arrive, raise hell, then leave!

Posted: September 19, 2008 in run, running
Tags: , , , ,

I’ve had my heart set on running with a new partner for quite some time. He’s sleeker and he’s sexier than my old running partner.  Call it lust at first sight but it took me all of 5 seconds to decide that this new one would be The One.  At least, until that next new gadget comes along. I’m talking about the GARMIN 405. Yes, yes. I’ve read the reviews that say that the Garmin 305 is still the more sensible choice. And If I actually used my brain to decide these things then I would have/ should have picked the 305. But I never use my brain to decide these things. I go by feelings. I go by looks. Sexy trumps function for me any day. That’s just me. I make no excuses for it.

The Garmin 305 is cheaper.

The Garmin 305 already works with my Mac. I need to wait for FALL 2008 to get the 405 to even acknowledge my Mac. I wonder which FALL and in what continent? Does Batgirl’s fall into the RAVINE count? That actually qualifies as the great FALL 2008 in my book.

The Garmin 305 has a map imaging function. I only have this compass like image on my 405 that points somewhere. I’ll just make my own way back, thank you very much.

Runner’s World UK published this review:

It’s still packed with all the features that made the 305 great: it monitors your time spent running, distance, pace, calories and heart rate, and your runs can be stored in the memory, so you can review and analyse the data and the routes you’ve taken later on. Once you’ve activated your unit for the first time, you’re whisked through a set of simple tests that act as a guide on how the unit works (so no need to read the instructions then). It’s simple, and the iPod-esque bezel means it’s easy to navigate while those who are new to this kind of technology should have no problem picking it up and using it.

The bezel replaces the need for all the buttons the 305 had. Scrolling through the right side of the bezel moves through functions while tapping the bezel in any place enters a particular screen.
A minor down-point is that the smaller screen means the 405 only displays three fields, compared with four on the 305, and that there is no map page on the 405, but it does have three customisable data screens to allow you to display all the meaningful data. All you have to do is simply tap the bezel to scroll through the screens on the run.

The hottest new feature is the ANT+Sport technology that enables the device to transfer data to your computer as soon as the device is within range, meaning there’s no complicated method of transfer or leads to use. There’s also a heart-rate-specific training display, which wasn’t on the 305.

One of the 305’s main sticking points was its delay in receiving a satellite signal. The new 405’s high-sensitivity GPS receiver provides improved tracking under trees and near tall buildings and therefore a stronger signal during your run. So even in cities as built up as London, finding a signal was greatly improved, taking just a couple of minutes to locate and hold reception.

I do read reviews. I just have selective attention. I pay attention only to the ones that agree with me.  And anyway, I didn’t want to look like one of those Japanese action heroes with huge watch-like contraptions attached to their wrists. My wrists are pretty thin. And as Prom once belatedly pointed out… “Oh! I forgot. You ARE a GIRL! These things are important to you!” Hrmmmrm. It wasn’t his fault. He was discussing the merits of the watch. I was mainly focused on its looks.  Like I said, I have PRETTY thin wrists. Focus on the pretty, please.

So it finally arrives and I immediately strap it on to my wrist. Only to realize that well, I still needed to charge it…for a minimum of 3 hours! 3 hours! What were those Garmin guys thinking? I could have run a half marathon and be enjoying breakfast by then! But I wait. Patiently. And because I have no choice, I wait very, very patiently.  And after 3 hours I go out and take it for a spin.

I should have spent those three hours reading the manual. The Garmin is not as intuitive as my Polar RS200sd. Well, the Polar wasn’t all that intuitive either. But that was my first time. And every girl knows not to set too high an expectation for first times.  I couldn’t get the bezel to work. I tried prodding it on with a gentle touch. Nothing happened. So I knocked some sense into it by literally pounding it to submission with my finger. It finally gets the message. And it starts doing something. After a few more senseless tappings, we are off. I’ve managed to turn on the virtual partner. We are connected to some satellite. It tells me the accuracy is at 66%. I don’t know what that means but it starts recording the distance. Whooeeey!

Now, one of the reasons I decided to shift to Garmin from my Polar is that I hated having to wear the footpod. I kept needing to calibrate it. And ever since we’ve been running longer distances, I felt that it’s been digging into my right foot. I was convinced that using the Garmin with its GPS would simplify my life. So, before the run, I gleefully removed my Polar footpod from my shoe, strapped the Garmin to my wrist and set off. After a few seconds of walking around with the GARMIN 405 though I realized something. My footpod has moved to my wrist! The Garmin is so much heavier than my Polar! Oh well. One more thing to get used to.

A heart rate monitor also came with my GARMIN. But since Mr. GARMIN and I were only on our first date, I didn’t want to pressure it with issues of the heart so soon.  I did not have the patience for it. So, very conveniently, I left the heart rate monitor behind. On hindsight, that was actually a good call because I wouldn’t have figured out what to do with it on the run anyway. I still needed to pair it, apparently. Strap your date to your wrist then pair your heart with it! Good plan. I’ll try to do that next time.

3.23 km into the run and my Garmin announces that my Virtual Partner has left me behind. What’s worse is that it chooses to mock me by showing an animated picture of me hunched over! What?!  Darn it! Nothing left for me to do but to simply keep running and try to catch up with it.  I make some headway but at the end of my run, my date proudly announces that it has left me behind by 1.35kms! What the?! I pay all this money for a date that leaves me at the curb? If you think I’m the kind of girl who will take this lightly, well you think wrong. So I do something that most sensible girls will do when they are spurned on their first date. I steal my date’s shoes! Well, something close to that.  As soon as I get home I read the manual very carefully and figure out how to set its speed. It’s now way below mine. Let him follow and weep!

  1. jinoe says:

    Wow. How adorable. That’s on my wishlist of gadgets. Your review makes me want it more.

  2. myironshoes says:

    It is nice. But we are still in the getting to know you phase. i still can’t work the bezel properly. its probably because my iphone has short circuited my brain. i keep tapping on the screen rather than the bezel. sabagay, i do the same thing to my computer screen. i also forget sometimes that it still doesn’t work like the iphone. 🙂

  3. DATC says:

    “And every girl knows not to set too high an expectation for first times” – LOL 🙂

    Congratulations, I love my Garmin!

  4. prometheuscometh says:

    “Oh I forgot you are a girl…bla bla bla” There I go again putting my ASICS in my mouth!

    Beautiful watch though. Why call it Mr. Garmin? How about Fred? Or Ronaldo?

  5. What a great writeup! I’m glad you’ve been able to train your running date to stay comfortably in your footsteps. For more tips on using the Virtual Partner and other functions, check out the training videos that I did at


  6. loonyrunner says:

    wow! a 405! 😀

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