Thursday, October 18, 2012

To Garmin, or not to Garmin?

This week marked the beginning of a new experiment. No longer am I in control, planning my own punishment. No longer must I saunter aimlessly along the path towards fitness. I have found faith in Footfeathers, and he has shown no mercy. One of my first workouts was the Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF) test - 60 minutes at my estimated aerobic threshold, 140 bpm. This pace would normally have been an intermediate endurance run for me, and I was looking forward to it after the effort I had put in Tuesday. After work I stopped by Berkeley Bowl and stocked up on frozen fruit and greens for smoothies, and once they were squared away aboard Kuani, I got ready to go for my run. That was when I took my Garmin off the charger only to find it DEAD.

This was not the first time the Forerunner 610 had let me down. I purchased my first one in July of 2011, just before I was sidelined with stress fractures. Since then, I have had it replaced twice: once for corrupted firmware, and once for charging issues. Garmin's fancy magnetic charging contacts are prone to clogging with funk and gunk from sweat (great design concept for a piece of exercise gear there, Garmin), and it seems no measure of post-workout cleaning/rinsing/picking will enable the system to continue functioning.

So I fiddled with it, rinsed it, poked at the contacts with toothpicks. I even tried to mold some aluminum foil over the contacts, but nothing would get it charging. Sure, it said it was charging, but the battery percentage would remain at 0%. After 45 minutes, I was beginning to wonder if I was going to have to skip the MAF and just go for a naked run with no HR monitor or watch (gasp!). While I struggled with that concept (I even considered calling Tim for some emotional support), I called Garmin to get the ball rolling on a replacement. My fourth in 15 months. Fortunately, they already had me in the system, and the call lasted just a few minutes. I had to disengage the charger from the watch to get the serial number, and low and behold, the damn thing started charging properly when I replaced it. I always get a kick out of electronic devices coincidentally repairing themselves as soon as replacement options are underway.

The only thing worse than waiting around to go for a run while your Garmin searches for satellites is waiting around for your Garmin to charge enough for your workout! Would 25% be enough? Lets see... Eight hours of battery life, one hour workout. 25% should be two hours. Better make it 30% just to be safe...

It worked fine for an hour, then none of the buttons worked and it wouldn't stop when I was done. And wouldn't save my run.

And now I have a never-worn refurbished Garmin Forerunner 610 for sale.

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