Sunday, September 18, 2011

Review of the Garmin Forerunner 305

THE Garmin 305 Forerunner
There are quite a few opportunities for TWSS in this post, so I'm just putting this one here at the start and you can cut and paste it anywhere you like (twss). I've been running with a Garmin Forerunner 305 gps device since January of 2009, and I love it. This ubiquitous gizmo is seen on the wrists of runners all over the map (Redundant? Only if you know what ubiquitous means, and even then, it's still an ok sentence. Certainly good enough for this blog).

The 305 ('ole Red) is worn on the wrist like a watch. Like a toaster-watch. Seriously, it's bigger than most watches but fits well for most people. It catches gps satellite signals so that it can track your exact location, your speed, your distance, the exact route you are taking, and combines that data into a few other useful displays like pace and time spent running. The 305 usually comes with a heart rate monitor strap which is worn around the chest, and you can also get a cadence sensor for your bike data and a foot pod to measure running data indoors (treadmill). The auxiliaries connect wirelessly to the main 305 and add to your information overload.

The 305 itself holds about 50 workouts and then it starts writing over the oldest workouts, so most people download their information into one or more of several online and/or pc-based applications. I use Garmin Training Center which is loaded on my laptop and also Daily Mile which is an online social running/workout network. After I download my workout, I simply delete the data from the 305 to keep it clear and to stay in routine. I used to load workouts into the Runners World online log but stopped because I wasn't using that information in any useful way.

The 305 has a multitude of functions and display options, and it really comes down to what I want to see while I'm out running, because I can get all the other information when I return home. The 305 collects everything, but only displays up to 12 fields (between three separate screens) on the unit itself. Those 12 fields are found on three screens that I can toggle between, and the fewer displays per screen the larger the data displays --one data display per screen is large, but with four, it has to divide the screen into four so the data displays are smaller. This only matters when you are gasping and wheezing and trying to see how fast you are accelerating after running off of a cliff. *

Most of the time, I like to see current pace and average pace. Almost all of my routes are pre-planned, so distance is known, and time is not ever important for me. I'm a pace junkie and that is that. So screen one is pace and average pace.

Screen two has three fields for lap pace, distance, and average pace. I use this screen when doing speed work and only really look at lap pace.

Screen three is a repeat of screen two, but distance is the top display. I look at this when I'm running without a pre-planned route or when I go off route.

The 305 also has a feature called virtual runner which allows me to set a pace in the computer and run against that pace. The 305 displays a skinny 20 year old Kenyan on roller skates racing against a pudgy stooped 45 year old running through mud. Guess who is who?

I love the free software "Garmin Training Center" that comes with it. It tracks all my runs and allows me to compare runs to each other. Garmin also has an online semi-social site called Garmin Connect which maps and keeps data and shares it with others. Meh. Not so much. For PC users, there is Sporttracks, which is the penultimate online tracking software. You can re-live your runs in 3D and see all sorts of other kinky cool data collusions. I'm an Apple user, so I don't get to play with that, but someday....... I can picture one lonely nerd in the back cubicle at Sportracks working to try to build a digital bridge for the Apple users. Give it up buddy, you'll never make it.

Some of the drawbacks:
  • It is not waterproof, but does claim water resistance. Though after some heavy duty sweating, the sound of the beeps has diminished considerably and sometimes I need to clean the contacts on the back so it will connect to the cable. There is a waterproof version which can be used for swimming, and perhaps is more resistant to sweat. Salt from sweat is corrosive on most materials over time, so it may be a once every five years investment to get the latest version. Garmin is now moving a 610 version for $350 that has a touch screen but otherwise all the same features of the 305. $350?? Seriously??!? You can find a 305 with HRM for well under $150, and around the holidays for $99. That can't be beat.
  • PIRNIG --problem in runner, not in Garmin. If you accidently press start and stop buttons on the 305, it will start and stop. It doesn't recognize accidental button pushes, or whether a runner forgets to restart the unit after shitting in the bushes stopping at Dunkin waiting, pissed off, at a traffic light.
  • It's ok to let data drive most decisions, but a natural or 'naked' run is nice once in a while. That is a run without electronics or route or speed or anything else besides you and your 3" shorty-shorts. And running shoes. Barefoot running causes cancer and melodramatic heel spurs in everyone who even tries it just once.
I really love my Garmin, and recommend it for everyone who likes to keep track of their running and set goals for improvement.

Do you use a Garmin? What data fields do you use? What online or PC-based application(s) do you use?

Cake = it's great and I highly recommend this product. Keep your fingers away from my mouth.

A despondent physics student jumps off a bridge, and falls for three seconds before hitting the water. How fast is he going when he hits the water?
Approximating g as 10 m/s2, he will gain 10 m/s of speed each second. After one second, his velocity is 10 m/s, after two seconds it is 20 m/s, and on impact, after falling for three seconds, he is moving at 30 m/s.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Product Review: Tempeh

Tempeh: The healthful option
Tempeh (pronounced Tempeh) is a mixture of fermented whole soybeans, barley, oats, and other healthful ingredients formed into a cake and used in a variety of culinary creations. This is a staple food in Indonesia which is not located in the United States. Internet sources describe Indonesia as a series of islands near Asia riddled with sex slave industry and Tempeh factories. I imagine most people read about the variety of Tempeh uses, then actually cook and eat one and never look back. Tempeh is pretty nasty stuff.

The texture: mostly firm. You definitely need to slice it with a knife. Sort of like cheese, sort of like head cheese.

The aroma: Sort of like....mmmm... kinda........put some chicken pigeon in a crock pot and add some of that foo foo near-beer Nitmos likes and a pretty good dollop of dog shit. Simmer on low for a few hours and your kitchen your neighbor's kitchen will smell like Tempeh I think.

What it looks like: A bit like a veggie burger with some blue cheese dark spots.

Care: Keep it refrigerated or, better yet, in your neighbor's trash, or ultimately, leave it at that hippy over-priced grocery store you found it in. It's in the cooler near where Nitmos can be found smuggling Summer Shandy under his girly blue parka.

Taste: See 'Aroma' and go no further.

The Brand: Trader Joes 3 grain Tempeh (BTW, it is inexpensive, likely because of capital economics)

Today's Plate: Sliced into cubes and scrambled with three chicken eggs. Finished with two shakes of the ginger/wasabi sauce bottle. Ice water, a nose clip, and a 75 pound labrador retriever volunteer at the ready.
Knives ready in case any of this actually goes into my mouth
Nutritional benefits: Well yes, there is this. Tempeh is high in fiber, high in protein and "Tempeh  is a great choice for people who have difficulty digesting plant-based high-protein foods like beans and legumes or soy foods such as tofu. The process of fermentation makes the soybeans softer, since enzymes produced by the mould predigests a large portion of the basic nutrients. The Rhizopus moulds produce an enzyme phytase which breaks down phytates, thereby increasing the absorption of minerals such as zinc, iron and calcium. The fermentation process greatly reduces the oligosaccharides that make beans hard to digest for some people. Studies have shown tempeh to be essentially non-flatulent and producing no more gas than non-legume food."

RTP Rating:

Cow pie = not on your life, but it's sometimes fun to watch others interact with this.