Technolust: Garmin Forerunner 405

I’ve been a very bad runner of late. Brooke and I started running to keep fit back in 2003, and for the first few years, I was motivated. One of the tools that helped me was a great heart-rate monitor watch I bought from Sports Instruments. That watch is now on its last legs, and it’s time for some new gadgetry to help get me back on track, so to speak.

I’d always loved the Garmin Forerunner series of GPS-enabled watches, but they were enormous and ugly, and often didn’t work in the city, where tall buildings interfered with their ability to pick up a signal. I kept telling myself that when they got smaller and more capable, I’d pick one up. I believe that day is now at hand. Behold the Forerunner 405:

Garmin Forerunner 405

This thing will do everything: track distance, time, map routes, even heart-rate (on one model). Best of all, it can upload its data to the web, where you can analyze it or compare yourself with others on Garmin’s new Connect community.

This is exactly the sort of tech geekery that gets me excited and motivated to exercise more. There are only two notes of caution here. One is that there won’t be any Mac support for the 405 until November 2008. The other is that Apple has long been rumoured to be working on a much fuller implementation of the Nike + iPod kit. While it’s doubtful that Apple could build something as sophisticated as the Forerunner (though it would play music!), I might still try to wait a while. Although I’m sure I could use Windows under Parallels for a few months to sync my data with my iMac, there could be some potential hiccups.

Don’t be surprised if I go out and buy one this weekend, though!

Harry’s Spring Run-Off 8K 2008

Brooke and I have run the Harry’s Spring Run-Off 8K each year since 2004, but this year, I’d done next to no training. To make things worse, my watch battery died a few weeks ago and I hadn’t replaced it. And then Brooke and I were placed in different “corrals” at the beginning since she’d registered us and estimated my time being much faster than hers. So even though I’d planned to run with her to keep track of my pace and use her watch, we were separated throughout the entire race. Without a watch, it was hard for me to know what pace I was running, and to make matters even worse, there weren’t enough kilometre markers on the course. I only saw them for 1K, 4K and 6K. The end result was my worst time ever. I felt lost out on the course and my own body felt like a bit of a stranger to me. Brooke has registered us for the Sporting Life 10K in four weeks and I know I need to train now. Funny enough, even though she finished after me, Brooke’s chip time (47:29.9) was better than mine, and so she can deservedly say that she beat me. This is even more significant since she ran the 30K Around the Bay race just last weekend. She’s amazing. Next month, I’m hoping to go faster!

Gun Time: 48:30.3
Chip Time: 47:43.6
Overall Place: 1064/1950
Gender Place: 737/1045
Age Group (M40-44) Place: 117/166

2007 Chip Time: 45:23.7
2006 Chip Time: 44:16.8
2005 Chip Time: 42:38.3
2004 Chip Time: 43:26.5

Full results from 2008

Find the Lost Ring

Ok, I’ve been back from SXSW since yesterday afternoon, but I’m not quite ready to do the full writeup just yet. In fact, I’m extremely distracted right now. At Jane McGonigal’s amazing keynote last Tuesday, she pointed to a new ARG (alternate reality game) that she’d been working on for the upcoming Beijing Olympics. I’m a HUGE Olympics junkie and the trailer she showed just knocked my socks off. So now, I’m immersed in the mystery of The Lost Ring. This isn’t the sort of thing one person can figure out on their own, so if you decide to try to figure it out, jump into the comments here and let’s join forces.

P.S. One of my favourite things about the game so far is the extensive use of Esperanto, the “world language” that hardly anyone speaks. It’s tied into the hopeless optimism of the Olympic movement, and that gets me all choked up, but it’s also supremely geeky.

Super Bah!

I’m a little disappointed that I missed what sounds like the most exciting Super Bowl game in ages. I was delighted to hear about the Giants upset of the Patriots, but I’m sorry to say I missed every single minute of the game. We’d arranged to pick up Brooke’s mum at the airport around 4:30 yesterday. She was coming back from a two-week cruise in Hawaii, and we’d heard she’d been a bit sick with a cold for the past week. But when she got off the plane, it was clear this was more serious than a cold. She told us she hadn’t slept or eaten much in two days and that she’d been coughing up stuff earlier in the week. So we took her directly to Emergency and by the time we got home at 10:30, the game was over.

The doctor told us she’s got pneumonia, but she’s doing better already. A good night’s sleep was the first thing she needed. But instead of her staying with us for just one night and then driving home to Collingwood, it looks like we’re hosting a sick houseguest for the next few days.

There’ll be another Super Bowl next year, I hear, but it still would have been great to see such a competitive game. How was the halftime show? Did I miss any wardrobe malfunctions?

Nissan Toronto 5K 2007

Brooke was running the Nissan Toronto Ten-Miler this morning in the Distillery District, so I entered the 5K because I don’t enjoy anything longer than 10K. It was a perfect day, cool and sunny, and the race started very early at 8:00am. Getting up at 5:45am was not fun, but it was a decent race for me. Not my best time this year, but I didn’t go in with any expectations.

Kilometre 1: 5:06.9
Kilometre 2: 5:11.6
Kilometre 3: 5:11.7
Kilometre 4: 5:08.0
Kilometre 5: 5:03.4

Chip Time: 25:35.8
Gun Time: 26:06.8
Overall Place: 111/425
Gender Place: 75/174
Age Group (M40-44) Place: 7/16

P.S. Brooke took three minutes off her previous time at this distance, so I’m very proud of her!

Official Results from the 2007 Nissan Toronto 5k