Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Run, Walk, Bark … Help Innovative Program Support Georgia Kids

The Bridge hosts its inaugural Run Walk Bark 5K Race/1K Walk on Sunday, June 28. The event takes place at Brook Run Park in Dunwoody.

For troubled and abused kids in our community, The Bridge provides residential, therapeutic and educational services. Proceeds from the event benefit The Bridge’s Animal Assisted Therapy Program. This is a pretty cool program … dogs are part of a therapy treatment for abused youth. Kids learn coping skills and establish a sense of security and comfort with themselves and with others.

The event includes a 5K race (people only; no dogs) at 7:30 a.m. and a 1K dog walk that starts at 8:30 a.m. Registration is available at If you’re not able to participate but want to help, you can make a donation at the event site. Register by June 22 and pay $20. The event fee goes up to $25 after June 23.

This week’s running route is courtesy of the Oakhurst Running Club. It runs along the East Lake Golf Course.

· Start at One Step at a Time
· Head west down East Lake Dr.
· Turn left on Wisteria Way
· Turn right on Rockyford Rd
· Turn left on College Ave
· Turn left on Howard St.
· Turn left on Hosea L. Williams Dr.
· Veer right onto Oakview Rd
· Veer right onto Cottage Grove Rd.
· Turn right on 3rd Ave.
· Turn left on Alston Dr.
· Turn left on Spence Ave.
· Turn right on E. Pharr Rd.
· Turn left on Garland Ave.
· Turn right on S. McDonough St.
· Turn left on W. Hill St.
· End at One Step at a Time

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Review of the Garmin Forerunner 405

Last month, I praised REI for its hassle-free return policy that allowed me to exchange my two-year-old deteriorating 305 for the nifty and sleek 405. Well, my excitement about owning the 405 quickly diminished once I started getting to know the device. Here’s my story:

Set-up: Initially, setting up the device seemed fairly easy. But I had a few problems correcting my profile and setting up the training screen. So, I went back to REI for help. After the REI associate spent 30 minutes with the device, he couldn’t figure out how to fix the problems either. Not a good sign. Eventually, I had to erase the data and start over again.

Pace Accuracy: I was really excited on my first run with the 405, but that feeling didn’t last long. Why? The pace reading wasn’t accurate. I ran with the 305 for two years and I had a good sense of my running pace on my routes. On downward hills where I knew I was running a 7:50 to 8:00 minute-mile pace, the display showed a 12:30 pace. During random stretches of my runs, the display reported a slower pace than what I knew I was actually running. I rely on the pace reading in road races to judge my performance, so this issue has been a real concern for me.

Ease of Use: The bevel responds inconsistently. Just trying to get to the training screen for the start of my run has been a challenge. Sometimes it’s easy to find, other times I can’t get it to display. During the Summerfest 5K, the training screen disappeared a few minutes into the race … which meant I could no longer track my running pace.

Also, the wrist band seems oddly over designed. A small metal piece in the rubber loop on the band makes it a bit hard to secure the wrist band in place.

I was hesitant to write this review, not knowing if perhaps my experiences where due to a defective device. But after doing a bit of research, I’ve found other users complain about similar problems with the user interface and device accuracy. To be fair, there are also plenty of reviews from people who simply love the Garmin Forerunner 405. But, I’m not a runner with a lot of patience … especially for a device. I’ve felt so frustrated with my experience that I didn’t even bother to download the software from Garmin to sync the device with the computer. What’s the point if I don’t trust the information it shows me during my runs?

As a busy mom with a full-time job, I want something simple and easy to use. While the Forerunner 305 is a bit clunky, I loved the fact that it was easy to use and the information was accurate. I could push a button instead of scroll through seemingly endless screens of information.

Given the number of positive reviews I found for the Forerunner 405, it is worth checking out if you don’t mind spending the time needed to learn the device. But if you’re looking for something simple, stick with the Forerunner 305. You can find more reviews at and at

For me, it looks like I’ll be heading back to REI to exchange the Forerunner 405 for the 305.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Hey Atlanta - It's National Running Day

Today was the inaugural celebration of National Running Day. The mission of this event is to promote the benefits and convenience of running and encourage Americans to adopt the sport as part of a healthy lifestyle. Several running clubs across the country, including the Atlanta Track Club, supported the event. Nearly 100 running events were hosted, starting at midnight and concluding at 9 p.m. I ran tonight with about 20 runners from the Oakhurst Running Club. While the heat and hills left me feeling out of shape, I ended the run motivated to hit the pavement again. So Atlanta, get out and run!