Another record broken!
‘Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.’ —Henry Ford
Stopwatches in one form or another have been around since before the USA was even a country. The very first stopwatch was called a “physician’s pulse watch” invented by Samuel Watson 1695 as a custom project for surgeon John Floyer. It was able to measure an accuracy of 1/5 of a second.
In 1816 Louis Moinet created the “compteur de tierces” (1/60 second counter), which looked remarkably like a modern stopwatch, and could be reset at the touch of a button. This personal scientific instrument was way ahead of its time (no pun intended). It would take another century before a more precise stopwatch would be produced. In 1916 the Heuer watch company produced a stopwatch accurate to 1/100 of a second.
Since the nineteenth century stopwatches have been an essential tool in the racing circuit. By 1881 they were joined by the ‘photo finish’ invented by photographer Ernest Marks at a track in Plainfield, N.J to determine winners of horse races that were ‘too close to call’. These instances where the outcome was to ambiguous to be determined by the naked eye used to be referred to as ‘dead-heats’. In the result of a dead-heat, officials had no choice but to declare the result a tie. Now in the current day improvements in technology, including digital super-slow motion replay, computer tracking, pressure-sensitive digital timers, and chip timers have rendered dead-heats all but extinct.
In 1962 science fiction author John D. MacDonald wrote the novel The Girl, the Gold Watch and Everything. In the novel Kirby Winter inherits a remarkable stopwatch that can literally stop time for everyone and everything, except for the person holding the watch. Kirby uses this incredible watch to change his life for the better.
Last month I brought an incredible watch to change my life for the better too, although it’s not as awesome as the watch Kirby Winter had in the aforementioned novel. It was an anniversary gift to myself was I was coming up to the one-year as a runner date.
Just over a year ago I started training for my first ever race. The event was called Beat Beethoven and held at Alvernia University in Reading PA on Sunday April 28th, 2019.
The event was timed by Pretzel City Sports, a local race-timing company owned by Ron Horn. I was both excited and terrified. I finished the race and made by goal. I vividly remember being told I did great by a woman who I later found out was Helene, Ron’s wife. My second race was a 15K the Chobert Challenge, also timed by Pretzel City Sports (PCS). My first half Marathon was the Bird-in-Hand Half on September 7, 2019. Although PCS was not timing the event, Ron and Helene were in attendance and again gave great encouragement. All in all I ran nearly a dozen races last year, picking up tips and making many friends along the way.
Two things I noticed about my fellow runners, besides the encouragement.
- Many of them wore these long socks.
- Many of them had special runner’s watches.
In 2020 I planned to run two dozen races and compete in my first ever full marathon. Then COVID-19 struck and the virus that shut down the world closed all the gyms and then began cancelling one race after another. To date all my official timed races that had been slated for April and May have been cancelled or postponed, and June is now looking iffy too. As I had been relying upon timing results and marked distances from these races to chart my progress, this became problematic. You don’t know how far you’ve come unless you keep accurate records to chart your progress. I don’t even have the treadmill at the gym right now due to this stupid virus! A runner runs and I refuse to let some virus derail my marathon goal!
Fortunately I have good friends to run with, marked trails to run on, and I was using my smart-phone to keep time, more or less. If you’re going to do any job well, you need the proper tools. Most of my running friends have runner’s watches. So I bit the bullet and made the purchase. (This watch cost more than any of my first 3 used cars!)
I decided to purchase the top-of-the-line tri-athlete Garmin Forerunner 945. Garmin makes one other even more expensive ‘total’ sports watch, the Garmin Fenix 6X Pro, but as far as runners are concerned it’s the Forerunner line, and the 945 is the top!
There are many players in the sport-watch field, but Garmin is widely believed to be the industry leader.
Most runners have the discontinued Forerunner 235 that came out years ago. This is Gina’s 235:
My 945 has many features that earlier models do not have, as well as all the common features that runners have come to rely upon. After using my watch for just one month, I have seen a definite improvement in my performance. For a more detailed list of feature specs on the watch, this is from the Amazon listing:
- Premium GPS running/triathlon smartwatch with music
- Download songs to your watch, including playlists from Spotify, Amazon Music or Deezer (may require premium subscription with a third party music provider)
- Performance monitoring features include Vo2 Max and training status with adjustments for heat, altitude Acclimation status, training load focus, recovery time, and aerobic and anaerobic training effects
- Garmin Pay contactless payment solution (available for supported cards from participating banks) lets you make convenient payments with your watch so you can leave your cash and cards at home
- Full color, onboard maps guide you on your run so you never get lost during your workout
- Safety and tracking Features include incident detection (during select activities) which sends your real time location to emergency contacts through your paired compatible smartphone
- Battery life: Up to 2 weeks in smartwatch mode, 10 hours in GPS mode with music or up to 60 hours in UltraTrac mode. Display resolution – 240 x 240 pixels
I haven’t yet mastered all the features as I am still in the learning phase, but this is definitely the king of sport watches, and I have never been more happier with a purchase of a wearable tech product.
The watch tracks and records all my runs via GPS. It lets me know when I make a new personal record!
It monitors my heart rate and oxygen levels.
It has a coaching function.
It makes predictions based on my performance.
I can download maps!
It has a compass!
Oh, and it can tell time.
Because of the expense of this item, I highly recommend purchasing an extended warranty, and investing in a screen protector like I did to keep the watch face from getting scratched. If you are a serious runner, you want to protect this invaluable tool for as long as you own it. As always, I wish you success and happiness!