Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It is a plane, no it is a dinosaur, no it is an elephant, no it is Philip, the foreign runner!!!

As a result of some comments received I felt obliged in posting some of my before Photos. I dont have so many after photos but on the top of my blog is enough of what I look like now and most of you has seen me with my new body. Well here it goes...

This was when I was in the police force in South Africa when I was still thin.

This is when I started picking up weight, after the birth of our first child.

This was at a function where I am with my wife at a work function.
This just after we arrived in the UK.
During my bible training in the UK. Notice how I am the biggest in our class.
The above two photos is the shocking fotos I was refering to that made me decide to do something about my weight. I am still no Ben 10 but I feel like Spiderman everytime I look at these photos.
So, if I could do it then anyone can. Kaya mo iyan!!!
Keep fit!!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Garmin oh garmin, which one should be my garmin?!?

Reading so many posts about GPS watches and the not so sure which one to purchase I decided to share my experiences between three garmins with you...

My beginning with Garmin started not long after I started running. This was in the beginning of 2006 in the beautifull village of Grimsby England. I noticed myself on a photo that was taken at a Christmas function. It came to me as a shock. What happened to me over the last few years? How did I not realise what happened to my body? I could hardly see my chin! I decided that is it! No more Barney, from now on it will be Ben 10!!!

This is the old me next to Don King.

So I took up running. I started with 200m and wanted to vommit. I was so unfit. The 200m quickly developed into 1km which after a month was a slow but steady 3km. I ran every day except for Sundays. The day came when I decided to do a 5km route. I was so scared and thought, what will I do if I can't make it as it is far to walk back if I break down... I completed it and it was great. Although at a slow pace I did it without walking once.

After about two months I did my first 10km race. At this point I was serious about running so I decided I need a monitor or something which will log my runs. I went online and read that some people have a log which they write down their runs in a log book. The lazy me quickly turned away that option. One afternoon a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to use his Polar watch. He told me it has a heart rate monitor and it can give you a graph afterwards explaining the effort of your run. WOW WOW WOW. I ran with it and was quite impressive. I can't remember the details but the information I printed after the run was amazing. Then I started my line of research in watches and without a lot of information, I stumbled on the Garmin forerunner 301. The following is my experiences:

Garmin forerunner 301:

I bought this forerunner just before the 305 was launched and I bought it from ebay for a mere 140GBP. I also received a 1 year warranty. I used it for approximately 2 months when the socket which connects the watch to the PC did not want to recognise the watch. I phoned Garmin UK and they asked me to send it back to them. I was quite happy with the watch as it registered not only the distance but also my heart rate, pace and on a lazy software program could even see on a poor map where my run was. It took a while to find satelite and the strap looked like a thing you can use when yuor parachute does not want to open. But at that time when GPS just came out with watches, it was a great gadget. I phoned Garmin after a week and asked the lady what the problem with my watch is and she informed me she will exchange it for me. I did some more research by then and realised the new forerunner 305 was just launched. After some negotiations I was allowed to pay in 20GBP and she send me the new forerunner 305.

Garmin forerunner 305:

This was an exciting watch. It also had the heart rate monitor as well as so many features. The screen can be devided into either 1 screen or 4 viewable screens. You can also select manually which information you would like to view on the screen. It contains fields as pace, time, lap speed, distance etc. The software was also much better than the 301 software. It had a better updated map and the training centre (name of the software) was also easy to read and follow. You can also select a specific user profile which has different speed zones. You can even download from runnersorld training programs directly to your garmin and it will appear on your software under a calender of your specific exercise for each day. You can also create your own workouts and by the press of a button to start the workout and pressing only again once you are done with your workout. You can also select auto lap whereby you set a specific distance for the watch to select a lap. On the software it will then point out all data for that specific lap. It also has a multi sport for instance doing a duathlon, by pressing start, you do the first sport, then press lap and it automatically start the second sport. You can also select a transition between the sports and it will record just that. The time to find satelites once switch on is also much quicker than the 301. All in all a great watch for training.

There are a few cons as well:

It is quite a big watch on the wrist but one get use to it quite quickly.

It is only splash proof so one can not swim with it.

The battery life is quite short but long enough for at least a 4 hour workout.

The lap sounds at the end of a specific split to notify you is quite soft.

The cons is realy not merely as much as the pro's and this is an excellent watch for the beginner, intermediate and pro runner. It can now even be oploaded to google earth and will automatically show you on google earth where you ran and it is quite accurate. It has a footpod optional but good to have for those treadmill runs.

I had the watch for at least a year and a half when I saw the garmin forerunner 405. It got my attention and again because it was new I had to be the guinea pig. So I bought it with only a few reviews on youtube but all was positive.

Garmin forerunner 405:

This watch is sleek and pretty. It is compact and has the same features as the 305 with the virtual runner and multisports. There are only a few differences that is better than the 305 and here they are:

It is much smaller and lighter.

You can wear it as a normal watch and nobody will realise the power you have on your wrist.

It downloads the data automatically via a bluetooth stick to your computer once in a radius of approximately 30m from your pc. It also has a docking station as the 305 but you don't need it anymore, only for charging it.

The battery life is much longer due to a auto power safe function but more of this in the cons.

I thought that the program garmin connect was only for the 405 but I could download even the data from my 305 to this program. So there are two software programs you can use.

The cons:

On my first run with the watch, I struggled to switch between the different data on the screen. It has a toggle function whereby you slide your finger accross the face of the watch and it scrolls through the menu. It loks quite impressive. You need to do the same when viewing through the different data screens. After 10km, I struggled to scroll with this feature as it jumped sometimes to fast or did not want to scroll. I still prefer the buttons, it is much easier to push while running.

After approximately 15kms I wanted to stop my workout and in the meantime it went automatically to auto battery safe function and to exit this function you have to touch the outside of the watch and hold it there for a while before the actual workout appears. By this time it was already an extra minute of standing still before stopping my workout.

I came home and changed some of the settings. I changed the sensitivity and stopped the virtual runner as it was automatically selected as a default and kept on switching to it while I was running. My next run I eperienced the same problems.

The screen is much smaller than the 305 and makes it a bit harder to read.

It is also just splash proof and not water proof. So again no swimming.

The above is a reflection of my experiences with this watch. I hope that some of this information can help you in deciding which one to purchase. My 405 stay at home as I am just using my 305 and will most probably continue to use it until a waterproof garmin watch comes to the market. If there are any ideas of what I should do with it, please give me ideas. There you have it. If you look at all the pros and cons and prices of the different watches, I still think the 405 is a better buy. For more information go to Here are some average prices in US dollars for both the watches:

Forerunner 305 from 210 to 230 dollars

Forerunner 405 from 300 to 320 dollars

Looking at the price difference, it is quite a big difference. For any questions please feel free to comment and I will answer as detailed as possible. Enjoy your new Garmin as it will be the start of a great relationship with you and your wrist watch.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Clark duathlon update - as flat as my bycicle tyre

Went to bed early last night as I was told that this upcoming duathlon is more my type of event. Believing them, I thought I will need all the rest I can get. I bought a triathlon book last week called "Triathlon 101" and thought I will follow some of the tips in there. I decided to taper last week and did fewer mileage, I ate right, I did the carbo loading and so all that was needed according to the book was to pack the correct gear the night before and have a good sleep.

I did it all to the t. Got up early this morning, at 2:30 to be exact as Levy and I was going to drive in convoy to Clark. I am a new to the area so need someone to always show me around, who better to ask than Levy? Bless his good heart! I met him at the people power monument on Edsa drive at 3:30. We had such a good drive and I quite enjoyed driving on the northern expressway. Before we knew it, we were in Clark and collecting our start packs.

I prepared my kit, attached my numbers to the helmet and bike, I even got my new water and gel bottle from Levy. Yeah, it is a water and gel bottle. It is so cool. If the pop button is in and you squeeze it, the energy gel comes out and when you open the pop button, the gatorade comes out. So I filled my new bottle and went to the transition area. I was quite amazed to find out there are hardly anything to pack out in the transition area. We all went to the race briefing, listened to the course and did our last minute adjustments. Off to the start.......

This is where it all went bad. I turned on my garmin 305 on the way to the start and it could not get signal?!? After a few minutes, the gun shot sounded and we were off. Instead of fighting with my garmin I switched it off. I turned it on again and thought I will leave it until it starts up and then record the details from there. I was off with a great pace. Others were zooming off and I could not even confirm my pace on my garmin to see if I am slow or if they are crazy. I caught up with most of them on the first lap. The first 10 km consisted of four 2.5 km laps. There was a slight uphill in the beginning but then downhill all the way. It felt like I was flying through the run and it all went well again.

Just before entering the bike area, I saw my watch is up and running so I grabbed my bike and started my exercise recording. I was flying out with the bike. I read in the triathlon book all about drafting because it did not make sense to me before. How can you not draft if someone is in front of you and drive the same speed than you. Then you even have to compete with oncoming traffic and Jeepney's and then there are even pedestrians??? I tried to keep my distance behind a driver in front of me and as I thought I have enough in the legs to overtake, I went through a pot hole. Once I hit the pot hole I thought, oops, something must have given away. About 1 km further my thoughts came true. My rear tyre was flat. I cruised all the way back leaning on the front tyre to not damage the rim. Back at the bike area, I dismounted and pumped up the rear tyre to maybe just be lucky once but to no avail. The tyre was finished. There goes my great start. Just 10 km on the bike. I placed the bike on the rack and put on my running shoes. I thought I drove out all the way to Clark so I might as well finish with the last 5 km run. I put my head down and had a run of 20 min and some seconds to spare even though it was not a full 5 km. I am still happy with my running times.

So there you have it. My first tri I got disqualified by taking the incorrect bike route. My first duathlon I did not finish due to a flat tyre. I dont know what new things I want to start after this. I only know one thing - I am excited for the first duathlon next year just to make up for today!

I at least had a great time after my 5 km run. I took some gatorade and Biccardi sweat from my cooler box and decided to help the runners come in and to just help Levy to the finish with his last 5 km run. Some people must have thought what is this crazy white guy doing shouting to everyone passing in the middle of the road. Sorry if I distracted you but it was meant with good intentions.

Congratulations on all the finishers and all the participants. I saw so many familiar faces and it was great chatting to you all. God bless, have a great off time from tri's and duathlon's until next year. I will see you all at the "normal" races as I am preparing for the New Balance race next and will have a few shorter races fit in between. Glad to be back to my first love RUNNING!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Alabang tri recap

Hi all,

let me first congratulate not only those that manage PB's (personal bests, like we know it in the western world) but also to those just finishing their respective races, whether it be your first 21k, 10k or just the 5k. Any race completed is a bonus as it is only a positive thing for the body. I missed all of you at the KOTR as running is still my first love but having to do a tri the next day, I gave the KOTR a skip. I am still not so fit or should I say crazy :) as some people (Joms) to do both. I am not worthy to speak to you yet.... :).

I am not going to lay out my different splits but will give an overview on my experience of the complete race all together:

Arriving early for my third but second official tri as I got DQ the first tri :( , I already noticed so many changes from the last. The registering and the claiming area for the packets was much more organised. It took me no longer than 2 min to be from claiming my packet than to hanging my bike. As Levy mentioned, the numbers in the transition area was even laminated and the spaces between the bikes was much more. All in all, a great start to the race.

The race briefing was done on time and explained propperly in the transition area. Great job Rick on the complete race. There was enough time for questions as well, and so it was all clear.

At the pool it lived up to the great start of the morning. It all went smoothly. There were also adequate helpers at the pool that knew their jobs respectively. Great job guys.

The cycle route was great. I would have loved to see a bit more water points (maybe just one more) for the bike leg. The reason for this is, it is a hard course as there are quite a few good uphills. For a less than average guy on the bike, I was tiring quite quickly so I used up my gatorade much quicker. Still not complaining as the marshals were great and they knew what they were doing especially in organising the traffic. Thumbs up to all of them. There was a discussuion about changing the route once mass starts at the church which got me a bit jittery but I obviously did not pass in that time frame so it was the normal route.

The run was terrible or should I say MY run was terrible. I was dehydrated halfway through. I started great and felt good untill the 3rd last km. My legs felt heavy and I felt drained. I missed the water point as I saw a guy standing in the distance. I started to prepare myself for the water and started to push it a bit more so I can make up for the time I will decrease in speed to be able to drink water. When it was time for me to be more or less close to the "water guy", I was totally shocked. It was a water boy right, just the wrong type of water boy. It was a male standing with a trolley and garbage bags, busy "watering" the plants :). I did not know whether I should laugh or cry.

I then joined up with three runners next to me once I eventually reached the correct water boy but was on the outside of the other runners and they took the water cups that was being held out. I just had to push through. Another runner joined up with me from behind and started encouraging me and that helped me a lot. It is funny how nice runners can be to each other, it is as if we are a family. I experienced real pakikisama (not sure of the spelling).

All in all, a great experience. If I had any doubts into continuing with triathlons, Rick and his crew keep on putting up great triathlons and so I get more hooked. Thank you guys for making it a great experience to us all. You definately have my thumbs up. I must also just mention the shirts is great. It is of great quality and fits great. I will definately see you all at the duo in Clark next Sunday, at least there is no swim ha ha ha...

Untill then, KEEP FIT.