My husband outdid himself this year... he got me a Garmin Forerunner 305, a running watch that has a built-in GPS and heart rate monitor and a bunch of other goodies to help with tracking your progress in outdoor running. I've really been enjoying running (which I picked up as part of the 20/20 program a few months ago ) and this is the perfect gift for a geek runner.
Unfortunately I hurt my leg a month ago so I've been in physical therapy and unable to run, so I couldn't try it out right away. Today was the first day I was able to do any running of substance outside, so I was thrilled to take my new toy out on the road with me. I took it easy because my leg is still on the mend, and did about 2 miles in a little over 22 minutes.
The software installation was quick and easy, and after my run I plugged the watch in and it immediately imported the run and showed me a map of where I went, a meandering loop from my house (upper-right corner) onto the main road and through a loop in a nearby apartment complex's parking lot.
I can also track my pace and other stats at a microscopic level:
I can also one-click compare one activity to another, which is handy since I have about 5-10 routes I tend to take and it'll be great to compare my performance from day to day on the same route.
I haven't scratched the surface of the rest of the features yet, but I'm already seriously geeked out. Of course I've already started compiling my wishlist/complaints... I wouldn't be a very good software person if I hadn't :-)
 Which technically I "finish" sometime this month. At my 12 week checkup my cholesterol was down 30 points, weight 17 lbs, body fat around 8%, went from not being able to run 2 minutes straight without feeling like I was going to die to running 6 miles without stopping... life is good.
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<p>Amen sister! I bought the 305 last year for my first mini-marathon. The Garmin is awesome! If you haven't already, make sure you check out MotionBased.com.</p>
<p>Make sure you run in Saucony shoes. They are _the_ best injury prevention. I am 6'2" 195 and have been running 15 miles a week for 25 years. I have occasionally gotten seduced by a well marketed shoe only to get nagging aches and pains in calves, knees and hips. Once I'm back on Saucony I am fine.</p>
<p>Lance: I've tried on Saucony a couple times while getting fitted and never found one that felt good. I have two pairs right now that i alternate between, one is New Balance (i forget the model) and the other is Asics Evolution... the most valuable thing i learned about shoes over the last few months is that i should not get my normal shoe size for running shoes, i should go up half a size so that my toes don't rub against the edge of the shoe. </p>