Baby Bia

#52toNYCmarathon
Week 18/52 Recap

5.26 – 7.19 – 8.5 LSR

FirstBiaRunEvery hear of a baby being born that could run before it can walk? Meet my new sports watch! This past week started with the arrival of my Bia Sport that I had backed in a Kickstarter campaign a while ago. I got it set up with only a minor delay that was an issue with the Firefox browser (which they did fix) and got out for a run the very next morning.

The touch screen is quite intuitive but I still miss having a manual that I can browse through and make reference to without digging through the FAQs on the different Webpages. As my Go Stick (a separate clip on that allows gps tracking through cellular towers) charged I explored the functions on the watch. I played with the stopwatch/chronograph feature that allows you to just slap the screen each lap you want to record a split for then the screen goes back to the overall time passed. I know I will dig that feature at the track.

As I explored the other features I found that when I selected some them on the screen the message “coming soon” would appear. The Run/Walk function was one of those which is why I call it a newborn that can run before it can walk. I wasn’t totally surprised, this is a first gen Bia Sport and I am in it for the long hall. I was disappointed that the backlight feature was dropped for this gen and am hoping it can be worked out to add it since it is still being advertised, “Shake to light up the backlight”.

Map detail of where I swerved.

Map detail of where I swerved.

I like the strap that connects with velcro to size, I like the angle and the small lightweight watch. Although it is suggested to wear it higher on the arm like bangles (even shown in the package the watch came attached to) I wear it in the traditional spot on my arm. My arm tapers to the wrist and I have never ever been able to keep bangles up. The watch may touch my hand when I bend it up but it doesn’t bother me there at all.

When my Go Stick was fully charged (a solid red light came on), the watch was able to connect to it and set the correct time. It was like magic. Next, I set up the cell phone numbers that were to be alerted for when I pressed the SOS alert. Indeed, when I held it in for three seconds a few seconds later both numbers I had set up received alerts with a text of my needing help and an abbreviated Google map url. The map was crazy accurate with my location. I pressed and held the button to deactivate the alert and it sent a safe message to the same two cell phones. It is my understanding that alerts will continue to be sent with my location every minute until I deactivate it. This was the main selling point for me because I imagined my running down Spring Creek Canyon and twisting my ankle. No cars are allowed there and I could get chilled quickly. This will at least be able to share my location if I need assistance in a situation like that.

For my run the next morning, it didn’t take any time at all for me to shake my Go Stick to wake it up, press the watch button, select Run on the screen, have it connect with the Go Stick and it was recording my run! Even out in 18° weather I didn’t have any trouble with all of that. I always love to record my out-and-back splits so at the far end of my run I slapped the screen but nothing happened. I slapped multiple times but again nothing. I have since figured that the Slap to Lap function might only be with the chronograph function. That is a real disappointment because even my cheap Walmart watch allows my to save one split.

I took some photos of the watch while out on its maiden voyage. When I was ready to end my run I was able to read the screen prompts even without my glasses on to stop and save my run. A cool little motivational message was across the top along with my total run time, distance and pace. It was pretty sweet.

When I got in to my computer I was then able to see a map of the run on my activity page because it had been uploaded instantly when I saved it. Because it was the same loop we had done (twice) on the weekend, I had already measured it and the Go Stick’s version was spot on. I was impressed that it even caught the little swerve across a lane (see photo above left) I made to try to take a photo of the watch with some ponies in the background. The photo didn’t turn out my weaving on the road was caught and mapped. Very impressive.

I hoped and was looking forward to seeing if the data was being uploaded to my activity page even before I saved the run. That way anyone who wants to watch my progress on a run or in a race can do so without being there. I always enjoy watching my Daily Mile buddy Beth’s progress as she uses some app on her smart phone.

My second run of the week was longer than I had planned for because the hill at the end of my road was so snow packed and ice-covered that I almost didn’t make it down. Jim and I were together and we agreed to find a different way back. I used the Bia Sport to help me plan just when to turn back but I had judged wrongly on the length of my alternate route and we logged over a mile extra.

In Central Park.

In Central Park.

It was nice to just save the run and come back and give it a name on my events page. The only bummer is that I have been logging the mileage of my shoes and all of my other runs on Daily Mile which take GPX files. Bia only connects with run apps that I don’t use like Strava or exports TCX files. Jim was helpful in finding a TCX to GPX converter page (check out the link here if you are interested). Again, remember I don’t have a smart phone so a lot of apps are just a waste for me.

The icing on the cake was to be our long run of the week. Jim and I drove Arron back to NYC and we planned to log our 9 miles in Central Park. I was really excited to see how the Go Stick would handle the urban canyons of NYC and planned to rely on it for up to the moment mileage record. That way, we could decide whether or not to add in a loop here or there to round out our mileage without having to scour over maps or plot exact routes before we headed out.

The start of our NYC run.

The start of our NYC run.

The first test came early that morning because the clocks had switched to daylight savings time. I shook my Go Stick to wake it up and saw the green light. I sat it on the windowsill of Arron’s 5th floor walk up synched the watch’s clock with it in no time at all.

We had a little fuel, filled my CamelBak and got ready to go. Jim and I padded down the multiple flights of stairs and just before I reached the lobby shook the Go Stick and clipped it on the strap of my CamelBak on the same side as my watch, hit the button on my watch to synch and got the message that it was connected. I mashed the button again to start the run and we were off toward Central Park.

Arron lives about .25 mile from Central Park and I estimate that it took about .10 mile before I saw the watch start displaying distance and pace. The buildings there are pretty dense and tall so it was impressive that it got itself together that quickly. Later, when I zoomed in on the map, I saw that the course it recorded deviated in a soft meander a little bit as it got a lock on all of the towers but it did a really great job (see photo above right).CentralPark1

Off we went, joining in the throng of other runners, bikers, walkers and wheelchair racers in a clockwise loop around the park. There was no actual race on Sunday but it was one of the nicest days in months of a really long winter. It was above freezing and the sun was shining so even the brisk 10-mile-an-hour breeze couldn’t keep the spirit of the pack indoors.

I checked my Bia when we hit a spot that I knew we would need to loop back by to make our run even 8 miles. I wanted to check the mileage of that loop and add it to the 6 or so miles that I knew the outer loop was. Then I would know for certain whether or not we would need to add a lap around the reservoir to make our run hit 9 miles.cathill

We snapped some photos here and there along the route because we weren’t really concerned with time. It was beautiful out and we enjoyed seeing the park come to life. Every running style imaginable is on display in Central Park, you are guaranteed to see at least one of each style joked about in the Don’t Be That Awkward Runner video. Now I have Journey stuck in my head again as I usually do when running through this park.

We took some fuel and passed the CamelBak back and forth. During that time I was aware and moved my Go Stick to my vest so it wouldn’t be too far from the watch when Jim took a drink. The Go Stick really stays put no matter where I have chosen to clip it and it doesn’t budge. It is also small and light enough that it doesn’t bother me at all. Note that I am a person who is bugged by stupid little things like my shoelace tickling my leg if I don’t tuck it into my other laces.

Just as we were going to finish the loop and start onto the upper east side section of the park, I checked my watch to figure if we needed to add in the reservoir. I was shocked to see the message at the top of my watch screen, “Battery Died.” What!? It had shown a green dot when I shook to wake it up and I hadn’t had it active for what I thought was maybe 5 hours that week. It was supposed to have lasted 17 hours and thought I had fully charged it at the beginning of the week.

Disappointment over not having my route saved, frustration of having to mentally scramble and do quick math to decide where to run to make our run long enough and relief that Jim was using his cheap Walmart watch to record our overall time were all feelings that washed over me.lebow

We stopped for a photo of my checking my new watch to echo the statue of Fred Lebow near the Engineer’s Gate. This had been the shot I wanted that made me take my camera on the run. I wasn’t as glib nor proud of my new watch at that moment but I was also getting a little tired. I decided at that point that we wouldn’t run the additional reservoir lap.

When I returned to the apartment, the run hadn’t automatically uploaded to my events page as I was hoping people would be able to follow it. Even the truncated record of our run seemed to be lost so I quickly mapped it on Daily Mile before I forgot the route we had run. I was a bit crabby that we had only run 8.5 miles.

I shook my Go Stick and no lights at all came up. I set it to recharge and was extra careful to seat the contacts into place. That is just a little tricky if you ask me and it never seems to close the clip down quite enough. By the time we had to leave it still was not fully charged so I completed the charging when I got home.CentralPaek2

I am hoping that it keeps its charge longer this time and I am going to be hyper aware of its activity. Unfortunately, until I can trust it, I will be wearing my old stand-by methods of recording time, pace and distance. I hate doubling up on little pieces of gear but I like to record my runs with a fair amount of accuracy. It gives me assurance that I am getting the training I hope to be putting in before any races.

I really do love my new watch and I feel like a proud mama that helped it out from its conception. Like any newborn, it is going to have some surprises and hiccups along the way. I will do my best to take things in stride and get to know it as it grows stronger and better as it developes over time.

As a footnote, the truncated run did appear eventually on my events page. Jim ad I both found it curious that I checked my watch seemingly within the minute that the battery died.

Map of my NYC run before the battery died.

Map of my NYC run before the battery died.

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9 thoughts on “Baby Bia

  1. I have a baby bia, too. I’m also running with my Garmin 220, just in case. I backed the kickstarter project when my running was at its infancy. My needs have changed and the Garmin suits them better (having it beep when I need to do intervals, etc), but I want to love my Bia, so I’ll keep waiting, patiently, for these features to be added. i do love the way it fits my wrist, though.

  2. I invested through Kickstarter as well and am still awaiting arrival of my Bia. In the meantime, I’ll learn what to look for through your experiences. I love my Garmin so I think the Bia will be the watch when I’m heading out on long solo runs. Thanks for the review.

    • Thanks! I intend to wear it at the Capital 10-miler Run for the Arts. Maybe you can check it out if you have a moment. Any group runs planned on the course before the race?

      • Sat @ 8 a.m. We’re meeting on City Island near the parking garage. We’re trying an alternative course in case the ice – yes it is still there – doesn’t melt. Join us if you can.

      • Did I reply to this earlier? We’re doing a Sat. 8 a.m. run from City Island. We’ve marked out an alternative course we will use since the ice is not entirely melted yet.
        Let me know if you can make it.

      • Thanks Mary Lou! We are waiting to see how my Dad settles into rehab before we know how far we can travel this weekend. Looks like a great weekend for a long run and hope we can join you. I’ll let you know for certain.

    • The white drawstring bag should have also included a black USB cord that connects to the Go Stick to charge it. Pinch to Go Stick open and the rubberized tab should seat into the hole and allow the contacts to meet up when you close the Go Stick. I would connect the USB to a computer or power source before connecting the Go Stick; just a typical order of things thought.

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