16 March 2014

Garmin 620 race predictor

Late last year I got a new Garmin 620 running watch.  It has cool features like measuring ground contact time, vertical oscillation and step cadence.  It also 'predicts' VO^2 max and also has a race prediction algorithm that estimates your potential in a few race distances.  Previously I've reviewed how the VO^2 max varies over time, so today I can at least start reviewing the accuracy of the race predictor.  Here's what my watch thinks I can run the following distances in: 
I'm finally starting to do some running races this spring so I can make some comparisons. I ran in a 10k in Sisters, OR last Friday, and two days later, I ran a 5k in Bend.  The 10k was on trail and although it was not extremely hilly, it was pretty technical trail run, with lots of corners and river bottom like rocks.  So my final time was 39:16. I was happy with it even though my watch didn't think I was reaching my potential.  I'll chaulk it up to the technical trail.

Then on Sunday (today) I ran a 5k mostly road run with very little hills although it wasn't dead flat.  I also think the course was about 0.1km short, at least according to my watch.  My time was 17:44!  Look that's only 1 second off from my watch prediction!  I know the course may have been a bit short, but I found it pretty funny anyway.  Also, I've never run a sub 2:50 marathon but I think I have it in me! My 1/2 marathon PR is also very close to 1:21:15; only about 1 minute slower. 

So far my only complaint with my Garmin 620 is the heart rate often spikes to maximum for the first 10-15 minutes of my runs, a common problem.  I'm pretty frustrated by it, so if anyone has any ideas let me know.  I've tried a few things, but so far nothing seems to solve the problem all the time, especially on cold / dry days. 

27 February 2014

Strava Android vs Garmin 620 (XC Skiing) comparison

So I use Strava, and I also use Garmin.  I sometimes use my phone (Motorola Moto X on verizon) to record workouts in strava.  I've been wondering, how good is the phone at tracking position / speed during a workout, vs my expensive Garmin watch?  The phones have got alot better at position, especially the iPhone 5S which can monitor motion / movements while using even less battery.  Technology has improved alot in the last 5 years with phones.

Here's my semi detailed comparison of the Garmin 620 (admittedly a running watch), and the Strava android app for tracking a cross country ski workout (technique: classic) at Mt Bachelor Nordic center near Bend, OR.  The temperature was in the mid-upper 20s and I was using a combination of some start grip tape (under foot) with a mix of Swix blue extra, and toko red in the kick zone.  The phone was in my front jacket pocket, and the watch was on my wrist (under my sleeve).

GarminMoto X
Moving time2:32:252:30:05
Distance (KM)31.5631.7
Avg moving speed (KPH)12.612.6
Max speed (KPH)50.254.0
Elevation gain (meters)613664

The basic statistics appear to be very similar.  The distance is off by about only about 1/2 percent.  The average speed matches pretty much spot on.  The moving time is also very close.  My phone measured my top speed at 54.0, almost 4 kph more than my watch.  Based on the map in Figure 1, the precision of the position on the moto x was a little noisy during downhill sections, but quickly became very good after slowing down.

Fig 1: Strava Android app recording of downhill section on blue jay loop.
The paths really come together for the workout recorded on the phone, as they should, since I was always skiing on the same trail. Now compared to the Garmin GPS (fig 2) the data from the phone is looking pretty good. The Garmin watch seems to have a steady offset, rather than adjusting after changes in speed. By looking closely at the maps, I'm impressed how close the final numbers were for both devices.
Fig 1: The Garmin 620 on same downhill section, skied many times on same workout.
I will continue to use my watch (and my phone) to track workouts.  I pretty much use my Garmin watch exclusively for tracking running workouts, since it's really built for running, and has running specific features like cadence, ground contact time and vertical oscillation.  With the hardware on more phones implementing features to accommodate fitness tracking, it seems like Garmin may have their work cut out for them.  However, I still do not like to carry my phone while running, but with the announced Samsung Galaxy S5 having ANT+ capability, hopefully more phone manufacturers will follow suit, since phones do seem to have a pretty good handle on the position tracking.

19 February 2014

Garmin 620 VO^2max

I was sort of an early adopter to the new Garmin 620 smart watch.  Well, it's smart in that it has a heart rate strap with an accelerometer in it, so it is able to measure your cadence, vertical oscillation (how high you 'bounce') and also ground contact time.  It also measures your average stride lenght for the run based on all the parameters.  So far I really like it. It's super easy to use, automatically uploads to Garmin connect and Strava (with copymysports). I honestly don't know if it's worth the price, but I don't regret buying it, yet anyway.

One of the cool things it does is measure (or estimate) your VO^2max.  Below you can see the trend since I got the watch in late November.  I hadn't been running a ton before then so you can clearly see a trend of increased fitness.

Essentially it measures your heart rate and pace, and uses a formula to calculate your estimated VO2max. You can see the formula in action on the two points I highlighted.  Point (1) I visited Mesa, Arizona and ran in Mesa (1,243ft ele) one day and the next day in high elevation Flagstaff, AZ (6,910ft ele).  It makes sense that I would have a higher pace / lower heart rate in Mesa than in Flag, especially considering my buddy and I summited Elden lookout (~9200ft) on the run in Flagstaff.  Also, on point (2), I was traveling to central California where it is around 375ft elevation. Now I'm back in Central Oregon so I'm sort of back to my current baseline of 57.

Hopefully I'll update this again later in the year, after a few more key workouts and races.

22 January 2014

Hemochromatosis maintenance

Finally got around to making some plots for the ferritin numbers over time, along with frequency of therapeutic phlebotomies.

Figure 1: Original ferritin decline with partial phelbotomies plotted. Early phlebotomies not counted.

Figure 2: Hemochromatosis maintenance since original de-iron at end of 2006. Clear increase in ferritin since 2nd quarter 2012 indicates more therapeutic phlebotomies required.

Doctor indicates safe ferritin for HH patient is ferritin less than 50 or so.

04 October 2013

Rejected blood

I'm a little outraged that the red cross won't let me donate blood into the regular blood bank.  Since I have Hemochromatosis, they will take out my blood, but they just throw it down the drain.  (well not literally).

This is not the FDA restricting the blood from HH positive people; they allow it.  This is 100% the red cross and their stupid politics.  here's a direct quote from the red cross website:

The American Red Cross, which controls about 45% of the nation's blood supply, does not currently accept donations from people with known hemochromatosis. Everyone agrees that the blood is safe and of high quality. There is no risk of passing on a genetic disease through blood transfusions. But the Red Cross has a long-standing policy that potential donors are not allowed to receive direct compensation for their donation (beyond the usual orange juice and cookie). Because people with hemochromatosis would otherwise have to pay for their therapeutic phlebotomies, they would in effect be getting something of value for being able to donate for free. Thus the Red Cross has ruled that such donations violate their policy.
BS! If I had an alternative way to give blood and have it go to a blood bank I totally would.  I estimate that I will be prescribed to give blood between 4 and 8 times a year for the rest of my life!! That's a lot of blood for people who might need it.

See if you have any alternatives to the Red Cross to give blood in your area, and also, encourage them to accept blood from hemochromatosis patients if they don't already.

09 September 2013

Pillager Mud Run Special

Ran in the Pillager Mud Run last weekend and had a lot of fun.  The mud was just a little watered down, but it was still yucky and muddy.  The local public TV station did a nice little production on it, and I gave away my training secret:  American Ninja Warrior!!!

Fun times in MN for sure.

Red Cross doesn't want my O- blood

Just got a letter in the mail stating the Red Cross will no longer use my iron rich 'hemochromatosis' O negative blood in the regular blood bank anymore because of "technology upgrades". I'm pretty disappointed by this and really wish there was an alternate blood bank here in town that I could go to. They said they would still extract my blood at no charge but it will go to waste. I'm hoping to start a revolution to get this decision turned around. I have O negative blood and it's the same as anyone elses. My extra iron isn't in my blood, it's in my body and when I give blood my body uses my extra iron to create new RBCs. In other words, my blood is the same as everybody else.

Just had to vent.