I couldn't find my GPS watch and was trying not to freak out. My entire family pitched in to get me the watch a few years ago.
They bought it for me because it has a built-in heart rate monitor. The heart rate monitor chest strap I was using before left a bad impression on me. By that, I mean it was cutting in to my skin and leaving scars.
I never felt it when running. The second I took it off though... Ouch.
The great news is I found my watch in the dark unknown crevices of a couch.
Now, you don't need a fancy GPS watch to run. I used a phone app (Runkeeper) for the first year I ran. Unfortunately, as I'm slow, using GPS on the phone killed my battery before I finished my first half-marathon. Because of that, I started to look at GPS watches.
But that's just my geeky need for information. At runs, there are mile markers to tell you where you are. Your phone or regular watch can tell you how much time has passed.
In my calorie-counting days, I wanted a count of calories burned. I also like to check my pace and heart rate. But, unless you have a medical reason to watch your heart rate, don't let not having a GPS watch stop you from running.
The benefits of running or walking don't magically improve just because you strap on a watch.
New Shoes, New Blisters
At the McAllen Marathon, I saw an acquaintance who used safety pins to attach his race bib to his shirt. It's a common sight, but it pained me. It was a really nice shirt.
Fortunately, his birthday was in a few weeks, so I corrected the problem with some RaceDots.
RaceDots are (really) powerful magnets you can use to attach your race bib to your shirt without poking holes. I first heard about RaceDots during the company's KickStarter campaign.
As with any new gadget, I was super paranoid when I first used them. Before the race even started, I thought I lost one. I found it attached to the metal picnic table I was sitting on.
Overall, I'm really happy with them. Fair warning, though, sometimes a pair on one of the top corners of a bib will latch onto a set on the bottom. It doesn't always happen. I fidget a lot and am usually adjusting my hydration belt, so that's probably what causes that issue.
The front of the dots look like buttons and the backs are like washers. Once again, they are strong magnets. Sometimes, I need to get help separating the backs, when they get stuck together.
I've gotten into the habit of just using three of them (two at the top corners of a race bib and one at the bottom center).
My original set included five. That was great, because I did lose the backs of one of them.
The company gives the option of ordering just backs. When I bought the birthday gift set, I ordered a replacement back part. RaceDots included two backs (maybe they had trouble separating them also) and an extra RaceDot in my order. (Thanks!) It's the skull and crossbones in the photo.
They have different design options and offer custom design options too. Save your favorite running shirts. Check out RaceDots.com. #DontBeAPinhead
A Runner's Christmas
Merry Christmas! This year, my family gave me the gift of a future scar-free torso.
Let me explain.
I've been using a heart monitor chest strap for at least the last two years. And, because I'm slow sometimes, it took most of that time to realize it was responsible for the cuts around my torso.
I hadn't realized how bad it was until I happened to get a glance of my back in the mirror. Oh. My. God.
I debated whether to share a photo, but why scare anyone else?
I did share with my family. First, they could tell me if I was exaggerating. (I wasn't.) Second, I could explain the cuts if they happen to see them.
I had planned to save up and upgrade my watch to one with a built-in heart monitor. Meanwhile, the chest strap was getting worse.
During long runs, I could feel it cutting into my skin. Sometimes, removing the chest strap was a greater thrill than finishing the run.
My family saw this and decided to pitch in and buy me a watch with a built-in heart monitor for Christmas. I was eyeing the TomTom Runner Cardio and the Garmin Forerunner 225. I had been using a TomTom and heard good things about Garmin. My family got me the Garmin. Yay! It's in the center of the photo.
There were some unexpected differences between the TomTom and Garmin. Nothing bad, just different. I'll write about that later.
To complete the runner's Christmas theme, I also got a pair of pants, Balega socks and a hydration pack. So I'm excited to try out my new things. And based on the way I've been eating for the last few weeks, my health would appreciate it too.
Former high school water girl (really) finally running.