back weekends is a bad idea, unless one of those races is a 5k. I don't recover too fast from longer races and I set myself up for injury. Good luck!

    1. This coming from the man who just underwent a 4-week zero-mileage taper, yet still nabbed a first-place age-group finish and a course PR last week. ;-P

  8. I will also be doing the ALS 5K and RnR Chicago Half Marathon.

    I LOVE my purple Garmin 10. I am not too crazy about the battery life/GPS but it does the job. I also have the 305 and it was driving me crazy with all of the features so that is why I bought the 10.

    Good luck on your races!

    1. Yay for the ALS 5K and RnR Chicago! I emailed the Chicago Running Bloggers Facebook page to try to get blogger meetups set for all four of the races I am signed up for next week, including those two! Hopefully I'll get a chance to see you at either or both races!!!

      I did love all the colors that the Garmin 10 came in so that was a very tempting consideration! But I agree with you very much on the 305 and the feature overload - not to mention that it is so HUGE.

      Good luck on your races too and hope to see you next week!!!

  9. I hope the new watch is working out for you! :) I have had the inside of my watch get all foggy before - but it's always kept on working (since Dec 09). Even to this day. Finally... the wristbrand broke off.

    If you want to run shorter distances, you should! I mean... if you don't have any longer distance races coming up ;)

    Have fun with all the races! :)

    1. What model watch do you have? It sounds like it's taken a clicking but still keeps on ticking (or however that saying goes). Are you just going to replace the wristband or are you planning to get a new watch?

      Argh, darned half marathons... I still have three of them niggling me yet this year. If it wasn't for those, I'd definitely only be running 6 miles or less ALL THE TIME. Note to self for next year. =D

    2. I have the 405 and the 410. The 405 is the older one. I actually got the 410 right before the band broke. I would like to fix the band so I can keep using it.

      LOL! You have learned your lesson? ;)

    3. LOL, yes, I really have learned my lesson both on getting too ambitious with races and experimenting with running shoes. The races are the worst - so many times I sign up for races way in advance to take advantage of early-bird discounts, only to regret it later. Sigh. And I've already decided that when it is time to buy new running shoes, I'm going back to the Gel Cumulus model. =D

    4. Let me know if you want the Prime hookup. The 14s are in the low 70s now.

      It's so fun to look ahead and have all those races, but usually by the time they come around, I am not feeling them as much as I thought I would be! I am starting to fill up my Sept. LOL.

    5. Thanks so much for offering your Prime account usage again, Kim! Sadly I shouldn't be buying any more shoes right now. =( My Asics only have about 155 miles on them, I have two pairs of brand-new running shoes still in their boxes, and another two pairs that both have less than 100 miles on them. It's great incentive to put more mileage on shoes with the motivation that the more you run, the more quickly you can get new shoes, though, right? =D

      What races do you have scheduled in September?!?!? Are you running the Chicago Half Marathon again this year, too?