Friday, December 12, 2008

Do I need this?

Another day of not running. I was about to head out with the dogs but instead we packed the car and drove to Hope, a suburb of Camden. We needed heat, electricity and the internet - all of which we didn't have at home. So it looks like my SMR will be in the Camden Hills...

I've been pretty happy with my 3rd Garmin Forerunner 205. My first one never recovered from the swim out to the canoe. My second one failed after about 2 months. But the 3rd one has been a charm. Several months ago, it had the occasional habit of mysteriously draining its battery, but I've been careful to take it off the cradle after it's charged and this seems to have solved that problem. And it's pretty good at holding on to satellite signals. I had some trouble in the Smokey Mountains, in a steep ravine in Evan Notch, and curiously, on the "O" trail during the Bruiser. The two issues that I have with it are 1) it's not a 305 so I don't have the HRM and 2) it uses triangulation instead of barometric pressure to get altitude. I am a data junky and the under or oversmoothed altitude estimates are not doing it for me. I can do without a HRM while running, since I can use the McMillan running calculator to set my paces when I feel the need, but I don't have a clue about pacing when I ski.

So, I've now been wasting time looking at the sweet new Polar RS800CX Multi and Suunto X10. (Actually the x10 does not have a HRM either - why not?). Both watches have normal size watch faces, and pretty small type. I like having three screens on my Garmin and being able to switch between them. I like having three or four big numbers on each screen. I like being able to see my cumulative pace (not instantaneous pace!) during my current workout. That and cumulative distance are the two data that I look at most. Even with my (at last check two years ago) 20/20 vision it can be hard to read the numbers on my Garmin during a run or ski, especially in the dim light on a trail with lots of sweat dripping through my eyes. Can anyone read the small numbers on the Polar or Suunto watch without stopping? Can either give me my cumulative pace in minutes per mile (not mph)? Are these watches worth the $500 price tag, especially since I can get a Garmin Forerunner 305 for about $150? I had the Polar RS200SD a few years ago. It was a nice watch but not immune to malfunctioning. On several occasions it would freeze and need to be re-booted. So Garmins don't have the corner on this feature (and since updating the firmware on my 205, I'm not sure that it has frozen).

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