Showing posts with label Gmaps. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gmaps. Show all posts

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Bad Garmin, bad judgment

How far & how fast? Garmin's not talking
Today's run (street): 4.4 miles
Yesterday's run (street): 3.2 miles

My stopwatch would have been a better choice than my FR 60 on today's run, but I didn't realize that until I was about three miles in. That's when I experienced another Garmin meltdown. I naively thought that the Garmin was back to its old self because the timer seemed to be working again. I wasn't able to pair it with my foot pod, but I didn't really care. In fact, even if I could, the data would have been flawed because I hadn't calibrated the foot pod in six years.

It's finally fall and that means the weather is much more run friendly in the morning. Yesterday I ran my usual Friday circuit a little faster than usual and I was happy about that. I don't know if I've turned a corner in terms of pacing, but I'm generally running 45 seconds to a minute per mile faster than just a few weeks ago. I suspect cooler conditions contributed, but some of it must be due to improved fitness.

This morning I completely ignored what was happening outside and only noted the 59° temperature posted by the local news station. When I stepped outside, I felt a light but steady rain falling. I went back inside to change my running shoes because I didn't want the Zantes to get soaked. I went into the guest room to get new shoes from my gear cabinet and my wife was running on the treadmill. I told her it was raining and she said, "I told you that twice this morning." Actually she had mentioned it, but I'd decided the rain would stop before I went out.

A few minutes later I was out the door with different shoes and my ASICS rain jacket. Despite the extra layer, I stayed comfortable because of a steady breeze coming from the north. I wore the hood for the first mile. Although the conditions were cool, the humidity fogged my glasses. Things got better when I removed the hood when the rain lightened to a mist.

At least Gmaps still works
I enjoyed the cool breeze and the cloud-covered sky and I started to wonder how much time had passed since I'd started. I glanced at the Garmin which showed I'd been running about 30 minutes. I calculated in my head that, based on the rest of my planned route, I'd end up running about four and a quarter miles. About a minute after I'd checked the time, I heard the same sound that I heard at the end of last Sunday's run on the Bethpage trail. Once again, the Garmin's display said "Scanning" and I knew that I'd lost both the timer and my elapsed time.

I finished the rest of my run without knowing how long or far I'd gone. I hadn't taken note of the time when I left, so I couldn't calculate my pace based on post-run mapping and duration. I can estimate it roughly, but the margin of error is wide. I located my stopwatch when I got home and will take that along tomorrow. I'll get a GPS watch eventually, but for now I'll track my metrics like they did in the olden days. By that I mean in 2005 when Google launched Gmaps.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Dog day run

When I Googled Dog Days, all I got was pages of this anime
Today's run 4.2 miles

Well, it looks like a dog to me
This morning's run looked more like a dog than a cheek-shooting bi-athlete. I think that's appropriate because today was definitely a dog day. Predictions of rain got me out the door earlier than yesterday. Overall, I had a slightly better experience than Saturday, because the humidity and pollen levels were a touch lower. Still, the difference in comfort between shaded and unshaded sections of the road was huge.

I first thought about running at Bethpage and taking a route that toggled between the paved trail and the dirt side paths that cut through the woods. It came down to convenience and timing and I decided to stay local to get out faster. I'd put on my aging Virratas that would be a good shoe on both pavement and dirt. After I made the decision to stay in the neighborhood I forgot to switch to either the Kayanos or Triumphs - my current trainers.

I mentally mapped a new route and took off, keeping an eye peeled for my teenage daughter who was out practicing her driving. I immediately noticed how much I preferred the Virratas over the newer pairs of running shoes. Although some people I know love their super-cush sneakers, I'm still a fan of minimal models.

Probably due to pre-hyperthermia delusions, I took a wrong turn around the 2.5 mile point and made an ad hoc change that took me outside the neighborhood. It was fine but it forced me to negotiate some really broken sections of concrete. I watched my steps carefully to avoid a face plant. I cut back into the neighborhood at my first opportunity and completed the run by focusing on the tall glass of water that I would drink the moment I got home.

I ended up running close to 13 miles this week. Low by historical standards, but I only ran three times. I have moved out out of my 3 mile rut and next weekend I want to cover at least 5.5 miles on at least one of my runs. How I do in terms of workout over the next four days will depend on my schedule. I'm determined to get at least one workout in before Friday, even if it's on the elliptical.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Running route or Rorschach test?

 
Today's run (street): 4.75 miles

My grand plan for returning to my old weekday running routine went off the rails this week because of changes at work that took up a lot of my time. Bottom line, we had a big re-org that unfortunately affected a lot of people. As a result, I will take on additional responsibilities within the organization. Great, I guess. But I've liked the fact that (up to now) my role has been primarily consultative. That has allowed me to have a very flexible schedule and I'm hoping that can continue.

My flexible schedule allows me to work from home on Fridays and that allowed me to fit in my annual checkup with my doctor. One year ago, I'd told my doctor about ending up in the medical tent after the Brooklyn Half. He proceeded to put me through a long tedious day of tests and never gave me results. He only acknowledged I was fine by having his assistant send me a signed release form that allowed me to use my company's fitness center.

I decided to switch doctors and I was happy with the change. Everything was fine but that caused me to miss one of my key running days. I considered running later in the day, but I was concerned about being depleted by the blood work. I think that was a good call because I felt lethargic on today's run and I'm wondering if a slightly lower plasma level had something to do with that.

This morning I knew I needed to get out for more than a 3 mile easy run. We had some things going on in the morning that prevented me from getting out as early as I planned. I didn't think that mattered but, looking back, I would have liked a little more time of the street before the humidity went off the charts. I sometimes experience a minute or two of discomfort at the beginning of a run that dissipates once I fully transition to aerobic breathing. Due to the humidity and pollen level, I never really got past that today.

My route started as a two mile loop through my neighborhood before I cut over to neighborhood #2. I'd targeted four miles but hoped to exceed that. The lower neighborhood is set up with multiple roads that provide different route options. I ended up doing an out-and-back along a road I like due to its length and shade. The humidity continued to build as the sun grew higher in the sky. I reached a point around 4 miles in when I considered a cool down stop. I decided to keep going, knowing I was less than a mile from home.

I was glad to get enough distance to support my goal of increasing my base closer to 6 miles. It wasn't particularly enjoyable today, but it was necessary. After mapping my run in Gmaps, I saw that turning the route map 90° made it look a little like a tractor as well as roughly describing the shape of my home state of Massachusetts. I enhanced the image further to make the point (see above). Mrs. ER thinks the original route map looks like a person snowboarding. What do you see?

Tomorrow may be a good day for a trail run. I'll need to watch my time because thunderstorms are supposed to come through at some point on Sunday. I'm hoping to get out earlier when it's cooler and less humid. I don't know how flexible my schedule will be next week, so I want to make the most of my weekend runs.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Reunion with the road and the wind

A sight for sore piriformis
Today's run (street): 3.4 miles

It's been such a long time since I've run outdoors that I was surprised to see that Milemeter has reverted back to being called Gmaps Pedometer. I realize that's an esoteric observation, but it shows that things have changed in the eight weeks since I last did a neighborhood run. Not much changed in the neighborhood except for a whole lot of tar and gravel being laid down to fix this winter's potholes.

I was excited and a little nervous prior to going out this morning. My cold is still present, but it hasn't gained much of a foothold. Despite some sniffles and nasal congestion, I've had no breathing issues doing indoor workouts. My concern centered on my self-diagnosed piriformis syndrome. I already knew what to expect when running on the flat, flexible surface of the treadmill. How would the injury feel when running on unyielding pavement over varying elevations? What will the longer stride do to my form?

The other thing on my mind was the weather. The strong winds were evident and the local station said they'd be increasing throughout the day. I knew I should get out early to minimize that effect. I procrastinated predictably, and didn't start my run until after 9:00 AM. I probably overdressed because of the winds, but never felt overheated during the run.

I knew within ten seconds that I'd be okay once I reached the road. The piriformis/sciatica pain was there, but it didn't bog me down too much. I did notice that it affected my gait and it underscored my need to get to an orthopedist. Overall it was fine and it proved I could run. Not real fast, but it was real running.

The strong winds hit when I rounded a corner around the half mile point. It felt like a huge invisible fan and the mild air suddenly became very chilly. My route soon changed direction and all was well, although half of the last mile was spent running against strong headwinds.

I didn't have my HRM for this run, so I can't gauge my real effort. My perceived effort was moderate and I felt I'd passed my fitness test. That said, I'd purposely kept my expectations low. I'm very aware that I tend to take recovery progress as evidence of readiness and I end up overdoing it the next time I run. Tomorrow I'll aim to go a little longer and, if feels okay, perhaps a bit faster. But not fast. I've learned my lesson with this injury.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Measure for measure, I don't like this change

New and improved?
Today's run (street): 5 miles

In business, many people subscribe to the idea that, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." I made my career challenging that notion and I firmly believe (at least in technology) that complacency is the enemy of success. Okay, no more clich├ęs, but I do believe that open source technologies further the cause of progress. So am I a hypocrite to condemn the new Gmaps version that just went up, using OpenLayers in place of the Google Maps API?

I've relied on Gmaps for years as a tool to precisely measure my routes. Foot pods and GPS watches/apps both fall short due to calibration, route angles or weather. I always use mapping, combined with time, to calculate my exact pace. This morning I was surprised to see a new interface for Gmaps. I also discovered that Gmaps is now an open source supported framework, and will now be called Milermeter. It wasn't until I tried mapping this morning's run that I started to grumble.

I won't go into the specific issues that I had, but I will say that the interface can use some refinement. I'm not sure of the reason, but items flicker on screen and the tools behaved inconsistently. I'm also unsure about the accuracy. I mapped my route using "Milermeter" with both Chrome and Firefox and saw a 1.5% difference in distance between them. Both measurements fell short of what my Garmin captured, surprising because that usually under-counts distance.

Forgetting the technology issues for a moment, this morning's run turned out to be a really good workout. I ran over to the business park to run the loop a few times. This route offers either a steady uphill for almost a mile, or a shorter but steeper section if you run it in the opposite direction. I took the steeper option and made three circuits before heading home.

I used my metronome app and set it to 87 SPM. Although I felt I was coordinating my steps with metronome, I didn't end up with a particularly fast pace. To be fair, except for the hill, I didn't push that hard, although I kept a steady stride throughout the run. Right now, I care more about managing up my cadence than speed. If I understand how this all works, better paces should follow

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

One of these routes is not like the other

Post run relaxing
Today's run (street): 3.36 or 3.41 miles

It was another mid-high intensity run this morning. My heart rate (the only performance metric I'll view while on a run) was close to target, and I knew I'd be happy with my finish time. A quick look at the Garmin confirmed that I'd managed another good run. I cooled down by the pool when I finished and tried mapping my route using the Gmaps web app on my phone

I was pleased to see that the Android OS was finally supporting Gmap's functionality. That allowed me to record my distance and calculate my true pace. I liked what I saw: 9:05. Although I worked for it, getting there didn't feel as hard as I thought it would be. Looking a gift horse in the mouth, I mapped the run on my laptop after I'd finish showering and discovered a surprising disparity in distance.

Distance: Android version
Web version, same route
For some reason, the route on my laptop registered 5/100ths of a mile shorter than the exact same map on my phone. Weird and disappointing, because that small disparity meant my average pace was actually 9:12. Not bad, but not what I wanted to see. I remapped the route to see if I'd somehow missed a street, but the distance came up the same each time.

So what if the phone mapping is actually the correct measurement? That would be nice. But I use the web version as the standard, so I'll have to go with that. In the end, the difference is measurement is minimal. Unfortunately, the difference in pace is not.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My Garmin speaks the ugly truth

It's a match
Today's run (street): 3.25 miles

I'm incredibly annoyed with my Garmin today. I did this morning's run and, as always, recorded my distance using GPS. I always assume the watch will under-count my distance, so I wasn't upset to see the indicated time and pace. Usually, after Gmapping my route, I'll need to add about 3% more mileage to the calculation. That often makes the difference between a good and mediocre pace. Today, both the Garmin and Gmaps said exactly the same thing, and what they said wasn't good. I missed my targeted pace by 23 seconds per mile.

There's no reason why I ran this slowly today. I'd tried to focus on form and turnover. The weather was perfect, so heat and humidity were not a factor. Perceived effort was on par with my better runs and I even ran the last quarter in a semi-sprint. But in the end, my performance did not match up to expectations. Tomorrow is my last run before Sunday's race, so I need to make it count.

Zeotrope concept (left), example (right)
I took most of the day to be with the family and we spent it at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens. The experience was great, and I even got to play with a nineteenth century zeotrope of a man running. But instead of marveling at this 100 year old wonder of technology, I was watching his form and thinking how he should shorten his stride.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Beating expectations


It was much warmer today than yesterday so I had no issues with the cold. The wind from the west was strong and the combination of wind plus hills plus 42 degree heat made for a rigorous run. Yesterday I Gmapped my run only to discover that my Sportband was off by 2% and I had actually run almost 4.5 miles, achieving a 9:13 average pace. I Gmapped today's run and saw that it was off by almost 3% of the actual distance. I'm pleased that I exceeded my weekend goal of 8 miles in two runs. I may go to the track later with my daughter who wants to run again. I have not been to the track since discovering it covered by ice and snow but the warmer weather should have cleared that by now.

After discovering that the Sportband was not only refusing to upload any runs to the Nike+ site and was increasingly off calibration I decided to buy a Garmin 50 with HRM and foot pod. The Garmin 50 does not use GPS, the foot pod works in a similar way that the Nike+ system works using RFID. I've had readers tell me that the Garmin 50 works pretty well and I've read similar observations on websites. The reason I didn't get a GPS enabled watch is that the Garmin 305 is just too bulky and the 405 (which is a great running watch) costs $400 including the HRM and foot pod.

So until I get the 50 I'll use the Sportband to record elapsed time and distance and adjust for the Sportband’s inaccuracy. I hope to have the Garmin by next weekend. The only issue with the Garmin is that the software does not work on a Mac so I'll need to use my wife's laptop that runs Vista (ugh) or our upstairs XP machine. No matter, I'm excited about this decision and I will report on my experience soon enough.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Gearing up for a 5K race

I am planning to run in a 5K race in May that is part of a larger set of races that include a marathon, half marathon, 10K, 1 mile and kids run. A friend of mine who has been running for a couple of years will be joining me. I'm confident that I'll be able to run a credible pace for 5K by then but I do need to work on both speed and endurance. I'm going to try to run a 5K course this weekend as a way of training for the upcoming race. I use Google Earth, Gmaps and MapMyRun to plan my routes. They are all very accurate (to the inch) so you can plan ahead or track where you ran against your elapsed time to calculate your pace.
 

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