Friday, May 9, 2008


I recently purchased and awesome watch. Well, it's not actually a watch, although it does tell time. It's called the Garmin Forerunner 305. (but it CAN see daylight AND get wet.) It is the latest in technology-based running (and by that I do not mean a motor vehicle transporting you from point A to B.) Whereas hitting the pavement previously only required a pair of shorts, socks, and some shoes, and perhaps a hammer combined with an an irrational hatred of asphalt, the list of essential running gear keeps growing and growing every day like a soon-to-be 8-year-old on a chicken nugget and "don't run with dad" diet. From running belts, to hydration packs, to GU and runner's gel, to runner's glide, to micro-fiber, moisture-wicking materials that can be worn above, below, on bottom, on top, and on the head. Then there's the all-important .mp3 (typically being referred to as an Ipod, going the way of facial tissue to Kleenex, and congealed gelatin to Jello) players that hold thousands of songs (for those LONG runs) are lightweight, and "skip" running with a portable CD player of old, which itself, was an improvement over the heavy-weight radio/headphones in one that had a 2 foot antenna extending up from it.

Then there's the watch. A good watch tells time. A better watch has has a stopwatch. An even better watch cleans bathrooms for you. But the best watch has GPS built right into it. That's where the Forerunner 305 comes in. It straps to your wrist, hooks up to satellites way up in space, and keeps track of nearly EVERYTHING about your run, including on-the-fly elapsed time, distance traveled, current pace in min/miles, calories burned, elevation, etc, etc, etc. Once the run is completed, a simple hook-up via USB to a computer, and you can dump your runs and the information, where they are automatically cataloged on the product's website . . . for free. Once there, you can get color Google maps of your actual run, with street signs, satellite view, or even street view. It also gives you every statistical breakdown of your run, even things you never would have considered, like "cool factor while running without your shirt," and an interpretation of the profanities of passing teenage motorist lost to the Doppler Effect.

At $299, the device has always been out of my price range, but thanks to a fantastic sale at R.E.I., I couldn't resist spending the money, even if I had to drive to North Austin to get it and it meant my kids would go hungry for a week. Food is overrated anyway, especially food without a built-in GPS system, baby! Apparently I wasn't the only one drawn to the Outdoor Supply Mecca the day of the sale. There was a long line at the watch counter, where conversation after conversation between salesperson and customer went like this: "Can I help y--" "I'll take the Forerunner 305!" "Would you like to look at it or just bu--" "Just buy it."

So far, aside from having something new to play with and a new excuse to spent more time on the computer making custom "fitness" reports, the device has been paying off. I find that I have an increased motivation to run more often, farther, and faster. It's like I have a "virtual" running buddy with me wherever I go (there's actually a setting for that!) Being able to see my pace at a glance of the wrist urges me to PR each time I go out, pushing myself beyond my comfort zone. In essence, it's making running painfully enjoyable again, rather than just enjoyable. There's even a heart rate monitor that I can wear around my breast plate, and the device will even report and keep a history of that too. I've yet to try this out, but just knowing that I have another option at my disposal makes me really feel like it was money well spent and helps me feel better when my kids whine to me, "Dad . . . .we're hungry."

Eat some ice cubes, 'cause daddy's gotta run!


Brenda said...

I'm jealous. My dinky heart rate monitor doesn't stand a chance.

Anonymous said...

Your spin on things reminds me of the scene in "Stand and Deliver" where Edward James Olmos (in an uncanny portrayal of Jaime Escalante) is meeting with his calculus students in the un-air-conditioned locker room during the heat of the SUMMER months. When they complain how relatively "hot" it is, he simply tells them to thing "cool," and they're all better.

As Henry Ford stated (who "demanded" the V-8 twin engine against the impossibility of its design, "whether you think you can or you can't . . . you're right!!!"

You go, math teacher. Run. Run Hard. Run 'em harder. It's called "Intelligence Ingnorance." You simply DO NOT KNOW that it CAN'T be done.

Dmac said...

At least you didn't pull the old " Happy....(insert.... birthday, Mothers'Day Anniversary or Valentine's day)." And give the bride something she would like, but that you would love. I am still reeling from our tenth anniversary cordless Ryobi drill that I just knew she would love. I guess not.