Saturday, 28 March 2015

Saying Bye to the old and Hi to the new gear

-= The old =-
In October 2014, I began to consider replacing my Garmin Forerunner 205. I bought this watch in June 2008 and it was an old model at the time. After almost seven years of medium-hard use and wear, it was time to replace my old companion of approximate 5500K's worth of runs. At first I felt guilty about replacing something that was still good and functional enough. Over the last couple of months, I noticed that the rubber buttons on the sides had become so worn that they were no longer water-proofing the watch. In addition, - and I am not too certain if this is a defect of the Forerunner or a different issue - I found that in the last couple of weeks, several runs did not fully upload to Garmin Connect and Garmin Training Center (only partial tracks were uploaded, though the data was present on the Forerunner). I got used to the idea of replacing my trusted Garmin with a newer model.

-= The New =-
I am not one to spend money lightly or to buy things on a whim. Having many chats with many runners about many sports-watches and reading all the relevant reviews on the excellent DCRainmaker blog, I found several options. One of these was the Polar M400 watch that was to be released later in October 2014.

In January 2015, I got the opportunity to test the Polar M400 for about a month and thoroughly enjoyed using it. However, I could not get used to the completely different logic of the watch, as opposed to the way my Garmin worked. What was more pressing was the fact that at that time I could not train the way I was used to: using pace-zones. The Polar Flow webapp did not allow pace-zones to have less than 1K between them. This resulted in a huge differences between my slow pace zone and my fast pace zone. After I had decided to again go for a Garmin, rather than a Polar, this issue was fixed in the Polar Flow web app.

After another extensive search on various manufacturer's websites and the DCRainmaker Blog, I decided to go for the Garmin Fenix 3 watch. This was yet to be released, but the specs, robustness, features and the fact that it is a Garmin, made me decide to order it as soon as it would be available. The price is much higher than the Polar watch I had earlier identified as serious contender. In fact, I could get approximately 4 M400 watches for one Fenix 3. Still, it ticked many of the boxes on my wish-list.

Today, after a long wait, I went and collected my Fenix 3. It is a very sleek watch that is very easy to configure, pair and adjust. Because I had already had my run today, I could not go straight outside and do a test-run. However, though the weather promises to be blustery, I will do my first run with it tomorrow.

-= Plans =-
On one of my long runs, not too many weeks ago, I got to talking with a fellow runner. It was obvious from his pace, gait, the location where we were both running and the gear he was carrying that - like me - he had been running for a while and was not nearly finished with his training. He told me that he was training for a half Ironman in Australia this May. This got me inspired and thinking about this type of event. Should I ever feel the itch to do something similar - way out of my comfort zone as I am not a very strong swimmer - I will at least have the multi-sports watch to help me train for it :-D.

However, should I ever get around to doing that, it will be years from now. My plans for 2015 and 2016 are slowly becoming clearer still. As I discussed earlier, I will be doing the Amsterdam Half in October. Possibly I will sign up for the Haarlem Half in September. This will have resulted in two to three halves in 2015. The Amsterdam Half will hopefully mark the start of my marathon training - I will try to get into the 2016 London marathon or else the 2016 Shakespeare marathon in Stratford. In addition to these races, several runner-colleagues and I are getting enthusiastic about forming a team to participate in the 600+k relay RoParun 2016, going from Paris to Rotterdam in three days. This will be a major project and we are not sure about the feasibility of it, Still, it will be good to see how far we will get preparing for it.

Should my body still function by that time, and should I then not be reduced to tears every time I think of running, I might want to sign up for the Amsterdam whole in 2016. If I am fortunate enough to finish the 2015 half in October, I will have done this race three times. It might be fun to make it whole by adding the 21K to the AMS half, that - on the map and in the stories and blogposts - look mind-numbingly boring.

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