Win A Suunto Ambit GPS Watch

There’s an ingenious competition over at Facewest Adventure Equipment Specialists just now to win a Suunto Ambit3 Peak that involves the submission of a GPS drawing.

The Ambit 3 Peak not only has a fully featured GPS but also has a barometric altimeter, making it the perfect tool for mountaineering, navigating and recording activites. The Ambit 3 watch will pair with your iPhone (and android in the future) via bluetooth so you can see watch data on your phone screen and phone notifications on the watch. All the watch settings can be configured through the Movescount app so you can change things even when away from your PC. In short a pretty great piece of kit.

Note that body part drawing submissions will not be accepted for the main competition!

Suunto Ambit 3 & The Return To Training

There’s nothing quite like new technology to mark the resumption of training and the intent to return to ultramarathon running in 2015. Released just last week, the Suunto Ambit 3 offers improved functionality alongside connectivity with the iPhone (Android to follow), facilitating on the go customization, push notifications, and the ability to create movies of your activities, complete with photographs taken en route.

My last ultramarathon was back in March 2013, when I crawled around the D33 in a personal worst time of 6:18:33. Admittedly, it was only 15 minutes slower than the first time I ran it which, given that my longest training run had been just 11 miles, surprised everyone, myself included. With a baby due to arrive and a house to prepare, there just wasn’t the time for quality training!

Harris arrived just weeks before the D33 and I soon appreciated that training time was a luxury I could not afford, despite my intentions to try and continue running ultras.

Ironically, since I stopped subjecting my body to the battering of ultramarathons and ultra training, I have been almost constantly injured in one way or another.

My running did benefit from nutritional, training and running form advice that I received whilst participating in The Running Bug’s PUMA PB Challenge back in July-October 2013. The aim was to smash a 1/2 marathon PB set way back in 2008 which was considerably faster than I was running at that point.

Unfortunately, injury struck just 5 weeks into training and it looked doubtful that I would even toe the start line of the Great Scottish Run, my target event. Despite injury, I came within 1 minute and 45 seconds of beating my target, considerably better than I had hoped for and way faster than my running had been for years. However, it was still a failure, and a very public one at that!

In the wake of this failure, I will admit to losing my running mojo and, beset with one injury after another, I lost focus on running altogether, something that just a year previously would have been almost unthinkable.

Weight gain saw me shoot up to just under 16 stones, the heaviest I have ever been, and certainly not conducive to running.

As a baby-wearing dad, it was evident to me on an almost daily basis what carrying an extra 1-2 stone in weight felt like. Losing this amount from my own frame would make such a difference to activities, my daily life, and my general confidence.

Thus, approx. 3 months ago, I set about implementing a different food strategy. I wont call it dieting as there was considerably more to it than that.

I have since lost over 2 stone and am lighter than I have been in many, many years. I am even a stone lighter than I was when I ran the 95 mile West Highland Way Race which is quite a thought!

Each pound is increasingly difficult to shift but, encouraged by weight loss to date, I am persevering and intend to shift at least another stone in weight before I focus on consolidating at a target weight.

If there’s ever an incentive to continue, it has to be the impact on my running. Yesterday, for example, I ran 3 miles on the treadmill 4 minutes faster than it would take me back when I was happily running 6-7 ultras a year. Not only that, I ran most of it at various stages of incline, including 1/2 mile at 5% incline. That improvement is before I really get back into training in any shape or form!

(Update 17th September 2014: I managed to take another 2 minutes off of my previous 5k time yesterday lunchtime. Feeling it in the legs today but this is hardly surprising considering how hard I was pushing and, also, given that both runs were done in Vivobarefoot Trail Freak shoes with absolutely no cushioning whatsoever. Today’s a ‘swim day’ so I can give the legs a well earned rest, but I am wondering now how much further I can take the speed and if it can be translated into ultra PBs.)

So, even with some continued aches and pains, I now find myself in a place where I feel happy and able to balance a return to training while continuing to be the best dad possible. I certainly won’t be returning to pre-Harris levels of running and my training will focus on quality rather than quantity of miles.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve slowly increased activity levels, based on a mixture of swimming, cross training and running and it is with this mix that I intend to continue, with the majority of training slotted into a lunchtime and/or of an evening once Harris is tucked up in bed.

Hopefully, come early 2015, I will have a better idea if this will be sufficient to see me comfortably complete a 2015 ultramarathon, or two, or three… :o)

Suunto Ambit 3

Multisport

  • Route navigation
  • Up to 25 h battery life with GPS
  • Compass
  • GPS altitude
  • Heart rate in swimming**
  • Activity based recovery time
  • Speed, pace and distance
  • Bike power support (Bluetooth Smart)
  • Multiple sports in one log
  • Training programs
  • Growing feature set through Suunto Apps

Connectivity

  • Upload and share your moves instantly*
  • Customize your watch on the go*
  • Time and GPS satellite data up to date on the go*
  • Use your phone as second watch display *
  • See calls, messages and push notifications on the watch*

Enrich, Relive & Share

  • Take photos during your Move showing your current speed, distance, and more*
  • Create a Suunto Movie of your Move with 3D map, key metrics and images*
  • Share your experience instantly to your social media networks*

*with the Suunto Movescount App and smartphone
**with Suunto Smart Sensor

Installing the .NET Framework 3.5 on Windows 8 or 8.1

Try as I might, I could not get Moveslink to install on my Windows 8 PC in preparation for the arrival of my new Suunto and I was starting to think that I was never going to be able to hook it up to the PC!

The installation of Moveslink would only get so far before bombing out with a .NET Framework 3.5 installation error. I finally found the answer to my problems, not on the Suunto site, but from general searches concerning .NET Framework 3.5.

“The .NET Framework is an integral part of many applications running on Windows and provides common functionality for those applications to run. For developers, the .NET Framework provides a consistent programming model for building applications. if you are using the Windows operating system, the .NET Framework may already be installed on your computer. Specifically, the .NET Framework 4.5 is included with Windows 8 and installed on your computer with the Windows 8 operating system.”

Therein lies the problem! Moveslink relies on .NET Framework 3.5 but 4.5 is already installed on Windows 8. The .NET Framework 3.5 is not automatically installed with Windows 8 and, thus, needs to be enabled.

To enable the .NET Framework 3.5 in Control Panel:

  • On the Start screen, type and then choose Control Panel
  • Choose Programs
  • Choose Turn Windows features on or off
  • Select the .NET Framework 3.5 check box

Full details online at Microsoft MSDN:

Hopefully the above will save others the frustration that I experienced, and let everyone focus on getting their lovely new Suunto Ambit watches set up :o)

Suunto Ambit2 & Ambit2 S

“A year after its much-anticipated launch, the Suunto Ambit line is being upgraded through bifurcation, specialization, and adaptation to an unexpected level of user engagement. Launching May 1 around the world are the Suunto Ambit2 and Suunto Ambit2 S. The Ambit2 is geared toward the explorer and ultra-distance endurance athlete with the longer battery life of the pair and the inclusion of barometric sensors. On the other hand, the Ambit2 S is slimmed down to provide a lighter, more nimble option for the vast majority of endurance athletes who don’t need crazy-long battery life or barometric altitude sensors.”

Suunto App Zone & Movescount Upgrade

“In keeping with their commitment to improving their services to users, Suunto is upgrading the Suunto App Zone, the community forum where users can find and create free Apps for the Ambit GPS watch. At the same time, Suunto’s online sports community Movescount.com, which hosts the App Zone, will also be updated to offer a new look and feel, providing more possibilities for in-depth analysis and sharing.”

Suunto Ambit 2.0 Software Available Now

The 2.0 software update for the Suunto Ambit is now available through www.movescount.com.

Suunto Ambit 2.0

Ambit 2.0 related features and improvements:

  • ANT+ support
  • Foot POD support
  • Interval timer
  • Suunto Apps support
  • Tighter speed fusion filter giving more stable running pace
  • Exercise summary to show the number of manual laps (in previous version the number of laps included manual, auto and pause laps combined)
  • Pausing no longer interferes with lap count in the Ambit
  • Improvement of log memory capacity when using GPS

Ambit 2.0 related Movescount improvements & bug fixes:

  • Faster updating of satellite orbit data during Moveslink synchronization
  • Individual selection of all PODs in custom exercise modes in Movescount
  • Fixed minimum/maximum value bug in Movescount
  • Lap notes to differentiate autolaps and pause laps in Movescount
  • Ambit release notes available from GEAR page in Movescount
  • Sorting option added for POIs & routes in Movescount
  • Fixed a bug of Movescount not using avg cadence calculated by the Ambit

“With the launch of Suunto Apps, we offer you the opportunity to customize the Ambit to fit your sports needs in a totally new way.”

“Starting from November 29th, Suunto Ambit users can download and develop their own features in the Suunto App Zone. This makes the Ambit the first GPS watch on the market to constantly evolve.”

Suunto Ambit Voted The Best New GPS Watch For 2012

The Suunto Ambit has been voted the best new GPS watch introduction for 2012 by the Heart Rate Watch Company.

 “Suunto Ambit can get you back to your car in a blizzard and analyze your cumulative training effect, according to the Heart Rate Watch Company. No matter what the outdoor sport, this watch represents the best of GPS and navigational technology brought together.”

“We wanted to wait and give the Garmin fenix a good side-by-side comparison with the Suunto Ambit”, says Rusty Squire, President of the Heart Rate Watch Company. He adds, “What we found is at the present time the Suunto has more advanced exercise features thanks to several firmware updates, which does not preclude Garmin from adding these features but they are about 4 months behind Suunto at this time”.

Suunto Ambit Betters Garmin fenix In The Battle Of Firmware

“Since the arrival of the ultimate GPS watches, the Suunto Ambit and the Garmin fenix, it has become apparent that firmware updates and improvements will win a battle that is far from over, according to the Heart Rate Watch Company.”

“Judging these two watches is not an apples-to-apples comparison at the moment because Suunto is nearly several firmware updates ahead”, says Rusty Squire, President of the Heart Rate Watch Company. He adds, “What is obvious is the Suunto Ambit vision is to maximize fitness features and Garmin has not declared that vision yet”.