running

Laurelhurst 5k

I ran my first 5k of the year on Sunday.

Did I train for it? Not really. Have I been running? Yes. So when last week arrived and I realized the race was coming up, I wasn’t too worried. For months I’ve been running every Wednesday with Logan 4.5-5 miles and then on Fridays at work during lunch, I run 2.5-3 miles on the treadmill (depending on how much time I have).

So for the spring and summer, I have been running around 8 miles a week. I figured a 5k wouldn’t be a big issue. I was looking forward to this race. I signed up for two 5k’s last year but I wasn’t quite ready to run them postpartum and ended up skipping them. The last 5k I ran was when I was pregnant with Logan!

Here is a post from 2 years ago when I ran the Laurelhurst 5k. I had been newly pregnant and had just hurt my back, so I was surprised I was able to run it at all. My time that time was 39:41.

The plan for this year was to run the 5k as a family. I was going to run with Logan in the running stroller and Michael was going to run with us. Well, we seem to have bad luck with races–this year? We all got the stomach flu last week. Of course!

Logan got it Tuesday, I got it Wednesday. Michael got it Thursday and was sick all weekend, so he didn’t run and stayed home with Logan. I was solo this time. Which was kind of a bummer.

I woke up Sunday and had breakfast of two fried eggs, half a bagel with cream cheese and coffee. It was dreary out. After months of sun and hot hot hot weather, the weather was rainy and gray. We definitely need the rain, and hopefully it will clear the air of the wildfire smoke, but it was kind of a bummer for race day! It turned out to not be that bad. The rain stopped for most of the race, and just misted a little bit.

They changed the race route this year. The last few years we’ve done it, it was three laps on the pavement through Laurelhurst Park. This year, they made it two laps and it was partly through differently terrain: grass, hills, bark dust, dirt, plus the paved trails.

Laurelhurst Park is really pretty. Lots of trees and plants and there are ponds with ducks and geese. The trail was pretty good this year. I did like that it was only 2 laps through the park. But I wasn’t super excited about running on uneven ground. There were parts of the trail that had tree roots coming up out of the grass and if you stepped wrong, I could see a sprained ankle happening.

I started out pretty good on the race. I just listened to my music and set a pace. I wasn’t in a mood to try and break any records of mine. I just wanted to run the race and hopefully not have to walk for most of it!

I ran the first mile of the race without any walk breaks. I wasn’t particularly fast but I was doing pretty good. There were two hills, one was gravel, that I did walk on during both of the laps.

Sweaty, blurry run selfie!

I started the second lap of the race feeling really strong. I wasn’t tired, despite having the flu for four days leading up to the race. My left knee was a little achy but overall, my body felt good. There was about 1/2 mile left of the race. I sped up a little bit to finish strong.

I crossed the finish line and got my ribbon! I felt really great! Especially for not having to take many walking breaks during the race.

I grabbed half a banana after the race and drank some water, stretched, and then headed home. I didn’t hang around for the raffle. I was sweaty and wet from the drizzle rain during the race and looking forward to a hot shower.

Here are my stats:

So I’m confused as to why the mileage is off. I’m not sure if the race was off or if my GPS was off. I don’t get it. But despite that, I was really happy with my pace and my time. 36 minutes is my best 5k time! I felt super happy about that!

I feel strong and happy with my race and my time! I’m so glad it went well! Next month is my next 5k!

Garmin VivoFit Heart Rate Monitor Review

For Mother’s Day Logan (Michael 😉 ) got me a new heart rate monitor as a gift. I’ve been talking about getting a Garmin for a few years now.

I’ve been a faithful Polar HR monitor wearer for years but I feel like the Polar watch has gone downhill the last few years. I’ve had nothing but problems with them. The battery life is not great and even replacing the batteries when it dies, I was having issues with the watch just not working anymore. The price point for the Polar is “cheap” enough that whenever the battery replacement crapped out on me, I could just buy a new watch. But that was a pain and felt like a waste of money. It also irked me that I was basically having to buy a new heart rate monitor every year. I don’t know why the battery replacements wouldn’t work (at least 50% of the time). It was very frustrating.

So I started to look into some of the entry-level Garmin watches and I got really overwhelmed with reading reviews and trying to figure out which one would be best for me that I gave up.

I was really excited when Michael got this watch for me because he’s in IT and a tech guy and he reads ALL the reviews about this kind of stuff and is very knowledgeable about what is good, what is crappy, what features to look for, etc.

What I need in a watch or app is pretty basic. I want:

  • Calories burned
  • Heart rate
  • Miles ran/biked

That’s pretty much all I’m looking for. But this watch has so much more! It has dozens of activities to choose from. You can personalize it a bit, too. It also tracks steps and sleep.

I use the Garmin Connect App on my iPhone. I synced it with the watch and a few times a day it syncs automatically with the app and updates everything. ALSO, a cool feature, you can connect it to your MyFitnessPal app and it will record your steps/calories/activities in the app for your day. I like that feature. One less place I have to LOG everything! It just does it for me.

If you want to read a step by step instruction of the watch, with photos, check out this link. It was very helpful for me when I was first learning my watch. My review today is more about the functionality of it.

I didn’t think the sleep tracking would be all that interesting to me, but after using it for a few weeks I actually kind of liked that feature. It was interesting to see how well  I slept — it tracks light sleep, deep sleep, and when you are awake. It’s funny seeing the graph for the nights I get up with Logan!

It also tracks steps, which is interesting to see how active I am but I don’t really track the steps in any other way so I rarely look at that info. I will say that at work I have a standing desk and I walk around a lot to the printer, mail room, around the office, etc, so I move a lot during the day. The only time I really sit at work is in meetings!

Fitness

I’ve used the Garmin watch for a few different activities now. Hiking, walking, running, cardio in the gym and strength training.

When I used it hiking in Bend, I feel like the calorie count was WAY off. But I didn’t wear my Polar heart rate monitor to compare (I had planned on using both for the first few weeks to compare the stats and see how accurate the Garmin is).

I’ve worn it going for walks–long and short–and I also feel like the calorie burn is a little on the high side. Again, I need to wear my Polar on my next walk to compare the calories and see. Maybe I’m wrong.

Running — It’s accurate and it works great! I’ve worn it running outside three times now and I compared it to my Polar heart rate monitor and the Cyclemeter iPhone app for mileage and it’s accurate in the mileage and it’s accurate in the calories burned within about 10 calories.

I’ve worn it running on the treadmill once and the mileage was NOT accurate. It was off by about half a mile. Which is no big deal to me because I have the mileage on the treadmill I can look at. I am more concerned about it being accurate when I run outside.

Running on the treadmill gave me a fairly accurate calorie burn, when I compare it to the Polar HRM. It was about 20 calories more than the Polar. Not a big deal. Anything more than that and I’d be concerned, but 10-20 calories isn’t a huge deal to me.

The above photos were from my treadmill run. I started the Garmin 1 minute late and stopped it 1 minute earlier than the Polar, but despite that, the calories were pretty close. This particular run was 3 miles on the treadmill but the Garmin thought I did 3.58.

I like the screens that show heart rate and distance. It’s easy to scroll through and see quickly while you are doing the activity.

Swimming – I wore it in the pool to check it out. The first big issue I have with it? It doesn’t track heart rate while swimming. I found that odd and I’m not sure why it doesn’t do that. It gave me a calorie count at the end of my swim session but I doubt it’s reliability because it didn’t link in my heart rate. At this point in my life, swimming is very very easy and I’m very efficient when I swim–meaning, I don’t burn the same amount of calories in a session as I used to.

I highly doubt I burned 440 calories swimming. I wear my Polar HRM once or twice a year in the pool just to check in and see where I am at calorie-wise and it rarely changes–one session according to Polar is between 300-350 calories burned. So that is a little disappointing.

I do like that it gave me the break down of the strokes, etc. It also synced to the app and gave me info:

I kind of love the charts and break down of pace and when I rested and stroke info. One other glitch? When I tried to swim some laps with the paddle board, it stopped counting my yards. I guess it’s calculating everything by arm movement. That was kind of frustrating.

So in that particular session I did 2000 yards, even though it didn’t quite calculate it correctly.

PROS

  • No chest strap!!! It’s just the watch
  • Long battery life in between charging
  • It finds GPS quickly and doesn’t seem to lose the GPS signal
  • Accurate mileage and calorie burn
  • Easy to use
  • Syncs with Garmin Connect app for full data
  • Touch Screen on watch
  • LOTS of features
  • The watch is light and fairly comfortable
  • It notifies you to move if you’ve been inactive for too long

CONS

  • A lot of features that I’m not sure how to use yet, if you’re not really “techy” it can feel overwhelming
  • Sometimes it takes too much time to scroll through all the screens on the touch screen watch
  • It doesn’t show your calories being burned DURING the activity, only once you are done
  • Exercise limitations–You can add more activities to personalize it but it would be nice to have other options instead of just “other”
  • The limitations in the pool are a big con for me

I haven’t had a chance yet to test it out biking. I’m hoping to bike to work sometime in the next few weeks and write a review on it then.

QUESTION: What kind of heart rate monitor/activity tracker to you use? Thoughts?