nine years with my garmin

To make a long story short, I’ve been running for awhile.  I started running in 1997 – yikes!  I ran my first marathon in 2006 as a senior in college (Go Terps!).  After my first marathon, which happened to be the Marine Corps Marathon, I asked for a Garmin for Christmas.  Prior to this, most of my running loops had been figured out using Gmap Pedometer, or software quite like it since I don’t actually remember when that emerged.  I definitely remember using a car to measure miles at some point in my life!  Anyway.  I found a deal at CostCo to purchase the Garmin Forerunner 205 for about $100, and I put it on my Christmas list and hoped for the best.  My parents Santa is quite awesome, and I got my wish.

I’ve been running with a Garmin ever since.  I’ve been through the 205, upgraded to the 305 (only because it was red, not because I wanted the heart rate monitor) when my 205 bit the dust in 2011, and upgraded again to the 220 for my birthday this past year, compliments of Eric.  I know some people love their Garmin-less runs, but I love the data, so I can probably count on one hand the number of runs I’ve done without a Garmin since Christmas 2006.

I don’t what everyone else uses to keep track of their Garmin data, but I’ve been using Sport Tracks the entire time.  It was free at first, but at some point they required payment for use of the software.  I believe it was no more than $30, which seemed like a lot at the time since I was still in school.  Considering that I’ve been using it for about nine years now, I think I’ve gotten my money’s worth!  (For those who are interested in a review of Sport Tracks, DC Rainmaker does a better one than I could ever do.)

This was all good until I tried to upload my run yesterday…and my logbook seemed to have disappeared.  Every time I opened the program, it asked me to name a new logbook, and an error message occurred whenever I tried to open my normal logbook.  I panicked.  Did I just lose NINE YEARS of data?  All my marathon splits?  All those easy runs around Maryland’s campus?  My first run in New York?  I googled the issue, but couldn’t come up with anything that seemed to fit, so I did what any smart Windows user does…I shut down and restarted my computer.

Unlike the sound issues I face every couple weeks, restarting my computer didn’t do the trick.  I panicked even more.  I realized that I hadn’t backed up my log book in a looooooong time.  At least that I could remember.  So I went digging through some documents, and luckily the logbook has self-backed up (didn’t know that was a thing…) earlier this month.  HALLELUJAH THANK YOU TO THE POWERS THAT BE.

I wiped the sweat off my brow and uploaded the lost data, thankful that nine years of running didn’t just go down the drain.  Of course, almost losing the data made me go back through the years – I did a quick overview, but it’s interesting to see patterns based on what was happening in my life.


image 3.69 miles in 31:05, avg pace of 8:26

image And I ran around Maryland’s campus.  I lived in South Campus Commons, in case you were wondering.

they warned me about nursing school…

When I interviewed for the accelerated BSN program at Rush University, they asked me how I handled stress.  I told them that I run.  When they asked me how I would handle stress when I didn’t have time to run, I wanted to tell them that I didn’t understand the question (hello, good nurses have good time management skills!), but instead I told them I would find a way and said something about having good support systems.  (Thank you to my mom for doing my laundry.)  However, nursing school wasn’t so bad…for the most part…

image Grey squares = days that I ran.

For the record, I commuted about three hours per day to get to and from school, plus this winter was one of the worst winters in Chicago that I can remembered.  (It snowed in May.  I may have cried.)  We also had a test or quiz every single day, except for two days, in February.  I suppose I didn’t run much at that time…

imageThe rest of the year…

Luckily, the rest of the year went quite well, and minus a few bumps in the road I ran more than I didn’t!  I won at nursing school.  I did ponder running the Chicago Marathon that year, but I was smart and played it safe – I worked on the weekends, so my long run time was limited.  I graduated in December 2008, and then BQ’s in Spring 2009 – hooray!  Let’s contribute that to nursing school base building…


I didn’t know a single person when I moved to New York, but I knew I’d be able to meet some runners.  On my first day alone in New York (after my dad left after helping me move – thanks, Dad!), I searched for a running group.  I found an NYRR group that was meeting at Engineer’s Gate (before I knew that’s what it was called), so I met up with them.  Instead of an NYRR group, I met up with Achilles and helped to lead a blind man around Central Park.  Little did he know that that blind (metaphorically…) was leading the blind.

image Oh, that loop…

I’ve seen that loop many, many times since that first run on September 7, 2010.

over the years…


Since I’ve had my Garmin, I’ve recorded 9,618 miles of running.  If you included the biking and swimming I’ve done, the total is 11,047 miles.  I’m oddly proud that the avg. pace for running 7:59 – just under 8 minutes!  :)   I know some people run many, many more miles than I do.  My record for annual mileage is 1713, which was in 2011…also the year of my marathon PR!  Imagine that.

I know some people love running “naked,” aka without a Garmin.  I’m a science nerd at heart and love the data.  Sometimes I let the Garmin pace dictate a run, but many other times, I’m just…running.  I would love to go back and analyze when I ran my best – in college?  In nursing school?  When I worked 3-11pm?  When I was on orientation/jury duty and did the 9am-5pm routine?  Night shift?  (lololololol)  Day shift?  It would be interesting to see, and it’s all right at my fingertips!  One of these days…

and the now

After my long run yesterday, my legs were a bit tired.  Since I’m working the next four days, I probably won’t get any more mileage in after today….so I headed out for a longer-ish recovery run, if such a thing exists.  And oh man, were my legs tired!  I did eight miles, which may have been biting off a little more than my legs could chew.

I got passed by what I can only imagine is the Columbia Men’s Track Team, and otherwise slogged along.  It felt a lot worse than it looks, and I promise I tried to hold back!

And definitely got slower over time!  Oops…

I’ve heard that women tend to peak in their 30’s, or after a baby (sorry Mom, not happening yet!), so I hope to have some good years ahead of me…and I will certainly have it all recorded by a little computer on my wrist.  (My right wrist…even though I’m a righty.  It confuses so many people.)

Do you use a Garmin/other GPS device?  How long have you been using it for?  Do you wear it for every run?  What program do you use to keep track of all your data?

a long run with the heart rate monitor

We last left off with a rainy day and a long run that was skipped over.  Rumor has it that yesterday, which many people had off from work thanks to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, was a lovely day for running.  I wouldn’t know since I spent the day at work, but I did learn that Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi (I’ve heard Virginia too) recognize Robert E. Lee’s birthday, which happened to coincide with MLK Day this year.  THE IRONY.  Apparently they don’t really do much to “celebrate” the birthday, but still strange.


After making time and a half yesterday (thank you, MLK), I have today off!  Lucky for me, the lovely weather continued and the sun even came out for a bit.  (Maybe the sun was out yesterday, I can’t say I recall.)  After some coffee and a banana with peanut butter, plus a few rounds of water because I feel like I’m dehydrated all the time these days, I headed out for a long run (12 miles!).  I’m trying to mix up my runs as much as living on a very populated island will let me mix up my runs, so I headed out for a partial counterclockwise loop of Central Park, hitting Harlem Hill for the first time in awhile, then exiting at 96th St to head over to the Hudson.  Robyn had planned a run like this on Saturday (I was working so I missed it!), and I realized that I’ve never done this before.  A very slight change in my normal running routes, but a nice way to not just run loops of Central Park over and over again

I decided to wear my heart rate monitor today, not only because I sometimes wonder what my heart rate is, but mainly because I like to use it to keep myself in check.  If I see a certain pace on my watch, I might get upset about it and try to go faster.  But if I put my watch on heart rate so I can only see my heart rate, I pay more attention to my effort and adjust based on that.  For the most part, I keep my heart rate in the 160’s.  I don’t claim to be a heart rate training expert, and I know that this is generally considered too high for long runs,  but I’m pretty comfortable at the pace that this gets me.

My Garmin has been a little bit of a pain lately when it comes to finding signal, but it allowed me the opportunity to direct someone toward the nearest vitamin store, which is one step closer to pretending I know my way around the UWS.  The loop-ish of Central Park went well, and Harlem Hill wasn’t as bad as I remembered.  I crossed the west side at 96th St and got a little lost trying to figure out how to get under the West Side Highway to the Hudson River path.  Oops?  Heading south, I was happy to be on a flat path instead of the up and down of Central Park…although I can feel my legs get more fatigued without the elevation changes.  A girl with long legs, short shorts, and a good pace passed me heading the other way, and I wondered 1) if she was cold and 2) if long legs actually make you run faster.  (And can I get some of those?  Your legs get longer when you hit 30, right?) 

I did some math on the run to figure out when I needed to turn around, realized I did my math wrong, and headed back a smidgen early.  (Spoiler alert:  Ended up being perfect!)  The way back was only about 2.5 miles, but I realized I was getting tired.  My heart rate was creeping closer to 170 than I would like, although I can’t say I was running any faster.  I was feeling thirsty and wondered if I need to take some water with me, even in these cooler temperatures.  I pushed up the hill that leads from the river back up to the street (it’s a doozy, in my mind), and made it back home.  Half a block away from home, I realized that I would run 12 miles this week in just about the exact same time as I ran a half marathon a week and a half ago.  It always amazes me how different two runs can feel!

Tuesday, January 20 – 12.05 miles in 1:38:24, avg pace of 8:10

image HR was a little off in that first mile…

Questions:  Does anyone wear a heart rate monitor as more of an observational piece rather than adjusting your run based on it?  And do you carry water with you in cooler temperatures for longer runs?  Inquiring minds…

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