Monday, December 15, 2014

Training log - Week ending 12/14/2014

This week was 45 miles of running, 7 "miles" of pool-running and 4000 yards of swimming  -- training log is here.

Recovery week #3.  Still a bit tired, but definitely starting to feel more normal.  By the end of the week, I had built up to a 12 mile run - it wasn't terribly challenging from an energy standpoint, but did leave me pretty achy after.   It's definitely taken me longer to recover from Philly than from Shamrock, but that makes sense, given the thrashing I gave my quads.  Hopefully in another few days I'll feel ready to get back into training.  I really do miss the workouts.
I also got a new toy this week - a Garmin Forerunner 920xt. 

Did I need a new Garmin?  Well......that depends on your definition of "need."  I've been doing quite well with my 910xt, and have a 310xt as back-up.

Rather, I had a 310xt as back-up until this week. Apparently at some point it sprung a leak in its waterproofing.  It passed in a surprisingly sad splay of air bubbles and screen static during Monday's pool-run.

I named him Homer. 
Cuz no name says
sex like Homer. 
And when I hit the
wrong button I
yell "D'oh"!
Of course, I still had the 910xt.  However, that Garmin was starting to show signs of age - the battery life was half of what it was in its prime, it was starting to forget workouts, and it no longer screen-locked.  Time to put it out to pasture.

And yes, I could have just gotten another 910xt - it's a great watch and now available for a good price.  But I wanted new and shiny.  And I had a gift certificate to blow. 

And that's how I came to own the sex toy pictured at right. 

(it vibrates on command and I purchased with lust in my heart.  Ergo, sex toy). is it?  Well, first of all, anyone interested in the 920xt should read DCRainmaker's review.  Then come back.  (I'll wait).


Truth is, despite the pre-purchase lust, I didn't love this Garmin at first wear the way I loved the 910xt.  I think that's because there's several radical changes between the 920xt and 910xt that required some adjustment. 

For one thing, the design of the watch is subtly different from the earlier Forerunners.  To illustrate, I've posted a picture of all four of my Garmins.  From left to right, they are the 305, the 310xt, the 910xt, and the 920xt.

If you click on the picture to expand, and look closely at the buttons, there are some key differences between the first three models and the 920xt. 

First of all- for the previous editions the bottom two buttons (lap and stop) are actually on the face of the Garmin, just below the screen.  But for the 920xt, the buttons have been relocated below the edge of the face of the watch, closer to the strap itself. 

This shift in lap button location was mildly annoying during my first run with the device - when trying to lap, I kept poking the screen, where those buttons were in the earlier models.  By the end of the run, I had successfully reprogrammed myself to hit the right location, so it's not too hard to unlearn those old habits.  But it does require a bit of adjustment - I wouldn't recommend using this watch for the first time in a race if getting splits is important to you.

Secondly, while the 305, 310xt, and 910xt each have three buttons on the right (up, down, and enter), the 920xt just has two - up and down.  On the 920xt the enter button is also the start/stop and is on the bottom of the watch.  This resulted in a learning curve when navigating the menu - I kept hitting down when I meant to hit enter.

That wasn't the only source of difficulty menu-wise.  The 920xt's menu structure is different from those of the previous models.  I suspect that this is because there are so many additional features in the 920xt that it made more sense to revamp the menu completely than to try to build on the previous.

However, I found the new 920xt user interface (UI) hard to navigate.  With previous Garmins, I never needed to read the user's manual.  The 305/310xt/910xt interface was intuitive.  Not so for the Garmin 920xt - I've had to review the online user manual multiple times to figure out how to do things that were easy before.  I want to blame this on subpar UI design.  However, I do note that I am very used to the old Garmin menu structure, having used them for 7+ years.  Part of my struggles with the UI (and also the button location) are because I've had to break old habits; someone brand new to the Forerunner series, or alternately, a habitual RTFM'er,* will have less issue.  And the happy news is that 48 hours into my ownership, I think I've got the new interface and button locations down.
*RTFM -> "Read the F'ing Manual"
As for the additional functionality itself?  It's fun, though I'm not sure it's an additional $200 worth of fun.  Running-wise, I got additional metrics on running cadence (about 190 for me), vertical oscillation (8 cm) and stride length (1 meter during Sunday's easy run).  I love numbers, but I'm not really sure what I'll do with these.  
The 920xt also has a "recovery advisor", and smugly informed me after Sunday's run that I would need 5 days before I'd be ready to run hard.  I'm moderately annoyed that I've apparently purchased a device that will lecture me on the virtues of rest - I already have a coach, a PT, and a boyfriend for that. 
Swimming-wise, I do like it a lot more than the 910xt - it offers a lot more in the way of display screen options, and allows me to note the distance of drills at the time I'm doing them.  To explain this to non-swimmers - I liked swimming with the 910xt because it automatically counted my laps - letting me know when I had hit a preset distance.  However, it counted laps via the motion of my left arm, which meant that it ignored laps that I used a kick board for, and got confused by one armed swimming drills.  Now, I can add those in as I do them, to keep the overall yard count accurate.  It's a little thing, but it's so much nicer not to have to keep mental count of how many yards I've kicked.   The screen is also brighter and easier to read in the pool.
There's also some lifestyle functions.  It serves as a pedometer, which has proven surprisingly addictive.  Apparently I'm less sedentary than I thought I was - on a non-running day I've still gotten about 13,000 steps in*.  It will also track my sleep at night - tracking how much I moved during the night as a metric of how well I slept.  Of course, I'm not sure how much use this is - if I had a rough night of sleeping, I generally know it. 
*I pace during conference calls or when I'm trying to figure out something.**
**Lawyers love footnotes
Other pluses - much expanded battery life.  It's designed to be worn as a day watch/pedometer too, and so is designed to go several days between charges.  Additionally, it seems to charge extremely quickly when I dock it to upload data - I really have no excuse for running out of juice with it.*  And, as noted before, the screen is very bright and easy to read. 
*These words will haunt me, I'm sure.
Finally, it's lighter and smaller than the 910xt, following a trend of each Garmin being slightly smaller and more comfortable than its predecessor.  It was really interesting to don my old
305 on left, 920xt on right.
305 for comparison purposes - how did I ever wear that thing on my wrist?  Of course, there was also a time when I thought large car phones that plugged into cigarette lighters were amazingly portable, so there you go.
Downsides are that the vibration function is weaker than it was on the 910xt - sometimes I don't notice it.  And when reviewing past workouts on the watch, it doesn't show heart rate data - you have to download the workout to get that.  I find this annoying, because I like to manually input my workouts - I find it actually easier and quicker than importing the data into Runningahead and then correcting GPS errors and adding notes. (ignore the above - I figured it out).
But overall, after owning it for 2 days, I think I'm happy with the purchase.  And it is awfully pretty.


Monday:   4 "miles" easy pool-running; foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  7 miles very easy (8:38 pace), 1000 yards swimming, and some upper body strengthwork and injury prevention work.  Foam rolling at night
Wednesday: 8.5 miles very easy (8:46 pace) and yoga.  Foam rolling in afternoon.

Thursday:   Upper body strengthwork and injury prevention work, yoga, and 3 "miles" easy pool-running.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  10 miles very easy (8:43 pace) and a yoga class.  Foam rolling at night.

Saturday:   7.5 miles easy (8:28 pace), 1750 yards swimming, and upper body strengthwork.   Foam rolling at night.

Sunday:  12 miles easy (8:28 pace), yoga, and injury prevention work.  Later swam 1250 yards to try out new Garmin (and even out the log).  Foam rolling at night.

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