Archive for the 'Running' category

2012 – More Cycling Less Running

December 31, 2012 3:29 pm

It was an interesting year in sports.  I started out the year doing about as much running as I did last year, although not quite up to the level of the years when I ran a marathon.  Then toward the middle of the year my running dropped off considerably as I ramped up my biking to train for the Hoodoo 500.  I ended up the year with two personal annual cycling records, the most miles bike and the most feet climbed.  It was the first time in my life when I biked 12,000 miles in a year, which means I averaged 1,000 a month.  I had hoped to reach 800,000 feet of climbing, but did not quite make it, but did exceed my prior best year.



Peachtree 10K

July 4, 2012 8:36 am
Peachtree 10K

It is the 4th of July and that means if you are in Atlanta you might well be running the Peachtree 10K race.  This race draws 60,000 runners each year.  It was John’s fourth time to run it, but my first.  I have not run any running race for a few years now and have not been running nearly as much as I once did, but rather doing more cycling.  Coming to Alanta at this time was something that came up only a few weeks ago so I had to do some last minute cramming to get ready to race.  That is not a very effective method.  The distance of a 10K would be no issue, but speed would be.

I was able to get in a few speed workouts, and felt ready enough.  It has been particularly hot in Atlanta lately.  Only last Saturday the temperature hit 106, which broke the all time high on the record books.

John was able to get me a ticket from a friend that placed me in coral C, allowing our group to start about 11 minutes after the seeded runners did.  With 60,000 runners, being back further would make running most difficult.  We got up at 4:30 am and were in the car by 5:15 to drive to the Marta station (the train system in Atlanta).

We took the train to the Buckhead area of Atlanta, where the race stated, arriving with plenty of time but early enough to avoid the more massive crowds.

With 30 minutes before the start of the race, John headed up to the subseeded section and I found my way to coral C.  Even at that point there were a lot of runners already positioned towards the front of the coral.

Although this is a 10K, it had more the feeling of a big city marathon in terms of organization, all with the big American Flag, a prayer from a local Baptist Pastor, and the National Anthem.  By 7:30 am our coral sarted to move forward, walking aways, then stopping behind the large signs setup.  It was not long before we were off.   Although the temperature was in the low 70s at the start, it did not take long into the run to notice the very high humidity.   Even being toward the front of the runners in coral C did not allow me to run as fast as I wanted to.  For the entire race it meant weaving in an out of runners, something I had learned to do on large city marathons.   I must have passed about 200 runners during the race, with a few passing me.

It is not a flat course.  After an initial uphill, there is a couple miles of downhill, where I was able to get my pace down to below 8 min/mile.  Then the uphill came and my paces slowed considerably, not only as fatigue set in, but the high humidity seemed to zap my energy.  It became clear that my original poorly founded thought of coming in under a 8 minute pace was not going to happen.

I crossed the finish line with a time of 52:25, or a 8:19 pace.  My Garmin GPS showed 6.3 miles rather than the expected 6.2 miles.  Maybe the difference is due to the weaving back and forth across the road.

After picking up my t-shirt, I found my way to the Home Depot tent where I was going to meet John.  It was great to be able to get into that corporate tent and get something to eat and drink, and have a chance to chat with some of John’s triathlete friends.

From there we made our way to the downtown train station and then back to the car.  It was a fun day.

I uploaded from my Garmin 610 to Strava, which will give you a grade adjusted pace.  So although I felt I had slowed too much on the hills, I could see my pace, after accounting for the grade, was relatively constant.

Moving on Up to the Garmin Forerunner 610

September 7, 2011 8:38 am
Moving on Up to the Garmin Forerunner 610

I previously have been using my cycling oriented Garmin Edge 500 while running using a wrist strap that was really designed for the Garmin 310XT. See the prior post.  Although this worked reasonably well, it still was a bit awkward.  Not only did you see things in mph instead of minutes per mile pace, the display was rotated 90 degrees so I had to kind of bend my head to make it out.

I finally decided to get a real Garmin running watch.  I could have bought the Garmin 310XT, but since I already have the Edge 500 for cycling I did not need that multi-sport device.  I also wanted something that was smaller and looked more like a watch.  I had used my daughter’s Forerunner 305 but found reading the display was hard for me because the fonts were too small.

While in Utah, I visited the new Runner’s Corner store where they had all the Garmin running watches to check out.  I decided on the Garmin Forerunner 610, their latest model.  Although this watch was mainly designed for running, it also supports cycling very well and you can switch between running and cycling very easily.  While I use this new watch for running, Anne puts it on her bike for cycling while I still use my Garmin 500 for that purpose.  It has a touch screen, which is much easier to use to change the display than the bezel on the prior Garmin Forerunner watches.  Also the fonts are easy for me to see without my reading glasses.  It weighs 2.6 oz, which is the same as the Garmin 500 with wrist strap.  But the size is smaller and it just seems much easier to use while running.

The battery life on the Garmin 610 is only about 8 hours.  That works well for running and some cycling but would not be sufficient for the ultra distance cyclists.  For a complete review of this Garmin please see this post by DC Rainmaker.  He does such a great job reviewing Garmin products in depth that there is no point in my providing my own observations other than to see I really like the Garmin 610 and am glad I purchased it.

While the Garmin 500 used a mini-USB connector to upload to the computer, the Forerunner 610 uses ANT+ via a USB stick you plug into your computer.  This works great.  Since I am uploading from two different Garmin devices, I found it best to upload from the 610 first, then plug in the Garmin 500 and upload from it.

Keeping track on both Garmin Connect, and of all our workouts, for both myself and my wife, gets a bit complicated.  For the Garmin 500 it was easy to erase all the activities on the watch after uploading so I could just upload all new activities.  However when the ANT agent downloads copies of your activities from your fitness unit they are stored locally on your hard drive.  On my Mac those are located in

/users/Franz/Library/Application Support/Garmin/Devices/[device id]/History

I just move those over to another folder so when I am doing a new upload I don’t see all the past ones.

Update Firmware

This video shows how to update the firmware.


This video shows how to reset the unit

Poor Man’s Garmin Forerunner 310XT

June 21, 2011 8:14 pm
Poor Man's Garmin Forerunner 310XT

For many years I used a Polar heart rate monitor for both running and later for cycling. Starting with the Polar 720i, then the 625X, with footpod, it seemed like an ideal way to keep track of my speed and distance on both the bike and running. However I had become progressively disenchanted with Polar as a company. Even to this day they do not support their products on the Mac operating system, something that Garmin now does with all their products. They also seem to have lost the technology advantage they once had by letting Garmin move ahead with the use of GPS technology. Garmin’s early GPS units were bulky and seemed quite impractical but with each new generation they have continued to advance and their GPS units now have become quite small.

I previously wrote about the Garmin Edge 500 compared with the Polar 625X for cycling. It turned out that the Garmin Edge 500, which was primarily built for cycling weights no more than the Polar 625X. See my previous post for the detail comparison.

One of the nice features of the Garmin Edge 500 was the quick quarter turn mount. The new Garmin Forerunner 310X, has an optional “Quick release mounting kit” that is designed to convert their Forerunner running watches to use the same quarter turn mount, allowing you to use it on both your wrist and on the bike.

I ordered the kit for about $25 from Amazon and received it today. It comes with a wrist stap (the part I was interested in) as well as a bike mounting kit and a back for the 310XT to convert it to the quarter turn mount. Using only the strap I was able to attach the Garmin Edge 500 directly to my wrist. The orientation on your wrist may not be the idea way, but it is workable.

It might look a bit geeky, but not as much as the early Garmin Forerunner running watches.

So how much does the strap add to the 2 oz. weight of the Garmin Edge 500? Turns out not much, bringing the total weight from 2.0 to 2.6 oz. The difference is less than the weight of the footpod I use with the Polar 625X. It is almost the same as the 2.5 oz weight of the Garmin 310XT.

Is this combination the same as using the Garmin Forerunner 310XT?

Garmin Forerunner 310XT

If one is primarily focused on running, or on tri sports, then getting the Garmin 310XT might well be worth the price. For those who are mostly focused on cycling and do some running, then the Edge 500 does work as a workable solution if you want a GPS to use on your runs. It will not show your pace in any readout. Even using the speed, in mph, is not very useful because it seems to be erratic. But I found the pace readout on the Polar 625X to also be useless and ended up using the average speed over the course the of the run, which the Garmin Edge 500 will do. So if you own a Garmin 500 and want to have some type of GPS unit for running, you can get there with a small investment. Even without a footpod, it seems to be quite accurate and unlike the Polar 625X, the distance measurement does not seem to be greatly influenced by the pace being run. After the run, I can download the data to my Mac computer and see my average pace, and a map of the run. It makes it much easier later on to remember where you actual ran.

You also get some features that the Garmin Forerunner 310XT lack, including barometric pressure altimeter and temperature readout, although I am not sure that the temperature reading on the Garmin Edge 500 is very accurate. I realize that Polar has some newer running and cycling devices than the Polar 625X, but their unwillingness to embrace both the Mac and the standard Ant+ communication with their components, has kept me from spending any more money on Polar products. They seem to have a lot of different products, too many in my opinion. Try to pick out from the Polar offering and it is way too confusing.

Of course if you have no Garmin device now, you could go with the Garmin Forerunner 310XT, and use the Quick release kit to mount it on your bike or your wrist. But I primarily bike and the Garmin Edge 500 is well suited for that. You might also read my other post on using course on the Edge 500.

More Biking Less Running

March 21, 2008 10:55 pm

I love to both cycle and run and consider myself lucky to be in good enough shape to be able to do both, especially considering that I am turning 60 years old this week. I have been running for 30 years now and many of my running buddies from many years ago have given up the sport, some because their knees can’t handle it anymore. As I saw that happening to others, about 7 years ago I took up cycling for cross training so I could reduce my miles running and still get in the same total exercise. During these past 7 years cycling as over taken running, but I still enjoy both and feel they complement each other.

Running has these advantages

  • It is easier to do in the winter, even in California. I have often run outside when the temperature is freezing, something I would never do on a bike.
  • It is much easier to do in the rain. I never mind running in the rain, when the temperature is moderate but like most others, I dislike cycling in the rain and usually only do it when I get caught and need to get to the end.
  • Running provides impact and is beneficial for strengthening your bones. You do not get that benefit from cycling or swimming.
  • It is a highly time efficient. I can burn more calories per hour and I most always just run from home so I don’t spend time traveling to some ride.
  • It is something I can just as well do alone as with others.

Cycling has these advantages

  • My total workout can be much greater. Unless I am training for a marathon I rarely run more than 10 miles at a time. In terms of calorie consumption that might be around 30 miles on a bike. And yet I can ride for 100 miles, or more, most Saturdays. That is the equivalent, in terms of calories, of running a marathon, but without the pounding on the body.
  • Recovery from cycling is much faster. I can do a double century ride and ride the next day. After doing a marathon, I would have a difficult time to run the next day, or even for a few days.
  • Cycling has a very social aspect for me. I like to bike with others. It is not only safer to ride with a group, but a lot more fun.
  • Cycling lets me see the world. I run on pretty much the same courses, never venturing more than 10 miles from my house, even when I am doing a 20 mile run. On my bike I have seen places I would have never seen before.
  • Cycling has more thrill to me. I love to climb. Today I will be climbing up Henry Coe for the 5th time this week, somewhat of a record. That is 3,700 feet of climbing each time. I love to descend back down the hill and find it a greater thrill than any ride at an amusement park.

The Best of Both Worlds

By having these two sports, I feel I really do have the best of both worlds. When it is colder or raining, I can switch to running. When I have more time I can focus on cycling. I tend to do both every week so I am less likely to get burned out, either physically or mentally. If I am traveling where I do not have my bike, I can always run. I have run in many places around the world, include some very congested big cities that I would never be able to cycle through. When I travel and can take my bike, I get to see places I would not otherwise.

My Training Log

I have kept a detailed training log for many years. One use of the data is to create a lot of charts, such as the accumulated miles cycled so far in any year. The years when I was doing a Spring marathon shows a lot of miles running in the early months. Take a look at this graph that shows my accumulated running so far this year compared with prior years. In 2007 I was training for the Boston Marathon and in 2005 I was training for the Salt Lake City Marathon. Both of these were in April. But in 2006 I ran the St. George Marathon which was not until October. So how am I doing in 2008? So far this year my running is about on par with those years when I ran a fall marathon. You will need to click the graph below to view in enlarge.

Accumulated Running 032208

Now look at a similar chart that shows accumulated miles biking so far this year compared with prior years. More so than in any prior year I am focused on training for a difficult double century, the Devil Mountain Double. It was a ride I did last year but did poorly, since my training was more focused on getting ready to run the Boston Marathon. But 2008 is really the year of the bike for me. There has never been another year for me where I cycled in the first 3 months of the year. Click the graph to view enlarged.

Accumulated Biking 032208

So with running less and cycling more, what is the total picture? I have several ways to use my training log to view equivalent exercise. This chart tries to equate the two sports in turns of calories burned. I use data from my Polar Heart Rate monitor, if entered, or formulas built into my training log, if not. For 2008 the total is similar to last year but higher than years before 2007.

Accumulated Calories Burned 032208

To Run or to Bike?

August 5, 2007 4:05 pm

ulcer_logo.gif OR halfmarathonsmall.jpg ?

August 11th must be a popular date in Utah because two events we want to do up there occur on the same day. First is the Provo River Half Marathon that I ran last year and Ann has been training to run with me this year. Then there is the ULCER bike century of 111 miles, which I have not done before but would like to. Ann and I now both registered for both events and are leaning toward doing the bike event on our new tandem. The only issue is that I have been getting Ann ready to run the half marathon and not quite as focused on biking, but I feel she can do either one. I have not trained to run the half marathon at any fast speed because I have been more focused on biking and figure I was going to just run at Ann’s pace which I can do without as much speed workouts as I did last year.

We might just wait to see what the weather is and how we feel. If it is going to rain that day I would vote to switch to the half marathon. I would rather run in the rain for 2 hours than bike in the rain for over 6 hours.

Deseret News 10K Race

July 24, 2007 3:54 pm

Ann and I met John in the lobby of the hotel at 5 am to drive to the start of the race. I don’t recall a 10K that started so early, but this one started at 6 am so we had to leave around 5. Actually we could have left a bit later because it was only about 15 minute drive. Ann and I did a little jogging around to warm up, as did John. My plan for this race was to run with Ann and try to pace here. I am not in that good of running shape since I have been mostly focussed on cycling.

Soon after 6 am they started the race. We all had timing chips on our shoes so I was not too worried about moving up to the front of the field but some slower runners did that which forced us to try to weave our way around them the first couple of miles.

It is a downhill race as you can see from the following heart rate graph (this was my heart rate).

2007 Deseret News 10K Race Graph

We had a very good pace for the first three miles due to the eleveation drop, with the 2nd mile at a 8:15 pace, which may have been too fast for Ann who normally runs this race distance closer to a 9:00 minute pace. But she held on very well and we finished the race with a final time of 56:13, which was good enough for Ann to place 8th in her age group. John finished with another sub 40 minute 10K, so he did very well. We all thought the last two miles were hard becasue they were flat or maybe a bit uphill, which seemd hard after running down for the first three.

John and Ann after the race

Ann and Franz after the race

Boston Marathon Results

April 20, 2007 8:04 pm

Here is my last entry on the Boston Marathon. I have updated my other website with some small images, my stats, and a graph that shows my 5K splits. I put this on a page where I keep track of the marathon results for me and my two children who run marathons. Click here to view. This chart is kind of interesting. I did a scatter plot of my 5K splits against time. Since this chart is rather straight it meant I was running a constant pace.

Boston Marathon 5K Split Chart

Everything I Needed to finish Boston I learned on the Metcalf Mauler

April 17, 2007 6:53 pm

I sent this email to people in our bike club.

Thanks to many of you for the well wishes in running the Boston Marathon.  Despite the stormy weather I was able to finish with a time of 3:39:59 (yes my watch stopped at 59 seconds just as my crazy birthday times).  Although that was 5 minutes off my PR I was happy with time and it was fast enough to qualify to run Boston again, should I wish to next year (but this was going to be my LAST marathon, right?).

While I was pounding the pavement on a marathon I like to let my mind roam so I don’t think about my legs shouting at me.  The thought came to me about how biking had really helped me run this marathon.  I once read a book called everything I ever needed to know I learned in kindergarten.  Maybe everything I needed to run this marathon I learned on the Metcalf Mauler.

1. Don’t stop until you reach the top, it is too hard to restart if you do.
2. Attack on the hills and recover on the downhill.
3. Dress right for the weather, with the right clothes in peelable layers.
4. Have fun passing the younger guys on the hill (in this case the so called Heartbreak Hill which was not was I would call a real hill)
5. Draft behind the big guys when you get a chance (but there weren’t many big guys running this marathon)
6. In stormy weather, go to the ride start, it will clear up when you get there.
7. When my marathon training program calls for rest/cross training, that means go on a bike ride!

Against the Wind – Boston Marathon Finish

April 16, 2007 3:28 pm

Today was the fulfillment of a long term dream of mine, to run the famous Boston Marathon. As I wrote in prior entries, there was a great concern about the storm that was hitting Boston. It was difficult sleeping last night because of the wind hitting against the windows of the hotel, coupled with the beating of the heavy rain. How can someone run in this weather, especially someone from sunny California?

For those with a short attention span the conclusion upfront is that I finished with a time of 3:39:59 (no kidding, my watch stopped at 59 seconds) and that was fast enough to qualify to run Boston again, for all of you that thought I had to run that downhill marathon at St. George in order to get in.

Boston Marathon Time

I got up at 5 am, and went to breakfast at 5:30 am. That is kind of early with a 10:30 am marathon start, except when you consider the logistics involved with busing over 22,000 runners out over 26 miles to the start. I caught a 6:30 am shuttle from the hotel over to where I was able to get in a long line to board one of the marathon buses. It was not as cold as I had thought, but it was raining. Once we arrived out at Hopkinton, the place of the start, I made my way over to a large tent they had setup in the middle of a large lawn area, but the grass was soaked and the water came quickly into my shoes. We huddled down in the tent, waiting nearly 2 hours before we were ready to leave and take our bags with our “warm-up” clothes over to be checked for pickup at the finish.

I was not sure what to wear for the run. Hey, I am from California and didn’t train in anything except shorts and a short sleeved shirt. I finally decided to run in tights, a long sleeved running shirt with my biking Gore-tex jacket over that, and a running hat with a brim. After checking our bags we had more than a half of a mile to the start. I guess I was a bit behind because I didn’t quite get up to the right corral when the race was about the start so I had to crawl through the fencing and run down the sidewalk and enter back through the fence in corral number 13. Gee, I never thought about the fact that I had started from Corral No. 13 and wasn’t it just Friday the 13th?

The Boston Marathon is great for many reason. Because everyone needs to meet a tough qualifying time to get accepted, it means that all of the runners there were experienced runners. This also allows them to give everyone their bib number in sequential number according to qualifying time. So if you see people with a bib number in your range, that meant they qualified with a time close to yours. So corral No. 13 was my corral because my bib number was 13,281. They had a total of 23 corrals.

The race started and we began to move forward. It was time to shed the poncho and extra throw away long sleeved shirt that I didn’t check but wanted to keep warm with. Unlike other marathons that has one mass start, Boston has divided the field into two waves, with the first wave leaving at 10:00 and my wave leaving at 10:30 am. That meant that it was much closer to the start than in prior marathons and within a couple of minutes I was at the start line and started my watch.

The weather was better than I expected because the wind didn’t seem that strong and the rain had stopped. Could it be that I had over dressed and some of those people around me in shorts had picked it right? By mile 2 I had unzipped my jacket and at mile 4 I took it off. But it was only a couple of miles later that it started to rain again and I put the jacket back on, where it remained until the finish. We were greeted with alternating rain, wind and a cooling temperature as we marched mile after mile. I tried to draft behind some big guy when we had the head wind (it was never a tail wind) but hey, I couldn’t find any big guys running. I guess marathon runners are not normally big guys.

Many people had told me to just enjoy the marathon. Hey this was Boston and it should be more a celebration with no pressure to qualify to get into Boston as in prior marathons. It is good advice because this was the greatest experience of any of my marathons, despite the lousy weather. Running with good runners was a dream because it meant no winding your way through those runners you often find who start up too far and can’t hold the pace. People were asked to start in a corral that matched their qualifying prior marathon time. There was none of those jacket rabbit runners who took off with no clue of what running 26 miles meant and then would decide to start to walk, just as you were coming up behind then almost crashing into them like a car stopping on a freeway. By mile 12 most all the runners around me were running almost exactly at my pace and I was astounded to hear the wonderful sound of a syncronized sound as it seemed each runner’s feet hit the ground at the same time, like violinists all moving their bow together in perfect timing. Down the road we passed Wellesley college and the spectators crowds there was like having hundreds of cheerleaders rooting you on. The volume was louder than any other place. The fans in Boston were tremendous. We passed through many town and nearly everywhere the streets were lined with cheering fans.

Runners at Boston Marathon

So this was a marathon that someone could really enjoy. But I felt good and was running about how I was doing on my last marathon. At the half way mark I realized I could come in under 3:45 and qualify once again to run the Boston Marathon so I had a goal to meet and that kept me driving the pace I had been on.

As we approached Boston the winds picked up and it turned cooler. When I was at mile 22 my legs were aching, and begging me to stop. But I had learned a hard lesson before, just ignore those legs because if you stop you can’t get started again. I kept writing my blog in my mind, trying to keep my thoughts off the aching legs.

As I was getting near the finish, I realized that not only would I qualify once again for Boston (which required 3:45), I had a shot to break 3:40. That required me to run the last mile in close to a 8 minute pace, but I was very gratified when I stopped my watch at 3:39:59. My official time might be slightly more than that, but I am very happy with how things turned out. What I had feared as absolutely dreadful weather turned out to be runable and my time, although not a PR, was better than I expected. The elite runners were off their times by 7 minutes and over 20 runners had to be taken to the hospital, so I was happy with how things turned out.

Franz after finishing Boston Marathon