It's no secret that I love my Garmin. It's not the latest model and I didn't buy it new, but its value to me as a runner is priceless. My Garmin is like my best friend in the running world. It lets me know when to take a walk break. It helps me identify if I am slacking off and need to try harder OR if I need to take it a bit easier (if the cramping doesn't tell me first). It has covered hundred of miles with me and, when I download it, it helps me relive those runs in my memories by looking at the maps (I love looking at my half in San Francisco...I just wish I'd remembered it for the run I did across Golden Gate Bridge - favorite.run.ever.)
I run with a Garmin Forerunner 201. I bought it for around $70 on eBay from some lady in Edmonton and had it in a couple of days. It's an older model, but it arrived in a looks-like-new box and only had 30-40K logged in the memory. I'm betting that was all it was ever used for because everything looked like new. Luckiest eBay buy ever!
I bought it as a "congratulations for finishing Couch-to-5K" present to myself. I didn't even know if I would like it. All I knew was that I was enjoying running and I had no idea how fast I was going. I had bought the Nike+ system for my iPod Nano, but couldn't bring myself to use it. The little page in the instruction manual had me hung up on the need to calibrate it and I had no idea how to figure out how far one mile was so I could do so. A Garmin seemed like the best option for me (hubby uses the Nike+ now...he HATES his Garmin).
The first run I did with it was right before I started my TNT journey. I remember marvelling at the fact that I was running a seven minute kilometre! I thought that was super fast! Way faster than I thought my sluggy body was actually moving! After that run, I was pretty sure I was in love with that little wrist mounted GPS. That weekend, I ran my first 5K and I remember glancing at my wrist when I saw the finish line and getting so excited to think that I was going faster than I ever had before.
Over the summer, as I trained for my first half marathon - I went through every emotion possible with that little watch. It saw me through setting PR after PR at each race distance (ah, the joy of the first race season - everything feels like it's a PR). It showed exactly how long the bad runs were but it also showed how great the great runs were. There were days that I wanted to toss it in the river and days that I think I wouldn't have been parted with it for the world.
I know that my little Garmin has the power to do much more than I make it do. One day, I might even enlist those personal trainer functions and do a little speed training. Maybe. If I go crazy one day. Maybe. Until that day, it is great to know that my little running best friend is always there when I need it. It understands when I have a bad day and it helps me strive to achieve as much as I can when I strap on my runners. Perhaps it is my missed long run this past weekend that has me gushing about my little buddy, but I know the guilt trip that's coming from it for that. Seeing the blank spot on my online Garmin log will make me strive harder to not miss another one :)