Monday, 2 June 2014

Pebble/WatchNote/iSmoothrun @ Copenhagen Marathon 2014




Aim: 04H30... although with a 1/2 marathon time of 02H00 I really should be capable of 04H10-04H15.
  • Shoes: Merrel Vaporgloves (minimal Vibram soles, zero drop)
  • Compression: CEP socks and sleeves, compression T-shirt.
  • Nutrition: 4 x 82g Snickers bars
  • Hydration: Camelbak, 1.5L Powerade.
  • Technology: Pebble Steel; NATO strap on adapters; iSmoothrun for iOs/Pebble; iPhone 5


Four months before
After 2 marathon training sessions in 2013 on the borderline to Achilles Tendonitis, I reduced the mileage in my four month training period by about 50% compared to Copnehagen Marathon 2014.
Accordingly, I was prepared to run either significantly slower times (insufficient training) or significantly faster times (less damage) than last year. I certainly did not expect what transpired...

The week before
This year I elected for a complete rest from running the last week before Copenhagen. My right achilles was still tender, despite my reduced training load, and I figured the best I could do was give myself a complete rest. Five days before I started carb loading, by increasing the carbohydrate percentage of my diet and increasing my calorie count to 2000kCal/day.

The day before
With 24 hours to go, I found myself checking the weather report every hour or so. Expected conditions fluctuated between very hot to very wet:




I had arranged to collect my niece in Århus, then drive to Østerbro in Copenhagen and pick up my start number at the Expo around 6pm.


Pebble Smartwatch, SmartwatchPro: pickup start number at Østerbro in Copenhagen... let's go!




Pebble Smartwatch, WatchNote: pickup details, metro line info all on hand!

The travelling went smoothly, and the Expo was bustling - I bought two pairs of CEP compression socks (the short version, as I already have compression sleeves) as I had picked up blisters from a half marathon in March, which I had run in regular supermarket socks... :-(




We went out for a Pizza & lots of fluids and I hit the sack about 10pm.

The Day!

Up at 5 for a quick breakfast of oats and half a liter of isotonic drink, slowly got dressed and by 0730 I was headed for the Metro, destination Islands Brygge. Arrived at 0800, dropped off my clothes and took my last drink. Walked quitely around, stretched a bit and heard a few more chapters of my audiobook to zone out.


Pebble, SmartwatchPro: start time and location... as if I could forget!




Pebble, WatchNote: backup pacing information, in case of GPS failure!

0-10km
The race started precisely at 0930, and by 0944 I was crossing the start line.


Crossing the start line (right, green vest) 14 minutes after the first runners!

The route took us over Langebro into the City, through the center and out to Østerbro. I was on pace and running without issue by the time we headed back into the City at kilometer 10. Hot and humid.




10-20km
The next few kilometers brought us through my old neighbourhood (Nørrebro) where we had lived almost 20 years ago, then back into the center of town, over some cobbled roads to wake us up and at 17km we were heading back out to Vesterbro. Still holding my target pace and running with no issues. Halfway was passed in 2:14:00 which meant I would have to run an even split for both halves to come in under 04H30. By this stage I had eaten 2 Snickers bars (890kCal) and about half a liter of Powerade (80kCal) and had expended about 1600kCal.





20-30km
The long way back to Østerbro. Light rain started, which was a relief from the hot conditions up to now.  I could feel it required more and more of an effort to maintain my pace, and I began to switch off my mind from my surroundings. Couldn't stomach eating more Snickers or drinking Powerade, so I picked up water at the stops. On the upside, it felt pretty much like last year (no worse, no better) so I knew if I could keep on without an injury I should make it through. At 30km the sky opened and it started to rain heavily.







30-Finish
From 30k the hard work starts. Not fun any more. No thoughts. Foot. Next foot. Check pace. Shit. Push harder. Can't. C'mon, try. Can't. Just run. Foot. Next foot.

The loops at 32km takes you AWAY from the finish line, and it's hard not to swear. Dammit, same again at 35km.... pace starts to really drop. SOOO close at 38km but the sadistic bastards put in another loop, 3kms  AWAY this time! I'm beyond caring by now, just don't stop or I'll fall. Keep going.




Finally, finally there are no more tricks and the road leads over Langebro and the finish line at Islandsbrygge. I could walk now. Nope. I could...? Nope. And finally, finally...



Done. Urgh. F*ck.


Pebble/iSmoothRun paced me home in 04H35, average pace 6:26min/km....


...primarily using the Distance/Split average/Average Pace setup.



...using 30% of the Pebble's battery (100% at start, 70% at finish) with notifications etc. on.


Marathon number 3!


Post-race analysis:

  • Shoes: Merrel Vaporgloves are superb. Light, flexible, ultrathin, grippy - the perfect minimal running shoe.
  • CEP compression: no blisters at all from the compression socks, despite wet weather. I drove the 6 hours home immediately after the marathon with no cramps and no issues. I ran a short run 3 days after the marathon with some stiffness, but no more than that. No injuries. No achilles problems. I am convinced the support they give works particularly well for long distance running and recovery.
  • iPhone/Pebble Smartwatch: Pebble + WatchNote app are excellent for keeping relevant information (numbers, adresses, transportation, times etc etc. on hand. Pebble + iSmoothrun, with its multiple, user-configurable screens worked flawlessly at keeping me on pace. Kudos also to the extreme legibility of the Pebble Steel screen in direct sunlight, and its waterproof rating when sweating in a torrential downpour!
  • Time: I should be able to run 4H10 to 4H20. My three marathon times have been between 4H31 (Copenhagen '13) and 4H38 (Berlin '13). Each time the wheels fall off at about 32km. I probably need to do a few more long runs in training, but I think the main issue is energy - I need to improve fueling. I ran pretty much the same race this year (dark green) as I did last year (light green) and clearly I ran (sorry) into issues at the same place. Must work on this... c'mon, dude!








Friday, 18 April 2014

New watchface: SimplicityPro Inverted

SimplicityPro Inverted is a watchface for the Pebble smartwatch. 

SimplicityPro Inverted

HBTeicher

SimplicityPro Inverted watchface for SMARTWATCH PRO (requires Companion App). Modified version of SIMPLICITY by Max Bäumle and SIMPLICITY BY CM by Christoffer Martinsson. 

- Time, Day, Date & Weeknumber 
- Next calendar event 
- Phone battery status 
- BT connection status 
- App connection status

SimplicityPro Inverted is available on iTunes

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Pebble Steel strap adaptors

Thanks to Joel in Singapore: "I have got a company to make springbar adaptors for the Pebble Steel. Those who are interested in getting one please let me know, I can get them to make more. The material is Anodized Black Aluminium" - http://forums.getpebble.com/discussion/12103/pebble-steel-springbar-adaptor/p1

These are excellent - I'll let the pictures do the talking:







Pebble Steel vs. Pebble KickStarter - showdown



Band/bracelet: The original rubber strap of the KS and the leather strap / rubber bracelet are adequate, but not exceptional. I have ordered adapters for the Steel and will switch to quality nylon or leather NATO straps as soon as I have them. The bracelet fitting mount on the Steel is a bad design feature, and requires a further investement if other straps are to be used without modding them. Winner: KS.

Screen: The Steel screen is sharper to view, better than the KS but not enough so to be a deal-breaker. Reflection on the Steel screen is significantly more of an issue than the rounded screen of the KS. The sharp edges of the Steel tend to trap dust. On the plus side, the Gorilla glass is more scratch resistant (although a screen protector is cheap insurance for the KS) but the deal breaker for me as a runner is the elimination of the moire effect in sunlight. Winner: Steel.



Buttons: the Steel buttons have an excellent tactile feel, but the KS buttons also have a good feel, or "click". Certainly not a deal breaker. Winner: even.

Potential for future software upgrades: Steel has increased memory and a LED light, both of which may give advantages in the future. Winner: Steel.

Charger: The Steel has slightly stronger magnets, but the KS charger really works fine, so no deal breaker. LED lights on the Steel are nice-to-have. Winner: even.

Weight/wearability: Steel is slightly heavier and smaller. The weight is certainly no issue on the arm, even when running. I like the size of both, the KS is bold where the Steel is more refined. Both fit well on normal wrist sizes. Subjective opinion here so... Winner: even.

Vibration: Finer, slightly "tinny" vibration on the Steel is easier to miss. This may be due to the steel bracelet I am using, which also appears to amplify the sound of the vibrator motor. Certainly useable on the Steel, I prefer the vibration of the KS, but need to try the Steel on a NATO strap before delivering judgement.

Appearance: KS is more sporty, Steel more refined. As someone trying to project a refined, sporty image (yes, I said it!) I like the appearance of both. KS can be made more refined by fitting a wrap from GadgetWraps and a fine, oiled leather strap, Steel can be made more sporty by choosing the Matte Black with adapters and a NATO strap. Winner: even.

Conclusion: I give a slight edge to the Steel due to its elimination of the moire effect in sunlight and future-proofing. I will have to wear the Steel for a few weeks for the novelty effect to wear off, and try the adapters/NATO combination before I can decide which one to keep. If I was forced to choose one right now, I would keep my trusty KS - set up to my taste - mainly due to my irrititation over the strap mounting system of the Steel.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Pebble @World Half Marathon Championships, Copenhagen 2014

The goal: a sub-2 hour half-marathon (21,097km) at a pace of 5:40/km



"Fast, flat and scenic! In 2014 the IAAF/AL-Bank World Half Marathon Championships will take place smack in the middle of Copenhagen - For the first time ever recreational runners will join the elite in a world half marathon and therefore it is a must attend event in your race calendar: The IAAF/AL-Bank World Half Marathon Championships is a once in a lifetime experience for runners of all kinds."

Well, who could say no to that? Along with 300 elite runners and 25,000 recreational runners I set off on Friday afternoon - March 28, with my running partner Peter (with whom I ran Berlin Marathon last year) for Copenhagen, for a once-in-a-lifetime, gigantic running festival.


Pebble Smartwatch and WatchNote app.



Friday, March 28

We arrived in Copenhagen late in the afternoon, and loaded our gear off at my niece's apartment on Frederiksberg. Then we took the bus across town to Sparta Hallen, the site of the Expo and start-number pickup. Already here the flowing lines gave a foretaste of the amazing organization of the whole event. 

After picking up our start numbers, and browsing the expo, we walked back into Frederiksberg and replenished our carbs at Sticks 'n Sushi before preparing our gear and getting a good nights sleep.


Saturday, March 29


After breakfast of oats and milk at 8, we walked the 6km into Copenhagen center to get our legs loosened up. After dropping off our bags and jackets at the pickup-trucks we headed off for coffee at a sidewalk cafe, and by 11 we were moving toward the start area.


The gear: Pebble Smartwatch and Merrell Vapor Glove shoes


The race proper started at 12:00, but our starting group didn't get moving until about 30 minutes later. This was not a problem, as we had a grandstand view of a huge TV screen which allowed us to follow the elites' start and progress through the race: it was an amazing feeling to know we would be running the same race as the best in the world!





0-17km:

Finally we were off, and I settled in to my pace of 5:40/km from the first few meters.  I was able to keep adjusting my pace thanks to the iSmoothRun app on my Pebble Smartwatch. We had placed ourselves well, as I was able to latch on to a series of "pacers" fairly soon, and begin that process of abstraction I found necessary to remove my attention from the effort required to maintain a pace which was a full minute/km faster than my training paces (I really need to do something about those training paces...).



Watchnote app held all my information and paces.


After 4km I was at Østerbro, and still on pace, feeling like I was working hard - but not more than I expected to be able to maintain. The experience was surreal, with literally thousands of spectators lining the route, helicopters overhead, chasing the best runners in the world... but this was just a foretaste of what was to come!




The temperature was rising, and I found myself looking for the shady side of the street (not a usual occurence in March in Denmark, let me assure you!). By 10km we were heading back in a loop through the City, and I could feel that I had been pushing hard - the effort was beginning to tell. In addition, I had developed a hotspot under each foot which signalled blisters under development. This is not something I usually have problems with, and I think they arose due to the exertion - and a slightly longer stride than I am used to.





By 15km I had to empty a glass of water on my head (I always carry my own drinking water in a CamelBak) due to the heat, but by now we were on our way into Fredeiksberg, my "home" turf (I studied here for ten years). Here, the party really began - crowds 10 people thick on both sides of the street, live music everywhere and a general air of Spring, excitement and festival!




I had divided my race strategy into two halves, the first 17km (McDonalds on Frederiksberg) and then the last 5km to the finish line. I figured I would hold my target pace of 5:40 for 17km, then see what I had left. If needed - I figured - I could shuffle the last few kilometers if I had burnt all my reserves. 






17-21.1km:

My reserves where indeed at "Reserve", but turning the corner onto Frederiksberg Alle at 18km was... unbelievable. A slight downhill run of about 2km, even more crowds, an arch of flags across the boulevard, music, sunshine, an ocean of bobbing heads - and I decided to burn off my entire reserve over the next 2km to hold my pace in a last desperate effort. 





The 20km mark saw me passing Tivoli, and the last kilometer I ran  on"empty" with clenched teeth and a growing desperation.

Finally - the finish line: 21.27km at a pace of 5:39, and a time of...2:00:02!!! 





iSmoothrun and Pebble - worked perfectly!


Running for the shade had cost me an extra 150m - and my sub-2 hour finishing time!! 


Met colleagues at the finishing line - both finished in sub 2:00...







I was ecstatic at having had the chance to compete and finish without injury, at maintaining my goal pace so consistently (thanks Pebble and iSmoothRun!) and at having a running experience like no other - hours of winter plodding in slush and snow culminating in a superlative runing festival on a superb first-day-of-Spring!

Everyone who participated - elite and mass participant - contributed to a once-in-a-lifetime event. We all had the same goal: to reach and exceed our potential on the road. But the greatest thanks must go to the spectators and organizers, who turned the day into a true Festival of Running, and provided us with inspiration - both on the road but also for the years ahead!

Thursday, 3 April 2014

SimplicityPro - the Project Management companion watchface for SMARTWATCH PRO!


SimplicityPro is a watchface for the Pebble smartwatch.
SimplicityPro
The Project Management companion watchface for SMARTWATCH PRO (requires Companion App).


Modified version of SIMPLICITY by Max Bäumle and SIMPLICITY BY CM by Christoffer Martinsson - design changes to improve legibility, more discrete vibration alerts.




- Time, Day, Date & Weeknumber
- Next calendar event

- Phone battery status
- BT connection status
- App connection status

SimplicityPro is available on iTunes.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Pebble - strength in simplicity... when less is more. Personal setup of my own Pebble Kickstarter…



via Harry Teicher @ Google+ http://ift.tt/1gOZYjP

Pebble - strength in simplicity... when less is more.





Personal setup of my own Pebble Kickstarter Edition, Gadgetwraps Brushed Titanium wrap, Grey NATO G-10 strap with PVD hardware running Pebblebits OS and demonstrating the watchfaces and apps I use on a daily basis. Here, in 2014, there is a lot of speculation regarding the new color-screen, voice-controlled Google and iWatch smartwatches - this video is to remind developers of the strength of simplicity... something Pebble seems to have grasped.