Tag Archive: Garmin


Ah Queenscliff. Finally. ūüôā

After recent craziness in my life, I took the afternoon off after training Saturday morning, napped on the couch and actually watched a DVD. It was heavenly. In the evening Mr Nemo was out of the house, leaving me with sole responsibility for the remote and menu choices for the evening. Healthy dinner, no alcohol (after Freshwater I learnt my lesson) and an early night.

As a result, I woke up feeling like a million bucks!

Even better, the sun was shining, and the ride to Queenscliff was gorgeous. I arrived at the beach found my crew, and together we marveled at the beautiful day.

The first race was touted as an 800m event. In the end I think it was a little longer than that…and for me a little longer again as I managed to come in way wide of the finish line. Not entirely sure how I managed that as I had no idea I’d even done it until after. No excuses, either, the conditions were pretty friendly. I went hard in this and treated it as a sprint. I am so¬†not a sprinter it was perhaps that that threw me out!

The toughest part of the Queenscliff event was the start/finish. I haven’t swum there before, so not sure if it was¬†just¬†because of a low tide, but the run out (and then back in at the end) was loooong and very bumpy. Anyone who managed to not stack in one direction or the other was definitely the exception rather than the rule, and I was certainly not one of them! It was also pretty hard work for¬†people¬†like me who are definitely more comfortable putting in their effort in the water instead of the sand!

The other trick was in the short course – keeping your cans in order. The way the course was laid out had one of the cans ready for the long course in a very awkward spot. Differentiating the difference in colours between orange and red wasn’t really that easy once you’re in the water and only head height!

Other than that, though, it was a cracking day. The longer course was also very enjoyable and it was so nice to be swimming in the sun again! It was a little odd for a while as there must have been a delay in getting the last wave started. 20 minutes in and I hadn’t been passed by the leaders of the age group behind me…I was starting to get a little paranoid that I was swimming way off course or something!

Overall a great race!

 

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I get a lot of questions about my swim watch. I have written here before about the considerations and decision-making process I went through when deciding on what watch to buy.

I ended up with the Garmin Forerunner 10 (Green) Рnot actually a swim watch, but it is waterproof and for the price it did what I wanted.

So, the verdict? There are pros and cons to this watch…..

PROS

  1. It looks great. It’s small and not bulky like most GPS watches.
  2. The Garmin plugin works great, even on my Mac, and I’ve never had any problems with the uploads.
  3. The Garmin site is great, I like the split options, the replay of your course, and especially the maps.
  4. You can’t argue with the price. Especially since I got mine on sale at Wiggle.
  5. The GPS mapping works OK.

CONS

  1. So, I’m not sure if I have a faulty watch, but mine seems to double all the distances. I’ve contacted Garmin and they gave me some things to try, none of which has worked. That being said, you can easily edit this once it’s been downloaded. At the end of the day I could probably return it, but since I’ve figured this out it doesn’t really bug me enough for me to be without the functions I¬†do have at this time of year.
  2. I think this is the case with all GPS watches, but you have to go in and start it searching for satellites, and only then can you start your swim. There is no straight-up stopwatch option without GPS so if you were inside it would be a bit useless. Also, once it’s hit the “ready” point, it times out after a couple of minutes, and you have to start the satellite search again…although to be fair it’s usually quicker the second time around. What this usually means is I remember to search for satellites, then get distracted at the start line (training or racing), and then when I go to start the thing it’s timed out and not ready. Part user error, I know, but still irritating.
  3. The other thing that kind of annoys me, is that when the watch is running and tracking GPS, there are a few different options of what you can have displayed, but the actual time of day isn’t one of them! When I’m training I may want to track a few different circuits, or I may not be sure what time I’ve actually started, but I may need to be somewhere at a particular time.
  4. One thing I’d really like to have on this thing, is a lock option. It’s probably my own fault for using a run watch for swimming, but I have knocked the buttons on several occasions, and the “finish” button is on the right hand side of the face…so for a right-hander wearing it on their left had, it’s easy to do if you bend your hand back.
  5. This watch is not approved as a swim watch, It’s a gamble I’m taking based on the things I like about it and the price. The Garmin support have told me on several occasions this is definitely not designed as a swim watch so I can’t officially recommend you get one for that purpose. Just in case.
  6. Again, possibly my own fault, but the satellite technology could still use some work as the course gets very jerky and odd down at a close look. This may be due to the watch losing satellites when the watch is under the water.
  7. Garmin in general – I use the maps a lot when I download my swims. It would be nice if I could easily copy them to use elsewhere. At the moment I have to screenshot and crop. Not a deal-breaker but kind of irritating.

So….overall? this watch has limitations. But it also has an awesome price-point and kind of does the things that were really important to me. So, I’m actually happy.

Would I recommend this watch? Maybe. If your needs are the same as mine, go for it and give it a whirl. If you have a little more cash, though, I’d possibly suggest you get what you pay for and it¬†might¬†be worth doing a bit of your own¬†research.

So…there you have it. My ramblings on my swim watch. Well…one of them ūüėČ

Update – May 2013

I get quite a lot of traffic here from people obviously looking for information on this product. I just feel like I should add a bit more information from what I’ve learned a bit further down the track. Click here to get to the follow-up post.

Sunday was the Bondi To Bronte 2.3km event. I had my new camera and was keen to take it for a bit of a swim before and after¬†the¬†event, so I thought what I might do here is a bit of a run-through of how an event like this¬†actually works for a competitor. If you’ve never swum in an ocean swim race, I’m hoping this might give you a bit of an idea of how it all works. Obviously, all events are different and they all have their own special way of doing things, but this is the story of how it went on Sunday…..

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Seems the question of watches for swimming is a bit of a hot topic in the swimming world lately. I’ve seen multiple facebook threads about it, and had some questions on Twitter recently.

I’m a bit of a gadget tragic, so it was bound to happen sooner or later that I’d jump on the bandwagon.

I went through a bit of process of research before I bought a swim watch, and realised there are really a few different categories of¬† options for what you can look at. I thought I’d share my criteria, my thought processes and my decision here as a start. The jury is still out on what I ended up with, so I’ll follow up soon with a review.

The first style you can go with is an all-purpose¬†waterproof sports watch. The advantages here are that these have been around for ages, and there are heaps of different styles to choose from at a pretty low price point. They generally have a stopwatch so you can independently check your race times (and know what they are before the results are published). Depending on how fancy your watch is, it may also have some internal memory to help with recording laps and reviewing them later. At the really fancy end of the range, you can connect these with a computer to review the data (and help with things like pacing). Coach Zoe’s analysis of her pacing progress was done on one of these…a Timex if I’m not mistaken.

Next is a purpose-specific swim watch. These are fairly new to the market and there’s pretty much only 2 brands I’m aware of in this market – Garmin¬†and Swimovate. They have some pretty nifty features like being able to tell what stroke you’re doing, counting your laps, and calculating your stroke rate and swimming efficiency. Pretty awesome for pool swimmers and for ocean swimmers if they’re doing pool sessions.

The third category is to go with something with GPS so you can map your swim, see how far you swam, how straight you swam, and what pace at different points in the swim. There’s nothing swimming specific out there that does the GPS tracking, so you end up having to repurpose a run watch (important note – must be waterproof!). The trade-off is that these are really not set up for lap timing, so that makes them pretty useless in the pool unless you’re straight up using it as a stopwatch to time something like a time trial. Again, Garmin seems to be the big market leader in this space, but a few other brands seem to be catching up fast.

The big daddy of them all is the Triathlon watch. These will look after your¬†lap timing needs and have a GPS, and are also useful if you ride a bike. There are only two real problems with this type of watch – The price is usually substantially more than what you’ll pay for any of the previous options, and the devices themselves tend to be pretty massive. The size isn’t much of a problem when you’re training and racing, but they look a bit full-on and are quite heavy compared with a regular watch.

So what did I go with?

I went with the Garmin Forerunner 10, the Garmin¬†entry level¬†running watch which is waterproof to 50m. I got it on sale, but even full price it’s still very reasonable at around $US129. The reasoning was that at this point in the year I’m more interested in tracking my races than my training, and at the price I paid I could afford to buy this plus a dedicated swim watch for less than the cost of a Tri watch.

So what do I think of it? Well, let’s just say it hasn’t been entirely smooth sailing. You can watch this space for a full review soon.

Let the games begin!!!!

First race of the season…it was very exciting, a bit nerve-wracking, and the beginning of what should be a great summer ahead!

Apologies in advance…I’ve been on work training for the last couple of days, and would have liked to have finished writing this up a touch quicker. That whole work thing interferes with my swimming so much, It’s outrageous!

Highlights

I carpooled with the gorgeous Vanessa, who lives in the same apartment complex as me. a) she’s a superfish fast swimmer b) she’s lovely and c) she grew up in the shore and had a bunch of local knowledge to share about Cronulla…including parking options!

Thanks again to Vanessa for the local knowledge, but the perfect timing of the race was a major win. Too early you can stress out, overthink, wear yourself out or feel like you need to wee when you don’t actually have to go. Too late and you can stress out, over think, under think, wear yourself out, or feel the need to wee when you don’t have to go.

Beautiful day. After so much crap weather it was nice to have a bit of sunshine, and the 1-foot waves seemed like a walk in the park compared to recent conditions.

Free goggles!!!!!! Yep, lots of exclamation points for this one. Seems a nice silicone cap and a pretty decent pair of goggles were included in the entry fee. Score! Made for really good value for money! Us ocean swimmer go through more goggles than you might imagine, and these were pretty good. A very pleasant surprise indeed.

Low numbers. I think total swimmers in the 2km event were about 102 total. this meant very little hassle with start line tussles and the usual argy-bargy.

I felt pretty good with this race…strong and consistent and I didn’t feel negative or struggle at all throughout the race. In general I’m feeling like I’m pretty much ready for this season!

Well organised. Registration was easy, kit collection was even easier, the course was well marked and there was adequate water safety. All good.

The single wave start. Small race, meant for the first time ever I got to start with all my friends! And since I’m one of those people down the back, mot of my friends were also there to cheer me on at the finish (makes me feel a bit like a rock-star!)

Best of all, somehow, by total chance, for the first time ever, Ronene and I swam almost the entire race pretty much side-by-side (yes, I am aware there were quite a lot of commas in that sentence. Why do you ask?). I’m normally a touch slower than Ro, but the crazy training regime is obviously paying off and I was doing pretty good time (for me) and keeping up. It was pretty awesome having someone to swim with, and worked out in the end when a nasty calf cramp right at the end pulled her calf muscle (yes, again! The other one this time). I’d gone in for a dual arm raise for the glory dash up the beach to the finish line, but it ended up being handier as a crutch as she hopped there instead!

Here’s a photo Paul snapped in that exact moment….

First place = Friendship!

First place = Friendship!

Room for Improvement

The 2 lap course. I dunno, jut personal, but there’s all that ocean out there…were you short on buoys? I don’t get it. I just prefer a bigger course with one loop instead of doing the same thing twice.

Condition-wise, the water was a touch chilly. And one side of the triangular course had a bit of chop. Nothing really problematic, but since we’re here…

How did I do?

2km = 44:47. Not bad for me (and the same time to the second as Ro!). It’s not a great time int he scheme of things, but given where I came from, I’m super-happy…and I had a brilliant time overall!!!

The verdict?

Sensational start to the season! Can’t wait to see how it all unfolds! Nice work Cronulla, lovely race.

More?

More photos on Flikr

Glorious.

That’s what Saturday was. One of those days that makes you want to sing and jump up and down and you feel like you can’t get the smile off your face.

You know, the conditions weren’t perfect….the waves were pretty big, and there was a nasty rip heading out the middle that may have given coach Zoe a few early gray hairs. But I was having a ball.

I felt good and strong and the neck issues didn’t rear their ugly head at all. The sun was shining, and I was surrounded by great company and good waves and body-surfing! What’s not to love?

I also had my new gadget to test out properly – a Garmin Forerunner 10 (Green). I’m still getting hte hang of it, and as you can see I may have forgotten to switch it on right at the start which is why my swim appears to start right out the back in the middle of the Bondi bay. Still, it’s done a pretty good job of tracking the course of my (somewhat haphazard) swim on Saturday.

Swim Course

Note to self: take own advice on swimming straight.

It also seems to have done a pretty good job of proving I need to take my own advice on swimming straight!

Still, should be great for the upcoming race season….I’ll be able to see how well I’ve kept to the course, what sort of pacing I’m doing, and share all of this with my awesome readers! I can’t wait!

I also took the Pentax out for some great shots…but forgot to take it out of my swim bag so I’ll post photos later.

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