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Posts tagged ‘Garmin’

Reasons for a lull

I’ve mentioned before that I often get ridiculously busy some weeks between two jobs and everything else I do.

This week was an over-the-top exception.

I told myself I was going to take a couple days off after Nike, for a couple reasons. I was tired after the hills of San Francisco. And my Garmin was having some serious issues.

So I told myself I’d pick up a run on Tuesday.

But anyone who follows my Twitter feed knows I’ve been having some very serious car troubles lately. Unfortunately I hadn’t saved up enough money for a down payment on a new car enough to make buying on feasible.

The problem is, my Camaro is getting to the point where it’s just not reliable anymore. It is for getting me closer distances and using every once in awhile. But the intention was never to drive it into the ground. I love it way too much.

So my husband and I went looking a new cars on Sunday. We found a certified pre-owned 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. My first choice in cars? Not so much. I was really leaning on buying a new Camaro.

The problem was that it didn’t make sense. Instead, we spent some money fixing my 2002 Camaro up. And then we pulled from joint savings to put money down on the Jeep. I financed the rest of it through my credit union with a 3.24-percent interest rate.

I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason. This week instead of a Tuesday-night run, I found myself signing paperwork for a new car at the Jeep dealership in a nearby town.

Whew. Now I have a reliable car. The Camaro will be used for in-town and leisure driving for now on.

On top of that, my students out out a newspaper this week. And I was finishing preparations for a baby shower I hosted at my house yesterday for a very deserving friend/coworker who is expecting her second child early next year. (We figured October would be better than later months of the year because people get busy around Thanksgiving and Christmas.)

Many, many Costco trips were involved in the production of this baby shower. The treats above? Those were the favors, chocolate-dipped pretzels decorated in fall colors. The theme for the shower was “fall” since my friend isn’t really the blue/pink type. (She’s having a boy.)

So up until 2 p.m. yesterday, when the shower ended, I was busy the entire week. I didn’t even have a chance to do my Nike Women’s Half Marathon review yet. I’ll be working on that later today after I upload some photos from the day of.

A side note: I was able to get my time fixed, but it still appears to be wrong. It looks like I ran a half marathon in 40 minutes. I know my running is getting better, but not that much better.

And today, with the glitchy Garmin, I ran 15 miles. Only 8.5 tracked with the Garmin before I had to switch to my Nike+ app. I’ve sent a request for service to Garmin, but after entering my serial number is came up saying my unit was no longer under warranty, even though it’s a replacement unit that isn’t even a year old.

After buying a new car this week, I really don’t want to buy a new Garmin.

I feel a little better after today’s run. I feel as if I’m getting back in the habit, especially after a very, very stressful, but rewarding week. Running-related posts to resume soon.

Meet me Monday: The replacement


I’ve blogged about Gertrude the Garmin before.

She was my training buddy and the closest thing I had to a constant running partner. I loved my Garmin dearly. And then she turned on me. She kept losing battery life. She was fading, fast. I wrote about Gertrude going bad too. I sent it to Garmin after opening a request with them to do so.

I knew, from reading previous blog posts, that there was a chance Getrude wouldn’t be replaced at all. She’d be deemed unreliable and unusable. Then Garmin would send me a new one.

I knew it could happen. But I kept hope alive it wouldn’t when didn’t update the serial number of my Garmin.

But, alas, last Monday I got home and found a small envelope stuffed in my mailbox. It contained the Garmin above.

It’s not Gertrude. Not even close.

I was so bummed about it that I didn’t blog about it. Gertrude was with me for my first half marathon earlier this year. She wouldn’t be there for number seven, the Big Sur Half Marathon.

I tried to sync satellites right after I got it. It took forever. I figured that signaled something. But it seems to be working fine. I ran the half (more on that later in the week when I have time to write up a race/weekend review). Even though my efforts at the Big Sur Half Marathon weren’t too stellar, my Garmin and I ran our first race together.

Our second will be the Run Against Hunger on Thanksgiving Day in Stockton.

So far, so good. But I miss Gertrude.

So in honor of her, I introduce you to Gertrude II. Or Gert-II as I referred to her on Sunday to another runner.

Our journey together is just beginning, but she’ll hopefully lead me through my first marathon in a couple weeks.


I have a lot to blog about, but no time to do it.

This week: Garmin came back, but not Gertrude. My students put out issue six of their newspaper. I have a front-page story in the newspaper (rare, since I’m often at my desk coding or behind a video camera). I got a new pair of lululemon shorts. Received my beautiful new “I was born to do this” necklace.

Started taper for Big Sur Half Marathon.

Packing up for that one tomorrow. Heading down with my mom on Saturday morning/afternoon-ish.

Long week. Exciting weekend ahead.

My goal? Not to break a leg or hurt myself. The marathon is less than three weeks away.


I ran to be empowered

Words can’t describe how it felt to get to a rather warm San Francisco morning with two of my closest friends for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon on Sunday. I was excited. I was nervous. I was elated. I had a moment or two where it just really felt unreal.

It should of.

Six weeks ago I wasn’t running this race. I hadn’t made it into the lottery in April. Neither had my two running buddies. There was little to no chance of us running this well-known, women-centered, ridiculously huge race.

Then I gained entry thanks to Somersault Snack Co. in Sausalito. Jennie and Sam were happy for me, but I was saddened by the fact that they weren’t running with me.

Then someone posted a Nike+ code on our running group’s Facebook page. I called Sam. She called Jennie. Within 10 minutes they were both signed up to run with me. It was meant to be. I’d gone the entire year thinking there was NO WAY I’d run this race.

We didn’t train for hills. Instead, we ran flat surfaces more than anything. We didn’t even have enough time to train for the massive hills in San Francisco. But we knew we wanted to run this.

And so we did.

My husband dropped us off near Union Square. There were a ton of people. And spectators everywhere. It was a madhouse in every respect.

There were people everywhere. I was to meet the Team Somersaults runners on the corner of Geary and Powell at 6:15 a.m. for a photo opportunity. I got lost in a sea of people. The Safeway team had the same shirts we did. I kept seeing people wearing our colors and trying to follow them. I should have known better, as Team Somersaults also had cool yellow sweat bands and sunflower clips for our hair.

That’s my swag, post race and washed. Those sweat bands come in really handy during a run, let me tell you.

So we gathered on the corner for a quick snapshot. I was able to meet a couple more of the team members. It was crazy hectic. People were walking in front and behind us. But we got a couple snapshots for the Somersaults Facebook page.

Sam also snapped one, despite holding two water bottles for me.

These are a group of awesome ladies who represent such a great company. It was wonderful to get to know them. Shout out especially to Jamie, I found first this morning and who I ran with two weeks ago. She has an awesome blog too. She’ll be running a race I’m also running in the near future, so I hope I get to see more of Jamie.

Sam also snapped a slightly blurry and unflattering photo of me while I walked back to her. We started walking to the bathrooms and literally turned around and lost all the Team Somersaults members. That’s how crowded it was.

I put my phone away shortly after this. We waited in a bathroom line until the start. And then, when we didn’t move for 15 minutes, we ended up all taking over an empty stall near our corral. There were too many people in the bathroom line for anyone to see three or four of the portable toliets were open.

Then we started running and, for only the second time ever and the first time during a race, my Garmin malfunctioned. It refused to pick up the satellite. Lame. I waited nearly 10 minutes as we were corralled to the start. Nothing.

I’m assuming it was because there were likely 5,000 other devices also trying to pick up signals.

I started with my 405CX just keeping time. It finally picked up and kept a signal a mile in. But, by then, the damage had been done. My “first lap” was 26 minutes according to Garmin. The mileage was way off. I took this as a signal from someone or something out there to not take this one as seriously as I have been recently.

Have a good run, I thought. Don’t think about it.

Miles 1-3 were relatively flat.

Miles 5-9 were hilly. But we hung together.

Miles 10-13 were recovery, with one very need bathroom stop.

And we all stayed together until mile 11 when Jennie (who is faster than she thinks) decided to move ahead. She finished 3 minutes ahead of Sam and I.

Jennie was waiting for Sam and I to cross and hug us. We then walked to the shoots to get the coveted Tiffany finishers necklace. I can’t tell you how beautiful it is. You have to see it to understand. It’s just amazing. Everybody was stopping to take photos of the fireman handing them out.

Including me.

On a silver platter, nonetheless. Love. After making my way up massive hills and pounding my way down them, these men were a sight to behold. That said, I was more interested in picking up my finisher’s shirt and getting something to eat than checking out my necklace. I didn’t open the box until about 20 minutes later AFTER Sam had showed me her necklace.

And it was as awesome as I imagined.

I own one other Tiffany & Co. item. It’s a scarf. This will be a treasured item for years to come, believe me.

The finishers shirt was an awesome yellow one too. I’m considering wearing it for the half I am running next weekend. Why? Well, if I’m slow it will show people that I’m crazy enough to do two half marathons in two weekends. Plus, let’s face it, it’s pretty awesome too.

Once we settled down and caught our breaths, I had time to reflect on how awesome the experience was. My husband (who lost me, or I lost him, I don’t know, but we miscommunicated) brought me my bag and a change of clothes. Thank goodness too. It was a warm day in San Francisco. I smelled. I was sweaty. I changed into a new shirt I bought at Niketown on Thursday. And we celebrated with a photo.

The photo above is really what his race was about. Friends. Love. Happiness.

I walked away from the Nike Women’s Half with my slowest half marathon time to date. My time was 2:53:30. But it was my best race ever.

I ran with my friends. I ran representing an awesome company that gave me a gracious free entry. I ran to be empowered. I was empowered by the 20,000 women (and men) who ran with me. Even as I was weaving in and out of people and waiting in ridiculously long bathroom lines, I enjoyed nearly every moment of it.

I’m on a runner’s high. I can’t describe it other than that. My high is as tall as the Golden Gate Bridge, no kidding. We, by the way, ventured that way to head back to the East Bay and home to the valley. We even stopped by In-and-Out Burger in Sausalito for a post race meal.

It was an amazing day filled with amazing happenings. I can’t say much more about how awesome it was. I consider myself a very lucky girl to have such great opportunities (again, thank you Somersault Snack Co.!!) and good people around me. Because that’s what it is about really. I have friends who help me navigate the marathon that is life and also help push me through a 13.1 road race.

That’s love. And it’s a nice metaphor for life in general.

That said, it’s also a little about this:

I also picked that shirt up at Niketown on last Thursday. There’s fun involved too.

We all have our reasons to run. I ran my first half to be stronger. I do my training runs to be powerful.

I run, sometimes, to be sexy and fit into my slim jeans. (I don’t call them “skinny” because I’ve never actually been “skinny.”)

Sunday, though, was proof that bad runs can be good runs. And good friends and good company are the reason why.

Meet me Monday: Gertrude the Garmin

When I purchased my Garmin 405CX right before my first half marathon, I was more intent on using it then really getting to know it.

I took it out on an “inaugural run” and then didn’t load it up again and locate satellites until I was standing on Broadway waiting for the Oakland Running Festival Half Marathon to begin.

I was already nervous at that start. It was my first half marathon after all. I had only been training for one for three months. I had only done one 10 mile run. I didn’t think I’d finish. (And there was that point at mile 10 where I nearly fell apart and felt as if I was going to have to wait for someone to come save me).

At the start a woman was also booting up. She had a 310. I watched her because I was a Garmin newbie. And I had looked at the 310 model but decided it wasn’t the right one for me.

“What’s its name?” she asked.

“It’s a 405CX,” I responded.

“No, what’s its name?” she said back.

“It doesn’t have one,” I said.

“Is it new?” she said as she watched me fidget with it trying to make sure it didn’t go out of “training mode” before I needed to hit “start.”

“Yes,” I said.

“You need to give it a name,” she said back. “Everyone does. This is Speedy.”

I never really thought of it. The Garmin needed a name. I went for three months without giving it one. I couldn’t think of one.

Buddy? No, to predictable. Chelsea? No. Bridget? Ha. No. Gina? Gem? Gemela? Greg?

I decided on Gertrude. Gertrude the Garmin.

Why Gertrude? I figure if I’m going to have something beeping at me and telling me to run faster and prodding me along, it better be an older woman who can still manage to finish half marathons faster than me. That’s how I imagine my “Gertrude” looking. It’s fitting, I think. And Gertrude is kind of a motivator too. She’s a constant companion, always faithful. Kind of like I envision my grandmothers, actually (neither of which is named Gertrude).

So Gertrude it is. And she’s a big part of who I am when I run.

She’s also one of the only things I own that I constantly keep track of. The Garmin is on my desk with the ANT+ stick ready for every upload.