Garmin 620

Garmin 620

Did Garmin create something of more value?

I’ve been playing with it since I opened it on Christmas Day.  And for me, this one’s for keeps.  The Garmin 620 has ticked every box on my list that my other wrist-worn Garmins failed to do.

Not visible, but the flag was covered in white ice crystals

Not visible, but the flag was covered in white ice crystals

The Big Test Day dawned bright, clear, sunny and frozen.  SatNav took me a strange way to Box Hill, but I got there in the end.  By the time we found The North Down’s Way Trail, the sun had disappeared and dense gloom had descended.

The conditions were truly awful.  Mud, mud and so much more mud was our companion for the planned 25km recce of the trickiest section of the Pilgrim’s Way Ultra we were training for.

Box Hill in Gloom

Box Hill in Gloom

We met the event organisers Neil & Anna of XNRG Extreme Energy (also recce’ing!), on the trail just after I’d lost my legs sideways to the right-hand-down camber and landed so heavily on my left shoulder that my left arm was still ‘dead’.  Auspicious start … and now my pretty white Garmin 620 was caked in mud.

‘Barefoot’ or not, we slipped, slid and slithered and drove our adductors & abductors into submission.  After a silly-tough 90 minute 10km (!), we flew the white flag and turned around.

Tarne making the most of a TOO SHORT segment of relaxed, efficient, upright running with some decent footing

Tarne making the most of a TOO SHORT segment of relaxed, efficient, upright running with some decent footing

If possible, the conditions on the return journey were worse.  Was my BIG TEST of my Garmin 620 going to show anything useful?

My tick box:

  • Was the heart rate strap going to give me a rash on a longer run (I had survived many 1hr runs without issue, and even that was better than any previous HR straps)?
    • No :)
  • Was the heart rate monitor going to work properly ‘the wrong way round’? ie the lumpy nasty thing – that sticks into my hiatus hernia & makes me feel sick if I wear it ‘normally’ for any length of time – at the back of my rib-cage.
    • Yes :)
  • Was the new-to-Garmin-wrist-appliances’-ultra-lightness  going to satisfy my need to NOT NOTICE IT on a longer run?
    • Yes :)
  • Was the cadence monitoring – the aspect I most desired as an efficient running coach – over a longer distance going to ‘give me anything’ of benefit?
    • YES YES YES!! Have you SEEN that graph?  In those conditions?  I’d strive for a great cadence, not just to be able to run with less effort- further – but just to have that purple-defined top line :) Brilliant post-run fun!
  • In (my favourite) muddy conditions, did my pretty white Garmin 620 scrub up as new?  After all, when you spend that much money on something you wear, you want it to look ‘as new’ for the longest time possible!
    • Yes :)

And whilst nothing to do with the Garmin 620, was the recce any use (never bothered to do that for a running event before)?

Caked VFF Lontras … fun in the mud, but not as grippy as my beloved Spyridons

Caked VFF Lontras … fun in the mud, but not as grippy as my beloved Spyridons

  • A resounding ‘Yes’!  My new Vibram Fivefinger Lontras were warmer at the beginning, and I didn’t have to scrub my toe-nails once home, BUT in those dreadful conditions I needed the extra grip of my amazing VFF Spyridons … when I lost my legs sideways I was walking …

Oh, and this was to be my first ‘there and back’ multi-stage ultra.  I went round-and-round on a 10 mile loop for my first 50 miler and that was fine.  Now I’ve realised that I even avoid ‘out and back’ runs in training.  I do loops, without thinking about it.  My favourite – but logistically challenging – is A to B.  So if I didn’t like it for a 10km, I was already dreading it for 55km.  I’m going one-way … ;)