Turning 58 was not really as traumatic event as I might have expected. Perhaps this was because, in my mind, I already was that age. At this point, it is really just a number and I have come to a point where I really do not think much about my age. The main reason for this is, I believe, because I am probably in better shape physically now than I have been at any other point in my life.
Although I am not by any measure a fitness fanatic, I do either run, cycle, swim, workout or play tennis, for a minimum of forty minutes, five or more times a week. The obvious benefits are that I can still (or again) fit into clothes I have owned for 20+ years. Whether they look good or not is more a matter of fashion than fit 😉
Over the last decade or so, Dorothy, my wife, has bought me a variety of hi-tech watches for my birthday. The first was only half a success ie. it sucked! The idea was sound enough; it was a watch with a built-in camera. The good part ended with the idea though, since the implementation was woefully inadequate. The resolution was about 240×180 and was only monochrome. Luckily, it came with a good return policy.
Much to her credit, Dorothy did not give up and more suitable candidates followed, including a wristwatch multi-function remote control and more recently, two different heart-rate monitor watches. The first of these was a Timex Ironman which was great except for the remote monitor strap which had to be fastened around your chest. The second did away with the strap but was activated by completing the circuit by touching a button on the watch face. The only (but serious) problem was that the monitor works flawlessly at a standstill but is exceptionally flaky when activated during a run.
A short while ago, Mik, our son-in-law, received a Garmin 305 as a birthday gift from his parents. This was not only a heart-rate monitor but also a GPS device that tracked time, speed, distance, topology and calories burned. One of the biggest features for me was that of ‘Virtual Partner’ which allows you to run to a specific pace or against a previous run. Furthermore, results can be posted to the Internet to share with friends or compete with others. The only drawback was the unit’s size which made it look like one had a mini-notebook computer lashed to one’s wrist. Also, having watched Mik use his on a couple of runs, it didn’t look like the easiest to operate on the move.
And then, recently, whilst browsing in Costco, I came across the ultimate solution, (or at least until they come out with a new model). Although they unimaginatively called it the 405, this name does very little to describe what is really a technological marvel. Its size is now only slightly larger than a regular wristwatch and it fits reasonable well on even my own scrawny wrists. One of the few signs of aging that I will admit to is that my eyesight is no longer as sharp as it used to be and since I prefer to run without my reading glasses, the readout of some of my previous wristwatches have been difficult to decipher on the run. I appreciated the feature of the Ironman watch which would emit a continuous beep when I was either above or below my programmed training heart-rate zone. Of course, all this wizardry comes with a fairly steep price tag. Being the lucky man that I am, the family deemed that I was deserving enough or perhaps would be in the coming year if they catered once more to my foibles.
I must admit that I was a little skeptical as to how the unit would perform in real-life situations after having read as much as possible in advance of actually placing it on my birthday wishlist. The simple truth is that you can never fully evaluate any hi-tech product without actually putting it through its paces in the field. However, the 405 did not disappoint. Although the screen is a touch smaller than the clunkier models, I can read all but the smallest fonts without my glasses. Certainly, I can glean the relevant information during my run and check out the small print when I transfer the data to my laptop.
After my first run, I was fully convinced that this watch is one amazing piece of equipment. It does everything it purports to do and does it well. It is easy to read and to control on the move and the data loaded into my PC tells me everything I could need to know about my workout. You can even load the data into Google Maps and get a visual of your route.Of course, I had to try out the on-line sharing as well, so if you wish to see how this works, you can check it out at Garmin’s site
All in all, I am more than satisfied that the Garmin Forerunner 405 is a worthy addition to my hi-tech arsenal!