Saturday, December 12, 2009

I Found a Garmin in my Dresser

True story. Hmm, where should I start. I'm hopeless. That's a good start. When it comes to gadgets I can be utterly hopeless. I did in fact find a Garmin Forerunner 101 in my dresser drawer a few days ago. I'm not sure what I was trying to find, but out came a Garmin. And I remembered immediately that my little brother (who's nearing the end of his training to be a helicopter pilot in the Marines) gave me that Garmin four years ago! And at the time I thought, "Oh that's cool." But then I never wound up using it. Like I said hopeless. Now since I've been doing an abundance of running blog reading, the whole idea of a Garmin has started to intrigue me. So when I found it in my drawer I was all "Oh look at this! I have a Garmin! Woo hoo!"

I immediately looked it up, and found even though it's the oldest of the models it works just as well. It just doesn't have the bells and whistles. Things such as a PC connection option. Needless to say I was excited. From what I've read, the biggest complaint of the Garmin Forerunner 101 is the batteries. They take AAA's, and only last approximately 13 hours. When I opened her up, there were no batteries inside. A great stroke of luck for me given that four years of old AAA's could have been a complete disaster!

And we had AAA's in the house (score)! I just threw in some batteries and went running! I didn't even need to read any instructions. Well, I don't read instructions anyway. Whenever I get something new I just pull it out of the box, turn it on, and go from there. This is not the way Nick works. He does read instructions. I'm not allowed to setup gadgets for the home. He says my methods are...less than ideal. Usually I just stand over him giving him friendly encouragement like "just turn it on already!" and "is it ready yet!" Anyway the Garmin worked as soon as I turned it on.

I was so excited because for the first time last week I had to run on a route that I hadn't mapped out. It snowed again on Wednesday and this time we had eight inches, so my street isn't safe to use with the running stroller. People drive fast on my narrow road and with the snow I can't just jump into a neighbor's yard when someone comes at me fast. Thursday I drove to a set of quiet back roads and ran there. I had no idea what the distance would be, and here is where the marvelous Garmin came into play! It told me I ran 6.9 miles at 9:07 pace, which I thought was very considerate of that Garmin especially considering how I've ignored the poor thing for the last four years.

I took it to work on Friday and ran my usual 7.5 miles, curious to know how accurate Mr. Garmin would be. The Garmin reported 7.6 miles at 8:10 pace. Hm, pretty darn close. And it's not like my work loop is a certified course. We drove the car around the complex to figure out how long a loop was (not the most accurate method perhaps but good enough for training purposes). Nick and I have also figured out where the 1/4 mile mark is (we did this through trial and error no measuring at all). The Garmin says it's actually 0.24 not 0.25, which is too close to even argue. We've also identified the 5K spot. Again, we didn't measure it. You just a get a feel for things running the same loop over and over. The Garmin said we were being a little conservative there and identified our 5K spot as being 3.2 miles rather 3.11 miles.

In short, Garmin passed the test. I'm so excited to run all my home loops with it now. When I run at home I'm so much slower, but home is also a lot hillier. I'm wondering if I was too conservative when I figured out the distances (which I did using Google maps, but I'm not sure that tool was made with runners in mind). We'll see!

Hey little brother, it took a while for me to figure it out, but I love your Christmas present! Thank you so much!

Do we have any Garmin lovers out there? What do you like best? Have you found it to be accurate?


Anonymous said...

Katie you should know where you get that found it after four years thing from. Your brother gave me an i-pod for running last Christmas. He was even smart enough to load the thing with all of the music he thought that I would like. However for the past year I've been listening to the same songs over and over again never getting to anywhere near the middle or end of the list. I had to dig out the directions this week to look something up and guess what I found? A selection that allows me to mix up the music and not go in alpha order each time I turn it on. Needless to say it's like getting another Christmas gift all over again. It only took me a year. Also, I've found all sorts of things that I can use to go with it. I've been fooling around with earbuds, but I've heard that I can get a better running set of ear things and a running case that can be placed on my arm versus having to have a pocket handy. I know this is not a GPS story, but I couldn't resist. Imagine what your brother will think if he reads all of this... P.S. Your brother did ask me if you were using the thing and I answered yes. I thought it was the watch I see you use all of the time. Oh boy!


Running and living said...

I love the Garmin. It keeps me honest. I can't imagine training without one. It helps me go slow when I want to, fast when I want to, it's great. Whenever I want to slow down I see my average pace dropping and I HAVE to pick up the pace, no matter how tired. Great prep for races. Enjoy it! Great story!

lindsay said...

what a find! i still haven't read the manual for my garmin (bought back in august). i'm sure it does way more than i actually use it for. :)

aron said...

awesome find!! i have a garmin 205 and LOVE it!! i never run without it :)