Friday, November 9, 2007

A "Serious" Review of the Garmin Forerunner

Among the comments from yesterday’s post were several that I am resisting the urge to focus on. However there was one comment that caught my attention. Amanda, who eats hills for breakfast, asked “but seriously I want to know what you think of [the Garmin]?” Amanda, I am offended by your use of the word seriously. We do not do ANYTHING seriously here at Half-Fast, you should know better. What I can offer you are my real opinions of the Garmin couched in juvenile humor and sarcasm. It’s what I do best.

Last night I strapped on my Garmin Forerunner 205 and headed out for a 5 mile run. What I liked the most about the Garmin is that it let’s other runners know that I’m a serious runner. When I passed people on the trail our eyes would lock for a fleeting second and I could tell that they were thinking “not only is that the prettiest man I’ve ever seen, but he is also clearly a serious runner.” I like the Garmin because it is a status symbol, just like the Starbucks coffee that I take into the office everyday. My Starbucks let’s everyone know that I’m too good for the break room coffee and I’m wealthy enough to do something about it, i.e. pay $5.48 for a grande, non-fat, no-whip, half-caf, extra hot, vanilla latte.

Some of the other features that I liked:
  • Auto Pause. Whenever I stopped at a crosswalk the Garmin automatically stopped the timer. It took about 3 - 4 seconds to pause and only 1 - 2 seconds to restart so technically it was stealing a few seconds from me at every stop, but it’s a cool feature nonetheless.
  • Auto Lap. I set the Garmin to begin a new lap every mile allowing me to analyze my mile splits at the end of the workout.
  • Distance Alerts. It can be set to beep at you every mile (or whatever distance you select).
  • Digital Training Partner. I didn’t use this feature but I will, and I’m pretty sure I’ll love it, unless my digital training partner keeps beating me.
  • Accuracy. I ran a route that I’ve mapped out many times on various pedometers as well as on Gmaps Pedometer and the Garmin appears to be very accurate.
  • Pace. I’ve read complaints elsewhere about the pace being erratic, but it seemed to be pretty much dead on right from the start. Of course I’m in Colorado so I’m a mile closer to the satellites than all of you flatlanders.

Some of the things I disliked:

  • I disliked that it made me do stupid things, like running with my wrist near the ground and then leaping into the air and throwing my hand up high just to see if I could get it to register a 9 foot spike in elevation. (Didn’t work by the way.)
  • I disliked that it does not have a backlight to illuminate the display which led to me only looking at the Garmin when I ran under a street light. Of course when I got home I discovered that the Garmin DOES have a backlight which is very easy to use, I’m an idiot.
    All in all, there was nothing that I disliked.

I love my new Garmin and I’ve only run with it once. Maybe I’ll post a more complete review after I get more familiar with it, but until then I need everyone’s help with something. My digital training partner needs a name. He needs an identity so that I can motivate myself to beat him and talk trash to him as I run. My wife suggested I call him Chocolate, since I’m Vanilla and that would be opposite. You can’t see it but I’m rolling my eyes and groaning as I type this. My idea (Chump) wasn’t any better. Please tell me that you are all more creative than we are. Your suggestions in the comments.


  1. Try running with Garmie AND a camelback. I got the most awed, "Are you training for something really long? How far are you going?" uhh, six miles but it's really hot so I need 45 ounces of gatorade. :D

    I LIKE your wife's idea. Isn't there something like take your pet's name when you were a kid and the street you grew up on and that is your stage name or alter ego or something?

    Mine would be Firecracker Willow. Sounds HOT!!

  2. I've heard that formula for names, but I was told that was what your name would be if you were an adult film star. Guess "stage name" might just be NRNancy's way of saying the same thing.

    Maybe call it "Moron" or "Loser" or "Slow Poke", you know, to boost your self confidence.

    Or "Chocolate."

  3. How about calling it Starbuck? It takes time to get used to your new Garmin. You only had it for one day and half so far. You have to try different experiment to see what feature suit you the most. Everyone is different. I took the auto-pause off cuz I hate it. The most important thing is to play with it until you master it. You will be a pro with Garmin within a week or two.

  4. I was thinkin' plain or Garmie.
    NR-Nancy called him that automatically, so it's a fit for sure. It's like a little pet name. Garmie... come run with me little Garmie Garm Garm.

  5. I'm not creative at all, so when I have to fake it I always turn to my good friend Google.

    I searched for names that start with G, and the best I found was "Gustavo." I think it works, you could even yell it really loud: "I'LL GET YOU YET, GUSTAVOOOO!!"

    It has a ring to it.

  6. Ted... Starbuck... and now I think Battlestar Galactica. Man, I am lame. LOL.

    Vanilla, you have definitely increased my desire for a Garmin. Man, I really, really want one now!

  7. D.A.R.Y.L. - Data Analyzing Running Yahoo Lifemate

  8. You know me, I like to get my names out of the Celeb D-List pool. Wasn't Vanilla (Ice) kinda close to Ron Jeremy in the Surreal Life? Or was it Erik Estrada that he was close too? Yeah, I'd go with Ron or Ponch :P

  9. Mili Vanilli? For its phenomenal ability to synchronize with a real pro ;)

  10. Stick with someone's name who really pissed you off years ago. That way, you'll wanna open a can of whoop-a$$ each time you race against him.

  11. i think you just cured me of my starbucks habit.

  12. I just got a 305 yesterday, but I haven't used it yet. I was going to take the month of November completely off, but I might sneak in an easy 5.5 miler tomorrow in honor of Ryan Shay.

  13. Call it Fatty, cuz who wants to get outrun by a fatty?

  14. If you really want to be a GPS guru you should download and try Sport Tracks. I've had a 305 since it came out and Sport Tracks is the coolest software I've found to analyze my runs. Check it out at:

  15. Well thank you for the shout out and the extremely serious post..I wonder if you could name it something that portrays your maturity level...or the fact that people thought you were a woman for quite awhile?

    Maybe..Juvie? Honey? Toostie? in plain jane..hmm.

    But really (is that better than seriously)... you've made me believe this gadget might just be worth its pricey little tag.

  16. Thanks for the review..hoping I can spend the big bucks for christmas, and get the kiddos gifts at the dollar store.

    On the naming front I am thinking grande, since ur living large with the Starbucks and it is a mighty large wirst device.

  17. Fellow 205'er here and couldn't agree more. It's a cool little/big device. Don't leave home without it! :)

    RunEmoryU: thanks for the Sport Tracks link, looks promising.


  18. oh. i have garmin envy. it pauses? automagically at intersections? it beeps at every mile? i must get one. if for nothing else but to look like the serious runner i think i am in my head.

  19. Don't have a Garmin yet... But, love the review. Especially the elevation experiment. I can see that in my head and it's freakin high..larious.

    Don't have a good name for the virtual training partner. But, does anyone else think that's kinda creepy? It's like your running with a ghost or something.

  20. If you need a gadget to show that you are a "serious" runner, you are probably terrible anyway. Good luck with your 40 minute 10k's and 3:30 marathons. Maybe with something more expensive around your wrist you can run under 40 minutes and be a really "serious" runner.

  21. I am a terrible runner by Richard's definition--which I agree with--and I have a Garmin. So Richard is right.


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