Saturday, August 10, 2013

Still Torn About The TomTom Runner

I got a chance to take the TomTom out on another run yesterday... the best part? PETE actually came on the run with me! I'm not making this up! He wanted to get more sleep so we started about 1 1/2 hours after I wanted to - but he learned pretty quick that he shouldn't have done that because it was hot and we ran in full sun which sucks. I much prefer the cooler early morning runs. Unfortunately I have no photographic evidence that Pete ran with me because I think he would have been angry if I had taken a picture of him breathing heavy and sweating profusely... so yeah, just avoided it.

Now I'm not the most coordinated person so I didn't spend my entire (short) run looking at the watch, but I'm happy to report that it didn't drop signal this time - at least, not for any significant length of time. Here is the watch results vs. Endomondo:

 So there you have it - still a distance difference but not as huge as the first time I used the watch. I know that watches are supposed to be more accurate because they use GPS satellites vs. cell towers - but I've used Endomondo in multiple 5Ks and it has always been accurate? For the Wolverine 5K it was a perfect 3.1... at the Electric Run last week Endomondo said it was 3.09. It measured the Ella run as longer but everyone stated it was longer than a 5K and someone had a map on MapMyRun that stated it was longer as well. I know I'm not fast so the watch is probably more accurate but I don't want to give up Endomondo. I like the lady telling me "one mile in 9 minutes blah blah seconds" and I like how the app shows my pace for each mile. The TomTom doesn't let you set up intervals (although it's rumored that we will be able to in a future update).

I've been leaning towards returning it but I'm still on the fence. Honestly, I'm going to carry my phone on my runs no matter what. I'm klutzy and I don't want to end up in a ditch with a broken ankle and no phone. So why do I need the expensive watch?  I decided I needed to try it out with my treadmill to see the accelerometer feature.

I haven't been on my treadmill in ages - what for, when it's so nice outside? But I live in Wisconsin so I NEED that treadmill, because this girl won't run in the snow. I always feel like I'm running faster than what the treadmill says I am so that bugs me, lol. I set the treadmill on an incline of 2 and set the speed at 5mph. Which is a 12 minute mile... yet feels at least as fast as I run outside and I run around a 10 minute mile on average outside so UGH I just don't understaaaand lol.

Why such a short run? Well, I have a clear holder on my treadmill to hold my iPad and I kinda banged into it while adjusting the volume, which made it hit a button and stop my workout. That totally pissed me off and I decided I was over it for today. Since it shut off my workout I don't have a screen shot of the treadmill screen - but if I had the treadmill set at 5mph that's a 12 minute/mile pace, correct? So why is my TomTom Runner saying I was running an almost 9 minute/mile pace? Is it just THAT inaccurate? Does my treadmill need to be calibrated? Is it a combination of both? I wouldn't know the first thing about calibrating a treadmill so if you do, please share. The watch has a feature at the end of the treadmill workout to calibrate it to the "known" distance, but I'm not sure where the treadmill was at so I left it as is. I know the last time I checked the distance on the treadmill, it was less than the watch. Looks like this first attempt was a bust and I should probably attempt it again.

So where am I at right now? Well, I'm going to Green Bay today and I had wanted to make my decision on the watch by now so I could return it if necessary (I live about an hour away so I don't go there that often). However, I might have to hang onto it for a while... I still don't know. Should I try running with a different app and the watch? I've always been meaning to try Runkeeper. Does someone want to come over and calibrate our treadmill? LOL I just want to know what the most accurate numbers are! I have a feeling I will never know and I'll just give up in frustration because I'm too dumb to figure all of this out.

Any suggestions, thoughts, opinions?? PLEASE share! Help, lol!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

First Run w/the TomTom Runner - Uh Oh...

I attempted my first run with my new GPS watch this morning and came home disappointed. Everything was great for the first half mile, but when I turned onto a different street it continued to record time but not distance. I thought GPS satellites were awesome, and the only time it couldn't get a signal was when it's in a tunnel or something? When I reached the end of the street it started recording distance again but by then it said my pace was ridiculously slow - don't get me wrong, I'm slow, but not THAT slow. So why did this happen? I'm hoping it's a fluke, I'm going to go for another run on Thursday I think and I'll take the same route so we'll see what happens then.

This is the road where it didn't record distance on the way down, but it did on the way back... hmm.

As you can see, there are a lot of trees on both sides of the road once you get farther down there but that really shouldn't affect GPS satellites, right? I did run my trusty Endomondo app as well - proven to be accurate because I've used it in multiple 5K runs. Here are the final results:

My adorable watch says I only went 2.31 miles. I beg to differ.

I stopped the app at 3.1 on purpose and walked the last little bit to the house. I was SO close to getting it in under 30 minutes (yes, still taking a few short walk breaks too). The watch and app are off by 5 seconds but that's because I started Endomondo first, shoved my phone into my Flipbelt and then started the watch. I will try to start them at the exact same time on my next attempt.

I'm really hoping this was a one-time thing because I'll be bummed out if I have to return the watch. I will let you know how things go after my next attempt! If anyone has a logical explanation for this feel free to share as I'm still new to using running tech.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Electric Run - Madison

Yesterday was a long but fantastic day. We got on the road early to do some shopping and visiting before arriving in Madison for the Electric Run, which was 3 hours away from us. Pete bought me my birthday present early (my b-day is Wednesday) and I'm pretty excited about it...

On the offchance that you didn't see my post from the other day - this is the TomTom Runner! I decided to try it over the Forerunner 10 because it still tracks pace/distance when you're on a treadmill, plus it's prettier and my Polar H7 heartrate monitor will connect with it too. I haven't had a chance to take it out of the packaging yet, but when I try it out I will let you know what I think!

At the halfway point of our trip we stopped to visit Pete's brother and finally see his apartment. We grabbed lunch at a fancy Italian bistro that made me feel like we were not classy enough to be there, lol. I ate half a ham panini  - no pasta for me so close to the run!

I should probably mention the BEST part of the whole thing - the night before the run Pete decided to register and do it with us! I was so excited because we've never done a run as a family before. It was pretty great to share something I enjoy so much. Here are some pictures of us before the run:

We arrived in Madison at 6:00, just in time for the beginning of the packet pick-up. That was the most disappointing part of the day - they did not have all of the shirt sizes available due to a shipping error. I was thrilled that they had women's cut shirts but they said ALL shirts ran a size small so I had ordered an XL. They didn't have them available so they said they could give me a unisex Large or I could put my name on a list to have the women's XL mailed to me. I decided to just take the unisex large... I figured I can have someone cut the sleeves and stuff and make it into a cute workout shirt. Pete ordered an XXL - both because they said the shirts ran a size small and because he has really broad shoulders so sometimes XL shirts are short on him - and they didn't have those on hand either. Pete put his name on the list to have a shirt mailed to him. For what we paid for this run I thought it was pretty bogus. We also got glow sunglasses and an LED bracelet to wear during the run.

Right away we ran into my dear friend Amandalynn, her husband Alan, and their son Dmitri. I had planned on getting a hold of them after we got our packets but small world, we crossed each others' paths first! Amandalynn is an amazing photographer and friend that I met online when I was pregnant with Brady. We were in an online community for mothers due in March 2005. We met up numerous times the first few years after we had the kids but the last time I saw her was over three years ago so it was great to see her now. The boys quickly became reaccquainted and ran off to play while the adults chatted.

Pretty soon the announcer was saying that we should line up - about an hour before our actual start time. We were just standing around chatting anyway so we didn't mind... the time went by quickly and it was fun to people watch. Some people got so wacky and creative with their ensembles! We were towards the front so I turned around and took a picture of the crowd behind me:

As you can see, it was still fairly light out so I was starting to worry that we'd be doing the run when it wasn't truly dark enough to enjoy all of the glow stuff - luckily, right when the run started it began to get dark quickly. I took a few Vine clips, but the one I did DURING the run somehow erased before I had a chance to post it. Bummer. Here is a picture that was posted on the Electric Run facebook page of my favorite part of the course (source: @leashy004):

The course was definitely the strangest I had ever been on... we ran on both pavement and dirt, and there were some decent hills as well. Some areas were really narrow and there were a few moments where we were forced to walk because we couldn't get around the people in front of us. Pete had not practiced or trained to run and hasn't run in years - but unlike me he was very athletic growing up. I still figured he would fare better than me because he always brags that he can "run like a deer", LOL. We kept a slow but steady pace with Brady and ran the first mile and a half until Pete said to go on ahead without him. At this point I was ready for a little walk break too, I just didn't want to be the one to break down first. I was ready to go before Pete and Brady and I started back up again, but Pete caught up to us at the only water station which was around the end of mile two. Brady decided he was going to chug his entire full glass of cold water and then keep running - he quickly discovered that was a bad move. He got a nasty stomach cramp and we walked a lot of the last mile because of it. Our first two miles were around 11 minutes and our last was 13 1/2. The last little bit of the run Brady gave it his all and we had around an 8:33 pace - I think all of the volunteers cheering him on helped! The volunteers on the course were almost all nice and really encouraging, giving high fives and kind words.

By the end of the run Pete was basically drenched in sweat - it was an eye opener for him about just how out of shape he was. ;) He really enjoyed himself though and said he would definitely do it again, which made me veryvery happy! I can't see him doing early morning runs though... but hopefully I can talk him into another night run! I think I may even be able to get him to go on a practice run with me, at least once. Progress is good, people!

At the end of the run they had cups of water and mini cans of Rockstar Recovery, as well as little granola bars. They also had beer/soda and food for sale at ridiculously inflated prices. Brady had a $6.50 cheeseburger, and Pete had a $6.50 chicken sandwich and a $3.50 bottle of water. I stuck with the goodies they handed out.

Here's a bad quality yet still cool picture of Brady and me after the run. I look thin in the picture so I kind of want to frame it, hahaha. They had a DJ and dance party after but we only stuck around for a bit of it because we still had a three hour drive home ahead of us. They threw out tons of glow sticks and batons but we weren't able to get any. Despite Brady's stomach cramping we all had a really fun time. Pete was thrilled with the number of people he passed up (haha) and the fact that he finished in under 40 minutes. This was a fun run so they didn't time us, but I ran Endomondo and we finished in 36:35. Again, it was really hard for me to walk with Brady when I knew I still had it in me to run - but I know I'll get my chance to give it my all at the Aurora run in a few weeks!

For those of you that want to see if this run comes near you, check out Aside from the shirt fiasco it was a fun time!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Quick Share - Proud Mom Moment

They are finally putting pictures up from the Packers 5K - not going to share any of me because I only found one and I'm kind of in the background so... yeah. They did however post a cool action shot of my son which I'm going to share - and the best part is they offer them free to download! No purchasing the picture, or scamming it with all of the copyright stuff over the top. Sweet!

His shirt actually has tailgating Lego dudes wearing Packers jerseys, complete with brats on the grill and red Solo cups. How cute is that? I love that my son enjoys doing 5K's with me and I hope he continues being my running buddy for years to come.

Tomorrow we are road tripping it to Madison for another fun run - The Electric Run! I have been having what I think are shin splints (my right shin has been bothering me for almost two weeks now) but hopefully it won't bother me too much tomorrow. Either way, I'm going to run as much as I can (or as much as Brady is willing) and have a blast, because who doesn't love glow in the dark stuff? If anyone else is going to this run please give me a shout, I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Birthday Gift

After lusting after GPS watches for months, I think I have finally made a decision as to which watch I'm going to get. Since I'm turning 31 in a week, Pete will probably get it for me for my birthday as he has no idea what else to get me (after 13 years how can he NOT know??? lol) so that makes it even better.

If you're one of the lurkers readers of my blog, you know that I've been wanting a Garmin Forerunner 10 - and when they released it in purple I had my heart set on that color. As we all know I'm not a very advanced runner at all so I just need something basic. One of the main reasons why I didn't take the plunge and purchase the watch was because I live in Wisconsin. Some people run with snow on the ground - I'm not one of them. We got a treadmill so we can stay active when it's snowy and icy outside. A GPS watch isn't going to be very useful when you're on a treadmill.

That's where the TomTom Runner comes in. It is more expensive than the Forerunner 10 ($169.99 vs. $129.99) but there are some important factors that make the price difference okay for me. The first thing is that it has Bluetooth - I can pair my Polar H7 heart rate monitor with it. VERY cool, I wouldn't be able to do that with the Forerunner 10... I would have to buy a more expensive Garmin with a different HRM included, or wear my Polar FT7 watch to get my heart rate. Two watches at once? No thanks. Another big plus for me is the fact that the TomTom has an accelerometer, so it will still give me distance and average pace even if I'm on a treadmill. The awesome DC Rainmaker did an in-depth review on the TomTom (if you are a runner into tech stuff and are NOT reading his blog, you need to start - it's the best, period) and he found that the TomTom was pretty accurate on the treadmill as long as you maintained a consistent pace. I'm cool with that as I'm pretty much incapable of sprinting at this point, haha.

I'm not going to lie - another factor is the fact that the TomTom is just prettier than the Forerunner 10. It is. Check this out:

TomTom has also announced that they will be coming out with different bands that you can purchase for the watch. Wide/slim options and different colors. So I can color coordinate it with my outfits? Whaaa? That's music to a girl's ears, people.

There are negatives to the watch. According to reviews, the website sucks. It doesn't give nearly enough data and it's just clunky and basically beta, which is pretty lame because they should have had that figured out *before* the release date. But TomTom has great customer service, they are listening (and responding) to the needs of the customers and have already been making improvements to the firmware and are in the process of making website improvements as well. This isn't a huge issue for me because you can export your files and load them almost anywhere - even the Garmin Connect website, if you want. The big negative for me is that it doesn't give lap pace right now - just an average. I want to see if I ran 8:30 the first mile, 8:15 the second... yes, I'm dreaming LOL. From what I hear/read this will be coming down the pike, so I'm cool with waiting a bit.

More positives for the watch - the GPS locator is crazyfast. You don't have to wait minutes for it to locate you before you can start your run... I should be able to walk to the end of my driveway and just start running. The fact that the watch is Bluetooth compatible has me hoping that eventually it could be paired with phones - how cool would that be? They haven't announced if this will be happening but a lot of people are talking about it so hopefully TomTom is listening. The watch has a 10 hour battery with GPS on, which is TWICE as much as the Forerunner 10. With the GPS off the watch will last 60 days between charges, if you're inclined to wear the watch as an everyday watch.

They have a Multisport version of the watch for those of you that want something for swimming and cycling as well - that one is priced at $199.99. They also have ones for sale with heart rate monitors included, for a higher cost. For a beginner runner like me, the positives outweigh the negatives and I'm willing to take a chance on this new watch. Once I get it and have a chance to test it out a bit I'll let you know what I think!