I wear a Garmin GPS enabled watch while running. It is kind of magical. I turn it on when I start running and turn it off when I’m done. While I’m running it is feeding my phone via a blue tooth link all sorts of information like where I am such. At the end of the run I can get on the web and see all the statistics and a map on a service linked to Garmin called Strava. I always thought it was kind of cool. Like below is a map of my run this morning where I trotted up and down the Arkansas River for four or so miles.
You know what is cooler. Seeing a view of a particular area with a bunch of runs superimposed to see if a pattern emerges. That is called a heat map. Generally the various services want extra money for that but I found a web site that does it for free. I am really into free. Jonathan O’Keefe has a free service for generating heat maps. The following is what it generated for my runs on Turkey Mountain. So you can tell I pretty much have Turkey Mountain covered.
And here is my heat map for downtown Tulsa. I have it pretty much covered also.
Anyways, I love little gizmos like this.
I try and stay active, I really do. I’m 61 years old and I think it is important to keep moving no matter what age you are because once you stop it is hard to get going again. Plus being active is fun. I also love gadgets and there are lots of gadgets out there to monitor how active you are in a very detailed way.
I used to have pedometers and they are okay but they are not connected to anything. Later on I tried various fitbits. They are fun and they interconnect with your phone or PC and you can interconnect with other people and comment on each other. I had to take it easy though. Lots of people have more tender feelings than I do and didn’t appreciate being razzed. At first I razzed people who had less steps than I and then didn’t work and then I razzed only people who had more steps than I and people had problems with that too, so I stopped being a drive-by razzer. I started razzing people by cheering them. I’m evil like that and not a very good person. Just so you know.
But still it was a lot of fun except that Fitbits are easy to lose, very easy. The first one that I lost they replaced free, gratis, and that was great, and then I lost it and I went ahead and bought another one. Then I lost it. Then I bought a better one and I loved it. It would measure vertical distance as well as steps and then guess what I lost it. So I asked fitbit for a discount on a new one and they offered up 25% discount on a replacement and that is great except there website prices are 30% higher than what Amazon and other online retailers sell the same devices for. Sorry, a 25% discount on merchandise overpriced by 30% is not much of a deal. So I decided to leave Fitbit. I don’t blame them. after all I’m the one who lost these devices. I feel that I am the Johnny Appleseed of fitbit devices. My lost gadgets are all over the Tulsa area.
So I ended up with a Garmin Vivofit. It is less than half the price of the Fitbit Charge and doesn’t measure vertical distance but it measures steps just fine and it also synchs with Garmin Connect which is Garmin’s online dashboard which is what my Garmin GPS running watch synchs to also. I tell you it warms my heart to be running and both the Vivofit and the watch are both in tune so to speak and are coordinated on the dashboard together when everything is synched up.
The Fitbit charge had one thing that really irritated me. The low battery life. At first I could get through a whole day plus without charging it and toward the last, which was just a few months of use, it would only make it through sixteen to eighteen hours and was getting less all the time. The Vivofit uses batteries but they only need changing once a year supposedly. They do this by requiring a manual synch instead of automatic and the display is not lit. So anyways I’m liking the Vivofit so far, but I haven’t lost it yet.
But I miss the fitbit dashboard and razzing by cheering. Garmin has a great dashboard but I am the only one on it… It is no fun cheering and razzing myself. Nobody shows up when I do the search for others. Most of my running peeps are on Strava which is geared towards the GPS watches and is fun but not the same kind of fun.
So a big plus for Garmin for their more affordable technology and a big plus for Fitbit and their dashboard and social connections.
It’s a tie is what I say.