Saturday, August 20, 2011

I'm a Data Junkie

(graphic courtesy of the Garmin product website)
I am a data junkie and a geek. I love reviewing data and picking it apart. I love my electronic toys, too. Both of these together make me get into trouble when I start researching how to track a new obsession.

I started using Daily Mile to record my day's exercise (it posts it to Facebook for me, too) but I'd have to remember what the information was until I got home. I also discovered that I would have to wear the pedometer I typically wear at work, etc., to track any outside walking/running and (again) remember where it was when I started so I could do some math and separate my "try not to encourage swivel-chair spread" office meaders from my "going for a real exercise walk".

Okay - and I've already pointed out that I'm lazy..... See the problem?

I wanted a way to have one piece of equipment to wear that would automatically track both indoor and outdoor exercise in one place with as little "memory" required from me as possible.

Enter the gadgets. I began doing a ton of research (I love research because, well, it's a lot about data!) and decided I wanted a gps enabled device that would track heartrate and distance/route outside but that could also track foodsteps inside. I wanted it to upload electronically and not to have to type it in myself, too. Oh and, of course, I wanted to be able to review the data in detail. After research and reading a ton of reviews and opinions, balanced with cost, etc. I made a decision and ordered my new toy.

I bought a Garmin 305 Forerunner with heart rate monitor and foot pod. It's not the most "fashion-forward" of Garmin's line but it offers the most display flexibility and accessory options along with a docking cradle that seems more reliable than the sync mechanism of the other models. I get charts of the running pace, heart rate and cadence (for biking really) for each workout. It uploads via the cradle (which also charges it) and I can import it into Daily Mile as well, so it shows up on the sidebar of this blog and on Facebook.

Last night I got everything charged and got the watch set up with the data displayed that I wanted so I could use the Garmin today.

I did have a few false starts at the gym. I discovered the Garmin 305 is very determined to seek out satellites before it finally decides to give up and asks me if I'm indoors. Next time I'll start it seeking before I get on the treadmill.

I also found out that the foot pod was a bit ... persnickety... about connecting and orientation. It really wanted to be arranged centered on top of my foot and laying along it. I'd started out with it off to one side because my VFF shoes have a single velcro strap and not the shoelaces the pod is designed for. This caused a bunch of weird distance readings and I have a couple of "stops" in my data when I paused the treadmill and adjusted it until I found where it wanted to be.

Tomorrow will be better. The weather is supposed to be nice so maybe I'll slather myself with sunscreen, strap on the Garmin and a Camelbak and take a walk along the Sammamish River Trail and see what data that gives me.

Data! I has it!

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