Garmin Forerunner 305
My New Little Toy
It wasn't the first time about buying such a device. No, it
had crossed my mind before. But back then, there were only simple pedometers,
which really could not help that much. What I needed (wanted) just wasn't
around. So I gave up the idea and continued to jog the old-fashioned way, sans
fancy gadgets, one foot after the other. (I tried one foot before the other--the
results were not to my liking.)
All that changed when a friend recommended buying a new toy.
Sure, I suppose you could call it an instrument or a training tool, and
yeah, it sort of is. But come on let's face it. It's more of a toy than
anything else. Anyway, what my friend recommended was the Garmin Forerunner
305. This takes GPS technology and puts it in a watch. Perfect. Simply
perfect. Of course I couldn't go out buying anything like that until I performed
gobs of research. I mean, if I were to spend money, I should get the best
product. But after checking around, I found the reviews of the Garmin Forerunner
to be the best. Very well. I did delay a little, but to no avail. Once I have
my mind up on a new toy, it's only a matter of time. Why pretend any longer? I
went to Amazon and ordered it. A week later it was in my eager little hands.
It's a lot smaller than I had imagined. Stunning, if you
really think about it, how far technology has come. A tiny little device
communicating with satellites in orbit, determining your exact position on
earth. We're used to it by now, but imagine this concept hundred years ago.
The chest strap is perhaps a little more awkward. I would
have guessed it could measure the heart rate by the pulse on the wrist, but no,
this has a strap which wraps around the chest, right below the pectorals. At
first, I wasn't getting a heartbeat on the device. But I remembered the
instructions saying to wet it down a little for a better connection. And what's
that saying about when all else fails, follow directions? I added some water,
put it back on, and voilá !I had a heartbeat. I was alive again. Hooray! Being
alive is fun!
My first run was a jog down the block and back. It was very
short, but I just had to see it work. And work it did. My tiny little jaunt
even burned 20 calories. That gave me some ideas. Oh yes, it did.
The Hills Are Alive--With My Heart Nearly Failing
Run number two was down at the karate studio, where there
are many acres of hilly grassland to run across, alongside grazing cattle and
cautious bulls who seem to never take their eyes off you. About half a mile out,
I reached the main hill. It turned out to be a 30 degree climb (The Forerunner
shows those stats too) and it was not easy. (Hills are hard. Must remember.
Hills are hard.) I'm in no shape for mountain jogging. I watched my pulse beat
into that mid-to high 170s. This was somewhat disconcerting. I simply could not
have my heart exploding on me. That would be bad for running (and loving too, I
suppose). At the top of the hill, I was able to catch my breath and allow my
heart to cool down. I could also take in the whole valley--the view was
spectacular. All the cars on the freeway looked like...well, cars. Hey, I wasn't that high up. I circled the hill and headed back. According to my little Garmin on
my wrist, it turned out to be almost a two-mile run. My lower back was sore
(from the steep hill) and I had one mild cut (socks too low), but all in all, I
lived to run again.
"...knowing each stroke towards the horizon was one we
had to make back to the shore."
Run number three was the big one. I went out to the Iron Horse
trail and began running. I had no real agenda. I would just run out until I
started running back. Of course, I would be tempted to achieve new highs, to go
farther than before. The trick of course was not to blow my knees out seven
miles down the path. That's bad. Yeah, that always ends badly. Don't try that
at home, or even away from home. Avoid the Noid. Stick with curtain number
three and the lovely set of steak knives.
Burn, Baby, Burn
One cool feature about this device...well, there are many, but
one I really like is the calorie counting. Someone pointed out that it would
not be an exact number, or it would not be precisely correct. No. Of course
not--doesn't have to be. Sure, it can be a little off, even by 100 calories or
so. I don't care. I mean its not going to be 1000 calories off. Point is: I'm
going to get a pretty good idea of how much I burned. For my 10-mile run, the
Forerunner told me that I burned over 1100 calories. Not bad. I could eat 1100
more calories for the day and still come out about even. Now I'm sure it
doesn't work exactly like that. And my goal isn't to eat more, but only to burn
more. Still, I thought it would be fun sometime to try and burn more calories than
I ate for a day. This would not be something I would do repeatedly. I'm not
that crazy, but I do like to experiment.
Jerome, the Metronome
(Kudos if you're recognizing the allusions)
One thing I noticed on the long run was that my heart pretty
much stayed around 162 beats per minute.There were times it got beyond 170,
but it usually didn't fall below the mid 150s. To be honest, I'm not sure what
a good heart rate is. I've never really paid attention to it in before now.It
was sort of a pain to do before, but when all you need to do is look down at your
wrist and see how fast your heart is beating...well...that's kind of cool and
perhaps something I can take advantage of.
So for nearly two hours, I had my heart beating an average
of 162 beats per minute. Interesting.
Knees, Don't Fail Me Now!
If there's one thing stopping me from having marathon runs. It's
two things--my left and right knees.They are not fond of long distances.
But before my 10-mile run, I added some extra cushions to my jogging shoes,
which are fairly new. Considering I had done about 30 miles for the month, I
figured I was pretty well broken in and ready to try something big.
Push It Real Good
I had not intended on running 10 miles.I figured it would
be maybe six, perhaps seven. But as usual, it becomes hard to stop and head back
when one is so close to reaching new heights. In my life, I've never been able
to run 10 full miles without stopping and walking. This was something new. This
was an accomplishment. Surprisingly, I made it. I went the full 10 miles with
no walking. Granted, there were a few fast breaks at stoplights, but those
can't be avoided. And while my knees did get pretty sore towards the end, they
were never at that point where they said, "I can't do this anymore.I need to
stop!"If it becomes that bad, I stop. Game over, man. Game over. Destroy your
knees and you can then sell your Garmin Forerunner on eBay.
Gentlemen, Take Your Corners
Running is a battle between the mind and body. I suppose
that's true of many athletic activities, but running doesn't have all the
distractions. Sure, music can help, but sooner or later, you start thinking
about the running and perhaps that it's not so enjoyable after all. At times,
it does feel good, or even great, but after a few miles, it just feels hard,
tough, and difficult. At least that's the statement from the body. The mind, on
the other hand, well...
For me, it's always pushing. It's always saying, "Come on!
Just a little farther. We need this. We can do this. We want this!" The
body may protest, but the mind is in control. Conversely, one must not push it
too far either. The body may be saying, "I'm uncomfortable," but it also might
be saying, "I'm breaking." Push it too far and you're done running for a little
while, or for longer than that. Yet, push it too little and you never really
improve. Start listening to the body too much and the battle will be over
before it's even begun. You start thinking how healthy a good jog might be. But
the body will counter with: "I'm tired, and it will be too hard." Thus the
battle ends right then and there, without one shot even being fired. (Okay,
scratch that. These metaphors are going too far.)
This Is a High?
When I finished the 10-mile run, it felt pretty good. I mean
I was happy to have completed it and to have reached a new high.That said, the
feeling didn't last too long, and quickly changed into: "I feel exhausted,
tired, worn out, and pretty darn sore. Where was the euphoria? Where were the
endorphins? Where were all the good feelings that were supposed to come from
having finished a long line? Did I miss something? Did I forget to send in a
payment? I wasn't receiving a runner's high, or anyone's high. I just wanted a
Maybe it's different for everyone. I don't run expect an intoxicating
feeling after running. I have alcohol for that. I run for the challenge, for
the health aspect. I run because I know that heart disease kills more Americans
than anything else every year.
But mostly, I run because I just can't sit in front of a
computer all day, knowing I'm getting almost no exercise.
I run, because I have to.
More about the Gadget
I think I've covered the basics of it. It's like a watch
with lots of menus and buttons. It's useful for biking I suppose, but for me,
it's about running. Obviously, I can't compare it to other devices, but the
Garmin Forerunner 305 does the job for me. A few aspects I like are:
- Uploading stats online and watching them in Google maps.
- Seeing charts of heart rate, distance, speed, elevation,
- The auto-pause feature (I haven't tried it yet, but a
friend did during our last run and it seemed a whole lot easier than
hitting the pause button at every stop light)
- Calorie burning measured!
- For the price, I found it a good investment.
- It has a nice little docking station to interface with a
- The docking station also charges the phone.
- Many different training programs
- A GPS mapping function to display your courses (though I
usually know where I'm jogging to. I guess it can help if you're the type
that gets lost easily)
- A night light--stuff like that really comes in handy.