Tag Archives: pebble

Join the Distance Disco

Apple headphones

This weekend I’m running the Reading Half Marathon for the third time. This is the final time I’ll be running in race conditions before the big one, so it’s the perfect opportunity to test out how I want to take the race on marathon day – and I need your help.

For other people, a training race is a chance to test an approach to pacing, clothing or hydration and nutrition strategy. But for me this is a test run for my Battery Strategy and my running music.

I’ve been training without my Pebble as the Bluetooth connection drains the iPhone’s already lightweight battery, but I really want to use it on race day. Last year, I challenged my friends to cheer me on on race day via tweets sent to my Pebble, and to choose my running music for me via a collaborative Spotify. It was a miserable, wet and cold day, but the stream of good wishes and ace tunes kept my spirits up and saw me round the 13.1 grim miles, and I’m sure it’ll do the same for the full 26.2.

So I’ve ordered a Moophie Juice Pack and am using this weekend’s race to see if it’ll keep my phone in enough power to feed me tunes and tweets all morning.

And just like last year, I’m asking for your kind words and excellent taste in tunes.

In last year’s race, every time I was feeling tired or demotivated, a cracking tune would come on and cheer me up. This year, I need it even more. If I’m going to get around twenty six long, long miles, I’l going to need a party in my ears.

I’ve set up a collaborative playlist here, and I’d love it if you would add any tunes you think might keep my motivated on the big day. Together, we can create the perfect distance running disco.

The rules:

  1. I won’t look at the playlist before I start – I want it to be a surprise
  2. You have until 8am on Sunday, 2 March to add your tunes – that’s when I’ll switch the playlist to offline
  3. I can skip if I’ve heard a tune before (the Rickroll Rule)
  4. If there’s a tune that doesn’t help me pick up/keep up the pace, or which I really hate (or both), I can skip past that too (the Hawkwind Rule)

I’ll be reading my tweets on my Pebble, so tweet me your words of encouragement @sharonodea. The race starts at 10am on Sunday 2 March, and all being well I’ll be over the finish line by 12.30.

EDIT: Someone on Twitter came up with the idea of offering a prize. Great idea! I’ll be handing out the finest gift my husband can find in Reading on Sunday morning to whoever adds the track which is on when I cross the finish line. So add those tunes now and be in with the chance to win.

A home run

Battersea Power Station

Today I tried running home from work for the first time. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for ages – first, looking up all manner of routes on MapMyRun, then obsessing over what kind of runner’s backpack I’d need to minimise chafing.

But yesterday I caught up with two colleagues who are also running the London Marathon to compare training strategies. Both are taking a similar approach to me – a weekend long run with a couple of runs in the week – and we chatted about the logistics of fitting in running around our busy jobs.

On my way home I realised the obsessing with routes and kit was yet more procrastination, and I should Just Bloody Do It. The struggle with hills on my last two long runs have left me feeling a little downbeat about my strength, so I figured I ought to try some running on the flat to cheer myself up. And the run home from work is exactly that – right along the Thames from the City westwards. None more flat.

Attempting to set off early, I changed into my kit then had a minor panic about what I did and didn’t need to take home. Eventually I stuck my iPad and personal phone in my bag along with my Oyster and bank cards and a bottle of water, and stuck my work clothes, shoes and the handbag full of crap I usually carry around in my locker in the office. I strapped on my Pebble and my little rucksack, fired up Spotify and Runkeeper, and headed out of the building.

I headed vaguely south-west, hitting the riverside at Blackfriars, down the embankment to Westminster and my old workplace, the Houses of Parliament. I ran past the bus stop opposite my old office on Millbank, and felt a pang of guilt at the number of times I’d hopped on the bus from there to Vauxhall rather than do the 15 minutes walk.

From there I kept going along the river, past Millbank Tower and the Tate, and headed for Fulham. There I was stuck on a corner for five minutes while police stopped traffic in all directions until a car and motorcycle outrider appeared.

It passed, and I was off again, heading along the embankment. When I stopped to take a picture of Battersea Power Station, I noticed my Pebble – which I’d thought I’d fixed after its recent fail – had died again and was giving me the error 504 sadface.

Strangely, this didn’t bother me at all. I was actually really enjoying the run. I kept going, ticking London bridges off in my head as a passed. Vauxhall, Chelsea, Albert (site of my very first snog, fact fans), they seemed to pass in a blur as I processed the day’s stresses and mentally wrote the first half of this blog post.

This is the point where the Thames Path veers quite spectacularly from the actual river and gets quite confusing, so I made for the relative safety and simplicity of Kings Road, which gets progressively less glamorous as it extends west.

Outside a kebab shop, some twats with bikes shouted something at me. I expect it wasn’t very nice. I didn’t care. Right then, I felt fucking brilliant. Strong and healthy and happy.

Soon I reached Putney. It was just before 7pm by then, so I decided to head for the station and take the last couple of stops back from there, else I’d have been ridiculously late back, and the route from Putney home is through parkland so I wouldn’t feel safe at night.

I jumped on the train a couple of stops, then sprinted the last half a kilometre back from the station with a huge grin on my face. I haven’t felt so alive in years.

A tale of tech fail

Pebble error message with sadface

It was perhaps inevitable that right after starting a blog about tech and running, all my tech would fail on me.

I ran the New Year’s Day 10k with both my Pebble and Fitbit. It was raining quite hard that day, and somehow it got into the Fitbit and messed up the display. It still seems to work ok, but the watery display just ruins my enjoyment of the device. Every time I look at it I feel a bit disappointed.

 

My water damaged Fitbit Force

My water damaged Fitbit Force

The Fitbit Force, unlike the Flex, doesn’t claim to be waterproof. Where the Flex can be worn showering and swimming, Fitbit advise users remove the band even for washing up. It does, however, promise to be rain and sweat proof – but my experience shows it isn’t.

Credit where due, Fitbit’s customer support have been excellent. I reported the fault through the Fitbit app, and quickly got an email back suggesting I return it to the shop where I bought it. Given the shop is in New York and I am in London, that’s not a goer. And besides, I threw away the receipt. I emailed back to say so, expecting a battle to get a replacement. They responded saying they’ll ship me a new one anyway. Impressed.

Then inexplicably, after ten months of only occasional use, my Pebble died on me too. It worked fine on my run, but when I got home and quit out of the Pebble’s Runkeeper app, it developed a fault which meant it shows nothing but a sad face.

I tried all the usual routes for a hard reset, but none of them work. The only other suggested fix I can find on the Pebble forum is to wait for the battery to run down and run a restore when plugging it back in.

I’m currently cursing the battery life and the fact I’d given it a full charge the night before. This could take some time. If that doesn’t work, I’ll have to return it.

It might be a blessing in disguise. This week Pebble unveiled the Pebble Steel at CES. It’s essentially the same watch but with a much more attractive steel casing and band. It’s gorgeous. I couldn’t justify buying one given I already have a Pebble, but if my one has to go to the great factory in the sky, then maybe it’s time to upgrade.