Friday, December 7, 2018

The Good

Lately I've been feeling like I'm actually a different person than I was before my surgeries.

So far in training, each new distance has come with ease. I have felt confident. I have been nervous as I build mileage, but also unbothered by past hangups. I'm free from the comparison traps, the pace calculations, the hunger to prove myself...

It's as if running has been stripped back down to basics, and everything feels good as a result.

I honestly can't remember any time in the past that five miles felt like it could be my new baseline. It was three for a long time, and then four - and four felt like an accomplishment. Any distance over four felt hard-earned. Any distance over four was a long run.

I can't explain it. Friday's run felt like homecoming. My body just loved the run. It felt fluid. It felt meant to be.
And I was going to make a big deal about it, but then I realized I've been having this feeling on all my runs since early November. Like my body just knows what to do. Every run feels like homecoming.

Is it residual gratitude over being able to run again? Is it the cooler weather? Is it the fact that the race I'm training for is my favorite race?

I can't say for sure. But I know this: something has clicked into place for the first time in ages, maybe the first time ever, and running feels like a friend welcoming me home.


Thursday, December 6, 2018

A Brand New Garmin

I've had a total of three Garmin watches and none of them came to me brand new.
The first, a Forerunner 410, was a hand-me-down from a friend in the Sub-30 Club who knew I was looking for a GPS watch but wasn't sure what I'd like. He was upgrading and sent me the FR410. It turned out to be a little more watch than I needed at that point in time (I didn't even know Garmin Connect existed or how to look at data), and I started looking for a different one about a year later.

My second Garmin was a gently used Forerunner 10 from another Sub-30 friend that was more my speed and served me well. At the time, I was still using the Nike+ app, but it began to get really screwy. Once it flaked out on me mid-race, I decided to give up the app and go full-Garmin. However, once I made that switch, I soon realized the FR10 wasn't quite enough for marathon training, and I started to look for an upgrade.

That upgrade came in the form of Kristina's old Vivoactive. It's just been good luck that every time I look to get a new watch, a friend is also in the market and is kind enough to pass one on to me. The Vivoactive has truly served me well these past two years, but with my new legs and my running mindset, I felt it was time for a new watch, too.
The VA was the first Garmin I truly felt 100% comfortable and happy with. It helped me get used to running with a watch instead of an app.
Now, I always return the favor of passing along my old watches. The FR410 went to Matt before he started using a Speed Coach, a dedicated device meant for paddling craft. The FR10 went to Elizabeth so she could track her distance when we weren't running together. And the Vivoactive will go to my brother, who has taken up kayaking and has started using Strava to track his miles, but is in need of a GPS watch.
Elizabeth used the FR 10 well into her pregnancy!
Why can I now pass on the Vivoactive? Because for Hanukkah this year, Matt got me an ACTUALLY brand new Vivoactive 3. My secondhand watches have always worked just fine, and I am grateful that I've been able to test out a few different iterations without committing to an expensive watch all this time...But I am so excited to now have a brand new Garmin of my choosing!
Yes, we are using all three menorahs this year.
I took what I knew from my experiences with my other watches, did my research, and picked out what I think will be the best for my running lifestyle for a long time to come. Right now, admittedly, it may be more watch than I need, but that means I'll be able to grow into it as I continue to grow as a runner. (Read: Once I get back into full marathon training and aiming for a PR.)
I chose the VA3 because I liked the touchscreen on the VA, it's loaded with all kinds of features, and it's a smartwatch (not just a running watch). I'm thinking it may replace my Apple Watch completely. I was worried it would take awhile to get used to some of the features, but after about 15 minutes of playing with it, I've got most of it figured out.

Wednesday I went for my first run with the new watch and I am in love. The screen is so easy to read! The data fields are so easy to program!
This is my first watch with a built in HR monitor, so my dashboard not only shows my run data, but also my heart rate and stress level, among other things. In theory, I could start training using my VO2 max!
Some shots of the Garmin Connect app dashboard with all the new data available. I like the weekly Intensity Minutes goal, too.
It's super lightweight and soft. Like, weirdly soft. The band is unlike anything I've ever worn on my wrist before. I've never had such a comfortable watch!

Basically, I am 100% happy with it, and for my first official new GPS watch, I feel like I couldn't have made a better choice!