When my old Timex Ironman 150 lap watch lost its faceplate, I bought a new one. When the battery on the second one died, I replaced it. It then shorted out the first time I jumped in the pool. Apparently I didn't do a good job on the seal.
When the second one blew up, I went back to the old one. After all, it was just the pretty blue plate that was missing. The watch worked great. I used it for quite some time until the clasp that holds the strap down broke. I figured it was time for a new one.
I started doing some research and found that Timex moved to a new style, the "Tap" watch shown above. The face is touch sensitive, meaning you can start the chronograph and advance laps simply by tapping the screen.
Reading about the watch, I was impressed. First, the numbers are huge compared to other watches. Second, not having to search for the lap button offers an advantage. Finally, it was the only 150 lap watch I could find.
Then I got to the reviews. While the design and layout got very strong reviews, the tap technology got a big thumbs down. The biggest objection I read about centered on the watch "randomly" lapping out during swims. One person said they went for a 2000 yard straight swim and wound up with 87 "laps" at the end of the workout (without ever actually tapping the screen).
That concerned me.
Then again, I had a quandary. I was having no luck finding a suitable 150-lap watch. So, I decided to give it a go. I bought the watch from a local retailer with a very good return policy and headed home.
I have to say that I do love most aspects of the watch. The large display is outstanding. The interval timer is set up so you can establish a variety of different "alerts," including workout intensity (warm up, slow, medium, fast, cool down). All in all, it has several improvements over past models.
Then we get to the "tap" technology. Unfortunately, Timex gets an epic fail on this feature. There is no way they can convince me they fully tested this function prior to release. Even at the hardest "tap" setting (there are three, Lite, Medium, and Hard), the watch "taps" in a variety of situations.
Swimming is when it is most noticeable. In this morning's 2000 yard workout, I should have had 39 (40?) laps, counting rest intervals. Instead, I had 88 laps, the majority of which were unintended.
Initially, I believed the extra "laps" were the result of water slapping the face of the watch. It took me only one hour of wearing the watch in a real situation to understand that is not the case.
The extra laps are actually the result of the back of the watch "tapping" against the wrist. I discovered this wearing the watch to time runners at camp. Just moving my wrist to point at something often resulted in the watch lapping out. After experiencing that several times, I took the watch off and simply tapped the back plate.
Imagine my surprise when the watch advanced laps.
Apparently, whatever drives the "tap" technology works on both the face and the back of the watch. The sensitivity settings do help, but the force of my wrist bone pushing against the back is more than enough to count as a "tap."
The only work around I have found is to start the watch, then shift modes back to the regular watch function. Effective for a 100-mile bike ride. Useless for a swim workout involving 30 or 40 intervals.
In all, I think Timex totally dropped the ball on this one. Not only did they completely fail to test the watch prior to shipping it, they seem to have stopped production on 150-lap watches WITHOUT the tap technology.
Sad, as every other watch I've checked out falls well short of any of the past Timex Ironman watches I have owned. I bought this one based on customer loyalty. It will go back, and I only hope the store can find something that will be a suitable replacement.
What's that they say about the road to hell?
Last week was a pretty tough week, but I did manage to get some solid training completed, and I feel pretty good about the numbers. Since posting my "accountability" picture a week ago, here is how things shake out:
1500 yd swim and 5K run on Wednesday
One yard mowed on Thursday (I called it 30 minutes walking)
80 mile bike on Saturday
Another yard mowed on Sunday (You're welcome, Dad)
10 mile run, this morning
Not perfect, but that discussion leaves out the time spent cleaning out my basement which suffered some water damage on Wednesday, courtesy of some odd circumstances involving two inches of rain in an hour, overflowing gutters, and water running down a wall.
Tuesday and Thursday will be swims, with another run and bike on Wednesday. Saturday will be the last big workout prior to attempting my self-supported Ironman on September 5th. I'll try to tackle a 5000 yard swim followed by about 110 miles on the bike and a short run-off.
Somewhere along the line I have to use some new tools at my disposal to create a new header for the site and use some real tools to finish stripping and refinishing a bookcase. Just for giggles, I'll use my spare time to learn a new song on the guitar. After all, if you're going to do it, why not overdo it.
It's a good thing this is a blog and not a business letter. Because I'm about to break a key rule and cover several topics in one post. If you get lost, don't worry. I promise to try and be less erratic on the next post. Of course, note the political way in which I put that. "Try and be less erratic."
Okay, first to the promised photo and training details. The photo at the left is about as embarrassing a picture as I'm willing to post. This is where I'm at, now. I've gained about 20 pounds, thrown the 34" pants into the closet, and hope I don't have to break the 38" pants back out. In a word, I failed to get the calorie intake under control when I had to back off on training. So, it's time to ramp the training up while getting the diet back where it should be.
The good news is that my fitness remains high. Since taking a month off after laying my bike down, I've managed an 82-mile bike and a 2.5 mile swim. Neither was as easy as perhaps I'd like them to be, but both were completed with relatively few issues. (Getting lost doesn't count, as it was on the bike. If I get lost in the pool, I'll let you know.)
Training time should be easier to come by in the coming weeks. The youth in the Brigade Triathlon Club completed their first race on Sunday, August 8th. All three were first time triathletes, and all provided one or more surprises during the day. We were concerned they might never get into the water as there was thunder and lightning as close as 35 minutes before the start, but a short delay under clearing skies allowed them to race.
With the race completed, the time dedicated to coaching will now go to training.
Finally, I once again witnessed the strong sense of community that thrives in triathletes. I only wish those who look on endurance athletes as a disruption to their schedule could have been at the park.
Shortly after all three of the kids showed up, I heard an announcement that the race staff needed a helmet for a racer who had forgotten his. With three kids racing, I had every possible piece of gear with me, including two helmets that weren't needed. I ran over to the announcer and handed the guy my helmet, only asking that he drop it off at the finish when he was done. I didn't worry about his name or bib number. To be honest, I didn't even think about it.
After the race, I was heading to my car when I remembered the helmet. I stopped by the announcer at the finish line, and there it was. I picked it up and a handmade envelope fell out of it. Inside was $5 and a note thanking me for the use of the helmet. It was signed, "The happy triathlete." He asked that I grab myself a drink by way of thanks.
It was fitting, as I was getting hungry by that time. I picked up some pretzels and a Gatorade and had a bit left over. It worked out pretty well.
Driving home, I thought about it. Imagine a community where someone can reasonably expect that a request for gear will be answered. Imagine a community where people hearing such a request will actively try to help. And imagine a community where people are so truly grateful for that help that they go out of their way to express their thanks.
That's the way I see the triathlon community. Countless times I've witness people assist others in ways big and small. It's great to watch. And it's great to be part of it.
Okay, it feels like I'm stuck in the mud. Instead of moving forward, I'm sliding backward. So, it's accountability time. Here's how that's going to work.
Tomorrow, I will post a horribly embarrassing "in between" picture. Why "in between" you ask? Well, it's not really a "before" picture because that would have been years ago, and I haven't slid THAT far back. But it's definitely not the "after" picture. If anything, my pictures from Ironman Louisville would have been the after picture.
Those with weak stomachs and those with a desire to keep their eyeballs might want to avoid looking at the picture.
Once the "in between" picture is posted, I will start posting honest to goodness training goals and updates. I will also continue to embarrass myself once a week with additional "in-between" pictures. I will do what it takes to get back into the shape I want to be in, and properly document the journey, this time.
And somewhere along the line, I'm going to find the means to enter another Ironman. Just don't tell my wife.
DC Rainmaker seems to be losing his Garmin loving mind. He's giving away another Garmin GPS. This time, it's the Forerunner 310XT. All you have to do is swing by his post on the giveaway and follow the instructions to be entered to win.
Of course, I don't actually want anyone to follow the link, and I definitely don't want you to sign up to win. Because I WANT TO WIN! So stay away. It's being protected by alligators. And pits. And attack robots.
DC Rainmaker is celebrating super-bloggy success by giving away a Garmin 110. If you want to enter, just visit his site and comment on the post, and you're in. Why I'm telling you this, I don't know. It just lowers my chances of winning. Perhaps I'll get bonus points for spre
On Saturday, June 19th, Wendy Buckner completed the Flowers Sea Swim in the Cayman Islands. She left the water and was immediately put into an ambulance. Sadly, she suffered cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital and passed away.
I met Wendy in person only one time. I considered her a good friend and will miss her greatly. Many people around the world are experiencing the same thing, today.
Please keep her brother Brent, and the entire family in your prayers.
I was surprised to see my name on the March leader board at Plus 3 Network. I made the Top 50 for "hand entered" workouts coming in at number 48, earning $18.32 for World Bicycle Relief. One more workout would have easily moved me up another half-dozen positions, so I know I can do a bunch more if I can have a month without some kind of cold slowing me down.
For anyone unfamiliar with the site, Plus 3 Network is a tool for tracking training. More importantly, it is a tool for turning training into donations for worthwhile causes. When signing up, each participant selects a sponsor/cause combination. Then, as training is documented, each participant earns money which the sponsor contributes to the specific charity. As a means of documenting and tracking training, Plus 3 Network is far short of many of the Online resources. But the ability to raise money for various organizations makes it a great tool.
Consider my account. When I registered, I selected World Bicycle Relief as the charity. SRAM is the sponsoring company. Since November of 2008 I have logged nearly 1600 miles of training in a total of just over 235 hours. For me logging that training into Plus 3 Network, SRAM has donated $66.52 to World Bicycle Relief. All totaled, more than $10,000 dollars has been raised by people training for a cause.
For me, it is a no-brainer. I'm already doing the training, and I'm already documenting the training in multiple locations. I have to fill out my company's wellness forms and my personal tracking file. The 30 seconds it takes to log the workout into Plus 3 is well worth the effort.
An added benefit is that various sponsors run "Challenges" that allow participants to compete for rewards. Since starting, I've picked up some SRAM socks, a reusable shopping bag, and a couple other little goodies. I've yet to win drawings for some of the bigger items which have included Garmin GPS units and store gift certificates.
If you haven't stopped by their site, check it out. They have dozens of causes to which you can dedicate your training, and the site is easy to use. It's a great way to make your training count for others, and every time a workout is entered, you have the joy of knowing you're doing something positive.
Last year, I was awful quiet because I wasn't training and I didn't have anything major in the works. This year, I've been buried and awfully busy with training and all things triathlon.
The most obvious outward sign of the increased training is that I find myself absolutely wore out a great deal of the time, in a good way. I spent so long working on the house and doing other things that late nights became all too common. Now, I'm getting back to where I'd really like to be asleep by about 8:30 or 9:00. When I find myself in bed earlier than all the old geezers I know, I'll know I'm completely back on track.
I've been VERY busy with the Boys' and Girls' Brigade. There will be a bit of a break as the winter program ends and we shift to the summer schedule. The great news is that our Youth Tri Club is on track to crush all previous years. With four being the most participants we've had in the past, we currently have 43 7-12th graders who have expressed an interest in training for and completing a triathlon this year, two in the olympic distance event. And at least one who indicated he can't swim.
If half of them show up, I'll be in trouble in a good way. Luckily, a half-dozen adult leaders and coaches have offered their help. I'll need it.
In addition, I have a new "kit" from the Fox Cities Triathlon Club. Chad has participated in triathlon in the past, and has his sight set on completing the half-iron distance race in June. As always, it's exciting to share my experiences and help another person reach their training goal. And with him racing the half, there's a much greater chance I'll see him somewhere on the race course. Probably when he blows by me.
So, I continue to focus on my training, and continue to neglect my blog. I guess that's better than keeping the blog updated daily while letting my training tank.
I'm still around, and I'm still going.
BTW, the mIronman self-supported race is still in the works. We've identified the swim course, and continue to discuss the bike and run routes. Tri Fox support has been incredible, and it looks like we'll have a handful of competitors.
No, this post isn't about some training run that just meandered around the city. It's a post that is going to wander through a lot of different topics. Remember in school how they teach that a story or message should have single topic? Yeah, me neither.
This weekend's training took an interesting turn. I was at a youth retreat where we did a lot of winter activities. Some of the training that breaks my "nothing dangerous during marathon training" rule included nightime snow football. Despite that fact it was co-ed, the youth wanted it to be tackle, so there were some good knocks handed out.
We also played broom-ball for about 90 minutes. For those in warmer climes, broom-ball is basically hockey without pads. Or rules. I spent much of the game trying to avoid the kids that were trying to check me every possible way, including gang tackles.
I also spent 90 minutes doing actual training. One of the youth wanted to ski from camp to a local pizza spot then back. Her reason? Just to say she'd done it. So, for the first time in about 25 years, I strapped on cross country skis. We covered about 4.5 miles and it was a pretty good workout.
In other news, because I don't have enough blogs running around, I've started blogging for the Green Bay Marathon. You car read the introductory post here. I guess that means I should officially sign up for the race. When I do, it looks like I'll be running it without one co-worker or another for the first time in three years.
Of course, to be fair, last year the co-worker who did the marathon was completely on his own as I was doing the double-marathon thing.
Let's see, youth retreat activities, cross country skiing, GB Marathon blogging. That's only three topics.
So, let's add in that I'm waiting for my training to be busted up, yet again, by the arrival of the plague. Both kids and now my wife have been knocked down by some horrible illness in the past 10 days. My daughter says I'm the winner because I'm the only one that didn't get sick.
She's too young to add the proper word to the end of that sentence.
Just who is this Iron Pol?
A former out of shape sailor, who became a marathoner, then a triathlete, Ironman, and ultramarathoner. Now, life has pushed me into short track speed skating. More important than the titles is the lifestyle, and sharing it with others.