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5 Random Things I Did This Past Week in Mexico

I’ve just arrived back from spending a week in Mexico, within the resort area of Cancun on the Yucatan Peninsula.  I was there, along with The Girl, for her sister’s destination wedding.  Here’s what we were up to during our stay there.

1) Some rather warm & humid runs:

As one might guess – it’s not exactly ‘cool fall running weather’ in this part of Mexico.  Rather, tropical and humid is more appropriate.  You either get your runs in early morning, or needlessly suffer through the heat later on.  I ran the majority of mornings – either with The Girl, or friends and family.  I also got two solo runs in.

Most of the runs were between 5-6 miles.  Nothing terribly long, just nice pre-breakfast buffet type things.

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The resort part of town is awesome for running – very clean and easy to run on sidewalks, and if I had gone just a tiny bit further there’s actually a really impressive running path using the same surface as most running tracks are built on.  Pretty cool.

For most of the route you can’t quite see the beach as it’s blocked by the hotels (though you can see many iguanas instead), but in one section it breaks out over the water with a large Cancun sign and the beach behind you.

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After all the runs we tended to cool down in the pool.  It acted as an efficient way to clean out running clothes while also getting our body temperature back to semi-normal values.

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Then of course…it was straight to the massive breakfast buffet.  Loved that they had tons and tons of fruits, fruit juices, and even on-demand fruit smoothies!

2) Played with the RunScribe:

In addition to testing GPS watches, I was also back toying with the RunScribe pods.  I previously played with these earlier in the summer in beta – but then the ‘Great Airline Baggage Loss’ of July meant that the ones attached to my shoes went missing.

But with the company now shipping units, I’m back at it with new ones all good to go.  The units measure all sorts of running metrics, sorta like Garmin’s Running Dynamics – but on steroids.  But unlike Garmin’s HRM-RUN (and HRM-TRI), these metrics come from the small footpod looking devices, as they can measure data points such as pronation (a chest strap would be unable).

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The devices have three different options for attaching to your shoes.  You can affix like a footpod to your laces, or you can use included putty to attach to the back of your shoes (heel area), or you can use a little clip thingy to attach to the back of your shoe in a more removable manner.  For my first week or so I’m going to use the shoelace clip, but will also change it up a bit to see how things go.

You can use either one or two pods (for a dual leg configuration), which is what I was doing here.  After the run you’ll download the data using Bluetooth Smart to your phone.  Here’s a few snippets of my 7-mile run:

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Ultimately I’m still working through what precisely to do with this data.  Some things could likely be used for injury prevention (i.e. shoe wear), and others for injury recovery (getting back to normal).  But it’s use cases outside of that, that tend to be more tricky to quantify.  Still, interesting stuff that I’ll be poking at more this fall.

3) Plenty of openwater swimming

The week prior I was getting in an openwater swim in the chilly waters of Alberta’s mountains, this week though – things were a wee bit warmer!  The water in front of the hotel along the beach was mostly quite calm, and great for openwater swimming.

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I swam almost every day, and some days The Girl swam along as well:

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Figuring out which way the current was going seemed like a never-ending battle.  A battle that I think I almost always managed to get wrong, much to my swim paces detriment.  I’d usually swim one direction and then walk back.  It’s more interesting that way to me as I can see more stuff than if I just did an out and back.  Plus, I didn’t want to stray too far from shore since there were lots of jetski folks out on the water.

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I was using the HRM-TRI & HRM-SWIM heart rate straps, each paired to either the Garmin Epix or Garmin FR920XT.  A Fenix3 acted as a GPS reference unit on the swim buoy.  All the data will be used as part of my upcoming post on both the Epix, but more really for my HRM-TRI/SWIM post.

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These straps are designed to record your heart rate underwater and sync it up later on after the activity.  They mostly worked well, though I did continue to see some quirks with the FR920XT and one of the straps failing to download data afterwards.  I’ve been in touch with Garmin about that one.

4) Enjoyed a wedding

Of course, the main reason we were in town was for my sister-in-law’s wedding.  It was held right on the beach, with plenty of friends and family making the trip.

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Afterwards, the reception was up in the gardens till well into the night and proved to be quite a good time.

They had a photo booth via a local company that had an impressive amount of props.  It was like walking into a Party City store, but spread out on a large table.  We got both a little insta-printed roll of three photos for ourselves, plus one for the bride and groom on a guest book of theirs.  Lots of fun.

Most importantly though – a huge congrats to both the bride and groom!

5) Sat around and did a lot of nothing

While it sounds like I might have done a lot – the reality is that I mostly did nothing.  I sat on the beach and enjoyed just relaxing.

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Or, hung out at the swim-up pool bar.  Of course – it’s all trouble when you’re at an all-inclusive resort.

Even more so dangerous, as I learned at my own wedding, when half the wedding party is from Newfoundland.  Those folks can drink most Americans under the table before lunch.  Impressive skills.

At night, we enjoyed the various food options around the resort.

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Or that we could request to fill our fridge daily with (all-included) M&M’s and Diet Coke:

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Of course – I wasn’t the only one testing things out this week.  The Girl was trying out the Vivofit2, but most notably with one of the swanky silver bands:

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It was interesting – she probably got asked about it 15-20 times over the course of the week (mostly by women, but not always).  So far she’s happy with the tech side, but fairly impressed with the band itself.  This was one of the many designer bands that Garmin initially showed off in January at CES, but they never quite made it to market.  Now, they’re much closer (I don’t have a date off-hand though on when they’ll release).  She’s been using it in the salt-water, fresh water, and even on runs without issue thus far.

With that – my week is done!  Back to reality in Europe I am, not-so-warm weather and all.

Thanks for reading, and have a great week ahead!

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40 Comments

  1. That guy

    Did you get into a public pool in your sweaty run clothes?? That sounds like awful behaviour.

    • Things to note:

      A) Approximately 200 people sit around the 100m length pool all day long in 90*F+ temps, sweating, and then step into the pool to cool off.
      B) It’s a bar pool, the number of beers, mojitos and margaritas that go into it is impressive.

      Notation completion.

    • Chris

      Not to mention

      B2 / C) When the drinks don’t flow into the pool and reach their intended destination, not everyone gets out of the pool when they flow out…

    • Paul Martin

      You do realise that public pools are exposed to people’s mouths, noses, ears, rectums, vaginas, etc. so I think you’re being a little precious. A bit of sweat isn’t a problem.

      Awful behaviour would be standing on the edge of the pool and pissing/spitting/taking a dump in it.

    • That guy

      While all of this and what the next guy said is true, it doesn’t excuse what you did. Doing the right thing has little to do with what everyone else is doing.

      I dont think I’m being harsh either because FWIW, this would get you kicked out of any pool ’round where I live.

      Just my 0.02 cents, love the blog.

    • I assume you realize that when you do a hard swim workout in the pool, you sweat?

    • Bernie

      It’s not the “pure sweat” that is of concern here, but the bacteria/germs that build up in sweaty clothes. In the pools where I live there are signs everywhere to shower before taking the plunge. And I appreciate it when people adhere to it. Just for consideration.

  2. Noelle

    So they’re going to make those Vivofit fancy bands again? That was actually the whole reason I ordered one this spring, and then my order from Amazon was in limbo for several months until I gave up and cancelled it.

    Maybe I’ll hold onto my Vivofit 2 a bit longer now. 🙂

  3. Gabe

    Ray – when should we be expecting the Epix review?

    Sounds like a nice vacation; thanks for sharing

    Always nice to be gluttonous

  4. Sounds like a good trip!

  5. Chris

    Would you mind posting the name of the resort? I need to know where I can have a fridge full of Diet Coke and peanut m&ms.

    • It was the Live Aqua Cancun. I really enjoyed it. I found breakfast (epic) and lunch very good. Dinner was mostly good, though occasionally mixed (some in-house restaurants were amazing, and others not-so-awesome).

    • Joe

      haha, my wife and I went there for our honeymoon 2 years ago. Great place, though the aroma therapy in the hallways was a bit overpowering at times. South of the hotel itself we ran across a bunch of sea turtles laying eggs at 5:00 am

    • Yeah, still incredibly overpowering in certain hallways. 🙂

      And now the sea turtles have moved to the beach directly in front of the hotel. Hundreds of little baby turtles each night. 🙂

  6. Nando

    Oct open water swimming in Cancun, Mexico >>>>> Oct open water swimming in Ghost Lake, Alberta, Canada

  7. Robert

    Just asking, the run scribe – is blue tooth and smart phone the only combination to get the information? The data can’t be uploaded to a PC via any means? Sorry behind the times and still use dumb phone.

    If I had endless M&M’s they’ve have to put me on baggage cart to leave the resort. Looks like a great wedding vacation, thanks for sharing.

  8. Picko

    Is that 8 foot stride length correct!?

  9. morey000

    sounded like you did a lot of relaxing… when you could have been working on product reviews!!! 🙂

    glad you had fun. Plus- you probably needed some quality time with the girl with the way you work and travel.

  10. Jonathan

    I got my RunScribe this weekend. First reactions: Documentation could be better. Web app is very nice, but phone (Android) app is much more difficult to use. The RS keeps recording for a while after you stop running, so the time recorded is unavoidably [?] way off. Correcting time is easy on the web, but almost impossible to get right on the phone. Overall, I’m getting the hang of it, and seeing all these metrics for the first time is interesting. Sync with Training Peaks is supposedly on the horizon, and that will be nice.

    And yes, Robert, Bluetooth is the only way to get info uploaded.

    • Luke

      Second the annoyance with on/off. I was shipped a pod to wear during the TCS NYC Marathon, and wore it yesterday on my first run. The combination of running to a race (1 mile run/walk through NYC traffic) a 35 minute 5 mile race, and then walking around the city with my son killed the battery, it went from 100% (newly installed) to 70% in one day. The data looks like it’ll be cool (especially with some more documentation) and I’d consider buying another for the other foot (they shipped me a single pod), but as someone who runs after work (but brings stuff to work in the morning) battery life that horrible is probably going to be a deal-breaker.
      And, no, I’m not manually removing the battery after run and putting it in before every run.

    • Yeah, I’m still sorting through the battery life piece. Also, the app experience is a bit rough in terms of figuring out start/ends of the runs. I need to poke more at the website and see if it’s cleaner there.

  11. the vivofit in silver DOES look cool.

  12. Jonathan Pope

    920XT quirks… What could these be? I don’t think it’s design intends for it to be a beer opener. The Garmin Connect app to order another drink not behaving well? Seriously, what quirks are you seeing? Vthanks for sharing your thoughts.

  13. Martin Hauske

    Thanks for the lighter side of life sharing on top of the insightful comments. I have also lost heart rate data on a number of occasions between 920XT and HRM-SWIM heart rate strap, despite it showing being connected. Maybe lost connection after pushing off the wall and couldn’t re-sync?

    • I’ve been following up with them on it, and just e-mailed the folks responsible for it a couple minutes ago to get clarity on where the fix is (or a way to restore the data myself). They restored the data for me in person at the ANT+ Symposium when it happened to me a few weeks ago, but in that case they took the watch/strap and came back a few hours later with the .FIT file. Not sure if it’s a tool/process they can release (in theory though, anyone could develop an app to grab it).

  14. David

    I can imagine the garmin forums going into meltdown at the idea of you using a Fenix 3 as a reference GPS 🙂

    • George

      Haha nice point!
      I do own a Fenix 3 and I find most of the complaints in Garmin forums for GPS accuracy comes from people who are rarely use it for training…For me is a serious training tool and serves this purpose very well from day #1… 🙂

  15. Lennart

    and not a single picture of the awesome food that´s available in Mexico? I´m disappointed 😀

    • Maddy

      I miss more pictures with food too! Somehow I expect from you a lot of these! A lot! If I can’t eat it myself, I love at least to read about it on your blog and torture myself with these photos! Please! 🙂
      Good for you to have few days to relax for a change…

  16. patrick

    We stayed a few hotels down for our honeymoon in January! I was super impressed with all of the wide open, smooth paths for running. The motorists were quite respectful too. Jumping in the pool afterwards for a cool down swim was definitely the best way to get your temp back to normal. Otherwise you just sweat for the next hour or two from the humidity. Swimming in the ocean was pretty awesome too. Can’t say I ever wore more devices than a watch though.

    Glad you got to enjoy the wedding and relax for a bit. Nice pics! Makes me want to go back soon.

  17. if i may ask, what is this all-inclusive resort y’all stayed at? the beach looks really awesome, it looks pretty empty (a plus for me), and the food looks awesome. may have to consider checking out!

    • Thanks Chris. It was the Live Aqua Cancun.

      It was pretty full on the weekends – but quieter in the weekdays, but never seemed to be an issue even when full. Tons of seats both at the pool level an on the beach.

  18. Justin

    I’m not sure where the appropriate place to post my question is but will you be doing an updated 2015/2016 Trainer Recommendation post? I’m in the market for one and I’m wondering if anything significant has changed from last years post.

    • Yup! Coming up on the week of Oct 26th. I had hoped to get it out earlier, but honestly just too much other new stuff going on right now.

      Also, I’m waiting on one more Elite trainer to arrive (should be tomorrow), that I want to include. I’d say the landscape has changed dramatically.

  19. gingerneil

    Hi Ray.
    I’ve been playing with the Runscribe and beta testing the Android side of things for quite some time now. Great to see you are on board and getting a chance to look at the metrics. I’m in the same boat as you – interesting graphs, lots of data etc etc – but I’m still trying to work out exactly how to make best use of it. I have made a big effort to up my cadence and land forefoot more, and the runscribe data has really helped with this. I also tend to get injured on my left side more than my right, and can now use the data to see how my stride/pronation etc is different between the two side (is it different – quite a lot different!).
    The Android app is great – far better than the first attempt last year, and the web app has improved lots too. I’d like to see less smoothing on the graphs, or the ability to adjust smoothing like you can with Sportstracks graphs. It would be great to get the GPS data alongside the runscribe data (I hear this is coming, and I would love to see a link up with Sportstracks). Finally, broadcasting over ANT+ is supported in the hardware, but not yet enabled. Seeing live pace, ie as with a garmin footpod, would be a great start – but I can really see the value in the runscribe data if it can be linked with ConnectIQ and show pronation metrics etc live on the watch while you run.
    Lots of possibilities!

  20. PhilBoogie

    I wonder what those Pain Points are. Hopefully it’ll be included in the upcoming reviews.

    With that, thanks!

  21. Lukas

    Quote: “You either get your runs in early morning, or needlessly suffer through the heat later on.”

    I *know* how you meant the comment, but the possibility to misrepresent the meaning out of context has really made me laugh on a slow Monday afternoon.

    For that, I thank you! 🙂