Thursday, April 2, 2015

Gearing Up.

I'll admit to having been a gearhead in the past.  I'd do all the research and get the latest and greatest of gadgets or gear that I HAD TO HAVE.  My first BIG investment was into my Garmin 305 way back when.
Garmin Forerunner 305

I was new to running and thought it was going to help.  It didn't.  I liked seeing it "work" while I did but I didn't do any analysis on heartrate or pace after the fact other than trying to get a little faster here and there and learning that my MHR (maximum heart rate) does not fit into the generic formula that lives out there (mine is way higher than the norm).  Nonetheless, I used it on every run and found a mount for my bike for the times I did that.  Later on, I used it more on the bike while training for the MS150 in 2010 & 2011 (gosh that seems like an eternity ago).  It was great until it stopped charging.  It became a nuisance going for a run or ride and having it die midway.  I found an awesome, innovative product through a kickstarter campaign and was pretty stoked to be part of this company's vision.  I bought a Bia through the program but while waiting for it to go through testing and finally get delivered, I found other options.

I found the Nike+ App for my iPhone (when travelling without my Garmin and wanting to go for a run) and fell in love with its format and layout and haven't looked back since.  Initially, I also used the MapMyRun and MapMyRide apps but as their platform has grown, just kept using the Mapmyfitness app. to sync and consolidate all workouts in one place. When I started using my bike indoors, I got a cadence/speed sensor that works with both MapmyFitness and Wahoo. Now, my phone has pretty much taken place of Garmin.

Misfit Shine
I don't mind carrying it really.  I have a mount on my bike for it as well (actually I did...I need a new mount for the 6).  Then the age of fitness tracker came into play.  Everyone had a fitbit or a jawbone that was on their person 24/7.  My friends were starting step challenges and talked about getting their 10,000 steps in a day and I almost did it.  I almost pulled the trigger but then I did the research and decided I didn't want to do it.  And then I found the Misfit Shine.

I saw it on an Apple commercial being used by a swimmer (I'm so gullible). That's it.  That would complete the tracking circle, I thought.  I could track my swim and push it to MapMyFitness and I'm set.  Well...not exactly.  It is super cool looking so I don't mind wearing it all the time.  I don't have to deal with charging it at all (watch battery that lasts for what seems like forever) and it tracks my sleep patterns (or lack thereof), my steps, distance, calories burned and allows me to "tag" my activity whether it's swim, bike or whatever and set goals.

Whenever it's near my phone it will sync to the app and update so no cables or hassle.  I really like it but the data is not specific enough for me.  I want to SEE my laps, my pace, my distance by activity not just one summed up number.  And now with triathlon training, I know I need something more robust so Misfit may be handed down to my hubby.  Although I doubt he'll use it.

All this background to say that I'm in the market.  To backtrack, I eventually got my Bia and it was great for the time I used it but there was still a lot of beta testing going on with the product and I didn't train or workout consistently enough to really get used to using it.  Now that I started training, I pulled it out to find out that it was completely dead.  I reached out to the company and they were SO awesome.  They immediately sent me a new Bia.  I got it, charged it an set it up only to see a Facebook update by their founder that the company would sadly not make it and that Bia tracking would cease to work after a certain date (can't remember).  Darn.  It's so hard for a little fish to make it in the big pond.  Total bummer.  I dug out my Garmin and finagled with it and got it to charge. Hooray, I thought!  I used it a few times and learned that the apps had upgrade a dozen times over since I used it and it would be perfect to use (and save some moola).  Until my Scotch tape trick wasn't enough.  That old thing is too unpredictable now. Bleh.

Garmin VivoActive
So again, I'm in the market.  I LOVE the new Apple iWatch that is coming out later this month but geez, I can't justify the $350 on the Sport version if I can't swim with it.  And if I go for a run, my phone has to come too?  Well, what's the point?  I already do THAT.  After all my reading and comparing, I think I am going to go with the new Garmin VivoActive.  It's sleek, waterproof, syncs to iConnect (which then pushes data to MapMyFitness), and has other smart watch capabilities like notifications, music, etc.  It also pairs with a heart rate monitor (that I already have) and the sensors on my bike too.  Their version of the app store could certainly use some work but it's new so I'll give them that. It's still not a "multisport" watch which would be great on race days but I think I can live without that. It's retails for $250 and it also tells time! Hey!  Haha...I just wished it looked like the Apple watch (sooooo pretty) but it's an improvement on the bulky look they've been known for especially with the cool touch screen.  Oh well, maybe the iWatch 4 or 8 will be waterproof and by then I'll be ready for it! Lol.

Stay tuned!

Share your favorite gear and gadget with me, won't ya?  Any similar experiences?  I'd love to hear from you.

Valerie

P.S. - I know that for "true" Ironman training, I shouldn't screw around with apps and trackers.  I know what I want (the Garmin 920XT) but thanks to a wonderful suggestion from a reader, I will treat myself (or let hubby treat me) with that upon IRONMAN sign up.  Sort of a gift in advance for the pain to come. Lol!