My Garmin Forerunner 305 finally arrived today, all the way over from the USA. It's basically a high sensitivity GPS receiver & virtual trainer on the watch and wireless heart rate monitor all in one.
I've just given it a test run around centenial park tonight, and have been able to upload all the GPS tracking info, pace, altitude, heart beat and awhole ton of other metrics to my laptop. Using the proprietary Garmin software, i can then sift through all these measurements in relation to a map.. pretty amazing really. In this case, i ran 11.30km at an average pace of 13km/hr with a average heart beat of 165bpm. I can see exactly at what points around the park i ran the fastest/slowest, and when i was about to have a heart attack etc. The cool thing is that next time i run that route, i can run against the virtual me; the watch will tell me how far infront/behind iam of myself in realtime.
The best part of it all though, aside the Garmin software, is that you can import this all this GPS data directly into Google Earth (see below). Your route is plotted to pinpoint accuracy, every little triangle represents when the device recorded a GPS signal. If you click on one of those triangles, you get presented with the longitude, latitude, altitude, heart rate, speed and direction you were heading. So, even if you aren't runng/cycling, you could forexample take this out on a walk/car journey then upload the data into google earth to check out your route.
This is a very smart gadget, you barely notice it when running and i just love having a GPS device/map on my wrist that is synched with a heart monitor. The only gripe i have is that it takes ~30 seconds to lock onto satellites.
Then again, perhaps this is too much technology; perhaps i should just keep it real and run up snow covered mountains in Russia with bricks in my backpack like Rockie Balboa did? ..