Monday, July 28, 2014

Millville NJ 8-Mile Run

My work sent me on another week long trip to New Jersey in July.  Since I'm several weeks into my 20 week 15K training plan I brought my running shoes along with my Garmin watch, and a water bottle belt.  I was unable to get a hotel room close to "the shore" or "the beach" as the locals call it.

I flew into Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) picked up my rental car and drove east to Millville, New Jersey.  My hotel, the Fairfield Inn and Suites was located just off New Jersey Route 55.  I would be working near the Atlantic City International Airport which was about a 50 minute drive from my hotel.

The view from my hotel room - NJ-55 is in the distance
My room
Another view of my room
My bathroom
The hotel was nice.  The room was quiet and the staff was very friendly.  My only criticism would be that the room didn't seem as clean as maybe it could have been.  There was a dried coffee cup ring on the nightstand that was there all week from a previous occupant.  A second criticism is that the in-room coffee maker leaked like a sieve.  I only used it once and then decided to use the complimentary and always available coffee in the lobby.

My only outside run was on Monday.  I exited the hotel parking lot on a nice wide road with few vehicles.    

The hotel parking lot exit
The road was flanked by tall pine trees
The road turned at "turkey corner" before entering dumpster alley
My route turned into the back of a strip mall as I wound my way south toward some neighborhoods I had seen on Google maps.  I searched on-line at Garmin Connect and Map My Run before arriving in NJ but I've found that finding usable routes on both sites is next to impossible.  In the future I plan to use to find a nice neighborhood to run in.  I'll enter the city and jack up the list price until I'm happy.  Why run in the hood when you can run in the up-scale part of town?  Had I done better checking before-hand I would have turned right onto Glenside Road and headed into the Woodland Shore community along Union Lake instead of going straight on Sunset Drive and into the hood.  It looks like it might be pretty nice.

Behind the Shop Rite
Dumpster Alley
I thought about calling this the "dumpster run" but decided not to after some soul searching.  I will say though that the people of Millville should do something about the inordinate amount of trash which has accumulated on Sharp Street near the dam.  I suspect that much of it was deposited there during Hurricane Sandy in October of 2012.  There are two (2) things that chap my butt 1) trash in the street, and 2) flies in a restaurant (dead or alive - though dead is preferred).

My run now over it was time to focus on work, and the critters that abound nearby.

One of two deer in the woods next to the parking lot 
After leaving work I saw two (2) large deer in the woods beside the airport parking lot.

Turkeys in the parking lot
The next day I saw two (2) huge turkeys walk up to the building and sit down.  Someone must have been feeding them.  It was around noon and there were people all over going to and coming from lunch but the turkeys showed little sign of caution.

Millville NJ turkeys
I had already seen four (4) big turkeys cross the road earlier that morning when I left the hotel.

On my final evening in New Jersey me and three (3) of my coworkers met for dinner at Jo Jo's Italian Grille near Hamilton Mall in Pleasantville, NJ.  I had the lasagna.  I couldn't eat it all, nor did I try.  The food was good but oddly enough they don't serve alcohol.  You can Bring Your Own Bottle (BYOB) but...

Lasagna at Jo Jo's Italian Grille
I finally made it home to Atlanta that Friday.  Now I'll try to focus more on my running as speed work gets introduced to my training plan.

I finished the week with just over 20 miles run - 14 miles on the street and 6 miles on the hotel treadmill.  My end of trip weight was +2 lbs.  I don't know how this is possible since I ate salads for lunch all week.  BIG salads I know but salads just the same.

Salads for lunch
Thanks for reading.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Getting Used to the Virb

I took the Virb out for a test ride on my road bike yesterday.  I think I'm getting the hang of it.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Garmin Virb Elite - Ready to Go!

My replacement Garmin Virb Elite camera arrived yesterday.  It's in the small box below.  The other box with the hole in it contains a thin LED light fixture.  It was not damaged.

 The smaller box contained my camera.

 I had already purchased the accessories below and did not return them with the camera.

My first camera was sent back to Amazon.  You can read about that experience here.  I have to admit though, this one was on me!  When my replacement camera arrived I had the same experience.  For hours I fiddled with it but again, I couldn't get my computer to recognize the camera.  I installed the Garmin drivers on my computer, re-installed the drivers, uninstalled hardware, tried a second computer, but my results were the same.  Eventually I pushed the microUSB cable into the slot with significant force and it seated properly.  All along I hadn't been inserting the cable end completely.  It was so small and I didn't want to break it.  I didn't realize that it would take so much force.  Couple that with the fact that the mating of the jack and plug are hard to see with the rubber flap right on top and my frustration factor was high.

Where's that darn Garmin?
I tried the Garmin WebUpdater hoping that it would find something.  I was mistaken, it didn't.

No devices?
...and after the cable was fully inserted.  Shazam!  Where have you been little fella?  I've been looking for you for quite a while.

There it is!
Now that the hard part was done, it was time to step back and survey the landscape.  You can't buy a Garmin camera without first comparing it to a GoPro.  The first thing that you'll recognize is that the Garmin is much larger than the GoPro, especially when the dive case is included in the mix.  Comparing "apples to apples" would be using the using the dive case on the Garmin Virb and the regular case on the GoPro.  No one uses the GoPro without the case.  So, lets look at the weight of these items separately and together.

The Garmin Virb Elite camera alone weighs in at 6 1/4 oz.

 The standard camera mount itself weighs in at 2 5/8 oz.

The Garmin camera and standard mount together weigh in at 8 7/8 oz.  The two combines should weigh 9 1/8 oz but you get the picture - about 9 oz for the camera and mount.

The dive case adds a new dimension to the equation.  It's physically larger and noticeable heavier than the standard mount.  It's not the type of thing that I'd strap to my bike helmet and ride with for 3 hours.  I will use it though on the kayak and that's why I bought it.  I also plan to use it to get some action video of skiers and wake-boarders on the lake this summer.  Of course I'll have to put it on my bike too - handlebars - not helmet.

The dive case alone weighs in at 5 1/8 oz.

The camera and dive case combined weigh in at a hefty 11 1/2 oz.

Here's a little bit more information about the dive case and a few more pictures.  The on/off sliding switch doesn't actually penetrate the case.  Instead of a physical connection, the folks at Garmin decided to use a magnet to activate the unit.  You can see the cylindrical magnet centered in the image below.

The lens end of the camera is positioned in the dive case using tabs on all four sides of the lid.

The camera is attached to the standard mount with 2 small spring loaded tabs and a fixed tab at the center.

The tabs attach to the camera just below the lens.  There's also another slot on the back of the camera.

At the rear of the camera are the two cable connector slots.  There's a micro-HDMI slot shown in the image below on the left and a microUSB slot shown on the right.  That's the bugger that was giving me fits.

Inside the camera you'll find the removable battery.

Below the battery you'll find the microSD card slot which is shown below with a microSD card already installed.

The sliding on/off switch.

The camera is charged and turned on.  You'll notice that the image on the display is quite dull.  That's about as good as it gets.  It should be fine for centering a shot.

The image below shows what comes with the dive case.  Garmin included several small desiccant squares.  I suppose those are to counter any fogging that might occur as the camera heats up during use.  In fact, that's exactly what the documentation says.

In my opinion, the Garmin is the best camera for my needs.  The reason that I chose the Garmin over the GoPro is the added features including in the Virb.  The small but usable LCD display, GSP capability, Garmin heart-rate integration, as well as, the ability to integrate speed, elevation, etc.  It not only creates a video of whatever activity but actually creates a video diary as it happens.

I can't wait to get outside and use it. Until then another video and picture of my dog will have to do.   Together they should give a good indication of overall image quality.

You might notice that my grass looks like crap.  That's because we had about 55 trees taken out and the grass has yet to recover.  Atlanta - City of Trees!

Thanks for reading.

Don't forget to checkout DC Rainmaker's Garmin Virb in-depth review here.