A week of swim, bike, run in Seattle

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I sit here climbing away from from Seattle, with Mt.  Rainier off to my left.  It’s been a rather sunny week here this time, I think my 3rd trip to Settle in the last 3 months.  Apparently it’s been sunny for quite some time.  A far cry from the usual rain that occurs from September till June (remember, I was born and spent the first 21 years of my life in Seattle).

As is pretty much always the case, I was out for work again – arriving Monday afternoon.  But I did manage to sneak in a couple of evening or early morning workouts, every day in fact.  Proving once again that you can fit things in – even when jetlagged 9 hours apart from your normal time zone.  Here’s a bit of a rundown at a few of the workouts.

Tuesday evening I hit up one of the local pools. I had planned to go to an outdoor one for this swim, but meetings ran later than I expected, and the pool closed earlier than I expected – leaving me battling it indoors.  As is the case lately when on trips to the US, I’m loving the fact that I don’t have ~15 people in my lane at once, like I do in Paris.  However, I did have three kids in my lane this time that were sorta circle swimming.  They mostly stayed out of my way, but it wasn’t perfect.  I will give the Parisian pools credit in that there’s never been a kid in the lap lanes.

Wednesday I spent the day in a windowless meeting room.  Probably for the best, better to not see the views of Mt. Rainier off in the distance, else one might not come back from that lunch break.  After wrapping up a little beyond 5PM I had about 1hr 40m before I had to be at a work dinner.  So I quickly changed at the building and headed out for a run.

It started off with a 1-1.5 mile long downhill section to the river trail below.  This little downhill jaunt left quite a feeling in my legs for the remainder of the week.  It’s funny, I get virtually no meaningful hill/downhill running in at home in Paris (it’s just not on any normal routes I run for the most part) – so a ten minute all-downhill section ended up being far more impactful than I expected.

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Once along the flats it was literally a pancake on the river trail (Burke-Gilman).  I often run here, it’s easy and straight forward with minimal interruption on this section.

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This was the first long-ish run I’d done with the new Magellan Echo.  I also had with me the Bryton Cardio 60 and Garmin FR610.  The Bryton should be on the docket for review this week.  The Echo obviously, will be a ways away (waiting for final release of software in the fall).

I was fairly impressed with how much the Echo basically felt like the Garmin FR610.  Obviously the text numbers are smaller, but that’s just because I’m not on the latest beta build.  That should be remedied in the next day or so I think (they had to wait for Apple’s developer site to get back online, which happened Friday).

But otherwise, it felt very similar.  I was able to configure my data fields pretty much identically to the FR610 (which is what I typically run with in the rare case I’m not testing a running device).

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Now, the one area I’m really paying close attention to over the coming months is the distance accuracy. Distance isn’t measured by the Echo directly, but rather done by the iPhone via Bluetooth Smart.  So it depends on the iPhone for GPS, and in particular in this case, depends on the Wahoo Fitness application.  Apps in this space (sports tracking) all do little things to try and remediate the non-perfect nature of the iPhone GPS.  So ultimately, Magellan’s fate here ends up a bit in companies like Wahoo from an accuracy standpoint.

In the case of this particular run, things looked generally pretty good between the Garmin FR610 and the Magellan Echo (which is really the iPhone distance).  The Cardio 60 was a bit lower, and I suspect that’s because you annoyingly can’t turn off auto-pause, so since this route contained some switchbacks I think the unit lost some distance.  I can see that with the time actually, in that it’s nearly a minute short – odd given I started all three units within 1-second of each other.

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(Note: On the Echo I had the data field in this page set to show time since activity start, so it’s still counting, despite me having stopped the actual counter. My bad.)

Obviously, I don’t know in this case exactly which unit is most accurate.  But, I do know how well certain units have fared historically in many different tests I’ve done.  And historically, the Garmin FR610 has been at the top of the list from an accuracy standpoint.

The workout itself started with a 15 minute build.  Then from there I went into 4x~10m intervals.  After that, I had more shorter 30” intervals towards the end before the cooldown.

Heading back from the flats I had to run up that darn hill for those shorter intervals.  That portion of the workout wasn’t terribly enjoyable.

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What was enjoyable however was my workout the next day.  A swim actually.  Well, a swim, and a hike.  More downhill in fact.

It was an outdoor pool, and they had lap-only swim from 5PM till 7PM.  So I ended down there after work and decided to check it out.  The pool was at the tip of the park on the water (Puget Sound).  But in order to get there you had to walk through the park, about a mile all-in.  There were no parking lots next to the pool.  Walk or bike, that’s it.

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This included this rather stair-filled section down to the water descending the embankment.

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Once there, I got to enjoy the 50m pool in all its beautiful outdoor sunny-day glory:

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Each lane was very clearly labeled speed-wise, and the perhaps 3-6 people in my lane were all speed-appropriate. Woot!

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I did like the text written on the lane-marker at the end of the lane.  I contemplated presently borrowing it and placing it at the end of the lane in my Paris pool.  Perhaps with a French translation on one side.

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The pool sits on the water, and after you’re done swimming you can either lounge around inside, or head outside and enjoy the beach area.  A number of folks were running, fishing, whale-watching, or even paddle-boarding:

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And if traditional activities aren’t your cup of tea, then you can probably join these folks:

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With my swim done, I headed on – leaving the water behind.

Moving along to Friday I had a bike-run brick.  As is often the case, I tend to use my Dad’s bike here in Seattle, along with a Tacx Bushido trainer he has here.  Below was a photo I took post-ride.  You’ll notice the sweat, and more upsetting, the cookie.  I had a couple of cookies my Mom baked that I started the workout with (think breakfast).  One of them fell though early into the workout and I was too lazy to get it.  At the time, it fell harmlessly onto a dry section of rubber mat.  By the end of the workout, the cookie was sadly soaked through.

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The brick was about 1hr 10m on the bike, followed by a short high-intensity run.  The bike portion includes about 35 minutes of building intensity, and then it’s followed by 2x15m segments.  Sorta like 2×20’s, except 15 minutes as a nod to potentially being a bit shot on jetlag.

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I used the Tacx to record the workout, rather than any other device.  I did this mostly because it would give me full power information – which is what I really wanted (as well as speed/cadence, and HR data from my ANT+ strap).  Unfortunately, the Tacx suite still won’t retransmit your power number as ANT+ out so you can record it on something else.

This is particularly unfortunate because as is often the case with the Tacx TTS suite, it crapped itself, resulting in me losing all my data for that ride.  It just went into a stuck state where it couldn’t figure out if I had stopped pedaling or not, thus never allowing me to save the ride.  I waited 13 hours for it too. No love.

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On the bright side, my run was reasonably nice.  Not terribly fast, but at least it was sunny and I was running through quiet green neighborhoods.

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Along my cool-down at the end I saw a yard with the sprinkler on (I was pretty hot by then).  I was ecstatic that a little bit of it was shooting out into the sidewalk area:

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From there it was on to work and a day of various meetings.

Later on that night though we’d head to the Seattle Mariners game (that’s baseball).  It’s been a while since I’d been to a game at Safeco Field, despite once being a season ticket holder here a number of years ago.  My parents brought me out to the game as an early birthday present – thanks Mom and Dad!

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Without question, it was a perfect night for a game.  The temperature slowly dipping down from the mid-80’s as the sun set over mountains in the distance behind the stadium.

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Even more perfect was this astounding creation I found.  It’s Nachos with pulled pork and BBQ sauce mixed in.  The brilliancy of this dish cannot be overstated.  Even though I could only finish about half of it – it was pure bliss. Perfectly cooked pulled pork.

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Now it’s back to reality onboard the flight and working my way south into San Francisco before my connecting flight home to Paris.  In fact, off the left side of the plane now are forest fires – somewhere over Oregon.  I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen them from a plane before.

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With that it’s back to a week at home before doing some more ocean gazing.  Thanks for reading!

38 Comments

  1. If you saw that view of the fires, you flew over the house.

    The smoke is putting a bit of a damper on activities for some of us. But that didn't stop folks from racing the local 15K/50K/50M trail run yesterday.

    Reply
  2. Michael

    Hey did you run along the Sammamish River Trail? That is where I run 3-4 times a week. Seems like you had a great time in Seattle.

    Reply
    • Ray Maker replied

      Yup. I'm not sure if in that spot it's technically called the Sammamish River Trail, or the Burke Gilman Trail still - but, yup, same spot. Descended down the hill along Bel-red before hitting the river.

      Reply
  3. Thor R

    Happy Birthday Ray!

    Reply
  4. ismo

    Seattle looks like yet another nice place I would love to visit some day.

    Reply
  5. Stu

    I saw the same pulled pork nacho creation when at a hockey game at the arena down here in Raleigh! It looked amazing! I'll have to make sure to get one next time.

    Reply
    • Donnie Barnes replied

      I'm finding these pork nachos more and more lately. Latest was just Saturday night at Grub's in downtown Washington, NC. If you're ever down there, get them. I'm sure arena versions are nice in an arena-food kind of way, but the restaurant version can be truly spectacular. Nice to know PNC Arena has them, though, as I'm a triangle NC resident, too! Would like to try the Mariners ballpark version, but mostly just to see Ackley and Seager play (UNC alums!).

      Reply
  6. @Hu3ain

    Amazing atmosphere! That Fast Lane rule sheet should be plastered at every pool entrance. With the added rule of "DO Not swim diagonally"

    Reply
  7. Victor

    I'm surprised there is no comment on how small the Bryton text is. Seems like it would take a few more seconds to focus on the text while running.

    Reply
    • Victor replied

      Oops. I glanced over your section about the small text being in the beta build only! My mistake!

      Reply
    • Victor replied

      And I incorrectly said Bryton instead of Magellen. My first post should qualify for fail post of the year.

      Reply
    • Ray Maker replied

      No worries, I figured that's what you meant. :)

      Reply
  8. Andrew

    I'm on my way to Seattle right now, thanks for giving me someplace to go run.

    Reply
  9. Caleb Appleton

    Ray,

    I spent the spring/early summer studying abroad in Metz, France. One of the things I was looking forward to most when coming back was the empty lap lanes at my local pools (that and 75% of the European pools I was in didn't have backstroke flags). When people would come to visit me they would always remark how few overweight people there are in Europe compared to the states. I would reply to this statement by saying they needed to visit a public lap pool where 90% of the people are overweight and the other 10% swim breaststroke with their head above the water and glasses still on.

    Reply
  10. Duncan Lally

    Thanks for sharing Ray - love your blog. What a pool!

    Reply
  11. Dan

    Happy B-Day, Ray! Looking forward to the Bryton review. Thx.

    Reply
  12. Fer Pena

    Happy Birthday Ray!!, keep training and take care, i really enjoy your blog, thanks.

    Reply
  13. Anonymouse

    Ray -- Not to nitpick another excellent post, but is it really fair to imply that the Bryton's distance performance was notably worse than the Echo's? Maybe my math is off, but by my count it was 2% off of the FR610 and the Echo was 1% off. Both are within the usual margin of error for running GPS watches, right? So why the implicit negativity? Is it based on your overall experience with the Bryton?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Ray Maker replied

      It has to do with three months of testing and that on every GPS I stack it up against it comes up short on distance while running.

      This has specifically to do with inability to turn off auto-pause and inability to customize the trigger speed, which incorrectly pauses it during slower periods such as interval recovery, city blocks with 90* turns and other slow speed situations.

      Reply
  14. Helen

    I'm a little disappointed by how small the numbers are on Echo. I have a co- worker who recently started running. He does not have any GPS device (he has a dumb phone), and would have to map out his running route so that he would have some clue as to how far/fast he ran. I told him about Garmin watches, and he told me that watches are useless for him as he cannot read small numbers (and his arms aren't long enough!!). My husband says he has the same problems with his Polar heart rate monitor watch, so he doesn't use it (and cannot try out my Garmin watch). Since I don't require reading glasses (yet), I guess I never thought about this problem, but I'm sure it's very common. Has anyone made any comments on this issue w/ fitness watches? What do some of you readers out there w/ this issue do?

    Reply
    • Ray Maker replied

      Hi Helen-

      As noted above in the post, the numbers are only small on this particular software variant. Likely by the end of the day I'll have the update which makes the numbers normal (big) sized.

      Reply
    • John Frey replied

      Howdy Helen....as you note, the Garmin watches tend to have larger numbers for those of us whose eyes have gotten older. I've also recently found tri/running sunglasses with magnifier inserts in the bottoms of the lenses (like bifocals) that now are my go-to sunglasses for training/racing. This might be another option for your husband/co-worker. Look for the readily available 40-50% off discount codes and you can get a pair for about $50.

      Reply
  15. DS

    We call them "pig nachos." They are the best thing ever.

    Reply
  16. Pete Thomas

    I'm in awe every time I read these posts! Your ability to squeeze in workouts like this is truly inspiring!

    Thanks again Ray!

    (By the way, i've asked my Cousin who is studying in Paris to bring me some cupcakes from Bertie’s CupCakery back to England next time she comes home)

    Reply
  17. Drew Keller

    That is what I call focus on your bike workout - to leave the cookie alone and watch it slowly get sogged. Way to flex the mental six-pack. I would have dismounted.

    Reply
  18. Flob

    Hi Ray,
    I have just bought a Bryton 40H on eBay and I hope that your review of the 60 will sway the developers into allowing customisable auto pause functions, because if not, then I'm going to be pretty annoyed that I didn't buy a used garmin 310xt.
    2% is slightly less than the distance error on the Timex Ironman, but it is still not good. Although i guess it'l be as good as runkeeper and the other apps on my iphone.

    I am really looking forward to the Bryton review but it is too late for me as I've already ordered the 40H, so I just hope I've not bought a complete dud!

    Oh and running down hills needs to be a regular part of your training because that is where time is made or lost on undulating courses.

    I hope training is going well- good luck!

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      See, I just avoid the last part by not racing a course with hills. ;) Problem solved!

      In all actuality, I like running hills. It's just a complex affair from where I live logistically, requiring a lot of wasted time in the day to get to.

      Reply
  19. Rudy

    Promptly forwarded the fast lane sign to my local swimming pool - Thanks Ray!

    Reply
  20. Joshua Knot

    Nice picture of Mt Rainmaker! (p.s. to nitpick, it's Rainier not Rainer)

    Reply
  21. Querfeldein

    And if you're still too fast for the fast lane? Just move over to the whale trail!

    Reply
  22. Dan Choi

    Hey Ray,
    I came across your site when I did the Seattle Century ride 2 years ago (my first century actually) and the website had posted your recap of the ride. Since then I've been following your blog and found it very helpful from product reviews to race recaps. I actually did my first tri last year at Ironman Boise. . .thanks for sharing your experience btw. I was riding my bike this past week and actually passed by you running along the Sammamish river trail! Oh man, should've turned around and said hi. Anyways, thanks for your posts and sharing your adventures in Paris. I'll make sure to stop by Bertie's cupcakery next time I'm there =)

    Reply
  23. Dan

    Hi,

    I am new runner and I find your blog to be a great source of knowledge and information. You don`t seem to have a blogroll though, any other blogs out there about running/biking/swimming that you find useful? Thanks

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yeah, I need to add that back. I had it before the redesign, but it fell pretty far behind. I've got it on my summer to-do list to get that added somewhere.

      Generally speaking almost all of the content from my 'Week in Review' post is from blogs I read. And most of the Twitter folks I follow mirror that (the people I follow on Twitter I keep slim and clean).

      Reply
    • Dan replied

      Thanks, I will have a look on twitter then ;)

      Reply
  24. glurple

    I'm not surprised about the Tacx software crapping out on you. The software is the achilles heel of the Tacx company - they make fantastic hardware and crap software.

    I had hoped that the Tacx iPad app would help to overcome these issues. But it never got released!! Given that they were expecting to release it in February, it is now over six months late.

    Reply

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