Tag Archives: GPS

not the run that i wanted

Unfortunately the Auckland Half Marathon on Sunday didn’t quite end up as the day I had wanted!

Although I wasn’t that keen to get up at 4.30am when my alarm went off, I quickly got ready and we were on the road to the city. I ate breakfast in the car, then we caught the ferry across to Devonport with lots of other runners. I was pleased to have the  triathlete along with me for company, and also to carry my gear for afterwards!

#flatrunner is ready

Being in Devonport nice and early meant we were able to spot a short portaloo queue and even take a few photos. Although it was still dark when we arrived at Devonport, the sun quickly rose although thankfully with a reasonable amount of cloud cover. Last year was really hot and I was expecting another hot day.

And the real runner ready!

I placed myself between the 1:50 and 2:00 pacers and was all set to go. With five minutes to go, my watch was connected to satellites. When the start hooter went off, it was no longer connected! I panicked a little then decided I had no choice but to start. I left it trying to connect for the first two kilometres, but with no success I turned the GPS off and started a normal timer (one flaw to this watch is that you can only start it with GPS – or then once you have changed settings!).

Training on the course really helped in the first 5km, I knew the hills and had no trouble running them. I was uncertain about pace but felt I was keeping calm and steady. Due to the heat I took water at each of the aid stations and slowed down to a walk to make sure I got enough water in! It felt like no time before we hit the motorway and started the hot slog to town. I still felt good at this point, taking a gel and plenty of water but was struggling to do the maths to guess at my pace.

Just like last year I was determined to make it up the bridge and I did! Another runner fell into step beside me, at the top I turned and smiled, thanking him for keeping me going. After the bridge my day literally went downhill. Every step was sending shooting pain through my feet, which hadn’t occurred at all during training, and the heat also started to get to me. It was about this point that the 2:00 hour pacer passed me and ran off into the distance. I took plenty of water at the 16km mark and knew I would be run-walking the rest. While I was far more prepared this time than in the past, I felt relatively at peace knowing I wasn’t going to get my goal. I decided to just suck it up get through the rest, knowing I have put in the work this year and will be able to keep it going until I get my goal.

There was plenty of supporters around the Westhaven area, including my wonderful TempoFit buddies! It was such a boost having them cheer, and I gave a big wave as I passed. I heard a few other runners say “which one is Michelle?” as the cheering started, so I threw my arms up for a big air pump. Between the cheering station and the finish I saw four different runners being helped, who were all looking in quite bad states. The triathlete ended up helping with two different runners which meant I was left at the finish for a bit!

My final time was 2:08 – five minutes slower than last year, and 6 minutes slower than Rotorua in May. I didn’t feel like this was a fair reflection of what I was trained and ready for, and was pretty gutted to go into work on Monday knowing I would have to tell everyone I hadn’t achieved my goal.

But, after enjoying my Snickers bar on the couch at home, I started googling for my next attempt. Whenuapai in late March or Huntly in late May is the next decision!

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a little present for myself

And enter my bonus-time treat to myself… a shiny new Garmin!


After reading bad reviews of the Nike GPS, and deciding I didn’t want a gigantic watch weighing down my rather small wrist, I settled on the Garmin FR70. Decision made, should be easy now right? Hmm, not so much. Being in New Zealand things often end up costing so much more. I could see the US stores and what they sell them for in USD – so I convert it to NZD, only to find that what it would cost me at a shop here is far more than that. I know it costs more to ship here and it is a smaller market, but I’m really not willing to suck up an extra $100 because of that. So, I bought it from Wiggle. I took a bit of a risk (although the triathlete has made many purchases without any issues) and decided waiting for a Garmin on back-order would be better than paying through the nose in NZ.

And it worked out in my favour! Turns out the back-order warning wasn’t such a big deal and it arrived about 2 weeks after ordering. As I was expecting this to be at least a month I was stoked. I’d decided that waiting for a month was fine with where I was at in terms of training. But now I have it? I’m very happy I do. Still need to sort out my calibration, as it is under-tracking me by about 30m per KM, but that should be an easy fix. I’ve linked it up with the adidas MiCoach foot-pod and heart rate monitor and they are connecting fine.

Am I happy? Yes! I was worried about the size of the watch after running using a Timex IronMan watch (HUGE), but the women’s style is fairly streamlined and sits nicely on my small wrist. I did have a reaction to the watch strap the first time I wore it, but after cleaning it with some slightly soapy water it hasn’t been an issue since.

Do I wish I’d gone for the bells-and-whistles GPS watch? Nope, I’m pretty happy with the data this one can provide, and it is connecting fine with the foot-pod. I also really like the customisable screens so I can see exactly what I want (time, distance, HR, pace) and get rid of those that I’m not too fussed about (calories!).

A good purchase and a great aid to my training. I only wish I had done this before I went to the US!

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